The way people conduct business has changed drastically in the last few years. POS terminals, unfortunately, have remained largely the same. Most physical POS terminals still utilize clunky, outdated sales and reporting tools even as businesses now have access to cheap, modern CRM and analytics software.
The high cost and slow upgrade cycle of physical POS terminals
makes virtual POS (VPOS) terminals a very attractive option.
Virtual terminals work exactly like a physical POS terminal, except everything is stored online in the cloud. The actual terminal is little more than a computer – an iPad, laptop or a smartphone. All sales data is immediately stored in the cloud, which can then be used to create smart sales reports or conduct customer analysis and research.
Benefits of Virtual Terminals
Virtual terminals offer many benefits over physical terminals for the following reasons:
1. Low Cost: The cost of buying a high quality physical terminal starts at over £1,000, which does not include maintenance fees. In contrast, virtual terminals cost as little as £20 per month. This allows small businesses to start off with little capital and upgrade to other solutions as their business grows.
2. Fast Upgrade Cycle: The software can be remotely updated on a rolling basis by the VPOS terminal provider, all free of charge.
3. Lower Maintenance: As a business owner, you already have plenty on your hands. The last thing you want is a POS terminal that breaks down in the middle of a busy day. Since there is no additional hardware to plug into your PC you can forget about maintenance and focus on what’s really important: running your business.
4. Anywhere Access: Since a virtual terminal is not tied to any specific hardware device, you can access it from anywhere, from any device. Want to see your sales results from last night while sitting at home? Just log into the software from your laptop while sitting in bed! Want to see how your store is doing while you’re out having lunch? Open your smartphone and check the details on the fly.
5. Flexibility: If a physical POS terminal goes wrong in the middle of the day, you have little choice but to halt operations and call in the maintenance department. On the other hand, if the iPad connected to your virtual terminal malfunctions, you can quickly swap it out for a laptop or a smartphone and resume operation without a hiccup. This flexibility is one of the biggest reasons for using a virtual terminal.
6. Powerful Analytics and Reporting Tools: Most virtual terminal providers bundle their software with powerful reporting and analytics tools. You can use these tools to generate charts, graphs and reports on your sales, analyse customer spending trends, and track who buys what.
7. Email Receipts: With VPOS terminals, you have the option of offering customers paper or email receipts (or both). Many customers prefer email receipts to their paper counterparts, which also helps you save paper and do your bit for the environment.
8. Advanced Payment Methods: By tying up the VPOS with a NFC enabled smartphone or tablet, you can accept payments through Near Field Communication (NFC) at no extra cost. This isn’t an option with physical POS terminals without additional hardware upgrades.
9. Unlimited Users: Any number of users can access a virtual terminal at the same time. This means different people in your organization – from the marketing guys to the accountants – can view sales reports simultaneously on their own laptops/phones.
10. PCI Compliance: PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) refers to a set of security standards meant to protect customer financial data. whereas physical POS providers, due to their slow upgrade cycles, still don’t have this compliance.
A virtual POS terminal will help you do business more efficiently. It will cut down on initial and ongoing costs, improve the user experience for customers as well as operators, and put a world of powerful analysis and reporting tools at your fingertips. Adopting a virtual POS terminal is the easiest way to bring your business into the 21st century, and that too, at a very low cost!