The world of retail is continually evolving. Are you leading the charge or just along for the ride?
70 percent of small businesses have adopted new digital tools in the past 12 months. Consumers are more tech-savvy and expect a personalized experience when they shop in your store, in-person or online. Your point of sale (POS) system needs to keep up.
Of course, it’s not just customers that benefit from better POS systems. Imagine if your software and data were hosted remotely and accessible from anywhere. Would that make your life easier?
Legacy software might not give you the capabilities you need to run a modern retail store, so should you move to a web-based solution?
This article explains everything you need to know about web-based retail POS software. You’ll discover what it is, its pros and cons, and what to look for in POS software so you can confidently grow your business.
What Is Web-Based Retail POS Software?
You can use cloud-based and web-based interchangeably. The crux of it is a web-based POS system lets you, among other things, make in-store sales through the internet. Instead of using legacy hardware like servers, everything point of sale happens online instead of on a local computer.
You can also use traditional, on-premises, or legacy POS interchangeably. Traditional POS is safe. It’s been around longer than web-based POS and offers data capabilities to business owners.
However, the main draw of web-based POS software is the increased and on-demand visibility you have into your business. From robust sales reports to inventory and employee management, with web-based POS software, you can see what’s happening in real time and make informed decisions from anywhere.
POS Nation helps power retail stores with the point of sale features they need. We’re trusted by over 10,000 small businesses nationwide and our system is scalable and customizable, so we can always meet your unique needs. Want to know how we can help your business? Schedule a demo today!
Pros Of Web-Based Retail POS Software
1. Robust Online and In-Store Inventory
Robust inventory management might be the most crucial feature of web-based POS. You need the ability to manage and track inventory both in-store and online. Knowing what’s in stock, what’s selling well (and what isn’t), and having that information in real time is crucial for the day-to-day management of your store.
To build on the above, there are other benefits
- Employees working in any location can access the same data and make informed decisions.
- Centralized reporting enables you to pull data, find patterns and trends, and anticipate inventory-related needs.
- You can set reorder thresholds with alerts and automatic ordering to restock items that are freshly out.
- Manage vendors easily with cloud communication and updates.
Finally, with handheld devices and access to inventory, employees can manage replenishments on the shop floor. They can check for stock when a customer asks and inform them of offers like discounts, bundles, and mix and match pricing.
2. Data Backup And Security
The trouble with legacy systems is, although you can back up data on local servers, that data is on a closed internal network and only available at a physical location.
If you experience a loss of data, you might panic. What if something happens to your store or the terminals on-site break down? And what if you make an accidental change to your inventory? The time and effort it takes to rectify mistakes on a traditional POS system are not ideal.
With a web-based POS solution, data is stored on the cloud and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Instead of having to go on-site to troubleshoot issues, you can do it from home. This is especially important for data backups and security.
Instead of panicking about data loss, you can restore the most up-to-date backup of your data and carry on with your day.
You’ll also have data on customers, sales, and employees. The best web-based POS providers take compliance seriously, using secure cloud storage with robust data encryption and authentication protocols.
3. Build Customer Relationships
To stay competitive in retail, you must focus on building profitable customer relationships. Modern customers expect personalization and a consistent experience across all shopping channels.
How can you turn new visitors into repeat and loyal customers? You can use the data stored through your web-based POS software. Customer tracking includes buying behaviors and looking for how their tastes and preferences evolve.
This overall view of your customer and how they buy both online and in-store helps you delight them at every opportunity. The name of the game is stellar customer service.
Using sales reports and data, you can provide loyalty programs, special promotions, discounts, and bundles — and even send personalized emails with coupons to redeem in-store.
4. It Grows With You
If you’re considering expanding your store into a chain, you need a scalable POS solution. As we mentioned earlier, access to data is essential. With a web-based POS, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your business from anywhere.
If you expand and open more stores, you can see how your business is doing as a whole or by location from the comfort of your home. You can also inventory across stores; if a customer comes into your store to purchase something that’s out of stock, you can direct them to another location to complete their purchase.
You’ll also save on hardware costs. You‘ll still need POS hardware for each store, but you won’t need to invest in dedicated servers for each location.
5. Robust Reporting
With all the capabilities of web-based POS, to tie it all together, you need to be able to run reports on every aspect of your business. It’s essential to have reports for sales, inventory, customers, and employees.
For example, you might want a sales summary to see how your stores are performing. With web-based POS, you can look at sales for one location or across multiple locations. You can see what’s selling in a specific store and make informed decisions about inventory.
Daily sales reports help you spot trends and customer preferences so you can decide what products you should offer and what you need in stock. You might get some of these capabilities with a traditional system, but the most significant benefit is that you can access them anytime, and anywhere, with web-based POS software.
The best solutions come with prebuilt reports, including employee monitoring — and if you can’t find the report you’re looking for, you can customize and create views that fit your needs.
Cons of Web-Based Retail Software
1. Subscription Fees Add Up
Web-based POS software can be expensive, considering monthly subscription fees and add-ons. Unless providers include features in their price point, you might end up paying for features you don’t need. It’s worth researching what you get with your POS system.
You don’t want surprises down the line. Integrations like gift cards and customer loyalty programs sometimes come at an additional price.
Price, however, isn’t the most important thing when purchasing web-based POS software. If it feels too good to be true, it probably is. The monthly subscription fee might look low, but when you start adding features and integrations, you might be in for a shock.
2. Connectivity Issues
Naturally, the main concern with web-based POS software is internet connectivity. What if you lose connection? It’s a legitimate concern. You might struggle if your store is in a rural location with a spotty connection or lacks access to high-speed internet.
Look for a POS system that has offline mode, or any other feature that allows you to process transactions while your internet is down. The solution should then sync up and record the sale once your internet connection has been restored.
What to Look Out For In A Retail POS System
As you can see, the pros of a web-based POS solution outweigh the cons. Aside from the comparison, what should you pay attention to when looking for a retail POS system?
- Contracts and fees: Look out for hidden fees and mandatory monthly charges. They might be in the small print, or the provider might fail to mention them.
- Software demos: To ensure the system you choose is right for your business, you need to demo the software. This will ensure you don’t pay for features you don’t need.
- One-size-fits-all solutions: Steer clear of providers that throw in everything but the kitchen sink into their POS solution and promise they work with any type of business. You want a solution that specializes in your type of business and has proof that they’ve helped others just like you.
- Tech support team: To save costs, some providers outsource support. Look for ongoing support that’s available 24/7, based in the US, and provide ongoing training as cloud capabilities evolve.
Web-Based Retail POS Software: Beyond The Pros And Cons
Mandatory fees, long-term contracts, and expensive add-ons don’t help your business thrive; they hinder your progress and limit growth.
You need a solution suited to your business and your goals that helps better serve your customers. We offer a solution designed for retail businesses that makes running and growing your business easy.
All the features and integrations you need are available right out of the box. Our support is second-to-none. Our in-house team is US-based, available 24/7, and offers training, onboarding, and tech support, so you’re never left in the dark.
For a retail POS solution that grows with you, POS Nation is the small business partner that helps you think big. Schedule a software demo to see how we can help run and grow your retail business.