Not even the cash register could escape potential replacement
by an iPad. In fact, any Small to Medium Business (SMB) entering retail sales
or seeking a replacement for their aging cash register can find some innovative
features and economical pricing by going to an iPad-based Point of Sale (POS)
Like many Americans, I spent some time working a cash register
in high school and college for a new defunct department store. Register
training and refresher training were a regular event in that job, so I could see the following benefits of an iPad cash register:
Easier adoption by new employees because of consumer popularity of iOS and Android devices
Less costly to manage when it comes to fixing the device, because you don’t have to call an expensive technician
Flexibility and utility are especially suited for side
Square is perhaps the best known iPad-based
POS solution because one its founders, Jack Dorsey, is also one of the minds
behind Twitter. I am seeing Square more frequently in my local area, especially
in independent shops and newer chain stores. The advantages of using Square
Free Square Card Reader that just plugs into your iPad
Easy payment ($275.00/month USD flat fee or 2.75%/swipe), with funds deposited in your SMB account in 1-2 business days
The Square Register app includes features that rival and far
exceed the cash registers where I spent the school breaks of my youth. Using
the app on an iPad (Figure A) enables your SMB to accept credit and debit payments. You
can also accept CNP and Square Wallet payments.
Outside of accepting payments, Square offers support for the
Multiple custom tax rates and item-specific custom tax
Special offers, including first visit offers and reward
In-app data reporting
You can ring sales up on your iPad.
Another advantage of Square as a POS is that it already has its own hardware ecosystem. This gets SMBs out of
rolling their own solutions or crazy workarounds. Available Square hardware
Kitchen ticket printers
You cannot connect Square Register from your smartphone to the
receipt printer, cash drawer, or barcode scanner, so plan your POS solution
accordingly. Figure B shows Square
setup on an iPad with a cash drawer and receipt printer:
Square setup as a stationary cash register
and ready for the next sale.
Square seems to hit the delicate sweet spot between pricing and
affordability that’s so important for SMBs these days. It’s also available on Android.
Other iPad POS solutions
While Square gets most of the buzz around the iPad as a POS and
the mobile device payments market, they aren’t the only game in
ShopKeep POS is another iPad-based POS solution for SMBs that also offers a hardware ecosystem, including a barcode scanner, remote
printer, and scales with a gamut of other options. ShopKeep’s pricing is one
register ($49.00/month USD), two registers ($98.00/month USD), and discounted pricing
for three or more registers.
Revel Systems crops up a lot when it comes to Machine to Machine (M2M) technologies, even though their core business is POS systems. They split their
solution into three categories, starting at $49.00/month USD:
REVELite (1-2 terminals; up to 500 items)
Business (3 or more terminals; up to 100,000 items)
Enterprise (10+ store locations; up to 500,000 items)
Network connectivity and security
Network connectivity for your POS solution is definitely something you should consider. While the Square solution supports Wi-Fi and
Ethernet, they also offer multiple levels of security that span the physical, network, and backend security, including the web client.
The iPad POS solutions in this post don’t skimp on
the backend security. Fortunately, you’ll find that POS solution vendors have a lot of
documentation and materials online about the security their solutions offer.
There’s also the question of using Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as a POS solution. My recommendation is that the two should never meet (but I’m
sure it happens somewhere out there). Using the iPad as a POS means physical
security is often a requirement, so that the iPad doesn’t walk off with a customer.
In fact, sites like iPad Enclosures and the iPad Kiosk Store
show that there’s an industry developing around providing physical security for the
iPad in retail and other high traffic public settings.
Ring up your next sale on an
The iPad with the right POS software and hardware add-ons can
offer SMBs a low barrier of entry to accepting customer payments. These iPad
POS solutions have the payment processing power that once required proprietary
cash registers with an expensive hardware and network backend. Do you use your iPad as a POS device? If so, which POS solution do you use? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.