Brick and mortar stores are now increasingly seeking the best retail POS systems because run-of-the-mill point of sale solutions just don’t cut it anymore.
Most retailers are now trying to improve their point of sale systems. Not such an easy engagement when you come to think of it, since you have to compare numerous possible retail POS system options, as well as incur potentially high upgrade costs.
Luckily for you, however, you’ve stumbled upon the one resource that’ll save you half the trouble. This ultimate guide goes beyond what we’ve covered in our best POS system article to reveal the current proven best retail POS systems.
Stick with me to the end and discover all the key features, pricing details, available hardware, as well as the ideal target market for each of the top POS systems.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Retail POS System?
- What To Look For When Choosing The Best Retail POS Systems
- 9 Best Retail POS Systems In 2020
What Is A Retail POS System?
A retail (Point of Sale) POS system is a combination of specialized sales software and hardware, which work together to facilitate payments, transactions, record keeping, plus management of all the core business elements.
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Well, the hardware here typically entails stuff like iPads, tablets, PCs, card readers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers, customer display, etc. So, in short, they are pretty much the devices you’ve seen on cash registers or tills in your local supermarket.
That said, the POS software is the most important element since it controls pretty much everything. As a matter of fact, most people essentially refer to the software part when they’re talking about POS systems. Without one, the entire point of sale system would be dead and useless.
Now, when it comes to retail POS systems, the software could either be locally-based or cloud-based, depending on where it’s hosted.
Locally-based is the traditional setup, and it means installing the software on your point of sale PC or tablet, and proceeding to run it directly from the local server. Hence, you can think of it as self-hosted POS software.
Cloud-based retail POS solutions, on the other hand, are hosted on remote servers, from where they are distributed through the web. That means their core data is held and processed from cloud servers.
Then meanwhile, your point of sale PC or tablet provides the primary user interface, and proceeds to exchange packets of data with the cloud servers.
Nonetheless, regardless of the setup you choose between these two, you should be able to manage sales, employees, inventory, customer information, etc. Both locally-based and cloud-based POS systems for retail stores are capable of supporting all the fundamental functionalities.
But, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting they come with the same efficacy levels. There are multiple differences between them, with varying benefits and drawbacks for each setup.
It’s worth noting, however, that while locally-based retail POS systems have been ruling all along, cloud-based retail POS systems are seemingly the future. 60% of the newly adopted retail POS systems in 2018 were cloud-based, and the trend has been growing quite exponentially since.
Brick and mortar stores seem to like the low costs plus increased convenience that comes with cloud-based retail POS systems. And although you might be forced to be a monthly subscription fee, the overall implementation and usage costs tend to be lower than self-hosted systems.
Here are the most outstanding retail POS software options…
Best Retail POS Systems: Shopify POS
While Shopify is best known for its online selling capabilities, it supplements its dynamic ecommerce platform with a robust point of sale system known as Shopify POS. Their principal goal here is to help Shopify’s online merchants expand their businesses through in-store sales.
Well, although it doesn’t entirely focus on retail businesses, Shopify POS has managed to outdo many specialized retail solutions. Consequently, it’s now widely considered to be one of the best retail POS systems.
The features it offers range from contactless payment processing and card-based transaction to unlimited product management, customer information management, inventory tracking, reports and analytics, ecommerce integration, plus remote selling.
The system itself comes in the form of mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices. They give you the freedom to set up a temporary store anywhere and sell without confining yourself to one brick and mortar location.
In essence, Shopify POS is built to conveniently generate receipts, take payments, process orders, and find products on-the-go.
All these are made possible by the Shopify online platform, which provides a strong foundation for its corresponding point of sale app. You even get an intuitive easy to use web-based dashboard for managing your retail business.
And if you happen to have multiple brick and mortar stores, you can rely on Shopify to sync everything accordingly, as well as provide a unified management platform.
The retail management functions here allow you to monitor employee activity, set up staff PINs, monitor multiple payment channels, view cash register configurations, issue refunds, track order history, etc.
Then when it comes to product management, Shopify POS accommodates extensive item customizations. You’ll be free to organize your items based on a wide range of parameters, including price, vendor, sale, season, type, and category. You can create as many product variations as you want.
And if you ever need to drive sales, Shopify POS gives you a host of tools for creating, tracking, and controlling discounts. You could, for instance, come up with minimum purchase discounts, limited quantity discounts, or possibly discounts defined by buyer parameters.
Ultimately, when the time comes for payment, the Shopify POS card reader processes all major credit cards, including American Express, MasterCard and Visa. That’s not all though. The system proceeds to accept even partial payments, split tenders, store credit, and gift cards.
Then to top it off, Shopify comes with a vast range of integrations, most of which can be acquired directly from the Shopify App Store. In the end, therefore, you should be able to customize your retail POS system by introducing additional functionalities.
Shopify POS Retail System Available Hardware
In addition to Android and iOS apps, Shopify POS comes with a free card reader for accepting chip, swipe, and contactless payments.
Beyond that, there’s the option of purchasing pretty much all the essential retail POS system hardware peripherals directly from Shopify.
