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Having personally interacted with more POS systems than I care to keep track of anymore, I have arrived at the point where I can basically guess the quality of a system based on a cursory glance at the vendor’s website. I’m not sure whether it’s my experience with POS, my “we’re best at everything all the time” B.S. radar, or my woman’s intuition, but I seem to have developed a pretty accurate sixth sense for these things. I have to admit, though, that I underestimated this California-based company and their POS system, talech (yes, with a lowercase t).
In my defense, the website does make the system out to be a fairly standard POS, touting all of the “state-of-the-art” features that have become industry standard: cloud technology, simple and intuitive design, a decent reporting suite, and a passable list of integrations. What I didn’t realize, though, is that talech is evolving so quickly even the web designers can’t keep up. Releasing a new version of the software with bug fixes, general improvements, and new features every 2 to 3 months (sometimes more often), this modest little system has swelled into a franchise-ready POS currently serving over 10,000 users.
Built with advanced inventory features, in-house marketing capabilities, and the ability to integrate with virtually any payment processor, talech takes your standard POS to the next level. Though not without its faults, this software is still on par with its top-ranking competitors, establishing talech as a formidable contender on the POS market.
Read on to learn more.
talech has some pretty competitive pricing, especially considering the level of functionality that comes with the software. You can schedule a 30-minute demo before choosing between two pricing plans:
- Standard, $49/mo ($44/mo billed annually) – The Standard feature set is designed for simple establishments that don’t need more advanced functionality, though it is still capable of handling multiple outlets. Each additional device is $24/mo ($21/mo billed annually).
- Premium, $99/mo ($89/mo billed annually) – The Premium plan comes with features full-service restaurant and retail businesses will need: more advanced inventory management, purchase order generation, a table layout, automatic discounts and gratuity, etc. The $99 (or $89) monthly charge includes two registers. Additional devices are priced as follows:
- 3 to 5 devices, $199/mo ($179/mo billed annually)
- 6 to 8 devices, $299/mo ($269/mo billed annually)
- 9 or more devices, $29/mo for each ($26/mo billed annually)
talech also offers specialized pricing for franchise-level businesses. For a custom price quote, you are asked to call or email talech directly.
Cloud-Based or Locally-Installed:
talech is entirely cloud-based, which means none of your data is housed locally on your devices, but rather stored on external servers. These servers communicate with your device via the cloud and require an internet connection to do so. This, unfortunately, means that in the event of an outage, you’ll only be able to accept cash transactions. You also won’t be able to access your back office. Of course, you can set up backup options in case this happens by purchasing a specialized router or iPads with data plans.
Specific Size of Business:
talech is completely scalable. The pricing and functionality of both plans make it accessible to small single-location businesses, but it is also designed to suit businesses with over 25,000 SKUs and upwards of 25 locations. talech currently serves merchants who are bringing in anywhere from $200,000 to $10 million a year.
Specific Kind of Business:
The feature plan in which you decide to invest is largely going to be determined by the type of business you have. The Standard version of the software is best for cafes, quick service restaurants, food trucks, clothing and book stores, and thrift and gift shops. The Premium version is best for full service restaurants and bars, and more complex retail businesses.
Ease of Use:
Staying true to the DIY model of the 21st Century, talech is designed to be easy to set up and use. Though not the most intuitive system I’ve worked with, your average merchant should be able to get the most essential functions of the POS up and running with little or no help from the how-to articles or technical support. You can watch the support videos to get an idea of how the different parts of the system operate, but the trend is that the basic functions (register layout, hot key and product creation, employee and customer profile creation, etc.) are pretty easily configured, while the more advanced functions may require more assistance. This is to be expected when you’re creating product bundles, generating and tracking email campaigns, and customizing automatic discounts, but all that considered, it’s still pretty easy to use.
Hardware and Operating System Requirements:
talech operates on most iPad models: iPad 3 and 4, iPad Air and Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad Mini 2, 3, and 4. As for your network requirements, you want to have a download speed greater than 3 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1.5 Mbps.
