Mobile POS is a big deal these days—and rightfully so. With mobile POS technology in place, payments can be accepted anywhere in a restaurant or store, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty while simultaneously bolstering operating efficiencies. Mobile POS also makes it easier to interact and engage with customers throughout their dining or shopping experience. What’s more, the cost of mobile POS technology is typically lower than the cost of traditional POS technology. Some restaurateurs and retailers are boarding the mobile POS train by implementing bundled solutions that comprise iPads and pre-loaded free or discount software. However, an iPad POS alternative—pairing POS software from a proven solutions provider with an iPad or other tablet—is likely the better alternative. Here’s why.
1. Bundled iPad POS solutions necessitate a larger financial investment. Most solutions of this type are built on a cloud-based platform or are offered in a “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) model. In either case, you’re paying an ongoing monthly subscription fee—which in turn leads to a higher total cost of ownership. While the up-front financial outlay for iPad POS hardware and software from an established solutions provider may appear hefty, it will be lower than the sum of your monthly software subscription payments.
2. Bundled iPad POS solutions typically offer only limited functionality. Sure, you can ring up sales using a bundled iPad POS solution, but if you are like most restaurant operators and retailers, you need far more functionality than that—functionality that such technology simply does not incorporate. For instance, the competitive nature of today’s market makes it important to have customer relationship management (CRM) and loyalty program functionality within the POS solution. The ability to interface with inventory management, labor management, and social media platforms is also a must for many operations. Your best bet: Worry less about cost, and consider instead the rewards of paying extra for iPad POS software whose features and capabilities meet the needs of your business. These rewards can be substantial.
3. Bundled iPad POS solutions can cause payment processing headaches. Quite frequently, opting for a bundled iPad POS solution means you have no choice as to which credit card processor will process transactions initiated in your restaurants or stores and for what duration of time you must use the company’s credit card processing services. You also run the risk of being locked into a long-term, unfavorable contract with whose high rates and potentially long validity period may cost you money you need not otherwise spend. This is generally not the case when you partner with an established iPad/tablet POS provider.
4. Bundled iPad POS solutions do not always come with vendor support. Inevitably, there will come a time when your iPad POS solution exhibits a problem, working slowly or ceasing to function at all. To prevent lost sales and other headaches, you need to rectify the situation immediately, and you probably require vendor support to get the job done. However, when it comes to such support, many vendors that sell packaged iPads and iPad POS software are sorely lacking. Better to go with a proven company, even if its iPad POS software is neither free nor discounted.
iPads are versatile devices and can offer great value in restaurant and retail environments alike. However, not all iPads and iPad POS options are created equal. The importance of understanding why you would be best served by acquiring your iPad POS software from a reputable, established provider, and of investing in a full-featured solution—cannot be over-stated.