Some of the available units include cash drawers, receipt printers and paper, barcode scanners, label printers, iPad stands, plus tap and chip card readers.
Shopify POS Retail System Pricing
- Shopify Lite: For $9 per month, Shopify Lite offers 24/7 support, unlimited devices, unlimited products, compulsory Shopify Payments, Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate of 2.7% + 0¢, without online store capabilities.
- Basic Shopify Plan: For $29 per month, Basic Shopify provides Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter sales channels, unlimited devices, unlimited products, 2 staff accounts, Shopify Payments online credit card rate of 2.9% + 30¢, Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate of 2.7% + 0¢, and ecommerce store integration.
- Shopify Plan: For $79 per month, the Shopify Plan comes with abandoned cart recovery, professional reports, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter sales channels, unlimited devices, unlimited products, 5 staff accounts, additional fee of 1.0% for external payment processor, Shopify Payments online credit card rate of 2.6% + 30¢, Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate of 2.5% + 0¢, plus ecommerce capabilities.
- Advanced Shopify Plan: For $299 per month, Advanced Shopify gives you third-party calculated shipping rates, advanced report builder, professional reports, gift cards, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter sales channels, unlimited devices, unlimited products, 5 staff accounts, additional fee of 0.5% for external payment processor, Shopify Payments online credit card rate of 2.4% + 30¢, Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate of 2.4% + 0¢, plus ecommerce capabilities.
- Shopify Plus: Shopify Plus has custom pricing and is reserved for large enterprises.
Who Should Consider Using The Shopify POS Retail System?
Fact is, you won’t be able to purchase Shopify POS as a separate unit from the ecommerce platform. That means Shopify’s entire system is ideal for online retailers who are seeking to establish secondary stores offline.
This retail POS system is also handy for selling and accepting payments on-the-go. So, you might want to consider it if pop-up stores are your thing.
Best Retail POS Systems: Square for Retail
For the most part, Square has made a name for itself as a payment processing solution. It’s only recently that it took a plunge into the world of business apps and it has never looked back since.
Among its specialties is point of sale, as it now offers a range of high-level cloud-based POS system solutions. Square POS is the primary point of sale software here, and its followed by smaller but more specialized industry-optimized applications like Square for Retail.
Well, although you could comfortably use the main Square POS system in your retail store, it can’t possibly match up to Square for Retail. This is where you get point of sale features that are specifically configured for retail stores of all sizes.
Apart from built-in payment processing, it comes with employee management features, as well as reporting and analytics, customer relationship management, and inventory management.
Come to think of it, however, payment processing is the most important functionality here, as Square itself has always been an expert company in payment handling.
But, there’s a catch. The Square for Retail POS system supports only one payment gateway. Yes, you’ve guessed right- you’ll only be allowed to process payments with Square Payments. (Check out our Square Payments review here).
On the bright side, however, at least Square Payments is quite robust and straightforward. You can use it to accept all major credit cards, as well as contactless payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Then get this. Despite being a cloud-based retail POS system, Square for Retail is capable of accepting payments offline. This is quite a handy feature when you experiencing internet connectivity issues.
Square for Retail has also managed to break the online barrier by powering ecommerce integration. This allows you to expand your business beyond the boundaries of brick and mortar stores, and into the precincts of online selling.
But, you don’t need such a setup to accept keyed transactions. Square for Retail gives your customers the option of paying directly from their browsers using credit cards. The only drawback is, the processing fee for keyed payments is slightly higher than swiped payments.
Another area where Square for Retail stands out as one of the best retail POS systems is customer relationship management. Its CRM capabilities allow you to message customers, generate intelligent insights from your customer data, automate customer segmentation, track customer transaction histories, as well as set up customer profiles automatically during checkout.
And speaking of which, managing checkouts via Square for Retail is a breeze. Your customers can make partial payments or possibly submit split tenders. It’s also possible to apply store credit, gift cards, discounts, and tips.
Then as soon as the payment is received, you can proceed to send your customers personalized text receipts, printed receipts, and e-receipts.
Now, when it comes to back-office inventory management, Square for Retail manages to cover not only your stock but also the accompanying vendors.
As a result, you get to organize your vendor information, keep tabs on your stock levels, set inventory notifications, monitor purchase order progress, come up with purchase orders, direct purchase orders to vendors, track multi-store inventory levels, transfer items between different store locations, match vendors with their products, print barcode labels, etc.
Square For Retail POS System Available Hardware
Some of the compatible hardware peripherals you could directly purchase from Square include a Square POS stand for your iPad, Square card reader for accepting chip cards and NFC payments, thermal receipt printer, and a USB handheld barcode scanner.
Square For Retail POS System Pricing
It simply costs $60 per month per register for each location. Then every single additional register per location costs $20 a month. Accepting cards, on the other hand, costs 2.5% + 10¢ for every single swipe, dip, or tap.
Subscribing to the Square For Retail gives you the benefit of instant bank transfers, Square Secure, payments via magstripe, chip card, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, reports about employee sales, inventory history, projected profit, gross sales data, inventory by category, plus the value of the goods sold.
