The Point of Sale (POS) system is the center of the action for modern businesses. The evolving landscape of POS technology is offering new options and choices for entrepreneurs. Choosing the right system for your business can set the stage for smoother operations and possible expansion in the future.
A quick survey of search results will show two broad options for point of sale shoppers: cloud-based and traditional point-of-sale systems. Each system has its advantages and drawbacks that may make it attractive for your business. However, NCC has developed a hybrid solution that combines the best of these two types of systems and allows for maximum customization to fit the particular needs of your business.
Understanding Cloud-Based POS
Before we get too far into the weeds, let’s take a moment to define some terms. A cloud-based POS system is web-based and allows payments to be processed over the Internet. Information for transaction processing comes from a remote cloud service, and sales are stored in the cloud.
Because all data is stored on the cloud, these systems allow business owners to manage their business in real time. As a result, owners and managers can see all their reports from their POS system with up-to-the-second information. These ongoing cloud services are typically sold as a subscription. This model lowers the initial CAPEX investment for small businesses and gives the service provider a predictable source of income, allowing them to make investments to improve future services.
Cloud-based POS systems offer some key features and advantages that make them attractive for small businesses. The low up-front investment makes these systems accessible to companies that don’t have a large budget to make big purchases of expensive equipment. It is easier for small businesses to scale up their operations with cloud-based services for the same reason.
Cloud services also mean that data security can be centralized since businesses are not required to store customer data on their systems. When choosing a cloud-based POS system, many business operators think a lack of broadband and high-speed internet means they cannot use cloud-based systems. However, hybrid cloud-based systems may be exactly what they need.
Subscription costs are, of course, going to be a determining factor. While they save on the initial investment in infrastructure, costs that are too high could prove unsustainable. Finally, business operators should determine whether or not the system in question can integrate with any other critical software or system the business uses daily.
On-Premise POS Systems: The Traditional Approach
It goes by many names, traditional, legacy, and on-premise. This type of POS system uses a local network to store important information on-premise on equipment owned by the business. Despite the old-fashioned labels, these systems do have features that have made them attractive to business owners. Firstly, they are reliable and stable with operating software that does not crash and does not require a potentially unstable internet connection. Businesses can also customize traditional POS systems to fit the needs of their business exactly.
The cost of the initial investment is the first consideration a business owner should make when choosing an on-premise POS system. Is it affordable? Can you realize a realistic ROI on it?
Continuing upkeep is another important consideration. What will maintenance and updates cost? Technology and security requirements are always advancing. How will you “future-proof” your POS system?
Evaluating Your Business Needs
To help you go through the above questions, it is helpful to make a base-level evaluation of what your business requires. The size and type of your business will determine your initial criteria for your POS system. If you have a mobile business, you will need a much different system than a business that has or is planning to have multiple brick-and-mortar locations.
Assessing your current budget and resources will reveal the realm of the possible. Businesses that plan to scale rapidly should keep that in mind when choosing what type of system to invest in. Finally, operators should consider the difficulty of training your staff on the system you choose. Every minute spent learning how to perform basic functions on your POS system is a cost burden on your business. Make sure you choose a system that is easy to use.
Making the Decision
Weighing the pros and cons of cloud-based and on-premise POS may not be as straightforward as some may think. Determining the long-term ROI on any system you choose is also more complicated than merely comparing up-front costs. Given the complexities involved in making this decision, consulting with industry experts and vendors can help you make a better decision for your business based on your unique needs.
After reading about the advantages and disadvantages of cloud-based and traditional POS systems, many business operators may wish they could combine the best of the two types. The developers of NCC’s RHQ had the same thought. So they developed a hybrid cloud solution that combines the reliability and stability of on-premise POS systems with the scalability, ease-of-use, and security of a cloud-based system.
Don’t settle for second-best
Numerous factors go into deciding between cloud-based and on-premise POS systems. The most important factor is determining which of your business goals are priorities.
POS technology is constantly evolving. Whichever solution you choose, you need to account for the changing nature of the technology and plan accordingly.
Working with NCC to find a solution that perfectly meets your business’s needs gives you access to a local expert who has experience solving problems for business owners and operators just like you.