Your POS system could very well be the single most important piece of investment you make for your business. After all, a POS system stands for Point of Sale, and every business needs to be able to sell in order to be successful.
About POS System: What does it do?
Traditionally, the job of a POS system is to handle the transaction between a customer and the cashier. This includes storing and dispensing cash as well as printing of receipts.
These days, with the introduction of reliable high speed broadband, Cloud-based POS services are entering the market, promising to do everything a traditional POS system can do, except faster, more convenient and allows the user to do a whole lot more stuff.
Cloud-based POS systems are quickly being adopted by modern retail and F&B outlets. Don’t believe me? Go check out the closest hipster cafe, and see what type of POS they’re using.
Anyway, the point is that I’m not surprised.
Cloud POS systems does everything a traditional POS unit can do, but they can also track attendance, manage employees, manage tables, inventory management, print reports… and we’re barely scratching the surface here.
Cloud POS VS Traditional POS: What’s the difference?
Before we get into this, let’s explore a little bit about the meaning of Cloud-based POS. I know that companies have been throwing the term “Cloud” around as much as they can and while many people have heard of it, few know what it actually means.
Basically, Cloud is just a fancier word for Internet. Yes. that’s it. Your Cloud-based system, is an Internet-based system. It really is as simple as that.
With that said, here are some key differences between a Cloud and Traditional POS system.
- Access data on-the-go
When your data is stored on the Cloud, it means that it is stored in physical servers that are connected to the internet 24/7, so you can retrieve your data at any given time.
This allows you to access your data from your mobile devices or desktop once it’s uploaded to the cloud, making it more convenient for you to get things done.
Cloud POS systems operate on the same concept. All the data you’re keying into the POS is synced to the Cloud, and you should be able to monitor that data remotely, from any device you have on you.
Traditional POS systems do not have the same luxury.
All the data keyed into a traditional POS system is only stored within that system, and if anything were to happen to it, all the data for the day will just go *poof*.
- Quick & convenient setup
Setting up a Cloud system is so much easier compared to a traditional system. Although they both require hardware like cash drawers, scanners and printers, everything is usually just plug-and-play with the Cloud POS systems, whereby you’ll probably need a professional to set up your traditional hardware.
Updates are automatically applied for you with Cloud POS which makes things very convenient.
If you want to update a traditional POS system, good luck. You’ll probably need to manually update yourself or call for a professional to do it.
- System always up-to-date
Remember that part up there when I said that updates are gonna be more difficult with traditional systems?
It’s gonna be even more difficult to integrate new features or modules if you opt for traditional POS. As a matter of fact, you’ll be lucky the manufacturer even considers new updates for those types of POS units. They’ve got to make sure their outdated software works with the latest modules, and that’s a challenge considering new modules aren’t meant to work with older systems.
With Cloud-based systems, new features are automatically pushed to the system in an update, and if hardware is necessary, it’s a matter of plug-and-play. This makes it undeniably future proof.
- Subscription type pricing
Price wise, Cloud POS providers usually charge a subscription fee, while some traditional POS providers might just charge a one-time price.
Even though some traditional POS systems might be cheaper, I think that the advantages of Cloud POS far outweighs any benefits gained from the price difference.
- Internet dependency
Cloud-based POS requires internet connection to run, while traditional ones can operate just fine with or without the internet.
This might seem like a problem for Cloud POS, especially if you’re using an ISP that’s prone to downtime. However, most Cloud services are aware of this pain point, and have taken measures to fix it.
Basically, most Cloud POS units can operate just fine without the internet. It’ll function just as a normal POS, and it’ll automatically sync the data to the backend once the internet connection is active again.
What do we look for in POS sytem
There are many features and factors you may want to make sure your new Cloud POS system has, and while it is impossible to list all of them down, the following are basic things we feel that are compulsory for every POS provider.
- Ease of use
You want your POS system to be as easy as possible to use, and to be as user friendly as possible. While it’s impossible to completely rule out training times, it’s best if the POS system can be used by new staff with minimal training.
After all, people will come and go in your business. You can’t be spending all your time just training new hires, can you?
- Remote management
The ability to monitor your store’s performance remotely is just one of the basic features of a Cloud POS system. The cherry on top will be the ability to create tasks wherever you are.
Feel like having a super secret flash sale that’s only revealed at the 11th hour without disclosing any secrets to your staff? A Cloud POS with remote management features will allow you to do that from the comfort of your home, or in a hammock in Hawaii.
- e-Commerce capability
Not every business needs a POS system with e-Commerce capabilities, but it sure is a nice feature to have. The minute you feel that your business can benefit from having some sort of online portal, you can get it done as long as your POS provider allows it.
If they don’t, it’s not an issue. You can still launch a website for your store, but you’ll need to get your web hosting separately, and you won’t be able to manage the online and offline business under one account.
In other words, without e-Commerce capabilities, be prepared to live a super tedious life if you ever decide to launch a website for your store.
- Helpful support
A good support team is the backbone of every service provider, even more so when it comes to Cloud POS services.
If you’re running a restaurant and the POS breaks down during the lunch rush, you’ll need a support team that’s quick on the draw in fixing up issues, otherwise, we can all cry in the corner and watch as angry customers shake their pitchforks at us.
With all the conveniences and advantages of a Cloud POS system over a traditional one, it comes as no surprise that we actually prefer Cloud POS, hands down.
Best POS System
As you know, we aim to empower small businesses and we can’t do that unless we get our hands dirty, testing the services we review thoroughly and tearing our hair out in frustration when things don’t go our way.
Regardless, mistakes happen and we’d rather have the mistakes happen to us, so that you can learn from our mistakes.
That being said, reviewing these POS providers was far from a mistake, because all 3 of them proved to be very useful in their own way.
Sure, each brand has their quirks and issues, but they all serve their own purposes. Have a look at our thoughts regarding the brands and make your own choice to see if their systems are suitable for your business.
- Excellent UI
- Cloud Ecosystem
- Great Loyalty Program
- Remote Employee Management
One of the most convenient, user-friendly yet functional POS systems at an affordable rate!
StoreHub easily takes the cake as Bitcatcha’s most favourite Cloud POS provider. They started off as a small venture-backed startup, which has grown immensely over the past few years, with a strong presence in over 15 countries globally, primarily in Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Manila and Thailand.
The people that started StoreHub obviously knew what they were doing, because their POS system checks all the right boxes. It’s the best all-rounder of the lot, serving Retail and F&B businesses equally well.
They do have a few problems, but their advantages far outweigh the disadvantages here.
- StoreHub: Ease of use
StoreHub’s UI is easily the best we’ve come across so far when it comes to retail. They might have some competition in the F&B niche as Slurp has quite a decent UI as well, but we just prefer StoreHub’s interface.
It’s easy to use, every button placement makes sense, it’s simple enough so that someone who has never used a POS can learn how to use one in under an hour, and it’s pretty pleasing on the eyes.
- StoreHub: Remote management
StoreHub comes with plenty of remote management features, such as employee management, attendance monitoring, promotion creation, etc.
To be fair, Xilnex actually has more remote management features compared to StoreHub, but the thing is we actually know how to use StoreHub’s features. It is easy to use, buttons are intuitively laid out , and everything just makes sense.
- StoreHub: e-Commerce capability
This is one of our most favourite features in StoreHub. See, StoreHub is very forward thinking, and they’ve created an ecosystem between their POS, e-Commerce and customer loyalty programs, so we can manage everything conveniently under one account!
Setting up your store’s webpage with StoreHub is a piece of cake, thanks to their very own site builder. Keep in mind that your site might look a little samey with other StoreHub based sites, because they currently do not have many themes available yet.
One thing I have to highlight is that StoreHub’s e-Commerce platform is entirely their own, which means that if you have an existing online store, you cannot import it into StoreHub’s ecosystem.
For business owners looking to bring their physical stores into the digital world, this isn’t a problem at all. But if you have a digital store first, looking to bring your business into a physical place, this will prove quite inconvenient.
Hopefully, StoreHub will find a workaround to this issue soon.
- StoreHub: Helpful support
We absolutely laud StoreHub’s support team. Their response rate is always almost immediate, they localise their language so that customers can communicate with them easier (they’ll speak to you in English, Chinese & Malay) and best of all, they know their sh*t.
Any problem you encounter, the live chat will be able to sort it out for you.
What we didn’t like about StoreHub?
StoreHub is a fantastic POS provider. HOWEVER, we do have one concern – there is no 24/7 support.
StoreHub provides 365-day, 8:30am – 10:30pm support, but we feel that this simply isn’t enough.
We can understand if StoreHub only serves F&B clients, as most food outlets close at 10:30pm, but StoreHub also serves retail outlets. You may argue that most retail outlets close at 10:30pm too, but there are shops that operate 24/7, for example like the ones in KLIA.
As a matter of fact, this might even be a problem with small F&B clients. Think of the enterprising Ramli burger operator that works till the wee hours of the morning. Maybe I want to start a Lok-Lok truck serving the post-clubbing crowd, what about that? Who is going to help me if my StoreHub POS decides to not work?
Also, StoreHub has an e-Commerce platform, which is supposed to run 24/7. If something goes wrong with our e-Commerce site and there’s no support to help us fix it, we’re losing out on precious potential sales.
Okay wow, this blew up into quite the rant didn’t it?
Anyway, my point is no 24/7 support – bad. However, when support gets online, they’re fantastic. Hopefully StoreHub adds 24/7 support to their arsenal of features soon.
- Comprehensive POS
- Shopify-Integrated e-Commerce
- Many e-Payment Options
One of the most comprehensive POS systems, great for detail-oriented businesses!
To be honest, picking between Xilnex and Slurp for our second choice of best Cloud POS provider was a really tough one.
Xilnex got a lot of things right. As a matter of fact, they’re the most feature packed provider out of this entire list. Their e-Commerce feature is Shopify integrated so that’s a plus.
Come to think about it, Xilnex could probably take the spot as our most favourite Cloud POS provider, except for the fact that they got the ONE THING WRONG.
Continue reading to find out, and no, I’m not apologizing for the clickbait.
- Xilnex: Ease of use
Xilnex is packed with features, but all that usefulness comes at a cost – ease of use. By adding so many buttons, extra features and packing everything they can in the user interface, Xilnex loses the simplicity that makes Cloud POS systems beautiful.
With proper training, one can possibly put Xilnex’s POS to much better use compared to StoreHub or Slurp, but that’s the thing – training is required. In industries with high turnover rates, business owners do not have the time to continuously train new staff.
So in terms of simplicity, Xilnex loses out to StoreHub and Slurp. In fact, it’s the main reason why they’re not number 1 on this list.
- Xilnex: Remote management
Just like StoreHub, Xilnex users get to enjoy plenty of remote management features. They’ve got all the basic functions covered, like employee management, attendance tracking, creating promotion campaigns, report generation, terminal monitoring, vendor management, etc.
You can even remotely handle your CRM list, which we found to be pretty cool. If a friend of yours informs you that he’ll be visiting your store, you can remotely put him in your list so that he can reap the benefits of being your friend without you being physically present. Very useful!
- Xilnex: e-Commerce capability
As we mentioned earlier, Shopify’s award-winning e-Commerce platform is integrated with Xilnex, and that’s kinda huge because this means that anyone with a Shopify store can import their e-Commerce site into Xilnex’s system.
They can also easily manage the offline and online stores from one account!
You can either build your online store from scratch, or you can import your existing stores, which is great because StoreHub doesn’t have that option.
If your business started online and you’re looking to expand offline, Xilnex will be your best bet. Best of all, migrating your Shopify store into Xilnex’s ecosystem is completely FREE!
- Xilnex: Helpful support
It’s no secret that support is a very important factor for me in picking a subscription based service. Even more so when I’m using that service to run my business.
In a world where we expect 24/7 support, Xilnex stands out by providing… a disappointing, 9am – 6pm live chat support. Phone support is available every day from 9am – 11pm, but if you’re someone like me, you’ll understand that sometimes we just don’t want to speak to people.
If Xilnex can get people to work the phone support lines every day, is it too much to ask that they provide live chat support as well?
To be fair, Xilnex’s live chat tech support team is excellent. I had issues with my installation, and they were quick to respond and resolve the problem remotely.
I just wish that they can find a way to provide 365-day live chat support, if not 24/7.
