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One of the best ways to simplify and scale your retail business is with a state-of-the-art POS system.
Our team tested 31 of the most popular POS brands used across the retail industry and narrowed it down to 7 winners.
If you are ready to take your retail business to the next level then read on as we compare these 7 brands to help identify the perfect POS system for you.
Best for small businesses without much capital
Free with transaction fees
Robust sales and inventory reporting, customer purchase tracking, e-commerce tools
Great for complex inventory management
Inventory management, Quickbooks point of sale integration, support for multiple locations
Best for e-commerce integration
Sales analytics, easy inventory tracking, custom website setup.
Best for integrating with third-party applications
Comprehensive customer management features, cloud-based system with offline mode, third-party credit card processing
Best for Mobile use
Real-time reporting, mobile access, streamlined staff management
Best for Customer Relationship Management Features
CRM tools for tracking, user-friendly mobile app, sales and inventory management
Best for easy setup and businesses with quick employee turnovers
Simple and versatile hardware integration, sleek interface
If you have worked in the retail business for quite some time, you have probably heard of Square Point of Sale.
Square Point of Sale is a well-known iPad POS system that helps track inventory, email receipts, manage sales, and track purchases from your customers.
With the full-fledged Square POS suite, this POS system is wonderful for large businesses as well. The POS software is incredibly intuitive, perfect for those who are looking for a point of sale system that is both easy to use and effective.
The e-commerce offerings from Square POS are integrated nicely, which is very important for a world where social distancing exists.
The beauty of Square POS is that you don't have to break the bank for monthly costs. The only thing Square POS charges on is transaction fees. There is a 1.75% transaction fee on credit cards and debit cards and a 2.5% transaction fee on manual sales that are keyed-in. Square POS hardware is incredibly affordable too, which is something many POS companies cannot compete with.
With Square POS, you can enjoy 24/7 email and phone support too. Overall, it is one of the best POS systems for small businesses and retail stores seeking out affordability.
For just about any type of retail business, large or small, that is in need of POS system, Lightspeed Retail is an excellent choice. One of the best things about Lightspeed Retail is the inventory management system, which is exceptional compared to most. Store managers can easily import custom items or use items from pre-loaded catalogs. Lightspeed Retail even allows users to group products by type! Of course, you can dig in even further to include details like color, size, style, and more.
Business owners can run Lightspeed Retail software on both desktop computers or iPad. The Lightspeed hardware feature set includes receipt printers, scanners, cash drawers, and iPad stands.
In terms of the price, Lightspeed Retail starts out at $69 per month. However, the majority of retail businesses eventually find the need to upgrade to the Starter Plan, which comes with a more robust feature set and costs $99 per month.
With the Starter Plan, you get one cash register, more intuitive features for onboard, basic business analytics, 24/7 customer support, and up to five employee accounts.
Most businesses find that Lightspeed Retail is a great choice, however, we recommend it most for those who are in need of a fairly complex inventory management system. For small businesses that are just starting out, this retail POS system might be overkill.
Shopkeep is one of the best Retail mobile POS systems on the market.
We refer to it as an iPad POS system, as it uses an iPad app to track your inventory and sales, allowing business owners to keep track of reporting and analytics no matter where in the world they are.
There are wonderful customer loyalty tools on the Shopkeep app as well, allowing you to provide special discounts or gift cards to customers who frequent your retail business.
Plus, having customer loyalty programs is a wonderful way to get customers to return. Customer support through Shopkeep is very strong, which includes 24/7 phone support and support through email or live chat.
The price model for Shopkeep is quite unique in that Shopkeep provides customers with custom quotes depending on their business. If you have specific needs that aren't met by other POS providers with standard POS systems, or if you are someone who enjoys the art of negotiation, this can be a huge advantage.
Overall, Shopkeep is one of the best mobile POS systems on the market today, perfect for small business owners trying to navigate the world of POS systems.
If you are looking to integrate e-commerce into your retail business, we highly recommend looking into Shopify.
This retail POS system comes with a wide variety of high-quality POS features that are perfect for integrating with an online store.
Shopify POS system users receive unique and branded online stores.
With these stores, you have the ability to sell your products through various channels, including eBay, Amazon, Instagram, and more. Having online ordering integrated into your retail POS system is more important than ever, especially when you consider the impact that COVID-19 has had on the retail industry.
With that said, Shopify isn't merely an average POS system with cool online features, some of the additional features include inventory management, employee management, customer management, and sales management. The sales analytics present on the Shopify point of sale system are excellent too. Using these sales analytics, you can create loyalty programs for your best customers to keep them coming back. You can manage your operating systems from wherever you are thanks to the Shopify mobile app.
For businesses that utilize online ordering beyond having a physical location, Shopify retail POS is an excellent choice. The phone support is top-notch too, meaning you'll always have someone with your back in the case that you run into POS software issues.
In terms of pricing, Shopify POS systems start at $29 per month, which is an absolute steal compared to the majority of high-quality retail POS systems out there. However, if your business is growing, you may want to consider the 'Shopify' POS Plan, which starts at $79 per month. With this option, you get access to a wider range of impactful point of sale features.
If you are in search of a retail POS system that works well with third-party integrations, we highly recommend taking a look at Vend POS systems.
Most retail POS systems make it pretty easy to integrate third-party payment processing. However, it can be difficult when trying to add third-party e-commerce integrations to your POS system .
Vend comes with tons of quality e-commerce integrations, which makes it easy for your business to sell through a variety of channels, including digital, physical, and mobile.
