When it comes to buying software, whether for business or personal use, the best way to figure out whether something is worth buying is with a free trial. Unfortunately, not all software comes with a free trial period, so in lieu of the option to try it for yourself, the best you can really do is read other people’s opinions and make your choice accordingly. On the one hand, this is a great way to learn what a program’s strengths and weaknesses are, but on the other, it’s putting a lot of trust into someone else’s abilities to properly evaluate a product.
Oftentimes you will find that a piece of software has glowing reviews from casual users, but they’re not really demanding of the software what you need, so you don’t know how it performs for power-users. On the other hand, more sophisticated software may receive poor reviews because people aren’t used to something that trades user-friendliness for versatility and depth of options. So, you need to judge these reviews and comments against your own expectations and your own experience. It’s like a movie review: If you always disagree with the critic, then you know to go ahead and watch the movies they hate, and avoid the movies they love.
This brings us to the split opinions that surround Revel POS. People tend to love Revel POS or hate it. Or rather, people seem to really, really love it, or really, really hate it. Browsing online reviews you’ll find some users who swear by it and promise never to use anything else for their point of sale needs, and other users who are promising to create a class action lawsuit against the software’s developers. All we can do here is lay out the facts, let you know what you can expect with Revel POS, and let you decide for yourself whether they’re a brand that you want to trust with your business.
Just to set something straight right off the bat…
Small Business Owners Proceed With Caution
Revel POS is the system of choice for many small business owners, but it should be known that you’re taking a bit of a risk here. You’re probably going to be spending at least three grand just to get set-up, and Revel are known not to be too keen on refunds. Many users feel that they’ve been burned after investing in the software and finding, after spending their money, that it’s not exactly what they want, and that Revel are not going to give them their money back. There’s no free trial, no way to take the software for a test drive, and generally no way to get a refund after you’ve made the purchase.
None of this will be an issue if you wind up loving the software, but three grand is a lot of money to spend on a gamble when you’re at your earlier stages as a business owner. Most of the issues reported by the system’s critics are fairly standard problems encountered in mid-range POS systems. However, when compounded by the hefty price tag, the lack of a free trial period, and the fact that Revel do not tend to give refunds, it’s easy to understand why many users feel that they’ve been taken for a ride.
You may be best advised not to put the money down on Revel POS if three thousand dollars is a big bite out of your budget. It may be a smart calculated risk if you’re looking for a good POS system and you have the cash to cover the expenses, but if you don’t have the money to be trying out multiple POS systems at full price, then you might want to put this one on the back burner for now and consider trying it out when you have a little more cash to throw around.
To clarify: The system isn’t bad, Revel are not a bunch of con-artists. It has its ups and downs, like any software system, but the steep price tag and no-refunds means that people tend to love it or hate it to the Nth degree.
Revel POS: What People Like About It
People who like the system swear by it. These users range from small businesses with fewer than ten full time employees to slightly larger businesses with ten to fifty employees, and medium businesses with over a hundred employees. The system tends to really thrive in the ten-to-two-hundred employee range. It’s a bit much for a business with just two or three employees, and it may not be quite powerful enough for a major retail outlet or a chain restaurant that serves thousands of customers in a week.
One of the big advantages to the system is that you don’t have to buy any hardware from Revel. Some systems only work on their own dedicated hardware. Revel POS works on any iPad. While the entry price for the system itself is a bit steep, it’s likely to work with whatever hardware you already have in your shop. This versatility might not seem like a make-or-break feature for every business owner. After all, what’s the difference if you still need to buy all your hardware? Having a system that comes with the hardware can even save you money on up front costs, but for those who already have their place of business outfitted with the required devices and gadgets may appreciate not having to pay the cost of outfitting their shop or restaurant all over again.
Users who like the system have commented on its sleek design. Although it might not be as intuitive as some systems, it is fairly easy to learn, which is very important when you have a dozen employees to train in operating the system. Even in some of the negative reviews, you can find people commenting positively on how easy the software is to learn. You may have some challenges if you’ve already been using another system that you will have to unlearn, but by and large, users tend to agree that the software is user-friendly enough for most.
The system offers in-depth sales reporting, making book keeping fairly easy. It’s nice to know that you can have all of your POS information in one place so that you won’t have to go around looking at receipts and adding them up manually. Your accountant will thank you as well. It’s fairly easy to keep your finances organized with the system so that you don’t wind up getting audited because you forgot to dot a couple of i’s and cross a few t’s.
Customer service generally gets positive reviews, as well. Revel keeps people at the help desk around the clock, so any time you have an issue that you need addressed, you can call or message or email and get a fairly quick response. Many of those who left negative reviews were frustrated that the help desk couldn’t get them a refund, but to be fair, that’s not really the help desk’s job. It would be nice if Revel would address this, but you can’t hold it against people who were hired to man the phones and offer technical support.
Revel POS: What People Don’t Like About It
One of the most common complaints regarding Revel POS is that it really does take some time to set up. If you choose to invest in Revel, don’t assume that you can get it going by showing up an hour early for work. Set aside a weekend or get it started after hours and get it going. You can call the help desk and get some assistance in setting the system up, but it’s not a twenty-minute process, it might take you a few hours. Make sure that you set the time aside to set it up properly so that you don’t have to put a sign reading “cash only” on the counter.
Secondly, customization options are a bit slim. You can tweak the menus and pricing as needed, but you can’t incorporate pictures of your products and options are generally fairly limited overall. This might not be a major concern for a small business, but for a medium to medium-large sized business that process hundreds of custom orders and specialty sales a day, it means a lot of clicking around through menus to customize a sale on the fly, rather than simply having a one-button solution for everything in the shop.
The price is very much the biggest concern users have. Even those who love the system will comment that it doesn’t come cheap. It’s not just the starting costs involved in buying the system, it’s the monthly costs and hidden fees that all add up to what may be considerably more than you thought you would be paying for the rights to use Revel POS as the hub of your in-store software setup. One user reports that their monthly gateway fee jumped from fifteen dollars a month to nearly fifty with no notice. They called to ask about the bump in rates and all they were told was that some security features had been upgraded. This is from a mostly-positive review.
For some, Revel POS may be worth the price, but it’s not recommended for anyone who has to be careful about budgeting. Being hit with these fees without notice, and with no way of getting a refund to put towards a new POS, the costs can add up to quite a bit more than you’d like to pay. It may not be enough to bankrupt your business or anything, but not all businesses can comfortably afford an unexpected spike of fifty, a hundred dollars in overhead from month to month.
Is It Worth The Money?
For some users, Revel POS is well worth the money. We would advise exploring other POS options if money is a major concern for you, however. The initial costs are pretty steep, and the monthly payments can go up by a pretty handy little chunk of change without warning. This is a big disadvantage for a business that’s still finding its feet and can’t afford to be hit with sudden unexpected fees.
That being said, the software isn’t bad. It’s fairly in-depth, it’s intuitive, and it’s easy to learn. The interface is well-designed and even has a nice appearance rather than a utilitarian spreadsheet-inspired look.
Revel POS does not seem to offer a trial run, but they do offer live demos. This might not be enough for you to make a decision, unfortunately. We recommend sticking with something cheap if you’re worried about the expense, and consider giving Revel POS a shot when you have a steady enough cash flow that you don’t have to worry about it should your fees take a twenty, thirty dollar jump between one month and the next. It’s a good system, but not everyone agrees that it’s worth the high cost.