There are many things to consider when choosing the best POS solution for your business. Your decision on the system may be based on your need at the time, the aspects of your POS you'd like to address, or even the cost effectiveness, or value of the system. Does the system make your inventory management easier? Will that system enhance or detract from customer loyalty? Can you manage your staff in a few clicks of a button?
The POS solution you employ should be the most efficient, not only for your business but your customer as well. Consumers today want their information protected, and they want the transaction to be as fast and convenient. Some things to be aware of as you make decisions regarding a new POS solution include EMV® smart chip technology, which is especially important since the liability shift took effect in October of 2015, and Apple Pay® capabilities. Depending on the size of your business, you may be looking at your POS system to accomplish more than just transactions. They may be counted on to streamline your consumer's experience, enhance employee management, and increase productivity by improving inventory management.
Two popular systems used in retail settings are the Clover Station and the Square Stand. These POS Solutions differ in some ways, so it's important to understand the value in each of their features and how they would benefit or detract from your business model and current needs.
|Clover Station and FD40 PIN Pad (EMV, NFC, Apple Pay)|
Clover Station (aka; Clover POS)
The Clover Station is an all-inclusive cloud-based point of sale solution for a small or medium sized business. This system is ideal for a small to mid-sized business that wants to utilize the technological updates to enhance their business productivity and increase customer satisfaction. The system is sold as an all-in-one unit, which includes the tablet, station, receipt printer, and cash drawer. This Smart POS is designed for retail, restaurant and service industries as a stand-alone system that replaces the traditional cash register and terminal POS systems. The Clover System is both EMV smart chip card and PIN capable.
Clover allows your business to process payments with the merchant services partner (authorized reseller) of your choosing, rather than locking you into using a proprietary processor. In an earlier article; Merchant Services: 10 Things To Ask Yourself When Shopping Around, this proves to be very advantageous to merchants because you have the ability to shop around for the best pricing per swipe. It's always advisable that you do look very carefully at all of the companies and what their costs are because there's a great deal of money to be lost in those small percentage points.
"Clover's developers, as well as third-party developers, have created over 140 apps in the App Marketplace. "
Along with finding a transaction rate that works with your business, the other aspect of being able to choose a credit card processor is that your card processing company will also be who you call for any customer support on credit card transactions. Controlling who you process with can be positive or negative depending on the level of support your card processing company offers, and it should be one of the things you consider when choosing your payments partner.
The Clover Station is the sleek and durable queen bee in a family of Smart POS devices, and more than just standard payment processing, these devices have the capability to handle all of your business management needs from payroll processing to inventory solutions, with access to its growing App Marketplace. Merchants using Clover can download business management applications that will best benefit their individual needs. This market works much like the Play Store or Apple Store you would use for your smartphone.
Clover's app-driven platform helps users tailor their device to the way they operate. For the merchant, this is fantastic because there are always changes and developments put into motion by forward thinking entrepreneurs. Other static systems would mean waiting until the developers of that particular system thought of and implemented new technology, rather than using a universal App feature, which allows far more creativity. Like the Apps you might download on your phone or other devices, Apps for the Clover system can vary widely in quality and usability. Check the reviews and test the App before making it an essential portion of your business protocol.
Clover Station does offer a few accessories or add-ons, outside of the original price tag, including barcode scanners, a weight scale, kitchen printers, a PIN pad (for EMV® and NFC). The Clover family is rounded off with three more devices. Clover Mini and Mobile, which are scaled-down versions of the station that can be used as a simple, smart payment terminals, or full POS systems. The Mini is a perfect way to upgrade from your Dad's terminal he bought in 1992, and the Mobile works well in restaurants or in businesses where sales people can readily input inventory information and collect payment on behalf of the establishment but away from the register. Last but not least the newest member of the family is Clover Go, an EMV enabled mobile card reader so that you can run transactions from anywhere, with your iOS or Android smartphones.
Clover Station Price Tag: At a minimum, the price for Clover Station should always include - the touchscreen tablet (w/ swivel), the receipt printer (the brain), and the cash drawer. Pricing for additional point of sale hardware and processing rates vary, take a look:
Banks* (Bank of America, PNC, Wells Fargo): $999.00-$2000.00 - Dependent on add-ons and accessories. The lower the price of hardware, the higher the rate. Lower hardware costs can also determine the level of personal attention (customer service) that you receive.
Processors/ISOs*: $999.00-$1599. ($49-$129.00 per month leases are also available, which may be more beneficial for tax purposes) - Dependent on add-ons and accessories. Processors are often able to tailor rates/savings packages to help cover additional hardware costs over time.
*Processing rates vary.
Square Stand (aka; Square Register)
Square Stand is a POS system designed with small businesses in mind especially. This system is priced so that merchants can buy individual parts of the system, rather than a one box price for the whole thing. Each piece is charged for separately - the stand, cash drawer, receipt printer, and iPad. While the stand, cash drawer, and receipt printer have set pricing, the iPad may vary so that the final price tag will depend on the iPad purchased.
|iPad, Square Stand, Cash Drawer, Receipt Printer|
Payments through Square stand are processed through the Square app. This is a benefit to merchants who don't want to do the legwork of researching credit processing companies. The downside is that your business will not be able to move to a less expensive vendor at any point while you're using the Square system. The Square processing will charge 2.75% per swipe and 3.5% + $0.15 per keyed purchases. You should do some research in advance before choosing this system to determine whether or not that pricing meets with current competitors and how well it will work for your business over the long-term. Another aspect to Square in regard to processing is that your customer service will be Square itself, rather than an outside vendor.
Square offers the Square Register App where merchants are able to manage their reporting and download apps to work with their other business needs. Square's own programmers compile the Square Register, so, no independent Apps are being created on this registry. This limits the number of choices in applications available.
Square also offers mobility with the mobile card reader. This device plugs into the headphone jack of your phone and provides a second terminal in store or a place to process outside of your brick and mortar store. There are other accessories available for the Square system, such as printers, bar code scanners, and other items to expand use.
Price Tag: $1,125.00 - $1,325.00 The total price will depend on the iPad price.
Add-ons: Stand: $99, Cash Drawer: $299, Receipt Printer: $299, IPad: $499 - $699
Clover and Square are both very intuitive cloud POS systems and they each have their place in the market. As your business sprouts, Clover has a bit of an advantage with its growing App Marketplace and the fact that you can negotiate a credit card processing rate that works best for you, with a merchant services provider. Square is good for micro-merchants (small businesses with little processing volume) who need to accept credit cards quickly, although the more their business grows, the more that 2.75% per transaction rate will hurt cash flow.
If you have questions about whether your or would like more information, we would be happy to go review your current equipment for you. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (888) 902-6227, or click the link below.
The Clover trademark and logo are owned by Clover Network, Inc., a First Data company. EMV® is a registered trademark in the U.S. and in other countries, owned by EMVCo, LLC. Apple Pay®, Apple, the Apple logo, and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Square and all other trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners.