Looking for Cloud POS providers lately? Well, this is your lucky day, ‘coz I’ve listed down the popular companies that offer a Cloud-based Point of Sale system. This is not a review type of post, but rather an info about each company that offer the Cloud service.
What is Cloud in Cloud POS
In a nutshell, the word Cloud in the term Cloud POS or Cloud Point of Sale, simply means an online service. It’s like a hosting service where a hosting company hosts your website and make it available publicly.
But when it comes to Cloud POS, the company (or I call it provider) owns the hardware/infrastructure and software and make it available to you as a product or service. The service is now offered to you as a remote POS System, where you can use and access it from any part of the world where there is Internet connection.
A Cloud POS by design, is easy to scale. You can add more computing resources like; RAM, CPU, Storage and bandwidth. You could either make a request to let the company do it for you, or you could do it yourself by just clicking a few buttons. But this depends how your Control Panel or Dashboard’s functionalities. Some companies offer a complex Control Panel that let’s you add more RAM or CPU power. It’s like a Cloud VPS, a remote virtual private server hosted by remote companies like Digital Ocean. Other Cloud POS providers does not offer you a control panel (or Dashboard) at all, they just ask for additional monthly charge to hookup additional POS terminal to their service.
What is Cloud POS
Cloud POS Systems are actually remote machines just like any computer servers. It runs a proprietary software and a GUI is accessible by the user, making it their front-end Point of Sale System.
Usually, a Point of Sale software (like uniCenta) should be installed locally to a physical computer. A single instance of a running POS Software installed on a single computer, with the necessary peripherals attached to it is called a POS Terminal.
With Cloud-based POS, you don’t need to install any software, you just have to signup for an account, then configure some stuffs on your account and you’re ready to go. Of course, you need to attached and configure some hardware too. Like receipt printer or barcode scanner. Also, you got to have an Internet connection.
Signing up for a Cloud POS account will require you to have a Computer, iPad/Tablet or Mobile Phone with the latest Internet Browser installed. For iPad or Tablet based Cloud POS, some provider lets you download and install their official App instead of a browser-based solution.
Cloud POS Provider List
Here comes the main part of this post. You could click on the jump links and it should take you to each companies profile and my write-ups about them.
1. Shopify POS
Shopify started as an online Snowboard Equipment Store. They built the platform for themselves, but later they realized that other stores were in need of a platform where they can build their retail businesses, in a hassle-free way. And thus, Shopify Store was born on the year 2006.
Today, Shopify offers another service which they call Shopify POS. The company markets this service or product as the Point of Sale System for iPad.
For customers who wants to avail of this service, what they need to have is any Android or iOS capable mobile devices. Because Shopify POS can only be access through their official app. You can download the App via Apple AppStore for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.
Point of sale software that’s easy to use – That’s what Shopify POS claims.
But you really couldn’t tell ’till you’ve tried it. Below are features of a Shopify POS, as they advertise.
Payments – Use your free Shopify card reader to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. As advertised, you’ll get a low credit card rate, and no hidden fees.
You could use your own Credit or Debit card terminal, if you already have one. Make sure it’s a wireless one.
Split tenders – it means you can accept two or more payment types in a single transaction. Let’s say, a buyer purchased an item worth 100 Dollars, the buyer can could pay 50 Dollars in credit card (or multiple credit cards), plus 50 Dollars cash.
Gift cards – Customer could pay using Gift Cards instead of Cash.
Custom Sale – You can create a custom items and set the price to anything you want. This requires user role or escalated employee privilege.
In case the item is not yet on your POS account, you can quickly add the custom item and set the right price.
Accounting integration – You can integrate Shopify POS with QuickBooks, Xero, and morre, to help you with your bookkeeping needs.
Staff Accounts – Create multiple employee accounts, each with a secure password. All transaction is tracked by accounts. Available in Retail Package only.
Customer profiles – Create customer profiles and encode their details.
Email Marketing – With the MailChimp App, you can launch your Email Marketing campaign using your collected email addresses via the Customer Profile feature.
Free Hardware – Free credit card reader, get your free hardware and start accepting credit card payments.
24/7 support – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week support is offered, via email, live chat or phone.
On top of this, you could also ask support from their Discussion Forums and Knowledgebase articles
Free 14-day trial – Access to a free trial account for 14 days, that let’s you test drive the system.
Shopify POS offers a monthly plan, for as low as 9 USD. For a complete price plans, checkout this page.
2. NCR Silver
NCR Silver is another provider which is a US-based company located at Alpharetta, Georgia, approximately 20 minutes outside of Atlanta. The company has been around for 4 Years now, but their parent company NCR (a glocal tech company) has long been around since 1884. NCR stands for National Cash Register, the company that sold the very first Mechanical Cash Register, invented by James Ritty in 1879.