In addition to that, Square For Retail comes with tools for vendor management, organizing your inventory by category, multi-location stock management, purchase orders, low-stock notifications, barcode labels, Instagram integration, as well as ecommerce integration.
Who Should Consider Using The Square Retail POS System?
Square for Retail is extensively flexible. It can be comfortably adopted by small businesses with one store location, or medium-sized enterprises that combine multiple store locations and basic online selling. Syncing, transferring, and tracking stock across different locations should be a breeze.
Its powerful inventory management system further makes Square for Retail one of the best retail POS systems for businesses with a huge volume of SKUs.
Best Retail POS Systems: Lightspeed Retail POS
If you recall our recent best restaurant POS system roundup, we mentioned that Lightspeed comes in two variants- Lightspeed POS for Restaurants, and Lightspeed POS for Retail.
That said, the Lightspeed Retail POS system happens to be just as good as its restaurant counterpart. It’s a cloud-based software that’s specially optimized for brick and mortar businesses dealing in home decor, sporting goods, electronics, pets and supplies, golf, bikes, and apparel.
That, however, is not to say other retail businesses won’t be able to use it effectively. The Lightspeed Retail POS system boasts of an array of solid and flexible functionalities that can accommodate pretty much any business type.
In addition to inventory management, the software has managed to make a name for itself as one of the best retail POS systems when it comes to reporting and analytics, invoicing, customer management, ordering, quoting, plus employee management.
But, all in all, the Lightspeed Retail POS system truly shines as an inventory management and analytics tool. You can expect an easy time tracking your stock across multiple store locations while coordinating the corresponding sales process.
Each item is assigned a serial number, which you then use to monitor the stock numbers, as well as generate insights about stock levels. The system even comes with a matrix framework for entering and configuring item variants based on their material, color, size, etc.
The Lightspeed Retail POS system further allows you to add your vendors’ details and their respective catalogs. Hence, you can even place orders directly from the system to replenish your stock.
And in case you’re running multiple stores, you should be able to direct vendors to different delivery locations, based on the stock levels in each store. Otherwise, it’s also possible to move items between your store locations.
Then as customers continue purchasing from your stores, the Lightspeed Retail POS system proceeds to automatically save their info. The resultant customer profiles will come in handy when you need to apply special discounts, assess their purchasing habits and sales histories, as well as make notes about selected individuals.
And speaking of assessments, the Lightspeed Retail POS system offers powerful multi-channel analytics. It gives you an all-rounded view of your business through detailed insights into your marketing efforts, employee performance, inventory, sales, customers, etc. Plus, everything here is updated in real-time for optimal accuracy.
Another notable functionality is payment processing. And, as it turns out, Lightspeed launched its own payment processing service in 2019. The retail POS software now comes integrated with Lightspeed Payments, which is capable of handling all major credit and debit cards, as well as mobile payment.
But, here’s the kicker. Apparently, Lightspeed Payments can only be used by US-based retail merchants. So, forget about it if you’re planning to operate from a different country.
Thankfully, however, the LightSpeed Retail POS system doesn’t restrict you to its payment processing service. You’ll find several decent alternatives in its app marketplace, along with integrations for invoicing, marketing, reporting, CRM, order fulfillment, bookkeeping, etc.
And most importantly, you also get Lightspeed’s ecommerce integration, which gives you the power to expand your retail business by selling online.
Lightspeed Retail POS System Available Hardware
Since the Lightspeed Retail POS system is built to run from desktop PCs and iOS devices, it offers only two hardware kit options.
The desktop bundle, for starters, provides a USB barcode scanner, cash drawer, and a receipt printer. Then the iPad kit, on the other hand, comes with a receipt printer, Bluetooth barcode scanner, cash drawer, and an iPad stand.
It’s worth noting, however, that you’re free to mix the peripherals and customize your bundle whichever way you like.
Lightspeed Retail POS System Pricing
- Basic: For $79 per month billed monthly or $69 per month billed annually, the Basic package offers essential retail POS system capabilities and payment processing.
- Starter: For $119 per month billed monthly or $99 per month billed annually, the Starter package goes beyond essential retail POS system capabilities and payment processing to provide an additional ecommerce integration.
- Standard: For $139 per month billed monthly or $119 per month billed annually, the Standard package comes with essential retail POS features, payment processing, ecommerce integration, and accounting capabilities.
- Advanced: For $189 per month billed monthly or $169 per month billed annually, the Advanced plan mixes basic retail POS system features with payment processing, ecommerce integration, accounting, and customer loyalty program tools.
- Pro: For $259 per month billed monthly or $229 per month billed annually, the Pro package offers the entire Lightspeed retail POS system feature set. This entails retail POS capabilities, payment processing, ecommerce integration, accounting, customer loyalty program, and analytics.
- Enterprise: The Enterprise package is reserved for large businesses and high volume retail merchants with unique needs. Its pricing, however, is custom and it’s usually evaluated on a case by case basis.
Who Should Consider Using The Lightspeed Retail POS System?
As we’ve established, the Lightspeed Retail POS is suitable for all types of retail businesses. You can tweak its numerous settings based on the types of products you’re selling, and your precise store locations.
