Gift shop owners are passionate about their business. Whether it’s a gift shop at museum, one located near a popular tourist attraction, or an eclectic collection of unique novelty items, gift shop owners love helping people find the perfect gift or souvenir.
But how much do you love dealing with the management side of the business? Keeping track of inventory, figuring out what sells and what doesn’t, finding and ordering new products, and knowing the financial health of the shop probably aren’t part of the love.
Instead of being frustrated by shop management, you could automate and streamline many shop management tasks with the right gift shop POS. Invest in the right one and it will track inventory, provide financial reports, facilitate discounts, and give you actionable insights through data analytics. The best POS is one that lets you do more of what you love while managing your gift shop like a business pro.
- 1 Top 5 Gift Shop POS Systems
- 2 The Best Gift Shop POS: Lightspeed Retail
- 3 A POS Solution Tailored to Gift Shops: GiftLogic
- 4 Solid Inventory Management Features: ShopKeep
- 5 Vend HQ
- 6 KORONA POS
- 7 What A Gift Shop POS Should Do for You
- 7.1 How easy is it to use?
- 7.2 Do you want it to be cloud-based?
- 7.3 Will it give you the reports you need?
- 7.4 What types of payments do you want to accept?
- 7.5 Can the POS grow with your business?
- 7.6 How reliable is the hardware?
- 7.7 Can you afford it?
- 7.8 Will you get effective customer service/support
- 8 Conclusion
Top 5 Gift Shop POS Systems
|Local or Cloud|
The Best Gift Shop POS: Lightspeed Retail
Lightspeed launched its first retail POS system in 2013. It’s been making a name for itself in retail POS solutions ever since with a strong focus on helping retailers work smarter, make data-driven decisions, and create better customer experiences. It accomplishes its mission by offering a POS system with the following core capabilities:
Accept any and all forms of payments, including credit and debit cards, and mobile payments. Payment fees for tapped, inserted, or swiped cards is 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction.
Lightspeed Retail’s inventory functionality is robust, including integrated catalogs, item bundling, multiple variations (size, color, etc.), unit cost tracking, low-stock alerts, special orders, work orders, layaways, and purchase orders.
Reporting and Analytics
Real-time tracking of everything that goes into business success for better decision-making is essential, and Lightspeed Retail includes all manner of sales reports, profit year-over-year, inventory reports, sales per employee, average transaction amount, and much more.
Lightspeed has its own eCommerce add-on with an online payments rate of 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction.
Your POS and its valuable data is available to you anytime, anywhere, on any device with an internet connection and web browser.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Lightspeed keeps customer profiles, purchase history, customer categories, and lifetime value of shoppers data at your fingertips.
We’ll go the extra mile because we think the best things in life are supposed to be free.
One-on-one onboarding session. For free, of course.
Webinars, demos and videos. Again, all totally free.
Unlimited 24/7 support. And it’s free, but you knew that.
Downsides of Lightspeed Retail
One potential downside of Lightspeed Retail for small, independent shops is its complexity. It has robust functionalities, many of which a smaller shop probably doesn’t need, such as CRM capabilities if your clientele is primarily made up of one-time visitors such as tourists.
Also, while there are lots of positive user reviews of Lightspeed Retail, there are also a significant number of complaints, mostly focused on unreasonable contract terms, affordability, and ineffective customer service/support.
The Last Word on Lightspeed Retail
What satisfied users of Lightspeed Retail mention most are its ease of use once you learn the system, its robust inventory tracking, real-time data analytics, and the eCommerce integration for those who need it. All in all, Lightspeed Retail is a great option for a gift shop POS solution.
A POS Solution Tailored to Gift Shops: GiftLogic
The strongest appeal of GiftLogic is how it is tailored specifically for gift shops, as opposed to other retail POS solutions that try to meet the needs of all kinds of retailers.
When you use a general retail POS in a gift shop environment, you often end up paying for features and capabilities you may never use. GiftLogic offers the following core features and functions:
With our easy to use layout, GiftLogic provides tracking for customers, loyalty programs, custom orders, layaways, and in house accounts. GiftLogic register delivers a configurable and logical solution to run your business optimally.
