As Cloud-based retail systems are becoming increasingly popular, traditional retailers are asking themselves, ‘Should I switch to Cloud-based POS?’ Some retailers prefer Cloud POS with less overhead and installation, while others still prefer on premise thinking their data is more secure, reliable and accessible if hosted locally. While there is no right or wrong answer, here are 4 things to consider when thinking about the Cloud:
Is your internet connectivity reliable??
For a Cloud-based retailer to be successful, it is essential their Internet can reliably support all critical online systems throughout the workday (i.e., point of sale, email/web server, CRM, marketing automation). When choosing between on-premise vs. Cloud point of sale, retailers must examine the reliability of their Internet connection and how much latency their preferred software solution requires. In addition, a retailer must account for the amount of information their business will likely transfer through the network on a daily basis. For example, a large retailer, ringing up tens of thousands of dollars daily might prefer an on-premise solution so they can personally maintain and control the data from each transaction. In contrast, a smaller merchant, with less data to maintain, may prefer the turnkey benefits of a Cloud-based system.
That’s great! Now, what if the internet goes down?
Your store’s Internet connection can go down anytime, and there’s not much you can do about it except calling your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you’re considering Cloud POS (which requires an Internet connection), you should also consider a contingency plan in case of an Internet outage. One option is Cumulus Retail’s ‘Always On’ Cloud POS, a hybrid of Cloud POS and an on-site server which acts as a back-up in the case of internet loss. That way you can continue ringing up sales with zero interruption. When Internet is restored, your POS transactions will automatically restore and update your database.
Where do you prefer to have your data &/ or servers?
A dimension many retailers overlook when choosing a Cloud point of sale system for their retail business is what type of data location needs they may have. On premise systems can take up a good deal of space and may not be suitable in some spaces. In contrast, an Internet system that supports cloud based point of sale requires no space in the business, but would not be a great fit for remote regions with poor wiring. Using the previous remote kiosk example, a kiosk has precious little space to spare if operating at full efficiency. Making the space for a server would be difficult and would certainly be better served filled with extra products. For this kiosk, retail software in the cloud is a clear choice. It is essential to take into account data location needs when choosing an Internet system to avoid loss of efficiency in future operation.
Are you more concerned with long-term or short-term costs?
Traditionally, Cloud systems require a lower initial investment since the cost of the software is spread across all the users on the Cloud, and there’s no expensive servers to purchase. However, with monthly SaaS fees, Cloud-based software has a higher Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in the long-term. When choosing on-premise vs Cloud, retailers need to do the math and choose a solution that fits their initial and long-term budget.
CAM Commerce offers both on-premise and Cloud-based retail solutions. Cumulus Retail is a Cloud-based retail solution with NO Upfront fees and affordable monthly SaaS pricing. Contact Cumulus Retail to discuss which solution is right for your business.