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10 Best Retail POS Systems

June 17, 2019

5:56 pm

A POS system is an essential part of running any successful store in today's world. Point of Sale systems can help you to better understand your customers, your staff and your business, letting you to drive towards better profits and smarter ways of working.

For our money, the best POS system you can choose is Square POS, which we've rated top for standing out even in this hugely competitive market. But, there are plenty of rivals with features and hardware with their own merits. We've listed the top ten best retail POS systems available to you, below.

The most important thing? Getting the right price for your business. To ensure you invest wisely, we recommend comparing quotes from multiple POS providers. Using our simple POS quotes comparison tool, you can get started in moments.

Here's everything you need to know about what to expect from a POS, why your retail store needs one, and which are the best retail POS vendors in today's competitive market, that you can trust to deliver the features you need at a price that works.

In this Guide:

The 3 Best Retail POS Systems

You can find more in-depth reviews of the top 10 POS systems we've rounded up, farther down the page. Keen to know the best of the best? Here are the top three POS systems to consider:

  1. Square POS – industry leading POS system features and modern retail hardware
  2. Lightspeed – a POS system that can handle the most complex of retail inventories
  3. Shopify – an expert name in online and offline retail with a modern, simple POS platform

Even in this competitive field, Square POS, Lightspeed and Shopify stand out from the crowd. They're all modern, highly adaptable POS systems that can scale to the needs of your business. Their software has an easy learning curve, but a huge amount of depth to help you understand the way your business is working.

These three tools are trusted by retailers worldwide, and they have outstanding help and support to get you started, plus price plans that scale to the needs of your team.

 Square POSLightspeed POSShopify POS
Square POS logoLightspeed logoShopify logo thumbnail
Compareget-quote-button-greencompare-now-button-whiteget-quote-button-green
Price From$60/month$99/month$29/month
Our Rating5 stars5 stars5 stars
Free Trial
Key Benefit Unlimited staff permissionsGranular inventory managementEcommerce integrations
24/7 Support
DrawbackPricing structure can be costly for larger businessesPriced a little above industry average$29/month plan tier doesn't include advanced reporting

Remember, if you're after a POS system that's perfect for your retail business needs, it all comes down to cost. You'll want to ensure you're spending smart on a POS system that has the features you need, at the right price for your business. Click below to get matched with personalised quotes from the best retail POS services:

Compare POS quotes from leading providers matched to your specific business needs today

The Top 10 Retail POS Systems for 2019

You've already seen our top three POS providers, above, but there are plenty more brands in the market.

POS systems can be designed for a wide variety of industries, though the top two most well-served are retail and restaurants. Here we examine the best retail POS brands, ranked by overall quality and listed alongside their top features that can make a difference to your store's operations and profit.

Here's our full list of the 10 best retail POS systems available:

  1. Square
  2. Lightspeed POS
  3. Shopify
  4. Vend
  5. Shopkeep
  6. Erply POS
  7. SalesVu POS
  8. Revel
  9. Clover POS
  10. Epos Now

Continue scrolling for more detailed reviews of each restaurant POS vendor, or click on the names above to jump directly to the vendor you’re interested in.

1. Square POS

Best all around retail POS system

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $60/month

Click below to see images of Square POS in action:

One of the biggest brands in POS, Square's service, features and price are hard to beat. They offer an intuitive software that allows you to perform transactions simply and effectively. The suite of hardware items that they offer is cost-effective as well, which is not the case for many competitors. Square is a good all-around option, and tops our list of retail POS systems.

Square is known for its free iPad POS software, which manages sales and inventory, tracks customer's purchases, and emails receipts. However, Square also offers a retail-specific system for larger operations, which starts at $60/month (plus a 2.5% + 10¢ charge for each sale) and includes hardware: A Square Stand and a Square card reader. The retail system price includes tech support: Email support is available 24/7, with 12/7 phone support.

