By Karen Miranda

It seems like the future people envisioned 30 years ago is happening in real life. While some of us are still waiting for robots, things like hand-held video walkie-talkies are have become a reality with FaceTime. The forward movement in technology is not only changing how people communicate; it’s also changing how they do business.

One of the major changes happening in business is the advent of the iPad POS System. Restaurants, retail shops, hair salons and many other types of businesses have benefitted from ditching the old cash register for an iPad point of sale system because it’s more cost effective than a regular point of sale system, time-saving, and cloud-based so there’s little chance of losing important receipts or paperwork.

Still, even the iPad POS has its faults, and choosing the right system can be tricky. That’s why it’s important to ask these 10 questions when choosing a system.

1. What support does the system offer? Basically, give yourself the opportunity to see why or if this system works for you.

2. Who are your customers? Understanding your customer base gives you an idea of how to better serve them with the right POS system.

3. What is your ideal customer? What market place will it be used in? Restaurants, retail, grocery, etc.

4. What type of cloud that is being used, if any? In other words, is the system a cloud solution capable of expanding or is it an app on the iPad that is not dependent on the Internet? There are both options offered.

5. Offline mode is crucial. What happens when the internet stops working? We all know that it’s usually at the wrong time that your system decides to crash, or at least that’s how it seems. So you want to know what would happen should your system go kaput in the middle of a busy day.

6. Is the software capable of storing offline credit card transactions? Is it PCI compliant using P2P technology? This is important to ensure you’re not losing money during a system failure.

7. Find out about features and customization. Does the system do what you want it to do? Can it handle large volume? How much volume? What modules can you add and who do you interface to 3rd parties?

8. Updates and Upgrades: What is on the road map and are they free?

9. Who is the cloud vendor? Is it a premium vendor, such as Amazon? It’s important to ask this in order to do some background research. A larger vendor like Amazon may have more to offer than a smaller one, like warranties or tutorials. However, it may be too broad for your needs.

10. Are you tied to a credit card merchant contract or can the customer choose their own processor?

These important questions can give you the insight you need to get a POS system ready for your business. The educated shopper is the smart shopper.

Karen Miranda is a freelance writer that specializes in health, nutrition and technology.