- 5 comments
- Updated on:
- Review by: Elizabeth Cranston
- Date Established
- America & Australia
- Fast payment option for checkout
- Strong marketing options
- Reasonable pricing
- Not particularly intuitive
- Glitches in the software
Kounta is the flagship POS product offered by a recent start-up (which is also called Kounta). Among the software’s many talking points—and there are many—are its cross-device compatibility (it will work on just about any hardware), online/offline functionality, and versatility in relation to the number of distinct markets that it is able to cater to. Whether you are responsible for running a restaurant, a retail store, or a beverage-based business, this comprehensive POS solution is well-worth your consideration.
Part of director Jason Seed’s philosophy, one that is reflected through Kounta’s cross-device usability and extensive “add-on” options (explained fully below), is that POS software users need to be able to quickly adapt to market changes and their infrastructure needs to be flexible enough to adapt to them as well.
It’s clear that Kounta is trying to achieve two things. It wants to be comprehensive in its market reach and flexible as far as new technologies and innovations are concerned (the latter, as I mentioned, is largely achieved through its huge array of add-on options). At first glance, this seems like a reasonable pursuit. But in trying to be too many things, you run the risk of becoming a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Even Clover Mini, a popular and well-designed module-based product, can take some heat for overextending. And though Kounta is a solid piece of software that may be right for your business, I sometimes feel that it lacks some of the intrinsic feature-richness of other services. At a time when many POS companies are specializing in specific industries, the question you need to ask is whether or not you and your business might be suited for a more focused solution.
Nonetheless, if you are the kind of business owner or manager who values the ability to readily utilize emerging technologies, or if your business is such that early adoption is important, Kounta might be an absolute no-brainer. Let’s have an in-depth look at the features.
Don’t have time to read an entire review? Take a look at our top rated Point of Sale solutions for a few quick recommendations. Every option we present here offers excellent customer support, detailed user interfaces, and easy-to-use software, all for a reasonable price.
Table of Contents
- Hardware and Operating System Requirements:
- Cloud-based or Locally-Installed:
- Specific Industry:
- Specific Size of Business:
- Ease of Use:
- Integrations and Add-Ons:
- Compatible Credit Card Processors:
- Customer Service and Technical Support:
- Negative Reviews and Complaints:
- Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
- Final Verdict:
Kounta provides four pricing options: Lite, Sell, Manage, and Extend. Lite, the free option, is capped at ten daily transactions and isn’t a serious option for most businesses; it works as an indefinite trial version. Of course, if you’re an independent dealer and only have to handle a couple high-ticket sales a day, then this plan could be a possibility. Aside from Lite, Kounta offers three basic plans, each with access to different features.
- Sell, $50/month – This plan includes one device and access to the basic functions of Kounta. Though you can have an unlimited amount of users, transactions, and products, you do not have access to advanced inventory management, reporting functions, or other features such as employee management, table layouts, bump screens, or gift card capabilities.
- Manage, $100/month – This option includes two devices and some additional features, including advanced reporting and inventory management, bump screens, and various integrations with accounting, CRM, and staff management software.
- Extend, $150/month – This plan includes three devices and the full suite of features that Kounta offers. You can also add additional devices to this plan for an extra $25/month per device.
Hardware and Operating System Requirements:
Kounta apps need to be run on a desktop, an Android device, an iPad, an iPhone or an iPod. The minimum requirements for each device are as follows:
- iPad – iPad mini 2/iPad (3rd generation) or newer running iOS 7.
- iPhone – iPhone 5S or newer.
- iPod Touch – 5th generation or newer.
- Android Tablet – 4″ screen size, 1GB RAM, a 1.4Ghz processor, running on a 4.4 operating system.
- Windows PC – 1024 x 778 screen resolution, 4GB RAM, running on Windows 7 or newer.
- Windows Tablet – 1024 x 778 screen resolution, 2GB Ram, running on Windows 7 or newer.
- Apple Computer – 1024 x 778 screen resolution, 4GB RAM, running on OS X 10.6.8.
