The small business software experts at Intuit and Revel Systems, a San Francisco-based mobile point-of-sale (POS) software provider, are making it easier for salon owners and grocers to ring up sales.
By now, it's becoming fairly common to pick an item off the shelf or to order a meal and complete the purchase right then and there without having to trudge all the way to a cash register. In a bid to improve the customer experience, merchants and businesses of all sizes are turning to mobile devices like Apple's ubiquitous iPad to eliminate checkout lines.
[More mobile POS options: Small Business Spotlight: NCR Silver Mobile POS]
Of course, not all small businesses have the same needs. While mobile POS solutions seem tailor-made for boutiques and other small retail establishments, some other types of sellers and service providers remain underserved by Point of Sale payment technology, particularly salons and grocery stores.
POS Designed for Salons and Grocers
Building on a previous collaboration, Intuit and Revel joined forces again to create the QuickBooks Point of Sale for Salon and Grocery solutions.
QuickBooks POS for Salons is powered by Revel Systems.
"Last year, we launched QuickBooks Point of Sale for Restaurants and Retail, powered by Revel Systems, which addressed a huge need for restaurants and offered expanded solutions for the retail vertical we already serve," John Shapiro, director of product management, at Intuit's Payments division, told Small Business Computing.
Intuit and Revel then turned their attention to the next two largest verticals, and the new products were born from that collaboration. Rather than a simple rebrand of existing products, the companies looked at what sets grocers and salons apart from other small businesses and adapted the technology to suit their needs.
POS Addresses Unique Small Business Needs
As small business owners quickly discover, there is no one-size-fits-all POS solution. The corner coffee shop has very different needs compared to the smartphone repair storefront down the street.
"While several challenges plague today’s business owners, both salons and grocery stores expressed the need for both real-time reporting and a mobile solution that provide anytime, anywhere access," Shapiro said. "However, addressing the reporting needs for each vertical depends, in large part, on the nature of their work. For example, salons and spas are service-oriented, and they build their business on appointments and services/products."
In QuickBooks POS for Salons, for example, features include automated appointment reminders. Business owners can also schedule appointments directly in the POS system, and they can assign employees to specific bookings. Salon workers can also include charges for add-on products and services to individual appointments, and they can set per-employee commissions on products sold.
"On the other hand, we designed QuickBooks POS for Grocery, powered by Revel Systems, with an in-depth inventory management system that allows small business owners to know which items are stocked,” Shapiro explained. Additionally, the new offering provides “clear prices for products sold by weight, as well as support for integrated scales to seamlessly calculate prices." The product also supports price-embedded barcode labels for weight-based items so that the proper price displays when items are weighed and scanned.
"Plus, we added a new CRM and loyalty feature that allows our customers to build their own loyalty program and to offer unique rewards for their customers," added Shapiro.
Mobilizing the Checkout Process
IPads are becoming a familiar sight in retail stores and other small business environments for a couple of very good reasons. First, they can help staffers provide a more personalized and engaging shopping experience. Second, customers get to skip the checkout line, which lets them breeze in and out of a store quickly.
Convenience and a personal touch aside, mobility helps QuickBooks Point of Sale customers keep tabs on how their business performance. "When you integrate mobile solutions into business management platforms such as QuickBooks Online, small business owners have real-time access to their sales data, and they can make better business decisions," Shapiro said.
Do you remember when small business owners lost sales because of a power outage or a service interruption? Those days are gone.
[More small business POS options: 3 Open-Source Point-of-Sale Systems for Small Business]
"With the new QuickBooks Point of Sale for Salon and Grocery, small business owners can still process payments and keep the lines moving even if during a power outage," Shapiro said. "The system saves transactions offline and instantly uploads them to QuickBooks when small business owners can reconnect to the Internet. That gives today's small business owners both the ability to continue taking payments and the confidence that comes from knowing their business can withstand even the smallest outages."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
|Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!|