Technology is revolutionizing everything around us including the retail sector.
Banks are can now be accessed at the palm of your hand, investments can be made while traveling on a bus…
And you can now sell your goods or services with one click of a button using a Point-of-Sale (POS) system. If you’re tired of: compiling your sales records, misplacing client info, or streamlining your inventory and sales processes, then you’ve come to the right place.
I have a solution for you.
I’M ABOUT TO SHARE WITH YOU THE BEST RETAIL POS SYSTEMS TO HELP YOU STREAMLINE YOUR SALES PROCESS…
And what’s more:
I will also share with you some key features to look out for when shopping for a POS system. On top of that, I’ll highlight the important attributes of each of our recommended POS tools, as well as their pros and cons.
But that’s not all – you’ll also get answers to a few common questions retailers like you always seem to have.
Are you fired up just yet? Because…
I’m about to change how you look at POS systems.
By the time we come to an end:
You’ll be able to make evaluate POS systems more wisely just the experts you see around. In fact, who knows, you could even end up a Retail POS Advisor…that is if you’re really into consultancy…
So, to start us off, let’s get the basics right:
What is a POS System?
In its simplest:
A POS system is a blend of hardware and software tools that make it possible for businesses to execute various transactions including selling, issuing receipts, tracking inventory, running royalty programs and much more. In other words:
POS systems help prioritize the needs of the customers and the business. But as time changes and business evolve, these systems are also now performing more than the obvious tasks…
Modern-day POS systems:
- Are cloud-based
- Can operate on mobile devices
- Cater to hardware and software needs of large and small retail store owners
- Are customized for different market segments including single and multi-stores.
When it comes to the POS space, you need to understand one thing:
Not all Retails POS tools perform similar functions. Some may perform inventory management tasks while others won’t… Others come with hardware devices while others don’t.
That is why it’s extremely important for you to understand what exactly suits your business. Ask yourself questions like:
“Will I need to separately acquire a hardware device? Or… Is the POS compatible with my existing hardware devices?”
“Do I need a cloud-based application?” (which you should…).
“Can I use the software offline?”
“Is the POS compatible with my accounting software?”
“Can it process credit and debit cards?”
These and more questions will act as your checklist as we evaluate each Retail POS.
The truth is – many businesses around the world are enjoying the numerous benefits of the POS systems along with their high-level of integrations. Therefore, if you’re getting anything less, it’s time for a change. And speaking of change…
The POS systems I’m going to recommend changing to or acquiring are fully customized to meet the current market dynamics:
My list of top Retail POS systems will reflect only tools that are full-on cash registers. What this means is that these POS applications fully integrate with your accounting tools and can seamlessly handle multiple types of payments.
It’s important to note that:
When people talk about a POS, they’re mostly referring to the software bit… But the hardware part is equally important as you’re about to find out!
Of course, there’s no denying that above every other useful hardware tool involved, it is the software that does most of the work including tracking of receipts and payments, inventory management, sales tracking, customer management, among other things.
So why did I mention all that? You may be wondering…
It’s because when ordering a POS system, it may or may not come with all the related hardware devices. If you’ve bought a POS before, then you know how important it is to take that into account.
Generally, you want to go for a POS that caters to your specific business needs: There are applications that are suitable for a single store, 5 stores, or more.
But while you may not need a multi-store POS today, think critically about going for one that can accommodate the future expansion of your business. Trust me when I tell you:
“You’re better off planning for the future of your business even if it seems bleak at the time.”
The last thing you need is to start transferring years of files to a new system when your business finally grows.
Now that most of the basics are out of the way…
Let’s move on to the core parts of this review. In the next section, I will share with you the must-have-features of a good Retail POS as well as some nice-to-have ones too.
Let’s jump right in!
What to Look Out for In A Good Retail POS System
Multi-payments mode: We’re in a new era where fintech is taking over the payment’s ecosystem. Tech has moved from the conventional cash, credit and debit card payment options to advanced modes including mobile money and digital money.
A good POS system should accommodate all new and convenient payment methods. It should also allow for splitting of payments across the available channels.
