An electronic cash register, at its most basic level, lets you calculate and record transactions. A cloud-based point-of-sale system provides the same core functions, but also improves day-to-day operations by automating critical processes and extending access through the web.
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Still not sold? Take a look at a few additional reasons why a cloud-based POS system far surpasses the capabilities of its predecessor:
1. Access Your Data from Any Location
You’re on vacation, and you want to see how store sales are doing in your absence. With a legacy cash register, this isn’t possible. But with a cloud-based POS system, as long as you have a WiFi connection, you can log in to your account and access your data any time. This is an essential capability that should be expected from any quality POS system. You can stay connected with your business 24/7 without feeling tied to the actual store.
2. Built-in Sales Reporting
“Tuesday seemed busy, Wednesday was a little slower, then there was that big rush on Friday afternoon. Do the shelves look empty to you?”
When you adopt a cloud-based POS system, you’ll have the ability to track all of your sales data, as well as review sales history, in real time. You can see which items are consistently popular with your customers and when sales peak during the year or specific times of day. Anticipating how many of each product you sell will make inventory planning significantly easier.
3. Access to Customer History
Customer Jane walks into your store. She’s come in twice a month for the past five years. You appreciate her business and know her name, but with your revolving door of regulars, it can be hard to remember past purchases. This is another way cloud-based POS outranks the traditional cash register.
Next time Jane strolls into your store, you don’t have to rack your brain to remember her purchase history. Instead, simply pull up her account on your iPad. If you know what Jane likes and has purchased repeatedly, you can offer suggestions for new items to try and make her experience more positive. Improving your upselling efforts through customer history can improve your overall profitability as a business.
4. Streamlined Inventory
You’ve hopefully already moved beyond keeping track of your inventory on pen and paper, but your old school register certainly isn’t helping when it comes to inventory management. If being understocked or overstocked on specific items in your store is a recurring theme, it may be time to kick your register to the curb.
Managing inventory can be incredibly time consuming, especially if you haven’t automated your store’s processes and are still working from Excel spreadsheets. Adopting a POS system, however, can significantly decrease the time it takes to complete your inventory management. Instead of conducting counts manually, you can use a portable scanner to streamline the process, and items will automatically update with each purchase. Once you automate this process, you’ll never have to second guess what stock you have on hand. Simply log into your system, view your items, and decide what to reorder. You can also set up triggers to alert you when inventory for specific items runs low.
5. Increased Customer Engagement
All small businesses know that if you want to be successful against the big box stores and online retailers, you need to take customer engagement seriously. How is a legacy system cash register going to help you do that? It won’t. It’s just another area where traditional cash registers fall short, stacked up against cloud systems. The lifeblood of your small business is understanding what your customers want and figuring out how to deliver. It’s also about staying in touch long after the initial sale. Email marketing is one of the best and most efficient ways to do this.
Most modern POS systems let you not only track customer history, but also collect emails at the moment of purchase. Capturing this data and integrating your system with an email marketing program, means you can send engaging campaigns to past customers and stay in touch long after your initial touch point. Use this email marketing capability to send out weekly emails with updates, promotions, and discounts. When was the last time a cash register could help you do all of that?
The benefits of migrating to a cloud-based POS system are numerous and far-reaching. These are just a few. Do your research, talk to your neighbors, then choose a system that makes the most sense for your small business.
As Managing Editor at ShopKeep, a top-rated iPad POS System, Sara Sugar uses her distinguished journalism background to boil down small business and point-of-sale topics.