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What is a Quetzal? Wikipedia—the greatest source of reliable information since August 6th, 1991—tells me it’s a “strikingly colored bird in the Trogon family.”
Though I’m not entirely sure what an Ontario-based point of sale company has to do with a highland bird, it is certainly an eye-catching name that practically brands itself, hence the multi-colored Quetzal in the logo. (And you’ve got to admit this little guy is pretty darn cute.)
Quetzal’s hyper-focus on small, independent clothing and shoe retailers has resulted in a clean, focused, easy to use POS. I’m a fan of the Do-One-Thing-and-Do-It-Well approach, and Quetzal is certainly doubling down on it. By staking their flag in a very particular niche, the company has been able to design with an eye towards a specific set of functions.
Mostly, though, what shines through is the downright thoughtfulness of Quetzal’s implementation. If you’re a member of the group in Quetzal’s marketing crosshairs, you ought to put it directly at the top of the list of POS solutions you’re considering. Read on to find out why.
Quetzal offers two pricing structures and both are ultra-simple:
- Standard Support: $75/month per location (Comes with 1.5 hours of assistance during set up through email support.)
- Advanced support: $100/month per location (Includes 1.5 hours of assistance during set up through email and phone support.)
That’s it. There are no contracts, no setup fees, and both plans come with a free integration with Shopify. Impressive, right? You can also learn more about the software with a free demo. Afterward, you can ask for access to a 14-day free trial if you still need some time to decide.
Cloud-Based or Locally-Installed:
Hybrid. As with most iPad POS apps, Quetzal runs locally on the iPad itself, while data syncs back to the cloud. The norm for this type of architecture is to make your front-end register the heart of the iPad app, with all the back office tasks accessed through the web, but Quetzal puts everything right into the app. You can still log in through the web and have a nearly identical experience, but the interface was designed to mimic the iOS environment so some things, like adding inventory or generating reports, are more easily accomplished on the iPad (once you learn where and what to swipe for quick access to certain functions).
Also, because you’re running everything locally on your device, you can continue to process sales—including credit card transactions—during an Internet outage. Quetzal will sync back to the cloud as soon as your connection is restored. However, if the Internet is lost before you get a chance to log into the app, you won’t have access to the POS at all because your data is downloaded to the device at login. This is unavoidable in cloud-based point of sale industry and is pretty easily remedied with a 4G backup.
Quetzal was designed specifically for small to mid-sized clothing and shoe retailers.
Specific Size of Business:
After 10 locations, it’s time to move to a different POS. This company is not kidding when they say they only want to work with small businesses, and there’s also a solid technical reason for this preference. Rather than continuing to push the software to its outer limits, the developers have chosen to stop at a point where Quetzal works exactly as intended.
Hardware and Operating System Requirements:
Though Quetzal will work on the latest version of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, it was intended to be an iPad app from the get-go. The latest version requires iOS 9.0 or later. The product documentation recommends using the iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro, saying, “Your experience of Quetzal will be the best when running on these latest iPad models.”
Apart from the iPad, you’ll need one or more peripherals as well. Quetzal asks that you contact them directly for the latest list of compatible hardware if you wish to source it yourself. On the other hand, you have the option of purchasing hardware directly from Quetzal. They have recently started offering the mPOP setup from Star Micronics (pictured below), which is a great option for shops with limited counter space since the receipt printer and cash drawer are combined into a single compact device. You can also purchase a hand scanner and chip reader to accompany your mPOP.
Another option is to go through POS Superstore, which offers the Quetzal Starter Bundle containing a one-year single location Quetzal software license, a 16GB iPad Air 2, a Heckler Windfall iPad Stand, a Tysso Thermal Receipt Printer, a roll of receipt paper, and an Ethernet cable for just under $1,000. (Although, the website says they are currently out of stock).
Ease of Use:
Quetzal’s interface is beyond simple to use and seriously attractive. Once you’re in the system, the main screen shows you four smaller windows to choose from: Settings (for setting up location, taxes, users, permissions, and customers), Inventory (for adding and modifying inventory and inventory tags), Register (the cash register proper, and all its attendant tools), and Reports (for reporting, of course). Everything but the Register window requires a username and password to access, and you can set permissions for each user, allowing them to see as little or as much as you want them to. The Register requires a five digit PIN, which is used to track who’s ringing up sales at any given time. If you spend five or ten minutes clicking through each screen you’ll understand quite easily how the system is set up and where every feature resides.
