Choosing a point of sale is one of the most critical decisions when running a retail business. POS has evolved to cover many aspects of operating a shop or store, ranging from inventory and employee management to loyalty programs and more.
The most powerful, modern point-of-sale systems are now cloud-based. Operating through the cloud presents many benefits for retailers and customers alike. In reality, using the cloud is essential for contemporary retailers. But what's so great about cloud-based point-of-sale solutions? Below are nine benefits of switching to a cloud-based POS system for your retail store.
Cheaper Start-Up Costs
Starting a business requires a lot of capital. And considering it takes a while to get things going, all of the money you can save upfront is crucial. In this regard, the emergence of cloud-based point of sale is an excellent development for small retail businesses.
That's because cloud-based POS has much cheaper start-up costs than traditional, on-site systems. Forget buying costly and needless hard drives and paying hefty licensing fees.
Instead, cloud-based providers operate on a software-as-a-service (SaaS). You pay an affordable monthly fee for service for as long as you desire. Many companies even allow retailers to use hardware that they already own. Saving on these upfront costs can help new businesses immensely free up cash and capital to spend on other needs like staffing and stocking inventory.
One of the most significant differences with cloud-based software is that they constantly update. Older POS systems rely on retailers to pay attention to and manually download updates. Sometimes they even charge for these updates!
Cloud-based software updates automatically. Most of these systems update while your business is closed without you even noticing. These updates ensure your software has the latest security patches, integration capabilities, and features. They’re also included with your monthly subscription fees.
More Flexibility and Mobility With Remote Access
On-site POS requires you to be in your store on a single computer to access your system. With cloud-based systems, you can monitor real-time data from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection, and you can log into your back-end interface on the go or from the comfort of your home.
Tracking your store's performance without being on-site allows retailers to be more agile than ever. Quickly make staffing and product reordering decisions to ensure your business is optimized for efficiency.
When you go with a cloud-based provider, you have much more flexibility when choosing your POS hardware. First and foremost, you are paying for software. Thus, many modern point-of-sale providers allow you to build a custom system.
Cloud-based solutions allow you to pick and choose what works best for you. This customization is excellent, considering how much the retail industry varies. Some businesses operate like food trucks, while others have elaborate warehouse-size stores with multiple lanes. Other retailers will want to utilize both styles, running popups and kiosks.
Inventory Management with the Cloud
A cloud-based inventory system will update your stock counts in real-time. The cloud links up your system into a single database. This means that no matter if you make a return in-store, ship a product through eCommerce, or take in reordered stock, your system will update and reflect those numbers with precision.
More accurate counts help guarantee that you have optimal stock levels for the products that your customers demand. Fewer stockouts and more accurate inventory counts will ensure steady revenue and cash flow.
Easier Customer Support
Running into issues with your POS can be a huge pain. Not only do they take time and energy, but they also lead to lost sales. Unfortunately, even with the best solutions, you will eventually run into some issues.
Luckily, with the cloud, technicians can access your system remotely. That way, you don’t have to rely on waiting for a company expert to come and attempt to remedy your situation in person. Cloud-based POS service teams can see exactly what's happening on your end. They can even make fixes or changes remotely to get you back on track.
Scalability and Multi-Location
Cloud-based POS is naturally poised to encourage growth. Retail operators can log into their system from any desktop, tablet, or phone with internet access.
Consequently, if you're opening up a new location, you don't need to worry about buying extra systems or hardware stores. All your sites can be synched up and centralized into a single database.
The best part is you can analyze data like sales reports, product performance, and location revenue in one back-office interface. You can also choose how to compare analytics, like key performance indicators (KPIs), by store, region, or time.
Better Security With Fewer Work
Retailers deal with sensitive information about products and customers. With the cloud, this data will be stored off-site in secure, protected servers. These servers are constantly updated and optimized to enhance security.
Cloud-based data is also kept safe from natural dangers like fire and water. So you won’t need to worry about your basement flooding or hardware overheating.
Integrate with Other Business Management Tools
There are endless software solutions and apps for retail businesses. Depending on your vertical, there are specific tools you can use to optimize your workflow.
Part of the consistent updating of cloud-based POS software is to ensure that you can work seamlessly with the newest and best add-ons. Thankfully, the cloud is built for integration. Cloud-based point-of-sale systems typically integrate with various platforms that help with customer relationship management, accounting, payroll, and automated invoice processing, for example. All of these tools will help you save time and increase efficiency.
The old ways of legacy systems are a thing of the past. There are just too many advantages and benefits to switching to a cloud-based point of sale. Unsurprisingly, almost all modern POS providers have become entirely cloud-based.