That said, the Lightspeed Retail POS system is particularly good when it comes to home decor, sporting goods, electronics, pets and supplies, golf, bike, and apparel businesses.
Best Retail POS Systems: Vend POS
Vend POS is a retail point of sale solution that’s renowned for its exceptional inventory management tools, an omnichannel sales framework featuring both in-store and online fronts, plus several helpful add-ons. It’s essentially what you’d call a holistic retail management system.
The software itself is capable of serving you efficiently from the cloud through a desktop web browser. But, if you’re planning to sell your stuff on-the-go, you might want to get yourself the iPad version of the retail POS system. It even allows you to process transactions in offline mode.
Well, that sounds great. But, the Vend POS system’s ultimate strength lies in its inventory management tools. You’ll find a well-centralized console for managing, editing, customizing, and tracking all your items.
It allows you to organize your entire inventory accordingly by placing your products in custom variants. Plus, you could also take advantage of product bundling to set up different product assortments.
Then as you distribute your items to their respective sales channels, the Vend retail POS system gives you a range of options for their barcodes. It’s capable of not only printing, but also creating and importing item barcodes.
Managing customers is a breeze too, thanks to Vend’s flexibility and robust information framework. Apart from maintaining your customer data in well-organized profiles, the system facilitates data collection through custom forms. Additionally, you get to capitalize on its customer loyalty programs to attract repeat buyers.
And while you’re at it, you might possibly consider introducing additional sales channels to enhance your overall customer experience. If that’s the case, the Vend retail POS system gives you the option of creating a fully-functional ecommerce site. Designing the whole thing only takes a couple of clicks and voila! You’ll be selling online in no time.
Well, the best thing with such a setup is, of course, omnichannel selling. You could have your customers explore, choose and pay for their items online, and then proceed to collect the orders from your brick and mortar location. Simple, quick and easy, especially since payments are handled by online processors like PayPal.
That’s not the only payment option though. The Vend retail POS system supports pretty much all major payment types- credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, checks, cash, you name it.
Otherwise, you could also choose to accept payment in the form of tenders, partial payments, deposits, or possibly payment splitting between multiple customers.
Vend POS POS Retail System Available Hardware
The Vend Retail POS system is extremely flexible when it comes to hardware compatibility. You should be able to use it with pretty much any standard POS hardware peripherals.
Alternatively, you could simply purchase hardware directly from Vend. The company sells iPad cases, iPad stands, cash drawers, label printers, barcode scanners, and Bluetooth receipt printers, along with their accompanying accessories.
But, if all these options seem confusing, you could simply pick any of these bundle options:
- Mac Bundle: Comes with a scanner, cash drawer, and a Mac-compatible printer.
- PC Bundle: Comes with a scanner, cash drawer, and a PC-compatible printer.
- iPad Bundle: Offers a cash drawer, printer, iPad stand, and optional accessories.
Vend POS POS Retail System Pricing
- Lite: The Lite package costs $119 per month when billed monthly or $99 per month when billed annually. It comes with small business reporting, inventory management, 24/7 email support, and unlimited customers. It’s ideal for small businesses with a monthly turnover of less than $20,000, running a single retail outlet. Any additional register will cost you a monthly fee of $59 when billed monthly, or $49 when billed annually.
- Pro: The Pro package costs $159 per month when billed monthly or $129 per month when billed annually. It supplements the Lite plan functionalities with API access, gift cards and loyalty, ecommerce features, and unlimited user accounts. It’s ideal for multi-store retailers with a monthly turnover of more than $20,000. Additional registers cost the same rate as the Lite plan’s registers.
- Enterprise: Vend offers a custom quote all the Pro features combined with customized onboarding and a dedicated account manager. It’s tailored to large enterprises running more than six store locations. Each additional register, however, is provided at $49 when billed monthly, or $39 when billed annually.
Who Should Consider Using The Vend POS Retail System?
While Vend POS is a fully-featured solution, the one thing that ultimately makes it stand out as one of the best retail POS systems is its inventory management capabilities. The entire framework is built around omnichannel stock management and reporting.
So, it’s a good retail POS system option for small businesses with rich inventories and a vast range of product variations.
Best Retail POS Systems: SumUp
If you’re running a retail business based in Europe, then chances are you've heard about SumUp already. It has established itself as one of the most popular and best retail POS systems in the continent.
Things are very different in the US though, because it turns out SumUp hasn’t been around for that long. It only ventured into the US market quite recently, but has since been growing steadily.
So far, its users in both Europe and the US have praised it for its exceptional approach to retail point of sale systems. Instead of throwing in an extensively rich feature set, the Sum UP retail POS system is built for simplicity and ease of use. That means it comes with only the essentials, which guarantees retailers a seamless experience.
The POS system itself is made up of a mobile device, which connects to a SumUp card reader via Bluetooth. The reader then proceeds to facilitate chip card and magstripe forms of payment, while the POS handles contactless payments.
Both Android and iOS users get a native SumUp POS app, but they are required to remain connected to the internet to use its features.
The functionalities we’re talking about here include inventory management, employee management, checkout management, plus reports and analytics.
