Touchscreen POS Systems
Missing the mark on your new touchscreen POS system would be a costly mistake.
But with so many brands and models available these days, how are you supposed to pick the best one to support your business?
I've reviewed 6 of the best solutions with their own specialty and unique features so that whatever type of business you're in, finding the right touchscreen POS just got a lot easier.Scroll down to see which of the top 6 POS systems is the right fit for you.
Point of Sale Features
Customer Relationship Management
Free (percentage paid on payments)
Full package from $799
(or added to percentage)
Free (percentage paid on payments)
$299 per terminal or $799 per register
From $69 per month
From $28.25 per month (cloud version)
From $610 (plus tablet cost)
From $25 per month
Quote-based (free card reader)
From $59 per month
From $40 per terminal
The 6 Best Touchscreen POS Systems
Toast - Best POS System for Food and Beverage
Square - Best Touchscreen POS System
Lightspeed - Most comprehensive Retail POS System
PHP - Best for small businesses
Vagaro - Best for Appointment Scheduling
Upserve - Best for Table-service Restaurants
Toast is a comprehensive point of sale system designed exclusively for the restaurant business.
Able to handle all aspects of foodservice operations with minimal fuss, from menu and table management to online ordering for takeaway/delivery, it's easy to see why Toast is widely regarded as the best in its sector.
Toast touch screen POS software contains an impressive menu management capability. Menus can be updated from any device, with changes taking effect across in-house terminals and your website (especially important if you take online orders for takeaway or delivery). Customer requesting an adjustment to a dish that isn't one of your standard options? It can be added in just a few seconds.
Servers can also see availability levels of each dish in real-time, so there are none of the embarrassing return trips to the table to deliver the news that an order you took can't be fulfilled.
Order and bill processing
Orders taken at the table can be transmitted directly to a ticket printer, or you can choose to install the Kitchen Display System and do away with paper tickets altogether. Orders come up on the screen(s) in the kitchen, complete with any notes from the server e.g. whether the kid's meals should come out with the appetizers or mains.
There's even a newly featured at-table ordering and payment option, allowing customers to order and pay at their own convenience via their mobile devices and freeing up servers to give menu advice, fetch food and drinks, and cover more tables efficiently.
The Square POS system is focused on ease of use and broad applicability. Favored by businesses in a wide range of industries, from retailers and restaurants to amusement parks, Square relies on doing the basics very well, whilst offering variations on the standard package to better fit the needs of different sectors.
Square POS software is free to use, regardless of industry, with the client only paying the hardware costs and a small percentage out of each payment processed.
However, there are premium features that can be accessed via a monthly subscription.
The Square point of sale software lets you monitor stock level either through the touch screen POS itself, by exporting to spreadsheets, or via integration with third-party apps such as Shopventory and SKU IQ. This gives you the control to use inventory data in whatever way works best for your business.
Also, to make sure no costly mistakes are made by missing key info, the system can be set up to send daily emails to highlight any low or out-of-stock items.
Square facilitates multi-channel sales perfectly. In-house payment processing using the credit card reader, online sales via your own eCommerce store, and even social media selling via Facebook and/or Instagram are all fully supported. In the case of online sales, customers can be offered whatever range of collection and delivery options you deem suitable for your products.
Some additional modules can be included for free in your Square package, whilst the premium versions carry extra features. For example, there is a free version of the employee management add-on, facilitating shift scheduling, user permissions, and employee tracking. The premium version (priced at £35/month) also allows different tiers of access depending on the user, monitors discrepancies between scheduled and actual hours and produces comprehensive Labor vs. Sales charts.
The cloud-based point of sale software from Lightspeed Retail provides a host of features that stand out.
Being so comprehensive, it is best suited to larger companies or growing mid-sized businesses.
Everything you need to manage multiple stores, run an online ordering system alongside in-store sales, and identify the next steps for your growth strategy can be handled in one place.
