A point-of-sale system is one of the best tools for small businesses looking to accept payments. Point-of-sale systems enable business owners to be more agile with their payment processing and forego using the cash drawer. The best POS system allows you to accept multiple types of payments and additional features for financial insight and performance. We’ll look at some of the top POS solutions currently available for this article.
What Is a Point of Sale POS System?
A point of sale (POS) system is used to accept payments, like a cash register. The system has built-in payment processing so you can ring up customers and take payments, including credit card and debit card payments. While cash registers served as an early type of POS, they have since evolved to include cloud-based POS systems and mobile POS systems.
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How Do POS Systems Work?
Most POS systems operate in a similar manner with software and hardware component. A POS provider will include a frontend point-of-sale system software that processes and records payments. The backend of the POS system will have data on the transactions and granular insight such as transaction fees, inventory levels, and other vital functions in retail operations. The hardware is the physical device that collects the payment (e.g., a card reader) and sends it to the software for processing. Once the payment is processed, the money is deposited into relevant accounts.
Sale POS systems may also have additional functionality, including payroll, employee management, and customer tools such as loyalty programs. POS systems also offer finance and accounting data, such as custom dashboards, for greater oversight of business performance.
Best Overall Point of Sale Systems
The right POS system will differ based on your business and needs. There are many different kinds of POS systems available; some are general, while others are industry-specific. Some of the best overall point-of-sale systems include:
Square is one of the best POS systems for small businesses because it can be used in a variety of settings. Square is mainly used for restaurant POS systems and retail and hospitality businesses. However, it has become a favorite POS for small business owners. It comes with its own card reader and offers additional features such as payroll, inventory management tools, sales data, and more.
2. Brilliant POS
The Brilliant POS system is one of the top small business pos systems. Brilliant is a full-service POS solution and includes a POS terminal, receipt printer, and barcode scanners. It can be used in many different settings, such as brick-and-mortar stores and hospitality, restaurants and other establishments.
3. PayPal Settle
PayPal has released its own sales POS system for small businesses, Zettle. Paypal Zettle includes various key POS features, including payment processing, sales data, inventory management, and more. There are no monthly fees with Zettle, and it has the backing of a strong payment processor like Paypal.
POS Systems for Retail
Retail pos systems are crucial for providing a friction-free customer experience. For ease, traditional POS systems for retail include POS terminals, card readers, and a barcode scanner. Some of the best POS systems for retail include:
Vend is one of the easiest retail POS system solutions out there, with many features to make retail a better experience for customers. For retailers, Vend can process in-store transactions and includes multichannel inventory management.
Retail stores can also use Vend for stock-taking and to track inventory. Vend also includes features for customer management and customer loyalty programs as well. Plus, Vend also has a mobile POS option and is one of the top modern POS systems currently on the market.
SumUp is a complete service payment solution with minimal processing fees. With SumUp, retail stores can process payments faster in-store, and it can be used in multiple locations. It’s one of the best point-of-sale options for small businesses since it also offers POS system records for added customer insight.
For small businesses on a budget, the eHopper POS system can work great for a retail store. With eHopper, you have a payment solution that uses reliable payment processors and more. eHopper includes a customer relationship management option, loyalty management, as well as a mobile POS system.
POS Systems for Restaurants
A restaurant pos system needs specific types of features, including easy online ordering and table management. Some of the top restaurant sales pos systems are:
Toast is one of the leading POS systems for restaurants, with 24/7 service and many powerful features. With Toast, restaurants can manage in-person sales and online deliveries and use POS data to grow their business. In addition, staff can process payments faster with Toast, and there are options for employee management, such as schedules and shifts.
Lightspeed has become increasingly popular in the hospitality field and has steadily grown its customer base. Lightspeed’s popularity is primarily based on its efficiency since it’s fast and reliable with minimal processing fees. With Lightspeed, restaurants can enable online ordering for customers and manage third parties for food delivery. Additionally, Lightspeed also has advanced features for restaurant accounting and other customer management initiatives to help restaurants grow their business.
Used by leading businesses, Revel is a cloud-based POS software and hardware solution with inventory management features. Revel is an iPad-based POS system that offers advanced features and integrations for restaurant owners. Revel’s key features include tools for managing inventory, third-party management for delivery partners, real-time ordering tracking, and additional kitchen management tools.
TouchBistro has a strong name for itself in the restaurant industry for its powerful and intuitive POS solution. With Touchbistro, restaurants can increase operational efficiency, including turning tables faster, more accurate ordering, and a better customer experience overall. TouchBistro also offers additional data and insights to improve operations and gain more financial oversight.
POS Systems for E-Commerce
E-commerce requires a very specific set of features to make online ordering easy. With an e-commerce POS system, you can sell online with ease. Some of the best POS system options include:
For a powerful POS software solution, Shopify should be a top consideration. Shopify is used by merchants worldwide because of its easy functionality and intuitive features. Shopify integrates with your online store for easy payment processing and includes features such as inventory management, low-stock alerts, and other crucial tools for online business owners.
Depending on needs, Clover has many payment solutions for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores, including simple card readers or larger payment terminals. Clover enables business owners to take payments with its cloud-based POS. It also includes features to harness customer data, such as a custom dashboard with financial insights and other customer management tools.
POS Systems for Inventory Management
Many POS providers offer solutions for inventory management to make running a retail business easy and manage stock and inventory. Leading POS systems for inventory management include:
13. Shopkeep by Lightspeed
Shopkeep by Lightspeed is a POS system specifically designed for retailers and offers a lot of value for small business owners. With Shopkeep, retailers can access the powerful features Lightspeed already offers with its POS solutions, including POS hardware, payment processing, and inventory management.
For powerful inventory management capabilities alongside payment processing, Livepos should be on your radar. It includes inventory and employee management features across multiple locations to make retail store operations efficient and easy. It also has powerful data integrations and dashboards for additional insight into customer data and accounting.
Why Should You Use POS Software?
Having a modern and advanced POS system can enable businesses to run operations faster and more efficiently. Some of the benefits of using POS software has the following benefits:
- Speed: You can process payments much faster, giving customers a better experience.
- Easy access to data: With so much access to customer data and financial insight, there is more opportunity to grow the business and craft targeted marketing strategies.
- Simplicity: Rather than trying to manage multiple payment solutions, you can consolidate finances and have one seamless solution to manage and track payments.
- Additional features: Beyond payment processing, POS software offers many other features to help businesses run more efficiently, such as inventory management, customer loyalty programs, online ordering, and more.
- Industry-specific features: Depending on the type of business, many POS systems offer features designed specifically for industries such as restaurants and retailers to ensure the software delivers value beyond payments.
How Much Does a POS System Cost?
A POS system cost can vary. Some POS software options are free, with nominal fees for POS hardware such as a card reader or counter terminal. Other cloud-based POS system options will provide free software and hardware but may charge a monthly fee and/or a percentage of the payments it processes.
A larger POS terminal may cost upwards of $1,000 for initial costs and then a small monthly fee or payment percentage, depending on the POS system provider.