This means that a customer can pay in cash and in case they don’t have enough, they should be able to top up using any other payment mode. Talk of convenience…
Electronic receipts: It’s becoming rather unusual for businesses to issue physical receipts. The eCommerce sector, the banking industry, are few popular pioneers of the digital receipting regime. If you think of about it:
Most businesses are now issuing digital receipts to their customers to not only help conserve the environment but also improve the retail experience. Your POS shouldn’t do anything less…
The system should be able to send an electronic copy of the receipt to your customer as soon as a sale is completed. And while at it, it should also store the details of the customer including the name, contact info, and other important details. In other words:
A good POS should also play the role of a CRM, helping you manage your customer base by improving their shopping experiences.
And lest I forget, both you and the buyer should be able to painlessly access info in the CRM and purchase menu respectively, which brings me to the next important feature:
Mobile Access: You see:
Business tools are all about convenience, or efficiency if you like…
As a business owner, consider going for a POS that allows you and your customer to gain mobile access. From the customer’s point:
They should be able to make a purchase and receive a receipt for the same. In other words, a good POS should allow for self-service.
An ideal retail POS should allow businesses to transact from mobile devices including making sales, dispatching the goods, to the point of finalizing and issuing a receipt. That is to say:
Every function of the system should be compatible with mobile devices. But it shouldn’t stop at that:
Inventory management: In a 2018 article, the Entrepreneur reported inventory mismanagement as one of the key causes of business failure. When it comes to inventory, there are no shortcuts:
You either get it right or your business risks failure – Oh, and a possible fallout with your suppliers too…
So get this from me: NO POS IS WORTH YOUR TIME AND MONEY IF IT DOESN’T CONTAIN AN INVENTORY MANAGEMENT FEATURE!
You’d otherwise need to invest in a separate inventory system altogether. The downside of this route is that you’ll be working with separate tools which may not be compatible and secondly, it may cost you more either at the time or in the long run or both.
Assuming you find a POS that comes with the inventory management feature, check to make sure that it performs basic inventory functions including:
- Auto-ordering and reordering
- Stock visibility
- Integrated accounts
- Product costing
…among other things. The idea is to make your inventory processes as streamlined as possible, so the more the features, the better for you.
Multiple User Accounts with Permissions: Imagine operating a business where anyone can do anything…
But let’s define how bad “anything” can be:
Imagine this: You check your business records and realize that your sales manager had decided to throw all your customers huge discounts on their weekend purchases without your knowledge…
And don’t get this the wrong way:
I’m a big fan of surprises, just not in business…
Of course, that might have been a good idea after all. But do you know what would even make it better?
Your knowledge or authorization!
That’s where user accounts and defined permissions come in…NO SURPRISES!
This feature allows you to regulate who can do this or that task allowing you to assign each and every team member their respective duties. You can choose who authorizes discounts, purchases, refunds, and so on.
Tax conformity: Complying with government tax laws is essential for your business to operate legally. Having a POS that simplifies all the red tape involved in most compliance processes is a sure way of remaining on the right side of the law. Non-compliance can be very expensive:
Think of all the penalties and fines you could face. At times you could even land in jail…
You want to go for a system that does all the heavy lifting for you:
It should populate the taxes and related deductions from all the sales and purchases. This way, you get to fall off the radar of the IRA, while saving big on accountancy and bookkeeping costs.
Report generation: If, like me:
You prefer looking at things from a larger point of view, then you probably find summarized reports much more useful compared to the manual analysis of data. But that doesn’t mean that the transactions don’t matter…
Far from it, a good POS will give you a summarized report relating to customers, sales, inventory, discounts, and more. Equally, you should be able to receive an itemized report of all the activities.
Also, make sure that the reports are automatically sent periodically, usually on a daily basis. And since we’re here, you also want to make sure that the POS allows you to customize your reports:
The reports parameters of business X may differ from those of Y, it may serve you no good to work with generalized reports.
As promised, here are some nice-to-have features of a POS:
- Should be able to operate online and offline
- If you use a CRM tool, it should be able to integrate with it
- It should allow for standard accounting functions such as profit margins, costing, budgeting.
- A good POS should come with all the hardware tools
If you’ve come this far, thumbs up to you:
YOU’RE NOW ONE STEP AWAY FROM CHOOSING THE PERFECT RETAIL POS FOR YOUR BUSINESS!
In the next section, I will analyze five of the most sort-after Retail Point-of-Sale software to help you choose the best for your business. Now allow me to mention this:
“All the POS systems we’ve highlighted below are the best at what they do. You just have to identify the one that integrates best with your type of business.”
