Closed vs open systems
All-in-one platforms tend to be based in the cloud (online) so features are linked up, and to provide real-time access to sales and business data across locations.
As a matter of fact, most of today’s business software is based in the cloud and also syncs with other apps. That doesn’t mean they all do, though.
Open all-in-one platforms can integrate with other cloud-based services – often just popular ones like Xero and QuickBooks for accounting – without technical know-how. Such open systems are attractive for small businesses that can’t afford to hire a developer but need an advanced, specialised setup.
In contrast, closed all-in-one platforms don’t allow integrations with external software, but aim to offer associated services that merchants need apart from just payments. This could be POS systems, business accounts, even financing for those who need it – all from the same provider.
The downside of a closed system is that you can’t expand on features. When your business grows, you may therefore have to move to a different provider with a setup that suits the complexity of your business.
For example, SumUp is a closed system that doesn’t integrate with external bookkeeping software or website builders, but offers its own solutions for both. Its features are built for a simple shop or café, but more complicated businesses would struggle with the limitations.
The most comprehensive open system, Square, offers many retail and hospitality tools to emulate a closed system, but integrates with many specialised, external apps too. It’s therefore good for both simple startups and more complex businesses like growing retailers and restaurants.