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Thursday, May 26 2016

Running a pawn shop can present many challenges, since, unlike most retail stores, you need to plan and organize not only some kind of process for selling, but also for buying items from clients. In addition, depending on where you live, there can be a certain amount of extra bureaucracy associated with running a pawn shop that you may not find in other kinds of storefronts. For example, you may need to take records of the people who sell you items and keep identification information on them just in case the items they were selling you had some kind of shady past.

On top of this, you're also going to have to keep records on your inventory, and again this will work a bit differently from most retail stores, because rather than having a fairly predictable flow of items, you will have to work to tag and categorize random items of value as they come in. One could say that this is the fun in having a pawn shop—you never know what will come through your doors—but it can certainly present some record-keeping challenges.

Of course, as with just about anything nowadays, this doesn't have to be too much of a problem because there's technology that will help you out. If you're running a pawn shop, it's critical to have the right POS system that will help to organize your inventory, keep track of your sales, help organize your records, and of course take your customer's money. If you're still unsure about what brand of POS you should go for, take a look at some of these options below:

1) SimpleConsign - One thing that you can do is seek out POS systems that specific cater to consignment-centric businesses. That's why SimpleConsign can work very well—it allows you to not only sell items, but to list them for consignment, as well as buy them from your customer outright. Like most POS systems, it can also of course handle credit card processing, returns, and the application of discounts if the need arises. You can also put items in layaway using this system, if you wish to provide that functionality to your customers.

Probably one of the most interesting functions that you may not find in other POS setups is the customer-side consignment feature. Basically, if a customer is selling something via consignment through your store, he can go on the Internet and look up the status of the item and how much you owe him.

This POS can be had for a fairly inexpensive monthly fee, and there's even a free trail available so that you can give it a try for 15 to see if it's for you.

2) PawnMaster - This POS system by Data Age is exactly what it sounds like. It's software solution to all of your pawn shop's needs and it was created specifically with this kind of business in mind. It is Windows-based and thus can run on x86 machines with the right specs, and this may or may not be appealing to you, but one of its main draws is that it is so scalable. As your business grows, you can add different software modules when needed, for example a layaway function or the ability to manage several stores.

Currently, they offer PawnMaster Classic as their main solution, which is not cloud-based; but if you're looking for the convenience and data-security of a cloud-based system, they are set to launch PawnMaster Ignite in the near future, which uses Amazon Web Services to provide flexibility and other features.

This is one of the most popular software packages for pawn shop owners, and regardless of what solution you choose from them, they offer exactly what you need to start your shop: inventory management, a way to take your customer's money, a way to buy from your customer, consignment functionality, a quick price guide that you can look up, employee management software like a time clock, integrated jewelry scales, and many other features.

3) Bravo Pawn Systems - Do you want cloud-based software so that you don't have to deal with the IT costs of having complex POS software and hardware that you have to service yourself? Bravo Pawn Systems is a new generation of POS built specifically to make things simple and easy in this regard. Whether you have a small, medium, or large pawn broker business, they have a solution that will work for you. Since all of your data is store securely in their servers, you don't have to worry about losing your records, either.

In addition, it includes many features that help you to organize and run your business. It will allow you to closely manage your employees and will also help you to keep them accountable by keeping track of when transactions occurred and who performed them. As you might expect, it also allows you to take your customers credit cards, issue refunds, and keep track of your sales numbers using a simple reporting mechanism. You can also keep digital files on your customers' histories so that you can better serve them in the future. On their end, they can sign in to view the status of their loans with you online, which will save both of you a lot of time.

Where it really shines is on the inventory end of things. You can use the software to create bar-codes to organize your items, mark down prices, and even transfer items between your stores if you have more than one. This really is a full-featured pawn shop solution.

As you might realize, you have a lot of options when it comes to POS software for your store. When you're looking for which POS is right for you, be sure to consider your priorities. For example, larger stores may need solutions that are superior at handling inventory concerns in order to keep things organized. Try to think about your future needs as well, even if you are still small, since switching over to a different system can certainly be a pain, and it's good to avoid it if you can.

Wednesday, May 25 2016

If you run a hardware store or are thinking of starting a business in this realm, you know that you're going to have a lot of inventory to deal with. Even fairly small stores need lots of little parts and pieces to be able accommodate the many demands of the various devices that people have installed in their homes. As a retail store, you not only have to keep track of every nut and bolt, but you also have to have a smart way to store and view your sales, so that you can be aware of sales trends and stay on top of things when it comes to your business. The customer end of things is important too, since most retail stores are going to need some sort of convenient way to apply coupons, promos, and sales, and you're also going to want a fast, simple way to take your customer's money and calculate their change.

In other words, no matter how you slice it, you're going to need a quality POS if your store is going to be organized. A good POS will do all of the heavy lifting for you and make it easier for you to keep track of all of the items in your store, which will save you from a huge headache in the long run. Chances are, though, if this is a new venture for you, or if you've simply never used a full-featured POS system before, you may not know what company to go with. Here are a few good POS services that you might consider:

1) Revel - This is a system that works with just about any kind of retail store. One of the huge advantages is that it runs on very simple and inexpensive hardware—the iPad. Not only does this make things less complicated, it also makes it easier for you and your customer to figure out how to use the kiosk in the first place, since it will have a familiar interface and form factor.

The nice thing about this POS is that it provides tons of security features—like different user name and passwords for different employees—as well as extremely helpful analytics that will tell you all about your inventory and sales trends. It's a good starter POS and it's easy to learn how to use and works just fine for all kinds of retail businesses. The only downside is that if you need help with the tech side of things, according to some of their customers, their support team leaves much to be desired.

2) Harbortouch Echo - This is a very simple POS from the folks at Harbortouch, and it is ideal for a smaller business that only has a few employees. Though the software is simplistic, the interface is easy to use and can be customized, and it can also track your sales and inventory just like most other POS systems, as well as provide reporting for you that is viewable both on your native machine and on the cloud.

The hardware isn't particularly high-end, but it's extremely good for the price range, and it's also quite fast, so you'll never have to leave your customers waiting. Their machines are also very good quality and Harbortouch will replace them for free if anything breaks—their support team is always on the ball. They provide training on how to use the POS, but if you have any problems just call them and they will fix your right up.

You can have all of this for a surprisingly low monthly fee, which is a blessing when you don't yet have a lot of resources. If you're just starting out and don't have much capital to work with or much of a need for a more complex point of sale system, this is one of the best choices out there. However, if you need something with some better hardware and more complex software that can handle the demands of a growing business, Harbortouch has a POS system that may be more up your alley:

3) Harbortouch Elite - Just like the Harbortouch Echo, you will have extremely customizable software, an easy-to-navigate interface, a simple way to take cashless credit and debit transactions, and a way to automatically keep digital reports on all of your cash register activity. However, the Harbortouch Elite is much more than this and represents a major upgrade. Honestly, if you are planning to have a business that grows beyond the realm of a little start-up, you are better off sticking with this choice from the beginning.