Smaller businesses will also benefit from many of the extra features, although the pricing structure for access to those features may be somewhat daunting compared to the basic package.
The Lightspeed eCom store module is fully compatible with their touch screen POS solution and can be accessed from a mobile device. Not only do the different sale systems match up inventory and sales tracking, but also contain location pages to help buyers find your physical outlets and have strong features for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which help your online shop's visibility to internet users.
Lightspeed has linked up with a huge array of manufacturers and suppliers to create the Lightspeed Supplier Market. This allows you to search for the inventory you need from multiple suppliers, comparing prices and projected delivery timings. You can then import the inventory you buy directly into your POS, complete with multiple high-quality product images, and the system automatically generates the purchase orders.
With Lightspeed touch screen POS systems, you can use the advanced analytics module to track all areas of business performance.
Sales analysis suggests changes t your ordering patterns and pricing, helping you to shift old stock and avoid running out of your bestselling items. Meanwhile, the CRM functions analyze purchase patterns on a per-customer basis and help you identify groups or individuals for loyalty programs or targeted promotions via email, SMS, and/or push notifications.
Staff performance is also tracked against your KPI's, so you can identify areas for support or changes in staffing patterns.
The PHP POS is a retail solution aimed primarily at smaller companies.
Available as a cloud-based (hosted) solution or in a downloadable version, the system offers a range of feature and price options for software and hardware which make PHP one of the most accessible providers on the market.
High-volume businesses dealing with multiple locations or a particularly diverse set of products and services may find PHP a little restrictive, but it works very well for most people and the software includes opportunities for integration with several third-party applications to expand functionality further.
PHP allows access from multiple points at once, so you can access the updated books on your mobile device the instant your salesperson completes the payment processing for a sale on the touchscreen POS. The interface works well on PCs, iPads, Android tablets, and even smartphones.
Accounts are managed via integration with the QuickBooks suite, which offers a range of accounting solutions depending on your needs. The basic package allows you to track and generate the paperwork for sales, purchases, salaries, etc. and includes features to help reduce your tax bill by maximizing deductions. More advanced versions include automated workflows, multi-level access, and project profitability tracking.
Vagaro offers one of the more specifically targeted touch screen POS systems on the market, aimed at companies who provide appointment-based services in the area of health/beauty/fitness.
For anyone whose bottom line relies on efficient scheduling and strong Customer Relationship Management, this system is an excellent choice.
The Vagaro system can handle most aspects of the booking process before the client even arrives at your premises. Appointment scheduling, invoicing, payment processing, and appointment reminders can all be dealt with remotely and automatically via your Vagaro online store page.
Customer Relationship Management
From the creation and billing of custom membership categories to tracking your clients' preferred services, time-slots, and even any allergy information, Vagaro gives you all the information you need to provide a top-quality tailored service. You can even generate incentivized forms and quizzes to encourage customers to share useful data.
Upserve is another product from Lightspeed, marketed as a complete restaurant management system.
It certainly delivers more than just the standard POS features, with table booking and menu management features, tip tracking and sharing, automatic order transmission, and more.
Full-service restaurants will definitely be able to make the most of the Upserve package, whereas some features may be unnecessary for businesses built more around self-service or over-the-counter food and beverage sales.
The Upserve point of sale system has an integrated training mode. This sets your touchscreen POS device to generate dummy orders, bills, etc. without these showing up on reporting or sales figures. New staff can explore the full functionality of the system without any risk of service disruption or accounting irregularities.
As an extension of the analytics functions, menu intelligence takes the guesswork out of refining your offerings. Not only does it show you the basics of what is and isn't selling well, you also receive insights such as what proportion of customers eating a particular dish return to your restaurant at a later date. It's well worth running the occasional promotion on the food that turns guests into regulars.
Factors To Consider When Buying
Although the exact features you are looking for in a touch screen POS system will depend on the specific nature of your business, there are some key things to look out for regardless.
