Finding the Best POS System for Your Small Business

A point of sale (POS) solution enables businesses to process customer payments smoothly. But it does much more than that. The best POS system will help you manage your inventory, monitor your staff, and build long-lasting customer relationships. We’ve created a list of five POS industry leaders that can improve your business regardless of what industry you’re in.

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1.

Square POS
  • Software available for free download
  • Flat transaction fees
  • Hardware available for purchase in installments
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Square has been empowering small business owners ever since it was launched in 2010. In the decade since, the San Francisco-based company has gained over 1 million customers. Square is the best POS for small business because it offers free software and flat transaction fees for every payment method. On top of all that, it sells its own hardware at competitive prices.

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Square has been empowering small business owners ever since it was launched in 2010. In the decade since, the San Francisco-based company has gained over 1 million customers. Square is the best POS for small business because it offers free software and flat transaction fees for every payment method. On top of all that, it sells its own hardware at competitive prices.

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  • Payment processing - excellent
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent

2.

Vend POS
  • Cloud-based solution with an offline mode
  • 24/7/365 phone and online support
  • Compatible with Windows, iOS, and macOS
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With 10 years of experience in the POS industry, Vend has earned the trust of more than 25,000 retailers across the globe. It is the best retail POS system for vendors with up to 10 outlets who are looking for an elegant and scalable solution. Since it’s cloud-based, it lets store owners keep an eye on their operations from any location. Other benefits of cloud hosting are that Vend takes care of securing all your data for you while enabling you to process payments on the go.

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With 10 years of experience in the POS industry, Vend has earned the trust of more than 25,000 retailers across the globe. It is the best retail POS system for vendors with up to 10 outlets who are looking for an elegant and scalable solution. Since it’s cloud-based, it lets store owners keep an eye on their operations from any location. Other benefits of cloud hosting are that Vend takes care of securing all your data for you while enabling you to process payments on the go.

Read full review VISIT WEBSITE
  • Payment processing - excellent
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent

3.

Shopify POS
  • Built-in payment processing
  • Hardware lease options
  • More than 100 integrations
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Founded in Canada in 2005, Shopify started off as an eCommerce platform. By 2013, it had included POS software solutions in its offer, and it now powers more than a million businesses worldwide. This is the best point of sale system for omni-channel retailers looking for a central place to manage their inventory across channels – it processes payments safely and provides a seamless checkout experience. Shopify POS hardware is available for sale or lease and the software runs on Android, iOS, and Mac devices.

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Founded in Canada in 2005, Shopify started off as an eCommerce platform. By 2013, it had included POS software solutions in its offer, and it now powers more than a million businesses worldwide. This is the best point of sale system for omni-channel retailers looking for a central place to manage their inventory across channels – it processes payments safely and provides a seamless checkout experience. Shopify POS hardware is available for sale or lease and the software runs on Android, iOS, and Mac devices.

Read full review VISIT WEBSITE
  • Payment processing - excellent
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent

4.

Toast POS
  • Restaurant-specific hardware
  • Built-in HR and payroll features
  • Online orders go straight to kitchen
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Toast, the restaurant-centric point of sale company, was launched in 2013 in Boston. Today, it powers tens of thousands of restaurants of all sizes, from small delis to nation-wide franchises. A testament to its excellence is the fact that one in every five Toast customers comes as a referral from an existing customer. Not only is Toast the best Android POS on the market, but it’s also hands-down the best restaurant POS in our books. Why? Because of its flat payment processing rates, built-in HR and payroll tools, outstanding inventory, and customer management features.

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Toast, the restaurant-centric point of sale company, was launched in 2013 in Boston. Today, it powers tens of thousands of restaurants of all sizes, from small delis to nation-wide franchises. A testament to its excellence is the fact that one in every five Toast customers comes as a referral from an existing customer. Not only is Toast the best Android POS on the market, but it’s also hands-down the best restaurant POS in our books. Why? Because of its flat payment processing rates, built-in HR and payroll tools, outstanding inventory, and customer management features.

Read full review VISIT WEBSITE
  • Payment processing - good
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent

5.

ShopKeep
  • Suitable for bars, traditional and quick-service restaurants, and retail stores
  • Offers funding without variable interest rates to its customers
  • Works on Android devices
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NY-founded POS provider ShopKeep has been around since 2008. During that time it has gained more than 25,000 customers across the US and Canada. With features like table layouts, volume-based inventory tracking, and staff clock-in, it stands out as the best bar POS system on our list. In addition to these bar-specific features, ShopKeep delivers built-in payment processing, an easy-to-navigate checkout menu, and in-depth analytics that can be used by retailers, restaurants, and specialty stores. But perhaps ShopKeep’s most appealing feature is the option to borrow money from the company itself to expand your business.

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NY-founded POS provider ShopKeep has been around since 2008. During that time it has gained more than 25,000 customers across the US and Canada. With features like table layouts, volume-based inventory tracking, and staff clock-in, it stands out as the best bar POS system on our list. In addition to these bar-specific features, ShopKeep delivers built-in payment processing, an easy-to-navigate checkout menu, and in-depth analytics that can be used by retailers, restaurants, and specialty stores. But perhaps ShopKeep’s most appealing feature is the option to borrow money from the company itself to expand your business.

Read full review VISIT WEBSITE
  • Payment processing - excellent
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent

Our Evaluation Criteria

Bearing in mind the number and complexity of tasks POS systems take care of, it’s understandable that the criteria for evaluating them are plenty. The qualities you’ll look for in such a system vary. A product-based business like a retail store needs a different set of features from a service-based business like a bar. However, there are some universal functions that a point of sale solution has to have, so we’ll start our list there, then move on to the two separate categories.

Payment processing

This is the most important feature of a POS system. Indeed, it’s the reason it was invented in the first place. In the dog-eat-dog world of modern retail, vendors need to provide customers with a plethora of payment processing methods if they want to make it. Those in the service-based industry face similar demands.

That’s why we evaluate point of sale systems based on how many payment processing options they provide. You need to be able to accept both credit and debit cards and charge them fast, regardless of whether you swipe them or dip them. We also check for mobile payment options like iPay and Android Pay, as more and more consumers use them these days.

