A point of sale (POS) system is a platform that offers your business more features and capabilities beyond a cash register.
It is essentially designed to make it easier for you to manage employees, customers and inventory, as well as other important aspects of your operation.
With such a system, you can also accept payments, complete sales, connect on-site and online sales, and make it easier for staff to communicate. However, you need to ensure that you invest in the right point of sale system.
As you will learn in this review, choosing the right POS system requires you to consider such aspects as the type of business, POS features, cost, integrations and support.
To make the choice even easier for you, here are reviews of 10 of the best POS systems for small businesses today.
- 1 Best POS Systems 2019 – Reviewing the Top 10 Providers
- 1.1 1. Toast POS – Best Overall
- 1.2 2. TouchBistro POS – The Best POS System for Restaurants
- 1.3 3. LightSpeed Retail POS – The Best POS System for Register Functionality
- 1.4 4. QuickBooks POS - The Best Locally-Installed POS System
- 1.5 5. Square POS – The Best Minimalistic POS system
- 1.6 6. Vend POS – The Best Exclusive Cloud-Based POS System
- 1.7 7. Shopify POS – The Most Affordable POS System
- 1.8 8. Booker POS – The Best POS System for Marketing Functionality
- 1.9 9. FastSpring POS – The Best POS System for Digital Products
- 1.10 10. TillPoint POS – The Best POS System for Hospitality and Retail Industry
- 2 Things You Need to Know Before Choosing a POS System
- 2.1 1. Features
- 2.2 2. POS Pricing
- 2.3 3. Cloud-Based vs. Locally Installed POS
- 2.4 4. Third-Party Hardware and Processor Compatibility
- 2.5 5. Contractor Lease
- 2.6 6. Ease of Use
- 3 Our Final Verdict
Best POS Systems 2019 – Reviewing the Top 10 Providers
1. Toast POS – Best Overall
Toast is arguably one of the best points of sale systems that are meant for small and medium-sized businesses today. This may be attributed to the fact that the system is packed with a horde of amazing built-in features and capabilities.
For instance, the system features an integrated online ordering system, ability to produce, accept as well as sell gift cards, restaurant inventory features and loyalty program capabilities. As compared to most of the leading cloud-based POS systems today, Toast runs on Android devices.
This alone makes it more affordable and compatible with more hardware. What you will love even more about this provider is its dedicated customer support. If this is your preferred point of sale system choice, here are some of the features you will love:
Close Out Day Function
This is one of the many handy features many of the current users love about the Toast POS system. This functionality is essentially an audit report that brings you up to date on employee activity as well as the status of all checks in the business.
This system is designed to automatically close out the checks that are not closed, but are paid for. Similarly, this feature will automatically clock-out the employees who forget to clock-out at the end of the day. Even without your intervention, the system will automatically accomplish such tasks each day at 4 am.
This is another innovative and highly-beneficial feature of this POS system, when it comes to table side ordering. The Toast Go handheld device has been optimized and integrated into the system to make table side ordering easier and more convenient.
Using this device, servers will find it easier to accept orders and send them directly to the kitchen. Additionally, this device makes it possible for the staff to communicate with your customers and even make instant changes to orders.
2. TouchBistro POS – The Best POS System for Restaurants
What if you had a POS system that allowed the servers to walk to the customers to take orders and payments? Well you obviously would not have customers standing in lines for hours waiting to be served. With TouchBistro POS, this is now possible.
The first thing that will draw you into this product is its innovative software that has been proven to be intuitive. The POS system is essentially designed for restaurants, bars and cafes. In this regard, the system features a simplistic design, running solely on mobile iPads.
The various iPads you are using for the POS in your business are then synchronized through a local network. So, what exactly are the features that make this system exceptional?
As a restaurant, café or bar owner, you already understand the important of adding a Kiosk, if not two, in your business. With Touchbistro as the POS of choice in your business, this is not only possible; it is quite easy. To begin with, the system features an easy-to-use design with tables on the top.
Using these tabs, your customers will be able to view specific items or the entire menu under various categories. The customizable menu offered by the POS allows you to offer information on pairings, nutrition information and portion sizes on the items you are offering.
With this feature, checkout is also simple and straightforward for the customers. In this regard, the system accepts either cash or card payments at checkout.
For restaurants and bars, the right POS solution must offer in-depth inventory management capabilities. As a matter of fact, the right system should allow you to track the various ingredients you are using in the establishment. The TouchBistro POS does not frustrate, in this regard.
With this system, you can easily track the costs of different recipes to identify the ones that are more profitable. Again, your staff will be able to access ingredient levels to see if any is running low. Not only does this system allow you to customize your menu, updating the menu is just as easy.