Now, to help you manage your inventory, the SumUp retail POS system offers an intuitive interface that handles an unlimited number of products, complete with their accompanying product descriptions, prices, as well as photo fields.
And that’s not all. You also get to include your own custom variants of each product, plus their corresponding tax rates.
Then when it comes to employee management, the SumUp mobile POS system gives you the benefit of adding several employees to the system. Each of the accounts is subsequently tracked by the system to provide insights into the sales data and overall performance of your individual employees.
Customers, on the other hand, get a virtual terminal for easy and quick payment processing. It allows them to complete their payments by entering card details instead of swiping through the SumUp card reader.
But, here’s the kicker. Although the customer terminal is a pretty neat tool, the SumUp retail POS system doesn’t provide it by default. You can only get it after contacting the company directly, and then submitting copies of your tax filings as well as the EIN.
In the meantime, you’ll have no option but to rely on the default checkout features. This shouldn’t be a problem though, because the SumUp retail POS system boasts of a robust set of checkout tools.
Apart from accepting different forms of payment, you should be able to create invoices, issue refunds, configure tip amounts, plus integrate a tipping screen. Then as soon as payment goes through, you could have the system print receipts via a Bluetooth receipt printer, or perhaps issue virtual ones through text and emails.
It’s also possible to process Bitcoin and cash payments, as well as even have your customers sign electronically.
SumUP Retail POS System Available Hardware
SumUp is a mobile retail POS system that comes in the form of Android and iOS apps. So, you should have an easy time setting it up on your smartphone, iPad, or Android tablet.
For card payment processing, you need the SumUp Bluetooth card reader which is offered as a supplementary device at a one-off price of $19. And while you’re at it, another hardware peripheral you might want to connect via Bluetooth is a receipt printer.
SumUP Retail POS System Pricing
While the card reader will cost you $19, the SumUp retail POS system is completely free of charge. You get to use its mobile apps plus the online dashboard without paying anything.
You’ll only start losing money when you begin processing transactions. Not so much though, because card processing costs are charged a uniform rate of 2.65% per transaction.
Hence, SumUp qualifies as the budget option on our list of the best retail POS systems.
Who Should Consider Using The SumUP Retail POS System?
The SumUP retail POS system is a mobile-based app that offers only the basic point of sale functionalities through a simple, and pleasantly intuitive interface. Plus, it’s completely free of charge, with a uniform rate of 2.65% for card processing.
That makes it ideal for small retail businesses, solopreneurs, startups, freelancers, and beginners on a budget.
Best Retail POS Systems: Revel Systems POS
Revel POS is a PCI-compliant retail point of sale solution that seeks to help you streamline all your in-store operations through employee management, customer relationship management, inventory management, remote mobile tracking, and payment processing.
And speaking of payments, it’s worth noting that the Revel retail POS system offers an open API for integrating various online payment processing solutions. So, you should be able to leverage your favorite payment processor and subsequently keep the transaction costs low.
Revel Systems also happens to be one of the best retail POS software when it comes to customer experience. It offers customers their own optimized display for increased convenience during transactions.
In essence, customers get to view their product orders, make payments, give tips, choose email receipts, as well as place electronic signatures. And come to think of it, you can cleverly take advantage of the customer display system to advertise special offers or possibly drive upsells.
Revel Systems POS further allows you to reward repeat buyers through loyalty programs. You can keep them engaged by awarding loyalty points for specific products, purchase amounts, or perhaps the number of transactions.
Revel will then do its part by tracking each individual customer in real-time. So, you should be able to keep tabs on their progress while rewarding all the qualified customers accordingly.
Besides that, it’s also possible to offer your customers discounts directly from the POS software. It comes with tools for configuring and awarding coupons, dollar-off discounts, special group discounts, percentage discounts, as well as happy hour discounts.
And that’s not all. You could further capitalize on gift cards to attract new customers and convince the old ones to keep coming. All the gift cards issued here can be processed fairly quickly during checkout.
Now, to supplement these impressive capabilities, the Revel retail POS system goes ahead and provides customer relationship management tools. They are intended to help you boost conversions by engaging and tracking your customers.
If you choose to give them a try, the buyer’s journey here begins from Revel’s customer display, which captures and saves your customers’ details, along with their contact emails for future email marketing.
Then from the primary management console, you get to view your customers’ profiles, enter additional details, import lists from external sources, plus segment your buyers based on custom parameters.
Revel Systems POS further analyzes all that info to generate accurate insights into your customers’ purchasing patterns and habits. So, in the end, you could take advantage of the findings to target selected customers with relevant campaigns.
Customer information is not the only thing you can track though. The Revel retail POS system is also effective in inventory management and tracking. It monitors your stock levels in real-time and then proceeds to send alerts when the numbers are low.
In that case, the system allows you to follow up promptly by creating purchase orders, which are subsequently sent to the relevant product vendors for quick restocking.
And for merchants handling a wide range of products, Revel Systems happens to be quite handy in organizing complex inventories. It gives you tools for configuring your product categories plus the accompanying variants. And as a result, you get to set up a neat granular display of your items.
Finally, when it comes to enterprise management, this retail POS system offers a centralized system for coordinating your inventory, employees, customers, and transactions across multiple store locations. It combines real-time insights with employee scheduling and payroll processing tools.
