For many, the differences between cloud-based POS systems and more traditional (“legacy” or “on-premise”) systems might not seem too significant.
Therefore, in this article we are going to explain the main differences and outline the main benefits of switching to a cloud based system.
What is a Cloud-Based POS System, and Why is it Different From My Current System?
In simple terms, traditional systems store data internally, while cloud-based systems store data on remote, third-party servers.
To better illustrate what this means, think about the last time you saved a digital document of any kind:
- If you saved it to your hard drive, flash drive, or any other physical storage device, you basically went the “traditional” root. At this point, it is impossible to access the file in question (and the data within) unless you use the device it was originally saved on.
- If you saved it to, say, your Google Drive or iCloud account, you stored the file in “the cloud.” That is, you stored it on an external server owned by a separate company, rather than on a storage device that you physically own. This enables you to access the file (and the data within) on any device that has access to the server—which essentially means you can access it on any internet-ready device.
This fundamental difference between the two systems is essential to understanding why moving to a cloud-based system can have a major impact on how you operate and grow your business in the future.
5 Key Benefits of Using Cloud-Based POS Software
1. Increased Accessibility
The most obvious benefit of using a cloud-based POS system is that it enables you to access your company’s data from essentially anywhere, at any time.
In contrast, data stored on legacy POS systems can only be retrieved by other devices currently connected to the system.
So, while teams using legacy systems must be on-site to access or change information within their system related to things such as; customer details, product lists, pricing, or driver availability, those using cloud-based systems can do so via any internet-connected device.
For owners, managers, and even ground-level employees, this accessibility leads to a major increase in productivity:
- Hourly employees can easily check and amend their schedule as necessary
- Managers can receive real-time updates regarding inventory and other transactions
- Owners of multiple locations gain immediate visibility of the goings-on of each of their storefronts
These are just a few examples of a cloud-based POS solution can make your internal processes run much more efficiently and give you time to focus on other areas of the business.
2. Enhanced Customer Experience
The accessible nature of a cloud-based POS solution enables your customers to complete tasks such as scheduling appointments and checking order statuses.
Your customers can also opt in to receive notifications regarding their orders and sign up to receive promotional offers, giving them more control over their own experience with your brand.
Secondly, a cloud-based POS system also streamlines transactional processes for your customers in a variety of ways:
- Offering multiple payment options (with the option to save their preferred method within the system)
- Automatically sending invoices (again via the preferred channel or method)
- Ensuring drop-offs and pick-ups occur with as little friction as possible
Overall, the accessible nature of cloud-based POS systems also allows your customers to operate more efficiently alongside your company. Simply put, the easier it is for your customers to get what they need, the more likely they’ll be to come back to you in the future.
3. Affordable Scalability
The affordability of cloud-based POS systems is often a huge point of contention among many small business owners as the companies offering these systems do so on a subscription basis in lieu of a one-time payment.
Many business owners see this ongoing cost as money lost, whereas purchasing legacy hardware and software appear as an asset from an accounting perspective.
However, in both the short and the long-term, the cloud-based POS solution is by far the most cost-efficient of your two choices for several reasons.
First of all, the upfront and ongoing cost of implementing a new legacy solution can be pretty high—especially for companies operating on a strict budget. Not only will you need to purchase the software licenses, but you’ll also need to buy the proprietary hardware needed to run the software, as well.
There are also further hidden costs inherent to utilizing a legacy solution including the need for dedicated personnel, routine maintenance, and more.
Additionally, when new versions of legacy solutions are released, users will often need to spend more money on the updated version. Some specific software update may also require a hardware update, which only adds further expense.
The cost of cloud-based POS systems, on the other hand, is transparent and straightforward
You are not required to pay any startup or licensing fees to use it. Whilst you do pay a monthly subscription fee for access to the company’s software and servers, this cost is typically relative to the amount of business your company does.
For example, CleanCloud determines which version of our service is best for you is based on the amount of orders you take in each month - Pricing
Additionally, when switching to cloud-based software there’s no need to purchase any new hardware. Since the software is designed to be used on a variety of modern devices in the first place, you can get started using even your own personal device if need be.
Finally, with cloud-based systems maintenance of the software is covered in your monthly service charge. Whereas with legacy solutions the costs of maintaining both the software and the hardware lies squarely on the shoulders of the user.
Overall, it seems that if you are looking for a low-cost POS solution, a cloud-based software is likely your best bet. While you will have to pay a monthly service fee for as long as you use the software, you can move forward confidently knowing that this fee is all you’ll ever end up paying.
4. Updates, Upgrades, and Upkeep
Most cloud-based POS solution providers continually update and upgrade their software relatively frequently.
It is true that legacy service providers still work to improve their software. However, they tend to offer updates far less frequently—either on a sporadic or as-needed basis. And, as we mentioned earlier, there’s typically some sort of cost involved when upgrading to the most updated version of legacy software.
In addition to the more noticeable and regular upgrades and updates provided by cloud-based POS services, these companies, as mentioned earlier, are wholly responsible for the upkeep of their software and servers.
On the other hand, when legacy system users encounter glitches the problem is unique to their current circumstances. In such cases, while the legacy provider will help the user solve the problem in one way or another, it is likely to be a long process and may end up costing your company in the form of service charges and more, as well.
For a POS solution that’s not only guaranteed to work properly at all times, but also continually improved upon on a daily basis, cloud-based is the best option.
5. Increased and Enhanced Security
With regards to security for POS solutions, there are two main areas to focus on:
- Security from data loss
- Security from data theft
First of all, data loss is impossible with a properly-functioning cloud-based system. As we mentioned above, the teams behind these systems work tirelessly to ensure they’re fully functional at all times. Couple this with the use of powerful servers designed specifically to store your data, and it becomes crystal clear that your company’s info will always be right where you need it to be.
Secondly, the data being stored on these third-party servers is also heavily encrypted. This means, even if someone were to gain access to your system, the data stored within would be indecipherable.
In contrast, since data collected on legacy solutions is only accessible on the devices within the network, the data is really only as safe on these devices and servers.
In terms of data loss, any crash or accidental deletion of data can cause you to lose important data forever. In terms of security breaches the onus is on you to ensure your servers are invulnerable from attack.
We hope this post has helped to establish the difference between cloud-based POS systems versus legacy solutions, as well the more overarching benefits of cloud-based Point of Sales software.
For more on how CleanCloud can allow you to run your dry cleaning business more efficiently, check out the Features page on our website.