How to Choose an iPad Till System for Your Business

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 19:00
 How to Choose an iPad Till System for Your Business

Thinking of starting a business? Then you’ll need to select a till system, and an iPad based solution is fast becoming the standard option for small businesses.

But the iPad itself is just one aspect of a till system that you’ll need in order to start selling. Choosing the software that the iPad uses is also a critical choice. And, finally, you need to think about the additional components that will enable you to take cash and card payments as well as issue receipts to customers.

A complete till system – all powered by an iPad – is high-powered and cost effective. Here’s what you need to know in order to make an informed decision about what components are required for your business.

Why use an iPad-based till?

Till solutions used to be based around specialist hardware. This was far more expensive, harder to use, and generally less flexible in meeting the specific needs of small businesses.

Nowadays small business owners are lucky. iPads are common, cheap, and reliable. They also make great business devices because, as well as being dependable, they are also simple to use. The Waffle Shack, who use an iPad-based till solution, find that ‘the system is very easy to train staff on’.

And it’s extensible: you get to build the exact till system that your business needs. Maybe you work on the road at markets or maybe you have multiple tills in a single, fixed location. An iPad-centred till solution works well in both situations.

With the iPad housed in a stand of your choosing, you have full control over the look and feel of your store. You no longer have to build your brand around a grey, large, and clunky till.

What to look for in iPad-based till software:

The iPad is the hardware at the centre of your till system but you need software to actually process sales and take payment. There are several options for point of sales apps these days, and choosing between can seem confusing.

Look for software solutions that let you try out the app first. This way you can decide if the app offers all the features your business requires but not so many that you and your staff would be overwhelmed. Support is crucial, too. Consider till apps that offer 7-day-a-week help; you never want to have to turn customers away because the system isn’t functioning.

For small businesses, logging sales through a high-quality app has clear benefits: ‘everything can be traced, everything can be tracked, I can go through at any point and find out an anomaly and it’s really, really easy for me to trace that, so it keeps my accounts much more precise’, says Sebastian Collins of the Soho Theatre Bar. Selecting the right app for your till system – and having access to all your sales data - can really pay off in the long term.

Other hardware to consider as part of your electronic point of sale system:

The iPad and sales app are the ‘nerve centre’ of your till system, but you’ll also need additional components for a seamless sales experience for your customers.

A payment terminal is necessary to process card payments, and iZettle is a great option. If you accept cash – and not every business does these days – you’ll also need a cash drawer.

A receipt printer can be added to your configuration and, if you choose a compact, wireless model, it doesn’t have to dominate the area around your till. Other components, such as a barcode scanner, can be incorporated as dictated by the requirements of your business.

The iPad-based point of sale system is a great option for small business

With an iPad powering your business, you can be flexible with how you coordinate your retail space and till area, crafting a sales experience that reflects your brand and pleases your customers.

The iPad is itself a powerful computer and as you log sales and take payments you’ll generate useful business data. The back-end of your business will run far more smoothly when you take advantage of this data, and the best till apps will automatically generate sales reports that give valuable insights into what’s working well and what’s not.

A well-chosen till system will do far more for your business than simply allow you to take payment. The best till software makes the sales process quicker and easier for your staff, and also provides you with the insights you need to make data-driven decisions and grow your business.

Nick Blackbourn