The best POS system for retail stores is Square POS because of its impressive sales features, slick software, and excellent value for money. While we're happy to sing its praises, if you run an online store, or are looking to boost customer retention, Clover's built-in loyalty app and ecommerce features could be better suited to your business.
There are countless POS solutions out there for retail businesses to choose from though, and they all bring something slightly different to the table. This guide rounds up the top five and identifies their attributes, making it easier for your business to find a match.
We haven't picked these providers out of a hat either. All our recommendations are entirely independent and based on literal hundreds of hours of POS research. Scroll down or use the links on the right to discover our verdict.
Alternatively, if it's quick quotes you're after, we've also developed a quote comparison tool that can match your business needs with prices from the most suitable providers.
Tech.co rating for retail
Score out of 5 for general retail suitability based on Tech.co's independent market research.
Best Retail POS for
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.
BEST RETAIL POS
Best for ecommerce businesses
Best retail POS system
Great built-in customer loyalty app
Best to track and train employees
Great value for money
Great customization options
$15 per month
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Dependent on third-party payment processor
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Dependent on third-party payment processor
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Here's our quick list of the best retail POS providers:
- Square POS – Best retail POS system
- Clover POS – Great built-in customer loyalty app
- Vend POS – Best to track and train employees
- Zettle by PayPal – Great value for money
- SpotOn – Great customization options
- Honorable Mention: Shopify – Best free trial
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 and features to ease of use.
- Tech.co retail rating: 4.7/5
- Price: From free (plus processing fees)
- Payment processing: Card transactions: 2.6% + 10¢. Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + 15¢
Square is, hands down, the best point of sale system we've tested. It offers stellar business features, and businesses can get started with the system without paying monthly fees. This pricing scheme has helped the system to achieve a perfect price score of 5/5, undercutting its rivals, Clover and Vend.
Scroll down to learn more about Square's POS features and plans.
- 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
- 3.5% + 15¢ charge for keyed-in transactions
- Support options vary by plan
Square POS features
From powerful customer relationship management (CRM) tools to strong sales reporting features that let you track profit and loss, Square's suite of features is impressive. This is reflected in our retail POS research where Square scores an impressive 4/5 for retail features, ranking higher than its rivals Clover, Vend, and Zettle in this category.
What's more, in our wider POS research Square received perfect scores of 5/5 for its business management, inventory management, and business development tools — beating every single other provider we've researched to the punch.
Square's software and hardware are easy to use too, making it our top pick for smaller businesses and a great option for those just starting out, too.
But Square isn't just an asset to small stores. With no other provider offering such strong business features, alongside a huge app marketplace that lets you connect loads of third-party services to your POS, we also think Square is the definitive choice for any business after a comprehensive retail solution.
Square POS pricing
Check out our pricing table below to learn more about Square's different plans.
$60 per month
$60 per month
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You can find out more about Square and its unique pricing structure in our full Square POS pricing guide.
2. Clover POS – Great Built-in Loyalty App
- Tech.co retail rating: 4.5/5
- Price: from $4.95 per month
- Payment processing: Card transactions: 2.3% + 10¢. Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + 10¢
Clover may not have as many retail features as Square, but it's a great choice for stores with a pre-existing website that want to start taking online orders. Its intuitive software lets you add online ordering easily to an existing website, and Clover even offers its own built-in loyalty app, making it easier for businesses to reward and retain loyal customers.
- Great for companies that started online but need a physical presense
- Good range of hardware options
- 30-day free trial
- Need pre-existing website unlike Shopify, for example
- Additional features cost extra and can become expensive
- No inter-store transactions
Clover POS features
Clover's till features are very solid. In fact, with a retail score of 4.5/5, they're better than Vend and our #1 POS solution, Square. Clover lets you accept Visa, Mastercard, and AmEx cards, as well as Google Pay, Apple Pay, and gift cards, it also offers digital receipts and one-touch tipping options, which will undoubtedly make life easier for staff.
Clover's built-in loyalty solution, Clover Rewards, is a unique mobile application that allows businesses to reward repeat customers with perks. The app is simple to use, and all customers need to do to qualify is enter their first name when transacting.
