The best POS system for retail stores is Vend POS, due to its exceptional inventory management of barcoded products. While we're happy to sing its praises, Vend POS isn't ideal right for everyone – its cheapest plans don't have the best reporting tools, for instance. Square POS finishes in a close second, combining high-end features and comprehensive customer support with an affordable entry cost.
Here at Tech.co, our researchers have spent countless hours investigating the POS market to rank and rate the leading providers. We've also developed a bespoke quote collector that can match your business with the perfect provider. It only takes a couple of minutes, and there are no obligations at all.
We've collected all the basic information to know in this table, with longer reviews farther down the page. Whatever you choose, the streamlining benefits of a POS can help your retail business thrive even during the belt-tightening COVID times we live in.
Tech.co rating for retail
Score out of 5 based on Tech.co's independent market research.
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 RETAIL POS
BEST FREE POS
Best Retail POS
Best free POS System
Best value POS system
Best for customer relationship management
Best for small franchises
Best for integrating ecommerce
Best for those looking to expand from online-only operations
Large or growing businesses wanting an easy set up
Businesses with large, barcoded inventories
$99 per month
Free (but transaction fees apply)
$29 per month
$29 per month
$39 per month
Works with loads of third-party periperals
Sold by Square, separately or bundled. Works with most leading brands and has a great free trial.
Available through third-party vendors
Offers a preconfigured POS terminal with an iPad and tablet stand, a router, a printer, and a cash drawer.
Works with loads of hardware options
Sold by Shopify, but also works with iPads and Android tablets
Sells everything from full cash stations to mobile card readers
Works with lots of third-party peripherals
Sold by Lightspeed. NOT compatible with weighing scales.
Here's our quick list of the best retail POS providers:
- Vend POS – Best retail POS system
- Square POS – Best free retail POS system
- Talech POS – Best value POS system
- Revel POS – Best POS system for CRM tools
- Erply POS – Best for small franchises
- Shopify POS – Best for integrating ecommerce
- Clover POS – Perfect for companies that are already online
- Epos Now – A strong POS that's quick to set up
- Lightspeed POS – A good fit for businesses with large inventories
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.
Note: All pricing plan figures were updated in March 2021.
Vend is the best retail POS system on the market, and with good reason. It has a great range of sales and payment features, and chucks in CRM tools on all of its plans. What's more, Vend is one of the most flexible POS systems on the market and integrates brilliantly with loads of popular third-party providers.
Vend POS features
Vend has brilliant sales and payments features. It can accept cash, checks, debit, and credit card transactions, and integrates with a host of popular payment processing companies including PayPal, Shopify, and Square.
It has advanced inventory features, utilizing one central product catalog that syncs across all your channels, keeping everything in check. This means that your in-store POS and online POS are never out of kilter.
Vend also includes CRM tools on all of its POS plans. You can build customer profiles which can give you an understanding of customer purchase history, loyalty, and available balance. You'll then be able to use the these profiles to send out promotions and marketing communications to customers in order to entice them back.
Vend's system is cloud-based, and it can work on Windows PCs, MacOS devices, and iPads. Sadly, it won't work on Android devices.
Vend POS pricing
Vend offers three pricing plans, as well as a completely free plan.
Vend Free lets you use one register, with one user account, selling 10 products, to a maximum of 1,000 customers.
After you hit that limit, you'll need to move to one of the paid-for plans. It's a nice option for getting started up with the POS but, when it comes to free options, we prefer Square.
Vend Lite costs $99 per month. You'll get a free cash register, and your business will be limited to $20,000 in transactions per month. It also gives you unlimited users, but you'll be restricted to operating in a single location.
The Pro plan costs $129 per month and offers more advanced reporting and loyalty features. Plus, it brings more ecommerce integrations and third-party add-ons. What's more, it supports multiple locations and lets you have an unlimited turnover.
