In business, every penny counts; that rings truer for small businesses than for anyone else. Since most small business owners put their own money forward to get started, this means that those pennies go fast and by the tens of thousands, if not more.
For small brick and mortar shops, mom and pop retail locations and specialty stores, the amount of equipment that’s needed just to get started can seem pretty staggering. Sure, you can get started with a calculator, a cash box and a booklet of pre-printed NCR receipts, but that limits your profitability and wastes your time.
In 2012 the Huffington post reported that less than 30 percent of all POS transactions were made with cash, and forecasts project that number being closer to 20 percent by 2017. Limiting yourself to cash only transactions cuts out three quarters of your customers entirely—it’s essentially the equivalent of opening an eCommerce website and then only allowing checkout to be done on a mobile device.
What Do You Need?
The problem with getting a small business running properly isn’t just the storefront and inventory, it’s the equipment. Just for your POS system you need a ton of new equipment, and every piece of hardware you buy needs to be able to communicate seamlessly with the rest or run the risk of gumming up the works at your checkout counter.
For a modern POS system, there are five pieces of equipment that you absolutely need:
- Point of sale unit (with software)
- Cash drawer/till
- Card reader
- Receipt printer
On top of that, as a small business retailer, staying ahead of the curve means investing in some more complex or new technology. With the recent launch of Apple Pay, keeping up with shopping tech also requires purchase of a device or app capable of accepting mobile payments.
Bundle Up for Retail Weather
According to Cost Owl, just the software for a POS system could cost you anywhere from $1500 to $2500. That’s not even including the required hardware. Yikes! Hardware runs anywhere from $150 for a cash drawer to $350 for a simple receipt printer. By the time you’re finished buying all the equipment you need one piece at a time, you will have spent upwards of $3000.
However, small businesses actually have an advantage to help cut costs without sacrificing quality, and still keep up to date with the latest point of sale technology and software. This advantage is the bundle. Online retail support services like Shopify offer cost-effective starter kits and hardware bundles at a fraction of the cost of individual units, running as low as $1200 for all the hardware and software required.
This is possible in no small part because of the user-friendliness of iPads. Entrepreneur.com referred to the iPad as “version 3.0 of the register” thanks to its growing popularity among small businesses nationwide. Using this system not only saves money on bulky equipment and eventual specialist repair fees, it saves time training employees, which in turn saves your business money. Since the vast majority of people under age 30 own a smartphone, they already have basic training for using the iPad POS system, no matter what merchant service you run it through.
Beyond all that, while iPads don’t include built-in NFC technology, with Apple recently launching their own mobile payment system there are accessories and adaptors in the works as we speak to make it possible, meaning that this POS system is on the front lines of the mobile payment revolution. Play your cards right and you’ll be able to accept Google Wallet and Apple Pay with ease, making checkout faster and opening your doors to customers eagerly seeking locations to try out their new mobile payment methods. This can both increase sales and customer engagement, which gives you the best kind of advertisement there is: Word of mouth.
Rethink Your Budget
The Hartford Courant reports that by the age of 70, most people will have spent up to three years just standing around waiting—a great deal of that in the checkout line. It’s hard to imagine how much wasted time costs every year, between frustrated customers walking out and timeclocks ticking away while employees chat it up with the customer at the front of the line, everyone waiting for that old cash drawer to finally pop open. Wasted time is a money pit, and sticking with old systems just digs it deeper every year.
So, stop worrying about the cost behind bringing your business into the modern age with new POS technology. Find a service that offers the hardware you need bundled together for a price your business can afford. Good equipment could pay for itself in a matter of weeks, and from there on out everything you earn is pure profit. Keep your small business in the black all year round by investing in the hardware you need to stay ahead of the game.
*Image sourced from Flickr