Kick out the cash register and take control

Running a small business has many rewards, but managing the day-to-day details can be time consuming. Whether it’s tracking sales and cash flow, balancing the books, organising staff timetables, taking a stock check or introducing offers and discounts, the to-do list is never-ending.

Indeed many small-business owners are often forced to adopt disjointed methods for managing their business, perhaps using a traditional till to track sales, separate software to help with accounting and balancing the books, a manual spread sheet for the staff timetable or a trusted pen and paper for stock checks.

While these distinct methods serve a purpose and ultimately get the job done, they are often cumbersome, time consuming and siloed, making it difficult for a small-business owner to establish a streamlined view of their business.

Coupled with outdated technology, this means many entrepreneurs are struggling to keep up with evolving customer preferences and the latest data security methods.

While new technology is essential for merchants to move into the future and compete with larger businesses and even their savvy peers, investment in technology can often be a challenge in itself. Entrepreneurs may shy away from upgrading their technology due to a raft of concerns, including cost, the time it takes to educate employees on new systems, and unease about the size or look of new equipment to name just a few.

Clover is an all-in-one platform that doesn’t just replace a traditional cash register, but empowers merchants with total access and control so they can see their business from every angle

First Data considered these challenges and in response is launching Clover™ Station, a simple but comprehensive point-of-sale (POS) and business management solution powered by cloud-hosted software for small to medium-sized merchants.

Clover is an all-in-one platform that doesn’t just replace a traditional cash register, terminal and POS system, but empowers merchants with total access and control so they can see their business from every angle.

Not only can business owners ring up sales, but they can view inventory, track revenues, manage employees, view business analytics and take advantage of customised applications from the Clover App Market, which offers the latest in business management solutions from top developers.

For example, the introduction of real-time analytics empowers merchants to not only efficiently manage their operations, but also ultimately maximise profits. A coffee shop in central London, which is taking part in the Clover Station pilot, found that a lot of time is being saved checking shipments and tallying inventory to ensure a well-stocked storeroom.

Hours spent previously in the storeroom detracted from serving customers and growing the business, especially when IT knowledge was required to understand the separate systems in place. This same business analytics software also allows merchants to introduce and manage marketing campaigns and loyalty programmes from one central system effectively and easily.

While analytics or integrated marketing may be commonplace for larger retailers, smaller merchants no longer need IT departments to be able to support these features. The Clover platform was designed to be used by people without any technical expertise. The Clover Station is shipped to merchants with their inventory or menu pre-loaded and ready to go, out of the box, and the software is as intuitive as a typical smartphone or tablet.

Indeed, just like a smartphone or tablet, the customisable nature of the Clover solution fundamentally affords business owners freedom. Merchants can customise their software to suit their current business needs, with the ability to adapt and change as their business grows and evolves, essentially putting the power of large custom payments terminals in the hands of small to medium-sized merchants which have historically been underserved.

Likewise business owners need no longer be tied to their shop. Cloud-based technology not only brings together online and offline channels, streamlining processes, such as stock management and inventory control, but also enables merchants access to their business data anytime, anywhere, meaning they don’t have to be sitting at their POS or in the back room to be at the epicentre of their business.

With the security and reliability of a terminal coupled with the flexibility of a cloud-based POS, Clover Station is a powerful example of how next-generation solutions are being designed to meet the complete spectrum of small to medium-sized-business owners’ needs – creating efficiency, productivity and ultimately opportunity.

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