Key Features

  • Unlimited staff permissions
  • Customer profiles
  • Reporting and analytics

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

2. Lightspeed POS

Best for complex inventories

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $99/month

Click below to see images of Lightspeed POS in action:

Lightspeed's inventory management options allow managers to import items or order from pre-loaded catalogs, group items by type, or add granular details including style, size, and color. The most popular Lightspeed retail POS plan starts at $99/month and includes one register with up to five employee accounts, easy onboarding features, basic analytics and 24/7 support. It can run on iPad or desktop, and Lightspeed's hardware packages include scanners, receipt printers, iPad stands, and cash drawers.

This is a good all-around option, and a great one for managers with a complicated inventory to manage, though it may be overkill for those small businesses like mall kiosks with just a handful of products to track. The other features, support team and price are good, too, though $99/month is on the high end of the industry average for a single register.

Key Features

  • Inventory management
  • Integration library
  • Free onboarding webinars

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

3. Shopify POS

Best for ecommerce integrations

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $29/month

Click below to see images of Shopify POS in action:

An ecommerce company itself, Shopify offer a retail POS system with great ecommerce integrations. Any POS users will get their own branded online store and options for online sales channels like social media. Items can then be bought online, and picked up in the store. The raft of features also includes sales, inventory and employee management, analytics, discount codes, and a mobile app. 

Shopify is a great option for businesses that are exploring selling both online and directly to their customers in real life. The support team is another selling point: With 24/7 support via email, live chat and phone, it couldn't be better. Starting at $29/month, the price is great, though growing businesses may want to pick the $79/month in order to access advanced reporting functions.

Key Features

  • Online store
  • Discount codes
  • Mobile app

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

4. Vend POS

Best for third-party integrations

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $59 /month

Click below to see images of Vend POS in action:

Vend's third-party integrations allow users to locate and add features beyond those covered just by Vend. Integrations also cover payment processing, which Vend doesn't do itself, but can be supported via Square, Shopify or PayPal. Other top features offered by the retail POS include sales and inventory, customer profiles, split payments, gift cards, contactless payments, and ecommerce integration that allows stores to sell seamlessly across physical, digital, and mobile channels.

Vend's third-party add-ons, combined with the versatility of its interface, which can operate just as easily on Macs and iPads as PCs, make it one of the more flexible POS services. It's a good option for business owners who enjoy tinkering with apps in order to find the perfect set-up.

Key Features

  • Ecommerce features
  • Offline mode
  • Runs on iPad, Mac & PC

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

5. Shopkeep POS

Best for mobile app users

Editor Rating: 5 stars Price: $69/month

Click below to see images of Shopkeep in action:

ShopKeep’s POS software covers the core features needed for retail POS, and wraps them in a clean-cut interface that works great on mobile. Employees can use the iPad app to track sales and inventory, while managers can keep up with daily reports while out of the office. Their customer service tools are also a highlight, with customer loyalty and gift card integrations available. Technical support options are good, with 24/7 live support across phone, email, and chat.

In an increasingly mobile world, having a POS that works on the go is essential, and Shopkeep is more than serviceable. Their service plans likely start at $69/month, though they don't have a starting price listed currently, and instead recommend businesses reach out for a quote.

Key Features

  • Intuitive interface
  • Mobile app
  • Customer marketing tools

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

Find the right POS provider for your business today, at the right price.

6. Erply POS

Best for small franchises

Editor Rating: 4.5 stars Price: $69/month

Click below to see images of Erply POS in action:

Erply sells three retail-focused POS systems: A basic retail program, an enterprise retail POS, and a POS for retail franchises. The latter option allows franchise owners to set security permissions in order to determine how much each manager can access. Other features include barcode scanning, employee management tools, and sales and inventory features.

This is a solid POS offering, even if its name looks like someone tried typing “reply” too quickly. With the franchise retail POS system, a franchise owner can decide how strongly to centralize their inventory, customers or other sensitive information. While the with-inventory plan starts at $69/month, a $39/month sans-inventory system is available for tiny businesses.