Not many people consider the flexibility of a POS system, though if you don't want to spend a ton of time trying to find different point of sale solutions that work nicely together, Vend POS makes it pretty simple.
In our opinion, Vend POS is one of the most flexible retail POS systems on the market today. Vend's POS system can run on a wide variety of hardware devices as well, including desktops and iPads.
One of our top recommendations for those looking for a good customer relationship management system is Revel POS.
There are plenty of customer relationship management tools that come with Revel POS software, including the ability to track customers who return to your store along with their favorite products.
Beyond the spectacular customer management tools that Revel offers, the management software venture into the realms of employee management, inventory management, sales management, and more.
You can get real-time sales analytics through Revel Systems insights as well.
The Revel POS systems starts off at $99 per month, which is a bit expensive for small businesses. Plus, Revel does not provide users with a free trial of any kind, though they do have a free demo for prospective customers. Revel Systems is great for larger businesses with a bit more capital to invest in a POS system.
If you run a business with quick employee turnover, you want your POS system to be as intuitive as possible.
Having POS software that can get set up in under 15 minutes, and be taught to new employees in less than an hour, is a priceless benefit.
With that said, the Epos Now point of sale solution is not your "basic POS system" by any means.
Epos Now is a wonderful POS system for retail stores in that it is packed with high-quality features. We love the promotional POS features, which help businesses get customers coming back with custom loyalty programs and such.
You get 24/7 phone support with Epos Now, which doesn't hurt either.
The price point for Epos Now starts at $39 per month, making it an excellent POS choice for a small business just getting its feet wet. If you want to tack on some additional hardware, such as a cash register, you will have to pay an extra $24 per month.
A retail POS system should be able to receive and manage any transactions through your business at the baseline. However, if you want to step it up and work in the same tier as some of the leading retail businesses, you are going to need to have features that only the leading POS providers provide.
Here are a few of the top POS features that you must look for when finding the right point of sale solution for your retail business.
You want your POS system to track every transaction so that every move your retail business makes is accounted for. Having sales management software integrated into your POS system helps keep employees accountable too.
A great POS system should be able to track employee performance and aid you in the scheduling process. Employees should be able to use the POS system you choose to clock-in and clock-out as well. If you're still working with old-school punch cards for clocking in and out, you're way behind the ball.
With a quality employee management system, you'll be able to assign employees different permissions, giving specific employees levels of access that others don't have, such as access to the cash drawers.
We can't stress the importance of having inventory management software for your business.
The best retail POS system companies understand the importance of great inventory management systems as well, which is why they feature tools to update you after each of your sales, set reminders for automatic re-stocking, and help you keep an itemized inventory.
If you run a business with multiple locations, you may want to consider finding an inventory management system that can transfer stock to different locations.
To optimize promotions, sales, inventories, and more, you are going to need solid reporting and analytics POS software for your system. A top-notch POS system should be able to track sales in real-time and provide you with actionable data, which you can use to optimize your operation down the line.
Of course, you'll want to consider the price of your system too. What does the cost look like per month? What are the credit card processing fees or other transaction fees? How much will you have to pay for add ons? Some POS systems start out incredibly cheap, though the constant need to purchase add ons may run you more money in the long run.
You must consider the price of both the hardware and software too, which brings us to our next point.
Do you need POS hardware for your retail locations? If you're running credit cards, you'll need a card reader. If you take cash, you're going to need a cash register. You might want to consider a few other hardware options as well, including checkout monitors, receipt printers, self-service kiosks, and more.
Does your chosen POS system provider include its own payment processing system or do you need to look for a third-party payment processor? If the company does provide its own payment processing, what do the transaction fees look like? The last thing you want is to watch your money slip down the drain because of an expensive payment processor. Credit card processing and transaction fees should be included in your expected monthly cost for your POS system.
With CRM software installed in your POS system, you'll be able to provide discounts to your most loyal customers or off specialty promotions to get customers back into your store. Make sure to find a POS system that has the ability to create and utilize gift cards as well.
Of course, you want your POS system to handle credit card processing, though you may want to consider other types of transactions too. Many POS vendors offer recurring purchase options with ACH or Accumulated Clearing House payments. This allows customers to connect their bank accounts so that you can set up a monthly utility or mortgage payment for them.
We love POS systems that integrate marketing features. Businesses often use POS marketing features to share discounts or promotions via social media. You can use email marketing strategies to create customer accounts and record/track their purchasing history so that you can create targeted offers for them too.
There are plenty of features that come built-in with quality POS systems. However, there is a chance that you already use third-party software that you really enjoy. Having the ability to integrate third-party POS applications and plug-ins, like Quickbooks Point of Sale, for example, can be extremely helpful.
In the age of the Internet, data security is more important than it ever has been. You want to make sure that your chosen POS vendor is PCI-compliant. Make sure to look into any security services that your POS provider offers as well, including chargeback protection, fraud protection, or guarantees.
Finding the best POS system for your particular business situation may seem like an arduous process. You must be aware of all of the capabilities that the POS software of your choosing provides. From features that can enhance the sales process of your business to those that promote customer acquisition, there are plenty of things to consider.
One of our favorite POS systems is Square for Retail. Square is the perfect choice for businesses that are more established and search for retail POS software that can expand inventory management capabilities and boost sales through insightful analytics.
Of course, all of the point of sale systems on our list have unique and outstanding features that make them great contenders for the best. It's up to you to explore the possibilities so that you can make the best choice for your business based on your needs.
Once you find the right retail POS system, you'll be well on your way to becoming a retail pro.