One of the other things that makes Quetzal so easy to use is what I can only refer to as its “intelligence.” For instance, adding a customer to your database normally requires you to put his or her phone number in the Phone Number field and their email address in the Email Address field; then, when you look up the information later, the POS can find what you’re looking for. This isn’t the case with Quetzal, though: you can simply add whatever contact info you’d like in the “Contact” field—a number, email address, regular address, or all of the above—and the software will recognize the format. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I bet a cashier who has to constantly navigate through forms would notice a big boost in efficiency by doing it this way.
Quetzal has also made an effort to make information easy to digest as quickly as possible with visual means of comparing customer rankings. Each customer profile displays three “awards” for revenue, profit, and quantity. Basically, this allows you to see how much revenue and profit each customer generates at a glance. You can also easily access customer data to see their last 365 days of activity and even their entire purchase history. Pair this with the Tag Cloud (see “Product Features” below) and you’ll know in a matter of seconds who your best customers are and what they’re most likely to purchase—all from an iPad you can carry onto the sales floor.
My standard disclaimer here applies: Quetzal does lots of stuff, including all the basics you’d expect. Multi-tender register? Check. Size and color matrix for apparel? Check. Easy discounting? Email receipts? Check and Check. Here, I’m just going to cover features that make Quetzal standout from the rest. I encourage you to hop on over to the features list on the company website to check out the full story (it’s a pretty detailed story).
- Reporting – Where Quetzal’s value becomes abundantly clear is in its reporting functions. Any POS worth talking about is going to have great historical reporting with the ability to filter according to different criteria, and Quetzal does not disappoint: you can check out sales by product, size, color, customer, cashier, date, brand, and more. Quetzal uses historical data to help you plan your future with the Reporting Metrics screen, and more specifically, with the “What to Buy” report. Here you can filter the report to whatever criteria you like and the POS will report the “velocity” at which each item sells. Based on this rate and how many of the item you have in stock, it then calculates how many units you need to buy to stay in stock for the next 2 weeks, 30 days, or 2 months (your choice). Quetzal reporting can also tell you which items in your inventory have never sold. One final note about reporting is that it’s not just confined to the Reporting window (as seen below). Throughout the app, you’ll get context specific reports on most everything you do. If you’re looking at an item in the Inventory Management screen, you’ll also get a report on that same screen showing you historical sales data. If you’re looking at a customer profile, you’ll see his/her complete spending history. At all times, you can even switch between numerical and graphical views.
- Loyalty Program – Quetzal recently introduced an optional native loyalty program. You can set it up to automatically track points when a customer makes a purchase. You can decide how many points a customer will receive per purchase and the number of points that will be required for redeeming a reward. You can also turn this feature off if you’d rather not use it.
- Tag Cloud – This is a more specific (but equally ingenious) way of identifying opportunities with your customers. It works like this: every item in your inventory gets as many tags as you’d like. These tags can represent anything you want as well: you’ve got a green t-shirt with a funny inscription, maybe you tag it with “green,” “t-shirt,” “cotton,” “funny,” and another tag noting the size. Every time someone purchases an item, the associated tags for that item are entered into their own personal tag cloud, which arranges all these words in a visual representation of their buying habits. So, if John Q. Customer buys t-shirts all year long, but only one pair of jeans, his cloud will have the words “t-shirt” and “cotton” very large, front and center, while “jeans” will be much smaller and relegated off to the side of the cloud. This means that with a very quick glance, you or your staff will be able to know exactly what kinds of things to show your customers for up-selling opportunities. And if t-shirts go on sale, you’ll want to make sure John Q. Customer knows about it.
- Back Display – One of the drawbacks of the iPad as a cash register is it doesn’t really allow for customers to watch as things are being rung up. I know I like to see things as they get scanned to make sure I’m being charged what I expected and that the cashier doesn’t accidentally double charge me. With the Back Display, you can sync up any modern mobile device with your terminal to show each item and the running total in a customer facing display, as it’s being scanned in. There’s virtually no configuration required either. Let’s say you wanted to use an iPhone as your display. Just enter the “Back Display” tab on the terminal (iPad) screen, which displays a QR code. Use the built-in camera on the iPhone to scan the QR code and the device will display a web page that’s generated by the POS itself, giving real-time information on what’s being scanned in at that particular register.
- Employee Leaderboard – This employee leaderboard is a great way to strike up friendly competition and fun between your employees. Use the new employee performance leader board to help determine who your top sellers are. You can even get creative and have weekly or monthly sales competitions between your employees. The leaderboard will also track if someone is on a sales streak.
