Just as smartphones and tablets have infiltrated our homes, they have also become standard pieces of equipment for the business.
Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) systems is now the standard choice for small businesses as they are sleek, simple to use and cheap.
With a mPOS system, your whole store or restaurant becomes a sale location, breaking down physical barriers between you and your customers.
And of course, your POS setup can come with you to tradeshows or markets, giving you even more flexibility.
In this guide, you’ll find out what you need to know about mobile POS systems, including what they are and where you can find them, as well as what their customers have rated them.
What’s in this guide?
Top 5 Mobile POS Systems
1. Epos Now
Type: EPOS Provider
Trustpilot Score: 5/5
Epos Now was created in 2011 after the founder, Jacyn Heavens, became frustrated with expensive and poor quality POS systems, so instead, he founded a solution; Epos Now.
With their system, customers can enjoy customer support from a five-star rated company on Trustpilot, with these benefits:
✔ UK’s largest EPOS provider
✔ Integrated payments
✔ World’s easiest POS system
✔ Allows customers to pay via phone or watch
✔ Set up in mere minutes
✔ Customisable dashboard
✔ See analytics and customise products
✔ Control your stock
✔ Improve staff performance
Type: EPOS Provider
Trustpilot Score: 5/5
Square is one of the most cost-effective systems on the market, as pricing starts from £39 for the Square Reader which accepts chip and pin, contactless cards and mobile payments.
You can take payments on the go, use your phone to make payments and benefit from free inventory management.
✔ Accept Apple and Google Play
✔ Manage your inventory from anywhere
✔ Get daily stock alerts
✔ Manage your employees
✔ Track employee sales data
✔ Create custom invoices
✔ Schedule any recurring
✔ Manage your locations from one device
3. Lightspeed HQ
Type: EPOS Provider
Pricing: £69 a month
Trustpilot Score: 5/5
Lightspeed HQ is an ambitious company that was created by $292 million in investments, with over 650 employees worldwide and eight offices globally.
They can offer their customers systems that allow you to manage your inventory and do things such as purchase orders and catalogues.
✔ Create reports
✔ Analyse data
✔ Sell on Facebook
✔ Quick set up
✔ See your customer types
✔ View customer sales history
✔ 24/7 support
✔ Account history
Type: EPOS Provider
Pricing: £59.99 a month
Trustpilot Score: 4/5
Payzone is a company that offers card machines, online payments, phone payments, merchant accounts and EPOS systems to their customers.
With a high score on Trustpilot, many customers state that the customer service team are helpful and offer exceptional support.
✔ All-in-one POS
✔ Integrates with your current devices
✔ Unlimited support
✔ See reports about your staff
✔ Add customer data
✔ Monitor hours and pay
✔ Create a customised dashboard
✔ Suitable for most retail shops
5. Casio Epos
Type: EPOS Provider
Pricing: £54.99 per month
Casio has over 40 years of experience in the industry, having specialised in electronic cash registers, android platform registers and now EPOS systems too.
Their software and devices are designed specifically for the hospitality industry, and you can benefit from these features:
✔ Easy to use
✔ Cloud software
✔ Doesn’t use a lot of power
✔ Good design for any interior
✔ Register sales
✔ Special offers for products
What does a mobile POS system look like?
Any POS system is built around a central computer of some sort. Traditional fixed POS systems use a desktop computer system, often with a touchscreen.
A mobile POS system usually uses a tablet as the central part of the system. When setting up on a counter or desk, your mobile POS system can perform just like a traditional fixed system, but it also gives you that flexibility to move around.
Most mobile POS systems use apple or android app software, and your sales data is stored in the cloud. This makes setup easier as you do not need to install a data server on your premises, and you can then access your data and reports from anywhere.
Standard features of most POS apps are:
- Managing sales – product lists and pricing, calculating change, producing a receipt and updating inventory counts.
- Reporting and Analytics – understand your business better through summarised sales data, see what products are selling the best and worst, busiest times and sales by each staff member.
- Inventory management – keeps track of stock counts and can send notifications when the stock is getting low. Advanced systems can use recipes to track inventories of raw ingredients, especially useful in the hospitality industry.
- Customer relationship management – keep customer records, including phone numbers and email addresses, so you can email invoices and receipts, record customer credit. More advanced systems enable loyalty programmes with points and customised offers.
- Employee management – employees can clock in and out, captures wage data and generates pay. Sales reporting by a staff member can show you who are your top performers and who is good at selling what.
- Security – restrict access to certain functions, such as refunds and price list changes, to supervisors and managers. Set up PINs for employee access.
If you are running a small invoicing-based business, you might be able to operate with just a smartphone or tablet. However, if you are taking a card or cash payments, you will need other pieces of equipment to complete your mPOS setup.
Here are some of the add-ons that you will need to factor in:
You need this if….
|EMV card reader||Now that everyone in the UK uses Chip and Pin credit and debit cards, you need to be able to accept Chipped cards in your shop or restaurant.||You are accepting card payments.|
|Cash drawer||Keep your cash ordered and secure in a locked cash drawer. When linked to your mPOS system the drawer automatically opens when you have a cash sale.||You regularly take cash payments, especially if you need to give change.|
|Receipt printers||A thermal receipt printer will quickly produce sales receipts, and can also be used for order communication in restaurants. Businesses will need less regular; more substantial sales could instead use a regular A4 printer or email receipts.||You are making smaller regular sales, where customers expect a paper receipt.|
|Barcode scanner||Quickly scan traditional or 2-dimensional barcodes with a barcode scanner. They can be used if your store has barcoded products, or to process customer coupons or discounts. If you are processing a small number of barcodes, you can use the camera function on your smartphone or tablet.||If you are selling barcoded products|
So you can now picture what your mobile POS system might look like. Next, you can weight up the advantages of choosing a mobile system over a traditional network.
