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The Ultimate Guide to Cloud POS for Retail

On-premise point of sale is past its prime.

You can't deliver seamless omnichannel experiences with solutions designed for siloes. You can't adapt to constant change with aging technology. You can't be connected without the Cloud.

In many ways, Cloud POS is the cure-all for today's omnichannel retail world.

Cloud POS is made for modern retail. Its flexible architecture makes it easy to integrate, quick to deploy and ready to adapt. Cloud infrastructure and mobile point of sale technology break down siloes to simplify omnichannel journeys. The best Cloud POS systems go even further, unifying the experience and enterprise.

Leading retail executives are catching on: 70% say POS has a significant impact on modern retail demands, with cloud migration and infrastructure as a high-priority investment for most leaders.

On the hunt for a new store POS? This blog post, guides you through everything you need to know about Cloud POS. We distilled more than 40 years of POS market leadership and 15 years at the forefront of SaaS deployment into this comprehensive guide.

What is Cloud POS?

Cloud POS integrates sales channels, data and systems to fulfill modern shopping journeys.

Traditional POS systems limited retailers to in-store servers and other on-premise hardware. Modern Cloud POS systems are SaaS-deployed and fully integrated into the retail experience. And as a mobile Point of Sale, the best Cloud POS solutions empower your store associates to engage with customers, access near real-time inventory data and transact anywhere on the sales floor.

Cloud imbues three critical capabilities into a retailers' Point of Sale: mobile experiences, flexible execution and integrable technology.

What are the benefits of Cloud POS?

  • Foster consistent, rich experiences with cross-channel services and transaction options from buying and returning to shipping, transferring and receiving.
  • Guide your associates through simplified interactions that enable rich customer engagement and promote higher spending at checkout.
  • Grow your business in new and emerging markets with out-of-the-box support for localized customers, currencies, languages and more in 40+ international geographies.
  • Transform even your newest hires into power users, including simplified workflows, modern UI and easy-to-execute in-demand services.
  • Future-proof your business and maximize your value by extending POS functions and logic across your channels, devices, store sites and enterprise systems and processes.
  • Equip your store associates with mobile point of sale to be anywhere your customers need them to be, whether it's behind the cash wrap, on the sales floor or beyond the walls of your store.
  • Unify your omnichannel enterprise by integrating your cloud retailer POS with every sales channel, back-end system, brand interaction, database and product.

Cloud POS vs On-premise POS

On-premise POS systems are implemented on-site, requiring dedicated hardware and software. And while effective for traditional retail expectations, most legacy on-premise systems fall short for in-demand experiences like mobile commerce, universal integration and omnichannel shopping.

Without the offline resilience of best-of-breed Cloud retailer POS solutions, legacy systems are at risk of costly downtime. Legacy solutions are also less agile and scalable. Modern Cloud POS solutions can roll out in as little as 17 weeks and profitably adapt at the pace of the market.

What are the key Cloud POS capabilities?

Point-of-sale is the most essential function in retail. The best Cloud POS solutions leverage its critical role to unlock Unified Commerce:

  • Core selling: Some tools sacrifice fundamental functions for flashy features. A solution worth investing in should give you all the basics you expect from a flexible mobilePOS solution.
  • Universal promos and discounts: Integrated promotion configurations and calculation engines support seamless omnichannel and store offers to drive traffic, increase sales and gain loyalty.
  • Omnichannel returns: Modern shoppers expect to buy and return products anywhere. Cloud POS solutions enable omnichannel returns without disrupting inventory data or experiences.
  • Product inquiry and endless aisle: With web-style product lookup and details and seamless add-to-cart functionality, associates can always find a way to say 'yes' to a sale.
  • Mixed cart: Provide a seamless omnichannel sales experience through mixed-channel carts that allow for cash and carry, save-the sale and in-store pick-up. Even in one transaction.
  • Customer acquisition and loyalty: Integrated customer data allows retailers to track purchases, enhance profiles in real-time and access data anywhere in the enterprise. Fostering loyalty.
  • Payments, tender and receipts: Ease payment friction, expand tenders, turn receipts and e-receipts into marketing and voice-of-the-customer (VOL) tools right from your Cloud POS system.
  • Cash management: Achieve cloud cash management, shared cash drawers and banking with all of the controls and safety of traditional store cash management.
  • Store inventory management: Intuitive integration with global inventory data makes real-time receiving, transfers, returns, dispositions, cycle counts and inventory management easy.
  • Store operations, back office and reports: Create, view and control user profiles, sales dashboards and reports to streamline management.

What characteristics should you look for in your new store POS?

Mobile POS

Today's shoppers are as demanding as ever. They expect your associates to be knowledgeable, your products to be readily available and your checkout process to be seamless and convenient. With cloud point of sale, mobile associates can meet shoppers when, where and how they want to be met.

A store-first approach

More than 70% of customer journeys involve the store. Stores convert by as much as 10X more than digital sales channels. The store is, and will continue to be, the central channel for retailer. Your new store POS must drive excellent experiences through the store for a retailer to compete today.

Seamless integration

Your new store POS system should integrate easily with both 1st- and 3rd-party systems. Retailers gain the full value when integrating POS with other business tools like Merchandising, Order Management, Customer Relationship Management and more.

Flexibility and agility

In retail, the phrase "change is the only constant" has never been truer. Cloud POS is the core of your retail brand. Your new store POS should be able to adapt to change, scale up and down with your business and accommodate the wide variety of consumer demands. Now and in the future.

Offline resilience

Without an intelligent approach to offline resilience, Cloud POS is ineffective during downtime. Your Cloud POS solution must be able to queue transactions and shift data between mobile POS devices offline. Giving you peace-of-mind without bulky and expensive back-ups.

Security and compliance

Security is essential to protect sensitive data. And retailers are especially vulnerable to breach risks. Your Cloud POS should adhere to the industry's strictest guidelines, including patching cycles, periodic vulnerability scans to PCI-DSS Standards, SOC II compliance and more.

Introducing Aptos ONE Cloud POS: The Best Cloud POS for Retail

As the leader in Unified Commerce — and with more than 40 years at the cutting edge of Cloud retailer POS — we believe:

  • Omnichannel retail should be seamless and profitable.
  • Employee experiences should be efficient and easy.
  • POS should move at the speed of business needs.
  • Store technology should be simplified and managed.
  • Store innovation should not be constrained by POS technology.

These beliefs informed the core characteristics of Aptos ONE Cloud POS:

  • Cloud architecture
  • Universal commerce services
  • Mobile-first execution
  • Extensible
  • Omnichannel native

Considering a new store POS? Aptos ONE Cloud POS is your answer.

Book your Aptos ONE Cloud POS demo today!