The Harbortouch Elite features superior, lightening-fast hardware in its POS devices, so performing transactions, bringing up reports, and looking through your customer records will be a breeze. In addition, the customizability of the software goes beyond most other POS systems available in its price range, as it comes with a retail store-specific package that would work great for hardware stores.

Out of all the choices here, the Harbortouch Elite is the one with the most functionality to suit your hardware store. It can not only keep track of your inventory, but you can easily import your existing database of items if you're switching over from another POS. It has nuanced inventory management software that includes a matrix to keep track of types, colors, and sizes of various products. If your employees work on commission, the system can also accommodate that and keep track of how much you owe them for what. To accommodate your customers during special occasions, the software also has a gift registry setup option in addition to a gift receipt functionality. For those expensive items, you can even give your customers the option for layaway.

If you are looking for a POS system with extremely high functionality that you can have for little or no upfront cost and just a relatively small monthly fee, the Harbortouch Elite is your best bet.

So as you are trying to decide on a good POS for your new store, by all means shop around and examine all of the options—but you may just find yourself coming back to the Harbortouch Elite. It really is a great system.

Monday, May 23 2016

When you're selling guns, there are a lot of variables that you have to keep in mind when setting up your business. There's a potential for more bureaucracy and legal concerns when you're opening up shop, and so it becomes that much more important that you keep your records as organized as possible. In addition, just like any other kind of retail store, you're going to want to give your customers the best experience possible, by making it easy for them to buy using a variety of methods. You're also going to want to give them an easy-to-use interface when it's time to sign the payment screen and go through the usual motions of a purchase. You're going to want a quality POS that can help you run your transactions smoothly, that can keep your records for you, and that can help you get a good idea of your sales trends through some kind of integrated analytics.

On another level, you also have to worry about your bottom line. Way too often, point of sales systems can be prohibitively expensive, whether because they run using expensive proprietary software or because the hardware that they use is specialized and high-cost. Thankfully, lately there has been an emerging generation of good quality, yet efficient POS systems that work well for just about any business and don't cost an arm and a leg to get started. Some of them even provide a slew of extras that you may not have expected. Let's take a look:

1) AimSi - With a software package that is specifically geared towards owners of gun and archery shops, AimSi handles a few different functions besides serving as a basic POS. It will keep track of your inventory, help keep records for ATF compliance, and keep schedules for firearm-related classes that your shop may provide. In addition, it offers ecommerce solutions as well, so that you can have an online store along with a brick-and-mortar setup.

This is a fairly simple option with easy software to learn and plenty of support, but it does have an upfront cost of hundreds of dollars. In the grand scheme of things, that's really not that much, but if you're not ready to pay that kind if money, or you simply want a better deal, then there are certainly other options. The draw here is that there are so many gun shop-specific features to this POS, but you might find that these aren't completely essential for you, especially if you're small and just starting out.

2) Gun StoreMaster - Like the name implies, this is an overall solution for most of your gun store needs. It is much more than a POS, and in fact you could say that its POS features are actually a small part of this software package. Mostly, this software takes on the critical tasks of a gun store; for example, it will help you with the creation of a Bound Book for ATF compliance, and it will also help you create the paperwork that you need if you find that any of your inventory has been stolen. It will enable you to track your inventory as well as help you comply with the law in various ways; this is invaluable when you're a small operation in particular because it can get easy to be overwhelmed by all the bureaucratic requirements.

Now, the POS portion of this software solution is based on QuickBooks. It integrates more or less seamlessly with the other Gun StoreMaster software, and any inventory that you add on the Gun StoreMaster end will automatically apply to the QuickBook's POS inventory list. It's a fairly inexpensive solution and is meant to keep things simple for your business.

3) Revel Revel - is one of the newer POS players, and it's one of those modern POS systems that seeks to be minimalistic and give the customers a completely integrated system, using inexpensive and familiar software, all for a low monthly fee. Though Revel doesn't have software that's specific to a gun store and its unique requirements, it's one of those very basic solutions that is narrow in its functions. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it can be a very good thing because it can save you a lot of time on training and potential technical problems.

Revel offers the usual things you would expect from a POS: It will take the customer's money, and it will keep track of sales as well as inventory. If you need to get an idea of your business trends, there are also reports that you can view of sales data, among other things. All of this software runs easily on hardware that you may be quite accustomed to already, like the iPad, and it is very much an example of the modern trend of POS systems. You can choose different specialized software packages to customize your interface and functions to an extent, but—as mentioned before—there is no customization specifically made to accommodate a gun store, so you may find yourself just using a basic retail model.

Regardless, Revel is not a bad choice thanks to its security, which is something critical when you're dealing with a gun store. The support is top-notch as well, and you will always have someone to turn to if things go South on the technical end. You might want to give this POS company a try, especially if you're a smaller business that needs a more simple solution.

Starting any sort of business can be overwhelming, but it's especially difficult when you're dealing with a business like a gun shop, where not only do you have to worry about keeping the customer happy, but you have to worry about complying with a myriad of ever-changing laws. Whether you are only selling firearms, or you are also providing classes on their use, or rentals for your shooting range, you will need a quality POS, so remember to do your research well; the list above is not a bad place to start.

Sunday, May 22 2016

There's nothing like the smoke of a hookah lounge wafting all around you while your customers talk and laugh with friends. As a hookah place, your mission is to provide a relaxed location where your guests can congregate and take a load off after a long day. In the interests of keeping that laid-back atmosphere while your clients partake of the shisha, you need a point of sale system that is similarly easy and isn't going to stress you out.

Now, if you're only just opening up a hookah bar for the first time, you may have a lot of questions about how to start this kind of business, including the critical decision of what kind of POS you should use. You want something with a simple interface for you and your customers, that is also able to take a variety of payment options in addition to tracking your sales and even your inventory. Throwing in some reporting and analytics functions wouldn't be bad, either. Of course, to keep your operating costs as low as possible without compromising quality, you're going to want a POS that is a good overall value as well.

So, where do you start? Well, here are some possible candidates for a good POS that would work well with a hookah lounge:

1) Cafe Cartel - Cafe Cartel provides a number of POS packages that can serve both your hardware and software needs, and in fact they have hookah-lounge specific software that you can use. This software includes quite a few functions that you may find useful, such as a flavor-mixing tool and the ability to store recipes. The software will also track your inventory and tell you which flavors are selling best so that you're not wasting money and time on anything that isn't selling well. Part of growing your business, after all, is adapting to the market, and this company certainly provides the tools for that.