The Enterprise plan doesn't have a fixed price. Instead, Vend will give you a bespoke price based on the features that your business requires. The Enterprise plan will also give you a dedicated account manager and a customized onboarding package to make setting the system up easier.
Find out more about Vend in our full review
- 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
Square represents fantastic value for any business that needs a POS system. You won't have to pay any monthly fees, just some pretty competitive transaction fees.
Square POS features
Square lets you accept Visa, Mastercard, and AmEx cards all at the same rate. Plus, you can accept contactless transactions through Apple and Google Pay. Digital and physical gift cards, as well as online orders, also aren't a problem.
Square has strong sales reporting features that let you track profit and loss, inventory, and more from your app's dashboard view. It also has a huge App Marketplace, which lets you connect loads of third-party services to your POS. For example, you can add Square to a BigCommerce or Wix website or even to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software Mailchimp.
Square also has its own ecommerce platform, Square Online, which can help you bring online ordering to your retail business – something super important at the moment.
Square POS pricing
Square's main pricing plan has no monthly fees at all. Instead, you simply pay transaction fees of 2.6% plus 10 cents on each card-based or contactless transaction. Keyed-in card transactions cost slightly more at 3.5% plus 15 cents. Finally, online sales are charged at 2.9% plus 30 cents.
This makes Square really affordable to get started with as you won't need to pay until you start making money yourself. What's more, Square even throws in a free card reader to help you get your business off the ground.
Square also offers a dedicated retail plan which brings more features than you get on the free plan. Square for Retail Plus costs $60 per month, per location. Transaction fees are reduced to 2.5% plus 10 cents for in-person sales and 2.9% plus 30 cents for online sales. You'll be able to exchange products and gain access to improved inventory and reporting tools, plus Square Team Management, a tool which can help sort out your employees.
You can find out more about Square and its unique pricing structure in our full Square POS pricing guide.
- 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
Talech is a strong retail POS with great business and stock management tools. It's a bit more expensive than its competitors, but it's a good system nonetheless.
Talech POS features
Talech automatically tallies up the cost of every product you sell, factoring in taxes and special offers to make transactions quicker. This means that you can spend more time engaging with your customers and less time prodding away at a tablet.
Talech also has strong inventory management. It will let you know when products are running low, for example, and it can sync your inventories across multiple stores. Products can be uploaded and edited in batches, which should make your life easier. Plus, it can even track inventory based on weight, which could be useful if you sell materials wholesale.
Talech tracks customer visits, the items they buy, and the time that has elapsed since their last purchase. This also allows you to fire off marketing comms to your customers, enticing them back with new offers.
Talech even lets you manage staff shifts with its “clock-in” feature. As a manager, you'll be able to set overtime rules and track individual employee performances, including the sales a person makes.
Should you encounter any problems with Talech, it offers a variety of support options. This includes 24/7 email and live chat support, as well as a searchable online help center.
Talech POS pricing
Talech offers four pricing plans: Starter, Standard, Premium, and Enterprise. It also offers a free demo, rather than a free trial. Talech bases its pricing on the number of devices you register to use its software, rather than the users or locations that you need.
This introductory plan costs $29 per month per device. You'll also be limited to five employees, and you'll only be able to sell 100 products. However, you'll still get access to product inventory tracking, employee permissions, basic order management, partial and full refunds, customer history tracking, and basic reporting functions.
The Standard plan costs $69 per month for the first device, with each subsequent device costing $29 per month. You get unlimited employees and product listings on this plan, too. You also get barcode label printing, clock-in and timesheets, automatic discounts, exchanges, store credit, and more advanced reporting.
This plan costs $99 per month for the first device, then $29 per month for each subsequent device. You get access to online ordering, inventory alerts, and purchase orders.
There are a range of other features, but they're more closely related to restaurant businesses. Check out our full Talech POS review for more information.
This plan is only available to larger businesses, and you'll need to get a quote directly from Talech on the prices.
- 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 CRM tools. It also only has one monthly pricing plan, which sets it apart from the competition.