What are the benefits of using a mobile system?
There are a bunch of great reasons to choose a tablet or smartphone based POS system. Here are the biggest benefits:
Of course, the main advantage of selecting a mobile POS system is that it can be used anywhere in your store or restaurant, untethering you from a traditional counter.
As customers get more and more used to online shopping, the formality of traditional stores can seem inflexible and slow. With a mobile POS system, your salespeople can more easily interact and make sales quickly from the shop floor.
They have immediate access to product and inventory information to answer customer questions on the spot.
In hospitality, your team have all the information on the menu and specials right there with them as they speak to your customers. Payment becomes quick and easy, giving diners an overall better customer experience.
Intuitive to use
Almost everyone has used a tablet computer, so your staff will find it easy to adapt to your new POS system. Mobile POS software has been designed to be especially intuitive and straightforward to use, so you won’t need to spend a lot of time on training.
Data is always accessible
Mobile POS systems store your data securely in the cloud. This means that you can access your reports from anywhere with an internet connection. You can also sell from anywhere.
Many software systems even have an offline mode for markets and times when your internet connection fails.
As tablets have become more reasonable, mobile POS systems are becoming more and more affordable. If you require a small system, then you may need to buy a couple of iPads and some accessories.
Combined this with a low monthly software fee from your chosen provider, you will be spending far less than if you went for a traditional POS system.
Paints a pretty rosy picture, doesn’t it? But before you lock yourself in, you need to consider if any of the negatives of a mobile system will be a dealbreaker for your business.
Disadvantages of mobile POS systems
There are just a couple of downsides to going mobile, and if you know about them before you start, you should be able to mitigate any issues. Here are the headline cons you need to consider:
I don’t need to tell you how essential it is to protect you and especially your customers’ data from theft. While this is a crucial consideration for all businesses that use computer systems, the risk is slightly higher with mobile networks.
This is because your data is stored in the cloud, rather than on your premises, and can be intercepted as it is being transmitted.
However, you can mitigate this risk, if you do your homework upfront. Make sure you ask your software provider about their data security system before you sign up. End-to-end encryption is the gold standard to protect customer payment information, this way hackers can’t decode any data they intercept, and your system itself doesn’t retain any data to be stolen.
You will also want to install an antivirus program to protect your system and alert you to any bad plans that end up on your system.
Finally, if you want to minimise your security risk further, then you can choose an iPad based mobile POS system. Experts point out that Apple iOS-based systems rarely get hacked.
One reason for this is that ipads just run one program or app at a time, and hacking software usually needs to run in the background for theft to occur, which is not possible on an iPad.
When you run a busy business, things get broken all the time. If you have a counter-based POS system, at least you know where it is and that it isn’t going to be dropped.
The same can’t be said for mobile POS systems.
Tablets and smartphones are mostly pretty fragile objects – screens get broken easily, they don’t like water (or coffee!) much. Once you bring these objects into a busy shop or restaurants, accidents are inevitable.
All this doesn’t mean a mobile POS system isn’t the right choice, as long as you head in with your eyes open. When budgeting for your system, you will want to factor in some funds to fix or replace hardware each year.
If you know that your business environment is going to be especially tough on your equipment, then you can choose ruggedised tablets that will take more wear and tear.
While not as sleek as standard tablets, they could be the right choice for your kitchen, restaurant floor or work site.
How much will a mobile POS system cost?
The cost of your POS system will be made up of what you spend on hardware and software.
Most POS software providers charge a monthly fee, somewhere in the range of £30-70 each month.
If you accept cards, then you will, unfortunately, need to pay processing fees as well. If you have a payment processing system already in place (like if you have been running a website), then you can continue using this.
Alternatively, if you are starting from scratch, then most POS software providers have an in-house or partner card processing service that you can use. Fees are between 1-3% of transaction value.
Then, of course, you will need to pay for your tablets and smartphones, and probably some of the accessories listed above. You can buy your hardware independently, or through your software provider.
Either way, it will be an upfront investment for your business.
Prices vary with the number and quality of the tablets that you need, but a single tablet set up with the printer, cash drawer, chip card reader and accessories will cost you around £1000.
Hopefully, none of those costs came as a major surprise. If you are still interested, full software costs by the provider are listed next:
Who are the leading providers of mobile POS?
||Small to medium retail and hospitality businesses||£25/month|
||Retail companies with wide product ranges and e-commerce||£42/month|
||Small businesses that want a basic system||£49/month|
||Large retail stores and chains||£66/month|
||Restaurants of any size||£59/month|
||If you want free POS software||Free POS software with payment processing|
Found yourself a couple of contenders? Before you jump into making those hardware decisions and comparing supplier, you want to be sure that a mobile POS system makes the most sense for your business.
Is a mobile POS system for me?
If you are setting up a new POS system, then you want to consider a mobile setup, even if you don’t need portability. This is because tablet or smartphone based POS systems are easy for staff to use and can be very affordable.
Tablets can be set up on the counter of your shop or restaurant, but they also give you the ability to interact with customers wherever they are.
This improves the customer experience by offering extra information and making transactions quicker.
There are just a couple of reasons you might not want a mobile POS system. If you run a business where durability is critical, then tablets might not be the way to go.
For example, if you operate a poolside restaurant or work on construction sites, then the risk of damage to your POS hardware will be high.
Tablets are relatively fragile, and while you can take some action to mitigate this risk, consider your environment before you invest.
There has been so much innovation in the Mobile POS space in the last few years. You can now make the most of the cool new features and hardware to make your business run more smoothly.
With so many software providers to choose between, the hardest part is knowing which app is right for you. Make sure you are considering the right options by using the quote comparison tool below.
Ready to compare? Let’s go!