AirPOS is a Point Of Sale solution for Windows PC’s and Android tablets. The company is based in Belfast. An iPad version of the software is currently in the works. This review is based on using AirPOS on a Digipos A100 EPOS System running Windows POSReady 7.

Setup

Setting up AirPOS takes a few steps, but is still quite straightforward. First, create an account on the AirPOS website. You can also choose your pricing plan at this stage as well. Once the account is created, you’ll be taken into your AirPOS Backoffice. The Backoffice uses a web-based interface and so can be accessed from practically any computer or device.

From the Backoffice, you can choose to perform a variety of tasks. To set up a PC for Point Of Sale use, you need to download the AirPOS Desktop Application. Once this is downloaded, you can install it on whatever PC you will be using in store for sales transactions. You will also need to use the Backoffice to create an Employee/User account for the POS device. Employees can be assigned one of 3 privilege levels: Staff, Supervisor or Manager. Staff can only perform basic sales, Supervisors can perform more advanced tasks but cannot access Settings, while the Manager can access and alter every feature of AirPOS.

The AirPOS installer takes you through every step required to get up and running. You log in to the Desktop Application using your main AirPOS login. This way, the Desktop programme is linked to your account. The Desktop Application will guide you through configuring receipt printers and cash drawers. In most cases, setting up just requires you to toggle a switch from Off to On, depending on your needs. Setup screens are clearly laid out with intuitive red/green controls.

The AirPOS Desktop App has to interface with your online Backoffice at certain points, which means there must be communication between your computer and the AirPOS servers. During setup, we experienced some long waiting times while data synched, and also experienced some communication failures. However, we cannot be certain whether this was down to our Internet connection or an issue with AirPOS.

Selling

The selling screen is attractively designed and makes good use of colour to indicate functionality. Sales can be quickly processed with just a few taps. Any product groups set up in your Backoffice Inventory will automatically appear on your Sale screen. Tapping a product group shows a list of all products in that group, so you can quickly find exactly what you’re looking for. Products can also be assigned images if desired.

Once tapped, a product is added to the transaction. A list of all items on the transaction is shown to the right of the screen. From here, quantities can be amended and the item can be removed from the transaction if required. Prices can also be discounted if desired. However, these actions all require a Supervisor or Manager password to be entered.

AirPOS allows you to Park, Void or Tender the sale once all items have been added. Pressing Tender displays a payment dialogue box. From here, you can choose a tender type (cash, credit card, cheque). You can also enter the amount paid either by using a keypad or by using Smart mode. In Smart mode, AirPOS only displays the amounts it believes the customer is most likely to hand over to pay for the sale. For instance, in a sale totalling €46.79, AirPOS guesses that the customer will pay either the exact amount, €47 or €50. If none of these guesses are correct, you can simply tap the Keypad option and enter the correct amount.

Once a sale is tendered, AirPOS offers the option of printing a Gift Receipt or Standard Receipt, or not printing any receipt at all. The entire sale process is quick and intuitive. However, it can be difficult for staff without supervisor privileges to correct a mistake. Even a simple mistake such as accidentally adding too many of an item to a transaction requires a password from a supervisor or manager to amend.

Reports

The Desktop App generates a very basic End of Day/Drawer Close report which shows expected drawer counts and actual drawer counts. A full list of transactions for each day is accessible through the Backoffice in an easy to navigate calendar view. More advanced reporting is only available to users who subscribe to one of AirPOS’s paid schemes.

Cost

AirPOS is currently available in a Free version, Advanced version and Multi-Channel version. The Free version is surprisingly generous, offering up to 100 products. However, certain features such as advanced reporting and payment processing is not available under the Free scheme, and telephone support is also unavailable. You are also limited to using just one POS device.

The Advanced version costs £17.50 (around €21) per month per device and allows up to 50,000 products. It also offers advanced reporting, integrated payment processing, e-mail receipts and a range of technical support options. The Multi-Channel option adds a webstore to your package for an additional £32.50 (around €39) per month. It includes Paypal support, customer capture, and a host of webstore support features.

All packages give you access to the online Backoffice and will allow you download the Desktop Application. Smaller retailers may find that the Free version perfectly suits their needs, at least for the first few months of business. Over time, the lack of in-depth reporting will probably encourage most to jump to the Advanced package.

Support

AirPOS paid packages come with online and telephone support, while the Free package allows just online support. Online support is accessed through the Backoffice and starts a Chat session with a technician. Telephone support is available from 10am – 6pm UK time. It is also possible for AirPOS agents to provide remote support if required.

Since setting up and using AirPOS is very straightforward, most users will probably never have to avail of these services.

Expandability

The three tier pricing plan offered by AirPOS shows how far the software can expand. Where the basic Free version can only offer 100 products and is probably only suitable for single, small stores, the Multi-Channel version offers a wide range of additional features. These extra features allow online sales, advanced inventory management, payment processing, customer relations management and more. While AirPOS cannot be tailored to the same extremes as Vend, and is really designed only to suit retailers, it is easily capable of growing with a business.

Conclusion

AirPOS is a very well-designed piece of software. Easy to set up and use, it looks good and offers a wide range of features, even in its Free package. Having the Backoffice and Point Of Sale as two separate entities is a sensible and logical approach. It allows the POS software to perform quickly and without an Internet connection in most situatons, and also means there aren’t any potential problems with sales being lost because a web browser crashes or does something unexpectedly. It also means administration can be done from any PC or tablet, not just the one with the AirPOS app installed on it.

Pricing is also very favourable, with the Free app more than capable of providing a Point of Sale solution for a small business. The Advanced and Multi-Channel offerings allow room for growth and offer additional features that will suit the typical expansion plans of most retail organisations as they move towards opening additional stores and offering online sales.

Few other programs are as intuitive as AirPOS when performing sales transactions. Quick to respond and easy to navigate, AirPOS offers a well-focused interface for staff. Sales can be completed with just a few taps. However, AirPOS can be a little unforgiving when a mistake is made and it may not always be practical to have a Supervisor or Manager to hand to correct such problems. The other workaround is to give all staff a supervisor password, which isn’t ideal either.

Pros

  • Easy to set up and use.
  • POS interface is stylish and very well designed.
  • Online Backoffice makes admin easy.
  • Even the Free package has much to offer.
  • Ideal for businesses planning to offer online sales in future.

Cons

  • Staff can’t fix mistakes in transactions.
  • Occasional issues with synching (possibly because of our Internet connection).
  • Occasional slow startup times for the POS Desktop app.

More Information

For further details about AirPOS, visit www.airpointofsale.com. Setting up an account is free and will give you access to the majority of AirPOS’s features.