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|Reviewed by Expert Market:||05/06/2018|
iZettle Pro: Company profile
iZettle Pro started life in 2011 as "IntelligentPos". The company had the aim of creating an EPOS (electronic point of sale) system specifically targeting the needs of small businesses and the hospitality industry. The founders had experience in these roles, and a deep understanding of how existing EPOS systems were failing nightclub owners, shopkeepers and similarly situated organisations.
The company quickly become a rising star in the EPOS industry, employing more than 60 people, 20 of whom are dedicated developers. Their first generation (English only) system has customers in more than 20 countries, and their new German language version of the system is set to make big waves throughout Europe. In fact, the company’s turnover grew by a staggering 300% in its first 2 years, which attracted exactly the kind of attention a startup needs.
In 2018, the Edinburgh startup became part of iZettle. The synergy is obvious, as the new organisation can offer smaller businesses a feature-rich commerce package without the kind of start-up costs and high overhead that has traditionally kept these operations out of the EPOS or mobile payment landscape.
Products and features
Of course, the company’s flagship offering is the eponymous iZettle Pro EPOS system itself. This is, in their own words, ‘a lot more than a cash register app’. It was designed from the ground up to be an extremely flexible and powerful tool for small businesses.
From a single interface, a user can add and modify products, pricing and tax information, and customise a whole host of product or service options ‘on the fly’. This is an important feature for the hospitality industry, whose customers may make some very complex and convoluted orders in noisy or hectic environments. The ability to enter a transaction flexibly, yet trackably and in full tax compliance, is a huge advantage compared to simple debit card readers.
It also supports pre-ordering. This is a scenario where customers access a business’s app or website to order coffee, a meal, or whatever else might be on offer remotely, and then simply pick it up when they arrive in the shop. Depending on how the merchant’s site or app is set up, they can even pay on ordering (thanks to integration with iZettle).
Extensive gift card and loyalty programme support features round the package out nicely.
Backoffice takes the goldmine of information provided and tracked by the iZettle Pro system, and gives small business people the tools they need to use it to their advantage.
It has all the core functionality of a small business accounting suite, but does all the ‘heavy lifting’ for you, linking the sales information from your EPOS terminals and mobile ordering functionality into a complete business intelligence solution.
This system creates detailed reports, up to the minute sales overviews, inventory or stock levels, and even tracks employee timesheets.
It also had many important eCRM features, collecting the information you need to run a loyalty or rewards programme effectively.
It even lets you brand your receipts, invoices and other paperwork professionally – one more expense eliminated.
One of the added benefits of joining iZettle Pro is this little gem of an iPhone app. These days, the ability to get up to the minute figures on your business on your mobile is less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
This makes the same detailed, actuate and easy to understand reports that their Backoffice solution produces available 24 hours a day anywhere in the world (so long as you have signal). These are real-time reports, as well – not simply the ability to download the last daily or weekly figures.
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Benefits and drawbacks of EPOS solutions
‘But’, you may be asking yourself, ‘…do I really need an EPOS solution at all?
The short answer is almost universally ‘yes’, but it’s worth reading through the pros and cons before investing in an EPOS system.
- Massively improved financial accuracy – manual transactions in the hospitality industry in particular tend to be dangerously inaccurate.
- Transparency and accountability – the ability to track individual servers or clerks for inaccuracies or irregularities is another ‘must have’.
- Faster transactions – customer satisfaction improves dramatically when paying by card is fast and easy, rather than a hassle.
- Automation, especially in terms of stock management – you may never have to spend a day taking stock again.
- Fast, accurate reports – a good EPOS system acts like a brilliant accountant, giving you the figures you need to do your paperwork instantly.
- Cost - One of the things that has kept EPOS systems out of the hands of small businesses has been their overall cost. Something like iZettle Pro is dramatically less expensive than traditional systems, but it still costs more than dealing solely in cash.
- Maintenance requirements – Again, iZettle Pro avoids most of this, being essentially a SaaS offering. But even though the software updates itself and support is available, it essentially runs on iPads. These don’t last forever.
- Training Requirement – It simply takes longer to train staff on an EPOS solution than it does to train them to handle cash. On the other hand, some employees never actually learn to handle cash well.
Overall, iZettle Pro is the answer many small businesses have been looking for. It is (compared to most other EPOS solutions) inexpensive as well as powerful, easy to use, and immensely flexible.
No system is without its flaws, and there are still businesses out there who wouldn’t be able to take advantage of what iZettle Pro offers. However, as their rising market share shows, there are a great many more who need exactly this kind of solution, and can implement it successfully.
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