That said, let’s do this!
Top 5 Retail POS Systems in 2019 and Beyond
Before we start, you need to have three things in mind:
- Picture each POS separately with your business set up
- Don’t make your choice half-way through the list
- Never buy a system before actually testing and verifying all the features that matter to you. In other words, always start with a trial version of a POS unless you’re dead sure about it.
Still with me? Read on…
- QuickBooks GoPayments
I honestly had to start with GoPayments simply because it is one of the best low-cost retail POS tools you can ever find out there. And being the first on our review comes with some privileges:
We get to feature a video on the tool’s overall outlook…
Here’s what to expect from Intuit’s GoPayments POS:
Other than being made by one of the industry’s most trusted company – Intuit, this tool gets the job done at minimal to zero costs. Thought I was simply throwing complements around?
Allow me to elaborate…
Signing up for a GoPayments POS will grant you free access to everything (well, not entirely) that comes with it. You heard it right:
Free! This is crazy!
And it gets even better:
Upon signing up, you get to have a free card reader that is compatible with all magstripe and chip cards. And the fun doesn’t end here just yet…
The card reader is compatible with Bluetooth devices allowing your customers to use their smart gadgets to make payments.
And if you happen to be using QuickBooks, Mint Accounts, and Turbo Tax, you can seamlessly link them to your POS to streamline your business processes.
But like any other products, Intuit has bills to pay:
With GoPayments, you have an option of either paying a standard monthly fee or a variable fee on each transaction. Depending on the plan you choose, you can expect to part with anything between 1.6% to 3.5% per transaction and an average monthly fixed rate of $20.
The best thing about this tool is that it offers a wide range of plans to cater to various businesses. Be sure to carefully review the GoPayment’s Pricing Schedule prior to making any decision. So, what makes this POS special?
Features of GoPayments
- Enjoy smart invoicing. With its built-in algorithm, GoPayments allows you to issue invoices and receipts online. You can conveniently accept payments while granting your customers the option to pay using multiple options such as Apple Pay, bank transfers, or credit cards.
- Track purchases and inventory. Some of the best inventory softwares are known to be Point-of-Sale tools. It is extremely important for you to go for a POS that keeps track of your merchandise. As a GoPayments user, you’ll find this feature vital when it comes to keeping track of purchased goods, sales reports, best-sellers, vendors, among other processes.
- Reward your customers. Loyalty programs don’t have to be tough processes. GoPayments allows you to view your customers’ history, track their spending patterns, and offer them special deals and offers as a way of loyalty appreciation.
- Integrate with your accounting tool. While its integration is limited to QuickBooks accounting software, you can simplify your bookkeeping work with its ability to instantly record transactions. So if you’re using QuickBooks, this POS might be the best option for you.
GoPayments offers a range of other awesome features that we couldn’t exhaustively list above:
Be sure to check their official site for more details…
And now here are some pretty cool and not-so-cool stuff about this POS:
- GoPayments is generally affordable
- It is simple to learn and use
- It comes with the inventory management functionality
- You can record transactions in QuickBooks accounting tool in real-time.
- Only integrates with QuickBooks accounting
Next in line is…
If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated compared to GoPayments and are willing to part with a few more bucks for it, then Clover is a great option for you. The Clover POS cost will vary with customer specifications… But essentially, there are three plans namely: Go, Mini and Flex.
Clover can process various chip payments, magstripe, and a couple of other electronic wallets such as PayPal:
Each purchase of the Clover POS affords you a barcode scanner as well as a printer saving you additional hardware costs. But that’s not the best part:
Unlike most other POS systems, Clover functions independent of mobile devices. It is one of the few self-sufficient POS systems for the retail sector.
This perhaps makes up for its considerable price of $69 for its Go package, $499 for Flex and $599 for the Flex one. Additionally, you’d still need to pay transaction fees that start from 2.3% + $0.10. So, is this POS worth it all?
Let’s find that out…
Features of Clover
- Customize your POS. Clover allows you to adjust its features to suit your exact needs. Right from their store, you can be able to select specific hardware devices that serve your business better together with other accessories to help boost your POS efficiency and robustness.
- Stay on top of your orders. With this POS, you can perform a range of order management tasks including taking and delivering customer orders. What’s more? You can process multiple orders at a time while keeping track of each.