Revel Systems Retail POS System Available Hardware
To help you get started, Revel Systems POS offers all the essential hardware you’d need for a fully functional retail POS system.
Some of the peripherals you could purchase directly from the company include RevelGuard network diagnostic devices, scales, printers, mobile iPad cases, portable ordering devices, wireless routers and access points, stand-alone, self-service kiosks, cash drawers and tills, caller id devices, plus barcode scanners.
Then guess what? Since acquiring retail POS hardware is not cheap at all, Revel Systems got into an agreement with Apple Financial Services to make things easier for business owners.
Consequently, you can reduce your upfront costs by proceeding with a leasing option instead of purchasing everything at once. The partnership between the two companies means you get the benefit of covering the costs through an extended payment plan.
Revel Systems Retail POS System Pricing
Revel Systems POS software will cost you at least $99 per month for each point of sale terminal. It comes with always-on mode, secure cloud backup, unlimited users, free automatic product updates, personalized onboarding, 24/7 phone support and online ticketing, reporting and analytics, customer relationship management, employee management, inventory management, and an intuitive interface.
Card processing, on the other hand, will cost you a flat transaction rate of 1.00%-4.99%. This comes with online statements and reporting, processing of all the major cards, in-house dedicated support team, Apple Pay support, plus EMV support.
Then if you choose to have your POS system installed by Revel’s technical experts, the service will cost you at least $649. This package provides payments set up, hardware installation, menu consultation, management console training, and system onboarding,
Who Should Consider Using The Revel Systems Retail POS System?
All things considered, Revel Systems POS is perfectly built to support mid-sized businesses to large retail enterprises. It offers multi-location enterprise management capabilities, and a robust inventory management feature set that accommodates up to 500,000 SKUs.
Now, combine that with its employee management, customer display system, plus customer relationship management tools, and you have yourself one heck of an all-in-one retail POS systems.
It’s worth noting, however, that Revel Systems happens to also throw in restaurant POS functionalities for kitchen management, table management, online ordering, menu building, and a self-service kiosk.
That means it's also capable of supporting food trucks, coffee shops, breweries, etc.
Best Retail POS Systems: Clover POS
Clover is a multi-faceted point of sale system with varying solutions for different retail businesses. If, for instance, you’re the type of retailer who prefers selling their stuff on-the-go, Clover offers a portable version called Clover Go POS.
This one operates exactly like SumUP POS. And more specifically, it comes in the form of an Android or iOS mobile app, which then connects to a Clover card reader via Bluetooth. The subsequent result is a mobile retail POS system that accepts both card and contactless payments.
The cards we’re talking about here are chip cards and magstripe-only cards, all of which are handled directly by the card reader. Then contactless payments, including Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay, are processed via the app itself.
In addition to that, Clover Go POS is capable of managing inventory, managing employees, as well as creating orders. It’s a very seamless system that ultimately syncs with Clover’s web dashboard in real-time.
The next level of selling occurs through Clover Flex POS, which also happens to be a mobile point of sale system. But, unlike its Go POS counterpart, Clover Flex POS comes in the form of a branded hand-held terminal that you can carry anywhere.
And the best thing about this system is, it’s remarkably robust for its size. Believe it or not, Clover Flex POS is a fully-fledged retail point of sale system with payment processing and business management capabilities. You can even use it for printing receipts, scanning barcodes, and capturing customer signatures.
Customers then get to pay for their orders by either tapping, dipping, or swiping credit and debit cards. The system also accepts NFC payments like Alipay, WeChat Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.
Now, if you’re running your business from a permanent location but you’d like a flexible POS system that you can carry around your store, then you might want to check out Clover’s other option, the Clover Mini POS.
It’s a tablet-based retail point of sale system that packs more power than Clover Flex POS. The type of features you can expect here include all the essential business management capabilities, as well as a much wider range of payment options.
In addition to the card and contactless payment options supported by Clover Go and Clover Flex, the Clover Mini POS system facilitates even cash and checks. It gives you the power to process all the major payment modes.
Plus, you get inventory management tools for organizing your items using variants, modifiers, labels categories, etc.
Collecting and managing customer information is also fairly easy, thanks to the convenience of the tablet. Your customers even get to interact with the POS system as they enter their details for quick transactions. Overall, the whole system is fairly impressive and it rightfully deserves to feature among the top retail POS systems for tablets.
However, it doesn’t match up to the Clover Station POS, which is the largest of the four options. While it offers pretty much the same functionalities as Clover Mini, the Clover Station retail POS system happens to be faster and more reliable.
All that extra power comes from increased CPU and RAM performance capabilities. Combine that with its 14-inch display, receipt printer, plus cash drawer, and you have yourself a complete cash register.
You could even introduce additional screens for customer-facing displays that offer a better shopping experience.
Clover Retail POS System Available Hardware
- Clover Station POS – 14-inch high-definition touch screen display with a swivel neck, screwdriver, ethernet cable, power brick and power cord, connectivity hub, two rolls of printer paper, plus an all-in-one tablet POS with a built-in credit card reader, and a connected receipt printer.
