With more people in the world leaning towards entrepreneurship, we admit that most people do not think about the intricacies of the payment process or the details on how transactional data is generated and stored. Most great businesses probably started with a lot of paperwork and confusion around the money at the point of sale leading to losses and lawsuits. This is why tech developers have come up with technologies such as Clover POS provided by Clover Network Inc.
A point of sale system (POS) is a system that accepts payments such as credit cards, checks, and cash and debit cards. Clover offers more than that by providing an all in one payment processing system that has software to process statements and receipts, manage employees and stock control. It’s a cloud based payment processor that makes it more efficient for business related files and back ups just in case the system malfunctions in the line of work.
Clover comes with three price plans that one can choose depending on their business needs. These comprise of payment plus plan, register lite plan and register plan.
- Payment Plus Plan – No extra monthly fee required.
This is the most basic payment plan available in Clover for a person who doesn’t want to deal with many third-party apps. The POS plan has cloud-based payments and accepts all forms of payment and performs basic customer engagement by saving their profiles and purchase date as well as allowing for open tabs and giving rewards on a discount basis. Managing employee time is quick and painless with features built in that allow to clock in and out, with additional apps available that can provide more time management functionality. Though one gets limited access to the Clover app market, Clover provides easy ways to switch your existing plan to other plans that have more access to the Clover app market.
- Register Lite Plan- $14 per month.
Also known as “the cash register replacement” is one of the most popular plans. It’s more advanced than the payment plus plan by having greater control on orders by saving, creating and refunding process orders. Better management of inventory, tax calculation per item and rewards per item level. Employee permissions and management by allowing for shift logging in and out employee time management and includes sales per employee metrics.
Wider market accesses to over 200 apps to the Clover and third-party app market. It has 24/7 support plan which is very important in regards to money handling. The in-person transaction rates are 2.7% + 10 cents per transaction fee while accepting keyed in transactions at 3.5% + 10 cent per transaction fee rate.
- Register Plan- $29 per month.
This is the most comprehensive plan with full access to the app market. Despite having all of the above features, it’s much more detailed and in-person transactions are accepted at 2.3% + 10 cents and keyed in transactions 3.5% + 10 cents rates. It has an enhanced inventory system that allows for items to have modifiers and variants which allows for tracking over a period of time. Controlled employee permissions and management is also more advanced in this plan and customer pre-authorized cards for tabs and reservations. It automatically builds a mailing list, provides customer feedback and can reply with coupons. The plan allows for kitchen printing as it is integrated with weighing scale support.
Depending on the solution chosen the plan comes with a contract and its merchant service account requires setting up. Clover POS uses specific devices which have pre-programmed hardware that one has to choose after ordering a package. The hardware is the payment plus plan, register lite and register. This requires an upfront investment to allow for the company to ship a finished product.
Clover packages include; Clover flex, Clover mini, Clover station, a Clover station with Clover mini and Clover go.
- Clover flex- This package costs $499. It is a handheld system for mobile and in-person payments. It uses Wi-Fi and is useful in capturing signatures, scan barcodes and print receipts. It is described as “payment beyond the counter”
- Clover Mini- Total cost is $599. This is an all in one countertop format of Flex for payment processing, employee management and viewing reports. Really important in managing floor plans in restaurants.
- Clover Station- The fastest and most secure of the packages costs $1,199. It contains a larger countertop system display.
- Clover Station with Clover Mini- For $1,499 a business gets this countertop display that allows the customer to view the transaction from their own side while the employee views it from their side.
- Clover Go- The smallest in size of the packages goes for $59. It allows for the connection of the device via Bluetooth to a smartphone.
In terms of Clover POS functionality the following elements are considered:
Pricing and Payment Processing
Clover uses other companies to handle its purchase of apps by clients. An example is when you buy an app online directly from Clover you first interact with First Data but you can also use different banks and forms of payment depending on your country. They also promote purchase through third party apps thus provide no eCommerce capabilities. Their prices may be considered high in regards to the level of the business because of their monthly software fees, processing fees and startup costs.
