The iPad as a Point of Sale Terminal

Apple, Gadgets, iPad, iPad apps


It sound an implausible design: putting up a consumer-level tablet as a replacement for specially designed hardware and software. When you think about it, though, it makes a lot of sense. Suppliers such as Shopify make it simple to source hardware solutions to use with this particular point of sale solution. As retail businesses, having a point of sale terminal that is cheap, portable and relatively maintenance free enables us to have a much more efficient and profitable business. The benefits the iPad offers to a regular business owner is very wide in its scope. Taking each of these into consideration we can build a picture of how the iPad would benefit a business by being employed as a point of sale terminal.

Tablets and Affordability

The first iPad was released in 2010, and with each new iteration the device has gotten sleeker, more powerful and with a wider range of options. The current generation offers a stylish tablet with functional apps that can perform almost any task that a full-sized computer can. The affordability of iPads give them a distinct edge over other more traditional hardware options for point of sale terminals. The average selling price of the iPads have been in steady decline since its introduction in 2010. This bodes well for businesses that want to integrate it into their point of sale system. Even if the price had remained at its most expensive point, it would still be hundreds of dollars cheaper than implementing a dedicated point of sale system. The simple installation fees for directed solutions like that usually run up to tens of thousands of dollars easily. The iPad makes it far more affordable for a business to adopt a point of sale system.

Low Maintenance Costs

The iPad is an Apple device, which means to say it just works. Because of Apple’s strict control of its app store and the hardware that goes into each iPad, you can count on the stability of each iPad without having to upgrade it every now and again. This is in direct contrast to traditional point of sale solutions. It is not rare to see traditional point of sale solutions charge a fee for each licensed register in the system as well as up to 20% of their total cost yearly for maintenance. The iPad cleverly diffuses this problem by providing a solution that at most charges you a yearly fee for use of their cloud storage and a one-time fee for use of the app that manages the point of sale logistics. Once again, the use of the iPad is quite a lot better in terms of the bottom line for the business owner.

Less Downtime

One thing that users of traditional point of sale solutions tend to look warily at is downtime. This can be due to either a failure of the main server or because upgrades are necessary to the point of sale terminal itself. The iPad manages to deal with both these problems in a very non-invasive way. Apple’s devices make use of the iCloud, an apple storage system that operates redundantly off site. This makes sure that whatever data the iPad deals with is stored in a safe, secure location in case of any mishaps with the device itself. Mishaps do happen from time to time, but the cloud storage solution ensures that the downtime for each terminal is minimized and all the relevant data is recovered. The iCloud is also very useful for pushing upgrades out across the system. Cloud upgrades have the benefit of being installed in the background, leaving the terminal to operate in the foreground. This ensures that business can proceed as normal without having to take the terminal offline for a complicated upgrade solution.

Easy to Learn

Point of sale terminals tend to be hard for new users to get used to their interface. Sometimes resulting in multiple errors during the first week or couple weeks of operation. The iPad once again stands above the traditional point of sale terminal. Because of the widespread availability of Apple products, the user interface is familiar, meaning that cashiers don’t have to worry about relearning how to use the system. The benefit is that there is a seamless cross over from whatever system that is currently being used to the new iPad-based point of sale system. Training can cost both time and money and implementing the iPad keeps the negative impact on the business to a minimum.

The iPad as a point of sale terminal is only just beginning to gain acceptance. The sheer benefits it can give to a business make it a very viable alternative to regular point of sale solutions. Managers can rest assured that their data is safe from a crash at all times. Employees can grasp the changing face of their retail section and adapt accordingly. The business sees less downtime and more efficient operation as well as a huge cost benefit over the long run. Adopting the iPad as a point of sale terminal can only end positively for any retail business.

Tech Digest Correspondent
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