Key Features

  • Franchise features
  • Versatile interface
  • Sales and inventory

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

7. SalesVu POS

Best for a stripped-down POS

Editor Rating: 4.5 stars Price: $75/month

Click below to see images of SalesVu in action:

SalesVu offers a suite of apps, each tackling different POS concerns, including transactions, inventory, and employees, as well as loyalty programs, gift cards, and invoicing. While all the apps are technically free, any users must pay $75/month/location in order to access the dashboard that makes all the apps easily accessible through a central interface. Support options include 24/7 live chat and an online help center with video tutorials.

A business with just a few needs may be able to rely on two or three free SalesVu apps in order to run their more stripped-down business. Then, should the business continue to grow, they can eventually move up to the paid plan.

Key Features

  • Loyalty app
  • Gift card app
  • Invoice app

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

8. Revel POS

Best for customer relationships

Editor Rating: 4.5 stars Price: $99/month

Click below to see images of Revel POS in action:

Revel's retail POS includes strong customer relationship management tools, letting businesses track their returning customers along with their favorite items. All the most essential features are included as well: Sales, inventory and employee management, and analytics. Prices start at $99/month, but custom quotes are also available.

A solid option for business invested in growing their customer relations. It's easy to use on the go: A mobile app, Revel Insights, allows managers to learn relevant information in real time even when not at a desktop. The lack of a free trial, rare for POS systems, may give some pause, though a free demo is available.

Key Features

  • Intuitive interface
  • Customer relationship tools
  • Insights app

Extras

  • Free Demo
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

9. Clover POS

Best for online ordering

Editor Rating: 4 stars Price: Varies

Click below to see images of Clover in action:

Clover's retail POS offers online integrations for businesses that need to support online orders or in-person delivery. Security features and customizable customer profiles are also a highlight. Hardware offerings include a countertop POS station, a mini version of the station, and a contactless payment hub.

Clover POS is a solid choice for businesses that need to integrate their online presence with a physical store, but don't need their hands held quite as much as with Shopify: Clover users won't be given their website, and need to leverage their pre-existing online brand.

Key Features

  • Customer profiles
  • Security features
  • Online sales features

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves all business sizes

10. Epos Now

Best for a quick learning curve

Editor Rating: 4 stars Price: $39/month

Click below to see images of Epos Now in action:

A simple interface and quick learning curve are selling points for this U.K.-based POS. Retailers can use their current equipment, as the POS supports any standard barcode scanner or receipt printer, and employees will pick up the software quickly. Discount features are a highlight, too: Promotions can be tailored to run during set times of day, days of the week, or at certain locations. 24/7 phone support is available depending on the plan. The starting service plan only includes email support.

Epos Now's name isn't just wishful thinking: According to the site, employees using the software's intuitive interface “can be fully operational in just 15 minutes,” making this retail POS system a good option for businesses that can't afford lengthy training sessions. Starting at $39/month, with each additional register another $24/month, it's a cost effective way to take a business from zero to sixty.

Key Features

  • Intuitive interface
  • Loyalty features
  • Flexible hardware integrations

Extras

  • Free Demo
  • 24/7 Support (depends on plan)
  • Serves all business sizes

Retail POS System Prices

Costs vary, but the size of your business will affect it the most. The size of your inventory will impact the POS features you'll need and the tier of service plan you'll pick, and the number of employees and locations will impact how much you'll be charged, since most POS vendors charge per register per month.

A small business should expect to pay between about $50 and $100 per month for a single register. A large franchise might pay between $100 and $300 per location, per month, with an additional one-time hardware cost somewhere north of $2,500 per location.

In any case, you'll likely want to get and compare quotes from your POS vendors of choice before you sign on the dotted line. For a quick way to collect quotes from the top vendors, try Tech.Co's handy form.

Collect and compare quotes from a range of POS system providers in just a minute.


What is a Retail POS System?