In terms of hardware, they offer the usual staples you would expect from a company with POS solutions. They have different POS displays to choose from, as well as a number of cash drawers and credit card machine options. These are all available for an upfront cost per item.

2) ShopKeep - Though less specific to a hookah lounge, ShopKeep's bar POS system is tried and true; and though you may not serve alcohol, much of your inventory management needs may be the same as an establishment that does. ShopKeep is a great little POS that tracks your sales, tracks your inventory, and runs quite fast so that you don't have to keep your customers waiting. You can run it all off an iPad and this can certainly save you a bit of money on the hardware side as well.

Since ShopKeep is available for a low monthly fee, and is one of the most economic POS solutions out there, you may want to consider this system in spite of its genericness. Their software is simple and easy to learn, so chances are you won't have to spend too much time trying to figure out how it works. If you do get confused, ShopKeep provides great support as well. Though everything is pretty straight forward and easy to set up, you can still contact them any time and they will talk you through your technical difficulties.

3) Revel - Similar to ShopKeep, Revel speaks to that trend of less expensive, more accessible POS systems that even fledgling businesses can easily afford. Though they don't have a POS system that caters specifically to hookah bars (and most of the major players in this field don't), they do have a bar and restaurant package that may work just fine for you. Their POS software lets you keep track of ingredients so that you know when you're about to run out based on sales, and it lets you keep track of tables if you offer table service for your customers. As with ShopKeep, there are a slew of reporting tools as well, so that you can keep an eye on the trends of your business.

4) Square - No small business POS discussion is complete without mentioning Square, since it suits all sorts of businesses, even the ones that are too small to be able to sacrifice some of their cash flow to a monthly fee. Like ShopKeep and Revel, Square represents a cheaper, much more efficient generation of POS software that doesn't cost an arm and leg to run, including the fact that it can use very simple tablet hardware to get the job done. In fact, with square in particular, you don't technically need anything more complicated than a phone running Android or iOS and a small piece of Square's hardware as your credit card scanner. Unlike ShopKeep or other emerging brands of POS, however, there is no monthly fee and Square simply takes a small percentage of your cashless transactions for their pay.

As you can see, Square is simple—even simplistic. Of course, this can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your goals. If you're looking for something complex that can keep track of what flavors you are mixing and whatnot, this may not be your ideal POS. It's also not for you if your sales volume is large enough that just paying a flat monthly fee would make more sense for you. However, if you are just starting out and you want something that won't cost huge amounts up front, and that will work easily with existing tablet hardware that you have, Square might be for you.

So if you want to start your own hookah bar, or else you are looking to change things up, consider some of these POS systems. They can help organize the operation of your lounge, by not only taking your customer's payments, but helping you to keep track of all the details. As a business owner, you're probably aware that organizing your business can save you a lot in time and money. At the very least, it will make things easier when it's time to do your books.

Thursday, May 19 2016

If you're just starting your own business and need to keep costs down, you may be discouraged by the overhead that buying and setting up a point of sale system can represent. Not only do you have to buy the necessary hardware, but you'll have to train your employees on how to use whatever proprietary interface the system uses. This can cause a lot of headaches and cost a lot of money that you might not have to invest, especially when you're a small business on a shoestring budget.

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of all that complexity and cost, you could just use hardware that you likely already have, such as a tablet, and simply pay a small fee to run POS software on it? Wouldn't it be even better if all the peripherals that you needed to take credit card payments and such snapped easily onto this existing hardware and didn't require any complicated installation? Even better, what if you didn't have to spend time training your employees to do much more than simply learn how to use a new app on an interface that they already know and love?

Well, these aren't the mad ramblings of a business owner who wishes life worked this way; life actually can work this way! There are quite a few offerings on that market that can turn your beloved iPad into a fully-functional POS that will allow you to take your customers' cashless payments and keep track of sales for a fraction of the cost of more complex POS systems. Why make everything complicated when you can just improvise with what you have and save money?

Now, you may be wondering: What are these magical POS systems that you can install right on your iPad? Let's take a look at some of the best in the market, so that you can continue your search with a fully-informed opinion:

Square

You may hear about this tiny POS a lot, but that's because it's incredibly useful and requires no upfront fee. It works with all kinds of tablets and phones, both those running Android and those running iOS, so it will definitely work well with your iPad. The hardware is minimal, and amounts to the eponymous square magstripe reader that you insert into your device's headphone jack. You actually don't need anything more than that, and Square will send you the reader for free when you sign up; but if you want to get extra fancy, you can buy a stand to make your iPad look more like the familiar counter-top kiosk that customers might be used to.

Now, unlike a lot of POS systems, square requires no monthly fee and they take a percentage of your revenue instead. This can be both a good point and a bad point, depending on your volume of sales and on your profit margins per sale. As your sales increase, you may want to save money by getting a POS that just charges a monthly fee.

Revel

Maybe you don't currently have ten iPads just lying around for your employees to use, or maybe you're just looking for a more all-in-one solution. With Revel, you can get a hardware package that includes everything you need to put together an iPad-based POS, including the iPads themselves. Enjoy the familiar interface, but with a stand, a cash box, an integrated payment device and other hardware to make your experience much easier. The system even comes with a coin dispenser to help minimize errors in counting change that can cost you money.

Revel is ideal for many kinds of small businesses, but particularly for quick service restaurants and coffee houses. If you have a bar or a retail store, Revel also has options for you that can fit your particular needs.

iConnect

With a name like that, you can assume that this POS was built from the ground up to be integrated with the iPad, and indeed it is designed to work with a range of iOS devices, to process your payments and keep track of your business's sales and inventory. It is a complete POS solution that you can take on the go. You can access your stats anywhere as well as store all of this information locally on your iPad.

iConnect also sells a number of their own, more complex proprietary POS hardware and software, and they also have solutions for those who prefer Android's interface. You can use their software for a relatively low monthly fee.

ShopKeep

ShopKeep is a popular POS, and they offer iOS-based solutions. They sell hardware that works seamlessly with the iPad and their software is very feature-rich. Track not only sales, but expenses, inventory, and other data, and view it all in real time. You can also easily manage your newsletter and other email marketing strategies through their integration with Mailchimp, and accounting is a lot easier with their Quickbooks integration as well. They also have a great support team that is available every day, 24-hours a day; they will hold your hand throughout the entire set up process.

All of this is available for an inexpensive monthly fee, making this one of the best options for an iPad POS available.

So if you are looking for a POS for your new business, but find that all of your options are too complex, or else they don't reflect the kind of clean, simple interface that you're looking for, don't fret—there are lots of great iPad-based POS options out there. This allows you to have the intuitive and famously easy interface of Apple's iOS devices with the functionality of a superior POS system, and often the support of a third party that is dedicated to your success as a business. Many times, this won't even cost you more than 70 dollars per month. As you can see, going for this simplified model over a more complex, proprietary POS can be ideal as well as cost-effective, and, especially if you're just starting out, you should check out some of these options.

