It's hard to design a Disney's "Frozen" cake with a cash register, but it works like magic with a tablet, according to Dallas-area Society Bakery.
It started using Cartwheel Register, a mobile point of sale app from Tantrum Street, at the bakery's two locations at the end of 2013. In the months since, the bakery has expanded the way it uses the mobile payments app with other tools such as a cake design app, demonstrating how mobile point of sale technology can be the foundation for improved customer service.
"We get a lot of people in here to want special designs for their cakes. And the mobile technology allows us to use the same device to design the cake and take payments," said Roshi Muns, the bakery's owner.
Muns said it's easy to navigate from the cake design app to the payments app while working with a customer. The bakery keeps an iPad near the counter (where the old cash registers were located) and uses other iPads to roam the store while customers are shopping.
This approach lets the bakery combine sales and consultations with payments. The bakery's customers often don't know what kind of cake they want, so the store's staffers use iPads to show images of certain characters or designs on a cake, Muns said. Some of the more common designs are movie characters, particularly from Disney's 2013 animated blockbuster Frozen, she said.
"That vastly improves the customer experience," Muns said. "In a lot of cases we get parents with a child's first birthday, which is a big deal, or they are very specific about colors, and the mobile app allows us to make the consumer's visit special by using the same device that we use to take payments. We could never do that with a cash register."
The bakery originally kept legacy cash registers on the main counter, which caused lines and also obscured some of the baked goods on display.
While Tantrum Street's app doesn't directly support the design of baked goods, the company's model enables mobile payments to co-exist with seemingly unrelated mobile functions. Tantrum Street does not use attachments or other hardware to accept card payments, but instead uses the smartphone's embedded camera to scan the consumer's card number.
"It's the ease of the iPad. There is no hardware so you can pull up the app on a browser to take a payment from whatever other function you were performing without fumbling around," said Kit Carson, a co-founder of Tantrum Street.
The bakery also uses the iPad for features that are directly tied to Tantrum's app, such as reports on costs, sales, and item management.
These non-payment features are becoming an important part of the mobile point of sale competition among providers. Square, PayPal, Roam and Leaf are among the providers that have added new technology or merchant services to differentiate their offerings and improve their appeal to larger clients.