3. LightSpeed Retail POS – The Best POS System for Register Functionality
Get yourself a premium-class point of sale system that features exceptional register functionality. Lightspeed is a product of choice for retail businesses that are looking for the best cloud-based POS system that is packed with a surfeit of features.
Owing to its superior capabilities, this solution has been proven to deliver a diverse functionality and is one of the most popular POS systems today. Currently, LightSpeed is being used by more than 50,000 businesses across the globe. So, what do these businesses find exceptional about this POS?
The Lightspeed POS system allows you to accept all payment options in your business, including debit and credit cards, cash, store credit check and gift cards. With this feature, you can either print the receipts or email them to your customers after every sale.
You may also have barcodes printed on your gift cards using this POS. This not only makes the gift cards easy to process, it also makes them reusable. From the register, you will have a access to discounting options, ability to suspend or hold sales or even transfer them to another device.
Recently, the provider unveiled an intuitive eCommerce platform that integrates to the Lightspeed POS. to get this functionality on your POS; you are required to make an additional payment, with plans starting at $59 per month.
At this entry level, the platform will offer you omnichannel capabilities, 250 products, personalized onbiarding, access to the App store and 24/7 support. You will also be glad to learn that you can customize this eCommerce platform whichever way you desire.
In this regard, the provider offers you 60 themes to help you customize the platform and at no extra cost.
4. QuickBooks POS - The Best Locally-Installed POS System
Currently, QuickBooks is renowned for its exceptional accounting software. One of the good things about the QuickBooks POS is that it allows you to integrate with QuickBooks accounting software. Additionally, the system offers all the basic features and capabilities of a retail POS.
The fact that it is a locally-installed POS solution implies that you need to take responsibility for infrastructure security. This also means that you have to incur the rather expensive setup and support costs associated with locally-installed POS systems.
However, the QuickBooks POS has several exceptional capabilities to speak of, some of which include:
Real-time Inventory Management
Not only does the QBPOS keep your inventory well organized, it also keeps the inventory up to date by adjusting it in accordance to every sale or return.
With this feature, you will be able to capture such inventory information as item description, cost, department, size, color, sales price, quantity, tax status, UPC, Vendor, reorder point and ALU.
To help you maintain the stock, the system will automatically track the stock that is moving or not and notify you whenever you are running low. In this regard, the preorder uses preset settings to let you know when you are running out of any item in stock.
As you will come to learn, this POS offers one of the best, in-depth inventory features you will ever find. The Pro version of the system, for instance, offers you such additional capabilities as assigning pictures to items, viewing inventory turn statistics, track serial numbers and keep track of layaways.
You will love the intuitive dashboard design and layout offered by this system. At a glance, the dashboard will give you an overview of the best as well as worst selling items in the business. the dashboard will also you to view department summary, common returns, sales over time, item summary, tax summaries and purchase summary.
From a single look of the dashboard, you will be able to tell how your business is faring. In this regard, the system will present you with important summary reports and analysis of the business. For instance, the dashboard displays a department sales graph.
5. Square POS – The Best Minimalistic POS system
If you are looking for a modern, feature-rich POS solution that will help you grow your business, Square POS will be a great choice. Although this system has a rather limited number of features, you will love its remarkable ease of use.
Since its inception, the Square POS provider has been working towards developing an easy-to-use point of sale system. With regards to design, the system comes with large, easy-to-navigate and color-coded screens. As such, the system is easy to navigate with minimal or no training at all.
Additionally, the system is packed with superior capabilities, some of which include:
If you are a small restaurant owner, this system has several features that are specifically meant for your business type. For instance, Square feature automatic tip reminders. Additionally, the system makes it possible for your customers to order online for takeout items.
Once orders are placed online, the system will send the tickets directly to the kitchen for preparation. As you can imagine, this will save your employees a considerable amount of time.
Credit Processors Compatibility
While Square is a credit processor on its own, this POS system allows you to use alternative card processors. In this regard, the POS is compatible with such options as Android pay and Apple pay as well as all the major credit cards.
Adding the right hardware to your POS will allow you to accept even more options, such as tap, dab and swipe payments.
6. Vend POS – The Best Exclusive Cloud-Based POS System
What about a very powerful point of sale system that entirely works on the cloud? If such is your desired POS, then Vend will be a great choice. Currently, the system is rated one of the most user friendly software.
Owing to its frequent updates, you will find this POS system to have minimal flaws, if any. Over the years, the provider has been able to develop a powerful inventory system, a unique omnichannel approach to sales as well as online and in-store capabilities.
