For years, retailers had been waiting for a great tablet computer, and they now have one in the Apple iPad. Only a few months after the iPad's announcement, a July 2010 mobile retail study by Forbes found that 73 percent of retailers had already begun some type of mobile initiative. A powerful, lightweight and easy-to-use tablet device would allow retailers to move point of sale (POS) solutions from behind the cash register and onto the sales floor. With Apple’s iPad and iOS, software vendors now have a device and platform to develop great retail applications. Retailers have three main options when they want to use point of sale software on their iPad:
- Point-of-sale iOS applications. Many of the biggest retail software vendors are beginning to offer iOS apps in addition to their other solutions.
- Web-based POS software. While not specifically developed for the iPad, these applications can be accessed via the iPad’s Safari web browser.
- iOS payment processing applications. Combined with a credit card reader attachment, these applications can process transactions from anywhere.
Point-of-Sale iOS Apps
To help users with their search, we’ve put together a list of our ten favorite retail iOS POS applications.
|Software license||Warehouse management, inventory lookup, CRM, and point-of-sale functionality can be found in Celerant’s M-Commerce application. The Command Retail M-Commerce module is compatible with the iPod Touch/iPhone and iPad.|
|Software license||Just announced a month ago, the Retail Mobile Store application from Epicor is a full-featured solution, compatible with all Retail Store 6 versions. Runs on iPod/iPhone, iPad and Windows/PC mobile devices. Users can use the App Builder to customize the menu layout.|
|Software license||Great solution for liquidations, festivals and sidewalk sales. WinGo is a combination of WinRetail and Micros’s Xstore. Compatible with iPod Touches/iPhones and iPads, the app combines sales processing with back office management, including inventory lookup and analytics.|
|Software license||Can perform price lookups, accept on-screen signatures and email receipts directly to customers. Integrates with Linea Pro barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader. Designed for the iPod Touch or iPhone 4, an updated version will likely be deployed soon for increased iPad customization.|
|POSLavu||Monthly subscription||Ideal for restaurants. PCI compliant, native-iOS application that runs on iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and iPad. Integrates with cash drawer hardware and server-based printers.|
|Revel Systems||Monthly subscription||Designed for both restaurants and small retail operations. Offers fifteen custom reports, including a PLU and employee checkout report. Features include ordering and management modules.|
|Monthly subscription||CPMobile is useful for retailers that want software to perform line-busting when checkout lines get backed-up. Runs on iPod Touch or iPhone 4 only. Integrates with both server-based and Bluetooth printers. Radiant offers compatible third-party infrared scanner and credit card reader cases.|
|SalesVu||Monthly subcription||Single-device license is free, while additional devices are $9.95 per device each month. Includes cloud-based enterprise management, reporting and integrates with Facebook. Offers a free credit card reader and flat 2.7 percent credit card processing rate.|
|Monthly subscription||iPad application specifically for jewelers. Includes order customization, customer history, jewelry ranges for browsing customers, quoting and stock counting - in addition to core point of sale transaction processing.|
|ShopKeep||Monthly subscription||Great for food service, gift shop, and other specialties. Offered as both a native iPad and web-based application. Solution is compatible with cash drawer and wireless printer hardware.|
Web-based POS Software
Web-based POS solutions can be accessed via the iPad’s Safari browser, but these solutions weren’t initially developed with the tablet in mind. As such, the user interface can be awkward to navigate without a mouse, and the iPad’s on-screen keyboard cannibalizes some of the screen space. That being said, using web-based applications is great for retailers looking to use an iPad for certain occasions, while still primarily relying on a desktop computer. Solutions from ECR Software, NetSuite, MerchantOS, RICS Enterprise, and RunIt are a great place to start your search.
iOS Payment Processing Applications
Some retailers only need a device to process credit card transactions and keep purchases in a centralized location. The iPad is a great device to help retailers in this regard, and software developers have put together some great application and hardware combinations over the last couple of years. Most applications also come with a free card reader if retailers enroll in a merchant services account. Popular applications include Square, Intuit GoPayment, and Swipe by AppNinjas.
Have you used any of the retail applications above? Do you use a point of sale application on your iPad that we missed? Please leave a comment or get in touch with me through Google+.
Thumbnail image created by Blake Patterson.