Options for eCommerce-driven retailing are expanding almost daily, offering a variety of options for the small-business newcomer and veteran alike. Security, cost, back-office compatibility, brick-and-mortar integration, and method of deployment are prime considerations whether starting or expanding a business.
One of the most exciting developments in retailing comes in on the cutting edge of a technological trend, but is among the simplest and least expensive to set up and use.
–A Warmer, Fuzzier Cutting Edge of Technology
We are, of course, speaking of the Cloud. While that sounds very buzz-wordy and inscrutable, it is actually very reachable and business friendly. Cloud-based applications are revolutionizing how software is purchased and deployed.
From expensive and sought-after creative software suites, to everyday word processing and spreadsheet programs, software is moving from the desktop to the browser window.
You no longer have to be the size of Amazon to have the advantages of Cloud access, and you don’t need a Wal-Mart scaled distribution model to make your small business lean and mean.
Nor do you have to fight with a payment processor to gain quick access to the proceeds of your online sale. As POS solutions have expanded, there is no more ‘only game in town’ for accepting online payments.
Cloud functionality is democratizing how eCommerce is done, thus opening more doors for business and consumers alike.
–Take the Warehouse and the Back Office with You
For business owners, sometimes the opening doors can be literal. With a Cloud-based retail POS systems, it’s possible to access customer orders, check your inventory, make shipping arrangements, and even do your banking from anywhere you can open a browser window.
Controlling inventory is a snap when you can pull up live figures then and there, generate purchase orders, and transfer funds.
Tight inventory control can also eliminate much-dreaded backorders on popular items, drastically improve customer satisfaction by filling the order quickly. Your customers also get the benefits of the Cloud. If you can do business anywhere you can open a browser window, so can they.
As you prepare to jump into the Cloud, start by making a checklist of features you want and need, versus things you don’t. Depending on where you host your online store, you may need to choose from a list of solutions integrable with that particular service.
Measure carefully against your current software to make sure that your current software is compatible.
There are hundreds of different POS offerings out there, from old timers with decades in the business of POS. For instance, NCR is one of the most venerable names in POS software and hardware, while Quickbooks has rolled out their own Cloud solution to appeal to long-time customers.
Other, newer companies have hitched their wagons to online services like Volusion or Shopify, offering scalability and ‘open box’ versatility. Fees, of course, vary and so do the services offered.
Some providers offer loyalty programs, email list management, and so forth integrated with the software package, others as “a la carte” selections only, so it not only pays to do your research, but can save you a bundle, too.
In the end, the choice is yours, make the most of POS app reviews and compare features that specifically fits your business needs and can perfectly integrate with your present business process.