Over the past two years, the world of point-of-sale (POS) has evolved significantly. Capitalizing on the affordability, capability and platforms of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), a new crop of developers has opened up a world of opportunity in the world of POS.
Often referred to as tablet POS or ‘POS in a box’, these latest systems offer a wide range of business management value-adds, including payments and mobile commerce, and effectively transform a traditional AppleÒ or Android device into a fully functional POS system. And, following in the footsteps of many leading technology providers – think Salesforce.com, Constant Contact and even Adobe - the vast majority are SaaS (software as a service) based, offering cloud-based access with seamless remote updates all for an affordable monthly fee. And, by affordable, we’re talking about less than $100 per month in many cases, which opens up POS for the small and mid-sized business (SMB) that historically could not afford POS due to upfront investments of $3,000 to $50,000 alongside licensing and annual maintenance fees.
While the features and functionality of these tablet based POS systems may not be robust enough to run a Tier 1 ‘Big Box’ retailer, they’re add more than enough value for the SMB seeking improved efficiencies, intelligence and management consolidation. Tablet based POS systems deliver a full suite of business management tools ranging from customer relationship management (CRM) to inventory tracking and employee management, to payment processing, integrated loyalty and reward programs. And, let’s not forget one of the most important features – analytics.
It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago tablets were being introduced alongside open development platforms and the world of ‘apps’. Today, leading developers like LightSpeed, Registroid, Gopago, and ShopKeep, to name just a few, are delivering affordable solutions that provide both front- and back-end management tools for merchants of any shape, size or vertical. Some extend the value of their system with additional offerings including accounting integrations, coupon and gift card generation, triggered automated e-mails, mobile payment acceptance (NFC, QR, etc.) and much more.
Tablet based POS systems significantly expand business opportunity, especially for small merchants – as well as the independent agents and value-added resellers (VARs) that service them. If you’re a reseller in today’s marketplace, don’t wait on tablet POS. Act now and deliver a more comprehensive, and sticky, solution to your merchant customers, all the while developing new revenue streams and fostering deeper relationships all the way around.