- Manage teams. Clover allows you to seamlessly manage your team shifts, allocate duties depending on each member’s role, as well as analyze individual and team performances.
- Gain access to multiple payment channels. They say we shouldn’t ever leave money on the table: Clover makes sure that you have access to multiple payment methods including credit and debit cards, gifts cards, mobile transfers, as well as NFC.
Below are some few pros and cons of the Clover POS:
- Very easy to set up
- Comes in different packages depending on your needs
- Contains a range of payment methods
- It’s an all-in-one tool containing a POS, printer and barcode scanner
- May not be affordable to some businesses
- The POS cannot use any other hardware device other than its very own
I bet you’ll love this next one…
Vend is a retail management tool that allows you to sell, manage and generate reports for your business. Being a cloud-based retail POS:
Vend is built to manage your products and organize your sales and customer data from anywhere. You can easily manage your inventory, track customer loyalty, execute sales using a computer or a mobile device, and much more…
Vend is priced depending on the package:
Lite goes for $99/month
Pro goes for $129/month
The price of the Enterprise package is only available upon request…
Developed with several types of businesses in mind, Vend can be used by various retail businesses:
Restaurants, beauty, electronics, health, jewelry, among other businesses are common users of the Vend POS.
So are you ready to find out why businesses around the world are using Vend?
Features of Vend
- Stay connected even when offline. Here’s the deal: Most POS systems only operate online. However, with Vend, you can be able to work both online and offline without interrupting your business processes. And once you’re back online, Vend will automatically sync your data.
- Vend is compatible with a wide range of hardware devices. Whether you plan on using your own or newly purchased hardware, Vend has you covered. The POS works with a variety of hardware devices…all you’ll need to do is find out whether the ones you already have are compatible with it, and you’ll be good to go!
- Wide variety of payment options. Vend allows businesses to net as many sales as possible with its wide range of payment options. As a retail business owner, you can accept credit and debit cards, gift cards, mobile payments, and bank transfers, among other options. And the best part is – your customers can split payments across two or more payment channels.
- Seamlessly manage your inventory. As I mentioned before, this is one of the most important features of any POS. Vend’s Inventory management function allows you to scan and code your stock items, keep track of quantities and reorder levels while observing your pricing and discount policies.
- Every purchase comes with a 30-day free trial
- Both a cloud-based and offline POS
- Compatible with many hardware devices
- Contains inventory management functionality
- Doesn’t offer products promo via email
- Relies on third-party payment processors
Do you prefer going it simple and easy when it comes to business tools? If you do…
You’ll be happy to know that Square will definitely fit that specification:
This POS is famed for its gentle learning curve… And common with Apple products lovers:
At the moment, Square is only compatible with IOS devices and will cost you an average of $60 per month.
Setting up Square is as easy as using it:
Upon signing up, you’ll be prompted to connect to your bank account to start using it. You can perform a range of functions using the POS…
These include customer and inventory tracking, employee management, several business reports, as well as running loyalty programs.
Other than the stated monthly fee, you’ll also be required to part with hardware and transaction fees:
Hardware costs include $199 for a Payment Reader, as well as $399 for a Terminal that accepts contactless/dip/swipe payments and receipts. Transaction fees, on the other hand, range from 2.5%+$0.10 to 2.9%+$0.30 depending on the nature of the transaction.
Curious to find out what you’d actually be paying for? Read along…
Features of Square POS
- Get real-time analytics reports. We operate in a data-driven business environment. You can no longer rely on mere speculations to make business decisions; this is why Square brings you analyzed reports of your core business functions including sales, discounts, refunds, customer behavior, and much more to help you make informed decisions.
- Set up multiple locations. Remember what I mentioned earlier about going for a POS that allows for multiple locations? That’s right! Square grows with your business, allowing you to add stores as you expand.
- Worry less about the security of your business data. Reports show that the cost of cybersecurity is on the rise. Businesses are spending millions on securing the integrity of their information. With its PCI Compliance and front-line fraud protection capability, Square saves you the time and money that most companies spend on additional security tools.
- Integrate most business tools with your POS. Square allows you to do just that: You can flawlessly connect your payments, hardware, and software under the new Square Register. The Register allows for speedy and efficient payments processing and deposits the money to your bank account within one or two business days.
