Square POS offers the best Retail POS System you can buy, as far as we’re concerned. It stands out for its balance of excellent features, support, and fair pricing. If you wanted to, you could stop reading now and get started with Square POS here.
However, Square POS isn’t a perfect product, and some Retail POS Systems might be a better fit for your business. Lightspeed POS and Shopify POS are great alternatives to Square, with better inventory management and sales channel integrations, respectively.
Square POS is our favorite POS system on the market, as we mentioned above. But here’s a quick look at our top three providers, side by side.
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Top 10 Best Retail POS Systems for 2020
We examine each Retail POS System in a number of areas to work out which is the best. Our analysis looks at everything from features to pricing, as well as how easy each POS system is to use.
The reviews below score each provider out five, and highlight the top features that could make a big impact on your business’ operations and profit.
Best POS systems for small business
- Square POS – Best all-round Retail POS System
- Lightspeed POS – Best for complex inventories
- 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
Square’s features and pricing are hard to beat, and the intuitive software makes transactions simple and effective.
Square POS’ hardware suite is super-affordable as well — something not all of its competitors can match.
Square POS is best known for its free iPad POS system, which manages sales and inventory, tracks customer purchases, and emails receipts. However, Square also caters for larger operations from just $60/month (plus a 2.5% + 10¢ charge for each sale) with a Square POS-branded stand and a card reader included for free.
Square POS’ paid-for retail POS plans also include 24/7 email support and 12/7 phone support.
- Free trial
- 24/7 support
- Serves businesses of all sizes
- Strong analytics
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 2.75% charge on non-card transactions
Lightspeed POS’ inventory management options are unmatched by its competitors. It allows managers to import items or order from pre-loaded catalogs, and group products by type. Users can also add more granular details including style, size, and color.
Lightspeed POS runs on iPad or desktops, and its hardware packages include scanners, receipt printers, iPad stands, and cash drawers.
The most popular Lightspeed POS plan, called ‘Starter,’ costs $99 per month. It 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.
One special deal worth noting: Lightspeed is currently offering three months of its POS for free. This is a response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, so it won't last forever.
Lightspeed POS is a good all-round Retail POS System, 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.
- Strong ecommerce integration
- Has packages for both restaurants and regular stores
- 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat
- Straightforward pricing
- Special COVID-19 offer: Get 3 months for free
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
- Isn't the best POS for quickly-scaling businesses
Shopify is normally regarded as an ecommerce company but it offers a Retail POS System with great ecommerce integrations. Shopify POS users will get their own branded online store and the ability to sell through plenty of online sales channels including Instagram, Amazon, and eBay.
Shopify POS’ features include sales management, inventory management, and employee management. It 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
Vend POS seamlessly integrates with a huge range of third-party features and apps, giving users loads of potential features. For example, users can add third-party payment processing via Square POS, Shopify POS, or PayPal.
Vend also has fantastic ecommerce integrations, making it super easy to sell across physical, digital, and mobile channels. In addition, Vend POS offers sales and inventory management, customer profiles, split and contactless payments, and gift cards.
Vend POS is one the most flexible Retail POS Systems on the market, boasting third-party add-ons galore and compatibility with many operating systems. You can run Vend POS on 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 System 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, which POS providers don’t service by default, or if you just love to negotiate.
- Works on Android devices as well as Shopkeep's proprietary register
- Clean, intuitive user interface
- Prices are POA only
- 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 $39 per month, although you won’t get any inventory controls — these add a $30 premium.
- 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 the 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 but it’s worth noting that there’s no free trial available. There is, however, a free demo.
- 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 their 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. Plus, 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 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.
If that sounds expensive, it shouldn’t. It’s important to remember that a POS system is essential to running your business and a bad one will likely cost you more in man hours than the price of a good one.
The best way to find the right POS system for your business is by securing and comparing like for like quotes from the leading providers that fit your needs. Tech.co can help you to do this with our simple, no-obligation questionnaire, built to help you to narrow down your options for a POS System.
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 organise 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 analyse sales and refunds so you can maximize profits.
The best Point of Sale Systems provide features that enable you make more sales, both in person and online, as well as manage your staff and customer base, and identify 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 costs while also improving sales. A good POS system will help you optimize your inventory, employee workloads, and sales promotions.
At the same time, a good POS system will allow you to accept cash, credit, and contactless payments and some will even let you accept online payments for your products and services.
A good POS system is worth paying for — the right one will easily pay for itself over time.
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 also-rans simply can’t match.
The best Retail POS Systems will offer:
- Sales management – A good Retail POS System will give you 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 – The best Retail POS Systems will create schedules and track employee performance, as well as allowing employees to clock-in and clock-out
- Reporting and analytics – With a good POS, you’ll be able to build and create reports which can help you optimize sales, promotions, inventories, and more.
- Customer relationship management – Top Retail POS Providers will help you offer discounts to loyal customers, or promotions to draw in customers you haven’t heard from in a while. A functioning POS gift card program can also help retain customers.
Retail POS System Hardware Accessories
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. Set up 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 it. These might be helpful for big-ticket items but most POS providers give you the ability to email receipts.
- iPad stands and docks – These will make it easier for customers to pay, or enter details for email receipts. They’re also useful if staff carry around their iPads 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 bricks-and-mortar store might not need a self-service kiosk, but a large health and wellness spa might.
You will know best what items you might need more than one of. 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 and buy 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.
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