From entering a transaction to changing a customer’s card to consolidating online and in-person sales, the best point-of-sale systems make life easier for your customers and your team. After reviewing 15 of the best POS solutions on the market, Square is our first choice because its familiarity makes it easy to use, it has no monthly fees, and it comes with free entry-level kits to get you started.

Thanks to our own point-of-sale experience and extensive research, Square POS has risen to # 1. Whether you’ve never accepted payments in person or have been doing it for a while, Square is easy to use and flexible enough. . business as it grows. You can also get a free card reader if you need one.

The best part is that there are no monthly fees and you can get started in minutes (today) using your phone, tablet, or computer while you wait for your free gear.

When it makes sense to invest in a point of sale system

Businesses of all shapes and sizes should invest in a point of sale system if they are selling or considering selling their products or services in person. This not only makes credit card payments easier than ever, but it also helps consolidate sales on a single platform and control inventory levels at the same time.

A point of sale system is a smart choice for anyone with something to sell, including:

  • Family physical stores
  • Local shops, restaurants, brasseries and bars
  • Hobbyists who make infrequent sales in person.
  • Short-term farmers market stalls or vendors
  • E-commerce stores, whatever your sector.
  • Digital service providers (such as trainers)


Ultimately, investing in a point of sale system is a great idea if you accept payments in person.

Switching from a no-point-of-sale system to a modern one can also have a huge impact on your day-to-night business. With any of the services we discuss below, you will see increased productivity and streamlined service by automating the processing of your payments.

You’ll also see more accurate inventory reports to help you stay on top of inventory levels and make sure you never run out of products again.

Because point-of-sale systems record every transaction, you always have everything you need in the event of any disputes or discrepancies, such as lost inventory and returned items. Most of them will even help you handle returns, refunds, and exchanges.

The Best 5 POS systems are:

  • Square: Best free, mobile, and all-purpose POS system
  • Shopify: Best for multichannel retailers
  • Lightspeed RetailBest for large retailers or retailers with complex inventories
  • Vend by Lightspeed: Best for growing brick-and-mortar retailers
  • CloverBest for businesses wanting to connect an existing merchant account

Best POS Systems for Small & Medium Businesses Compared

Name Industries Served Minimum Monthly Fee Free Trial Built-in Ecommerce / Online Ordering Payment Processing
Square Retail, restaurant, professional services $0 30 days for paid plans and add-ons ✔ (free) Built-in only
Shopify Retail $39* 14 days ✔ best-in-class Built-in or third party
Lightspeed Retail, Restaurants $69 14 days Built-in or third party
Vend Retail $99 14 days No – requires third party Third party only
Clover Retail, restaurant, professional services $9.95 No No – requires a third-party app Built-in (through Fiserv) or third party

Continue reading to learn more about each POS system and how we determined the best ones.

1. Square:

Square is the best point of sale system for most small businesses because of its affordable price and easy-to-use software with options designed for general purpose businesses, retail, restaurants, and drop-in businesses. -you . Each option has a free plan that includes unlimited sales and products, an online store, and a $ 50- $ 60 monthly plan with additional features. This makes Square our top-rated end-to-end point of sale system and our top choice for free and mobile point of sale solutions. Square for Retail is also our first choice for general purpose retail establishments, and Square Appointments is the highest performing point of sale system for salons and spas.

Modular add-ons are also available, including marketing and payroll processing, as well as flexible hardware options. Scroll through the images below to see the Square interface and hardware options.

In our review, Square POS was rated 4.48 out of 5. We also rated each of the industry-specific Square products, and they received very similar ratings. Square excels in terms of price (its free app offers the best value for money) and ease of use (the apps are easy to navigate and have a very clean interface). Square lost points because it cannot seek lower payout rates; He’s stuck in Payments Square. Many more advanced point-of-sale features, like marketing and loyalty, are expensive add-ons, and Square doesn’t have sophisticated inventory or back-office management like Lightspeed, Shopify, Upserve, or Toast.

Characteristics of square point of sale

  • Integrated Payment Processing: Accept credit and debit card payments in person or online, contactless payments, payments over the phone and through subscription or billing or recurring billing, with sight deposits. Square is also one of the only point of sale systems to offer instant deposits for an additional fee.
  • Square Appointments – Manage multiple appointment calendars, set up online reservations, allow customers to schedule and manage appointments with an online portal, send automatic SMS and email reminders and request credit cards when booking for cancellation and no-show fees.
  • Square for Retail – Use a barcode-based interface with omnichannel sales tools and inventory management features such as barcode creation, supplier management, purchase orders, and detailed sales reports .
  • Square for Restaurants: Integrate online ordering, order management system, kitchen visualization system, conversational ordering, table and seating management, kitchen and class options, as well as reports and menus.
  • Square Dashboard – Process transactions, track product sales, view reports and manage shifts, taxes, payroll and more in a centralized cloud-based dashboard.
  • Customer Relationship Management – Create customer profiles and collect and respond to customer feedback. Square Marketing Assistant can identify marketing campaign opportunities, suggest email campaigns based on your customer list and activities, analyze performance, and identify best practices.
  • Online Store – Create a free website and online store to sell online for pickup, shipping, or delivery. Create simple online ordering pages or add items to buy from your existing website or social media accounts.

pros

  • Free POS, best value for small businesses
  • Easy to use, fast setup
  • Can grow with your business

cons

  • Limited inventory control
  • Not suitable for high-risk businesses
  • Limited phone support

Square Pricing

  • Point-of-sale app: Free—no startup or monthly fees.
  • Pro POS plans are available from $60/month
  • POS solutions for retail, restaurant, appointments, and general purpose
  • Card-present processing fee: 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction
  • Card readers: From $49
  • Terminals: From $299, interest-free payment plans available
  • Operates on iOS, Android, and Square hardware
  • 30-day free trial for Pro plans

What square is missing?

For multi-site storefronts, high-volume multichannel sellers, and companies with a large and complex inventory, Square may not have enough power to handle the complexities of your business. Large or growing restaurants should consider the Toast, Upserve, or Revel systems.

Multi-channel retailers or large retailers are likely to find Shopify’s smart inventory and best-in-class ecommerce solutions that best suit their needs. Or consider Lightspeed for complex analytics and inventory management.

2. Shopify:

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that comes with free point-of-sale software for selling products at events or on the go, as well as social media and third-party market selling features. For traditional retailers, Shopify offers a POS Pro plan with omnichannel selling tools, sophisticated inventory management, and more in-depth analytics. With all Shopify plans, sales, inventory, and customer data are stored in one place, making Shopify the best selling point for cross-channel sellers.

In our review, Shopify got a score of 4.47 out of 5, just behind Square. While Square excels in terms of price and ease of use, Shopify got a perfect score for signup features and high scores for management tools. So, although they got almost identical scores, their strengths are quite different. The biggest downside to Shopify POS is that an ecommerce subscription is required, and many of the best POS features (intelligent inventory management and advanced reporting) require you to upgrade to POS Pro for an additional $ 89 per month.

Shopify POS Features

  • Omnichannel Selling – Provide frictionless shopping experiences with online shopping, pickup or drop-off; buy in store, send to customer; and browse the store, shop online with email carts and QR product codes.
  • Products – Add an unlimited number of products, categories and collections, including multiple variations.
  • Inventory management: POS Pro includes Stocky, a smart inventory application to take inventory, receive products with a barcode reader, generate low stock alerts and detailed inventory reports, forecast demand, perform an inventory scan and display suggestions for items for sale.
  • Customer management: All Shopify plans include tools to generate customer profiles with contact information and buying habits, add customer tags (such as VIP designations), track special requests, generate targeted promotions, create marketing content and optimize social media campaigns.
  • Online sales: Shopify is the leading ecommerce platform for small businesses, but it also offers functionality for selling on social media and third-party marketplaces and for adding “Buy” buttons to blogs. Find out more in our Shopify ecommerce review.

Pros

  • Good value for money for small businesses
  • Smart omnichannel inventory selling tools
  • Intuitive and easy to use interface
  • Best-in-class e-commerce platform

Cons

  • Faulty offline mode
  • Free POS app has limited functionality
  • Requires an e-commerce subscription

Shopify Pricing

  • Monthly ecommerce software fees (required): $39–$299
  • Monthly POS software fees: $0 for basic POS app, $89 for Shopify POS Pro
  • In-person processing fees: 2.4%–2.7% with built-in Shopify Payments
  • Tap and chip card reader: $49
  • Operates on iPads and desktops
  • 14-day free trial

What Shopify lacks

Shopify is an ecommerce platform with a great point of sale extension. If you’re not looking to sell online, another retail store that doesn’t require an ecommerce subscription, like Vend, might be a better option. And while Shopify promotes solutions for coffee shops and cafes, it’s designed for retailers. Therefore, these companies might be a better fit for Square or Toast.

3. Lightspeed Retail:

Lightspeed Retail is the best point of sale system for product management, especially for businesses with large or complex inventory and specialty stores that need to handle custom orders. The software allows retailers to create sets of products, categorize them with multiple variations, and manage purchase orders with an integrated catalog. Lightspeed also offers one of the most sophisticated analytics platforms for small businesses with customizable dashboards and reports, along with insight into what each metric means.

