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.
- READ MORE: 16 Mobile Payment Apps
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.
Relatedly, you might want to check out this informative video, ‘4 Best iPad POS Systems for Small Business’ by Women in Small Business. The video provides a practical and insightful look into iPad-based POS systems, making it a valuable companion resource as you navigate your search for the perfect POS solution for your business.
Small Business Deals
Our Methodology to Pick the Best Point of Sale Systems
For small businesses, the point of sale (POS) system is more than just a means to transact; it’s the operational hub where sales, inventory, and customer management converge.
Selecting the best POS system is critical, as it can greatly influence the customer experience, efficiency, and the analytics available to the business owner. Here are key aspects to consider:
User-Friendly Interface (9/10)
The POS should offer an intuitive interface, enabling quick training for staff and efficiency in customer transactions.
Comprehensive Integration (8/10)
It’s essential that the POS can integrate smoothly with other business systems like inventory, accounting, and e-commerce solutions.
Robust Inventory Management (9/10)
Effective inventory tracking and management are crucial, allowing for real-time stock levels and automated reordering.
Customer Relationship Management (7/10)
The POS system should include CRM features to help personalize the customer experience and build loyalty.
Detailed Analytics and Reporting (9/10)
Access to real-time data and analytics is vital for strategic decision-making, tracking sales patterns, and understanding customer behavior.
The POS system must be able to scale with your business, handling increased transaction volume and additional locations as you grow.
Reliable Support (9/10)
Strong customer support is non-negotiable, ensuring that any issues can be resolved quickly to maintain business continuity.
These features collectively ensure that a POS system can not only manage day-to-day sales but also serve as a comprehensive tool for business management and growth.
Best Overall Point of Sale Systems
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of our list, here’s a concise table showcasing the best POS systems and their distinctive features. This table is an easy-to-use reference to help you pinpoint the system that best suits your business-specific requirements.
|No.||POS System||Best for||Key Features|
|1.||Square||Small businesses, Restaurants, Retail, and Hospitality||Comes with card reader, Offers payroll, inventory management tools, sales data, etc.|
|2.||Brilliant POS||Small business across different settings||Full-service solution, Includes POS terminal, receipt printer, barcode scanners|
|3.||PayPal Zettle||Small businesses||Includes payment processing, sales data, inventory management, No monthly fees|
|4.||Vend||Retail stores||Easy to use, In-store transactions, Multichannel inventory management, Customer loyalty programs|
|5.||SumUp||Small retail businesses||Minimal processing fees, Fast in-store payments, POS records for customer insights|
|6.||eHopper||Budget-conscious small businesses||Uses reliable payment processors, Includes customer relationship management, loyalty management, Mobile POS system|
|7.||Toast||Restaurants||24/7 service, Manages in-person sales and online deliveries, Employee management|
|8.||Lightspeed||Restaurants||Efficient, Enables online ordering, Manages third-party food delivery, Advanced accounting features|
|9.||Revel||Restaurants||Cloud-based software and hardware solution, Advanced features and integrations|
|10.||TouchBistro||Restaurants||Increase operational efficiency, More accurate ordering, Offers additional data and insights|
|11.||Shopify||E-commerce businesses||Integrates with online store, Offers inventory management, low-stock alerts|
|12.||Clover||E-commerce and Brick-and-mortar stores||Cloud-based POS, Harnesses customer data, Offers custom dashboard with financial insights|
|13.||Shopkeep by Lightspeed||Retail stores, specifically for inventory management||Offers POS hardware, payment processing, inventory management|
|14.||Livepos||Retail stores, specifically for inventory management||Offers inventory and employee management features, Powerful data integrations and dashboards|
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?
When planning to invest in a POS system, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the potential costs involved. You can reference Bankrate’s 2022 data they gleaned from popular POS providers like Square, Shopify, Clover, Toast, and others to get an idea of the typical price ranges you can expect to encounter:
1. Software Costs: The cost of POS software typically falls between $29 and $300 per month. The price often depends on the complexity and range of features the software provides.
2. Hardware Costs: The cost of the physical components of the POS system can range from $0 to $2,000. This includes items like terminals, card readers, cash drawers, receipt printers, and barcode scanners. The cost depends on the quality and quantity of the hardware you need.
3. Installation Costs: Some providers may offer free installation, while others might charge up to $700. This cost often depends on the complexity of the system and whether any custom integrations are required.
4. Payment Processing Fees: Most POS providers will charge a fee per transaction. This typically ranges between 1.5% to 3.5% per credit card transaction.
5. Add-Ons and Integrations: The cost of additional features or integrations with other software (like accounting or inventory management systems) can vary significantly. These add-ons can offer valuable functionality, but it’s important to assess whether each one provides enough value to justify its cost.
Keep in mind that while costs are an important consideration, it’s also crucial to choose a POS system that best fits the specific needs and operations of your business. An investment in a system that can scale with your business may offer better value over time, even if the initial cost is higher.