Revel POS features
Revel excels with its customer loyalty features. You can quickly build a database of customers' profiles, which can be easily updated to keep them useful. What's more, you can create marketing campaigns by segmenting your user profiles into separate lists.
You can also create a loyalty program that automatically tracks and rewards customers whenever they make a purchase.
Revel also gives you an EMV-compliant till and an integration with QuickBooks for easy accounting. It also has a user-friendly mobile app, Revel Insights, which allows for sales analysis in real time. It also offers reports on inventory and employee performance.
You can easily set up discounts, as well as delete and remove void items with its iPad-based till. Revel integrates with PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Stripe, and Braintree, so taking payments should be super easy.
Revel POS pricing
Revel only offers one pricing plan. It costs $99 per month per terminal. However, you'll have to pay what it calls “industry-leading” flat payment processing fees. You'll also have to pay a $674 onboarding fee. Revel's experts will walk you through the set up of your POS system.
We'd recommend taking a look at Revel's free trial before getting started. Or you could use our quotes comparison tool to receive bespoke prices from the leading POS providers on the market.
- 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
Erply POS is one of the few providers to offer dedicated tools for franchise-model businesses. It offers features that you might not be able to find with other providers, so if you run lots of small retail franchises, Erply might be the best fit for you.
Erply POS features
Erply offers business owners the ability to centralize key bits of their business, such as inventory, CRM tools, and any potentially sensitive financial or HR information. This means that you'll retain full control over your business's most important information.
Erply also offers features outside of its centralized system. Individual franchises will be able to print barcodes, manage employee timesheets, track sales, and manage their own inventories.
Erply can also be linked to an online store to give you ecommerce capabilities.
Erply POS pricing
Erply has quite an odd pricing structure compared to most of its rivals. You can get its POS without inventory features for $60 per month. This means that you get two user accounts, a single point of sale license, basic reporting and CRM, integrated payment processing with Cayan, hardware options, and customer support via email.
You can get online and offline inventory tools for $111 per month. This can help if you have an online-only store.
Its inventory and POS plan costs $137 per month, but still only offers two user accounts and a single POS license. Reporting is improved, as is the CRM tool. However, this is quite a lot compared to many providers.
Erply also offers an Enterprise plan which features bespoke pricing and is designed for large franchise or enterprise stores. However, we'd recommend taking a look at our pricing comparison tool before you jump at the chance to get started with Erply.
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
Shopify is normally regarded as an ecommerce company, but it also offers a Retail POS System with fantastic online store integrations. It's a good fit for any business that's currently focused on ecommerce but is looking to expand into a brick-and-mortar POS.
Shopify POS features
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 brick-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.
But how does Shopify compare to a more traditional POS provider? Find out in our Lightspeed vs Shopify guide.
Shopify POS pricing
Shopify requires you to sign up for an ecommerce plan before you can access its POS system. Fortunately, these plans start from $29 per month and you won't need to pay anything extra to add Shopify POS Lite.
With Shopify POS Lite, you'll get access to the Shopify Payments processing tool which gives you in-person credit card rates starting from 2.4%. You also get customizable checkouts, custom discounts, and global search across your store and storage to check product availability, automatic tax calculation, refunds, unlimited products, multi-location inventory, customer loyalty, and analytics.
All told, Shopify POS Lite represents very good value for money.
It also offers Shopify POS Pro, which costs an additional $89 per month per location but is included with all Shopify Plus ecommerce plans. You get some slightly more high-end features including automatic discounts and click-and-collect features, and customers will be able to buy in-store and have products shipped to their homes (helpful if you sell heavy stuff).
Shopify's POS pricing can seem confusing but, trust us, it's a pretty good deal.
- 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
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 features
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 which could come in handy for your staff.
Clover POS includes core features such as sales reports, inventory, and customer loyalty tools. It also offers 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.