Of course, we also focus on the costs incurred by business owners. We assess point of sale companies on whether they come with integrated payments or not. Those that offer integrated payments don’t charge any monthly payment processing fees. On the other hand, with the POS companies that make you find your own payment gateway provider, businesses usually end up tied up in long-term commitments and paying monthly processing fees.

Employee management

It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a furniture store or a nightclub; you’ll want POS software that has multiple user profiles and permissions so you can restrict access to certain confidential information. Employee management features also include tracking the hours and productivity of each staff member.

Knowing who your top sellers are is extremely important when it’s time to give out bonuses and raises, as it is when you’re making shifts for busy times of the day. Some solutions even provide you with real-time data so you can keep an eye on the situation in your store or restaurant while you’re away.

Customer management

In order to provide great customer experience, it’s essential to know your shoppers. The best POS software lets you capture customer data, including names, contact information, birthdays, and records of previous purchases. This information is then used for customer loyalty programs. Both eateries and stores can use this feature to increase customer retention and build stronger connections between their top spenders and their brand.

Another way to monetize the data collected this way is to sync it across your marketing tools. That’s why we look for point of sale solutions that both gather and share this type of information.

Hardware

Credit card readers, cash drawers, receipt and label printers, tablets and countertop tablet-holders, desktop computers, customer-facing displays, barcode scanners, self-serving kiosks, hand-held devices for taking orders... The list of hardware and hosting devices you can add to your POS software is long and might seem daunting. Luckily, you probably won’t need to buy all that stuff and definitely not at once.

While small retailers can start by adding a credit card reader to their tablet or iPad, some restaurateurs might want a self-serving kiosk to speed up their order-taking process. For the purposes of writing our reviews, we look at POS vendors’ offers and present only the ones worthy of your attention.

Reporting

Top POS systems help you grow your business by providing smart insights into your sales results filtered by date, time, and location. They help you see which employees are cutting corners and which are going above and beyond to meet their sales targets. Customizable reports that go deep into your data to give you a cross-section of your operations at any given moment are the holy grail of POS reporting. Our list includes only the companies whose reporting features are stellar.

Integrations

Being able to share data between the software programs your business uses is vital for good management. You’ll want to easily export data from your point of sale system to your text message marketing software, payroll system, and
bookkeeping app.

If you’re in the hospitality industry, you might need to hook your system up with seating and reservations software. By contrast, retailers would appreciate a POS solution they can integrate with their eCommerce stores. Keeping the importance of connectivity and data sharing in mind, we’ve scoured the lists of third-party integration options each POS software solution offers.

Hosting

There are no right or wrong answers to the question of hosting; the type you’ll choose for your business POS depends solely on your business model. Traditional, locally hosted POS systems keep your data on your computer (hard drive) or your own server.

The advantage of this type of on-site POS is that it can work offline, so your business won’t get disrupted when your internet coverage gets spotty. On the other hand, such systems aren’t mobile, so you can only use them at your business location. This, in turn, means that business owners can access the data collected by their point of sales device remotely. If you choose a POS system that’s hosted locally, you won’t be able to start using it before both software and hardware are set up and the system is customized to your needs.

Alternatively, you can go with a cloud-based POS solution. This type of system is faster to set up as there’s no software to install; you simply sign up online and you’re good to go. In this case, your data is stored online, which means you can access it remotely from any internet-connected device.

Pop-up retailers, market merchants, and food trucks that require mobility in their day-to-day operations should choose this option. One drawback of mobile POS systems, though, is that they don’t work offline. If your internet connection isn’t strong during peak hours, you could have a real problem on your hands.

Customer support

Good customer support is key in a system that helps you manage so many moving parts of your business. We check whether each company provides personalized product demonstrations to help you choose the best POS system for your company.

Onboarding support while you set up and customize the system is also essential. And since software glitches have a bad habit of occurring during your busiest hours, it’s preferable that the company provides round-the-clock technical support.

Other criteria by which we judge the quality of customer care are options for getting in touch with support staff and whether some support options are excluded from certain pricing plans.

Price

When evaluating the best POS systems for small businesses, we inevitably look at pricing. While some providers offer bespoke quotes to all their customers, others have a tiered pricing structure. Lastly, some companies charge a monthly fee per terminal. With all this information at your disposal, you can judge the best option for yourself based on your business model.

Evaluation criteria for retail POS software

Checkout procedure

Not only is it in your best interest to be able to serve as many clients as possible, but speed of service also contributes to a memorable shopping experience. That’s why we assess each system based on how streamlined the ring-up process is.

We check whether the POS display has quick keys that let you look up products quickly, and we look for the ability to create discounts and bundle products on the spot.

Does the program allow for receipt printing and emailing? Can you get a customer-facing display that makes the whole process more transparent? Is there a mobile checkout point of sale device you could use to meet your shoppers in any part of the store?

All these functionalities improve the quality of the customer experience you provide. That’s why our list includes only top-notch vendors that check most of these boxes.

Inventory management

Keeping track of inventory is crucial for any retail business. From product uploads to stock transfers between store locations, small business retail POS systems should make inventory-related tasks easier. That’s why we disregard programs that don’t have a bulk product upload feature.

Barcode scanning and inventory counting are must-have features, while the ability to make endless product variants is a major plus. If a system sends low-stock alerts and makes purchase orders on its own, it’s even better.

Evaluation criteria for hospitality point of sale systems

Order management

In bars and restaurants, the ability to seat customers and take orders quickly directly influences your bottom line. If customers are forced to wait for a table and then wait again to get served, they’ll go elsewhere where the service is faster.

That’s why we look at how POS systems for restaurants facilitate taking orders from customers and sending tickets to the kitchen. If a system can help with table management and reservations, we award it a higher spot on our list.

Checkout procedure

The checkout procedure in service-based establishments is quite different to that of brick-and-mortar retail stores. Meeting clients where they are is much more important at restaurants than in shops. That’s why we look for restaurant POS systems that come with mobile devices so your servers can charge guests at their tables. The option of splitting checks and taking tips is also essential if you want to provide quality service.