- Allows for multiple locations
- Easy to set up and use
- Supports IOS
- Comes with its own hardware
- Only supports IOS
Last but not least…
Shopify is one of the pioneers of eCommerce…and arguably the POS applications:
The POS is one of the first tools that served retail businesses operating remotely and on physical stores. With the Shopify POS, you get to have a dedicated eCommerce and Point-of-sale platform that allow you to manage all your operations from a single dashboard. And the prices are also quite flexible:
Depending on the plan you choose, you can pay as little as $29 or as high as $299 per month. Other than the monthly payment, you’ll need to pay 2.7% per transaction at the very minimum for all physical sales and 2.9%+$0.30 per transaction for online transactions…
With the Shopify POS, the higher the monthly fee you pay, the lower the transaction fee and vice versa.
Just like the other Retails POS applications, you can perform a range of task including tracking inventory, integrating it with a range of other business tools such as a CRM or an accounting app, manage sales, issue discounts, and much more…
With every POS purchase, you receive a free card and swipe reader. You also have the option of purchasing a more universal card reader that accepts a wider variety of payments. Their prices start at $656.
Let’s now look a few more unique things about the Shopify Retail POS…
Features of Shopify POS
- Work with flexible payment terms. No more missed opportunities due to limited payment methods and payments terms. Shopify enables you to accept credit payments, mobile payments, as well as gift cards. Your customers can also make partial payments using traditional or customized means such as cheques, gold coins, and IOUs.
- Set up and run product promotions. This POS allows you to connect to your buyers by offering them attractive discounts and promotions, helping you to boost your revenue figures. You can also view promotional reports to review and understand their impacts.
- Run multiple stores. Businesses expand, and if you don’t plan for such eventualities, you may deter your enterprise from reaching its full potential. Shopify POS users can add new store locations and conveniently operate each under one tool.
- Purchase matching software and hardware tools. Shopify offers its POS users the option to purchase their recommended hardware devices that are already installed with software to help you get started immediately. The best part is: You get free shipping for all purchased hardware and 30-day return policy.
- Buyers have a free trial period of 14 days and a 30-day return window
- The POS generally enjoys a good reputation in the retail space
- Relatively affordable transaction and monthly fees
- Limited functionality when using the POS offline
There you have it:
I hope you’ve now identified one or more POS applications that work perfectly with your brick and mortar or online business. Next, I’ll try to answer some common questions that most retail business owners tend to have…
You’re still welcomed to ask any question you may have at the end of this article. That said, here are some FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR RETAIL BUSINESS OWNERS…
How can I choose a good POS for my retail business?
You can choose a good retail POS through identifying what matters to your business (These can be the need to manage multiple stores, conduct promotions, track inventory, incur low monthly and transaction fees, etc.). You should also evaluate whether you need to buy or lease a POS system. Some companies offer one-off purchase costs while others charge a continuous periodic fee or both.
How much does it cost to install a POS?
Costs are relative: but generally, you can pay an average of $700 for a POS together with its hardware. However, this may widely if you have your own hardware tools, or are running a smaller or larger business…
Are Retail POS systems safe to use?
Yes, most POS systems are safe to use, and they may come with state-of-the-art security features such as two-factor authentication, protected passwords, and data encryption. However, you’ll still need to exercise extra caution to guarantee the safety and integrity of your business data. You want to make sure that you protect your network from hackers using Anti-virus tools, look out for equipment tampering, and setting up access permissions.
Still got more questions? Don’t worry…
You can post them in the comments section below:
If you’ve reached the end of this guide:
You now possess a great deal of knowledge in Retail POS systems. You can now evaluate and pick a suitable system for any type of retail business…well if you haven’t already…
CONGRATS, YOU DID IT!
As we come to a close: what’s the bottom line?
As a retail business owner, your main objective should revolve around meeting your customers’ needs.
Once more, I’ll emphasize this:
You need to select suitable Point of Sale equipment that does more than simply recording and issuing sales receipts…
Be sure to prepare a must-meet list when shopping for a POS. And once you fully understand what you need off a POS, you should easily single out the ones that meet that criteria and ultimately, the one that ranks highest according to your filter list.
Lastly (for real this time), we’d love to know:
Which retail POS did you choose for your business and why? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments section…