Our inventory control system tracks stock details accurately with item characteristics for more detailed data. Create your own labels, schedule promotions and so much more.
Our Client Relation Management Tool (CRM) stores names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, photos, and purchase history. GiftLogic will keep your contacts organized for marketing, analytics and historical data.
Our Management Dashboard overview is truly a standout feature for quick evaluation. GiftLogic point of sale provides complete store analysis tools to rapidly identify trends and patterns. We offer over 200 reports to choose from.
Employee Security helps you manage your store with confidence while gaining greater control over daily operations. GiftLogic’s robust permissions and security put you in complete control of what employees can view and perform. Grant access on a person to person basis to fit job requirements.
Inventory accuracy begins with purchasing and receiving. The GiftLogic PurchasePal system automates and creates suggested purchase orders. Thus providing a system to maximize your inventory’s profitability and turn rate.
Offer the ability to purchase larger ticket items or a larger quantity of items by offering layaways is a sure way to move more merchandise! Allowing customers to set aside the items they desire, but may not necessarily fit in their budget, is a valuable asset for any business.
Put down the price gun and replace those old labels with custom labels using the label creator included with GiftLogic software. Barcodes are essential for speed during checkout while a uniform price tag throughout the store offers organization.
Downsides of GiftLogic
The most common complaint in user reviews is that many features come at an additional cost, such as advanced email preferences, all the integrations offered with other business apps.
Other users note you have to be careful about the hardware, operating system, and related software such as Windows Office Suite, all of which has to match up precisely to their requirements in order to run the system and use all its features.
Many users found the system difficult to learn and feel there are too many steps required to complete what should be simple tasks.
The Final Verdict on GiftLogic
If your gift shop already relies on the Windows operating system and Windows software such as MS Office Suite, GiftLogic is an easy choice to make. Once you get past the learning curve, you won’t even notice your POS, which is exactly what you want.
For those who want the standout features of a POS to be the way it helps manage inventory and the robust reporting it includes, GiftLogic is the one you should more fully examine for your gift shop.
Solid Inventory Management Features: ShopKeep
ShopKeep was founded in New York in 2008 as a desktop POS solution, but quickly switched over to being an iPad POS in 2010. While their primary target market is restaurants and bard, the company’s ShopKeep Retail is a solid choice for gift shops. It offers the following core features and capabilities:
ShopKeep’s register functionality is smart, modern, fast, and efficient. You can customize the register layout for better speed, handle refunds and returns with or without receipts, and accept partial payments.
Automated inventory management tools help manage your stock, no matter how vast. The system can handle multiple product variants (size, color, style, etc.). You can quickly see what you have on hand and set up order triggers when something is running low.
Real-time data reporting and analytics give you actionable insights when you need them through our desktop computer or smartphone. See what products are your top sellers and nix the duds.
If you want to sell online, take advantage of ShopKeep’s integration with BigCommerce.
Downsides of ShopKeep Retail
Although it touts itself as the most affordable POS solution on the market, dissatisfied users tend to mention it being overpriced. Those who find it too expensive tend to especially mention the cost of hardware.
Other users have noted the system does not do well if a business moves large volumes of inventory. Other complaints note that while customer service/support is available, it’s not always very effective.
A number of users note that the company often blames poor internet service for many problems, but customers who upgraded to fiber optic internet still had a variety of random problems customer support could not solve.
The Final Word on ShopKeep Retail
There can be no doubt that ShopKeep will make your gift shop run more efficiently with its easy-to-use set of features, in spite of the occasional glitch or bug. And the fact that it comes with award-winning customer service/support makes it a great choice for a gift shop’s first POS solution. The integration with BigCommerce for eCommerce functionality only makes it all the more appealing for many people.
If you run a niche, boutique, specialty, or novelty gift shop, the Vend HQ POS deserves a closer look. It’s especially well-suited for smaller, lower-volume shops.