Lightspeed scored 4.13 out of 5 in our review. Lightspeed performed very well on administration tools, recording functions, and customer support. However, expensive subscription plans and add-ons resulted in a low price score, which lowered Lightspeed’s overall score. While Lightspeed starts at $ 69 per month, its best features, including analytics, loyalty, and ecommerce, require more expensive plans.

Lightspeed Retail Features

  • Inventory Management – Bulk download up to 10,000 SKUs at a time, manage variations, create packages, and track unit costs, layaways, and special orders. Optimize purchase orders with an integrated product catalog and low-stock alerts. Lightspeed offers the most sophisticated integrated product ordering on this list, thanks in large part to the integrated supplier network.
  • Supplier Network – Retailers can discover products, submit purchase orders, and track inventory shipments from Lightspeed POS.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Lightspeed offers the most powerful analytics platform available at a price that’s right for small businesses. It includes over 40 built-in reports, allows retailers to create custom reports and view data visually, such as charts and tables, and offers tips on how to interpret the data.
  • Marketing: Lightspeed has a built-in loyalty program. Create a tiered rewards system for in-store and online purchases, send unique offers for birthdays or VIP customers, and design emails with templates or a drag-and-drop builder.
  • Ecommerce – Lightspeed eCommerce syncs with point-of-sale data, offers over 50 business topics, and includes comprehensive order and shipping management tools, marketing, CRM, and SEO features.

Pros

  • Detailed inventory and analysis tools
  • Robust e-commerce platform
  • 24/7 support and integration

Cons

  • Expensive for small businesses
  • Difficult to navigate user interface

Lightspeed Retail Pricing

  • Monthly software fees: $69–$199 paid annually, or $79 – $239 paid monthly. Fees are higher if you opt out of Lightspeed Payments.
  • Additional registers: $29 per month
  • Payment processing: 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction
  • Operates on iPads and desktops
  • 14-day free trial

Though not on this list, Lightspeed Restaurant is our recommended POS for quick-service restaurants.

What speed of light is missing?

Lightspeed has many features and its ease of use suffers. It is best suited for countertop cash registers and payment processes that can benefit from customer engagement with sales. If you need a fast mobile point of sale, consider Square or Shopify for a simpler user interface.

4. Vend:

Vend is an iPad and web point of sale designed strictly for traditional retailers. It is one of the few point of sale systems to offer integrated loyalty programs, in-store credits, reservation tools, offline processing, and easy product catalog management. Vend integrates with many different payment processors so that businesses can research the lowest fees and offer multiple payment options like PayPal.

In our review, Vend was rated 3.96 out of 5. It stands out for its ease of use and management tools. However, like Lightspeed, Vend is quite expensive compared to systems like Square. It also doesn’t have native ecommerce functionality; you need to connect a separate platform like Shopify or BigCommerce.

Vend Features

  • Sign Up – This is an easy-to-use cloud system with offline processing, staff logins, flexible settings including account and box sales, store credit, gift cards, and partial payment.
  • Detailed inventory tools: tracking variants and batches; create, import and print barcodes; build a centralized product catalog; define personalized low stock alerts; and manage tax rates.
  • Barcode Scanner Mobile App: Vend has a free iOS app to scan barcodes for quick inventory count, receive shipments, or search product details from the sales area. Any changes made to the app can be synced with Vend’s report data.
  • Growth Tools and Plugins: Vend comes with a native loyalty program and integrates with third-party tools for e-commerce, accounting, employee planning, and multi-channel inventory management.

Pros

  • Flexible payment features: built-in loyalty, store credit, layaway
  • Easy to use system – works on all operating systems
  • 24/7 telephone support

Cons

  • Poor e-commerce integration
  • Basic reporting tools
  • Lack of integrated email marketing

Vend Pricing

  • Monthly software fees: $99 ($20,000 turnover limit) or $129 (unlimited turnover)*
  • Additional registers: $49 per month each*
  • Payment processing: Varies; Vend integrates with more than eight different processors
  • Operates on Mac, PC, and iPad
  • 14-day free trial

*Based on annual billing. Month-to-month rates are higher.

What Vend is missing

The biggest downside to this retail outlet is the native e-commerce functionality. You can manage your Shopify and BigCommerce orders to opt out of Vend POS. But, if you need to use Shopify for ecommerce, it might make more sense to use Shopify Connected Point of Sale.

5. Clover:

Clover is a point of sale app that works a little differently than the others on this list. It runs on proprietary Clover hardware and is pre-programmed with commercial services. Clover is manufactured and sold by Fiserv; However, there are also many Clover resellers, including many popular business services. So you can choose your payment processor and buy Clover POS from them.