You'll be able to track sales performance in real time and see your sales across different locations. Clover also offers a range of third-party integrations covering everything from payroll apps to recruitment.
Clover sells its own branded hardware, including a chip and contactless payment reader for $69, as well as larger product bundles.
Clover POS pricing
Clover offers a free trial as well as three retail pricing plans.
Clover Payments Plus
The cheapest plan costs $4.95 per month and gives you cloud-based payment processing as well as employee and customer management tools. However, it doesn't offer inventory or order management features.
Clover Register Lite
Designed for businesses with sales of less than $50,000 per year, the Register Lite plan costs $9.95 per month and will charge you 2.7% + 10 cents for all transactions.
However, this plan is limited to customers that use the Clover Go, Flex, or Mini card reader and payment terminal devices.
For $39.95 per month plus 2.3% + 10 cents, the Register plan brings improved inventory and order management tools, as well as product variants.
Clover's pricing plans are confusing and, if we were you, we'd definitely check out our pricing comparison tool to make sure that Clover is the right fit for your business.
- 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 prides itself on a quick setup. In fact, the company claims your business can be up and running in just 15 minutes.
Epos Now features
Epos Now will help manage your inventory and track online and offline sales. It can also print invoices and read barcodes.
Epos Now also includes a customer loyalty feature and offers more than 80 third-party integrations. For example, you can choose Xero for accounting automation or Mailchimp for email marketing. It can also track your staff performance and offer real-time reports on sales performance, inventory levels, and more.
Epos Now pricing
Epos Now’s prices start at just $39 per month, and you can add an additional cash register for $24 per month. The service doesn't include built-in payment processing services, but supports a range of third-party options that will all charge a fee for each transaction.
- 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
Lightspeed is best suited to retail businesses such as jewelry stores, repair shops, and sports equipment suppliers. However, thanks to recent acquisitions of ShopKeep and Vend, Lightspeed may start to move its way up our list.
Lightspeed POS features
Lightspeed has strong inventory management features. Managers can import items or order from pre-loaded catalogs, and they can also group products by type. Users can even 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 iPads and desktops, and its hardware packages include scanners, receipt printers, iPad stands, and cash drawers.
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 storefronts (such as dropshipping 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 for service-based businesses.
Lightspeed POS pricing
Lightspeed's pricing plans start from as little as $69 per month for the Basic plan, but most businesses will find they need the Starter plan which costs slightly more at $99 per month.
For retailers in the US and Canada, Lightspeed offers its own built-in payment process system, which charges a fee of 2.6% plus 10 cents for each transaction (for both swiped and keyed-in cards). Third-party payment processers are also supported.
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 the Lightspeed POS Starter plan are good, you only get one cash register, making it a bit pricier than the competition.
Then there's the $119 per month Standard plan which lets you integrate a third-party accounting platform. The Advanced plan costs $169 per month and you get customer loyalty features. The Pro plan costs $229 per month and lets you analyze sales data.
Finally, there's the Lightspeed Enterprise plan which features bespoke pricing and features, though you'll need to get in touch with Lightspeed to find out more about this option.
Instead, we'd take a look at our bespoke pricing questionnaire which will give you quotes from all of the leading POS providers on the market.
- 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
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.
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 card, cash, check, gift card, or even the web. The right POS system will easily pay for itself over time, as it boosts productivity, customer satisfaction and loyalty – all important factors for small businesses facing far less foot traffic in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
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.
The Shopify retail POS in use
Needless to say, any Retail POS System will be able to receive and manage payments. However, the leading providers also 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, and allow 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
The Vend retail POS, with Square card reader
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’s 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.
Verdict – Best Retail POS System
The best retail POS system on the market is Vend POS. It offers brilliant features across the board and is surprisingly affordable, too.
Now that you’ve got all the info on the leading Retail POS Systems, it’s time to choose one.
Our POS comparison tool will give you obligation-free quotes from the biggest POS providers on the market, and is the best way to get started with a new provider.
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