As a business owner, whether your business is small or large, you need to accept credit card payments to remain competitive in the modern marketplace. This will ideally be through a mobile POS, or point of sale, system.
Many business owners want the ability to sell their goods or services beyond their brick-and-mortar location—if they have a brick-and-mortar location at all. Luckily, mobile POS solutions allow users to do exactly that—with a mobile POS system, you can essentially turn your phone, tablet, laptop, or other mobile device into a cash register.
How does that happen, exactly? By downloading the POS software onto your device, then hooking up an external hardware that can process credit card payments (and/or a cash drawer to accept cash, too), you can complete the sales process without being tied to a countertop register. That mobility opens up the opportunity for you to do business pretty much anywhere you go.
Mobile POS systems—or all-in-one POS systems with a mobile option—are more popular now than ever, which means business owners have a ton of providers to sort through.
POS, or point of sale, is the place where a retail transaction takes place; and a POS system is the machinery that handles that transaction. While traditionally cash registers were essentially the only POS terminal available to business owners, these days more and more businesses are opting for all-in-one payment processing systems. These streamlined systems refer to both the hardware that physically accepts payments, as well as the software with which it’s embedded that processes those payment methods—be it cash, checks, gift cards, and all types of credit and debit cards.
Other than simply processing payments, however, the software embedded in these POS systems allows users to manage other aspects of their businesses, including inventory management, employee tracking, collecting sales data and creating reports, capturing customer behavior data, and more.
It stands to reason, then, that a mobile POS system is a POS system that retailers can use on-the-go, whether that’s on their phones, tablets, laptops, or other wireless device. Mobile POS systems are also cloud-based, so all data is automatically stored and backed up online. Often, mobile POS systems are just one method of processing payments available through a given POS system provider, in addition to the provider’s countertop solutions.
All told, mobile POS systems are ideal solutions for business owners who sell their goods or services beyond a brick-and-mortar location, whether that’s at farmers markets, crafts fairs, trade shows, clients’ homes, or even if you want the freedom to conduct the checkout process anywhere within your store.
A point of sale system is akin to a digital cash register. It acts as a cash register would, performing all of the same functions, yet it is operated on a mobile device or computer. The best point of sale systems incorporate store management, inventory, customer relations management, reporting, and payments in a single intuitive software package. The POS device is wirelessly connected to cash drawers, receipt printers, and integrated credit card processing solutions.
A mobile POS system allows you to accept credit card payments not only anywhere in your store, but also from home, online, and on the road. It gives you flexibility and options to do business where, when, and how it best suits you to do so. It can be run via Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, 3G, or USB connection.
What is a mobile POS?
A mobile POS is a smartphone, tablet, or dedicated wireless device that performs the functions of a cash register or electronic point of sale terminal (ePOS).
Who uses mobile POS systems?
Retailers at trade shows
Retailers with limited floor space
Retailers looking to evolve the customer experience
Retailers wanting to streamline the sales process
Use a mobile POS to engage and convert customers from anywhere in the store instead of being tied to the cash register.
Get to know your best customers, and reward them with a built-in loyalty program. Capture customers’ details on the spot, right on your iPad.
Let your customers pay how they want, with a range of mobile payment options from the world’s leading merchant providers.
First of all, there’s a really important question we have to address: What constitutes a mobile POS (or mPOS) anyway? As with a lot of industry-related terms, you’ll see some differing interpretations. I’m a bit of a purist in that I believe a true mobile POS is one that operates on a smartphone or tablet. But I was challenged to expand my views a little bit. The mPOS systems you’ll find on this list all fit the following criteria:
They must function on some sort of tablet or handheld device (iPad, Android, or proprietary hardware), but preferably also a smartphone (iOS, Android, or both).
They must be cloud-based, meaning all information is backed up and stored online automatically, rather than requiring any sort of local networking.
Whether you’re choosing your first POS or looking to switch from a solution that isn’t working for you, it doesn’t matter. We’ve put together a list of the best mobile POS options out there at various price points. These systems will primarily work as countertop solutions, traveling POS systems for events, and more, and for both retail and restaurant businesses.
6 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Mobile POS Systems To Their Advantage
Mobile POS systems offer a plethora of advantages for small businesses. Even if your business has a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront, such as a restaurant or retail store, you can leverage mobile POS to your advantage. Here are some innovative ways you can use mobile POS to take your business to the next level.
Line Busting & Flexible Checkouts
Mobile devices can be used in tandem with traditional registers, or you can eliminate the registers if you’re that kind of trendy biz! You can use mobile checkouts to reduce lines — for example, a cafe server can work their way down the line at the counter with a handheld device on a busy morning. Or you can just offer multiple low-key places to check out in a store. Many people prefer to do a self-checkout whenever possible, and that’s another option you have with mobile hardware. With mobile POS, it’s all about options!
