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Our research and testing revealed the best POS system for liquor stores is Square POS, for a number of reasons. It's fast to set up, easy to use, offers a great range of prices, plus a broad range of features including complex inventory management.
In comparison to other POS systems like Shopify, which has great ecommerce integrations for liquor stores that sell across channels, Square offers more complex analytics and an offline mode, which makes it more versatile for a wide range of uses. Lightspeed is the best POS for larger businesses as it's able to cope with larger inventories, but Square offers better tax reporting and automatic restocking — two perks that make Square a better POS system for liquor stores overall.
At Tech.co we research business needs every day, so we know that Liquor stores are some of the most recession-proof businesses around. In order to meet this steady demand business owners need reliable POS systems they can depend on year-round, which is why we tested every suitable POS system for Liquor stores, and rated them across multiple categories in order to determine how each one compares.
Read on to learn more about each brand's software and hardware offerings, and the pros and cons of each, or get a personalized POS quote from our specialist team.
Tech.co rating for retail
Score out of 5 for general retail suitability based on Tech.co's independent market research.
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Free (but transaction fees apply)
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Specialized hardware available. Not compatible with weighing scales.
Sold by Square, available separately or packaged with software. Works with most leading brands and has a great free trial.
Sold by Shopify, but also works with iPads and Android tablets
Sells everything from full cash stations to mobile card readers.
Works with loads of third-party periperals
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1. Square – Best Overall
Square POS is the best POS system for most needs: It's easy to use, offers many features and integrations for your business and inventory needs, and comes with great help and support. Square offers detailed tax reporting, useful for any business that deals with state and federal liquor tax, and automatic restocking, which ensures your store won't run out of its most popular items. Plus, the software still accepts payment even when not connected to the internet, for those with an unreliable network.
With an overall score of 4.5/5, Square is also our best-rated retail POS in general, suggesting the POS will be up to the task if you're selling other goods alongside liquor too.
- 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 pricing
Pricing from: Free, but 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction
Since profit margins for liquor stores tend to be on the lower side, finding a cost-effective POS is a huge bonus. Square understands this concern and offers a free POS package that only charges businesses a percentage of each transaction, allowing them to keep overheads as low as possible.
For those after more advanced inventory and business growth functions, Square also offers a Plus package that retails at $60 per month and a Premium package with custom pricing.
Despite Square's affordability, the POS does have one big downside when it comes to liquor store use: It doesn't provide built-in age verification. It does offer more than one third-party integration to cover this feature, however, which will cost extra. Since Square aced every other major consideration for a POS, we still gave it first place.
What's more, while the flat-rate transaction fees help small operations save costs, large companies will have more transactions and more fees — if you're in charge of a large business, consider Lightspeed POS instead of Square.
Check out our Square pricing guide
2. Lightspeed – Best for Large Businesses
Lightspeed's integrated customer rewards system and omnichannel loyalty tools as well as its affordable terminal hardware make it a good pick for a large operation. The service's range of features covers all the core areas a liquor store needs, from business development tools and management abilities to till features like barcode setup and product variants.
Since handling large stockpiles is one of the biggest burdens retailers face, Lightspeed's granular inventory features, which received a perfect score of 5/5 in our research, solidify its position as the best POS for large liquor stores.
- Ideal for retail stores with barcoded inventory
- Straightforward pricing
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
- Harder to use for restaurants, florists and businesses without barcodes
- Doesn't integrate with weighing scales
Pricing from: $69 per month
Lightspeed costs $69 per terminal, per month under the Lean plan, although more features are available with the other two plans, Standard at $119 per month, and Advanced at $199 per month. All plans include the same transaction fees: 2.6% + 10¢ with card and 2.6% + 30¢ without a card present.
Inventory management tools allow users to buy by the case and sell by the bottle, and low stock alerts can be triggered to let managers know when a big seller needs to be restocked. Staffers can be prompted to request an ID check with every liquor purchase. Lightspeed has several useful liquor-store-specific integrations as well, from ID verification for age-restricted sales to a delivery, shipping and in-store pickup functionality.
There's no training mode available, but the POS is otherwise easy to figure out, with a good customer satisfaction score and support options.
Read more in our Lightspeed POS review
3. Shopify – Best for Online Sales
Due to Covid-19's seismic impact on our shopping behaviors, the US alcohol e-commerce market has grown by 131% since 2019. If you're currently contributing to this market share Shopify will likely be the best solution for you.
Aside from its powerful POS, Shopify is also renowned for its ecommerce website builder. Naturally, the two services integrate easily, making Shopify the best POS for brick-and-mortar businesses that want to sell online, as well as online businesses that are adding a physical presence. The POS system is a great one by itself, too. Our testers noted near-perfect inventory and till functionality, as well as good help and support.