In an effort to make peripheral shopping as simple as possible, talech sells most of its hardware options in bundles geared toward certain business types. For example, the Mobile & Outdoor Events bundle comes with a headphone jack magstripe swipe and a Bluetooth printer. Conversely, the Grocery/Yogurt Shop bundle comes with an iPad stand, chip reader, receipt printer, cash drawer, and weight scale.
Though you don’t have to source your hardware directly from talech, you will need to make sure that whatever equipment you end up purchasing integrates with the software. You’ll want to take a look at talech’s hardware page to make sure you’re getting the correct model numbers.
The feature list found on talech’s website is one of the things that originally led me to believe that the software was less impressive it actually is. It isn’t that the list is short (it’s actually rather long), it’s that the list doesn’t accurately capture talech’s depth of functionality. I’ll try to remedy that by explaining what sets talech apart.
- Register – Aside from basic functions, talech allows you to issue cash back on overpayments, split or make partial payments, capture customer signatures and designate tips on your device. You can also create percentage and dollar amount discounts and assign them as hot keys for easy access. Additionally, you have the ability to customize automatic discounts, stack discounts, and offer loyalty-based discounts to customer groups.
- Cash Management – You can open your cash drawer with a starting till count and track voids, payouts, cash drops, and pay-ins throughout the rest of the day. When you make a payout, you can designate whether it’s for tips or inventory or some other expense with the option to add a note at the bottom. Of course, all actions are tracked by time and employee.
- Customer Management – It’s possible to import your customer list if you’re moving to talech from another system, though you’ll have to send your list to them so they can import it on their end. With these records, you can monitor past orders, view customer metrics (days since last visit, # of visits, total and average spent), and track store credit by customer. Even more impressive is the ability to generate email campaigns that can be sent to your entire database or specific customer groups. What’s more, the system tracks how many customers have taken advantage of the offers in your emails so you know how effective they are.
- Inventory Management – Inventory is certainly one of talech’s greatest strengths, with the ability to create multi-level variations, batch edit products, set fixed or variable prices, and generate product barcodes on a PDF that can be printed from any device (meaning you don’t need to invest in an expensive barcode printer). You can also track product history and performance with the inventory log, and configure applied, inclusive, and flat rate taxes on a per-item or per-category basis. Lastly, talech recently added the ability to create complex products like bundles. This makes it possible to group certain items and sell them as one unit, while still tracking the raw materials that make up the set.
- Purchase Orders – Not every system has the ability to generate purchase orders, let alone offer advanced features to make the process simple. After you’ve created your supplier list and designated which products are from each supplier, it’s easy to pull up a list of products from a particular vendor for a comprehensive list of what needs to be added to your PO. You can set a low count alert, and even set up purchase orders to be auto-generated when stock quantities hit a certain level.
- Employee Management – Aside from the time clock, employee roles, and customizable access controls, you can track employee sales and actions, and even transfer orders between employees for accurate sales data.
- Reports – Though not the most extensive reporting suite I’ve ever seen, it’s got a decent selection. Among other things, you can track all your top performing products and employees, view the inventory log that breaks down your product information, and view customer data that displays when someone was last in your store, how often they visit, and how much they tend to spend.
- Advanced Restaurant Features – Note that these only come with the Premium version of the software: table layout, split and merge orders, assign table positions to items, coursing (assign dishes to be made and served in courses), automatic gratuity, ability to split check by table position (seat). You can pre-authorize credit cards as well, which is helpful when setting up a tab.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
At first glance, it might appear from talech’s partner page that they don’t integrate with many third party business applications. This isn’t entirely accurate, though, since they work with OneSaas, which acts as a go-between for talech and over thirty different programs. This list includes:
talech has also opened their API to certain developers. In the effort to ensure a quality integration and partnership, they’re not offering API access to just anyone, but if you’d like to build an integration you are invited to contact talech about it.