This setup is ideal for businesses looking to switch from a cash register and want to keep their current business account. In our review, Clover scored 3.79 out of 5 with fairly average ratings overall. Like Square, Clover offers POS solutions specifically for retailers, restaurants, and service providers. It also offers a popular mobile card reader, which has earned a spot on our list of the best mobile processors and best mobile point-of-sale apps.

The biggest downside to Clover is that your prices and overall experience can vary dramatically depending on where you buy the system and the terms of your contract.

Clover characteristics

  • Mobile POS: Clover Go has several iterations for iOS and Android. In addition to the mobile app and card reader, it comes with a web-based dashboard to monitor sales, customers, employees, and inventory reports.
  • Customer Management: Like Square, Clover allows you to set up customer profiles based on payment methods. Track customer sales history, names and birthdays, and save photos so you can greet customers by name. Also similar to Square, Clover offers add-on rewards and loyalty programs and the ability to collect customer feedback via digital receipts.
  • Employee management: enter an unlimited number of employees and set permissions to limit access to what each employee needs for their work. Clover also includes the free version of Homebase (our favorite employee scheduling software).
  • Additional Applications and Modules: Clover offers more than 200 add-on applications and integrations available to meet almost any business need. Popular categories include inventory management, accounting, employee planning, online sales, and billing.

Pros

  • Choose your own payment processor
  • Flexible point of sale functions
  • Cheap software

Cons

  • The hardware is linked to the merchant’s account; you cannot change the processor.
  • Little carelessness of clover merchants

Clover Pricing

  • Monthly fee: $9.95+
  • Card reader: $69
  • Card-present transactions: 2.7% + 10 cents
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + 10 cents
  • No free trial

*Pricing from Clover website. Available at different rates through resellers and other merchant service providers.

What clover is missing?

With Clover’s vast app market, you can add just about any functionality. So, in that sense, nothing is missing. However, it lacks native billing features and its inventory tracking is quite limited, with no low-stock alerts. For these features, see Lightspeed or Square.

However, the main reason for choosing a Clover alternative is that you don’t have a suitable merchant account for you yet. If so, it would be easier to choose a POS with built-in processing like Square, Lightspeed, Shopify, or Toast. While the fees may not be the lowest on the market, you have the simplicity of dealing only with a tech company. And most point of sale systems now offer volume discounts so you can save on transaction fees as you grow.

Methodology for choosing the best point of sale system

The best point of sale system for a business may not be the best point of sale system for you. After all, your business is unique and has different needs. However, when choosing the best POS system for this list, we looked at three criteria for you to consider:

Inventory management

A good point of sale system lets you know exactly how many products you have in stock and which products you don’t have in stock.

After all, products are what your customers are looking for. Making sure you have enough to sell to them makes them happy and their sales figures are healthy.

This is why a good point of sale system can give you an accurate report of your inventory. It will also notify you when your products are gone so you can restock them.

Loyalty programs

A good loyalty program rewards dedicated customers with deals and discounts. Turn a former repeat customer into a long-time customer who will choose your brand and business over others.

This is why a good point of sale system will also include a loyalty program. If you don’t offer yours, you should be able to seamlessly integrate with a third party.

This can increase the influx of new customers to your business, as well as generate loyal customers from existing customers.

Reports and analysis

As management expert Peter Drucker put it: “If you can’t measure, you can’t improve. To this end, a good point of sale system will also include a robust reporting and analytics system.

This gives you a comprehensive view of where sales are lagging and growing, which products are flying off the shelves and which are collecting dust, and when customers generally like to come to your store.

Helps you refine and optimize your store for success.

conclusion

Square and Shopify are our top recommendations for most business owners. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

And these two may not be the right options for you, depending on what you need. Therefore, do not forget to use the methodology that we have talked about throughout the process of selecting the best POS system for your business.

Is Square POS really free?

Square is different. We offer a robust, free POS system that sellers and customers alike trust and rely on. Here’s the lowdown on our free point-of-sale software, its features, and its price tag, which is great for your business’s bottom line.

What is the purpose of POS in small business?

A POS for small businesses can keep track of your inventory and indicate when you need to reorder stock. This is extremely important for small businesses experiencing rapid growth! Your POS can instill inventory processes that grow with your business, saving you time and money in the long-run.

What are the different types of POS?

Types of POS systems

1. Mobile point-of-sale systems. Smartphone and tablet POS services can process payments and manage some inventory and customer information.
2. Tablet POS systems.
3. Terminal POS systems.
4. Online point-of-sale system.
5. Self-service kiosk POS.
6. Multichannel POS systems.
7. Open-source POS systems.

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