The Beginner’s Guide To mPOS Systems & Software
Among the many great things that digital connectivity delivers is the chance for small businesses to scale their POS. With mobile POS (mPOS) systems, that opportunity for scalability can provide businesses with POS solutions that are as flexible as their users are diverse.
As familiar as internet-connected, handheld/mobile devices are, though, the definition and significance of mPOS systems remain a mystery to many. And that’s a shame: a portable POS system that works as a countertop system, as a traveling POS, or even in the context of a brick-and-mortar location can be a powerful asset indeed.
Rather than allowing the value of mPOS systems to go unnoticed, let’s instead explore what exactly they are, what they do, and why they’re so important to pay attention to in a post-pandemic world.
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What Is An mPOS? (Video)
What Is An mPOS?
An mPOS (mobile point-of-sale) system is a wireless point-of-sale terminal or payment register that’s used for payment processing. mPOS systems are wireless, cloud-based registers that automatically back up and store customer payment data online. They can be used by businesses with physical, brick-and-mortar locations, as well as online stores.
How Does mPOS Software Work?
mPOS systems outshine their traditional counterparts by delivering all of the robust features you would expect, and then some. With an mPOS, businesses can track their sales numbers and inventory in-person and let customers make purchases online at the same time.
The magic behind the machine is the mPOS system’s mobile credit card reader, which processes credit card payments both in-store and remotely. Businesses not only have the freedom to pick and choose the type of mPOS hardware that best suits the size and scope of their operations, but they also have multiple credit card readers from which to choose to best accommodate their volume of sales, industry niche, and existing business software.
Square, for example, offers a reliable and free-to-use lighting port reader and inexpensive contactless and chip reader that’s perfect for low-volume businesses that may do business both in-store and online. Other card readers, like the ones that come with PayPal’s POS system, probably make the most sense for merchants who want to focus solely on processing PayPal transactions online.
4 Major Features Of mPOS Systems
The market for mobile POS systems is saturated with plenty of solutions, all of them catering to different business niches. But despite the fierce competition between mPOS systems, there remain several major features that should set any decent mPOS system apart from its competitors, regardless of target industry:
- Inventory Management: Download reports on current inventory and update quantities of inventory with mPOS systems that include the inventory management feature. Small businesses can save lots of time by using a system that automates and updates their inventory. Consider an mPOS with the inventory management feature if you plan on permanently adopting mPOS transactions.
- Sales Reporting: A bird’s eye overview of your business’s overall sales numbers can make it easy to break out what sales you’re making and where. Sales reporting through an mPOS can segment your sales figures by the methods your customers are using to pay and the devices they’re using to process transactions. For businesses with established online stores, sales reporting features like those that come with Shopify Lite can also integrate access to a mobile POS on their website through a call to action button.
- Payment Processing: Merchants with an mPOS system become much more flexible when it comes to their financial transaction capabilities. With an MPOS, there’s no longer a reason for businesses to make one location, be it their website or physical store(s), the focal point for their sales. Customers expect the ability to head to a POS with their phone these days.Versatile payment processing such as contactless payment, near field communication, and mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay) easily manages payments customers can make with smartphones as well as their credit and debit cards.
- Employee Management: As if the flexibility in payment processing that comes with a good mPOS system wasn’t enough, merchants can use employee account management to further analyze and dissect their transaction information. Use employee account creation through your mPOS to pinpoint errors in your payment processing and the devices it occurs most frequently with. Need to grant different levels of access to different employees? Configure permissions for each employee account that you set up to enjoy complete control over who can use specific features of your mPOS system.
Benefits Of Using An mPOS System For Small Business
It’s no longer an option for small businesses to sit on the sidelines and watch larger retailers hog the technology. The benefits of mPOS systems are there for the taking, without the need for small businesses to invest in physical real estate for expensive new hardware:
- Low Cost: Small businesses should be pleased to know that mPOS systems have relatively low upfront commitment costs as well as low starting costs to begin using them. A cost-effective mPOS system doesn’t require that merchants purchase new hardware or software to start processing transactions. mPOS systems use cloud-hosted subscription plans that offer affordable upfront costs and monthly payments, which make them attractive to small merchants who want to make their payment processing options more intuitive and convenient for their customers.
- Portability: Some new businesses may not yet have their own storefronts set up (pop-up shops, farmers markets, micro-merchants) and can benefit greatly from a cheap, portable solution that can process credit cards curbside or on the go. Even merchants who may be using a traditional POS at a brick-and-mortar location can cut their checkout lines down to a minimum with an mPOS that they can deploy whenever, wherever.
- Reporting Capabilities: Already-established businesses that may want to participate in pop-up events or launch temporary shops or booths at trade shows or community events can use an mPOS to consolidate and segment their sales reporting. These businesses can then deploy their mPOS system with mobile functions to maximize sales based on their sales reporting results by letting customers complete transactions wherever they may be located.
Does Your Business Need An mPOS?
A mobile POS system may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for every small business, but it can certainly make sense for a wide variety of merchants with different payment processing needs.
Among the most obvious candidates for an mPOS system are merchants who simply need a more convenient and efficient solution for point-of-sale transactions. Retailers in the food and restaurant industry, for example, can use an mPOS to make it simpler for their customers to order food and quickly pay for it, which in turn can cut down on lines and enable completely digitized tipping and receipts.
Retail shops with lots of in-store sales representatives should also consider using an electronic mobile POS terminal to accelerate their sales. These shops can enable their staff to complete a greater number of sales, since they no longer need to confine sales representatives to a single register.
Cafes and food kiosks, too, can use an mPOS terminal to instantly process credit card transactions at a customer’s table instead of at a register at the front of the store.
Interested in obtaining an mPOS of your own? Wondering about what steps you need to take to get one? We recommend that you first select an mPOS provider that’s most suitable for your business needs at a price that’s affordable for you.
Once you’ve chosen an mPOS provider, it’s time to set up your system either by yourself or with the assistance of your POS provider. Remember that you’ll need to start training your employees on how to navigate the quirks of your system, which should be equally clear to both your full-time and part-time employees.
Finally, remember that you’ll want to keep tracking important metrics such as your sales reporting and inventory based on your mPOS performance so that you can determine which products are selling best and which employees are closing the greatest number of sales.
If a mobile POS sounds perfect for your business, it may be time to start looking. Check out the top five things you didn’t know you could do with an mPOS to discover how you can get the absolute most out of your wireless hand devices and card reader.