Many corner mom-and-pop retail stores may still use those clunky cash registers, but the face of retail point-of-sale (POS) systems has changed dramatically over the last couple years. Even before the advent of the iPad and other tablets, Apple Store employees have had mobile POS systems. Urban Outfitters provides a great example of a “mobile first” policy in retail—the retailer’s associates use mobile devices for sales, product search, inventory management, pricing/labeling/signage, order processes, markdown management, workforce management (WFM), task management, etc.
iPad (and tablets, in general, for that matter) technologies have become integrated into the payment process at brick-and-mortar restaurants, retail, and grocery stores. Now, transactions can be mapped back to cloud-based inventory management and reporting back-office systems to give managers a holistic view of the high-selling items, best-performing salespeople, and inventory across disparate locations. There was a trend this year of tablet POS systems at the National Retail Federation (NRF) BIG Retail Show.
Revel Systems iPad POS
A new start-up, founded in 2010 in San Francisco, Revel Systems is changing the retail game and taking on the old-school traditional POS players on the market today. Founders Lisa Falzone and Chris Ciabarra developed an intuitive and secure iOS-based POS system by combining cloud-based technology and the mobility of the iPad. Revel Systems software offers a POS solution for restaurant, retail, and grocery establishments with integrated payroll, inventory tracking, customer relationship management (CRM), and more features (see figures 1 and 2).
Figure 1. Revel POS Screen
Figure 2. Revel POS Screen
Revel Systems’ iPad POS solution enables retailers and hospitality enterprises to take orders, process payments, analyze sales, and track inventory across several locations. The company’s POS technology platform merges lightweight POS clients, state-of-the-art data replication and redundancy, security solutions, enterprise-level data analytics and reporting, customer-centric scalability and feature customization, cloud-based data storage, and remote software push capabilities. With the introduction of the Revel Marketplace, Revel iPad POS users can now integrate directly into third-party enhancements, including mobile payments, online ordering, gift or reward cards, and advanced financial software suites.
Revel has moved beyond the field of other iPad/tablet POS companies and is now directly competing with the current POS market leaders, such as Micros, Aloha, and NCR. The scalability and flexibility of Revel’s POS platform allows Revel to earn the business of customers of all sizes, spanning from shops with a single POS terminal to retail chains. The company has more than 5,000 deployed terminals in more than 1,200 enterprise locations including Goodwill, Belkin, Griffin, and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. Revel Systems has secured a total of $14 million (USD) in funding and, contrary to most of young start-up companies, is profitable, achieving 240 percent annual revenue growth since 2012 (with more than 100 employees).
Chatting with Revel Systems Founders
To get a better idea about the company’s differentiation, we recently spoke to Revel Systems founders. Lisa Falzone is the chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Revel Systems, and since starting the company from the ground up in 2010, Ms. Falzone has been an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word. She leads the day-to-day business operations and spearheads new business growth, and has also been instrumental in securing more than $13 million (USD) in venture capital funding to date and assisting in international expansion of the San Francisco–based start-up. Ms. Falzone has been recognized as Forbes ’30 Under 30’ as well as San Francisco Business Times ’40 Under 40’, and ‘Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business.’ She has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in history from Stanford University.
Lisa Falzone, CEO of Revel Systems
Christopher Ciabarra is the chief technology officer (CTO) and co-founder of Revel Systems. After he founded the company with Lisa Falzone in 2010, the team embarked on a mission to change the world of POS. To kick off this journey, Mr. Ciabarra developed the technology behind Revel’s iPad POS and continues to lead the technological advancements and well as security of the system. His list of invention and design precedes Revel with Intereceptor.net, Scan-on-the-Go Secure, Adrenaline cell phone app, and Nano-Stealth. He is also an anti-hacker expert and has a strong background in Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, which helps to make Revel Systems one of the most secure iPad POS on the market. Mr. Ciabarra has Bachelor of Science (BS) in computer science from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Christopher Ciabarra, CTO of Revel Systems
TEC: What typical old cash register shortfalls do your iPad POS terminals overcome and how?
Revel Systems: Security, for starters, since 90 percent of the market runs on Windows XP, which cannot be PCI compliant after April 2014. Revel Systems is completely PCI compliant and this gives retailers, grocery stores, and restaurants a peace of mind.
Moreover, due to being an open application programming interface (API) platform, new technologies come out every month. With Revel you can take advantage of those technologies quickly, easily, and cheaply. Last but not least, our POS is intuitive: old legacy systems take days to a week to learn; Revel training takes about 20 minutes.
TEC: Apple Store associates have long been using mobile POS. What is new in Revel POS?
Revel Systems: As mentioned earlier, we offer flexibility, an open API platform, more intuitiveness, and with far fewer clicks. In addition, Revel's always-up mode allows businesses to continue even if the Internet goes down. The system waits and syncs automatically with the cloud once connectivity is back.
TEC: Do you support other mobile OS platforms, and what about printing receipts?
Revel Systems: We can print receipts to any Star or Epson printer, and you can customize your own receipts. Revel Systems integrates with an entire suite of peripherals such as scales, barcode scanners, receipt printers, and more (see figure 3). We work on iOS and Android.
Figure 3. Revel iPad POS Full System