In the world of commerce, physical and digital storefronts all share at least one underlying commonality: there has to be a system to collect money which is why businesses use some kind of POS (Point of Sale) system for processing transactions. Minus some “cash only” ma-and-pa shops you can still occasionally find if you look hard enough, most of the world relies on instant, electronic means to collect payment from customers. Anymore, there’s no good reason not to offer a quick and secure payment system as that’s what consumers have grown to expect.
In addition to collecting payment, most modern POS systems can deeply integrate into the rest of your business which creates the potential to make functions like customer service or accounting, just to name a couple, a breeze for everyone involved. In the following, we’re going to explain the importance of customization in a modern POS solution then look at a few different popular systems on the market today that fit the bill.
Why custom POS software?
Increased connectivity, a desire for convenience, and the fact there’s a multitude of ever-growing payment options on the market are just a few complimentary trends that should make customization a key factor when seeking a custom POS solution. This goes for those looking to integrate a high-functioning, scalable system for anything from a single location to an entire franchise as well entrepreneurs looking to deliver a competitive POS solution to the market.
Across the board, customization behaves as a catalyst for increased satisfaction – we see it in digital home fitness equipment and in the impressive amount of money spent on in-app purchases (IAP) for customization in games like PUBG, just as a couple of examples. The more customizable the system, the better you can get what you need out of a digital product not only in the immediate future but down the road as well.
For example, think about how Venmo from PayPal has grown to some 52 million users as of 2020 and Cash App from Square has about 36 million active monthly users. While not “everyone” is regularly using these solutions just yet, these systems that only recently became popular have become financial staples for a good chunk of people. To put it in perspective, Bank of America – that’s officially been around since 1998 – has 66 million customers, despite having an 11-year head start on Venmo! Yet, being able to accept a multitude of payment options is just the surface of the potential a customizable POS can offer.
Many POS platforms allow for deep levels of customization through the development of custom apps that integrate with payment and ordering capabilities offered by the platform which are distributed through either public app stores like Google Play and the Apple App Store or through platform-specific app stores like Clover App Market, which we’ll cover here shortly.
Overview of the best platforms for custom POS software
Another nice thing about the following systems is the fact that each system offers the ability to provide access to a multitude of other apps through their respective marketplaces. For businesses building a system for internal use, having access to other apps can prove useful in supplementing business efforts as it can be more cost-effective to simply use a tool that already exists.
Of the handful of systems that we’ll cover, Revel is unique as its core offering is the Revel POS iOS app which has a robust set of offerings built right into the app. Another differentiating feature is that Revel is designed for iOS, not Android like most other systems. If you’re simply looking for an out-of-the-box POS solution, Revel is worth looking into as a standalone product.
For customization, Revel offers a well-developed REST API that can be used by developers to build custom integrations and further tailor the system to their liking. For example, you could build a calling or messaging solution right into the app using a service like Twilio. Businesses can also take advantage of outside databases such as an external CRM from another provider.
Integrations and custom apps live in a more sequestered kind of marketplace that’s unique to Revel. Businesses can create custom integrations or select from several existing integrations such as GrubHub, Olo, and many more.
Clover is the preferred platform for custom POS software at Blue Label Labs as we’ve used it to build platforms like Magic Money and Cirque Coffee, just to name a couple. The Clover platform has arguably the most diverse set of offerings both off the shelf and under the hood. The heart of Clover is the open-source Clover OS – which is built on Android but fine-tuned for business – that offers its own app store for apps to be distributed on Clover devices.
The Clover system is packaged with all kinds of goodies that developers can bend to their will using the Clover REST API. The main benefit here is that virtually everything you need for conventional and even the more complex POS systems can be integrated and modified using these tools as a starting point. It saves time and money which means those looking to deliver the best possible experience should look no further than Clover. Plus, you can also create apps that easily interface with custom hardware (e.g. printers, scanners, cash drawers, etc.) as we’ve done with products such as Magic Money and others.
Another great perk is the Clover App Market which offers a ton of both free and paid systems, thus giving users a ton of options to further customize the system to their liking. Custom apps you’ve developed yourself can be easily be published to the store or as a semi-integration which requires a few extra steps. The Clover marketplace further allows end-users of a Clover system to easily access additional great apps to supplement their business like Pointy from Google which is an interface that allows users to quickly add inventory directly to Google. Other popular apps like Time Clock are ideal because it’s easily accessible and free, meaning you don’t necessarily need to build a unique time tracker for hourly employees.
Apps deployed to the Clover marketplace are essentially subjected to similar mechanics found in Google Play or the Apple App Store meaning there’s ample opportunity for driven entrepreneurs who want to focus purely on the digital product aspect without getting involved in reselling hardware.
The Square system, which was founded by Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, was one of the first incredibly accessible systems that could be used in conjunction with smart devices to collect payments from anywhere. Over the years, Square has since evolved to offer a complete set of POS solutions for those on the go as well as brick-and-mortar stores.
Square offers a variety of options for POS systems in all shapes and sizes which are tailored for different use cases like restaurants or retail outlets. Underneath Square, is a powerful set of tools accessible through their API and tools like Web Payments SDK that allows users to build payment processing for both Square and outside apps.
Much like Clover, Square has a rich app marketplace which means it’s turnkey as a standalone solution with popular platforms like Quickbooks and Wix readily available. Businesses can develop an internal app that can live on the marketplace much like Clover or use integrate Square features into an app using the available SDKs and APIs.
The first iteration of the Toast system launched in 2013 after both Square and Clover. The core Toast product is a POS app so it’s more like Revel in the sense that everything custom runs within the app as an integration.
Unlike Clover that runs on its own, unique derivative of Android, Toast natively runs on iOS, iPadOS, and Android. This means that supplemental, standalone apps to be used in conjunction with Toast simply need to be developed to run on any (or all) of the above where they’re ideally hosted and distributed from the platform’s official app marketplace (i.e., Google Play or the App Store.) Custom apps can be created in the form of an integration using the Toast API however, as of the time this is written (July 1st, 2021) they have temporarily paused support in accepting new integrations. Despite this, they still offer a variety of different integrations that users can easily add to their system.
As a standalone service, Toast does a decent job at providing a powerful POS solution that end users can easily customize for their restaurant or shop. It’s not as full-featured as some other solutions but it’s competitively priced and often serves as a vast improvement for the many who adopt this system to replace a more manual POS system.
Blue Label Labs can design and develop your custom POS experience
As experts in custom POS software development on top Clover, we’ve created incredibly effective solutions for several different business models. We understand the value of custom work that’s tailored to be as useful as it is engaging. Most importantly, we apply strategic thinking to ensure that the products we develop can grow as time goes on. For more information on our POS development process or to discuss your idea for a digital product, get in touch with us today.
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