As a retailer, you’re facing the choice between cloud-based POS systems and installed software. But what does that really mean?
From a technical standpoint, installed point-of-sale (POS) software is loaded onto a specific computer. The alternative, cloud-based POS systems is loaded into a computer server physically located at and maintained by, a third party. It is then accessed through the internet.
You may be asking yourself, “Does that mean you can only access cloud-based software if you have an internet connection?”
Well, in many cases that’s true.
However, the best cloud-based point of sale software providers maintains the ability to function offline with an installed portion of the program that lives locally on your computer in your retail store.
Which option is better?
As a former retailer who has operated on both types of software, the answer seems pretty clear-cut to me. The advantages of utilizing a cloud-based software far outweigh what you can get out of the older, installed model.
Here are 4 advantages to cloud-based POS systems:
- A cloud-based POS allows for an offline mode. Good, cloud-based solutions, like RICS, have offline modes so you to still ring up customers if you lose your internet connection in the store. We all know this is our most important function as merchants and something we never want to be without the ability to do.
- Using cloud-based software takes you out of the IT business. Let’s face it, our business is business, it’s not IT or computers. So why not leave the back-ups, maintenance, and information problem-solving to the experts in that industry. We want to focus on retail and increasing our sales and profits.
- Installed software products are static. They don’t change unless you go out and buy the new version. With cloud-based technology like RICS software, you’re using the most enhanced version and the current product they have to offer. When improvements are made, or new functions developed, they are pushed out to clients, without additional work or payments required.
- The future of retail is all about connectivity. A cloud-based POS and inventory management solution, where your data lives in the cloud and is connected through the web, gives you the ability to push your data out to other applications and leverage additional channels for retailing. This means your inventory is not just stuck in your storeroom and on your computer. It can be connected to buyers and additional programs anywhere in the world.
So if the question is, what does cloud POS actually mean? The answer is forward-thinking retailing with a focus on flexibility.
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