Businesses also get lower rate flexibility as Clover accepts in-person and mobile payments, but the processing of transaction funds takes one to two business days depending on your financial provider. Upon purchase of the packages depending on the merchant services chosen, the buyer makes prior investment due to the complicated setup on the part of Clover which also allows for the system to work offline in processing cards. The form of payments these POS systems accept is credit card, debit card, gift card, cash and check. Swiped card processing fee ranges about 2.3% + 10 cents to 2.7% + 10 cents per-transaction fee.
Register Lite is well recommended for businesses that earn less than $50,000 per annum in card sales while the register plan is for any business that earns higher. A liability protection of up to $100,000 may be provided in the event of a data breach in the register lite and register plans.
There are regular promotions including a current marketing bid on giving Black Friday that ask potential customers to open a new merchant services account and get $450 statement credit.
Ease of use
No intense training for employees is required in order to understand the system, thus a new employee can comfortably operate. The home screen has app features such as a sales app or cashier app that makes it easy to navigate for every staff member. Controlled access to certain parts of the system, depending on rank allows for easy management and supervisory work including improved security.
The register plan comes with inventory management considered basic because it’s the only that has this feature. It allows for the weight scale in the kitchen to be integrated in the system.
Employees can follow a schedule in the system that brings about smooth operations in the business. There is a messaging feature that lets employees message each other to swap shifts. Time is important in business and employees are able to clock in and out and ensure all shifts are covered.
The hardware arrives into a business facility already pre-programed on specific package devices as discussed above, namely; Clover flex, Clover go, Clover station, Clover mini and Clover station with mini.
Clover Customer support program
The Clover customer service system runs 24/7 either in email, message or call. This gives customers more confidence in dealing with their products. They have gone ahead to have detailed information included in their website clover.com in terms of frequently asked questions and basic problem solving one may encounter in the process of dealing with their merchandise.
The businesses using Clover POS also get to experience great customer service through the software as they allow basic and advanced customer engagement operations. Register plan creates a simple customer loyalty program, including small questionnaires printed on receipts to receive customer feedback. A database is created of frequent customers and a mailing list created.
In a digital era where everyone has a mobile phone and running payments through it, it is good for a company to be diversified enough to handle the small scale field clients. The Clover Go device runs on such a module that is sleek in operation that connects via Bluetooth to a mobile phone. It accepts swipe, chip and tap form of payments. It gives paperless receipts through messages to email addresses or messages.
CLOVER POS VERSUS SQUARE POS
It’s no secret that there is stiff competition on the information, communication and technology industry and that has led to developers creating a new program every day or updating an existing one to have a cutting edge from their competition. The greatest competitor of Clover POS is Square POS that charges $0 monthly charges.
Square is a point of sale system that is preferred by small retail businesses that want in-person selling and make between $20 to $10,000 monthly sales. The sale may be in store or mobile in the field. Square can be downloaded as an app on an android or Apple platform. It provides for hardware that accepts payment physically and software to process the payments made.
The app should provide the requirements for payment processing, inventory management, employee management and invoicing. There are several types of hardware provided to process payments:
- Square register- $799. A counter top POS that has a customer- facing display. Includes the Square POS app.
- Square terminal- $299. Connects to Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB. Most comparable to Clover Flex.
- Square Stand- $169. Can be connected to an iPad and linked to a downloaded Square POS in order to use the device to run the business.
- Square card readers – allows different types of payments. Include a square contactless and chip reader for $49, the Square magstripe reader is free, but cost $10 to replace and a square chip and magstripe reader for $35.
There is a processing fee of 2.75% for transactions made which depends on the type of hardware in use. Square also allows for easy online payments through the Square virtual terminal. The following are the differences between square and Clover:
- The monthly fee of Clover POS is between $14- $29 while it costs $0 to get Square POS.
- Clover’s hardware is quite expensive as it ranges between $59- $1499 and complicated to set up yet Square’s hardware is $0 to $799. The hardware for Clover is proprietary and is specifically made onto devices, but one can access the Square POS on any android or iPad app store.
- The swiped card processing fee is slightly higher in Square compared to that of Clover POS. Square uses 2.75% s while the Clover starts as low as 2.3% + 10 cents to 2.7% + 10 cents.
- Square comes with a free credit card reader for the Square magstripe.