The POS also includes strong data analytics tools, which allow you to track sales performance in real-time and see your sales across different locations. These impressive analytics and CRM features also helped it to secure a score of 4.5/5 in business development in our wider POS research. While this doesn't quite beat Square's perfect score of 5/5, it still makes Clover a strong contender for businesses keen on motoring their performance.
Clover POS pricing
Clover sells its own branded hardware, including a chip and contactless payment reader for $69, as well as larger product bundles.
With monthly plans starting from as little as $4.95 per month, businesses can get started with Clover for much less than competitors like Vend and SpotOn. If you're after more specialized retail features and full access to Clovers app marker, however, prices do begin to escalate.
To learn more about Clover's three retail pricing packages and free plan, refer to the table below:
Counter Service Restaurant
Table Service Restaurant
$4.95 per month
$9.95 per month
$39.95 per month
$39.95 per month
$69.95 per month
2.3% + $0.10 per sale
2.7% + $0.10 per sale
2.3% + $0.10 per sale
2.5% + $0.10 per sale
2.3% + $0.10 per sale
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Vend's entry price may be steeper than Square's and Clover, but the POS still offers particularly good value for retailers — with a competitive training mode for new workers, real-time reporting, and integration options with a range of popular third-party providers. Unfortunately, Vend's run-of-the-mill retail features prevent it from appearing any higher on our list. Scroll down to find out more.
- 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
Vend POS features
Ultimately, Vend's storefront features aren't terrible, but with a retail score of 3.5/5, compared to Square's 4/5 and Clover's 4/5, it's not the best choice for businesses after an expansive tool kit.
Vend has brilliant inventory management features though. Its streamlined system lets users add, manage, and delete products easily. In fact, when we reviewed the system as a whole, Vend achieved a perfect score of 5/5 for stock management like every single provider on this list.
Vend also has a strong training mode for new staff members that allows users to trial the software without accessing the system's sales history, settings, or status page. Thanks to this feature, which is a great way to familiarize workers with the system without jeopardizing store data, our data suggests Vend is the #1 POS for onboarding staff.
Despite Vend's strengths, however, with a score of 3.5/5 for till features, our research suggests these tools aren't as strong as Square's and Clovers. This means that the POS may be less suitable for larger businesses and those with complex order systems. Vend doesn't offer delivery support either, which is another reason it's unable to beat our retail frontrunners, Square and Clover.
Vend POS pricing
With an entry price of $69 per month, Vend is more expensive to get started on than any other provider on this list. If you're looking to shirk these high monthly fees, we would advise going with Square and Zettle instead.
Vend does offer a free plan, however. If you're interested in learning more about Vend's pricing tiers, we break them down in our table below:
4. Zettle by PayPal – Great Value for Money
- Tech.co retail rating: 4.2/5
- Price: From free (transaction fees apply)
- Payment processing: Card transactions: 2.9% + 9¢. Keyed-in transactions: 3.49% + 9¢
While Zettle may not have achieved as much name recognition as other providers on this list, it has been assisting retail businesses for over 10 years.
Like Square, the POS achieved a price score of 5/5 and is completely free to get started with — charging transaction rates instead of monthly fees. The system's toolkit is not as comprehensive as others on this list though, preventing it from ranking any higher.
- No monthly fees
- Reasonable transaction fees
- Unlimited users
- No add-on features are available
- No CRM or offline mode
- Limited amount of integrations
Zettle by PayPal features
If your business sells goods online and in-store, Zettle omnichannel tools make this process simple and fuss-free. The Zettle app is able to connect seamlessly to your online store, allowing you to sell products across channels from one easy-to-use platform.
Zettle's flexible payment features make light work out of taking payments. The point of sale accepts all mainstream payment types, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and mobile payment. What's more, unlike many providers, Zettle doesn't feature a user limit — meaning each of its plans is available to an unlimited number of users. This, combined with the system's affordable price point, makes it suitable for a large number of stores.
Despite Zettle's decent payment features and generous user limit, when looking at the system as a whole the POS doesn't rank favorably for business management (2.3/5) or business development (3.8/5) features. Therefore, if you're looking for a POS with strong reporting and loyalty tools, you may benefit a system like Square, Clover, or Shopify.