Wednesday, May 18 2016

There's nothing that makes a woman feel more beautiful than having her nails done at a salon. If you're in the business of providing manicures and pedicures for eager customers, then congratulations, because nail salons are often very profitable endeavors. Perhaps you are working as a nail technician for someone else and you are looking into starting your own shop, or maybe you already run your own business and are wanting to get organized. Regardless, if you are running a nail salon, an invaluable tool for getting things done efficiently is having a POS system that matches you well.

You may feel inclined to do things primitively with just an old cash register and a credit card, since your business is mostly service-based and may not include the amount of inventory that you might find in, say, a grocery store. However, every business is the same in that staying organized and having a way to get a bird's eye view of your effectiveness is invaluable. A proper POS will allow you to keep all your records digitally, analyze data such as sales and inventory, and of course take your customer's money in an integrated and hassle-free way.

Lots of people assume that POS systems with these kinds of capabilities have to be complicated or expensive, but they really don't. Let's take a look at a few options that you might try for your nail salon, to help you get a better perspective of the costs and functionality of a few popular systems:

Square

You may have heard of square before, and indeed it is a great, if simplistic POS-esque solution. They provide a way to take your customer's money and also provide great analytics, and they have no monthly fee, which makes the popular with many small startups who don't have any money to invest in either higher-end hardware or in a monthly service fee.

Though you may associate them with businesses like food trucks, Square has some salon-specific and beauty shop-specific solutions that might work well for your niche. However, there are a few downsides: Since they take a percentage of every transaction as their fee, this may not be ideal if you have higher sales volume; it may make more sense to find a POS with a simple monthly fee. Also, Square tends to rely on hardware that you already have such as your tablet or phone, so if you want a simple, all-in-one solution, then Square is probably not it.

Vagaro

This salon- and spa-centric POS system offers all kinds of features that you may find useful for your nail business. In a lot of ways, it is more than just a POS: It allows you to track your customers' purchases and keep a dossier on their personal history with your salon, provides analytics, and handles online booking and confirmation. If you want to start a newsletter for email marketing purposes—which is an invaluable technique for keeping long-term customers and sending them promotions—it can also help you with that. You can buy different kinds of hardware packages from them for your point of sale system as well, and while they are not expensive, they do require an upfront cost. If you're looking for something that doesn't require this upfront investment, you might want to go with another company.

Harbortouch

Currently, there is no salon-specific software from this company (though it is in the works and the company is growing), but Harbortouch certainly makes up for it in affordability. For very little or no upfront cost, you can have all the hardware and software you need to get a great quality POS set up in your shop, and the monthly fees associated with the service are rather low. A few of its major benefits include customizability, a wealth of analytics, and the fact that all of your reporting is not only available locally on your machine, but is also stored on the cloud, so that you can review your stats remotely and you never have to worry about losing your information should your hardware fail.

There are two main POS systems from this company to choose from, and they are the Harbortouch Echo and the Harbortouch Elite. The Echo is a great choice if you are just starting out and don't have too many employees; it's also the more immediately affordable of the two. Even though it's available for a surprisingly inexpensive monthly fee, they certainly did not skimp on features: It has an intuitive touch screen design whose home screen elements can be customized to your taste. Its interface is very easy to learn and training is included with the package. It includes great reporting and organizational tools, and you can access all of these remotely.

The Elite is a bit of a different animal, even though it includes all of the features of the Echo and more. With the Elite, you can further customize your software to make it even more specific to your business, and the hardware is extremely powerful. If you want a POS with a fast processor, and plenty of storage capacity, as well as the ability to control your own user interface experience down to the little details, this is a good choice. It's not even that expensive, so it's definitely worth considering if your business has grown past its initial stages.

As you can see, there is lots of choice in the world of POS systems for nail salons, and these certainly aren't your only options. In a lot of ways, it's not about trying to find the system that is “best,” but trying to find the one that works well with your situation. Whether you want to go with something incredibly simple like Square or you want to get a POS with the capacity to handle just about everything like the Harbortouch Elite, it's a good idea to look into getting some kind of system to handle your sales. Even just the convenience and cost-savings of having digital records stored from the beginning can save you a lot of headaches during tax season.

Wednesday, May 18 2016

As a florist, it's your job to make people happy, and to help them express their emotions on special occasions. With all that you do to maintain your inventory and to keep your customer base satisfied, you probably don't want to be distracted by the technical issues of a POS. Who would blame you? Your mission is to sell flowers; why make it more complicated than that?

It is precisely because of this that giving some deep thought to the kind of POS that you want to buy is worth it. If you make the wrong choice for you, it could end up complicating your business needlessly and causing you a lot of headaches. You want something that will make your business easier to run, after all. Naturally, there are many different kinds of POS systems that you might choose from, and there are some great, useful choices on the market, especially considering how well technology has advanced over even the past few years. One good company from which to consider getting your POS is Harbortouch. They have a lot of great choices and customization options, and you will probably find a solution from them that will work for your business. As a florist, you will have some unique inventory and analytics issues, since what you sell is alive and particularly perishable, and you may have a delivery side to your business, so you need a POS that can be fully adapted to your situation; Harbortouch offers that.

Depending on the size of your business—whether it is only just emerging from the woodwork, or whether you've been around for awhile and you are just ready for an upgrade—you will want to approach a different solution. There are two main options here:

The Harbortouch Echo

This POS is a great value, especially if your business is just getting started and you don't have a huge amount of capital to pay for a larger, more complex POS. All you need is to just get the money from the customer—be it cash, credit, or just about anything else—and keep some thorough records of all of your transactions and inventory. The Echo is a great choice if this is the case for you: It is simple, yet it fulfills all of the important functions of a POS. In addition, it provides a lot of customization features that you may not find in other point of sale systems of its class: You can alter the GUI quite a bit, even deleting or moving around elements on your home screen. You choose how simple or complex you would like your interface to be.

If you find that you're having trouble, Harbortouch has great support anyway, and they will give you and your employees training material from the beginning so that you can get to know your system. Chances are, you won't have much trouble with this, since it's so intuitive, but if you do, they are only a phone call away and you can contact them 24 hours a day.

By the way, even in its simplicity, the Echo offers thorough reporting on your sales and inventory, and on the trends regarding these. When you're a new or smaller business and are looking to grow, this is when analytics is most important, so you will definitely want a POS that can handle this. Even better, your reporting is not only stored on your physical machine, it is also stored on the cloud, so you have access to it anytime—even when you're away from your location. This is a natural and automatic backup system, so you don't have to worry about dealing with a nightmare of lost records if your POS has any hardware failures.

