Cloud POS VS Onsite POS

Cloud POS.  It’s the biggest single advance in POS Technology of the last 20 years.  Rather than buying $20k worth of server and POS Hardware, you can now start with a couple of iPads and cash drawers.  This was a sweeping revolution for small retailers, but now it’s even becoming smarter for larger retailers.

Retail juggernaut Nordstrom has decided to move to Infor’s cloud based retail technology.  And they’re not alone.  Restaurants, retail, movie theaters.  Everybody’s going to the cloud!  Some of the biggest names in POS these days are in the cloud.  Revel Systems, Lightspeed, Vend, and even companies like Aldelo have cloud versions now!

But why?  Besides lower hardware costs, what’s the big deal about cloud POS?

Hardware isn’t the only cost associated with POS.  Many of my customers were using Micros, Aloha, or other Legacy systems.  The biggest cost issue they had, was that it was expensive to update.  I’ve had several companies tell me that Micros won’t even sell them gift cards unless they upgrade to the most recent software.  Sometimes these upgrades cost thousands!

With the cloud POS, you pay a license fee for each station on a monthly basis.  Now, generally this costs a little more annually than the legacy, or traditional POS.  But it doesn’t hit all at once.  And especially for small retailers, this is a tangible benefit.

But let’s talk about tech support!  With a cloud POS system, many more of your problems are a phone call away.  Rather than a traditional system, that might have to dispatch a technician (billed to you of course.)  This limits the downtime, and keeps you from pulling your hair out.

And security?  Well, cloud based POS gets updated so much more regularly, and backed up so much more reliably, that you don’t have the same security issues.  And honestly, if you’re a small business owner, wouldn’t you rather the liability for your data be on the POS company’s head, than yours?

Now, this isn’t supposed to be a bash-a-thon on legacy POS.  There are definite reasons you’d want to go that way instead.

Let’s talk about cost again.  Suppose you own a restaurant that already HAS a legacy POS.  Switching to another might not require new hardware.  If you already own all the hardware, and just need some software, sometimes that’s no big deal.  That’s going to save you money, as you won’t have to pay monthly fees.

There’s really no right choice when it comes to legacy systems vs cloud systems.  The choice comes down to what’s best for you and your customers.

Make sure you talk to people from both system styles before making any decisions.  You don’t want to spend a lot of money, to choose the wrong system.