Zettle's POS offering is decent, but you can use our custom pricing comparison tool to find out if it's the best option for your business.
Zettle by PayPal pricing
Since Zettle’s POS app is completely free to set up, it's cheap to get the system up and running. Zettle, however, charges businesses per transaction. This means that costs can accumulate over time.
We break down Zettle by PayPal's transaction fees below:
- 2.29% + 9 cents for each card-based sale
- 3.49% + 9 cents for each manual card entry transaction
- 1.9% + 10 cents for every QR code transaction $10.01 and above
- 2.4% + 5 cents for every QR code transaction $10.00 and below
Zettle also offers card readers at $29, with the price increasing to $79 for each additional reader.
5. SpotOn – Most Customizable POS System
- Tech.co retail rating: 4.2/5
- Price: from $15 per month
- Payment processing: Variable – relies on third-party provider
With retail features that give our frontrunner, Square, a run for its money SpotOn is a flexible POS system that lets you tailor your POS to what you're selling. This high level of customization makes it easier to sell goods to your target demographic, which is an easy win for any business.
However, while SpotOn is reasonably priced and has no user limit, many of the POS's features are only available as paid add-ons. This prevents SpotOn from trumping other solutions like Vend, and Zettle.
- Good range of retail features
- Customizable POS options
- Charges extra for lots of features
- Pricier than similar systems
From its slick online dashboard to its intuitive product catalog, SpotOn really excels when it comes to retail features. With a solid retail score of 4/5, its payment and ordering toolkit is even stronger than its competitors Clover and Vend.
Our wider research also scored SpotOn a perfect 5/5 for stock management too. With SponOn's product catalog, users can track their sales by channel, and monitor their financial performance at the same time. The tool also lets retail workers keep track of their business's online and in-person sales simultaneously. This can be a lifesaver for click-and-mortar businesses.
As we've touched on, SponOn's offering can also be customized to just about every retail business under the sun. From home decor to sporting goods, SpotOn's business profiles are just about as niche as it gets. By picking a POS mode that's right for your business, you have access to a wide selection of industry-specific tools. This feature is undoubtedly one of SpotOn's greatest strengths.
If you're after CRM tools, SpotOn also has you covered. The provider's digital loyalty program lets you enroll buyers during checkout and reward loyalty with custom rewards. The tool is also super easy to apply, helping you to drive up repeat visits with minimal effort. However, unlike Clover, SpotOn doesn't offer a specialized CRM app, and its wider business management tools are less substantial, with a score of 3.6/5 vs Clover's 4.5.
SpotOn's retail POS is available at three different price points:
- SpotOn Poynt – SpotOn's cheapest plan, Ponyt, costs $15 per month after the first one-time setup fee. The tier is pretty basic, but offers some quality cataloging, payment, and ordering features and allows users to add a variety of extensions.
- SpotOn Register Lite – This package will cost businesses $45 per month, and comes with a POS software package, a built-in card reader, an 8″ merchant-facing touchscreen display, a 4.3″ customer-facing display, and a built-in receipt printer.
- SpotOn Register – SponOns premium retail plan is available for $65 per month, and included a range of advanced POS features, from reporting to employee management, and a 13.3″ display, thermal printer, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Honorable Mention – Shopify: Best Free Trial
- Tech.co rating: 3.7/5
- Price from: $29/month
- Payment processing: Card transactions: 2.5%. Online transactions: 2.6% + 30¢
Shopify is primarily an ecommerce company, but it offers a retail POS system too. Shopify has excellent online store integrations, and it offers the best free trial of any provider we've tested, too. However, while this solution is great for online enterprises looking to expand into brick-and-mortar retail stores, its high monthly costs prevent it from making or top five.
We still thought Shopify was worthy of a mention though, mainly due to its generous free trial and abundant ecommerce add-ons. We break the POS system down further below.
- Very strong ecommerce integration
- 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
- No offline mode
Shopify POS features
With Shopify originating in the ecommerce market, the solution is perfectly equipped to support multi-channel selling — making it perfect for stores that operate online and in physical locations. This, alongside the provider's impressive analytic tools, is what helped it to achieve a solid business development score of 4.2/5 in our wider POS research, edging out other providers, like Vend.