Speaking of hardware failures, Harbortouch has you covered if anything happens to your POS, and they will replace it for free.

The Harbortouch Elite

A little further up on the totem pole is the Harbortouch Elite, and this can help you to really expand your business with all of its customization options. It offers more capacity, better hardware, and more specialized software than the Echo. If your flowers are selling every which way and your florist business is expanding like the blooming petals of a rose, you are going to need a POS that will keep up with this growth.

If you're also in the business of flower delivery, the Harbortouch Elite is particularly suited for your purposes. One of its great software packages is geared specifically towards delivery businesses, and includes a lot of added functions over the default POS interface, such as:

- Delivery driver tracking: You can keep track of the various trips that your delivery employees need to make, and even remotely assign them their tasks.

- Integrated caller ID system: If a customer calls you, a convenient display will pop up, telling you everything on file about the customer. Don't leave it up to guesswork; keep a detailed history of your best customers so that you'll know how to serve them better. A stable business is built upon repeat, loyal customers.

- Discounts and promo codes: Part of getting your customers to come back is to be as enticing as possible, and nothing is as enticing as a good deal. Reward your good clients with some sort of customer loyalty program, or simply give people coupons or promo codes to get them to try out your flowers. To be able to do all of this, you're going to want a POS that makes it easy to apply promotions to orders, and the Elite handles this like a champ.

One of the best things about both of these systems, though, is the cost: They are available for a monthly fee that is tiny compared to what you will save in time and logistics. You need a system that will take care of both the tasks of a cash register as well as the record-keeping responsibilities. Take a look at your business and analyze its needs, and you will probably find a Harbortouch POS that fits right in with your mission.

Tuesday, May 17 2016

If you're running a pizzeria, you have some unique needs that few other businesses have. For one, it's generally assumed that you offer deliveries, and another added complications is that your product is highly customizable, so you probably need a lot of diverse inventory to satisfy the demands of your customers. If your pizza shop is relatively new, you might be tempted to go with a cheap, bare-bones POS, or even an old-school cash register with a stand-alone credit card machine, if you don't mind stapling receipts all day and dealing with a mountain of paperwork when the time comes to work on your books.

Maybe you'd rather have a more modern, 21st-century set-up, but you still want to go the cheap route, so you might go with one of the popular minimalistic, not-quite-POS systems such as Square, but the fact of the matter is that if you are running a serious business with a serious potential for growth, you want a real POS that offers everything you will need. The integration of sales data, inventory data, employee hours, and many other analytics is itself hugely efficient and will save you a lot of time and money. Growing businesses can become of paperwork nightmare if one doesn't have a handle on these organizational issues from the beginning, and one of the best ways to stay organized is to have a POS that handles all of your data.

There are lots of POS systems that you can look at out there, but the best by far for a pizza shop that is experiencing growth or that just needs an upgrade is the Harbortouch Elite. There are many benefits to this POS over solutions like Square or even other POSes that cater to roughly the same market. Here is a quick overview of some of these time-saving, money-saving features:

It Fits Your Business

One of the great things about the Harbortouch Elite is its customizable interface. You can switch around the elements of the GUI to your heart's content, and all of the icons on its responsive touch interface can be exactly as you need it to be. You can even remove elements for a less busy, less confusing home screen if you find the need.

Best of all, the Harbortouch Elite's software can come with various customizations right from the get-go. For example, there is a package specifically for delivery-centric restaurants such as pizza places. Send Harbortouch your menu, and they will customize the POS interface for you, so that you can get back to making pizzas instead of fiddling with your new technology. It is an extremely intuitive device, and Harbortouch makes every effort to help it fit you and your business as seamlessly as possible.

Delivery Support

One of the complications of owning a delivery-based business is having to deal with managing the time and the tasks of your various drivers, as well as keeping track of where they are and where they need to go for their next delivery. The Harbortouch Elite can be customized for quick service and delivery businesses like your pizza shop, and this package comes with a host of tools to help you deliver more efficiently, such as:

Mapping – The system comes with an integrated map system for honing in on where your deliveries need to go. The directions can also be printed easily, and in fact you can print them out right on the receipt paper for your drivers to use. This feature also supports multiple stops in a single trip. It's never been more convenient to find where you need to go.

Managing Your Drivers – Give orders to each driver from your dashboard, and keep track of the status of each delivery right from your POS.

Caller ID – Why should your own customers be a mystery to you? Get a handle on who is on the other end of the line with integrated caller ID, which will allow you to keep better track of who is calling your business and placing the orders. When a customer calls, you will be able to automatically view their data and a history of their past orders to give you more context.

The Usual Restaurant Favorites

In addition to these specialized features just for quick service restaurants like pizzerias, the Harbortouch Elite offers the kind of features that you would expect for other kinds of restaurant businesses. Some of these functions include:

Bar Tabs – If you happen to sell alcohol at your location, the Harbortouch Elite makes it much easier to keep a running tab for your customers. People who run tabs usually spend more, so this is definitely a handy feature.

Edit Your Menu – You want to be able to change your menu at the drop of a hat, without having to learn any fancy technical skills. Thankfully, with the Elite's intuitive interface, you can change your menu whenever you want with very little hassle.

Give Discounts – Some of the best promotional strategies include giving your customers coupons and discounts, so you're going to want a POS that can handle this side of things as well. The Harbortouch Elite can apply coupons and various other kinds of discounts instantly.

Keep Track of Customers – Analytics about your customers is just as important as analytics concerning the workings of your business. Keep a database on all of your guests, and this will not only help you to identify wider sales trends, but it will allow you to give personalized service, as you can keep track of people's order history and their contact information.

As you can see, the Harbortouch Elite is a very feature-rich POS, with lots of support and a surprising amount of customizability. One of the best features, however, is its affordability. You can have fast hardware and great service of a superior level for a low monthly fee and few upfront costs; it pays for itself quite quickly in terms of saved time and money. It really is the perfect POS for a growing pizza shop that is looking to get as organized and efficient as possible

Monday, May 16 2016

For retail businesses, particularly restaurants, cafes, and diners, the benefits of having a point of sale (POS) system available create a number of benefits that will boost your bottom line. The point of sale systems for Android devices in particular is certainly worth considering for your business needs.

What is an Android POS System?

The system itself is representative of most POS products in that it consists of having the software, hardware, and payment processing services all rolled up into one device. However, this particular system for Android devices does offer advantages for many businesses who want to incorporate a more efficient sales process.

Hardware Requirements: The good news here is that you can choose from a number of different brands and models that all use the Android operating system. This means that you can start with a single smartphone or tablet and work your way up to a multiple user, multiple location system that is perfect for large retail businesses and restaurants. You can take advantage of recommended accessories such as card readers, payment terminals, barcode scanners, menu displays and more that can come from the same company or from third party sources that offer compatible products. There are even POS companies that offer entire systems that you can use which have advantages as well as disadvantages, but may be well suited for your particular needs.

