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Getting the right point of sale system for your business can transform your profit margin and, thanks to our in-depth research, we think that Lightspeed POS is the best option for retail stores, due to its exceptional inventory management of barcoded products.
However, that's not to say that Lightspeed POS is right for everyone. It doesn't work with weighing scales, fractional quantities or retailers who require expiry date checks.
Square POS is therefore a close second, managing to combine high-end features and comprehensive customer support with a more affordable entry cost, while rival Shopify POS has better e-commerce integrations.
Now more than ever, it's important to have a POS that can manage your online sales as easily as in-person transactions. Customers are, rightly so, a bit anxious about visiting shops unless absolutely necessary so you want to make sure your business isn't losing money thanks to a weak online presence. Fortunately, we've developed a custom tool which will find the perfect POS solution for your business in a few simple clicks.
If you want more detail on the leading players in the retail POS market, you can read on below.
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your retail business
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Is there a version of the software made specifically for iPad use?
Is there a version of the software made specifically for Android tablet use?
BEST POS FOR RETAIL
BEST FREE POS
Best Retail POS System
Best free POS System
Best for integrating ecommerce
Best for third-party integrations
Best mobile app
Best for small franchises
Best for a cheap, intuitively simple plan
Best for customer relationship management
Best for those looking to expand from online-only operations
Best for growing businesses wanting an easy set up
Free (but transaction fees apply)
$29 per month
$99 per month
$49 per month
Sold by Lightspeed. NOT compatible with weighing scales.
Sold by Square, separately or bundled. Works with most leading brands and has a great free trial.
Sold by Shopify, but also works with iPads and Android tablets
Works with loads of third-party periperals
Offers cash drawers, card readers, printers, and more
Works with loads of hardware options
Available through third-party vendors
Offers a preconfigured POS terminal with an iPad and tablet stand, a router, a printer, and a cash drawer.
Sells everything from full cash stations to mobile card readers
Works with lots of third-party peripherals
Top 10 Best Retail POS Systems for 2021
- Lightspeed POS – Best retail POS system
- Square POS – Best free retail POS system
- Shopify POS – Best for integrating ecommerce
- Vend POS – Best for third-party integrations
- Shopkeep POS – Best mobile app
- Erply POS – Best for small franchises
- Talech POS – Offers a cheap but stripped-down plan
- Revel POS – Great CRM tools
- Clover POS – Perfect for companies that are already online
- Epos Now – A strong POS that’s quick to set up
Our dedicated team of researchers have examined the leading Retail POS Systems on the market to find the perfect solution for your business.
Scoring them out of five, we grade the companies on everything from pricing, to features, to ease of use.
Note: All pricing plan numbers were updated in November 2020.
Lightspeed is an excellent choice for retail businesses such a jewelry stores, repair shops and sports equipment suppliers.
It offers exceptional inventory management, unmatched by its competitors. Managers can import items or order from pre-loaded catalogs, as well as grouping products by type. Users can also add more granular details, including style, size, and color. We can help you identify the solution your business needs with our bespoke questionnaire.
Lightspeed POS runs on iPad or desktops, and its hardware packages include scanners, receipt printers, iPad stands, and cash drawers.
Lightspeed's pricing plans start from as little as $69 per month but most businesses will find they need the ‘Starter' plan which costs slightly more at $99 per month.
The Starter plan includes one cash register with up to five employee accounts, easy onboarding features, basic analytics, and 24/7 support. While the features you get on Lightspeed POS’ Starter plan are good, you only get one cash register, making it a bit pricier than the competition.
Lightspeed would be a good fit for most retail businesses, but a great one for businesses with complex inventories. However, it might be overkill for small businesses with just a handful of products to manage, and there are some important limitations.
Lightspeed is not suitable for stores without store fronts (such as drop shipping companies) or those requiring weighing scales, fractional quantities or expiry dates for products. It's also not available for businesses selling motorized vehicles, including boats, or service-based businesses.
- Ideal for stores selling barcoded inventory
- 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat
- Straightforward pricing
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
- Not suitable for food sales, florists or service businesses
Square POS is best known for its free iPad version which manages sales and inventory, tracks customer purchases, and email receipts.