Shopify also offers a great selection of till features, but the POS really shines when it comes to stock control. The provider's inventory management tools let you create, edit, and review stock levels in a few clicks, helping the POS system receive a perfect score of 5/5 in this category.
While Shopify's potential is huge, many features, like CRM, accounting, or marketing tools, are only available as third-party integrations.
But how does Shopify compare to a more traditional POS provider? Find out in our Lightspeed vs Shopify guide.
Shopify POS pricing
Overwhelmed with confusing pricing plans? Use our pricing comparison tool to receive tailored POS quotes.
Small business POS system costs are normally somewhere between $40 and $100 per month for a 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 that typically cost in excess of $2,500 per location.
Compared to Restaurant POS systems, Retail POS systems tend to be a similar price or slightly less, depending on which provider you opt for and how many food service features you require. For instance, Square's paid retail and hospitality plans cost the same amount at $60 per month, while SponOn's restaurant plan will cost businesses $65 per month more than its retail package.
Whether you run a store or a food business, buying an industry-specific POS system will almost always be more expensive but better value than investing in a generalized point of service. This is because tailored POS systems are packed with more industry-specific features and specialist hardware — from ticketing systems and kitchen displays for food businesses, to barcode scanners and weighing scales for retailers.
This is exemplified by Clover's pricing model, which charges just $4.95 per month for its universal Payments Plus plan, and $39.95 per month for its specialized Register and Counter Service Restaurant packages.
Whether you choose a one-size-fits-all POS or a specialized system, the month-to-month pricing alongside transaction fees can seem high at first. However, the right system will make your business far more efficient and profitable in the long run, so investing in a top solution really is a no-brainer.
What is a Retail POS System?
A point of sale (POS) system is the combination of hardware and software that is used to sell goods to customers, as well as organize the processes related to sales. It is an essential part of running any successful store or restaurant in today's world. Find out more in our best POS systems for restaurants guide.
A good POS system will log the number and value of the sales you’ve made, track your inventory, and let 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 to work.
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.
Verdict – What's the Best Retail POS System?
With a solid overall score of 4.7/5, we think Square is the best retail POS system on the market. It offers just about every POS feature possible (including the best business development tools we've tested), is extremely easy to use, and is surprisingly affordable, too.
Our research team gave Square top marks for stock tools, help and support options, and business management features, but we also know that Square POS isn't for everyone. For example, Clover and Vend offer stronger till and order features, and Shopify provides the best free trial.
By putting the top POS providers through their paces, and evaluating them against hundreds of data points, we hope we've made it easier for you to find your ideal solution.
If you're serious about getting started with a new provider, you can also use our POS comparison tool to receive obligation-free quotes from the biggest POS providers on the market. Its completely free, and only takes a few minutes.
At Tech.co we're passionate about connecting you to your ideal solution. This is why we take product recommendations very seriously. We work alongside a dedicated team of researchers with years of experience in the field and, together, we've come up with a unique process to rank and review POS systems.
First, we research each provider extensively, spending hours pouring over product data to get to know them the best we can. When analyzing point of sale systems, we look out for six major metrics, which are:
- Till features – Does the POS have strong ordering and payment features? I.e, how robust are the provider's bill splitting and receipt options?
- Business management features – How does the tool aid business management? Does the POS offer features that let managers run their teams and business in an effective way?
- Stock management features – How sophisticated as the system's stock control tools? Are they useful to large businesses with complex inventories?
- Businesses development features – Can the POS help the business increase its sales? I.e, do they offer strong customer relationship management (CRM) or ecommerce tools?
- Price – Is the average price of the POS affordable? Does is offer a free plan or trial?
- Help and support options – How robust are the system's help and support features? Is help available around the clock? Or do they offer a knowledge center?
We then award each provider a score out of five for the various metrics above. By doing so, we're able to easily rank providers in order of their overall effectiveness, and determine which products will be best for businesses with specific needs or budgets.
However, this is really only part of the story. To learn more about what drives our recommendations, you can visit our research page.
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