- Clover Mini POS – High-resolution 7-inch touch screen, screwdriver, USB cable, ethernet cable, power adapter cable, power adapter block, two rolls of printer paper, a compact all-in-one tablet POS with a built-in credit card reader, and a receipt printer.
- Clover Flex POS – Screwdriver, receipt paper, power brick, power cord, charging cradle, and a high-resolution 5-inch touch screen display.
- Clover Go POS – Micro USB charging cable, and a card reader.
Clover Retail POS System Pricing
Clover POS is available in two pricing plans. You could settle for either Register at a cost of $29 a month, or Register Lite for $14 a month.
Then Clover retail POS system will then allow you to add gratuity to checks, create a simple, custom loyalty program, build your mailing list automatically, pre-authorize credit cards, integrate with a weight scale, process exchanges, manage inventory, track sales with item-level reporting, export basic reports, manage employees (payroll, shifts), set employee permissions, process refunds, charge taxes at the item level, ring up items, discounts and tax, accept on-screen signatures and tips, send paperless receipts, process payments when offline, track cash payments, plus accept all credit and debit cards.
That said, the payment processing rate for Register Plan users is 3.5% + 10 cents for keyed-in payments, and 2.3% + 10 cents for in-person payments. Register Lite, on the other hand, charges 3.5% + 10 cents for keyed-in payments, and 2.7% + 10 cents for in-person payments.
Who Should Consider Using The Clover Retail POS System?
Clover POS is a perfect example of a multi-layered retail point of sale system built for varying market segments. Solo merchants get Clover Go POS for mobile selling, while small businesses and startups should be comfortable with Clover Flex POS and Clover Mini POS. Mid-sized businesses to large enterprises, on the other hand, can settle for Clover POS.
Hence, Clover suits all merchants seeking a flexible POS solution. It allows them to dynamically scale POS hardware and software as their businesses grow. What’s more, even full-service restaurants and service-based professionals can have a seamless experience with the Clover POS system.
Best Retail POS Systems: QuickBooks POS
Considering QuickBooks is largely renowned for its bookkeeping and account management capabilities, retail businesses find it easy to entrust their operations to its point of sale solution, QuickBooks POS.
And the subsequent results have never been disappointing. As long as you know how to leverage its tools, QuickBooks POS is certain to live up to its expectations. It’s built to offer some of the best retail POS system functionalities for managing small businesses.
More specifically, QuickBooks retail POS specializes in basic customer management, inventory management, payment processing, employee management, plus detailed reports and analytics. The tools are offered via its web-based system, on-premise software, as well as the QuickBooks POS mobile app.
But, unlike most of the solutions featured on our best retail POS systems list, QuickBooks POS is available in three different versions – Basic, Pro, and Multi-Store.
The Basic version, to begin with, facilitates payment processing, inventory tracking, customer data tracking, plus integration with QuickBooks accounting software. The Pro and Multi-Store versions, on the other hand, takes things up a notch by providing capabilities like custom inventory controls, commission management, sales management, and employee management.
But, make no mistake. Although QuickBooks POS might seem advanced, it comes with a very intuitive interface accompanied by a straightforward layout. Ease of use is one of the primary benefits here, as the QuickBooks retail POS system is simple enough to be understood and tweaked by non-tech users.
They can, for instance, use its flexible sales tools to conveniently process orders. QuickBooks POS allows you to add products to a sale through barcode scanning, or simply identifying them from the system. And to do that, you essentially search for them using item keywords, item numbers, or alternate lookup codes.
And while you’re at it, you might want to set up grouped items so you always process commonly bundled products with a single click.
In the end, customers pay for their stuff using any of the major credit and debit cards. The QuickBooks retail POS system supports swiped, keyed, and dipped payments involving American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.
In the meantime, you could have the system save customer information like name, email, phone number, address, and business. QuickBooks POS even includes custom fields for any extra details you might want to throw in.
The POS system then goes ahead and tracks all the customers to give you valuable insights like the type of items various individuals are frequently buying, customers who’ve spent the highest amounts, etc.
You can view each customer’s sales history directly from their information profiles, and perhaps use the data for awarding special coupons or discounts, as well as creating with targeted marketing campaigns.
And when it comes to that, the Pro version of QuickBooks POS offers you a range of engagement tools through its customer center. You’ll notice the system doesn’t stop at the customer information level. It goes beyond that to facilitate mailing list creation for email marketing campaigns and mass promotion campaigns.
You can, for instance, run promotions that award selected customers discounts, freebies, and other types of rewards. The QuickBooks retail POS system generates accurate qualification figures after monitoring relevant customer parameters.
It doesn’t stop there. QuickBooks POS proceeds to replicate these powerful tracking capabilities on your employee management side. Hence, you get to keep tabs on your employee’s total work hours, plus their corresponding commissions.
Then by integrating the retail POS system with bookkeeping software like QuickBooks Desktop, you should be able to use such employee insights to manage the payroll.
QuickBooks Retail POS System Available Hardware
Some of the retail POS system hardware peripherals you could purchase directly from QuickBooks include wireless barcode scanners, tag printers, pole display, cash drawers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, and card readers.
