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How the Cloud Is Transforming the PoS Industry | @CloudExpo #API #BigData

Why the PoS is going through a cloud transformation phase

A number of retailers, especially small businesses, are moving away from these expensive systems to cheaper, yet a lot more sophisticated cloud alternatives. A typical cloud PoS system should cost retailers between $50 to $200 a month.

Point of Sale (Pos) systems typically haven’t required an internet connection. These devices come with a cash register, a barcode scanner and a card reading machine that connects to the bank via a fixed line connection. In addition to this, the higher end PoS systems come with inventory tracking and management tools as well. All of this does not come cheap and the hardware for these devices can cost anywhere between $2000 to $4000. This is not including the monthly support fee of between $25 to $100 that PoS providers charge businesses.

It should not come as a surprise then that a number of retailers, especially small businesses, are moving away from these expensive systems to cheaper, yet a lot more sophisticated cloud alternatives. A typical cloud PoS system should cost retailers between $50 to $200 a month.

But low cost is just one of the many reasons why retailers are switching to cloud-based alternatives. According to Christina Ruiz, an apparel retailer from San Francisco, cloud PoS systems provide retailers with the ability to integrate their brick and mortar transaction system with their online sales channels. A significant chunk of retailers today sell their wares from websites and social media channels in addition to their physical store. Why pay for two PoS systems when a cloud software can work on both these channels?

PoS sytems like Vend, that Ruiz says she uses for her store, are channel-agnostic and can work on website, mobile apps and also on physical stores with the help of associated hardware. This makes it easy for businesses to integrate their customer transaction data from a variety of sources. This also opens up a variety of marketing opportunities that make cloud PoS systems attractive to small businesses.

Better Customer Management: Since transaction data from multiple sources are integrated, a customer buying from your website as well as a retail store are not stored as two different customer profiles with a cloud PoS. This helps manage loyalty programs and studying user behavior easy and accurate.

Third Party Integration Legacy PoS systems come with proprietary hardware that can only work with other software and tools that the manufacturer approves of. With cloud based alternatives, retailers can take advantage of APIs to integrate their software and PoS systems with any other software applications that they like. Prefer Freshbooks to Quickbooks for accounting purposes? You can integrate just as easily.

(Big Data) Analytics: This is still an emerging area but is likely to be the next big thing in cloud PoS, especially with big data. Cloud PoS systems can generate data that retailers may feed into modern data crunching applications to derive meaningful information that can help with inventory management, demand forecasting and marketing. Not just that, such analytics tools could help pull together data from thousands of retailers to help generate insights that can help retailers with greater profitability.

A lot of these factors provide a competitive edge to retailers against rivals and the reason why cloud PoS is seeing an impressive growth in adoption. With Big Data, cloud PoS systems are only going to get more sophisticated from here. Add to this the high cost of legacy PoS systems and it is clear that it is only a matter of time before the PoS transformation to the cloud is complete.

More Stories By Harry Trott

Harry Trott is an IT consultant from Perth, WA. He is currently working on a long term project in Bangalore, India. Harry has over 7 years of work experience on cloud and networking based projects. He is also working on a SaaS based startup which is currently in stealth mode.

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