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Using an iPad for Point of Sale

by Tillpoint Editorial Team 15 May, 2017

Throughout the last decade there has been a steady, unrelenting decline in traditional point of sale systems. The slow death of the cash register is due to the increasing amount of companies that are adopting mobile point of sale systems to take payments and complete transactions. These POS systems transform iPads and tablets into sophisticated point of sale devices that possess innovative features not found with a standard cash register, some being uniquely designed or customised to their respective business types. Merchants can expect to see startling results after implementing such a system; greatly reduced costs, improved efficiency, and an increase in turnover are just some of the benefits of switching to a mobile point of sale. Careful consideration should be taken to identify your business’ needs as it will impact both the application and hardware that you’ll require. The greatest benefit will come from choosing a system that you and your employees can work with, and one which aligns with your business objectives.

Why is an iPad POS Better Than A Traditional Cash Register?

Deciding Between Standard POS or iPad Till

The amount of features that even the most basic iPad tills contain dwarf the capabilities of any traditional cash register. Innovation will inexorably move forward, and these systems are improving all the time at an accelerating rate. Some of the recently developed applications are incredible advanced. Business owners that are using iPads for point of sale are reaping the rewards given to those who adopt the latest tech. These POS devices are highly flexible, affording merchants a level of accessibility never quite seen before. These systems are now designed to be an integral part of business operation, a tool with which people can build their company. The most a cash register could offer hitherto was a built in calculator.

Cashier training used to be a tedious prerequisite for any retail job, and could be particularly tricky for workers with no prior experience. Modern point of sale devices are created with usability in mind, with a focus on easy adoption for new employees that haven’t previously worked with this kind of technology. iPad tills which are intuitive to use can be highly beneficial for business owners as it speeds up the training process for their employees, which in turn reduces training costs, and allows them to settle into their new roles and start working almost immediately. Millennials, who now account for over a third of the workforce, are very familiar with these devices, having grown up using them, and as the newer generations will soon come to dominate the labour pool, it is in employers’ best interests to provide their workers with technology they are comfortable using and which is quick to master. Not only this, but many of the newer iPad tills contain innovative and sophisticated tech that assists in, and sometimes even automates, elements of a job role. For example, the position of stock checker has largely been eliminated in the majority of retail stores thanks to business owners using the iPad for their point of sale, many of which update stock quantities in real-time.

We mentioned briefly how the implementation of an iPad till system can positively impact costs regarding employee training. Well, using an iPad for your point of sale is also hugely cost-effective when it comes to technical issues; there isn’t a need to call, and then wait for, specialised technicians to pry open a clunky cash register and determine the cause of the problem. You can simply browse the help section of the particular vendor’s website, or get in touch with their support team for a quick and easy fix. Unless something is wrong with the physical device, the problem will lie with the iPad till application, or the way in which the iPad till application was used. Conveniently, this can be fixed by the company providing the software far quicker than it would take to repair a traditional cash register.

Using an iPad for point of sale provides an enormous amount of accessibility, the likes of which were not possible before the utilisation of cloud-based technology. This gives users the freedom to walk around their store, interact with customers, make sales and complete transactions on the spot. Try walking around with a cash register in your hand! Another benefit is information security; iPad tills are connected through wifi and constantly update, saving all data to a secure server, backing up and encrypting all important information. The majority of point of sale devices also work offline, saving any information to the device and will re-sync as soon as an internet connection is established. This also allows business owners to check things such as stock levels, sales and revenue from any location, all in real-time.

How Can an iPad Till System Benefit Me?

Scales Showing Heavy Benefits and Light Costs

More Features

Modern point of sale devices offer such a wide array of features, all of which are designed to ease the hardship of business. Most new iPad till systems come with advanced inventory management, enabling you to keep a close-eye on all of your products, where they’re stored, what condition they’re in, if any wastage or loss has occurred, and by whom they are being bought. Using one of the best iPad POS systems allows you an unprecedented level of control over your inventory, and by tracking which products and services are being purchased, and at which times these transactions are happening, you can better adjust your stock to meet customer demand. This equates to more sales and increased customer satisfaction. Another useful component present in many iPad POS apps is intelligent customer resource management. A good CRM will grant users valuable insight into the minds of their customers. Knowing your clients purchasing and spending habits will allow for advanced targeting. The app can tell you the best method of marketing, whether that be over the phone, by email or offers sent through the post. Maintaining a relationship with a large number of customers can be extremely difficult, this is why, to improve customer engagement, loyalty solutions are included in many of the newer iPad till systems. This can be a great way to improve the rate of return customers, as awarding points per transaction makes customers feel somewhat invested in the company, and therefore more likely to make multiple purchases.

