Swipe and Go: What To Look For In A Virtual POS Terminal

Business.com / Financial Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Choosing the virtual POS system for your business isn’t a one-size-fits-all decision. Tips for finding the best option inside!

A virtual point-of-sale (POS) terminal can be a cost-effective way to manage your business operations while delivering an improved customer experience.

However, choosing the virtual POS system that’s the right fit for your business isn’t a one-size-fits-all decision. But rather, one that’s highly personal to your team, customers and your business.

Here are few key features to look for in a virtual POS terminal.

Related Article: EMV 101: What You Need to Process Credit Cards Today

How Long Will the System Be Appropriate for Your Business?

Integrating any new kind of system into your business requires a learning curve of some sort. In fact, eMarketer recently reported that it takes the average business four to six months to fully incorporate new technology into operations.

When you research virtual POS terminal providers, evaluate its relevance based on how you intend to integrate a virtual POS terminal into your current operations, and how you anticipate that any of those business functions could shift based on longer-term business goals. 

Aside from the basic time to adopt new technology, how long the system will work for your business may impact costs.

While some POS providers may allow you to sign up for a month-to-month service (sometimes in exchange for higher per transaction fees), others may require a contractual service agreement for an extended period of time. 

Can the System Multi-task?

While allowing the customer to pay with a debit, credit card or gift card from anywhere is a key benefit that virtual POS terminals offer, many systems include additional capabilities.

For example, a virtual POS terminal may be used for inventory management, employee time tracking and payroll, sales commission processing, price lookups, and for database marketing and loyalty program management.

According to experts at Deloitte, giving customers targeted offers and loyalty points that are highly relevant based on their past purchase behavior is one of the biggest perks your business can provide them. 

Consider whether you can leverage the virtual POS terminal to streamline other important business tasks. You may find that it provides a greater return on investment than it costs.

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Does the System Offer Live Support?

Just as virtual POS terminals offered by different providers range in their capabilities, they vary in complexity.

If you consider yourself to be tech savvy, and/or have access to an expert who can help address usability or technical issues that may arise, you may not be as concerned with a POS terminal that includes 24/7 live customer support.

Yet if you aren’t confident in your ability to troubleshoot issues that could arise with a virtual POS terminal, invest in a system that gives the support you need.

In addition to your  test drive of virtual POS terminals, let all employees who will use the system provide their feedback on their user experience.

Regardless of which system you choose, the transition to integrating into your business will be more seamless when your team finds the technology easy to navigate.

Is It Compatible With Your Operations?

Virtual POS terminals must be compatible with the systems you already rely on to support your business, for ease of use and risk management.

According to Information Week, 60 percent of businesses that lose their data go out of business within six months of the event.

If you choose a virtual POS that isn’t compatible with the other software and operating systems you rely on, you could introduce more problems than solutions.  

Take stock of all of the systems used to manage your business, including those used by third-party providers that support your business with tasks like accounting and order fulfillment. 

Choosing a virtual POS terminal requires that you consider a variety of factors, including the provider’s reputation, capabilities and price.

Ultimately though, which features to value the most depends on your unique business and its biggest needs, currently and in the future.

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