- Daily Sales Thermometer – This feature allows you set a daily sales goal and then helps your employees see how much needs to be sold to reach that goal. If you’d rather not let your employees know how much that goal is you can change it to a percentage instead.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
Accounting: Staying true to the Apple aesthetic, Quetzal supports a direct integration with Apple’s Numbers as its spreadsheet application of choice. Exporting to CSV is also supported, and from there, you can import into Xero or QuickBooks. Quetzal is working to release a direct integration with QuickBooks that will be coming in the next few months.
E-Commerce: Quetzal integrates directly with Shopify, one of the most popular eCommerce platforms among small businesses. Simply add an eCommerce tag to your inventory item and Quetzal will send it directly to your online store.
Marketing: Integrate with MailChimp and use it to easily create email marketing campaigns. This is a recent integration and one that I’m sure will be warmly welcomed by Quetzal users.
Social Media: Quetzal has two social media integrations with Facebook and Twitter.
Compatible Credit Card Processors:
In the US, Quetzal integrates with the Evo Payments International, Velocity, CardSmith, National Discount Merchant Services, and Vantiv mobile payments services. The good news here is that if you’re already working with one of these processors and you like them, you’ll be able to keep using them.
For Canadian merchants, integration with Moneris is your only option.
As for EMV, though chip and PIN is supported through different processors, Quetzal recommends SumUp since it is Europe’s leading mobile processor (and they have been using EMV much longer than we have).
Customer Service and Technical Support:
Most of Quetzal’s support offerings come standard with the license, (you can spend $25 extra a month for the advanced support) but you can also purchase extra training and setup support.
- Knowledgebase – The Support Center is extensive and provides pictures to go along with its explanations. I was thoroughly impressed with this feature.
- Email – 24/7/365 email support is free to all users.
- Phone – Live phone assistance is available during “North American Business Hours,” which I’m told means 7am to 7pm PST.
- Initial Support – 1 hour with a setup specialist comes free with your license. You can also purchase “Extra Mile” support for $250, which means they’ll help you “until you’re happy.”
You can also check out Quetzal’s social media accounts for semi-regular posts about their product and the apparel industry. These accounts include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, as well as a Blog.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
There are not very many reviews about Quetzal on the internet, which could be due to the fact that it’s still a newer company.
That being said I do have conflicting feelings about the lack of an integration with QuickBooks or Xero and I will continue to have those feelings until the integration with QuickBooks occurs. I’m told this will be happening in the next few months. Apple’s Numbers may be a great program that fits in with the whole style and design vibe of Quetzal, while Intuit resembles the Old Guard in a lot of ways; there’s certainly nothing “forward thinking and stylish” about QuickBooks. But millions of people use it, and nobody ever accused an accountant of being too sexy for his shirt.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
There’s very little in the way of positive reviews out there for Quetzal, but that doesn’t mean users aren’t satisfied with this product. (Do you run to the internet to write a positive review everytime you find a good piece of technology? Probably not.) So until others decide to chime in, I’ll list some of the highlights from my own experience.
- Apple Aesthetic – And I don’t just mean that Quetzal’s interface is just as pretty and clean as the Apple interface; it’s also just as intuitive. The entire system was obviously designed to maximize efficiency and user ease since I’ve never encountered a system as easy to navigate as Quetzal.
- Intelligent Reporting – Quetzal steps away from a laundry list of pre-fab reports and, instead, lets you decide how you want your data processed and displayed. From filtering information by product, variation, time, date, employee, customer, etc. to flipping between table and graph views, each report is customizable to each individual merchant’s preference.
- Compact Design – Quetzal is the first system I’ve seen to use Star’s mPOP cash drawer/receipt printer combo system. Trade in your bulky old cash register for a compact, yet powerful POS and maximize your counter space.
- Great Price – It’s always impressive to see a great array of features, but to have them at such a reasonable price is pretty rare. Kudos to Quetzal for offering a robust, yet affordable solution.
Quetzal is an impressive piece of software that, despite its low level of exposure, is deserving of all the praise its more popular competitors are getting. Sure, it has a narrower scope, and it isn’t right for every retail situation, but that’s what makes it so good. The makers of Quetzal identified a niche they could serve, and then went ahead and served the heck out of it. At every level of app design, Quetzal stands above its competitors, from the way it implements the functions you know you need to the way it gives you features you didn’t know you wanted. To continue in that vein, Quetzal will be releasing a new app for iPhones and Apple watches within the next month or so. The app will allow managers and business owners to easily check in on their stores from afar.
For those of you who own the type of shops Quetzal is targeting, this is the POS to check out.