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Smart POS systems vs Traditional POS systems

5 Key Differences Between a Smart POS and a Traditional POS System

If you run a F&B or retail business, you’ll most likely use a POS system to manage your operations and accept payments from customers. However, while technology has advanced rapidly, most POS systems seem to have been stuck in time. Even as forward-looking businesses are looking to cut cords and shift towards mobile technology, many still utilise traditional, stationary POS terminals.

However, it is not just cutting edge companies looking to shift to a smart POS system. Entire countries are already doing the same. Almost all Scandinavian countries are going cashless with even street vendors using an all-in-one POS terminal. This trend can be seen in China, South Korea, Australia and even here in Singapore.

If you are still on the fence about making the switch, here are 5 key differences between them.

1. Cloud vs Local networks

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Traditional POS systems are usually large, bulky machines that run on a closed network. While these are capable of accepting both cash and card payments with the help of external payment terminals, all the data is stored on local servers. This means managers and owners will have to physically access the machines to make any changes or review sales data. 

In comparison, a smart POS system is web-based and runs on cloud services. Smart terminals allow business managers to get real-time reports or access their data anytime, anywhere as long as internet access is available. Product or pricing changes can also be made on the fly via remote access and eliminates the hassle of having to travel to each location to review data and make any needed changes.

2. Cost

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Traditional POS systems tend to have high upfront and operating costs. Hardware purchases, software updates, training, maintenance, customisability, additional modules and more can add up to an eye-watering amount, sometimes up to $12,000!

If any updates to these systems are required, technicians will need to come by on-site to apply the updates which take valuable working time away from the business (and often at a huge cost too!)

A smart POS system on the other hand often follows a subscription model with automatic over-the-air software updates from the service provider. These updates are applied automatically and do not require any effort on your part. Many of these subscriptions also include not just hardware, but also software, training and lifetime technical support, sometimes as low as just $1/day!

3. Ease of Use

Traditional systems are often rigid, difficult to customise and requires hours of training. If your business has a high turnover rate, having to train a new staff can be a very costly and time consuming activity.

On the other hand, smart POS systems work just like any app on your smartphone or tablet. Smart POS systems are designed and created with ease of use and accessibility in mind. Setting up the system is a breeze, and anyone can pick up the terminal and start selling in literally minutes.

Some systems such as Qashier even offer customised industry-specific software. For the F&B industry as an example, they offer a table management system with a customisable floor plan and table layout and allows for order taking and payment at each table.

These systems are also able to help you in other aspects of business management such as on-demand sales reports, manage employee attendance and even build customer databases and run loyalty programs.

4. Hardware

Traditional systems are bulky, heavy and often messy with additional terminals and devices required to accept different types of payments. Additionally, it requires a steep learning curve and lacks frequent software updates.

Smart POS systems, on the other hand, are usually smaller handheld devices that are more flexible for operations and can even be brought to customers.

In addition, some smart POS systems like Qashier are also an all-in-one solution that is able to accept all types of cashless payments. This includes Paywave, credit and debit cards, and common e-wallets such as DBS Paylah, WeChat Pay.

These devices also feature an in-built barcode scanners, receipt printer and a second screen for customers. These come at no additional cost or bulk and are usually costly add-ons for traditional POS systems.

5. Security & Backup

All the data for a smart POS system is stored in the cloud and is highly secure and encrypted. Traditional systems on the other hand stores the data locally on a hard drive which means that if the system crashes, gets stolen or destroyed, all your data is lost forever.

Smart POS systems also perform automatic daily backups of all data, so you can be assured that your data is safe at all times.