In this guide I'll run through a couple of general points first, then some specific recommendations for three of the main types of companies using POS systems: retail, food and beverage, and appointment-based businesses.
We cover the best touch screen cash registers in another article if that is a better fit for your business.
Touch screen POS systems should all be able to manage sales and payment processing. By attaching compatible cash registers and receipt printers to the system, cash sales are easily dealt with. But of course, you also need facilities for credit card processing and possibly mobile payments, which means extra hardware.
However, you choose to process payments, make sure you explain to the provider exactly what you need your POS hardware to do. You should also check their credit card processing rates. Some companies provide the hardware free (or at a significant discount) but then have higher rates. If you're anticipating high payment volumes, it may be worth paying more upfront and keeping the ongoing cost down.
Customer Relationship Management
If your customer base generally consists of casual passing trade, the CRM module on your point of sale system may be of limited interest. However, many businesses rely heavily on repeat trade and building solid customer relationships.
Customer management software will allow you to save customer data and purchase history, helping you see details you can use to tailor promotions. The best CRM packages go much further, allowing the creation of custom communications within the system, create customer categories with different price points and/or promotions for preferred clients.
The option to create promotions straight from your POS inventory module, then send those out directly as email adverts, push notifications, text alerts, etc. can save a lot of time and expense from your advertising budget.
Some systems also contain SEO features to help improve your online visibility during web searches. When potential customers know exactly what they want but aren't sure where to buy it, getting your information onto that first page of search results is the key to cashing in.
For Retail Businesses
The best retail POS systems contain advanced inventory management features to help you monitor stock levels, track items in transit, and group inventory within the POS software in a way that allows sales staff to easily identify opportunities for upselling or bundling items.
In addition, some retail systems allow you to set trigger levels for automated alerts, so you always know when it's time to restock certain items.
Inventory can often be monitored using serial numbers or SKUs via barcode scanners for easy tracking without time-consuming manual input.
These days, most retail businesses sell through more than one channel. If you want to run an online store alongside in-person sales, you need a point of sale solution that can track sales across both streams and avoid issues like double-selling the same item.
You also want to choose a provider who supports the integration process, so your eCommerce website runs seamlessly alongside the POS itself.
Any restaurant POS software will allow you to set up a basic menu from which to take orders. However, especially if you operate a full-service restaurant, things are often not that simple. The ability to add specials, code items with allergy or dietary information, or process custom requests e.g. a change of side dish or leaving out a specific ingredient, all improve efficiency and reduce the incidence of errors.
To get the most out of your restaurant touch screen POS solution, it needs to simplify workflow for your staff. One of the biggest areas for this is at the point of ordering. A good restaurant POS system will transmit orders directly from the server's terminal to the kitchen and/or bar, either to a ticket printer or a screen. This removes all the extra legwork of heading back and forth to deliver orders, keeping your servers on the floor helping customers as much as possible, and helping to prevent errors such as missed orders.
It can be a server's worst nightmare, the table of 10 who've had several courses plus drinks and then, at the end of the meal, announce they are paying individually or in smaller groups. Cue a whole load of time spent trying to unpick exactly who had what and generating several bills. There are two ways to avoid this using your POS.
Some systems allow you to simply approach each customer with the whole bill open, tap on their purchases, and generate a sub-bill. Even more efficient is being able to use the table management function at the point of ordering and assign each dish/beverage at "seat" rather than table level during the ordering process.
For Appointment-based Businesses
The main attribute of POS systems to look at from the scheduling perspective is flexibility. The option to book spaces and staff in different combinations of timing, for example, so a client/job can be scheduled into a workspace and the various employees involved added to that schedule for the specific stages they will be involved in, rather than blocked out for the entire slot.
Some systems also have features designed to avoid missed appointments, such as automated confirmation emails and SMS reminders.
In addition to handling the schedule itself, a good appointment-based POS will analyze usage data and give you precise feedback on which times are the most in-demand, either on the whole or for specific types of service/activity.
Our Pick - Toast