Why Use An iPad POS?
Odds are if you’re reading this, you’re considering upgrading to an iPad point of sale (POS). iPad POS systems are becoming more and more popular among small businesses, and for good reason:
- Easy Deployment: To get started, you only have to purchase an iPad and a credit card reader, and download an app. Adding a second or third terminal is even easier because all your business data is already in the cloud.
- Easy To Use: Because touchscreens and iOS are so common, your employees’ learning curve will be minimal. Chances are they already know how to navigate an iPad.
- Integrations With Ancillary Software: Most of these iPad-based POS systems integrate with other software that works to support business marketing and operations—including accounting software, booking software, shopping cart software, shipping software, inventory software, and payroll. Older systems usually don’t have these types of integrations.
- Lower Maintenance: Since iPad point of sale systems are based in the cloud, all of the updates happen there, too. You don’t have to worry about updating your onsite servers if you don’t use onsite servers.
- Accessibility: Look over sales reports or inventory from anywhere there’s internet access. Everything is on the web so you don’t have to be at work to have the information.
- Increased Mobility: Your employees can be wherever your customers are. Use your iPad POS at a food truck park or an auto repair shop, a hair salon or a trade show. You’re not tied down to the checkout counter. Anywhere can be the checkout counter.
- Low Upfront Costs: For a single-user situation, the costs involve an iPad and an app. iPad POS software is typically billed monthly, so you don’t have to pay a large sum upfront. Obviously, those costs increase if you use additional hardware or have more than one register, but even the most complete iPad register hardware setup will still cost less than a traditional Windows-based POS.
Why An iPad POS Is Especially Great For Restaurants
When the server arrives at the table of your favorite restaurant, she’s carrying an iPad instead of a pen and pad. As the members of your party place their orders, she navigates the touchscreen and sends the order directly to the kitchen from right there at your table. You notice the efficiency of the process and resume conversation with your colleagues.
When it comes time to settle the tab, you hand the server your credit card. Instead of walking away or saying that she’ll be “right back with your receipt,” she completes the entire transaction on the iPad and asks you to sign the touchscreen. Then she offers to email the receipt to you. This modern restaurant ordering system saves paper, time, and energy. (If you’ve ever waited tables, you know the value of saving steps whenever you can.)
Scenarios like these have led to the increased popularity of iPad POS among all kinds of restaurants. iPad POS software is also useful for quick-service restaurants such as coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and food trucks, as these systems allow for quick electronic transactions and feature onscreen tipping prompts. The customer simply brings their phone/Apple Watch close to the screen or swipes/dips/taps their credit card, touches a button with a tip amount or percentage, and that’s it!
On the backend, iPad POS software also helps restaurants do things like manage raw ingredients, track server shifts and tips, edit your menu, and set up email marketing campaigns. All in all, an iPad POS system simplifies many restaurant management tasks.
Features To Look For When Choosing An iPad POS
Thanks to the power and versatility of an iPad, an iPad POS system can do as much or as little as you want it to. If you more or less just want to take orders and payments, you can find a system that does just that. But if you need more advanced features such as advanced inventory management, eCommerce, and accounting software integration, you can find systems that perform those tasks also.
Generally, most quality iPad POS systems will have the following features/attributes:
- Cloud-Based: A cloud-based infrastructure allows for versatility, scalability, secure offsite data storage, remote business management, and regular, automatic updates. Almost all iPad-based systems also have an offline mode that allows you to maintain business operations even if your internet goes down.
- Strong Reporting: A strong POS reporting suite is useful not just for accounting purposes but also to make important decisions such as which items to restock, what items are and aren’t selling, and when to schedule staff.
- 24/7 Support: If (and when) something goes wrong with your point of sale, you need to be able to reach someone immediately to get the problem resolved ASAP. Ideally, the POS provider should offer phone and/or live chat support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Integrated Payments: Most iPad POS providers offer in-house payment processing, and some offer the option to integrate with an outside merchant account or payment gateway. Whichever entity provides payment processing services for your POS, you should have access to competitive rates and terms. The processor should support chip cards (EMV) and ideally also support contactless payments (NFC) such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and contactless credit cards.
- Security Features: In addition to complying industry standards such as PCI DSS compliance and EMV, your iPad POS system should provide built-in security features such as employee PINs and the ability to set different permissions for different employee levels.
Depending on your needs, you may also want advanced POS features such as online ordering, gift cards, a loyalty program, purchase order management, a kitchen display system, appointment functionality, or others. Advanced features such as these may be available through the purchase of add-ons, or they may be included in higher-tier monthly software plans. Some functionalities can also be integrated into your POS via integrations with third-party software.
How Much Does An iPad POS System Cost?
Hardware costs vary depending on how many terminals you want and the hardware your business requires. Usually, you can purchase a basic setup including the iPad, iPad enclosure, credit card terminal, cash register, and receipt printer for less than $1,500. Depending on your industry, you may also require other peripherals such as a kitchen printer, barcode scanner, or customer-facing display.
Monthly software fees for iPad POS vary from vendor to vendor according to the features they offer. There are free iPad POS systems that include just payment processing and a few basic features, but in most cases, you can expect to pay at least $60 to $70/month for one terminal. For an iPad POS system with more advanced functionalities, such as eCommerce or a customizable loyalty program, you may pay upwards of $100/month.
You can find out more about iPad POS expenses by reading How Much Does A POS System Cost? Everything You Need To Know About Software & Hardware Prices.