A POS, or Point of Sale, system helps a store to sell to customers. It logs the number and quantity of sales, while tracking your inventory and letting you know when to restock. It also serves as the backbone for your entire store's daily tasks: It can help you schedule employees, track useful data, and launch new marketing campaigns.

For more information, check out Tech.Co's explainer on this essential technology: What Is POS?

Why do you need a Retail POS System for your store?

A POS doesn't just help you accept cards (although it definitely should do that). The ultimate goal of any POS is to help a store cut its costs while boosting its sales. It should help you accept cash, credit, and cardless payments, plus keep your products stocked, and all of your employees well aware of the latest changes and tweaks to your store. The POS system is a combination of software, often cloud-based and offered by a vendor through a monthly subscription, and hardware.

If you find the right POS for your business, it will more than pay for itself. It'll propel your business into another level of success.

Best Retail POS Software Features

A merchant taking a sale with Shopify POS chip and swipe readerCertain core POS competencies are essential for a retail POS software. A handful of additional features, however, are still quite useful and can take your store to the next level. Here's a list of the software abilities that the average retailer will find the most useful.

  • Sales management — The best POS software should make for a speedy checkout process, with every transaction logged down to the cent.
  • Inventory management — This keeps an itemized inventory that updates after each sale, and may send email or text notifications to managers when an item begins running low.
  • Employee management — The right feature will create schedules, allow employees to log in and out, and track employee performance.
  • Reporting and analytics — Data collection allows you to build and save reports. Once a manager has enough information, trends and patterns will become clear, allowing managers to make more informed opinions about everything from which items to promote to which employees sell the fastest.
  • Loyalty programs — This feature allows you to offer discounts to returning customers or to create a functioning gift card program.
  • Marketing integrations — Some POS software will collect email addresses, building a list that can be used for marketing promotions or events in the future.

The best POS software services can run temporarily while offline, come with a useful support team, and have intuitive interfaces that users can understand without a huge learning curve.

Retail POS System Hardware Accessories

The need for hardware options depends on the type of POS system your business needs. If you're a smaller location, one or two iPad tablets and a portable card reading device may be all you need. If you're a large operation or an entire franchise, you'll likely need multiple dedicated monitors, routers, stand-alone card readers, and receipt printers. Here's a quick rundown of possible hardware to consider.

  • Tablet — An iPad or Android tablet may be almost all you need.
  • Monitor — But if you want an over-the-counter touchscreen display, pick out a larger monitor.
  • Card readers for iPad — You can plug a quarter-sized card reader into an iPad jack, and some POS software services bundle them into their service plans.
  • Receipt printer — Many iPad POS software options will send an email receipt, making this a less essential hardware item.
  • iPad stands and docks — If you're not toting your iPad around, you'll want a dock, typically one that swivels to allow customers to sign.
  • Self-Service Kiosk — To let customer check themselves out, you'll need a large stand, monitor,  receipt printer, and a countertop card reader. It's pricey, but may save you money in the long term.

Routers are also recommended for larger operations; they'll keep your internet connection secure and stable.

Next Steps Getting a Retail POS System

By now, you should feel more familiar with the various retail POS systems available, and the merits of the top POS brands we've picked out. As a reminder, we've repeated our summary table of the top three POS providers, below.

Remember, the most important next step is to get a quote that's tailored to the needs and scale of your business. That way, you can be sure you're starting out with the perfect POS system for what you're after, at the right cost for you. Click to compare and you can received personalised quotes to choose from:

 Square POSLightspeed POSShopify POS
Square POS logoLightspeed logoShopify logo thumbnail
Compareget-quote-button-greencompare-now-button-whiteget-quote-button-green
Price From$60/month$99/month$29/month
Our Rating5 stars5 stars5 stars
Free Trial
Key Benefit Unlimited staff permissionsGranular inventory managementEcommerce integrations
24/7 Support
DrawbackPricing structure can be costly for larger businessesPriced a little above industry average$29/month plan tier doesn't include advanced reporting
About our links

By clicking to compare, you’ll 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. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews. It carries no additional cost to you, and doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.