The Best POS for 2020

  • 1. Square
  • 2. Vend
  • 3. Shopify
  • 4. Toast
  • 5. ShopKeep

Key Features
  • Payment processing - excellent
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent
Additional Features
  • Square capital
  • Live and online events for users
  • Free eCommerce store
  • Highly customizable platform
  • Easy setup

Square earns our best overall badge for providing fantastic POS software free of charge. It manages to match the needs of both restaurant and retail businesses by providing excellent inventory, employee, and customer management features. With Square POS, you can accept all types of card payments at flat, per-transaction rates, knowing there won’t be any hidden fees. The company’s all-encompassing offer includes durable, high-quality hardware like POS cash registers, terminals, and card readers.

Payment processing

The Square POS system comes with integrated payments at flat rates for all payment methods. You’ll be charged 2.6% + 10¢ for every dipped (chip cards), swiped (magstripe cards), and tapped (mobile payments) payment you accept. This makes Square a cheap POS system for merchants selling large-ticket items. However, if your average ticket is small, the costs can add up.

That said, with Square payments there are no startup fees, monthly fees, refund fees, PCI-compliance fees, or business card fees. In a word, there are no hidden fees whatsoever. And the setup procedure is so fast and straightforward that you can start accepting payments the same day you sign up for Square. If your business processes more than $250K in card sales and your average ticket size exceeds $15, you could even qualify for custom pricing packages.

It takes one or two business days for the funds processed with Square payments to reach your bank account which is the case with other POS systems for small business. If you need the money faster, you can have it deposited in your account the same day for an additional per-transfer fee.

Checkout procedure

You can process payments on the go using your smartphone and a card reader, or you can hook up an iPad and a customer-facing display for maximum transparency. Or, of course, you can ring up sales using a Square terminal device. The checkout experience will vary slightly depending on the type of hardware you use, but one thing is for sure – it will be fast and reliable. 

You can add products to customer receipts by scanning product barcodes, or by finding them in a heartbeat using your customizable item grid. If you sell food, adding modifiers like toppings, sides, and special requests is as easy as tapping once more on the screen. 

As with all the best POS systems, you can allow customers to split the bill between various payment methods. You can also accept card tips – preset dollar amounts, a percentage of the sale, or any amount the customer wants to leave. The receipt can be printed, texted or emailed according to your clients’ wishes. Even if your internet is down, you can still process payments in offline mode. Square will complete the charge when your connection restores, enabling you to operate at full speed at all times.

Customer management

With Square point of sale, you can make every customer feel valued and appreciated by saving personal and contact information – along with notes about their preferences – to create a profile of each shopper. When you know what they like and have their contact info, you can reach out to shoppers with relevant deals straight from Square’s POS solution. Or you can ask if they’d like the usual side dish with their order. 

Another way Square helps you connect with your clientele is through customer feedback. For instance, a great time to ask for shoppers’ thoughts on your business is when you email them their receipt. You can also use the software to identify who your top spenders are, what they’re buying, and when. It’s a powerful tool that helps you come up with the right loyalty program for your store or your coffee shop. Even though Square is one of the cheapest POS systems you can get (as the software can be downloaded for free), it does charge a minimum of $45 a month for its customer loyalty feature.

Inventory management

You can keep your eye on inventory levels across locations from your Square dashboard. The system syncs data whenever an item is sold, be it online or in your brick-and-mortar shop. Square POS also lets you adjust the number of items in stock manually. 

With bulk product uploads, inventory setup is a breeze. Those who plan on using Square’s POS system for their retail store will surely appreciate how simple it is to create product variants with this software. Business owners from the food industry, for example, will find these particularly useful, as it allows them to track modifiers like expiration dates within their stock. And all business owners, regardless of their industry, love the low stock alerts they get via email. 

As amazing as the inventory management features are with this free Square POS software, if you run a large retail or restaurant chain, you’ll need either the Square for Retail and Square for Restaurants version of the product. These come with a monthly fee of $60 per location, but their inventory modules are customized to those specific types of business and are way more detailed.

Employee management

Managing your employees’ hours and performance is another built-in feature of this POS software for small business. Why pay for time clock software when your staff can clock in and out at your POS? Square even tracks overtime. And all the data it collects about your employees’ hours can be exported and shared with a payroll system. 

You can set user permissions to keep sensitive business information to yourself or assign different login data to each staff member so you can keep track of your most productive sellers. 

Hardware and hosting

Square’s POS software can be downloaded to iOS and Android devices. In doing so, you turn your iPad, tablet, or smartphone into an integral part of your business. In addition to working on these devices, Square sells its own hardware, which we consider the best POS hardware on the market. 

The company has card readers (both magstripe and those for contactless and chipped cards) that, when plugged into your mobile phone, process payments on the go. There’s the wireless Square terminal that processes all types of cards and prints receipts. If you’re willing to invest more in hardware, you can choose between a POS register and a stand. The pricing is competitive, and the company even lets you pay it off in 24 instalments. This brings your monthly hardware costs to under $40. 

If you’re not sure which device to choose for your business, you can compare Square’s POS hardware devices here. The system is cloud-based, so you can access your Square dashboard from anytime and from any internet-connected device.

Reporting and integrations

When you log into your Square dashboard you get a quick overview of key performance indicators, including daily sales (broken down by payment method) across locations, number of customer visits, average customer spending, invoices, and top-selling items. You can customize these reports according to location, time of year, time of day, or employee to get a better understanding of your business. All reports are exportable and can be shared with third-party apps like QuickBooks and Xero for accounting.

Square wouldn’t be on our best small business POS list if it didn’t integrate with other software. And, indeed, it integrates with an impressive number of business apps for marketing and analytics, ticketing and event management, eCommerce, booking and scheduling, tax, and more. Upon connecting Square with these apps, the data flows freely, enabling you to run your business smoothly.

Customer support

Square reviews are glowing about the quality of support offered by this company. The highly trained support team is available on the phone from Monday to Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT and via email around the clock. You can reach support staff on Facebook and Twitter, too. 

Business owners also have a bunch of free resources they can use to better their bottom line.As further evidence that this is the best POS system, Square’s website features inspiring user success stories. Sellers have access to an online community where they can interact with each other, and Square even organizes live and online events for its users, at which they can talk with company staff and among themselves. The resource library includes a blog section and user guides, too.

Price

Square POS software is available for download free of charge, which makes it the cheapest POS system for small business on our list. However, when using any point of sale system, you need to pay for processing fees and, in most cases, hardware. As we’ve mentioned, Square POS pricing for payment processing is a flat fee for all types of payments (2.6% + 10¢). The hardware equipment you need depends on your business type, but the option of paying in monthly installments makes it easier to afford.

Key Features
  • Payment processing - excellent
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent
Additional Features
  • Free barcode scanner mobile app
  • eCommerce integrations
  • Multi-channel inventory
  • Customizable taxes
  • Mobile and contactless payments

Vend POS offers a comprehensive solution that caters to small and medium-sized retailers with both a brick-and-mortar and online presence. It is the best cloud-based POS system for businesses with fewer than 10 outlets. With Vend, you can accept virtually any payment method while choosing your own third-party processor. The employee and customer management features are on-point while the inventory management module entirely eliminates the need for inventory tracking software. 

Payment processing

Vend enables retailers to accept a variety of payment methods and process them fast. For a seamless POS experience, shoppers can pay with any major credit or debit cards regardless of how it works – dip, swipe or tap. You can also accept checks and cash from consumers who are nostalgic when it comes to payment methods as well as NFC payments from those who are forward-looking. The system also supports gift cards and store credits which can be used to cover the entire bill or in combination with other means of payment.

Unlike Square, which offers its own payment processing service, Vend’s POS system for retail integrates with a number of third-party providers. Though this solution takes slightly longer to set up, it lets you choose the provider and rates. In the US, you can select between PayPal, Vantiv, and Square. 

Checkout procedure

Vend POS streamlines the checkout procedure with quick keys that are located inside the Sales menu. In addition to this option that lets you find your top-selling items quickly, you can also look up items by category. It takes just a couple of clicks to select the color and the size and then you’ll be onto the next step, which is calculating discounts. An even faster way to select an item is by scanning its barcode. 

This point of sale software for small business also lets you capture customer information when you ring up sales. If you include a customer-facing display in your hardware arsenal, you’ll achieve a double goal – making your transactions more transparent while enabling customers to share their contact information with you. 

By matching each sale to a customer, you’re gathering valuable data about your shoppers’ habits. With this information under your belt, you’ll be able to create loyalty programs and targeted text marketing campaigns, which will all contribute to excellent customer experience.

Not having to wait in long lines at the register also contributes to customer satisfaction. And with Vend’s mobile POS system, you’ll be able to process payments in any part of your store. As for receipts, you have the option of printing them or emailing them to customers. 

Customer management

Vend software is great at capturing customer data during the checkout procedure. It also lets you upload your existing customer databases as CSV files. Once your shoppers’ data is in the system, you can connect it with MailChimp and other marketing tools that will send out automated promotions and birthday deals. 

With Vend, you’ll be able to issue store credits and run loyalty programs that will keep your shoppers coming back, and sell gift cards to get new customers through the door. Vend reviews written by clients often mention how monitoring customers’ purchases help them stock up better with the products that appeal to buyers the most. Another nifty functionality of this point-of-sale system is that it supports both traditional gift cards and mobile ones, so you can cater to all consumers’ preferences. 

Inventory management

With Vend POS in place, you won’t have to pay for inventory management software. From bulk product upload to creating new products in the system, Vend handles inventory with ease and precision. It syncs up data from all your stores (both physical and online) whenever a sale is made, providing all your employees with accurate real-time data. When you’re running low on stock, this retail point of sale software sends you alerts and can even generate purchase orders (POs) for you whenever an item falls below a certain stock level. You can email the POs to your suppliers straight from Vend.

After connecting this retail software to a barcode scanner, you can also effortlessly perform stocktakes. And if you don’t have a barcode scanner? Simply download Vend’s free iOS app and use your iPhone as a scanner instead. This smart software solution also helps you stay on top of stock transfers from one store location to another by automatically adjusting inventory levels in both shops. 

Another reason Vend has made our best retail POS software list is that it collects information about your inventory and presents it to you in reports, so you can make better stocking decisions in the future.

Employee management

Cashier, manager, and admin are the three roles you can assign to every system user. You can then go on to customize each user’s permissions. This feature gives you control over your sensitive data while providing every employee with the information they need to perform their daily tasks.  

Vend’s point of sale software offers the option of creating to-do lists for your employees. Located on the side of the screen, they will remind your staff to reorder stock or contact the cleaning crew. And since the system constantly gathers information that’s presented to you in the form of real-time reports, you’ll be able to track employee’s productivity, even when you’re away.

Hardware and hosting

Vend is cloud-based software, which means all your data is stored in the cloud and is accessible to you anytime from any device. Since there’s no need for on-premise servers, Vend offers a portable POS system that you can use for pop-up stores, at conferences, or at outdoor markets. The system also works in offline mode, so you don’t have to worry about internet coverage while you’re on the go. 

You can set up your account online and start using Vend on devices with Windows, macOS, and iOS operating systems. Even though this retail software company doesn’t produce its own hardware, it partners with companies that do to offer Mac, PC, and iPad bundles, as well as individual items. You can buy cash drawers, label and receipt printers, card readers, iPad stands, and barcode scanners, which you can then connect to your existing POS equipment with the help of Vend’s technical support team.

Reporting and integrations

Vend wouldn’t have made our best point of sale provider list without a powerful suite of reporting features. Right after you log in to your account, the main dashboard will display your daily, weekly, and monthly sales performance, sales count, customer counts, top products sold, and your employees’ performance. 

By going to the Reports menu, you can dig deeper into your data. There you’ll find a list of reports like daily register closure, inventory on hand, and customer spending. All reports include a simple graph to help you better understand the data. But what we really like about Vend’s point of sale system for retail is that it lets you customize your reports by adjusting a range of filters.

Vend leaves little to be desired on the integrations front, too. The company has forged partnerships with the best business and productivity apps on the market to help you achieve your goals. On the Vend integration marketplace, you’ll find industry-leading employee scheduling software like Deputy and accounting solutions like Xero and Intuit QuickBooks. When it comes to eCommerce integrations, you can connect Vend POS with Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce.

Customer support

Another reason why this POS company earns a spot on our list of the best providers is its extraordinary customer support. Available 24/7 online and via the phone, Vend’s support agents are there to guide you on your road to retail success. From setup assistance to any issue or doubt you may have about the software or the accompanying hardware, you can reach out to them and you’ll be met with a helpful answer in no time. This isn’t just our impression; Vend POS reviews overwhelmingly concur. 

The company’s resource library is a force to be reckoned with. It includes myriad free ebooks, reports, forecasts and predictions, retail trend reports, online courses, articles, and guides. 

Price

Not only does Vend offer an amazing set of features, but it’s also an affordable POS system. Vend pricing consists of three plans, all of which include one register per outlet, secure cloud backup, integrated payments, round-the-clock support, automatic system updates, and an unlimited number of products and users. 

The Lite plan goes for $119 per month and is suited for retailers with a single location who need one register. Your monthly turnover needs to be under $20K for you to qualify for this plan. It includes most of the software’s features but limits your integration suite to Xero and QuickBooks. 

The Pro plan of this point of sale system for small businesses starts at $159. It caters to retailers with up to five locations and doesn’t take monthly turnover into consideration. Advanced reporting and analytics, as well as advanced gift cards, are available on this tier. You also get access to all integrations and APIs.

The Enterprise plan is designed for multi-store retailers or franchises. It comes with a dedicated account manager and customized onboarding. Pricing depends on your business size and model; to get a bespoke quote, get in touch with the sales team here. Vend provides a 14-day free trial that unlocks all the features without requesting your credit card information so you can test this online POS system with no strings attached.

Key Features
  • Payment processing - excellent
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent
Additional Features
  • 24/7/365 phone, live chat, and online support
  • Built-in marketing tools
  • Customizable reports
  • Employee tips
  • Quick and easy stock adjustments

Shopify is the best POS software for eCommerce retailers looking to expand their online business into brick-and-mortar or pop-up stores. For one monthly subscription fee, you get all the tools for managing your eCommerce and retail business, a wealth of free resources, and 24/7 customer support. Shopify POS software runs on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows devices since it’s cloud-based. The company also sells and leases hardware to its users. 

Payment processing

Every Shopify POS service user gets access to Shopify Payments. This integrated feature allows you to accept all major payment methods right after signing up without the need to create merchant accounts with third-party payment providers. As soon as you enable Shopify Payments in your account settings, you’ll be able to accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club debit and credit cards.  

The per-transaction fee depends on your Shopify subscription plan. The fee varies between 2.9% + 30¢ and 2.4% + 30¢ for online payments and 2.7% + 0¢ and 2.4% + 0¢ for in-store payments.

Alternative means of payment accepted by Shopify’s point of sale solution are iPay, Google Pay, and Shopify Pay. Cash payments, checks, store credit, and gift cards can all be accepted in your store when you use Shopify point of sale equipment. You can let your customers mix and match different payment methods in a single purchase in order to provide a shopping experience in accordance with their expectations. 

Checkout procedure

With Shopify POS, you can ring up sales in any way that’s convenient for you and your customers. Your sales staff can create discounts and composites during checkout. Taxes are automatically calculated according to your store location and state when a sale is made. However, you have the option of disabling taxes or setting custom taxes for specific products. 

If a customer has a special request, you can easily add notes to the order in the POS system software. These are especially useful to merchants who sell pre-ordered items like custom-made furniture. If you’re shipping the items for your customers, you can add shipping fees to the bill. And if you see a line forming at the till, you can grab your mobile device and receipt printer to meet customers where they are and process their payment on the spot.

Customer management

Among Shopify’s many great POS options is the ability to create information-rich customer profiles. The system is completely compatible with Shopify’s eCommerce platform, which means it captures data about your buyers’ online shopping habits while providing you with the option to do the same when a customer stops by at your store. The ideal time to gather info from shoppers is during checkout. You can ask for their contact details and record their preferences by adding notes to their profile. 

With customers’ order history at your fingertips, you’ll manage returns and exchanges like a pro, guiding buyers to the right items and creating a superb shopping experience. Shopify makes rewarding customer loyalty a breeze with its analytics and integrated email marketing feature. 

In addition to showing you who your best spenders are, this POS software system also lets you email, text, and call customers without the need for integration with a marketing tool. You can do it straight from the POS system. In fact, Shopify has a marketing menu from which you can launch Google Ads and Facebook marketing campaigns. 

Inventory management

While the Shopify POS app saves you money on marketing tools, it doesn’t grant access to its inventory management app – Stocky – to users of the cheapest plan. You need to be on the Shopify or the Advanced Shopify plan in order to get the free plug-in for inventory management. If you use the Basic Shopify plan, your only option is to upgrade to a pricier plan. 

Having said that, we acknowledge that adding Stocky to your POS application really takes the doubt out of your stocking decisions. The app analyzes past sale data and factors in the current time of year. Based on that data, it suggests which items to reorder and when, which has a positive effect on your overall profitability. Stocky also suggests ways to distribute your inventory between various locations optimally and also tracks stock transfers. 

Much like Square and Vend, Shopify lets users create purchase orders and send them to vendors. Once suppliers make the delivery, you can receive the incoming order by scanning product barcodes. And since Shopify is the best POS system for retail businesses with an online and offline presence, your stock levels are adjusted across channels whenever a sale is made.

Employee management

Despite lacking a dedicated employee management section in its interface, Shopify POS offers the standard functionalities related to staff management. For starters, you can assign every sales assistant their own PIN for logging into the POS. That way you can track register activity and employee productivity. By setting staff permissions, you also remain in control of your confidential information. 

This small business POS system can be connected with time-tracking software so you can log employees’ hours on the job. At the end of the month, simply export the data into payroll software and pay your staff. Taking a glance at the reports section will help you decide who deserves a bonus that month. And if you want to keep your sales staff motivated, you can enable tips in your Shopify POS system. At checkout, customers can tip the staff with a dollar amount they choose or a percentage of the purchase. 

Hardware and hosting

The Shopify POS app is compatible with a wide range of devices like Android tablets, iPhones, iPads, and Macs, since it is cloud-based. Like some other most popular POS systems, Shopify has a hardware store where you can purchase additional equipment like cash registers, label printers, and barcode scanners. It even sells elegant countertop decorative items like plant holders and figurines. 

What sets it apart from its competitors, though, is the option to lease Shopify hardware for a certain period of time. The gear will be delivered to your store free of charge and you can return it within 30 days if you’re not satisfied. Shopify’s technical support officers are there to guide you during the setup and use of the equipment. They are available 24/7.

While Shopify offers great rental and purchase options for hardware equipment, there’s one major downside to its wireless POS systems; they don’t work while you’re offline. 

Some providers, like Vend and Square, have come up with a way to enable payment transactions in offline mode. These then sync to the system once you’re back online. Unfortunately, Shopify’s offline mode is riddled with bugs and errors. If you regularly take your show on the road and sell at fairs and pop-up stores, you might be better off with Square or Vend. 

Reporting and integrations

We can’t imagine a company making the cut for our best POS software without having a strong analytics and reporting suite. Shopify doesn’t disappoint. Its analytics section offers a wide range of reports, covering sales and profit to customer habits and marketing. 

These reports don’t just cater to users of the Shopify retail package; they’re also helpful to eCommerce vendors, who can see the number of website visitors and monitor their behavior. However, most of these reports are unavailable to users of the Basic Shopify plan, who also won’t be able to customize those reports they do receive.

After analyzing Shopify’s integration offer, we can safely say it outdoes most other point of sale solutions. The Shopify app store boasts dozens of add-ons that you can use to customize the software to your unique needs. These include apps for tracking employee hours, creating polls and surveys for customers, managing local deliveries, and tailoring your checkout procedure.

Customer support

Shopify has a resource library that’s nothing short of incredible. On the website of this point of sale software for small retail business, you’ll find endless guides on setting yourself up for success. Beyond just offering blog articles and software guides, Shopify gives you access to free business tools like a logo maker, QR code generator, and profit margin calculator. There are also guides on managing every aspect of a retail and eCommerce business. Retailers using Shopify POS also get access to Shopify Academy, a unique collection of video courses designed by successful entrepreneurs who use the platform.

Whenever you need help from a support agent, you can reach out via phone, email, and live chat. The team is available 24/7 to offer expert advice. If you decide to move your operation from other point of sale programs to Shopify, you can count on support during the transition. 

Price

Shopify POS pricing structure has three plans – Shopify Basic, Shopify, and Shopify Advanced – all of which include the standard eCommerce and retail features. Shopify Basic starts at $29 a month but it comes with very limited functionalities. On this plan, there’s no option for report customization, adding staff PINs, nor tracking employee shifts. It’s a good option for retailers who are just starting out, but if you want more robust features, you should go with the Shopify plan.

Those looking for the best POS system solution for managing up to five locations can sign up for this plan, which starts at $79 a month. Some of the features that become available on this plan are staff monitoring, gift card payments, and register shifts. 

The Shopify Advanced plan starts at $299 per month and grants you access to all the features offered by the company. It is suitable for retailers who have no more than eight stores to manage. If you have more than eight outlets, you qualify for Shopify Plus. This tier comes with unique pricing for each customer. Before choosing the right plan for your business, you can try Shopify for free for 14 days.

Key Features
  • Payment processing - Good
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent
Additional Features
  • Outstanding inventory management feature
  • Menu changes sync up across channels
  • On-site setup support and staff training
  • Over 40 integrations
  • Toast University, which offers more than 70 classes

Toast is the best restaurant POS system because it was built to cater specifically to the food industry and its many types of establishments. This end-to-end solution takes care of payment processing, menu management, online ordering, customer loyalty, and employee management.

Complementing its top-notch restaurant computer system is a set of the latest hardware equipment. Toast’s hardware offer consists of self-serving kiosks, kitchen display systems (KDS), handhelds, and POS terminals. Toast Capital – fast and flexible funding for restaurants – is another reason why this POS business is restaurateurs’ top choice.

Payment processing

Toast POS comes with a built-in payment processing system. Though this system doesn’t leave much room for its customers to select their preferred processor, Toast has gone out of its way to ensure flat and affordable rates on all transactions. If you’re currently happy with your payment processor and are thinking of implementing the Toast point of sale system in your restaurant, the company will match your rates.

With Toast, you can accept all major credit cards, cash, gift cards, and mobile payments just like with the other best POS systems on our list. Checks can be split between various payment methods for your customers’ convenience.

Orders and checkout procedure

Orders flow from front of house to back of house, enabling your servers to focus on guests and your cooks to concentrate on preparing the food. Depending on the type of eatery you’re running, guests can put orders in via self-serving kiosks or at POS terminals or, or they can take them at the table using the Toast Go handheld device. 

While taking orders, servers have access to table layout. The orders are then communicated to the kitchen staff via KDSs. When the food is ready, cooks notify waiters via text or push notifications on Toast Go.

When it’s time to charge the customers, your wait staff can do it in a few easy taps, be it at the register or at the table. Toast POS software reviews highlight how easy it is to calculate discounts, split the check between guests and payment methods, and include tips. The cloud-based system works in offline mode, so you’ll never have to keep your patrons waiting.

Customer management

Toast’s set of customer management tools enables restaurant owners to effortlessly create and nurture meaningful relationships with their diners. All the best POS systems on our list have a customer database, which you can fill in by uploading the data you already have or by capturing it during checkout. 

Not only does Toast follow this trend, but it beats the competition with its simplicity. All it takes to get a guest into your restaurant’s loyalty program is for them to opt in during checkout. The POS pulls their data from their credit card without asking your customers to input their name, email address, or phone number. 

From then on, the system tracks their orders and spending at your establishment, adding up points. Once customers collect enough points, they can redeem them. This seamless system eliminates the need for loyalty cards and apps, while yielding the same results for your business. Other customer management features you get with this restaurant POS system are gift cards and Toast online ordering, which sends orders directly to your kitchen staff.

Inventory management

One feature that’s rarely left out of Toast reviews is the inventory management feature. Restaurant owners say it has allowed them to create perfect portion sizes and reduce over-buying thanks to the inventory management tool that’s built into this POS software.

You can enter your invoices into the system, track your sales data, and get accurate costs per plate. This information helps you optimize your weekly purchase orders and empowers you to shed low-performing menu items. Another outstanding feature of the Toast POS system is that it lets you map your inventory count according to your kitchen layout, which saves your staff time when creating purchase orders.

Employee management

While most restaurantspoint of sale systems have HR and payroll integrations, Toast also comes with a robust staff management system. With it, you can track employees’ hours on the job at various locations, calculate their monthly paychecks, and stay on top of ever-changing state and federal labor regulations.

Another area where Toast software offers more than the competition is manager approvals. Your managers can quickly approve punch-in data, shift swaps, and PTO requests made by your team. Best of all, the data will be synced with payroll immediately.

Hardware and hosting

Toast is cloud-based software that operates on Android devices. The system also runs perfectly in offline mode, enabling you to charge customers even during power outages.

There’s no-one who can match Toast’s hardware offer. It is the best POS system for restaurants because of its amazing hand-held devices called Toast Go. Armed with these, your servers can take orders, check the ingredients of each menu item, send orders directly to the kitchen, split checks, and process payments. What’s more, Toast’s hand-helds are made from durable materials so they can sustain the everyday wear and tear of a bustling restaurant. 

The company also sells guest-facing displays, POS stations, self-serving kiosks, kitchen display systems, and credit card readers. This gear can be purchased separately or in bundles.

Reporting and integrations

In Toast’s analytics, you can oversee all aspects of your business. And since this restaurant POS software stores your data in the cloud, you have limitless access to it in real-time. With Toast, you can see which restaurant locations are performing better than others, who are your most productive staff members, which prep stations are driving up ticket times, which menu items are killing your bottom line, and many more reports. The system keeps you posted by sending you automated email reports every night to summarize your key metrics for the day.

Though extremely comprehensive, Toast’s POS software is even more powerful when integrated with employee scheduling, accounting, and inventory apps. You have over 40 programs to choose from.

Customer support

Another reason why Toast has earned a spot among our POS system reviews is its phenomenal customer care. The company has a local presence in more than 230 cities throughout the US and its support officers can lend a hand during setup and everyday operations. You can reach out to the customer support team 365 days a year, any time you encounter a problem. Staff members are extremely professional and swift in resolving issues. The resource library on Toast’s website provides customer success stories, guides for using the software, blogs, and even a podcast.

Price

While some POS systems for bars and restaurants base their pricing model on monthly subscription fees, this company charges $79 a month for each POS terminal the Toast software runs on. The cost of hardware depends on what you choose, with the most popular bundle going for $899. If you have an enterprise-level operation, then staff training and on-site onboarding would be beneficial. However, the cost of this service starts at $499, which seems a bit steep.

Key Features
  • Payment processing - excellent
  • Checkout procedure - excellent
  • Reporting - excellent
Additional Features
  • ShopKeep eCommerce platform
  • Award-winning customer support
  • Table layout for bars and restaurants
  • Competitive hardware prices
  • Built-in email marketing

ShopKeep offers small business point of sale software, hardware, and built-in payment processing to entrepreneurs regardless of whether they sell products or services. It is used by bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and food trucks, as well as traditional and specialty retailers. The system is cloud-based and it runs on iPads and Android tablets, giving its users the flexibility to charge customers wherever they are. It’s also easy to use, making staff training a breeze.  

Payment processing

Shopkeep is the best POS system for business owners who don’t want to be pressured into using a certain payment processor just because the POS company has a deal with them. If you decide ShopKeep POS is the right fit for your business, you’ll have the option of staying with your existing payment processor or activating the built-in ShopKeep Payments option. The latter option will have your system up and selling in no time, but if you want to stay with your preferred provider, a ShopKeep support agent can arrange that upon your request.

If you select ShopKeep Payments, you’ll be able to accept a variety of popular payment methods: all major credit and debit cards, cash, checks, and mobile payments via Apple Pay and Google Pay. While setting all these methods up may take a few days with other point of service systems, you can start processing payments with ShopKeep right away.

Checkout procedure

Ringing up sales is fast and easy with ShopKeep. Once you enter the new sale screen, you can add items to the check by scanning the product barcode. Of course, if you’re in the service industry you probably don’t use barcodes, so can search your inventory by name, SKU, or UPC. Another option is to add an item from your shortcut menu. This simple POS system lets you adjust the number of items by tapping the plus or minus buttons, or by entering the exact number of items being sold. 

After adding all the items, you can calculate a discount for a single product or for the entire purchase. All you have to do is tap the discount section next to the item on your screen and a list of discounts will show up. Select the type of discount – military, employee, $1 off, open amount, open percentage – and the system will deduct it from the total. This top POS software program also lets you add or remove sales tax from the overall purchase. If a customer decides to browse some more through your store or order another drink, you can save the sale for later. 

Retailers will love the fact ShopKeep lets them capture customers’ data at the checkout. Processing refunds also takes just a few taps. Once you’re done, you can print the receipt or email it to the customer. 

Mobile POS solutions are a must in the hospitality industry because servers have to meet customers at their tables. Luckily, ShopKeep’s wide selection of BlueTooth card readers lets your restaurant staff ring up sales anywhere on the floor.

Customer management

Since ShopKeep works with both product- and service-based companies, it offers plenty of customer management options to choose from. You can reward your bar regulars by running a customer loyalty program (eg. spend $50, earn $5 credit). When you see a new face at your bakery, you can entice them to return by giving out a gift card, or you can match every sale in your retail store to a customer. With this data, you can upgrade your email marketing game by sending out specific product recommendations and discounts.

Like other popular POS systems, ShopKeep saves customer data in a secure database. ShopKeep’s customer profiles include names, surnames, email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, ZIP codes, and birth dates. Editing customer data is simple and is best done at checkout. Shoppers can even change their info themselves on the customer-facing display as sales staff add items to the check. 