QuickBooks Retail POS System Pricing
- Basic- The Basic version of QuickBooks costs a one-off price of $1,200. Some of its primary features include QuickBooks Desktop integration, basic reporting, customer data tracking, inventory tracking and management, payment processing, plus sale ringing.
- Pro – The Pro version of QuickBooks costs a one-off price of $1,700. This gives you advanced reporting, rewards and loyalty programs, layaway and gift cards, QuickBooks Desktop integration, payroll management, basic reporting, customer data tracking, inventory tracking and management, payment processing, sale ringing, and employee management.
- Multi-Store – The Multi-Store version of QuickBooks costs a one-off price of $1,900. This comes with advanced sales and inventory reporting, manage and transfer inventory between stores advanced reporting, rewards and loyalty programs, layaway and gift cards, QuickBooks Desktop integration, payroll management, basic reporting, customer data tracking, inventory tracking and management, payment processing, sale ringing, employee management, and multi-store management.
Who Should Consider Using The QuickBooks Retail POS System?
Evidently, QuickBooksPOS is not exactly an advanced fully-featured retail POS system. But, it makes up for that by offering an intuitive interface for managing inventory across multiple store locations, running targeted campaigns, managing employees and their payroll, plus tracking customer data.
In a nutshell, therefore, QuickBooks POS serves startups and small retail businesses with just the essentials. Plus, its one-off pricing strategy makes it an economical option that saves users the trouble of paying for subscriptions.
What To Look For When Choosing The Best Retail POS Systems
Business Needs Assessment
The word retail encompasses numerous types of businesses, spanning across a wide range of industries and categories.
Although many retail POS systems claim to be all-in-one solutions, it’s practically impossible to perfectly cater to all these businesses with the same type of software. Each retail store has its own unique set of needs, which can only be covered by a specific POS solution.
Therefore, before you even begin the search process, you should evaluate your business to identify its precise system needs. And while you’re at it, you might want to start with the business framework, its corresponding problems, plus of course, the system objectives.
This should help you find a solution that’s well-optimized for your business goals.
Retail POS Software Features
Good retail POS systems typically facilitate essential functions like employee management, customer management, data recording, reporting and analytics, purchase ordering, inventory tracking, inventory management, and payment processing.
That sums up the basic capabilities you should expect from the best POS retail systems.
But, don’t just stop there. The best retail POS systems go beyond this basic level to offer specialized features and management tools.
Payment processing, for instance, should support both cards as well as contactless payments. Then customer management, on the other hand, would be much better with perhaps additional loyalty program functionalities, plus dynamic customer tracking.
You might also want to prioritize retail POS systems that provide accounting features, or possibly accounting integrations.
And speaking of integrations, the best retail POS systems come with a wide range of prebuilt options. They are flexible enough to embed with CRM and marketing solutions, as well as ecommerce platforms.
It turns out retail POS solutions are not universally compatible with point of sale hardware. Each has its own unique hardware specifications.
That notwithstanding, however, the best retail POS systems support an extensive array of hardware configurations. Retailers get to connect a varying range of card processors, cash drawers, receipt printers, barcode scanners, smartphones, tablets, receipt printers, monitors, etc.
Hence, you could easily integrate numerous peripherals from different manufacturers to form a holistic multi-store retail system.
Reporting and Analytics
Business growth is best achieved when you comprehensively understand all the critical variables affecting your operations. In other words, you need to strategize and make key business decisions based on a wide range of data insights.
To leverage the right info, get yourself retail POS solutions whose reports and analytics go beyond the basic metrics. The deeper it dives, the more you get to find out about your business variables.
And that’s not all. The best retail POS systems are built to not only monitor numerous metrics, but also analyze everything accordingly, plus maintain optimal accuracy. They additionally provide tools for real-time tracking across multiple devices.
When you purchase a retail POS system, you won’t just be acquiring a software solution. You’ll also be partnering with its provider and subsequently entrusting them with your business. The retail POS solution ends up playing a role that substantially determines the outcome of all your core operations.
So, whichever way you look at it, the provider will be a part of your retail business for the long haul.
Now, considering the high stakes here, you cannot afford to make the mistake of proceeding with just anyone. Even when you’re working with a simple, user-friendly tool, you’ll still need a reliable tech support team on standby in case of any issues.
The best POS systems have trained their support agents on pretty much everything, and continue to maintain multiple contact channels, high overall responsiveness, plus comprehensive knowledge bases.
While cloud-based retail POS systems are renowned for their considerably fair operating costs, the initial setup can be quite pricey especially if you’re starting from scratch.
In addition to software acquisition, you still have to pay for all the accompanying hardware peripherals. And that can be a costly affair, which might even stretch into thousands of dollars.
So, to pick the most economical option for your business, you might want to compare various retail POS systems based on their overall setup and running costs. Then subsequently, use the figures to establish the potential ROI of each option according to the corresponding feature benefits.
Featured image credits: Randy Lin
Comments 2 Responses
Thank you so much for all the knowledge and insight that your blog has given us. It is always a pleasure to read something informative like yours!
You’re welcome Jessica!