Vend came out with its POS solution in 2010, at which point is was nothing short of revolutionary as a cloud-based POS. Since that it had kept up with the latest trends and has continuously improved its offering. Vend HQ offers the following core features and capabilities:
You can run Vend as an entirely cloud-based app or install the POS software on iPad, Mac or PC knowing it will synch with the cloud database and back office. It also continues to function even if the internet is down and synchs when you’re back online. Users are impressed with how simple it is to use, as well as how easy it is to train staff on how to use it.
It can customize receipts with your brand, as well as print or email them, along with any notes or discounts you want to add to specific line items or the whole sale. It can handle layaways, purchases on-account, returns, refunds, and store credit. Individual staff accounts allow sales tracking by employee, and user permissions restrict access to only what they need.
Integrations with Shopify and WooCommerce means you can integrate Vend HQ with your online store for products, inventory, sales, and customers. Inventory synchs in real-time across all locations and systems. Data is also synched across systems in real-time.
Vend can work with a wide range of hardware, but be sure to check with them to ensure compatibility. Alternatively, the company also sells bundles of hardware guaranteed to work with its system. Pieces are also available to purchase individually.
All types of payments can be accepted, including credit, debit, and gift cards, as well as mobile/contactless such as ApplePay. Payments can be split among multiple payment types. Unlike many POS solutions, Vend lets you work with the payment processor of your choice.
Vend can handle multiple product variants (sizes, colors, materials, etc.). Products can also be bundled together for gift baskets. Existing barcodes can be imported, or you can create and print new ones. Pricing markups and discounts can be managed, as well as tax handling for different jurisdictions. Customizable reorder points for automatic ordering keep you stocked with the inventory to meet customer demand.
Customer profiles are all in one place with purchase histories, account balances, and loyalty points. Target emails to VIP customers with special discounts and offers.
You can build your own reports or utilize built-in reports on sales by product, brand, supplier, tag, employee, end-of-day and more to identify trends. Get your reports on the go using your phone. Data can also be exported for use in spreadsheet apps.
Downsides of Vend HQ
The most common user complaints about Vend tend to revolve around disliking the look and feel of the register interface, how quickly add-ons make it pricey, and its less-than-robust reporting capabilities.
Vend has developed its own eCommerce platform, but it’s not very good. Luckily, it has integrations with Shopify and WooCommerce for online sales.
The Last Word on Vend HQ
Vend HQ is one of the few POS solutions you can set up and start using without feeling like a complete idiot – it really is that easy and intuitive to use. It doesn’t offer tons of integrations, but it’s got the basics well covered. And although it may not have the most robust reporting, it’s good enough for most users.
In the final analysis, the combination of affordability and features make Vend a top contender for any gift shop owner.
Although the KORONA POS wasn’t launched until 2011, the German-based company behind it, Combase, dates back to 1994 and has deep experience in POS and inventory software solutions. If offers the following core features and functionalities:
General POS Features
The cloud-based POS (running locally on devices, synching to cloud) allows for special promotional pricing and deals, of which is reflected in all reports. Refunds and returns can be handled as money back or store credit. For accounting purposes, it integrates with QuickBooks. Set permissions by user to control what parts of the system are accessed. Track transaction histories by employee and shift. Employees and clock in and clock out through the POS. Custom promotions and discounts can be printed on receipts.
Import inventory databases for setup, receive automatic notifications about low inventory, and scan deliveries directly into inventory. See sales by item for winners and losers, label and tag products from the inventory management system, and set up automatic ordering based on inventory levels. Manage vendors/suppliers and what track their shipments to you.
Credit and debit cards, including EMV-chips, mobile/contactless payments with NFC technology through Apple Pay and Android Pay. Work with the payment processor of your choice. Payments can be split between customers as needed. Set up customer payment plans if needed. Offer gift cards redeemed through the POS.
Loyalty and CRM
Build a point-based loyalty program into your POS and customize its structure to fit your business. Loyalty program analytics reveal who buys want and which promotions work best. Collect, analyze and leverage customer information into more effective marketing.