It’s important to note that ShopKeep has one very effective customer engagement feature that we haven’t seen with other POS companies. When you email receipts to your shoppers, you can include links to your social media profiles. By giving them an opportunity to engage with your brand across other channels, you’re strengthening your business awareness and fortifying relationships. On top of all that, you can track click-through rates in the ShopKeep BackOffice app to see which social platform is most appealing to your audience.

Inventory management

Despite being a point of sale platform for small business, ShopKeep has blown us away with its extensive inventory management module. When used in eateries, it can track your inventory down to the ingredient level, while in bars it monitors your liquor supplies down to the last drop. Retailers can upload as many product variants as they need and track them by the item. 

You can set up the system to send low stock alerts so you can reorder in time. However, ShopKeep doesn’t let users send purchase orders from the POS program like Shopify and Vend do. Instead, it makes up for this shortcoming by generating intelligent inventory reports. The system tracks your costs per inventory item, shows your profit margins, and reports your best-selling items or departments.

Employee management

This iPad POS system collects a lot of sensitive data about your business. And since it’s used in industries that have high employee churn rate, business owners find it essential to be able to protect that data. This goal is achieved by assigning each staff member their individual user login. Customizable permissions add another layer of protection. For example, you can enable managers access to your ShopKeep BackOffice while keeping cashiers out of the loop.

ShopKeep outperforms other point of sale systems for small business with its built-in employee hour tracking app. Vend, for example, only performs this function when you connect it with Deputy, while for Shopify you need to purchase a POS add-on. ShopKeep, however, tracks how many hours each staff member has logged, saving you money and effort. It’s capable of tracking overtime and double time too. While it does this, it analyzes which employees are performing better than others.

Hardware and hosting

Just like the other POS systems for small businesses that we’ve reviewed, ShopKeep is hosted on the cloud. This prevalent hosting solution gives business owners the ability to update the software regularly at no cost to them. Another benefit is the ability to access the data remotely. 

As for the hardware, you can use ShopKeep POS to ring up sales on tablets and iPads, while ShopKeep BackOffice can also be accessed from computers and mobile devices. 

The company sells hardware bundles at its own online store. You can buy one of the two point of sale for Android packages built by Clover POS or select from the three iPad-based systems. While the Android hardware kits are multipurpose, the ones for iPads are tailored to match the needs of retailers, restaurateurs, and business owners in the quick-service industry. 

These hardware packages are a great solution if you’re just starting your business. But you don’t have to buy the whole kit if you already own some equipment; you can buy POS system cash registers, card readers, and printers separately. ShopKeep provides free shipping and has a 30-day return policy.

Reporting and integrations

As we’ve mentioned throughout this ShopKeep review, this bar POS system collects and analyzes data about your business to provide you with a slew of reports. From customer spending and clickthrough rates for email campaigns to inventory and employee reports, you can learn a lot about your business’s weak spots and ways to improve by keeping an eye on the analytics section. Information about key areas of your business is available to you at any moment via the ShopKeep app

To get even better results from this small business POS system, you can connect it with leading software products used in everyday operations. For seamless accounting, you can share the data ShopKeep collects with Intuit QuickBooks. For running payroll, there’s the ZenPayroll integration. If you want to streamline communication, ShopKeep works best with RingCentral VoIP system. These are just the recommended solutions that work with ShopKeep; to see if your preferred provider is available, get in touch with a ShopKeep representative.

Customer support

Amazing customer service is another reason why ShopKeep deserves a spot on our list of top point of sale systems. Its resources on how to use both the software and hardware are neatly organized and detail-rich. There you’ll find instructions for a wide range of topics, all consisting of explanations backed up by either photos or videos for maximum clarity. ShopKeep’s customer resources also provide a glossary, FAQ section, best practices, blog, and a troubleshooting section.

In addition to these DIY materials, you can call ShopKeep’s award-winning customer support team to help you get out of a pickle. The company provides round-the-clock assistance via phone, chat, and email. We reached out with questions about point of sale equipment for small business and the BackOffice app on two separate occasions. Both times we were presented with fast and concise answers. 

Price

Unlike the other companies on our list, ShopKeep doesn’t have a standard tiered pricing model. Instead, ShopKeep pricing depends on your business needs. You can get a bespoke quote by calling 1-800-820-9814.

ShopKeep Capital

In addition to its all-encompassing software solution, accompanying hardware, and seamless payment processing, ShopKeep has another amazing product to offer. ShopKeep capital is a source of funding available to entrepreneurs who use ShopKeep’s POS system for small business. You can apply for this merchant cash advance from your BackOffice. 

Your application will be reviewed and you’ll be presented with a few amounts you can choose from. It takes between one and three days for the funds to be disbursed. Business owners remit their advance as a percentage of daily credit card sales. There are no variable interest rates or hidden fees to consider when paying off the borrowed amount, which makes ShopKeep Capital a very appealing source of funding.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a POS system?

Here’s our POS definition: The point of sale is the moment where a customer pays for goods or services, upon which sales taxes may also be added. Both physical and online stores need a POS system. Now, a point of sale system refers to an end-to-end business solution that consists of three parts: software, hardware and payment processing.

What is the best POS system?

The answer to that question depends on many factors. Are you running a service- or product-based business? Do you already have any POS hardware (like a cash register or a tablet)? Are you satisfied with your payment processor or do you want a built-in option? How much are you willing to spend on the POS system? Once you answer these questions and define your own set of requirements, you can go on to find the best POS system for your business.

What is the best POS system for a restaurant?

Again, your unique business needs will influence the answer to this question. However, in our opinion, Toast is the best POS system for a restaurant.

What is the best POS system for a bar?

As you’ll see by reading our reviews, we believe ShopKeep is the best POS system for bars. However, you should determine your bar’s POS requirements and look for a system that checks as many boxes as possible.

What does a POS system cost?

The best POS system costs between $30 and a few hundred bucks a month, depending on the features and the number of terminals you’re using. Of course, you can opt for Square and avoid monthly fees altogether, but remember that you’ll still pay fees for every transaction.

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