Okay so now you’re worried right? Wrong headline. Management speak alert! Well you’ll have to forgive us for that, but this is not forage into the doublespeak dictionary of the sales folk, or a flight into blue-sky thinking or similar marketing claptrap. Nope, none of that, we promise.
Instead by the end of reading this page you may well be looking at your old ePOS machine with a newfound respect. There are more brains in that little black box than you’ve ever imagined, and we’re about to show you how to unlock all the creativity, intelligence and sheer unadulterated selling power in just a few minutes.
So let’s get some terminology out of the way first. When we talk about grey box software, we mean the old, tired, duff looking ePOS software you may still be using to process orders. Now let’s not be too harsh on it, it’s probably served you well and put many pence or cents in your till over the years. Like everything it’s just getting on in years, and new faster, smarter things are leaving it behind. That’s evolution folks, and it isn’t going to stop.
Next up for definition is what we’ll call Cloud ePOS (only because no-one has come up with a better term yet, all suggestions welcome.) In contrast to Grey Box, Cloud ePOS is it’s brand new smarter cousin, cloud connected, web aware, data ninja apps and behemoth backend systems that not only lower operating costs but also perform much of the heavy lifting that used to eat up your weekends and evenings, leaving you to concentrate on your customers. Also they’re called apps, which is just geek-speak these days for applications.
These apps put all of your important data like sales, customer details, products and other data up there in that great big cloud, allowing you to manipulate it at will, pass it other applications and much much more from any internet connected computer. Now instead of wading through CSVs and spreadsheets in a darkened stock room off some noisy server, you can sit at home in the conservatory with a cup of coffee or check your sales half way up a mountain if you really feel compelled to do so. But really, that’s just part of the story.
When we set out to build AirPOS we did so because in a decade of building e commerce stores for retailers under the guise of No More Art, our web development company, we had noticed some emerging problems, most of them exacerbated by us!
Notably the lack of integration between ecommerce stores on the web and existing ePOS setups in store meant huge problems in controlling inventory, which of course only got worse as the volume of sales rose. Sold on the web? You better make sure you have one to dispatch. But what if it had already been sold in the store? You had a problem, unless you could order more quickly. Which threw fulfillment into chaos. The outcome? Dissatisfied customers and that’s a damn good reason not to adopt online selling until you’re well prepared. This was before even considering the melee that occurred when there were returns to deal with. Net result? Chaos with a capital F!
Add multiple stores into the mix and the problem is multiplied again. It’s curious that ePOS got left behind in the development of ecommerce but it happened, so with AirPOS we decided to take a step backward to correct this, to give retailers a joined up platform that intelligently controls inventory and sales. To ensure that the technology at all points of sale work in tandem instead of against each other. And for added effect we decided we would try to do all of this in real time, for genuine visibility across all of the sales platforms. Our (cute) equation for this is ePOS = More Control ².
And the last part of all of this was deciding on a platform and it made most sense to target what’s already in the store. The little blinking black box with a touchscreen that’s been there all along, not knowing that it was part of the problem. We decided to reform your ePOS terminal, to boost it’s IQ and drag it, willing or not, into the modern era. Now we know that iPads are a beautiful device, but we’re going to leave them to our competitors for the time being. Until we see Apple operating a seamless ePOS on iPad or iPhone in their stores we’re going to consider the iPad immature for this use. Until Apple can say about their own ePOS setup ‘it just works’ we’ll stick to making your little black box smarter and extending your existing investment. We’ll call that logic, in deference to style.
Version 2.0 of AirPOS will be launching in late October. Sign up now to test out the new features at http://airpointofsale.com/demorequest.html