Cloud POS systemsposhunter.comLast update 8. June 2020 Reading time 2:21 min
What are cloud POS systems?
A cloud POS system is effectively purchased disk space on a remote server, that allows you to instantly upload all your transactional data to an offsite space that is managed by another company.
This means that you can have a wireless operation, with no clunky back office or purchasing of a server off your own back.
You can configure exactly what you want to be sent to the cloud, ensuring that the correct provisions for GDPR are in place at your end, and then send it all off. You can even partition back-up space to ensure that you don’t lose your data in the event of any issues.
What are the best options?
The most used providers in the UK all run cloud POS solutions; that’s Zettle, SumUp, Square, PayPal POS and Epos Now.
There’s little to choose between the five in terms of functionality, so it comes down to preferences on cost, the way the app works and little extras like emailed receipts – which Zettle offers.
What do cloud POS systems cost?
It depends what level of functionality you want. The main vendors start at £29 + VAT for a card reader (Zettle and Square) or £45 + VAT (PayPal Here).
You can use a tablet-based (iPad or Android) with a wireless receipt printer, till and tablet itself for £738 + VAT (Zettle) or £849 + VAT (Epos Now).
Or, for a desktop-style terminal, Epos Now offer a range of packages at £1,199 plus VAT, with varying customisation on the software depending on your industry.
What are the advantages of cloud POS systems?
Aside from a more clutter-free working environment, there are several advantages to moving your operations on to a cloud-based POS system. First off, cost. With no upfront purchases and a monthly fee that is usually based on space required (cloud POS is SAAS), you can spread the financial pain so widely that you barely even notice it. And you can even choose to have a hardware bundle added on to that payment, with warranties and free periodic replacements also available.
The time associated with running a cloud POS system is another saving. Backups are automatic and run from the software app you use for your POS system, so there are no time requirements whatsoever once everything is set up. And several providers use open APIs which means that adding third-party apps for additional, customised functionality is easy, and compatible with cloud storage.
In addition, of the most attractive additions to cloud POS in recent times is that it’s usable offline, so you can forget about concerns over WiFi connections dropping. This works by having a local app communication structure that secures your data offline before backing up to the cloud automatically, once connectivity is available.
And the disadvantages?
This same question, if asked a couple of years ago, would have required a longer list, but modernisation and development within POS means that there are few disadvantages to using a cloud system. Gone are the days when a constant WiFi connection was required, although if you are completely mobile and only connect to the Internet very rarely – if you work at music festivals during the summer season, for example – then there is an element of risk to leaving long periods of time in between backups.
Of course, by using a remote server, you get a less personal touch, and this can often mean limited customer support. This is fine if nothing goes wrong, so it’s a good idea to research reliability or customer support guarantees for remote customers before committing to one provider.
The final disadvantage is related to the second; customisation. As you’re operating remotely, there can be limited options for customisation, which could be a negative if you’re prioritising brand. But for small businesses, this really isn’t an issue.
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Top image: Gonzalo Aragon | Shutterstock