So it’s safe to say the this company knows the heck about Cash Registers and Point-of-Sale Systems. Beside, the company is a global company who specialize on hardware/software and sells point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, check processing systems, barcode scanners, and business consumables.
NCR Silver Bundles
NCR Silver Register™ – NCR Silver offers a number of different bundles. One they call is the NCR Silver Register™. As advertised on their website, this bundle is an all-in-one tablet Point-of-Sale system that comes with the basic hardware for small businesses. It comes with a built-in MSR (Magnetic Strip Reader), USB ports and Wired Ethernet Port. The Tablet runs on Android, but it’s a closed system. That means, you can’t run games and you won’t be able to browse the Internet. It’s purely built for business.
NCR Silver Register™ have two different bundles called, Silver Register Standard Bundle™ and the Silver Register Retail Bundle™.
Silver Register Standard Bundle™ – This bundles includes the most basic setup for a Point-of-Sale system. The bundle includes the touchscreen table with software already installed, credit card reader, customer display, 13 inches cash drawer and a receipt printer.
Price – You can have the *Silver Register Standard Bundle by purchasing the bundle or just lease it monthly. You could buy the whole bundle for USD 1099 or lease it monthly for USD 56.
Silver Register Retail Bundle – This bundle from NCR Silver is packed with touchscreen tablet with POS software already installed, customer display, cash drawer, receipt printer and a barcode scanner. This bundle is ideal for retail business that makes use of barcodes in their retail products. If you have a huge inventories of retail products and you make your own barcodes, then probably you need other hardware options like barcode printer.
Price – You can buy the bundle for USD 1249 or lease it monthly for USD 66.
Another additional entry to the list is Shopkeep. This company was born in Brooklyn, New York on the year 2008. Customer support is one of their top-priority, that’s the reason why the company had won a Stevie Gold Award for providing the best customer care. Stevie Awards by the way, is an american business award competition that recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of companies or individuals.
Customers love to use Shopkeep because of their simple pricing structure, ease of use and a great inventory system integration.
Customers love to use Shopkeep because of their simple pricing structure, ease of use and a great inventory system. On top of this, their POS system have a tight integration feature with Quickbooks, making your life easy when working with accounting/bookkeeping tasks. Setup is also a breeze.
Payments – Accept different payments. Take cash, credit cards, mobile payments, or a combination. It also has a Gift Card integration so you could print and sell your own Gift Card and customers redeem it from your store.
On top of this, using the Shopkeep Reader you can accept payments from chip card payments and Apply Pay™ making payments a painless process.
Receipts – You could offer printed receipts or send it through emails.
Reports – Get real-time reporting from anywhere, using the official Shopkeep App. View reports like, daily gross sales and net sales.
Inventory Management – You can manage your inventories in bulk, using the CSV import function of the system.
Inventory alert is another cool feature too, that Shopkeep has to offer. You could setup a trigger for items that are running low.
Email Marketing – With Mailchimp integration, you can create your own mailing list by making customer profile and adding their email addresses into the system. Blast your emails in bulk and send new offers/discounts to returning customers.
Customer Care – Every so often your POS System may experience some troubles. Without the proper skills to fix the issue yourself, you could lose sales or anything related to financial transaction. So you need immediate answers during these times, and Shopkeep customer care will be there to support you 24/7/365.
Staff Management – Create a number of employee user level, where each level have different privileges, roles and access levels. Also included in this feature is an employee time tracker where the system records the time-in and time-out of an employee.
Shopkeep offers a very simple pricing system. They offer a montly charge of USD 59, without the hardware.
What’s included in the Shopkeep POS?
- The Shopkeep POS Software
- ShopKeep Pocket™ app for iOS
- Free ShopKeep support 24/7/365
It’s a Wrap!
It can be overwhelming when choosing the right Cloud POS system for your small-business. But making the right choice can save you a huge amount of time and money later.
In my opinion, you should base your decision using the following pointers; ease of use, simple pricing, customer care, data security and quality hardware.
Ease of use, your Cloud POS System should have an intuitive interface but easy to setup and use to for quick transaction processing. Training staffs like cashiers and manager should only take minutes not hours nor days. Inventory management should not be complicated and confusing to learn, it should be straight forward.
Simple pricing, where you could pay-as-you-go with no strings attached.
Customer care, which you can call and ask for help in times of trouble twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. You can’t afford to close your store for one day just because your POS System is broken.
So there you have it! Those are the 3 Cloud POS providers you could choose from this 2016. There are other providers out there and I’ve listed them in this post.