Magazine Article | March 31, 2014

Retail Tablet POS Comparison

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By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

A retail POS VAR’s guide to the current tablet offerings available both direct and through the channel.

Retail Tablet POS ComparisonDespite not knowing why they want it, retailers have been quick to show interest in tablet POS solutions. Start-up software developers have been equally as quick to respond by flooding the market with a variety of tablet POS apps. Retail resellers have had a hard time making sense of what’s happening. For years, resellers could confidently sell POS software they were very familiar with. Now, fueled by pressure from customers who want to harness the power of tablets and mobile POS, resellers have had to make sense of all the new options, while begging their existing software providers to come out with a tablet version.

With so many options and so much misinformation out there (often the website of one solution will include inaccurate comparison charts of its competition), it’s no wonder VARs and end users are lost. Making matters worse, oftentimes rollouts are done using this inaccurate information, resulting in subpar systems that don’t work well for retailers.

For all these reasons, we wanted to create a resource to compare software choices. After reaching out to a bunch of tablet POS software providers for retail applications, we compiled a field of software packages you can see in the chart below.

As with our previous restaurant tablet POS software comparison, just because a company is on this list doesn’t mean it is long-established. It doesn’t mean it sells through the channel. It doesn’t mean it has a significant install base. Rather than make our own judgments as to which companies are worthy to be on this list, we allowed any and all companies to participate.

Why? If I were a VAR, I’d want to know as much as possible about every competitor in the marketplace, no matter how new, cheap, feature-rich or -poor, or if it’s sold online or through resellers. Your customers will still do their own Internet research and find these companies, so why not arm yourself with as much information as you can so you can speak intelligently with your customers?

Also, we tried to reach out to every company we could think of. I’m sure there are some missing from this list. We don’t claim this is the only, best, or most complete list. The online version of this article is intended to grow and be updated on a regular basis. Therefore, if you don’t see your vendor of choice, let us know and we’ll work to get them added. Keep in mind that there were some companies we reached out to that never got back to us or turned us down.

As far as comparing these retail tablet POS solutions, we had a long list of features and functions to consider. The problem we encountered was that, inevitably, we didn’t have time or space to include every retail-related feature. Additionally, despite some protests from established POS developers who have spent years building and refining thousands of features into their software, all those features aren’t necessary, and many business owners are willing to sacrifice unused features for lower-cost mobile offerings.

Therefore, with the help of some of our retail IT reseller readers and a few retail veterans, we came up with a “must-have” list of retail features.

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