Sephora is an example of a company that uses mobile checkout options on an as-needed basis. The company gives their staff mobile devices so the floor sales agents can check people out if there’s a very long line.
Pop-Up Shops, Tradeshows, & Sidewalk Sales
Many types of retail businesses can benefit from non-traditional sales opportunities at special events, such as craft fairs, festivals, or even a pop-up shop. Increasingly, retail businesses take advantage of these kinds of events to make direct sales and to spread the word about their products and generate social media buzz. Mobile POS lets you travel to other cities, bring inventory to conventions or tradeshows, or just join in the local sidewalk sale.
With mobile POS, if you can get an internet signal via your cell or mobile hot spot, it is often a lot cheaper than buying it for a wired terminal at a convention center. Some mobile POS systems even have an offline mode, letting you take credit card payments even when you don’t have an internet or data signal.
Food Trucks & Catering
Mobile POS lets you take your restaurant on the road! Food truck events — for example, “Food Truck Fridays” at San Diego’s Balboa Park– are super popular, and you don’t want your restaurant to miss out on the chance to impress new customers with your cuisine. Even if your restaurant uses a full POS, you can use a mobile system in conjunction with your POS for events. You can also use mPOS to take payments on-the-go when you are catering at an event.
Mobile POS systems offer features such as digital receipts and have a much smaller footprint than traditional POS registers, so they are ideal in cramped quarters.
Tableside Ordering For Customers
There are a couple of different ways in which mobile POS lets restaurants leverage tableside ordering. One way is with self-checkout tablets at tables that allow customers to both order and make payments right from the table. Another is with mobile devices that your employees can carry, enabling the servers to digitally send orders to the kitchen and also process customers’ payments from the floor. Tableside ordering technology saves time and also reduces mistakes in orders because the POS prompts for details, such as dressings, toppings, sides, etc.
Accept Payments Wherever Your Client Is
Whether you’re in plumbing, pest control, lawn care, contracting, or another type of mobile business — i.e., a business that visits clients at home or primarily interacts with them on a worksite — mobile POS lets you take payments wherever your clients are. Instead of waiting on invoices, you can accept payment right on the spot. This makes things easier for your customers, as it’s typically much more convenient to hand someone your credit card than it is to hunt down your checkbook or enter your credit card number in an online payment portal. Onsite payments also reduce the number of late payments you’ll have to chase down later on.
Accept Contactless Payments
Mobile POS systems generally allow you to not only take payments on a mobile device but also to accept payments from customers’ smartphones. Mobile payments (also called NFC payments, mobile wallets, or contactless payments) include options such as Apple Pay and Google Pay (formerly Android Pay). Giving your customers the option to pay with their phone just makes it that much easier and beneficial for customers to buy from you. For example, I love places that take Apple Pay because I get 2% cash back with my Apple Card, and it’s nice not to have to get my wallet out.
It should go without saying that modern cloud-based mobile POS systems are also EMV (chip card)-capable, but I’ll mention it anyway because every so often I still encounter a store with a point of sale system that only has a janky magstripe reader, and I’m sure you have too. Magstripe-only is not a good look.
Is A Mobile POS System Right For You?
There’s plenty of great software out in the world, but a great piece of software doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. You need to look at all sorts of factors to make the final decision as to which products to pursue. So here are some questions for you to consider in your search:
How much can I afford to pay for software and hardware?
Do I prefer an app that has a built-in processor or would I like to choose my own?
Which features must I absolutely have?
Which features would I like to have?
Does this software integrate with any other software solutions I currently use?
If not, am I willing to switch to one that does integrate?
Is my business model compatible with my preferred payment processor?
These are just a few ideas to get you going. Ultimately it’s your call as to which mPOS will work for your business. Keep in mind that you’ve got lots of options, though! You can also check out our iPad POS reviews for some more options that are compatible with an assortment of merchant accounts and gateways!
Reliable POS software benefits your business, and is crucial if you operate a small business as a retailer of any kind. Not only does it process purchases; it also saves money, boosts sales, and enhances your efficiency. Consumers expect automation and fast service, and with a great POS system, you can deliver on this expectation.
The benefits of a mobile POS system include:
It’s one thing to read about the five best mobile POS systems on the market, but it’s quite another to understand which of those mobile payment solutions actually makes sense for your business. While you search for your ideal payment solution, consider at least the following questions:
Find the POS solution that’s compatible with your answers to those questions, and you’ll be well on your way to doing business anywhere you want or need to.
Moolah is the best mobile POS system available in the USA, Canada, UK, EU, and Australia. We offer a uniquely and simple approach to credit card processing with single merchant account enabling your business to accept credit card payments in store, on the road, and online. Contact us at Moolah today to discover more or apply for a mobile POS system for your small business.