iPads aren’t just for watching movies or sharing photos. Apple has done a lot of hard work to shake the stigma that they’re a company ready for serious business. But, most small business owners are wedded to the idea that Microsoft is the best company out there for businesspeople. That perception is changing though, and many small business owners are waking up to the idea that the iPad can do everything their current setup can do, and more.
Why iPads Are Ideal
iPads are probably the most ideal platform for businesses these days because of their unique, minimalist form-factor. While some retailers still cling to bulky registers and old POS machines that are hardwired and self-contained, more and more businesses are realizing the benefits of going wireless with iPad terminals.
Apple has, somewhat stubbornly, concerned itself with its design and simplicity and ease-of-use. For some people, this creates an overly expensive product. But, for many, all of that meticulous design detail is paying off. Brian Webb, from ASU, believes that this platform will be a “game changer” in sports stadiums.
Basically, while small retailers can benefit from this device, it’s the large establishments that will probably see radical improvements in customer turnover. Why? Because large companies can be the slowest to change. Many of them are using systems that are 10 years old, or possibly older.
iPad Versus Other Machines
Older systems that run IBM hardware and compatible software – sometimes even DOS (yes DOS) – aren’t powerful enough for a “connected company.” They’re good at allowing you to take customers’ money and hand them a receipt though, and this is why many companies have hesitated to make the switch to a more complex system.
But, making a switch might not be just about new whiz-bang features. It might be a necessity as customer security becomes a more important element of all POS systems. News headlines about security breaches are becoming more commonplace. Each time this happens, the costs to businesses in both loyalty and loss of future revenue are staggering. Some companies end up losing customers for life. Some reports show that these costs are millions of dollars. Ouch.
Connectivity With Other Systems
iPad POS software for retail stores doesn’t just perform the transaction. Companies, like Shopify, have perfected total integration with multiple aspects of a business’s core function. For example, when a customer makes a purchase, that purchase data (the sale price, the time, and the location of the purchase, as well as what was purchased) can be shared with a customer relationship management program.
Do you know what this means? It means that your marketing system can then reach out to contact that customer about future promotions based on previous purchases. Let’s say that the customer buys 10 days worth of a product. In 7 days, your marketing system can start reaching out to that customer about coming back in to buy more.
This kind of connectivity to other systems within your company also extend to the accounting department too. So, you can know, at any given time, where you stand in terms of revenue and profit based on sales. No more waiting for quarterlies – isn’t that nice?
What if you have multiple store locations? Traditional POS systems are typically hardline systems that are self-contained. But, this is problematic for businesses that have multiple store locations. With cloud-based POS systems, however, all locations are synced and interconnected. So, your store uptown knows what you sold downtown and can pull inventory to suit customers’ needs.
Big Data, Huge Data
Predicting future profits used to be a bit of a niche task, reserved only for your accounting department, if you had one. But, with cloud-based POS systems, you can predict future revenue growth just by looking at all of the data being collected.
These newer systems can create customer profiles for you, track customer loyalty automatically with each sale, and even tie all those sales into one-off custom promotions for individual customers. You have a customer that does $5,000 of business with you every year? Offer them a unique incentive to do more business with you.
Before electronic cloud-based systems, this kind of data gathering and utilization was near-impossible.
Allen Bradford is a business tech whiz. From efficient software to innovative devices, he enjoys putting technology to the test to benefit modern business practices.