Compatible Credit Card Processors:
talech has partnered with several banks and payment processors to make it possible for you to choose virtually any merchant services provider you would like to work with. They specifically list Elavon and Global Payments as EMV-compliant processors that integrate well with the system, but the actual list is much longer.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
talech’s got some pretty impressive numbers when it comes to their technical support. The company reports an average customer satisfaction rating of 85% or higher, with over 90% of calls answered within 30 seconds and over 75% of problems resolved within the first phone call. And all that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Phone – Available 24/7 with practically no wait time.
- Email – Although this service is also available 24/7, you could be looking at a 12-24 hour response time. I sent an email in around 6pm and it was answered within 2 hours, but if you’ve got a more pressing issue, I would recommend calling in.
- Knowledgebase – If you don’t feel like contacting support, you can always do some troubleshooting yourself with the searchable database of help articles. There are also some training videos covering the basic functions.
- Installation Assistance – If you’re looking for extra help getting started you can hire BoomTown’s professional on-site services for an extra fee.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
On the whole, there’s not much feedback to be found on talech (at least not where I was looking), which is surprising with over 10,000 users. I do know, though, that customers are more likely to leave bad reviews if they’ve had a poor experience than to leave good reviews if they’ve had a great experience. So I’m going to take the general internet silence as a sign that most users are using talech so seamlessly, they don’t feel the need to acknowledge it.
I did happen across two negative reviews that cited specific problems with the system, but they were left almost a year (and several system updates) ago so most of the problems had been resolved or I was unable to reproduce them. That said, no product is perfect and there are still some areas where talech could use some development:
- Reporting – This area is certainly not as robust as it could be, especially for larger and more complex businesses. You might even need a third-party reporting program to supplement the system, depending on your business needs.
- Hardware Limitations – I don’t mean to say that talech doesn’t offer a decent array of hardware capabilities (the ability to integrate a weight scale, for example), but the fact that the register runs exclusively on the iPad is a turnoff for some people. The next step in hardware integration is the ability to run your POS on virtually any platform, and talech isn’t quite there yet.
- Limited Offline Functionality – This is to be expected of any cloud-based software, but many of the top-performing POS vendors have found ways to work around internet outages and keep their systems running almost seamlessly in the midst of them. talech isn’t quite at that level yet, and I’d like to see the company take the next step into cloud-based technology.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
The only positive reviews I was able to find came from the Apple app store where out of eight ratings, seven gave talech five stars. Of course, this doesn’t say much about what people tend to like about the system, but you can find videos from talech users on the company’s testimonial page to get an idea of what people tend to like about it. You’ll hear a lot about its ease of use, accessibility, reporting, and general wealth of functionality and data.
Aside from that, here’s what I personally found most impressive:
- Pricing – For the amount of features you have access to, talech’s monthly subscription cost is difficult to match. Plus, the entire pricing model is set up so the more devices you need, the more you save over other systems.
- Integration Options – You aren’t locked into a contract with a “preferred” credit card processor with this software. Nor are you limited to one or two integrations with third-party accounting, eCommerce, or email marketing programs. Your options abound.
- Food Service and Retail – It’s difficult to offer an all-in-one POS that has the built-in functionality to suit both retail and food service establishments, but talech somehow manages to pull it off in a way that not even ShopKeep can compete with.
What isn’t to like about talech? Sure, the reporting suite could use a little beefing up and the offline functionality isn’t much to brag about (at least not compared to other 5-star rated software), but that’s all I’ve got to complain about. This system already offers an impressive array of features at an exceedingly affordable price, yet talech continues to take it to the next level. They’re already beta testing an integrated online ordering system that is sure to impress, and with the recent addition of the ability to create bundled items, talech seems determined to keep striving for a greater level of functionality and usability.
Though this POS may not be right for everyone, it’s definitely worth a shot for anyone in the retail or food service business. If you’ve taken a look and you still aren’t sure if this system is right for your business, let us know, and we’ll see if we can’t lend you a hand.