Since you’re reading this post, you’re probably looking for a Magento POS (point-of-sale) integration. But, you may be approaching it all wrong.
You don’t necessarily want to look for the POS system that works best with Magento. First you need to figure out what POS system works best with your company. Once you determine that, then you make sure it integrates with Magento.
In fact, according to Point of Sale News, the number one mistake people make when choosing a POS system is not understanding their businesses needs. So it’s essential to focus on the best POS system for your company, not for Magento.
This blog post will cover what to look for when choosing a Magento POS integration for your company. It will recommend two POS systems we know work great with your company and Magento. It’ll also discuss one of the POS systems designed specifically for Magento.
Choosing the right POS system for you
Since you’re looking for a Magento POS integration, you’re likely looking for a retail POS. So first off, make sure the POS system you’re looking at isn’t geared towards the hospitality industry. Some common retail-specific features you should find in a retail POS are:
- Customizable discounts & coupons
- Gift cards and customer reward programs
- Create and edit product attributes
However, even at the retail specific level, not all POS systems are created equal. One of the biggest differentiators of a retail POS is cloud based POS systems vs local server POS systems.
Should I Use A Cloud-Based or Local Server POS?
If you don’t know the difference between a cloud-based and local server POS it’s fairly easy to explain.
A local server POS is the classic POS system you’re used to seeing: big, bulky, and sometimes makes the “cha-ching!” noise.
A could-based POS system is most often operated from an iPad with an attachment to swipe your credit-card. There are a few obvious differences, but here are the main pros and cons you should consider when looking at cloud vs local.
Cloud-Based POS Systems Pros & Cons
Cloud POS systems are the new thing, and you’ve probably seen them popping up around small stores near you. However that’s one thing you need to be careful of, they are more fitted for small stores than large.
Pros of a Cloud-Based POS:
- Hardware costs will be lower – no bulky POS system to buy
- Much more mobile
- POS system can be portable on iPad
- POS data can be accessed from anywhere with WiFi
- Seen as more “hip” and up-and-coming
Cons of a Cloud-Based POS:
- Less stable
- Great for small to mid sized businesses, not for large
- New software and companies come with risk of failing
Local Server POS Systems Pros & Cons
Local server POS systems are still around everywhere you go, so they must be doing something right. These are the ole-reliables. If you’re a smaller retailer it may be okay to experiment with newer cloud-based POS systems, however for larger retailers, it’s safe to stick with local server POS systems.
Pros of a Local Server POS:
- Reliable and efficient
- Companies have years of history and experience
- No WiFi connection required
Cons of a Local Server POS:
- More expensive because of the hardware costs
- Not mobile at all
- Not as flashy as cloud-based POS
Ultimately the decision comes down to a personal preference. In Merchant Maverick’s post, How to Choose a Point of Sale System for Your Business, they boil it down like this: “When it comes to making the decision between cloud vs. local server, you need to consider how dependent you want your business to be on an internet connection, whether you want to work with new technology or something more traditional, and how important it is for you to be able to edit your San Francisco bistro menu from an airport lobby in Tokyo.”
If you skimmed over the opening paragraph let me reiterate: don’t buy the best POS system for Magento, buy the best POS system for your company. There are plenty of free and cheap extensions that are out there for Magento, but unless you’re a very small company, you’ll want a reputable POS system.
I’ve chosen three POS systems to highlight. Two POS systems we work with all the time, and know they integrate with Magento fairly easily. The third is a POS system designed specifically for Magento. While the third is probably not a viable option for bigger businesses, if you are looking for a cheap POS integration, at least we can point you to the best one.
The Best POS System For Your Company
Lightspeed actually is both a cloud-based POS system and a local server POS system, depending on the package you buy. They started out only selling local server software, but then bought a similar cloud-based company shortly after.
Lightspeed runs exclusively on Apple products and was actually founded by an Apple software engineer. Lightspeed looks and feels slick, and should impress any customer.
Lightspeed is a great POS system for Magento because first and foremost, it’s a great POS system. It’s currently one of the highest rated POS systems on Merchant Maverick, receiving 4.5/5 stars. And because it has an open API, integrating it with Magento can be done fairly easily.
The Best POS System For Your Quickbooks Company
Pricing starts at: $1,499 (one time fee)
Are you a SMB owner? Do you use Quickbooks? If the answer to the first question is yes, the answer to the second question is probably the same.
Quickbooks is so prevalent among small to medium sized businesses, it’s only right to include its POS counterpart. The main draw of Quickbooks POS is it’s seamless integration with Quickbooks, however it’s feature set is not as fully flushed as Lightspeed’s.
That being said, Quickbooks has most of the features an average retailer would need. Quickbooks POS is a local server POS, however it has capabilities for: mobile checkout, real-time inventory management, purchase order management, and customer & employee management. CNET described it as, “a cash-register on steroids” and Top Ten Reviews rated it a 7.57/10. If you’re already using Quickbooks, Quickbooks POS is a great POS system for you.
The Best POS System For Magento
Pricing starts at: $39 (per mo)
Ebizmarts is probably the best POS system developed specifically for Magento. But once again, don’t choose a POS system for Magento, choose it for your company. Ebizmarts can more than handle the small business POS needs, however I would be wary if you were a larger company.
That being said, according to Mat MacDougall on Quora, Magento themselves were using Ebizmarts POS at their Imagine conference ‘swag store’. So if Magento trusts it, they must be doing something right.
Where’s Microsoft RMS?
If you’re wondering why Microsoft RMS isn’t included, it’s not because we don’t like it. We actually have many clients who integrate RMS with Magento. The problem is Microsoft will stop selling RMS come July 2016 (however if you decide it’s the one you want, they will continue supporting RMS until 2021).
Integrating Your POS System with Magento
Now that you’ve chosen your POS system, it’s time to figure out how to integrate it. If you’ve decided that Ebizmarts is a capable POS system for you, then integrating it is simple. Since they built the POS system specifically for Magento, you don’t have to worry about connecting it.
If you’ve decided to go with Quickbooks POS or Lightspeed (or any other non-Magento POS), you’ll need the help of an integration provider to connect the two systems. Integration companies sync all of your data from one system to the other. This is why you aren’t tied down to a specific Magento POS system.
With the help of an integration company you are free to choose the best POS system for your company, not for your platform.
What To Do Next
Once you get your POS system set up you may be interested in integrating features such as Buy Online / Pickup In Store (BOPIS) or Endless Aisle. Or if you’re looking to improve your Magento store, check out our post on Magento SEO tips.
Lastly, if you’re adding (or replacing) more than just a POS system, check out this post by nChannel’s CEO Steve Weber about how to select the right multichannel retail systems.