Why Now Is The Time to Move Your Sales Management to The Cloud

Who hasn’t daydreamed about running their own small business? Maybe you’d operate a used bookstore by the beach, a kolache-focused bakery, or a knick-knack shop downtown. Maybe you’ve already made the leap, and you own your own local grocery or service business.

The reality is a little tougher than picking out a cool storefront name, of course. Running a small business takes just as much work as running a big one, and you need to do it all yourself.

If you’re dedicated to managing a restaurant, gas station, or even just a farmer’s market kiosk, I have one big practical tip that can make all the boring operational chores 1000% easier — get a good POS system.

Out with the old

“POS” stands for Point of Sale, the transaction when a customer buys something from your store, and it refers to the software that you’ll use to check them out. With it, you can easily track your sales and inventory, knowing your revenue, profits, and stock levels at all times.

Traditional checkout systems require a lot of paperwork or static computer records that are time-consuming to manage and at a risk of being lost. But with a modern POS service it’s all hosted on the cloud, so everything is a click away, accessible from any location, and backed up at all times.

POS software has quickly replaced bulky cash registers and spreadsheets full of manually recorded data. It’s just easier — a POS software can crunch the numbers so you don’t have to, it’ll automatically generate weekly or monthly reports when you need them, and you can even set automated notifications to let you know when to restock inventory before it runs out.

More importantly, a POS system does more than just track sales and inventory. The best ones will also help employees clock in and out, let you collect email addresses for marketing campaigns, support gift cards and loyalty programs, and offer up historical data that can guide your decisions around which deals or sales could drive the most business. They’ll let you send email invoices instead of print ones, too, helping your business stay green.

Granted, not every POS system is equal. You’ll still need to comb through all the best POS system software options out there in order to find a trusted brand name that offers the features you need at the price you want.

But when it comes to picking out a single software solution that can serve as the backbone of your entire modern business operation, there’s no doubt you need a POS system.

What about security?

Not everything modern is necessarily better, and online security is a big example. Facebook’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal kicked off a wave of privacy concerns when we learned that Facebook let the third-party company harvest personal data from millions without their consent.

It’s not a great look, and it’s a growing concern across any industry that spends time online. Data breaches, leaks, and phishing attempts are everywhere, and it’s tough to stay totally protected. So, what about cloud-based POS systems?

POS systems are secure because they need to be. A POS vendor wants to protect your data just as much as you do, since they need a good reputation to stay in business. Your interests are mutually aligned. And since it’s all backed up on the cloud, you’re safe from the dangers of physical data loss, like fires or theft.

Still, you’ll likely want to opt for a major POS brand in order to get the best privacy and security. Lightspeed is one example — it has a public privacy policy, and asks its customers to email any security issues so that they can be quickly dealt with.

Square, another top vendor, uses end-to-end payment data security, protecting customer data every step of the way. They guarantee PCI compliance (that’s payment card industry compliance, an operational standard), and due to their scale, they can handle the nuts and bolts of assessors, SAQ requirements, and audits far more efficiently than a tiny Mom and Pop store.

Their efficiencies of scale, the public policies they hold themselves to, their online backups, and their mutual interest in protecting your payment data — these factors all combine to keep POS systems secure.

Cloud-based sales

A slick software service like a POS system might not have quite the romantic appeal of an old-fashioned pen and paper, but it’ll keep any small business owner free to focus on the more rewarding aspects of operating, like crafting marketing campaigns, creating new products, and welcoming customers.