However, Square also caters for larger organizations with its full POS suite. The software is intuitive and makes dealing with transactions simple and effective. Square also offers a full and well-integrated ecommerce offering, which is super important in the current climate.
What's more, you won't have to pay any monthly costs. Instead, Square only charges transaction fees with 1.75% on card-based transactions and 2.5% on manual keyed-in sales. Square POS’ hardware suite is super-affordable as well – something not all of its competitors can match.
Square POS’ paid-for retail POS plans also include 24/7 email support and 12/7 phone support.
- Free to get started
- Slick and stylish hardware
- Serves businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
- Strong analytics, inventory, and third-party integrations
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 2.75% charge on non-card transactions
- Support options vary by plan
Shopify is normally regarded as an ecommerce company, but it also offers a Retail POS System with fantastic online store integrations.
Shopify POS users will get their own branded online store, as well as the ability to sell through plenty of online sales channels including Instagram, Amazon, and eBay. This feature is more important than ever, given the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Shopify isn't just an ecommerce platform with some POS features — it offers the full experience with sales management, inventory management, and employee management. Shopify also has excellent sales analytics, and you’ll be able to issue discount codes. You can even manage your operations on-the-go with the Shopify POS mobile app.
Shopify POS is a great option for businesses that want to sell both online and through bricks-and-mortar stores. And with 24/7 email, live chat, and phone customer support available, you’ll always be able to solve any problems you run into.
Shopify POS prices start at $29 per month – a bargain – though growing businesses might want to pick the $79 per month ‘Shopify’ plan to access advanced reporting and other impactful functions.
- Very strong ecommerce integration
- 14-day free trial
- 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email
- Works with lots of different hardware options
- Exclusively-focused on retail and ecommerce
- Charges transaction fees unless you're using Shopify's own Payments processing system
It might seem strange to recommend a service because it works well with other services but hear us out: Vend POS will make your life much easier.
For example, adding third-party payment processing with Square, Shopify, or PayPal will be a piece of cake. Vend also has ecommerce integrations, making it super easy to sell across physical, digital, and mobile channels.
Flexibility can be an underrated feature for a POS, as you'll spend less time trying to find solutions that work together. If you like the sound of a flexible POS system, take our quick questionnaire to get a quote from leading POS suppliers including Vend POS.
Vend POS is one the most flexible Retail POS Systems on the market, meaning that you're not stuck with a finicky system that is overly taxing to work. You can even run Vend on all manner of devices including Macs, iPads, and PCs.
- Suits businesses of all sizes
- Works with loads of third party hardware and software options
- 24/7 support
- Strong ecommerce integration
- Reporting on lower pricing tiers can lack detail
Shopkeep POS has the best retail POS mobile app on the market. You can use the iPad app to track sales and inventory, while managers can keep up with daily reports from any location.
Shopkeep POS’ customer service tools are also a highlight – you’ll be able to issue gift cards and special discounts for loyal customers, or to draw old customers back in. Shopkeep POS’ technical support options are strong, with 24/7 email, phone, and live chat support available.
Shopkeep POS doesn’t have set pricing plans, instead giving custom quotes to each business. This might be an advantage if you have very specific needs that POS providers don’t service by default, or if you just love to negotiate.
The best way to compare quotes from leading POS suppliers, including Shopkeep, is by using our dedicated POS questionnaire. Tech.co helped more than 3,000 American businesses get set up with a POS system last year and yours could be next.
- Works on Android devices as well as Shopkeep's proprietary register
- Clean, intuitive user interface
- Support options vary by plan
Erply POS is one of the few providers to offer dedicated tools for franchise-model businesses. Using its retail franchise plan, franchise owners will be able to set security permissions which determine what level of access managers have within each franchised business. Owners will also be able to decide how to centralize their inventory, CRM tools, and potentially sensitive information.
Erply POS also offers a strong range of features aside from its franchise expertise. For example, it offers barcode scanners, employee management tools, sales tracking, and inventory management, at a basic or enterprise level.