Normally, I’d also go about listing the various printers, scanners, and cash drawers that can be used with Kounta, but they all vary depending on what device you’re actually using to run the software. So instead, if you click on any of the categories above (iPad, Windows PC, etc.) you’ll be taken to a page where you can find lists of compatible peripherals for each system. Also, note that you can use multiple types of devices on the same platform (i.e. use Windows, Apple, and Android in the same store). It will just require a specific hardware configuration.
You can purchase hardware directly from Kounta and take advantage of any number of their customizable bundles. Keep in mind, though, that you do not have to purchase hardware from Kounta directly. Do your research, check to see what models you need, and see if you can’t find them somewhere else at a cheaper price. If my years of penny-pinching have taught me anything, it’s that you can save hundreds of dollars by spending a little extra time online looking for the best deals.
Cloud-based or Locally-Installed:
Kounta is completely cloud-based. All information is stored in the cloud and the front-end POS is managed from either an app or, if using a desktop, within a browser. Potential periods of downtime have been taken into account and the software is completely functional when there isn’t an active Internet connection, during which period transactions will be queued until a connection can be reestablished. If you have integrated your credit card processor with your POS system, though, you won’t be able to accept credit card transactions offline. Kounta also points out that they have focused on developing top-notch cloud security for the purpose of storing information.
Due to the fact that it is essentially retail POS software with restaurant capabilities, Kounta is suitable for quick-service food outlets and coffee stores that also have seating and table service. Because of the tab options, bar owners will find a lot to like too. Kounta is also designed for restaurants proper and even hotels. The main draw for people in these industries would be the huge array of integration options.
Specific Size of Business:
One of the key features of the software is the ability to manage multiple sites from a central management area, which makes it ideal for mid-sized businesses. I’d also say that since the recommended pricing plan is Manage, which only offers two devices, the company’s target market is clearly small to medium sized businesses. If you are responsible for running a single store or a small chain, then Kounta is particularly well suited to your needs.
Kounta also offers enterprise-level plans with multiple locations, brand management, and “an additional layer of expertise, enhanced features, project management and support on top of Kounta.” If you’re looking for a POS system designed to handle larger franchises, I’d look into systems (like Revel) with established reputations and time-tested reliability.
Ease of Use:
Kounta works largely through add-ons, which are essentially modular additions to the core software. Whenever you choose a new add-on, most of which are free, a small tab will appear in the appropriate section of the back-office. For example, if you run a restaurant and need to add table management functionality to Kounta, you will have to navigate to the add-on section and choose to add “Kounta Tables,” after which the option becomes available to you in the register.
The problem with this approach is that it’s incredibly unintuitive. For much of the mobile POS software that I’ve reviewed, basic setup takes a matter of minutes. I can upload the main inventory, add employees, and configure all the hardware without any headaches at all. With Kounta, on the other hand, it took me over fifteen minutes to just figure out how to add employee time and payroll management, let alone learn how to use it. And to have to do that for every feature beyond the basic POS is time-consuming, to say the least. Another frustrating quality of the software is the need—once you’ve added your desired features—to then backtrack through all the different areas to find out where they have appeared so that you can access them. Kounta has also included links to their “partners”—service providers that will set up your hardware for you—very prominently in the back office sidebar. The cynical part of me smells an affiliate fee in there somewhere.
All this said, the POS apps themselves are reasonably good. Once you’ve managed to navigate your way through the somewhat demanding back-office infrastructure, making sales is child’s play. All of the products, with pictures, are displayed on the front screen, organized into pre-defined categories, and accompanied by a very simple search function. Items can easily be deleted using a button in the top right corner, and you can add customers directly into the database when creating bar tabs, which is, again, a very easy-to-use and often neglected function.
- Inventory Management – Kounta’s product management features are comparably robust with the ability to add an unlimited number of items and the ability to track dishes by their raw ingredients. Adding a product is a simple process in which you are able to define tax by zone, location, and item (there’s also the typical bulk import/export options). You are also able to track modifiers and variants as they are added to products. The system features useful stock control features, which means you can define how a product is purchased (by box, carton, individually etc.). The wastage management add-on, which will track the number of wasted products, is beneficial for tracking and discontinuing detrimental products. Finally, you can utilize product tags to create your own taxonomies, which can make for easier searching at the front-end.
