How to match the Apple Store EPOS experience

Written by Jamie Freeman

I’ve finished shopping, so I take my products up to a member of staff who zaps them with a tiny wireless scanner. The items appear by magic on the iPad. I pay with a card, but use up the remainder of a gift voucher too, which also gets zapped. When we’re done a receipt jumps out of the small printer over on the counter, wirelessly. I’ve shopped here before, so the sale goes down on my account, and I see the purchase alongside my online shopping history when I get home.

If you’ve ever shopped at an Apple Store this level of hi-tech customer experience might sound familiar. But what I’ve just described took place in a quirky, off-beat little folk music shop in leafy East Sussex. Thanks to the latest version of the electronic point of sale (EPOS) system in Mothership - our retail business platform for web and bricks-and-mortar shops - any store can be like an Apple Store.

Owner Stevie says “Our new EPOS system is brilliant because its so small and mobile - we don’t need to be fixed to one place in the shop when working with a customer. The beauty is in its simplicity - we have six members of staff and its taken no time at all for each of them to feel at home with how it works.”

A couple of years ago we created our first EPOS system, for Oi Polloi in Manchester. Fully integrated with the website which we designed and built, it finally allowed them to have real-time view of their stock and sales across both channels. We did the same for The Mountain Factor last year.

In this latest version we’ve moved beyond the constraints of traditional bulky grey boxes, allowing clients to transform their retail experiences and stay on brand. The elements connect wirelessly (using Bluetooth and WiFi) and printing is handled by a totally unique hardware/software device we call Waldo.

Left: Waldo lurks unobtrusively between the shelving behind the counter, wirelessly connected to the iPad, eagerly waiting to send transaction data to the receipt printer.

This allows the shop to add more ‘tills’ as easily as buying more iPads, but for the moment Union only needs the one. “Switching from one staff member to another is quick and simple which means at the end of the day I can track every sale and see a number of helpful things, like who dealt with a sale or a return. Then if there are issues with that transaction it’s so much easier and faster to get to the bottom of it.”

“I can also see straight away who has performed the best each day! There are so many other things that have become easier to do and record since having the new EPOS, such as end of day reports, gift vouchers, returns and discounts. Everything's right there on the iPad.”

For our clients with e-commerce operations as well as bricks-and-mortar shops there is one more killer app. Stevie describes it simply; "We do our online orders from the shop too, and as the web and EPOS are one system it means stock levels are immediately updated online as soon as I make a sale here in the store."

Imagine if your retail outlet had a checkout experience as smooth as the Apple Store. Or Union Music Store for that matter.


  • Rosemary A. C. Gottlieb -

    This is an absolutely remarkable web site. One expects that in a big city shop. How great that people no longer have to think "big city" when it is available right under their nose.

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