Prices start at $19 per month, although you won’t get any inventory controls or ecommerce options – these add a $20 premium. More likely, you'll want to opt for the Retail POS plan for $69/month to benefit from a customer-facing display, gift card options and more retail-specific features.
- Versatile interface
- Free trial
- Ideal for businesses working on a franchise model
- Limited customer support
- Can be tricky to master
A fairly new POS system, Talech is a decent pick. It comes with a great set of features, the interface is easy to learn and use, and the support team is available to all users through multiple channels. The price is about average, although it gets cheaper if you accept a more limited plan. The Standard plan costs $69/month for the first device, but just $29/month for each device added after the first. But a cheaper plan, Talech Starter, starts at just $29/month. It's capped at five employees and 100 products, so most businesses will need to opt for Standard instead, but it's an inexpensive option for those in need of a very stripped-down service.
Talech is designed for the retail, restaurant, and service industries, and offers all the basic features, including customer and employee management abilities, support for returns and exchanges, and granular discounting abilities.
It stands up fairly well to any mainstream POS system, although you'll need to comb through the features offered by each plan to ensure you won't miss an essential feature or two. If you need help, Talech POS offers a variety of support, including 24/7 email and live chat support, as well as a searchable online help center.
- Granular product settings
- Great support for customer exchanges and refunds
- Easy-to-use interface
- No eCommerce integration
- Feature set not as broad as some
Revel POS prides itself on its business Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. For example, you’ll be able to track returning customers along with their favorite items.
As well as brilliant CRM tools, Revel POS offers the standard suite of sales, inventory, and employee management. It also has a user-friendly mobile app, Revel Insights, which allows for sales analysis in real-time.
Revel POS prices start at $99 per month + undisclosed ‘industry-leading' flat fees, but it’s worth noting that there’s no free trial available. There is a free demo, however.
- Intuitive user interface
- Good range of customer relationship tools
- Insights app for dedicated reporting
- Can be complicated to set up
- Prices start at $99 per month
Clover POS is a great choice for stores that want to start taking online orders, but already have a website. You’ll be able to add online ordering easily to an existing website, with an intuitive dashboard and mobile app.
Clover POS has a range of hardware options, including a countertop POS station and a contactless payment hub – making it easy to manage your bricks-and-mortar operations, too.
Clover POS includes core features such as sales reports, inventory, and customer loyalty tools, as well as employee tracking, which comes with shift and payroll management, and customizable permission levels to prevent fraud and theft. Clover also emphasizes the security of its transaction handling.
Clover POS does offer a free trial, but we found plans can get a little pricey as you take advantage of more features.
- Great for companies that started online but need a physical presense
- Good range of hardware options
- Free trial
- Need pre-existing website unlike Shopify, for example
- Additional features cost extra and can become expensive
Epos Now is a great POS system for anyone that wants to get set up quickly. It works with any standard barcode or receipt printer, and its software is very easy to understand. In fact, Epos Now “can be fully operational in just 15 minutes.”
However, don’t think that Epos Now is basic. It has 24/7 phone support available on some plans, as well as stellar sales promotion features that can be set to run automatically.
Epos Now’s prices start at just $39 per month, and you can add an additional cash register for $24 per month.
- Quick and easy set up
- Simple interface makes it easy to train staff
- Widely compatible with barcode scanners and receipt printers
- Lacks complexity in reporting
- Paid customer support and no knowledgebase
- No kiosk option
Retail POS System Prices
Small businesses should expect to pay somewhere between $40 and $100 per month for a POS system with a single cash register. Larger businesses, on the other hand, might be looking at costs between $100 and $300 per month, with additional one-time hardware purchases typically costing in excess of $2,500 per location.
POS platforms with ecommerce integrations can cost more but there are a range of systems such as Shopify and Square POS which make creating online stores easy and extremely affordable. If you don't yet have a website to sell your products now is the time to get one.
While the month-to-month pricing, as well as transaction fees, can seem high, the right system will make your business far more efficient.
The best Retail POS Systems will actually make your business money in the long-run, despite any initial setup and month-to-month costs. It's only choosing the wrong one that could be time consuming and expensive. To get matched with the right system for your business, Tech.co has developed a custom questionnaire which helped more than 3,000 American businesses find the right POS provider last year.
What Is a Retail POS System?
A Point Of Sale (POS) System is the combination of hardware and software that is used to sell stuff to customers, and organize the processes related to sales. It is an essential part of running any successful store or restaurant in today's world.
A good POS system will log the number and value of the sales you’ve made, as well as tracking your inventory and letting you know when to restock. It’ll also help you analyze sales and refunds so you can maximize profits.
The best Point of Sale Systems provide features that enable you to make more sales, both in person and online, as well as manage your staff and customer base – all while identifying smarter ways of working.
Find out more – What is POS?
Why do you need a Retail POS System for your store?
A Retail POS System will help you cut your store's costs while also improving sales performance. With a good POS system, you'll be able to optimize your inventory, manage your employees more efficiently, and perform deep analysis into your sales trends. Plus, you'll be able to accept payments regardless of whether they come via credit or debit cards, cash, checks, gift cards, or even online. The right one will easily pay for itself over time, as it boosts productivity, customer satisfaction and loyalty.
That's why it's super important to make sure you're getting a good POS system that suits your business. Here at Tech.co, we've developed a quick and straightforward questionnaire which can help you find the ideal POS provider for your company's needs.
Needless to say, any Retail POS System will be able to receive and manage payments. However, the leading providers offer features that some of the lesser-known providers simply can’t match.
The best Retail POS Systems will offer:
- Sales management – Perform speedy checkouts, with every transaction logged and accounted for
- Inventory management – Keep an itemized inventory that automatically updates after each sale, and may even send you reminders to restock
- Employee management – Create schedules and track employee performance, as well as allowing employees to clock-in and clock-out
- Reporting and analytics – Build and create reports which can help you optimize sales, promotions, inventories, and more
- Customer relationship management – Offer discounts to loyal customers, or promotions to draw in customers you haven’t heard from in a while. A POS gift card program can also help retain customers
Touchbistro Restaurant POS Software
Retail POS System Hardware Accessories
Retail POS Systems don't just run on their own, as the entire system requires some hardware as well. The POS hardware market is projected to reach $9.54 billion by 2025, which means you're going to have to get on board eventually. To run a modern Retail POS System, you’ll likely need the following:
- Tablets – These can serve as your main interface. Most POS suppliers support iPads, but not all support Android
- Monitors – If you want more screen space to manage your store – for example, at the checkout area – you’ll need a dedicated monitor or two
- Card readers – You can get standalone devices, or snazzy card readers that plug into your tablet, for chip and pin or contactless transactions. Setup is easy, and some POS providers include the readers in their pricing plans
- Receipt printers – If you want to print off customer receipts on site, you’ll need the kit for that. These might be helpful for big-ticket items, but most POS providers give you the ability to email receipts
- Tablet stands and docks – These will make it easier for customers to pay, or enter details for email receipts. They’re also useful if your staff carry around their tablets a lot
- Self-service kiosks – A large self-service kiosk can help customers serve themselves, saving your staff time
Of course, the amount of hardware accessories required will vary based on your business’ size and type. A simple brick-and-mortar store might not need a self-service kiosk, but a large health and wellness spa might.
For some businesses, you're going to need to get more than one piece of hardware to adequately handle the load, but be aware of increasing costs. Having staff carrying around iPads can make your business look more professional and save time with customer queries, but there is, obviously, a cost premium per device.
Next Steps: Getting a Retail POS System
Now you’ve got all the info on the leading Retail POS Systems, it’s time to choose one.
Get started by comparing quotes tailored specifically to your needs, and finding the best deal for your business. Using Tech.co’s quick and easy form, you’ll receive obligation-free quotes from the biggest POS providers around.
Tech.co is reader-supported. Using Tech.co's comparison form, you can receive quotes from various suppliers, tailored to the needs of your business. If you enter into a contract with a provider, we may receive a payment for the introduction. Equally, if you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews. It carries no additional cost to you, and doesn’t affect our editorial independence.