What we didn’t like about Xilnex
Aside from the issues mentioned here, Xilnex also suffers from a UI that doesn’t feel polished. This could be due to their Windows based platform, but I’ve seen better Windows based UI than Xilnex’s POS.
Overall, I feel that Xilnex is a fantastic POS service, plagued by their own overly ambitious self created problems. If they could narrow down their service to serve a smaller niche, I believe they would be able to beat StoreHub at their own game. However, it seems like they are trying to please everyone, and as a result, ends up being overly complicated.
If you don’t mind spending time to learn how to use a POS service, then Xilnex is the POS for you.
- Good looking UI
- Unlimited Storage
- Easy Support System
- Detailed Inventory Management
Specifically tailored for F&B businesses with plenty of features!
If I were to rank Cloud POS providers for F&B only, Slurp would probably be at the top of the list. What started as a simple order taking app made for small cafes, evolved into the POS powerhouse that you know as Slurp today.
Because they started off targeting the F&B niche, Slurp actually rivals StoreHub in terms of F&B features, even beating them in some instances.
The reason why they’re ranked third and not first on this list is because while they’re really good, Slurp does not have any e-Commerce features whatsoever.
- Slurp: Ease of use
Slurp’s POS UI is just brilliant. Pretty to look at, intuitive, easy to use. Everything is where it should be, and just makes sense.
It’s made with the purpose of minimizing training, because the founders of Slurp understands that no restaurateur wants to spend forever training new staff, especially when the turnover rates in F&B are so high.
- Slurp: Remote management
Slurp has all the usual suspects in remote management, namely attendance tracking, employee management… you name it, they’ve probably got it.
The thing is, Slurp has got an ace up their sleeves, and it’s called the dashboard app. Quite frankly, it doesn’t do much in terms of management, but it does give investors and business partners a way to monitor the store’s performance without giving them access to the actual back end.
Why do this, you ask?
Well, obviously your business partners aren’t actively managing the business, and giving them backend access for monitoring runs the risk of them accidentally messing stuff up, and we don’t need that happening during the hustle and bustle of lunch/dinner rushes, do we?
- Slurp: e-Commerce capability
As mentioned earlier, Slurp sadly has no e-Commerce capabilities. We hope that they’ll come up with something soon , as we know some restaurants have found success in the online space compared to their physical outlets.
e-Commerce isn’t the only thing they’re missing. Slurp doesn’t have a CRM/loyalty program either, which is a little disappointing.
- Slurp: Helpful support
Slurp provides 365-day 8am – 2am support via live chat, email and phone. However, when it comes to F&B, these options may not work fast enough to convey the problem at hand with the POS, especially during the chaos of lunch / dinner rush.
So Slurp has come up with a simple yet effective support method – support via WhatsApp.
It’s actually quite brilliant. Everyone has a phone and a data plan these days. Using Whatsapp, the person in charge can instantly take a picture, or video call support so the team can literally guide them step by step in fixing the issue. Simply ingenious!
What we didn’t like about Slurp
To be frank, there isn’t much to not like about Slurp. They tick all the right boxes, they managed to get everything right.
The only thing that’s problematic is the lack of a retail version, a CRM program, and any e-Commerce platform whatsoever.
The recipe inventory management system is great, but it can get thrown off if you come across really fussy customers.
Verdict: Which POS system should you go for?
EASE OF USE
This was a really tough choice to make, because each of these cloud POS providers are excellent in their own way.
However, I think it’s pretty clear that we favour StoreHub as our choice cloud POS system. They may have their own minor issues, but it seems like they’re the best all rounder in this 3-way fight.
Their features may not be as comprehensive as Xilnex, but their UI is so much easier to use. Slurp’s UI is arguably as good as StoreHub, but loses out in features.
I think StoreHub has the best combination of features, UI and Hardware among the three Cloud POS providers on this list.
Easy to set up, learn and use, we’d have to say that you just can’t go wrong with StoreHub.
Don’t just take our word for it though!
Check out their websites and ask for a free demo yourselves. That’s the best way to determine if their system is best for your business.
Do write to us and let us know what your thoughts on our list of best POS providers, or if you think another POS deserves to be on this list.