EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) systems can be a daunting prospect for shop owners. They are historically complicated and also historically very expensive. Another thing I found was that expensive didn’t necessarily equal good.
A lot of people now check a retailers website before making a trip to the shops, so, if you run both an online shop and a bricks and mortar shop, I believe it is now essential that your website reflects your stock.
You built websites, why are you messing around with POS systems? Good question…
I came into contact with EPOS systems from the perspective of a web designer. I was being commissioned to build online shops and then people started to ask me about EPOS systems for their bricks and mortar stores. I found that many EPOS systems offered their own online shop package, usually at a huge expense and with very limited functionality and in some cases (ahem Cybertill) like they were coded in the 80’s. I also noticed that many were dependent on very specific hardware, which is just plain daft (especially if you build websites for a living), usually that “required” hardware was excessively priced for the spec.
The situation was that I could build great online shops on software like Shopify, Magento and Drupal Commerce but, was struggling to find similarly good POS systems. When I finally started to find some they didn’t have a way of connecting with the website software to keep stock levels etc up to date.
I tried quite a few options. Lightspeed for Mac (Lovely software if you have money to burn), Erply POS (an online offering that is good but buggy when connecting to your online shop), Drupal Commerce POS (Beta software that requires extra work, but, is a superb start by the developers).
After a few trial runs I finally found my favourite solution. Some developers in New Zealand released Vend POS, and not long after it came with a Shopify Connector. Both systems are subscription based which really cuts down initial spend and is something that you can factor in better with the accountant. Vend is pretty much platform independent, If you have an iPad or a PC/Mac that can run Google Chrome you are pretty much good to go.
A bit more on Vend
Reasons to be cheerful…
Works on Most Devices
Mac, PC, iPad or Android Tablet all you need is a modern browser. No need for over priced specialist hardware.
Vend runs in the cloud and uses the same security as most banks. Even if your internet connection drops it continues working offline. Oh and its fast.
Syncs nicely with Shopify
I think shopify is great ecommerce software and Vend is great POS software. They sync for free and that makes it super software.
Inventory = Managed
Powerful inventory management that simplifies purchase orders, transfers and stock-takes.
Software as a service means you pay a modest (depending on your needs) monthly fee and can cancel anytime. No massive upfront payments.
Customers = Happy
Keep track of your customers and turn them into Loyal customers with Vend’s reporting data.
Always up to date
Never worry about that software update you need to make, it is all managed for you
Completely portable POS with wireless receipt printing, cash drawer and barcode scanning.
Integrate Your Accounts
Vend integrates with Xero online accounting software as well as exporting spreadsheets
Reasons to cautious…
Vend is designed for people who are familiar and generally comfortable with computers.
Vend’s target market is not supermarkets, it is designed for lower volumes of sales. Like clothes or coffee shops.
Vend doesn’t have a repairs module (yet). It does have a very robust api in case you wanted to get one made though.
If you don’t want to use Shopify you will need a third party connector to hook it up to Magento or other popular Shopping cart software.