What is a Cloud-based Point of Sale, or Cloud POS? How is it different from a traditional server-based POS? Is it the right POS system for your business? Find out the basics of Cloud POS below.
What is Cloud?
No, it’s not fluffy white things that float on the sky in this context. When used in the context of computer software, the word “cloud” is just a fancy way of saying “Internet.” When a product is hosted in the cloud, it just means the software and data are stored and accessed on the Internet and not on your device.
What is a Cloud POS?
A cloud-based POS, or a cloud POS, is a Point of Sale that processes all payment transactions and stores sales data online rather than on your local computer and server (on-site POS or on-premise POS). You can access your POS system directly from a web browser on your PC, laptop (these are called web POS) or in some case, via a POS application on touchscreen monitors and mobile devices like iPad (mobile POS), while the backend can be accessed through any web browser.
Cloud POS is quickly growing in popularity because shop owners and store associates can sell, check and use sales data from anywhere as they are being updated in real time in the cloud. For example, inventory management is a typical challenge for retail businesses, especially if you own multiple stores. In a cloud-based POS system, sales and inventory information is synced to the central database automatically in real time, which allows for better inventory management and can significantly reduce human error.
Furthermore, cloud POS is less bulky to set up and usually compatible with most point of sale hardware, including printers, cash register drawers, etc. Thus, cloud-based POS is more convenient but costs significantly less.
Cloud POS vs. Traditional POS
Let’s look at the pros and cons of a cloud-based POS system compared to a locally hosted POS system.
Cloud-based: Many POS providers offer a free trial before you decide to purchase it or not. You can sign up for a free trial online, then access to your POS on your browser or download the POS app to your devices and use it straight away.
On-site: Traditional POS often costs a setup fee and requires a trained engineer to install it on your local computer network and set up with necessary hardware. On-site POS systems can’t be used before both the hardware and software setup have been done.
Cloud-based: Often requires the Internet connection to work, but some cloud POS have the ability to work offline, then sync the new data to the cloud when back online. Different POS apps are compatible with PC, laptop, iPad, or Android but some POS apps can work with many devices. These POS apps updated automatically – you just need to make sure you’re using the latest version.
On-site: Requires own physical server (for instance, a computer hard drive) set up on your business premises and can function without an internet connection. Updates need to be done manually.
Cloud-based: Works on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) so you can sell and accept payments from anywhere. Many payments methods are accepted: cash, chip, contactless/NFC or swipe card payments via a card reader. Business owners can access sales data and management functions through any web browser anywhere.
On-site: Can’t be used outside the stores where the software is installed. Wireless card terminals connected to the on-site POS can only work within the connectivity range of the system.
Cloud-based: many cloud-based POS apps can integrate with various extensions and platforms, creating much room for growth and flexibility without further customization, so you can save costs. Customizations to meet exact business needs can be requested by clients and done by providers.
On-site: may be very difficult or impossible to integrate with internet-based software platforms and other extensions. Providers can customize the POS software to meet exact business needs but any customization should be done at setup, as it costs to adapt and change the system later.
Cloud-based: All data is stored securely in the cloud, not on your POS devices. Even if you lose all your hardware, you still have instant access to all your data and POS system when logging into a new computer or mobile device. Any necessary security updates will be performed automatically by the POS provider.
On-site: All data is stored on your own physical server, usually a computer hard drive. If something happens to your computer, like damaged or lost, your data is at risk. Thus, you’re required to keep the operating system updated and take good care of your equipment.
Cloud-based: Subscription-based, usually per device, and covers everything including licenses, customer support, data hosting, and software updates. Plans are flexible so you can add or remove devices or cancel any time.
On-site: Usually requires a long-term contract. Costs can be high because on-premise softwares requires aspecializedd hardware setup, dedicated support and periodical maintenance of both software and hardware.
Who Should Use a Cloud POS?
Cloud POS can benefit retailers with both online and brick-and-mortar stores looking to create a cleaner, more modern register and speed up lines by taking payments from multiple points. The stability, mobility and ease of use of a cloud POS can also enable ecommerce store owners to easily sell at pop up stores, craft fairs, trade shows, and farmers markets.
Benefits of Cloud POS
ConnectPOS is the leading Magento cloud-based POS for multi-store retailers. It is stable, easy-to-use, high speed, affordable and available in both web app and iPad app. Here is how our cloud POS system can help you run your business more efficiently and effectively:
Sell seamlessly. ConnectPOS synchronizes all data from Magento to POS so you can start selling the online products at your brick-and-mortar stores right away.
Less downtime. Lost Internet connection? No problem. Use Offline Mode to continue selling and the data will be automatically synchronized when you’re connected again.
Accept payments quickly. There are many payments available in ConnectPOS, both non-integrated and integrated. You can accept different payments in one order (split tenders) or take deposits (partial payment/ layaway).
Real time inventory management. Manage your inventory directly from POS and make sure you always have the right amount of stock on hand. Inventory is automatically updated once an order is completed, no matter where the order comes from.
Check sales reports from anywhere. Sales data are available for you to check from anywhere on any device: laptop, smartphone or tablet. You can take timely actions to maximize the profit.
No costly software upgrades or IT maintenance. And it’s easy to get started: you can sign up for 15-day free trial on our website – no credit card required and no need for a lengthy merchant service review process.
Now you know what a cloud POS system is and how it can benefit your business. If you have a website on Magento and want to try a cloud POS, get started with ConnectPOS – the leading Magento POS!