Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review of Clover Point of Sale for Android Devices

Update January 14th, 2016: same ole horror story with numerous complaints specific to Clover and businesses selling Clover. Specifics include excessive and unusual fees hidden in the contract, rates being raised even when specific rates had be promised (read the fine print in the contract - they can raise your rate), sales reps making promises to keep the rates low and competitive but then raising the rates anyway, salespeople saying that Clover has features/functions that don't exist, etc. etc.

I'm aware of at least two proposed class action lawsuits related to Clover so that should be a huge warning sign not to invest in Clover.

Update September 4th, 2015: to summarize all the information below - 3 years ago Clover looked promising but todays advice is to avoid Clover like the plague - I've stopped tracking the number of complaints specific to Clover as its clear that choosing Clover is a bad decision. 

Update July 6, 2015: no shortage of complaints against Clover specific to expensive long term contracts, costly buyout clauses, unable to transfer licensing if the business is sold, and sales reps making promises for features/functions that Clover just can't do.  I believe the overall tally is over 400 verified complaints against Clover.


Update 1.January.2015:

Based on user feedback and the fact that First Data locks you into a costly merchant services contract when purchasing Clover, I do not recommend that anyone considers Clover as a possible point of sale system for your business or organization. There are much better systems on the market like NCR Silver and Bindo Point of Sale that perform at a same or better level and do not lock you in to costly merchant services contracts.

One of the newer tablet and cloud based retail point of sale solutions to come on the marker is Clover. The folks at Clover sent the company that I worked for a complete demo system with a tablet, cash drawer, customer price display, credit card swipe, and high speed thermal receipt printer.  I used this equipment at nearly all of the point of sale workshops that I conducted in 2012 and parts of 2013.

In the end, Clover has been acquired by First Data and is not currently available for sale (per the Clover website).  Still, in case the program becomes available again, here are my thoughts in working with clover as a retail or food service point of sale system.

The Good:
  • Very easy to learn and use
  • Simple touch screen user interface
  • Easy to navigate back office functions via a web browser
  • Set monthly price
The OK:
  • Appeared to handle both basic retail and basic food service sales well 
  • Has some modifiers for food and beverage items
  • Decent amount of reporting
  • Doesn't try to be a true point of sale system (ie: no inventory tracking or purchasing/receiving)
  • At the time, there appeared to be various options to pick and choose who would handle your merchant services

The Needs Improvement:
  • Lack of basic item cost/margin tracking
  • Limited hardware compatability
  • Unclear future - if First Data requires the customer to use First Data for merchant services than merchants could be locked in to paying excessive merchant service fees
Summary:

While I really liked Clover as a viable solution for very small retail stores and food service businesses, the unclear future of Clover makes it tough to even consider Clover as a point of sale option - especially since it has not been available for several months now.

*Updates 7/24/2014*  *Feedback Received in July 2014*
  • Returned it (Clover) the next day"
  • "(sales rep) couldn't even demo the system"
  • "they will raise my (merchant services) rates"
  • "don't want to be locked in to a credit card contract"
  • "good step up from a cash register"
  • "missing features"
  • "went with Bindo which does more and doesn't require me to use a specific company for credit and debit card processing services"
The Bindo solution was mentioned a couple of times.  Folks noted that Bindo does more than Clover and is even offering some various incentives like free hardware currently. If you are curious about Bindo Point of Sale, check them out at www.bindopos.com.

Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (mountain time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.

11 comments:

  1. Hi Kevin,

    First Data will be allowing the ISO channel to sell Clover very soon which should help merchants pair up with competitive processing rates. Right now, they are pushing it hard through their bank channels and direct (PNC, Bank of America and Wells Fargo).

    In my opinion, Clover was released in a pretty beta model where they chose to develop in broad strokes to hit quick service, full service and retail and are hoping that the 3rd party developers will fill in the gaps using the app marketplace.

    I'm a bit skeptical on how the system will actually compare to some of the more robust tablet options, but once I get my demo unit and a few merchants on it, I'll be happy to share any insight that I have to your blog.

    Best,
    Shawn

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    1. Awesome! Thanks Shawn! I should have my Bindo demo early next week so it will be interesting to see how the two solutions compare to each other.

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  2. We had a representative from SunTrust come into our pharmacy today to push the Clover station. I have mixed feelings. We run a small neighborhood pharmacy with front end over-the-counter options. Currently using Square, can you offer advice?

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    Replies
    1. Sure Patty - I've worked with businesses like yours in the past. You can reach me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 for free advice.

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  3. Don't waste your time or money getting hooked in the Clover Web. We're caught in this web for three years. Paying excessive fees and not getting the support that was promised. Not happy with this system at all.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your negative experience with Clover but appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with Clover. Who knows - maybe another point of sale company like Bindo Point of Sale might be willing to buy you out of your contract?

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  4. We've been running a small business at cellular / wireless market for several years. Now, we are going to change our point of sale system to Clover. Do you think it is okay? I mean can we use Clover system at this sort of businesses ?

    Thanks

    Leo

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    Replies
    1. Leo - what type of products do you sell and is your business in operation every day of the year or just while at market?

      My 2 biggest concerns with Clover would be that Clover requires/forces you to use 1 company for credit and debit card processing which means that company can raise the rates you pay for credit and debit card processing and you can do nothing about it!

      The other concern is that I'm not aware of any seasonal pricing for Clover if your business is only in operation for part of the year.

      I'd suggest looking into solutions like NCR Silver or Bindo Point of Sale with have "only when you use it" payment plans and allow you to pick, choose, and change who you use for credit and debit card processing services so you are always paying the lowest rate.

      Please note that I am assuming that you do not sell any actual cell phones or cell phone plans as none of the systems that I've mentioned track rebates, activations, warranty periods, repairs, or sim card numbers.

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  5. Kevin,

    thank you for quick response.

    We are an Authorized MetroPCS Dealer. Most of the Dealers use Qpay / Smartpay which is web-based payment service. It is connected to MetroPCS system.

    We do sell phones, plans, accessories and repair services.

    Thanks
    Leo

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    Replies
    1. No problem Leo - sorry that I don't know of a good system that can handle everything related to the sale of cell phones - over the last 16 years I've have talked to a lot of cell phone related businesses but they always seem to align themselves with a brand and use the POS system that the brand recommends.

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