Software: The heart of the system, the POS software creates the invoices, inventory, sales reports, and manages all of the customer data so you can see all the important aspects of selling. It is important to remember that most POS software still requires a processor for credit or debit card payments. From which products, services, or menu items are the most popular overall, when they sell the most, and what they are purchased with, you can better understand how your business is making a profit and what you can do to increase your earnings.

Processing Credit Cards: It seems that practically everyone enjoys the convenience of using a credit or debit card to make payments. The point of sales system for Android does require a card reader either directly attached or from a separate terminal that is connected in order to work. It should be noted that you will need an EMV chip card reader to protect your business or restaurant from being hit with charges that are fraudulent as well as being liable. The good news is that most, if not all new card readers that are being sold have the EMV chip already installed.

It should be noted that as part of the POS system, you will be paying rates that are dependent on the credit card chosen. Some such as PayPal for example offer a flat rate which may be a little higher than some competitors, but is generally simple to use, predictable, and has very high rates of approval which means less fuss for your business. Other processors may offer lower rates, but have hidden fees or charges that push up the costs. You will want to read all about the different rates and understand how they apply to your particular situation.

Advantages of Android POS System

For many businesses and in particular restaurants, the point of sale system for Android offers considerable benefits for your efforts

Versatility: The POS system does more than simply process sales as it supports the important aspects of how your business operates on a daily basis. For restaurants, a POS system that is down can make it very difficult to properly serve guests and build profits. The POS needs to be simple, easy to use, and highly reliable which is why Android systems offer a distinct advantage over iOS or Apple systems. Because Android systems are found on mobile devices from many different manufacturers, you can choose the one that emphasizes reliability to make breakdowns few and far between.

In addition, you can fine an Android mobile device that is customizable to your specific needs. Instead of having to use Apple-only products such as the iPad or iPhone, you can instead choose from a number of different manufacturers and select the device that is best suited for you want you want it to do. In essence, a restaurant that emphasizes fast service may only want a couple of POS terminals with the wait staff has handheld tablets. This is easy to do with Android devices, but more difficult with iOS or Apple devices.

Cheaper Hardware: It’s no secret that Android devices are by and large considerably less expensive than Apple devices. You should also be aware of so-called self-contained POS systems that use older, out of date hardware through exclusive devices. You can choose which Android device you want to use which means that you can take advantage of sales or special discounts that are available.

This also makes replacement costs considerably less expensive as well since Android devices are on average costs less than iPad or Apple hardware. So, if the device is lost, stolen, or damaged beyond repair the replacement cost will be less than if it were an Apple device.

In fact, you may already own the smartphones or tablets that make installing the point of sale system for Android devices even simpler. There are even some services offered on Android devices that may be compatible with the POS technology such as card readers, bar code scanners, tablet stands, customer displays, scales, and so forth.

In the end, the benefits of using point of sale systems for Android are considerable and certainly worth the investment, particularly for restaurants and eating establishments where having the customer pay the bill on the spot is good for your business. The Android system in particular is one that offers advantages above and beyond what other major systems provide. Thanks to the versatility and popularity of devices that use the Android operating system, you can have a great deal of choice in selecting the specific devices used to help conduct your sales.

Friday, May 13 2016

If you run a bicycle shop, you need a versatile and light-weight POS that is as efficient as the man-powered vehicles that you sell. You are going to need to keep track of your inventory, including dozens of parts if you deal in repairs; you're going to need to keep track of sales; and you're going to want to stay ahead of the curve and get a birds-eye-view of all of the processes of your business as well. One way to handle all of these complex details and have all of the analytics that you need right at your fingertips is to employ a simple, high-performance POS like the Harbortouch Elite. This is one of the most advanced point of sale systems that you can get for the money, and it is fast, efficient, and high-end both in the realm of software and in the realm of hardware. Let's take a closer look at the different ways that this set-up can benefit your bicycle shop: 

Cash and Cashless

Need something completely integrated and easy-to-use that can handle all sorts of transactions? The Harbortouch Elite can deal in cash, as well as debit cards, credit cards, and even checks—and it can do it all in one integrated system. Even if you are a relatively small operation still, there's no need to disappoint your customers by not being able to handle the kind of transaction they need when you can simply use a Harbortouch POS such as the Elite.

Analytics and Reporting 

One of the best things about any Harbortouch system, but especially the Elite is how it simplifies and organizes all of the intricate data of your business into very easy-to-read reports. You can access these reports from anywhere, since they are stored locally on your resident machine, as well as on the cloud. Work remotely and keep a handle on the processes of your business even when there is physical distance between you and your employees, and you'll be able to catch and analyze any potential issues before they become problems. You can also keep an eye on sales trends and other data that might help you to make your bike shop more efficient.

Having these sorts of features can save you a fortune on bookkeeping; whenever you need a certain set of data, it's as easy as simply printing it out from the database. Don't worry if your Internet is down, either; thanks to the Elite's large storage capabilities, you have plenty of room for local files and they will be easily accessible even in the event of an Internet outage.

Customizable

You can customize the software's interface and other features to suit the needs of your particular business. This is a huge advantage, especially when you are running a specialty shop like a bike store. Rather than go with a one-size-fits-all POS, you can build your point of sale system around you and your employees, and this will save you a lot of time.

Track Employees

Time Keeping your employees clock-ins organized is a task in and of itself, and the Harbortouch Elite does this beautifully. It's important to keep an accurate—and ideally digital—record of when your employees work in order to keep your payroll costs from being unnecessarily exorbitant. In addition, the system keeps the cost of record-keeping itself rather low.

Fast Hardware

The Harbortouch Elite has top-of-the-line hardware for a POS, especially for the cost, which makes it a great value. Don't sit there waiting for your system to respond to all of your frustrated button-mashing; get an Elite and you'll have some speedy hardware and ultra-responsive software. Your customers will appreciate the quick checkout process, just as you'll appreciate the efficiency. Another nice thing about the Elite's form factor is that it is essentially an all-in-one machine, so it takes up very little space. You don't have to make room for a clunky desktop tower or any of those other archaic pieces of hardware, so you can save quite a lot of counter space. It has a very sleek look that would fit in great at any modern, urban bicycle shop.

Interface

One of the great features of the Harbortouch Elite is its intuitive touch interface. If you know how to use a tablet computer, then chances are you'll have no problem working with this POS. As mentioned before, this interface is customizable, so no matter what kind of business you have or what stage of growth you're in, you can make this POS match your needs perfectly. In addition, as you business grows larger, you can change the interface to suit your needs, so you won't have to worry dealing with a POS that no longer accommodates you.

Support

You are too busy trying to get people back on the road (or sidewalk, or bike lane, or nature trail) to deal with technical difficulties when it comes to your POS, so the last thing you want to do is to have to tinker with your system when there's a problem. Though the Harbortouch Elite is quite robust, chaos exists in the universe, and there are always going to be the occasional hiccups; it's just unrealistic to not expect this to some extent. During those kinds of moments, you don't want a company that's going to leave you to your own doom. You have stuff to do, and you need to get going again immediately, so Harbortouch offers 24/7 support for their Elite POS, as well as for their other systems.

While getting set up and keeping things running is usually intuitive enough to not require any intervention on their part, it's nice to know that they're there if you ever need them.

You opened your bike shop to help get your customers moving; a Hardbortouch Elite will help get your business moving faster, more efficiently, and with the kind of reporting and analytics that you need. If you want a POS that has everything—and includes all of the support you will ever want—give the Harbortouch Elite a try.

Monday, May 09 2016

Running a liquor store can be complicated, with all the licensing requirements and other red tape that you frequently have to deal with. You know what doesn't have to be complicated, though? Your point of sale system. There's no reason to make life more annoying when nowadays there are POS solutions that can track your sales, track your inventory, and handle all of your cashless transactions for very small monthly fees and often no upfront costs for the hardware. Many of these systems also mirror your data on the cloud, so that you can access all of your records remotely without a hitch. Imagine being able to print receipts anywhere or examine your sales numbers while you're sitting on the beach somewhere and your business is trucking along without you. 

Now, you may be thinking to yourself: “There are so many choices. Which POS is best for my liquor store?” If you're just starting out or even just looking to reorganize, you can't really go wrong with the Harbortouch Elite. This is a POS with many features that work well for liquor stores, and in fact this company offers software that specifically caters to a variety of niche businesses, including wine and spirits. Let's take a look at some of the major benefits:

1) Tracking and Analytics: You need to keep track of what's going on in your business, or else you will never see the sort of margins that you are looking for. Selling spirits can be a very competitive business, so you always want to be checking up on what sells best in order to increase your ROI. Harbortouch allows you to remotely access all of your information, so even if you have to go away for awhile, you can keep on top of the numbers. Another problem that you may face while running a liquor store is keeping track of all of the inventory. There are many different brands and varieties that you will have to keep an eye on, and this is hard to do manually. By letting a POS handle this, you will be able to know ahead of time when you are running out of key inventory so that you don't have to miss out on valuable sales. In addition, this allows you to keep an eye on what is flying off the shelves more quickly, so you can concentrate on your bestsellers more.

2) Customization: Every business has different needs, and liquor stores will vary by local tastes and regulation. You need to be able to customize the interface of your POS to suit your needs, and this is one of the places where the Harbortouch Elite really shines. You can switch things around very easily and intuitively so that you or your employees can always find what you are looking for. For example, if you want to save time, you can choose to display your best-selling products prominently on the interface. Harbortouch will cater to your specific needs, and they have many different software packages to offer that will make your POS's interface suit your business better. You can choose their custom liquor store software and this will make things a lot easier for you.

3) Hardware: The Harbortouch Elite really delivers when it comes to hardware, since the processor used in this system is blazing fast. Don't make your customers wait more than they have to; get a POS that will work its magic not only quickly, but reliably. You don't want slow-downs and break-downs to throw a wrench into your business and frustrate the people who are keeping it alive. In addition, the Harbortouch Elite is a real winner when it comes to storage capacity. Though all of your data is backed up on the cloud, you can expect to be able to hold tons of records locally, so you will always have access to the information that you need, even if your Internet decides to cut out.

4) Support: Harbortouch is known for their 24/7 support, and they are a very attentive company to work with. You don't have to worry about being left with a mess should anything go wrong—and things will occasionally go wrong whenever you are running a business. They guarantee their products as well, and will replace them if they ever break; it's nice to not have to come out of pocket for a hardware failure or a similar issue.

As you can see, the Elite is a top-of-the-line machine. It is Harbortouch's best POS and can be customized to suit a number of different business styles, while still having extremely powerful hardware that will help you ring up your orders as fast as your employees can take them.

Now, maybe you're not ready for the “big leagues” yet, and are looking for something a little less fancy for your small business. This is totally understandable, and it's why Harbortouch offers the Echo, a POS system that is perfect for those who need something bare-bones, but still powerful. Best of all, the analytics are still there, the support is still there, and you can customize the interface of your POS as well. It's also available for a very small monthly fee, so you don't have to worry about upfront costs cutting into your early profits, and you can reinvest all of those savings right back into your business. You can always upgrade to the Elite later if you find that you've outgrown the Echo.

There are a lot of things to consider when getting a POS for your liquor store, but the Harbortouch Elite is a great choice, if for no other reason than its liquor-store specific software package. It doesn't hurt that the hardware is top-notch and that the support is constant, too. When you're looking for a POS, you want something that's not going to add needless complication, but which will instead simplify your business and make it easier to keep track of your affairs. Regardless of what stage your business is in, Harbortouch has a POS solution that will probably fit your needs.

Friday, May 06 2016

Have you just opened your new coffee shop or café business and the customers are already pouring through the doors every morning? Congratulations! You know what you need now? A decent point of sale (POS) system to go with that cash box. You may love being a traditional little café and you might even think you're too small to need any kind of fancy equipment, but as you grow you're going to be glad to have a POS. Point of sale systems can not only help you keep track of how much you made, give you helpful stats on how your sales are doing, and help facilitate credit card transactions, but they can also keep track of your inventory so that you know what kind of supplies you will need next time you go to pick up your raw ingredients. The great thing about a POS is that it will help you stay organized, and you will never have to worry about where you left your scattered pile of receipts because you can always just print a new one.

Since the last thing you want is a POS that is too complicated or that won't fit your needs, let's take a look at one of the best point of sale systems that you can use precisely for a small, brick-and-mortar business like yours:

Harbortouch Echo POS System

What's so great about the Harbortouch Echo? Well, just about everything, but there are some main features that make it perfect for a business that's just getting started or that needs to finally get organized:

- Easy to Use: Not a computer wiz? Why would you need to be? You're in the café business after all! If tech support is something you simply don't want to deal with (or pay an arm and a leg for), then this is the kind of POS you want at your restaurant. It is extremely easy to set up and includes a wizard that will do all of the heavy lifting and help you to get started. Updating can also be a hassle with most modern operating systems, but you won't have to worry about that with the Harbortouch Echo. It takes care of the updates automatically so you don't have to fiddle with anything to get the latest security features installed.