- 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
Pricing from: $89 per month
The Shopify POS Pro plan starts at a pricey $89 per month, but a more limited Shopify Lite plan is free (with per-transaction fees that start at 1.5%). Add in the fact that the service is compatible with most POS hardware, and it's a great way for a small business to save on costs.
The Shopify website builder supports liquor sales as well: Liquor store managers will be able to set up shipping restrictions in their Shopify admin panel to meet state regulations and can include an age verification pop-up window on their website.
4. Clover – Best for Staying Simple
Clover's help and support team leaves a little to be desired, our testers found, even though the range of features offered is on par with top services including Square and Lightspeed. Marketing tools are a little limited, as well, making this POS system a good fit for a small business that doesn't want to get bogged down in anything other than selling its products.
- 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
Pricing from: $60 per month (Retail Starter Plan)
Unlike Square and Vend POS, Clover's doesn't include a free trial. While some customers can get started with Clover for $14.95 per month, Liquor stores will need to fork out $60 per month for a plan better suited to their needs — the Retail Starter plan. Customers will need to pay 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction too.
While the retail price is costlier than other alternatives, it does include access to Clover Mini -a 8″ touchscreen POS – which helps to justify its larger price tag.
If you're in need of more advanced hardware and software options, Clover's Standard plan offers improved inventory and reporting features, plus access to a Station Duo POS system for $130 per month with 2.3% + 10¢ per transaction.
Clover Advanced, on the other hand, includes Clover's full suite of features and access to a Station Duo and Flex, making it more appropriate for large or chain liquor stores. However, it's on the higher end of the pricing spectrum, costing $175 per month plus 2.3% + 10¢ per sale.
Read more in our Clover pricing guide
5. Vend – Best for Employee Tracking
Vend offers the training mode that some POS systems lack (looking at you, Lightspeed), allowing new users to learn the system without entering live data. The service also supports unlimited users across all plans, making it the best POS for training and tracking employees.
Thanks to its comprehensive knowledge center, email, phone, and 24/7 live chat channels, Vend scored a perfect 5/5 score for its help and support options, ranking it above providers like Lightspeed, Shopify, and Clover.
- 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
Pricing from: $69 per month
Vend's lowest pricing plan for is the Lite plan at $69 per month. The price tag lands users a limited plan that doesn't include any accounting, ecommerce, loyalty, or advanced reporting functionality. Other plans include the Pro plan at $119 per month, and the Advanced plan for $199 per month, making this POS pricier in comparison to other providers. One additional downside is that there's no delivery support.
Still, the system has all the inventory tools you'll need, and has a perfect score when it comes to customer support — yet another reason why it's the employee-friendly option.
However, with a value score of 2.8/5 — due to its pricey tiers and lack of a free plan — smaller liquor stores with tighter budgets would be better off opting for systems like Square.
What Is Liquor Store POS Software?
POS software lets a retailer or restaurant track inventory status and products sold. POS software is an all-in-one service, typically offering data analytics, employee tracking, and marketing features as well.
We've covered the best POS systems for small businesses in the past, and they're fit for a wide range of industries. Liquor stores are no exception.
POS systems may have many forms like smartphones or tablets, but for a liquor store, you'll want a terminal with a screen and receipt printer, like all of the options listed above.
What Are the Features of Liquor Store POS Software?
The biggest POS software feature a liquor store needs is age verification. The business could be fined or lose its license if it sells alcohol to any underage customer, so the cashier must be able to quickly and easily verify IDs. A simple pop-up can work, but a POS that integrates with ID scanner hardware is the easiest.
You'll also want complex stock management tools that account for discounts, two-for-one deals, and liquor taxes, which vary by state. These tools should also be able to track case breaks — when the store buys a case of wine or beer, but sells it by the bottle.
Finally, you'll want a POS system that tracks all the data you need in order to ensure you remain compliant with local and federal laws covering liquor licenses. The legality of on-demand alcohol delivery varies by state, too.
How We Reached Our Verdict
Tech.co's team focused on seven categories for our retail POS research and testing: Business management, stock management, till features, price, usability, help and support, and business development tools such as loyalty and CRM.
Each category was further broken down into relevant features, which we checked across each of the top POS software brands on the market. Each feature was given a score, and it all added up to a final rating for each POS.
For liquor store POS systems in particular, we gave extra weight to the most industry-relevant features, like age verification and stock management. Overall quality across all categories remained the key factor.
Need a Quote?
Our top liquor store POS pick is Square, for its ease of use, easy setup, and reasonable flat-rate pricing. Shopify POS is another standout, for its online sales tools, and Lightspeed is a great inexpensive option as well.
Since each of the POS systems listed here is best for a specific benefit or use, any one of them might be right for you. But you won't know the exact cost of any of them unless you get a custom quote for the locations, terminals, and features you need.
When you're ready for that next step, get a quick, free, bespoke POS quote from our team of in-house specialists.
Frequently Asked Questions
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