- Employee Management – Kounta is the first POS software I have ever used that requires new employees to verify their email address before they can be fully added. Once your employees have opted in, you can manage permissions and pin numbers easily through individual user pages. Time and attendance tracking are available through a simple add-on or you can choose to integrate with Nimble or Deputy, both third party services offering more advanced employee management functionality.
- POS Interface – The front-end is simple and intuitive, unlike the back-end. Employees can log in using a simple PIN that is defined in the back-office. You can easily add modifiers and variants to an order, adjust for discounts, and delete/modify sales. The option to input tips is available too, but you will need an add-on for that. The good thing about the tips function is that the POS records them separately, making it easier to allot the right amount of cash at the end of the day. There is also a limited managerial capacity for device users, such as the option to record money in and out and finalize takings. As far as I’m aware there’s no gift card integration but, with the discount options, it shouldn’t be too difficult for small business to establish a program if they desire to. The tab feature, which allows you to keep a running balance for a customer, is another plus.
- Fast Cash – One of Kounta’s standout features is the “fast payment” option. Rather than being taken directly to the checkout screen, you are able to choose between either “Fast Cash” or “Check Out”. “Fast Cash” automatically opens the register for you, with no intermediate steps. This could prove to be an incredibly useful function during hours of peak traffic. Even with the normal “Check Out” button, you have the ability to add other fast-style payment options, such as fast card payments. If you choose to check out traditionally you will be taken to a verification page where you are given the option split the bill, then on to a calculator to enter the amount.
- Customer Relationships and Marketing – Because of the array of integration options, Kounta’s strength in relation to customer management is the functionality it offers with third parties. You can organize loyalty reward schemes with “Collect Rewards” and sync with a variety of mailing list providers such as MailChimp. You can also use “lists,” an option to design specific price lists for certain times, by day or week, which allows you to run offers and regular promotions (happy hour, for example) to target specific customers with offers or unique prices on events. The ability to add customers directly to the native database at the POS is also useful for marketing purposes.
- Reporting – Again, the main benefit of Kounta here is its scope for integration. You are able to choose from a variety of deep analytics providers from the add-on modules. If you aren’t that bothered about in-depth reporting, Kounta also has its own basic in-house reporting tools that will allow you to, among other things, track sales, profits, and stock levels.
- Security – Kounta makes it a point to boast about the precautions the company takes to protect your data, stating that they use “skilled resources, network redundancies, religious data back-ups, up-to-date security, external security audits, and intrusion detection” in their efforts to provide “uninterrupted, reliable service.”
Integrations and Add-Ons:
Kounta can integrate with an array of third-party services and this is perhaps its biggest selling point. Tying in with the company’s core philosophy of running POS software that is able to adapt to more or less every major innovation relevant to consumers, the “add-on” section fills up a big space in the back-office. Here’s a run-down of some options:
- Mobile Payments Apps
- Customer Relationship Management
- Collect: An advanced rewards system that allows users to manage their points’ balances and rewards from their phones. It essentially offers an easier way to directly reward your customers.
- MailSync: An intermediary mail syncing service that allows you to sync the native KB database with a variety of third-party providers, including AWeber and MailChimp. Kounta has been clever in choosing this particular add-on rather than a specific email marketing client as it hugely increases the number of services you are able to choose from.
- Employee Management
Kounta also features an open API that you can use to develop your own integrations and add-ons.
Compatible Credit Card Processors:
Any credit card processor that is compatible with EMV card terminals can be integrated with Kounta. Not surprisingly, integration works through the “Credit Card Integration” add-on and is a relatively simple process. Kounta lists its preferred processors as Vantiv Integrated Payments, Moneris, Cayan, and Axia. There is a unique app for Tyro integration, which is a good option if you are based in Australia. Kounta also offers an integration with Kounta on Albert in Australia only.
You can, of course, use a non-integrated payment terminal by setting up a custom payment option, which will require manual entry of sales data.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
Kounta offers a couple sources of technical support and general customer service:
- KTV – KTV is a free online resource from Kounta. It is stocked with Kounta training videos and “showcase” videos that provide educational insights into Kounta and POS in general.
- Community Forum – This is a fairly active forum where users can ask questions that may or may not be answered by a member of Kounta’s support staff or another user. This option seems more useful for making feature and integration requests.
- Knowledge Base – The knowledge base consists of various troubleshooting articles and feature guides. Most of them are organized in a step-by-step fashion and aren’t exactly comprehensive, but they should be able to provide the first level of support.
- Messaging – This is a feature available from any of the pages on Kounta’s main site. I submitted a question that wasn’t immediately answered in the chat feature but in an email sent later. In any case, I wouldn’t suggest going there with any pressing questions or problems.
- Email – Some of my emails to customer support were answered in a timely manner and some went unanswered. So when it comes to email support, you might receive help and you might not.
- Phone – Phone support is included through partners on the Sell plan and through Kounta on the Manage and Extend plans. You can find a list and contact information in the POS interface. These partners can also provide hardware and integration setup support as well as training services.
- Videos – Kounta also has a Youtube page that has quite a few helpful videos. The videos cover a nice array of topics in a pleasant Australian accent. Like the knowledge base, they’re not completely comprehensive, but they’re helpful for navigating the somewhat tangled back office features.
- Social Media – Though not really a place to look for technical support, Kounta also has a blog and some social media accounts, including a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and a LinkedIn account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
There aren’t many negative reviews that I could find, which may be good, or it just may be that Kounta hasn’t been around long enough for me to find much feedback. Either way, I only have a couple qualms with the software.
- Ease of Use – This isn’t a huge problem, and I’ve seen many other systems where this is a much bigger problem, but Kounta’s back office could stand a more intuitive design. Some of the features are hard to find and others are just confusing to use. I understand that the more advanced the feature, the more complicated its use is going to be (in theory), but there are many competing POS systems out there with increasingly easy to use interfaces. Even those who like the system mention the less-than-intuitive back-end functions.
- Poor Initial Support – Most of the user reviews that I read positively mention Kounta’s customer service so you’ll have to take my experience with a grain of salt, but with little to no response to any of my attempts to contact them, I am not impressed. Maybe they have great customer service once you’re subscribed to a paid plan and just can’t afford to allot time and resources to people who might never end up paying for the service. But if that is that case, what kind of business model is that? I have to wonder how many potential customers have abandoned Kounta before subscribing, simply because a couple emails went unanswered.
- Glitches – There have been a couple scattered reports of technical glitches being brought on by system updates. This is a good/bad scenario since it is good that Kounta performs regular updates and upgrades, but bad that the updates bring in new problems.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Positive reviews, as I’m sure you can understand, focus largely on the huge array of integrations and of the ease of using them in the context of the software.
- Price – The reasonable pricing is often cited as a positive quality of Kounta.
- Integrations – The plethora of integration options is a hit among many Kounta customers.
Though Kounta has a handful of solid unique selling points that mark it out from its competitors, my feeling is that too much time has been spent on developing these at the expense of strong core functionality. What’s left is a relatively feature-rich but confusing product with limited customer support and an unintuitive design. There’s too much going back and forth in the back office management area and too many instances of being directed to third-party websites to learn how to properly use integrations.
That said, Kounta is not without its upsides. The sheer range of add-ons will make this POS system an attractive option for many business owners. Whenever a new service comes along, it doesn’t need to be programmed into the software’s core functionality; rather, the add-on section can simply be updated, thereby allowing the user to decide if they want to use it. If you’re the kind of person that loves being up-to-date and in-sync with all the latest technologies, then Kounta is sure to scratch that early-adopter itch.
So what’s the final verdict? Kounta is definitely worth a try. With a unique POS like this one, I imagine that much comes down to personal taste. You might find that you enjoy the add-on system and the power it gives you over the core functionality. You might like the intuitive front-end design and feel that having an array of integrations at your fingertips is a beneficial quality to bring to your business. Then again, you might not.
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