- Customizable: Your business is unique, so the interface on your point of sale system should be, too. Luckily, the software that runs on these machines is very modular and you can add or remove elements from the screen easily at your leisure. This means that if you have a very simple menu, you don't have to suffer from an overly-busy screen if you don't want to. It also means that you can use trial and error to determine what kind of interface is most efficient for you and your employees.

- Advanced Technology: You want the most advanced software for your store, and thats exactly what this POS is running. The system is cloud-based, so you'll have the convenience of being able to keep an eye on sales and other figures whether you're at your coffee house location or need to step out to address your latest emergency. If you lose Internet access for any reason, though, don't worry: this system is still capable of storing information locally, and it will sync with the cloud as soon as you're re-connected, so you'll have the best of both worlds. This POS is also capable of taking several different payment methods, including cash, credit card, and Apple Pay, so you'll never have to lose a sale simply due to an inability to take your customer's money.

- Great Hardware Overall: This is a very modern, very sleek and well-designed POS system that you'll be proud to have sitting on your counter-top. Unlike the old, bulky registers of yore, this system is thin and easily portable, and uses and extremely intuitive touch interface. The screen even twists around to face your customer so that they can sign off during a credit transaction, and it's just as easy to read and comprehend for them as it is for your employees as it mirrors the mobile interfaces that most of your customers will already be used to. The screen is just about the size of a large tablet at over 13”, so it's certainly big enough to to comfortably use, but not so big that it takes over your counter space. Don't worry about keeping your customers waiting, either, since this system is really fast. It uses a flash storage system rather than the old style of hard drive, so all of your orders can be taken and stored quickly.

- Great Support: As mentioned, the interface is extremely easy to use, but as with any kind of technology things can certainly go wrong. If you find that you need tech support, the company will provide it 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, so you never have to worry about being caught in a tight spot because they are always there to help. Another nice aspect of their support is that if your equipment ever actually physically breaks, they will replace it for you for free.

- Low Cost: Harbortouch offers a few different solutions, but the Echo is the best value. It's one of their cheapest, costing only a small monthly fee (currently less than 40 dollars) to serve a small company with a few employees. Best of all, there is no upfront cost. For just a bit of pocket change practically, you can be up and running immediately, using some of the most advanced POS technology. There are many costs to not organizing your business properly, and considering how much this POS could save you in terms of time and labor, it will pay for itself many times over. So if you're looking for a POS that can serve you and your customers at your coffee shop, the Harbortouch Echo is certainly one of the simplest, easiest, and cheapest options out there.

Wednesday, May 04 2016

​​For a lot of people, being self-employed is their ultimate dream. They'd love to throw off the shackles of the office and travel around serving people who share their passion for whatever it is that they're selling. Of course, it helps if what you are selling is part of a booming business, and the food industry is certainly growing. While other markets contracted during recent recessions, both the restaurant and the food truck business have seen a rise in sales, as people have become more and more interested in convenience. This is a great time to be in the business of food trucks!

So, chances are, if you've just started a food truck business, the sales have been rolling in more or less steadily. Hungry customers are flocking around your mobile restaurant, eager to sample your dishes in the middle of whichever random parking lot you're serving today. You hand them the food, and they hand you cold, hard wads of cash in return...except when they don't.

“Oh, I'm sorry,” says one of your customers, her tone apologetic, if a bit nasally. “Do you take cards?”

That is the question, isn't it? Well, do you? Nowadays, cashless is the way, and if you're only relying on the old locked metal cash box with a couple of rolls of coins thrown in, you're probably missing out on a lot of potential sales. Yes, you can just get an old school stand-alone credit card machine and try to keep track of a million sheets of receipt paper (“Merchant's Copy!”) like they did back in the days when people need to swipe their little magnetic strips—but things are a lot different now, and in the complicated society that we live in, you're going to want a point of sale (POS) system to keep track of sales—both cash and electronic—and to give you some idea of what kind of inventory you used up. The more volume you expect to sell, the more urgent it is to have a POS.

Now, maybe all of the dirty specifics are what have you procrastinating and leaving that old school “cash only” sign outside your window. Maybe you're just confused. Maybe you don't know which POS to choose for your business. Luckily for you, we're about to clarify things a little; let's take a look at the best POS systems, what they can do, and whether they might work for your business:

1) Square: This is the most bare-bones, simple solution if you're looking for the function of a POS without having to learn a complicated interface or pay a huge monthly fee. In fact, Square does not charge a monthly fee at all, and instead takes a small percentage of your revenue. It requires minimal hardware as well, and all you need is a small peripheral that you attach to your smart phone, and from there you can use the Square app to take people's credit card payments. This simplicity and low upfront cost is probably why Square is so popular with people who sell food out of trucks or carts. It requires hardly any capital at all to get started.

Though it is an excellent payment processor that is very inexpensive for those who are just starting, keep in mind that it is extremely basic on the POS side of things. It will calculate tax and other factors, keep track of sales, and offer a few nice stats to look at here and there, it is not as extensive as other systems. If you want something more complex and feature-rich, you may want to look elsewhere.

2) Revel: If you're looking for something that offers better analytics and that can be used to track your inventory as well, you might want to look into Revel. Built specifically with the restaurant business in mind, it won't cost you too much to set it up for a single terminal, and it has a lot of features that other POS systems don't have. For example, it integrates with social media and can be set up to notify your followers of where you are so that they can come find you. In addition, it's a very flexible kind of software that doesn't require any sort of proprietary equipment to use; most kinds of cash registers will do just fine. It may not be the cheapest POS system around, but it is a very high quality choice with a lot of extras.

3) ShopKeep: If you're looking for value, ShopKeep has it. It's not as cheap as Square, but for the amount of functionality it offers as a fully-functioning POS, you can't really find anything on the market that will beat it. It has everything: The ability to modify tax rates depending on where you are, the ability to print and edit receipts, the ability to create gift cards, among many other features. You can also use it to track your inventory, as you can with Revel, and much of your information is stored on the company's own servers, so you don't need to be tied to a specific machine to view your stats. They're a bit more picky about hardware than Revel, but luckily it can easily integrate with iOS, so that may not actually end up being a problem for you.

Another nice feature of ShopKeep is that it doesn't require you to be constantly connected to the Internet, which is great during those times when you're either far away from WiFi or when your 4G Internet cuts out. Once you are connected again, it simply syncs as you would expect.

Now that you have a basic understanding of three of the most popular POS systems for food trucks, hopefully you can move forward and make an informed decision about what sort of set up is right for you. Sometimes it's best to start small and work your way into a more complex system, but of course this depends on what your goals are as well. Good luck!

    Shaw Merchant Group is an affiliate of Total Merchant Services, Total Merchant Services is a registered ISO of Wells
    Fargo Bank N.A., Walnut Creek CA, of BMO Harris N.A., Chicage, IL and The
    Bancorp, Philadelphia, PA.