A point of sale system used to be no more sophisticated than a standard cash register, but oh, have the times changed. Today, your typical POS system comes fully loaded with all kinds of features and gadgets, including inventory tracking and reordering, customer retention programs, and employee management tools.
With COVID-19 constantly changing the rules of the game, the features offered by the latest POS systems can keep you ahead of the competition, especially around this time of the year when planning your business activity for 2022 and beyond.
Bottom line, if you want to succeed in retail today, it’s a good idea to get yourself a reliable and feature-rich POS system. Options abound when it comes to this industry, so you’re not lacking for choices. The trouble is that not all retail POS software was created equal, and some are lagging far behind. To save you the trouble, we’ve tested loads of POS systems and ranked the top 10 for quality, efficiency, speed, price, and other important features.
The star ratings are based on the overall rating of each brand. Some reviews are provided via third party suppliers. We encourage you to write a review of your experiences with these brands.
Lightspeed takes all the frills of TouchBistro and upgrades them for both retail and restaurant usage. So, you get neat features like food management systems and interactive menus for the food industry. Lightspeed’s menu functionality is particularly sleek, providing HD photos, descriptions, and pricing for every menu item. You can also create loyalty programs to reward frequent customers and a full-fledged CRM, so you can really keep track of who’s coming and going.
Meanwhile, for retailers, Lightspeed offers plenty of hardware options to improve your efficiency and sales, like scanners, printers, and electronic cash drawers. The POS system also comes with sales reporting, merchant services, and an Ecommerce platform. What’s more, Lightspeed’s inventory management is in real-time, so you can tell customers on the spot whether or not you have a particular item left in stock.
If you’ve had any experience with POS systems in the past, then Clover will be a familiar name. That’s because this hardware is even used by other POS software providers, and that should tell you something about the system. Clover POS has all of the features you’d expect from a POS system, including built-in payment processing, order management, and customer management system. There are even marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, and birthday promotions to help grow your customer base. Clover offers other tools like shift management, scheduling, and register activity logs, as well.
Clover provides both stationary and portable hardware devices, so you can select the type of hardware that works best for your business needs and layout. Clover POS is also totally customizable with scalable plans, add-ons, and accessories that help you expand your reach as your business grows. Of course, if you want to go all out, Clover has some interesting features like customer feedback, guest management, and gift card generator.
Toast is a cloud-based restaurant-geared POS system provider with all the bells and whistles you could ask for. From the online ordering system to a loyalty rewards program, gift card generator, and detailed inventory management system, Toast has thought of it all. Splitting checks, simple order voiding, and closeout day functionality only sweeten the pot.
Unlike most POS systems, Toast runs on the Android operating system. What this means for a business owner is that the hardware is significantly cheaper to purchase and more versatile in terms of integration. Toast Go, the mobile hardware option, allows wait staff to manage their tables, orders, payments, and tabs tableside for faster and more efficient ordering. In general, Toast is a sleeker, smoother, easier POS system to use than most.
TouchBistro is another good choice for businesses of every size in the food industry. Whether you own a food truck or run a full-service restaurant, brewery, or nightclub, TouchBistro is the POS software that was specifically designed for your industry. That means it comes with features that cater to your needs, pressure points, and clientele. Food managers will appreciate details like self-ordering for faster service, a kitchen display system for faster and better communication between wait and kitchen staff, and a digital menu board for instant menu updates.
In addition to the usual perks, like reporting, analytics, and inventory management, these POS systems come fully loaded with features like tableside ordering, restaurant table management, and menu management. Managers will also appreciate the scheduling features included with TouchBistro hardware because it makes staff management so much simpler.
Revel incorporates all aspects of a reliable and efficient POS system into one. When it comes to retail stores or the food industry, Revel delivers a true omnichannel platform that lets you handle every aspect of your business, including Ecommerce, mobile sales, custom branded apps, and of course, in-store purchases.
Revel also has incredible inventory management. You can automate your orders, so the system automatically reorders items when you’re running low, and Revel excels at keeping track of inventory in real-time. In fact, you can even drill-down to ingredient inventory management.
Something else that makes Revel stand out is its userbase. While most POS system brands cater to SMBs, Revel has both a small business option and an enterprise-level one. So, no matter what the size of your business currently or in the future, this POS system can cover all the bases.
Oracle NetSuite is a unified business management platform comprising a suite of ‘modules’ including SuiteCommerce InStore, a point-of-sale solution. SuiteCommerce InStore provides your salespeople with all the tools they need to help them assist and engage shoppers. It includes enhanced customer profiles, order and inventory management, and dynamic merchandising–allowing you to fulfill customer preferences at the point of contact.
SuiteCommerce InStore ties your POS system seamlessly to all your operational business systems, eliminating the need for integrations between separate systems. Its touch-tablet user interface and responsive design deliver user-friendly digital tools across any device.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you are already more than familiar with Square. It’s unquestionably the most well-recognized POS system on the market today, and that’s not surprising. Offering no monthly fees and impressively low rates, Square is a favorite for low-volume businesses looking to save money. You can pay a flat rate of 2.6%+$.10 for swiped transactions and 3.5%+$.15 per keyed transactions. In case you aren’t in the know, those are really good rates.
Square isn’t just a cheap meal ticket, either. The iPad POS system is fully loaded with features like an Ecommerce platform, inventory management, and virtual payment terminals. Square is also mobile-friendly, comes with an API for developers, and tons of third-party integrations. While it’s not a good option for high-risk industries, Square is ideal for just about any other type of business, including at-home services, food industries, and retailers.
Toast has been rated the #1 POS for iPads on the iOS app store and earned plenty of positive reviews for its flexibility, features, and prices.
Simply put, a good POS system is one that can accommodate your business’ needs. It should be scalable, able to accommodate the size and diversity of products or services your business offers, and should have strong customer service support.
LightSpeed is a favorite POS system for retail businesses. It offers a solid Ecommerce platform as well as hardware options such as scanners and electronic cash drawers that are particularly useful for retailers.
|Cloud-Based POS Systems||On-Premise POS Systems|
|Relatively low-cost to buy and setup, but have higher ongoing costs||Expensive to setup and install, but carries very low ongoing costs|
|Always accessible from wherever you are, even if you’re out of the country||Comprehensive and extensive. On-premise POS systems can be used for very large and complex retail situations|
|Highly scalable||Not easily flexible or scalable|
|Easy to carry around, making it ideal for mobile businesses||Not easily portable, making it a poor choice for mobile businesses|
|Dependant on a good internet connection||Not reliant on the internet, so your POS system is always up and running even if the internet is down|
|Able to keep your data backed up on the cloud so that you won’t lose anything if the system crashes||At risk of losing all of your data if the server crashes|
|Easy to integrate with other business apps||Operated on a local server with all of your data and apps in your own network|
If you have long-term business plans and if your requirements are likely to continue to evolve as your business grows, then a cloud-based POS system is probably the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you have fixed needs or a small budget, you might be best served by choosing a traditional POS system.
Asking yourself these questions will help you choose the right POS system provider: