The Benefits of Cloud-Based POS Systems
Whether you want to admit it or not, we all live in a digital world where many things become obsolete really fast. Today, it’s all about the cloud. The idea that your data is available 24/7 while being stored off-site at a safe and secure physical location is enticing to business owners, prompting many to transition from hosting data on their own servers to keeping everything in the cloud. This same cloud technology has infiltrated the world of point-of-sale (POS) systems, and many small businesses are choosing the power, efficiency and flexibility of cloud-based POS systems.
The advantages that cloud-based POS systems offer to SMB owners are countless. For one, cloud-based systems have much lower startup costs when compared with those of more traditional POS systems. This is due primarily to the fact that cloud-based systems don’t require on-site data servers, which are often prohibitively expensive to purchase and maintain. When factoring in that traditional POS systems often require merchants to purchase a license and pay for annual upgrades, the financial benefits of going with a cloud-based POS system become apparent quite quickly.
Cloud-based POS systems also allow for greater centralization of information. Manage a location? With a cloud-based POS system you can stay on top of what’s happening in your store online even if you’re on vacation halfway around the world. Have multiple locations? You’ll be able to quickly, safely and securely access that information from any device (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) anywhere there's an internet connection. That means you can more easily maximize your profitability through innovative tools like data monitoring, transaction history, inventory tracking, and more — even if you’re offsite. This anytime, anywhere access to real-time data can prove invaluable.
Some cloud-based POS solutions provide deeper access to data and management tools through a secure online merchant portal. A merchant portal can enable you to manage employees, customers and inventory as well as create and export custom reports by customer, product and date. You can delve into your account settings from any device to update your business and personal info, set up email alerts, order supplies and equipment, and even take action on chargebacks with the latest dispute management tools.
In addition, cloud POS merchant portals often include, or facilitate integration with, a virtual terminal. This can instantly transform your business to enable omnichannel payment acceptance, including payments via phone, mail, your website or e-invoicing.
Not particularly computer savvy? Not a problem. If you’re using a cloud-based POS software, your provider will be responsible for resolving any IT issues that may arise, saving you both time and money. Plus, even if your equipment were to crash, all your data will be backed up, safe and sound in the cloud.
We're living in a world of connected commerce, and that world is constantly changing. Therefore, it’s important that whatever POS system you choose, you’ll want to ensure that it offers easy integration with gift, loyalty and rewards programs, as well as with whatever payment technology is coming next. Given their inherent flexibility, cloud-based POS systems allow you to do that. In fact, if you plan to expand your business in the future while running cloud-based software, you’ll have access to a scalable payment acceptance solution that can quickly and easily adapt to your changing circumstances.
Another advantage of choosing to go with a cloud-based POS system is that you'll avoid paying out of pocket for complicated and potentially expensive equipment upgrades. Instead, your POS provider will be responsible for ensuring servers are properly backed up, configured and supported. Meanwhile, you’ll benefit from instant software upgrades that guarantee you're always offering your customers the very latest in up-to-the-minute payment acceptance. Better still, even as you grow your business, you’ll never have to upgrade hardware to secure more space. (After all, there’s always plenty of room in the cloud!)
Finally, cloud-based POS systems are also a highly effective way to help minimize the risk of fraud associated with credit card processing. That’s because instead of storing sensitive cardholder data within a traditional server or POS system, cloud-based POS systems allow data to be automatically backed up and synced via a remote server. This process significantly reduces both a merchant’s security liability as well as the chance for cybercriminals to perform a data breach.
Serious about growing your business? Consider partnering with a payments technology company that can deliver a cloud-based POS solution to help ensure your efficiency and profitability always remains sky high.
Zavida Mangaru is executive vice president of product strategy and innovation at North American Bancard.
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