updated 06:45 pm EST, Fri January 7, 2011
Cloud-based software works with Macs, PCs also
ShopKeep.com, a cloud-based POS developer that offers Windows and Mac based cash-register hardware and software, is launching a beta of a iPad-based POS system to compete directly with existing bulkier, more expensive touch-screen systems aimed at small retail businesses (such as bakeries, coffee shops or other outlets where there are fewer than 150 items for sale). The pilot program will debut at popular Grand Central Station coffee shop Joe in New York City on January 18th.
The beta features a special stand for the iPad, along with a receipt printer and a cash drawer. Other small retailers who apply will be considered for the program as well, and can be notified of progress towards formal release.
The ShopKeep Register application automatically stores and transmits sales to its web-based BackOffice software, eliminating the need for on-the-floor sellers to do any accounting or filing other than the basic transaction. Managers can log into their BackOffice account from any web-connected device and watch sales in real-time, manage inventory, run reports or export to QuickBooks.
The Register portion of the system -- whether running on iPad, Mac or PC -- continues to function even if the internet connection is disrupted. Once re-established, the data will be transmitted and BackOffice will be updated. Additional transaction stations can be set up simply by running copies of the Register application on different machines, and can be combined with AirPrint and wireless card swipers to potentially enable a free-roaming POS station.
ShopKeep relies on the secure Amazon EC2 cloud for it's web-based services. A 30-day free trial is available, and the system works on a no-contract monthly price free of maintenance, setup or service fees.