Intelligent Reporting

One of the primary benefits of using an EPOS system, something which can completely transform a business, is the advanced reporting that these systems boast. These iPad tills can simplify extremely complicated data into small, accessible chunks, making the process of analysing that information straightforward. The data gathering procedure is done by an application in a fraction of the time it would take a person. This can be particularly beneficial for a small business that has neither the time nor the resources to complete such an action manually. The breakdown of information helps business owners make important decisions pertaining to customers, inventory, suppliers and staff, all of which can be optimised through the intelligent reporting of a good iPad POS system.


A main reason that businesses, of all sizes, are making the switch from traditional to mobile point of sale systems is pricing. The cost of installing and maintaining a traditional cash register can be up to 83 times more expensive than an iPad POS. The subscription model that the majority of POS vendors use is far more cost effective; using iPads, which most people already own, with the ability to upgrade, or even cancel, the software at any time, instead of being stuck with a clunky cash register. Not only does this minimise overhead costs for starting businesses, it limits the risk of theft, both of the physical device and data pertaining to your company.

infographic showing percentage of ipad till users reporting faster payments

A clever, little innovation which also helps save pennies by using an iPad for point of sale are the use e-receipts. Instead of using paper and ink, receipts can be sent directly to your customers email address. Cost-effective and eco-friendly!

Quicker Service

Implementing a mobile EPOS system often leads to a stark reduction in customer waiting time. This is due to a combination of accessibility, being able to complete transactions anywhere in or around your store, and the responsiveness of an iPad till application, which is typically far quicker and more reactive than a traditional electronic cash register. This means that less time needs to be spent serving each customer, all while still delivering the same, if not better, quality of service, and therefore a far greater number of customers can be served during the hours in which your shop or store is open. More transactions leads to a higher turnover rate and, consequently, more profit.

Image Booster

iPads can be customised in a variety of ways, from quirky cases to rhine stones and diamantes, you can decorate your device in the way that best compliments your business. Someone running a café business might place stickers of personified cupcakes and coffee cups on their point of sale devices along with their logo. It helps build a brand that’s conducive for their business.

infographic reporting ipad till as an image enhancer

Using an iPad POS for a store also conveys an element of ‘coolness’; it shows the company is embracing technology and moving along with the times, it’s current and relevant and should be remembered as such. This use of technology tends to resonate with younger generations, those of which are familiar with, and enjoy using, this tech. If a forward-thinking company like Google suddenly starting selling coffee, they wouldn’t be using a standard cash register to process their transactions!

What Hardware Will I Need?

Man Using Laptop to Google Things Online

Before purchasing any hardware, the type of store in which it’s being implemented must be taken into consideration. If it’s a small coffee shop that requires only one till, a large iPad with a sturdy stand would be most suitable, whereas a retail store selling shoes may benefit more from several iPad Minis, enabling staff members to walk around, complete transactions from anywhere in-store, and having the complete product catalogue, with real-time stock information, all in each staff member’s hand. See the Apple website to determine which iPad would be best suited to your business.

To successfully run a business, more than just a point of sale device is required. You would typically also need a receipt printer, barcode scanner, cash drawer, and payment terminal - to which there are many different brands, all of whom offer similar percentage rates per transaction. Some of the leading payment terminal brands include iZettle, Paypal, and SumUp. Do a little research and determine the best option for you!

What iPad POS Should I Use?

Man and Woman Using iPad Till POS

There are many iPad till applications available for download on the App Store, and sifting through them all to find what you need is no easy feat, particularly for someone unfamiliar with these kind of apps. There are several things that need to be considered before purchasing a POS. The first of which is determining your budget, and also what it is you’d like to gain from using a mobile point of sale system. Be sure to also anticipate the possibly of growth, and if the application can accommodate sudden expansion and everything that would entail.

The majority of apps are generally quite small, only being one paged, providing you with a POS and a rudimentary inventory management system. To cover the other aspects of your business, some of which are very important, such as customer management or accounting, you would have to download, and pay for, other, third party applications and then integrate those with your POS. This can be highly problematic for several reasons. If you integrate multiple applications and one of them updates, adding a new information field or slightly changing the way data is stored, the whole integration can breakdown, leaving you without a way to process transactions, effectively stopping your business from operating. Another huge issue is data security; integrated applications require, and remain in, constant communication with one another. There isn’t, however, any framework in place that safeguards these connections from exploitation. This means that if only one application were to be comprised, they would all become unsecure. The leading brands in iPad POS software, including Vend, Revel, Shopkeep, and Lighspeed, lack certain capabilities, and therefore, all require some form of integration.

Tillpoint, however, is the first truly complete business management solution. It is comprised of several powerful modules, including, but not limited to, a comprehensive POS, inventory management, and accounting, which all work collectively to form an all-encompassing application. Because of this, Tillpoint is technically classified as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software due to its vast amount of functionality. The way in which it was designed allows it to work for any sized business, being scalable from SME all the way to enterprise level, as you can simply use only the modules that you require. See here for more information on Tillpoint and its full list of features.

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