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Small Business Tips

Everything to know about a mobile POS system

Manasa Reddigari

If your business venture takes you on the go, you need a POS system that's as agile as you. And no system fits the bill better than a mobile POS system. Keep reading to learn what mobile POS systems do and which systems are on the market.

What's a POS system?

The point of sale (POS) is the time and place at which a transaction occurs in a retail or a restaurant setting. Usually, the POS is when money exchanges hands. A POS system is the infrastructure merchants use to carry out such transactions.

You can use a POS system to perform a price check or ring up a product. You can also use it to process a debit or credit card transaction to fulfill a sale or return, or to print out a receipt. Many modern POS systems can also track inventory and sales.

A POS system comprises both hardware and software. Hardware in a standard POS system includes computers, monitors and customer displays. It also includes barcode scanners, card readers, cash drawers and receipt printers. POS software runs on the hardware to provide a user interface.

What's a mobile POS system?

A mobile POS system is a handheld device equipped with technology that lets it act as a standard POS system. For example, a mobile POS system can play the role of a cash register or a card reader in a transaction. The device is usually a wireless and portable device such as a smartphone or a tablet.

How you convert your device into a mobile POS system depends on the system you choose. Some have you attach a companion plug-in card reader into the headphone jack of your phone. Others have you mount your device to a POS hub or stand to start accepting payments. You'll need to download a companion POS mobile app to interface with the hardware.

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Why would I need a mobile POS system?

A mobile POS system comes in handy when:

  • You don't have a storefront. Let's say you run a mobile PC repair business that has you hopping around town to various customer sites. A mobile POS system usually handles transactions on a wireless basis. A standard wired POS system forces you to be in a fixed place to process purchases. And not every business has a fixed base of operation.
  • You need to supplement your standard POS system. A mobile POS system is ideal for those who run a business in part from a store and in part on the go. When you're in the store, you can use the standard POS system. When you're on the go, ring up purchases on the mobile POS system. You'll never miss out on revenue this way.
  • You're on a budget. Mobile POS systems are often cheaper than standard POS systems. If you seek a POS system with a small up-front investment, a mobile POS system is the clear winner.
  • You want to hit the ground running. Mobile POS systems often come with a faster setup and a more lenient learning curve.
  • You want to avoid repair headaches. Repairing a mobile POS system is often both less complex and costly.

Some options for mobile POS systems

Top-rated mobile POS systems include:

  • ShopKeep iPad POS system. This sleek stand turns your tablet into a POS system that can accept cash or credit cards. It is also equipped with features like customer email capture and staff scheduling. The lightweight setup is best for a quick-service business that runs from a kiosk or a stall. But the stylish terminal also works well for those with a fixed storefront.
  • Lightspeed iPad POS system. You can accept payments in a store, at a stall, tableside or on the go with this mobile POS system for tablets. You can even view analytics and track inventory from wherever you are.
  • Square Card Reader. This small square card reader is good for on-the-go entrepreneurs who don't need a host of features. Plug it into your phone or tablet to start accepting magstripe or chip card payments. You'll see the money in your bank in one to two days.

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