- Clover customer support system is 24/7 that has their customer base confident in getting solutions and solid in loyalty. However, the square POS is only open Monday to Friday at 7am to 7 pm.
- Square doesn’t provide for employee scheduling and general management.
- Square is a better option in the provision of eCommerce business compared to Clover. Square provides solutions of eCommerce such as business website creation, easy and fast online payments.
Though Square is a very easy POS to use compared to the sophisticated Clover system, it doesn’t mean that one cannot diversify it by purchasing POS kits. Square POS kits include:
- Square stand at $169- has iPad stand and contactless and chip card reader.
- Square Stand Kit at $646- has cash drawer, receipt printer, contactless and chip card reader and iPad stand.
- Windfall stand for the Samsung Galaxy at $645- has cash drawer, receipt printer, contactless and chip card reader and tablet stand.
- Rest stand for iPad Mini at $555- contactless and chip card reader, magstripe reader, receipt printer and cash drawer.
- Square Register Kit at $1529- proprietary touchscreen tablet, cash drawer and receipt printer.
- Square Terminal at $399- proprietary touch screen tablet, all in one device for ringing payments and printing receipts.
Square offers the best in mobile transactions amongst all POS systems in the market and also because it comes at a subsidized cost. The Clover POS is most preferred by businesses that desire easier business management in the day to day running operations. Businesses are advised to start with the POS that they can comfortably afford and depending on their monthly earnings that allows them to retain profits. Clover has more structure for organizations with different departments and staffing needs.
To diversify and best manage your business, Clover allows different apps to work with their price plans. These act as add on to the already existing system to make it more compatible with your vision and mission in business operations. They can be found in the Clover app market at different prices.
- Clover Dining- This is the best app to improve your restaurant and bar operations by helping in better management. It works seamlessly with Clover Station, Flex and Mini hardware. Helps track customer orders in bars and restaurants, keep up with the changing guest counts, host parties and large groups by adding, moving and resizing tables for guests. Cashiers can now pre-authorize payments from customers to ensure a smooth closing out of account when done. Helps the team communicate smoothly, get a full floor plan view showing staff in charge of the table. Bartenders get bar tabs and ticket transfer capability while servers get fast and intuitive order interface. Managers get control, oversight and manage reports.
The app allows for front to back of the house communication by sending orders to the kitchen printers and display systems.
- Customers by Clover- Helps view customer information, transaction history and marketing preferences by saving information once a customer makes a purchase in the business. This is the best way in starting phone orders by building customer data.
- Feedback by Clover- prints a unique code on every receipt that helps the customer send back their feedback or fill in an online form depending on services rendered or goods received helping the business get valuable first-hand information. The feedback is private and thus controls negative feedback from getting into blogs and websites. Negative comments can be made up for by giving coupons. No set up is required after installing the app.
- Promos by Clover- This app comes free on the Clover app market and is useful with station, Go, Mini
It is compatible with Clover station, Go, Mini, Flex and Clover Web dashboard. This app helps in marketing the business to customers by using the mailing list created for customers by Clover to send promo codes through messaging and social media. You can also generate a mailing list with this app too. It makes customer retention and marketing easy. It generates coupons for regular customers and brings back lost customers through win-back campaigns.
- Happy hour by Clover- helps manage discounts for different categories of items according to different time ranges in a day or week. It works seamlessly with Clover Flex, Station, Go and Mini.
- Rewards by Clover- This app allow you to reward your regular customers through a customer loyalty program absolutely free. It basically allows you to keep track of things you would forget to track and ensures your business keeps a positive image in society.
- Sale by Clover- Allows the processing of different form of payments and issue of appropriate receipts. The customer can sign on screen or paper and also decide on tipping the staff on the screen. Compatible with Mini, Flex and Go
Is Clover good for your business?
This question is best answered when you consider the type of business you run, for example, if you run a retail, restaurant and service business. It’s also worth the investment for businesses that focus on business management programs with customer service as their main focus.
Package devices keep improving and different versions are available, thus one should ensure they are keeping up to date with Clover’s website.
Square and Clover are both good POS systems it all goes down to personal preference and the affordability in your business returns. They are both great systems that are feature rich and both systems offer some of the most secure POS systems available today.