Reporting and Metrics
Track reports on revenue and profits or by product or storewide, see seasonal effects on your inventory flow, and compare sales across time intervals of your choice. Check out average transaction amounts by day or employee. See inventory turnover rates by product to optimize ordering. Return rate reports show problematic products. View gross margin return on investment for every item to optimize pricing.
Downsides of KORONA POS
Many of the features you may want from this POS may only be available through add-on modules that each have their own monthly price ranging from $10-$50/month on top of their standard pricing per terminal of $49/month.
The most common user complaints have to do with how updates tend to change or take away functionalities that were well-liked. Others note that their inventory management options are limited in a way that makes it not an ideal choice for shops with a lot of apparel products (can’t list products by size variations or color).
Only two integrations are offered (bLoyal and QuickBooks), so if you’re hoping to integrate with a bunch of other business apps, you’d have to go through their REST API to make those happen.
The Final Verdict on KORONA POS
With an unlimited free trial, you have all the time you need to explore this POS to make sure it’s going to be the right choice for your gift shop. You can also pick and choose from among the add-on modules to make sure you get what you need and avoid what you don’t need. And unlike so many POS companies, the customer service/support is relatively fast and effective.
What A Gift Shop POS Should Do for You
It’s always worth reviewing what it is you want from a POS before making a decision. One way to figure that out is by asking yourself the following key questions:
How easy is it to use?
A POS you can’t figure out how to use is worse than worthless, it’ll damage your business. If a free trial of a POS you’re considering is available, take advantage of it! If only demos are available, make sure you verify with your own eyes how it accomplishes each function you need. The tasks you need to do the most often shouldn’t require a ton of steps. You want your POS to save you time and make you more efficient.
Do you want it to be cloud-based?
A surprising number of POS systems claim to be cloud-based when actually it’s a hybrid system where the POS software runs on your local devices and synchs with the back-office databases that are in the cloud.
Be sure to verify with any system using an internet connection that yours is robust enough, and that it can still run if the internet is down and synch up later when the connection is restore. A cloud solution should also give you the flexibility of managing your business remotely, anytime and anywhere on the device of your choice.
Will it give you the reports you need?
One of the most common user complaints about POS systems in general is that they don’t produce the exact reports a business wants to see. This is something you should be able to verify before buying into a system.
In some cases, reporting can be customized, but this isn’t always an easy or fast process. Is it important that your analytics and reporting happen with real-time data flow? Make sure that is part of the system. To what level can sales and profits be reported? You should be able to see reports that are storewide or all the way down to individual items.
What types of payments do you want to accept?
The vast majority of POS solutions are up-to-speed on secure payments, such as EMV, but be sure to verify this. From there you have to decide how many different forms of payment you want to accept, such as mobile/contactless options. Be sure you find out how any related payment processing fees are structured, and whether you’re locked into one payment processor or can choose one.
Can the POS grow with your business?
If your business begins to grow, can the POS grow with you? What will it cost to set up additional terminals? What about multiple store locations? Are the more advanced features you can add in later if you decide you them (eCommerce, gift cards, customer loyalty programs, email marketing, and so on).
How reliable is the hardware?
If you have existing hardware you want to keep using, verify whether or not a given POS can incorporate it. Examine hardware offerings carefully (especially if you have to use the hardware they offer) for cost, functionality, durability, and aesthetic appeal.
Can you afford it?
Every POS solution website shows its lowest possible price, which is rarely the price you’ll end up paying. The most basic offering probably won’t meet all your needs. Getting additional features means choosing a more expensive plan, adding on modules or features at an additional cost, and so on. Is support free or do you have to pay for it? What about payment processing fees?
Will you get effective customer service/support
By far the single most frequent user complaint of any POS system is the failure of the company’s customer service/support to provide timely, effective support when you need it most. This is one that’s harder to test beforehand, but do it if you can through a free trial if offered.
When there are literally hundreds of POS solutions out there, no one has the time to sift through all of them to try and come up with a short-list of options for your gift shop. We hope you found our shortcut to your short-list helpful! Any one of these five POS systems will help most gift shop owners take their business to a whole new level.