Portable transactions are becoming the wave of the future for many businesses, and smartphone applications are following the trend like a dog chasing a hare. Not all businesses feel they need a mobile POS application. They may assume that with a POS system in-store, it would not be of any benefit to them. They may assume that only mobile retailers such as farmers markets, flea markets and the occasional street fair vendor would need a mobile POS. But, in many cases, these assumptions are incorrect. Mobile POS systems can benefit all different types of businesses, whether it is a large department store that has been in business for many years or a small retailer just getting started. If there's a way to make customers happier, it's worth looking into.
I took some time to experiment with some of the more popular apps available and found that some do it all, while others pale in comparison. I'm hesitant to name the apps that I found were difficult to use, slow in processing speed, and without much content. Therefore, I'll start by focusing on two apps that I feel are more than “worth your time” to look into.
Krugism Development LLC has developed a mobile application for your smartphone called Registroid™ POS, which is free to download and utilize. They have also created an enhanced version, Registroid™ Pro. The free version incorporates all basic functions of a full blown POS system into a portable convenience, designed to work with the Android OS and most tablets. Registroid™ is set up to tender cash, checks, and with the free integrated system of Square, credit cards.
Two of the features I found most valuable with the free version are processing speed and usability. It does not require you to log on to a web page to process a transaction, hence, immediate sale. And, if you have knowledge of the basic cash register or POS system, you will find that the layout is easy to understand and quick to learn.
The keyboard, which is a touch keyboard assignment, can also be customized to fit your specific needs allowing you to easily add or delete certain buttons. For example, let's say you run a business that does not allow returns and you want to make sure your employees don't accidentally accept a return. You can delete the “return” button from the system so returns are not an option.
Another great feature of the free version is the ability to run X and Z daily sales reports*, including shift totals, daily totals, shift history and daily history. Furthermore, it offers you the ability to backup your database to your SD card (you never know when your cell phone might call it quits), enter specific tax percentages, use fractional quantities, and add GPS transaction history.
On the other hand, the Registroid™ Pro version, $39.99, turns the few inabilities into capabilities. With the pro version, you have the ability to email, text or print receipts (printing only available along with WiFi receipt printers), run enhanced reports, add unlimited departments, and utilize Google Analytics Ecommerce sales postings. One last incredibly useful tool is the inventory maintenance button which allows you to not only scan your inventory bar codes, but also type in the product description, upload customized product pictures, and add specific item tax (four tax rate sections available). As a side note, both the Registroid™ free version and the Registroid™ Pro version are not yet set up with features for large restaurants.
Square is another simple-to-use portable POS application designed to work with your Android, Ipod, Ipad or Itouch. First introduced to the public in October, 2010, Square has had 250,000 downloads and a user rating of 4 ½ stars, proving that it can be a very beneficial addition to your business.
Square can be used alone or alongside Registroid™. It is a free credit card/cash terminal application that also comes with a free credit card reader. The benefits of this app are security, next-day payout, fast set-up and fast transactions, no merchant account required, transparent pricing without any setup or monthly fees, and acceptance of all major credit cards. Square also features basic sales history reports along with the ability to accept tips. The only downfall that I found was that it does not offer funds verification.
Regardless of your in-store system or the lack thereof, the benefits of a mobile POS app can and will help improve customer satisfaction and overall profitability. This is the future of payment transactions and the days of posting “Cash Only” signs may forever be in our past.
*X and Z Reports: The X report is like running a subtotal, for comparing the amount of sales in the cash drawer to the amount registered on the system, before and after a shift. Running an X report allows you or your employee to recount monies, if necessary, to balance. The Z report closes the current batch and finalizes it, then opens it for the following shift.