Small business owners know budgeting is very important and as such getting value for money is important. One equipment that essential to both large and small businesses alike is the Point of Sale (POS) System. It is common knowledge by now that you no longer have to burden yourself with the usual POS but rather turn to a mobile alternative for your small business. You already have your iPad (or other tablet) and have picked out the eCommerce software provider you are planning on using. But now you need to figure out which pieces of hardware you are going to need. Unlike the older, large terminal based POS systems you are used to seeing, a mobile system provides a level of flexibility unlike anything else. You can use just the tablet and a cash drawer or you can outfit your system with all the hardware bells and whistles you’d expect to see with a regular POS terminal. But what are the pieces of hardware you should definitely get your hands on? Truthfully, that depends on your personal desires and the type of business you are running. A very important note is that there are some items that will always be considered compulsory no matter what the nature of the business may be. Don’t worry you wont have to be “Googling the Universe” to find out what those items are, we’ll list them for you.
Let’s be honest from the get go, of all the items we are listing, the tablet stand is the only one that is an optional purchase. Yet not buying one will present the potential for problems in the future. One of the functions of a tablet stand is protection. It acts as a protective case that shields the tablet from damage when dropped or hit. While tablets might be far cheaper than a full traditional POS terminal, they still aren’t inexpensive and replacing them on a regular basis because of damage can add up quickly. Another bonus of tablet stands is how it adds to the entire aesthetic of a mobile POS system. According to Merchant Warehouse, the cleanliness and simplicity of mobile POS systems are pleasing to both business owners and consumers. The minimalist aesthetic of mobile POS systems provides a great deal of flexibility in design choice (no reason not to decorate your tablet stand if you wish) while reducing clutter on the counters.
Now that we’ve gotten the most optional item out the way (remember it’s still necessary to an extent), we can focus on the compulsory items. A card reader is one of the most important devices you will need, there is simply no going around this fact. It’s either you get one or lose potential sales/transactions. Luckily, you don’t have to get your hands on one of those bulky, bolted down readers. Many eCommerce and business vendors like Shopify sell small card readers that fit in a tablet or smartphone headphone jack. Processing credit or debit card transactions might incur a few additional fees on your part, but not processing the transactions is a great way to drive business away. According to Learnvest, a study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that 25 percent of all transactions are made with debit cards while 17 percent are made with credit cards. That’s 32 percent of all transactions you could potentially miss out on if you don’t have a card reader.
If that little statistic didn’t butter your bread then the research by Dun & Bradstreet should be able to clear up any lingering doubts. According to Seeking Alpha, the Dun & Bradstreet study revealed that people are liable to spend from 12 – 18 percent more when shopping with plastic versus with cash. So having a card reader and accepting plastic transactions might actually help you make more on your sales.
There should be no questions as to how a cash drawer makes this list. If you don’t have one, it’ll be the same as if you didn’t have a card reader; you’ll ostracize the percentage of consumers who only use cash. One study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank found that around 40 percent of all transactions are still made using cash.
Cash drawers might not be particularly small, but they are portable and can easily be hidden under a counter or used as a platform for the tablet stand. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even decorate them to fit in with the rest of your store front décor.
The receipt printer is important however it’s true place lies in the middle of the hierarchy of items we’ve discussed. While it’s definitely more necessary than having a stand, you can bypass this item depending on the environment. An example of such environment is when your at a festival or event vending your products. Under normal circumstances during regular business hours, a receipt printer is a must have. Receipts are necessary for keeping proper record keeping on your end while also providing customers with a copy of the transaction data for later returns or their own record keeping. The IRS suggests you keep all receipts for purchases you’ve made for your business as well as all the receipts for your customer’s purchases. A receipt printer is invaluable in providing you the hard data to keep accurate track of your sales and other finances.
There are a few other pieces of hardware that can help you run your business and make life easier. But the other items are not essential to running a successful business. Barcode printers and barcode scanners might make a number of business processes smoother, quicker, and more accurate, but they aren’t required. It’s up to you in the end to decide which items to get, but you should always make the four we’ve mentioned a priority.