You will find Vend to be an all-rounded POS solution as it allows for integrations with third-party integrations and software. Some of the features you will love about this product include:
The system maintains several price books, which may be used in several ways. As such, it will be possible for you to keep separate price books depending on specific customer groups or store location. The price books allow you to carry out such tasks as apply discounts, set timeframes for specific prices.
The system is packed with a vast array of innovative features for your Front of House. In this regard, the POS presents you with such tools as quick keys. These may be saved as templates in the system to make checkouts even easier and fast.
With this capability, you can as well add quick notes to your sales. Such notes may include discounts or instructions that directly relate to the transaction.
7. Shopify POS – The Most Affordable POS System
If you have been shopping for the best POS system for a small business, you must have come across the Shopify POS. The popularity of this system may be attributed to its affordability, seamless integration with Shopify eCommerce and Robust CRM as well as reporting capabilities.
Since its introduction into the market, the system has been offering a thorough customer support, intuitive POS design and rather affordable pricing structure. With regards to functionality, this POS system has a lot to offer, including:
One of the objectives of having a point of sale system is to make checkouts easier, more convenient and accurate. As such, Shopify POS is equipped with an array of checkout features to make things easier and fun for your employees.
In this regard, the system offers you such checkout capabilities as custom sales, portable registers, discounts, custom receipts, automatic tax calculations and shipping addresses.
Managing a business requires you to make hard decisions. To make informed business decisions, you need insight as well as accurate and timely business data. This is why Shopify POS has a unique blend of management features and capabilities.
Some of the management features you will love about this product include order histories, powerful reporting tools and customer profiles. With the advanced versions of Shopify POS, you will also be able to create multiple employee accounts.
Each of the staff accounts, in this case, will be protected by a secure and unique PIN code. All the activity on your register will then be tracked through these staff accounts for enhanced accountability.
8. Booker POS – The Best POS System for Marketing Functionality
For a reasonable price, the Booker point of sale system offers a great blend of features and complexity in an intuitive design.
The use of minimal tabs makes the interface easy to navigate for most people. The provider offers a payment processor that is relatively appealing.
Booker essentially offers payment processing by integrating with such processors as Bank of America, First Data, Wells Fargo, Vantif, SubLyme, Integrity and PNC. Other desirable and unique capabilities of this product include:
Customer Booking Experience
Booker is true to its name, makes booking easier and fun for your customers. Booking with this system is ideally accomplished by copying and pasting the right HTML to your business website. To achieve this, the system displays a button that is supposed to redirect the customer to your booking page.
Additionally, you will have the opportunity to customize your booking page in accordance to your preferences. With Booker, you can allow your frequent customers to create accounts on your booking page. The customers may use these accounts to store their booking information for later use.
Another aspect that sets this system apart from its competitors is its marketing capabilities. The integrated marketing feature on Booker allows you to centralize your online business activities. For instance, you will be able to send out social media blasts from your Marketing Tab.
To help you carry out email marketing, Booker partnered with MailChip. In this regard, the provider allows you to automate simple email marketing tasks. This feature allows you to preset conditions, under which the client with receive your emails automatically.
9. FastSpring POS – The Best POS System for Digital Products
As mentioned earlier in this guide, the best POS system has to offer industry-specific capabilities for your business type.
What if you only deal with digital products, such as content, SaaS, software of Cloud services? In such a case, you will need a POS solution that is custom-made for such a business.
FastSpring is undoubtedly one of the best POS solutions for businesses that deal in digital products. As a matter of fact, the product is specifically designed for businesses that specialize in digital products as well as distribution models.
FastSpring POS may not be the most popular point of sale system in the market. However, the system boasts of a unique set of features and capabilities for such businesses. Some of the spectacular features of this POS include:
Back Office and Tax Management
Outsourcing your back office operations will help you remain secure and compliant with tax regulations.
In this regard, the provider will manage the important back office operations of your business, such as VAT filing, Sales Tax, Order processing, billing and online payments.
Additionally, the provider offers checkout options in different languages and supports an array of payment options. You will also love the fact that the solution offers complete fraud and PCI protection solutions.
If you are looking forward to giving your customers exceptional checkout experience, FastSpring got you covered. In this regard, the provider offers a flexible, modern as well as intuitive checkout experience. The POS system will essentially offer your customers a pop up checkout feature.
The pop up checkout is designed to adapt to the customer’s currency, location and shopping preferences.
10. TillPoint POS – The Best POS System for Hospitality and Retail Industry
Last, but not the least, TillPoint is another superior POS system you should consider.
With this provider, you can choose to buy the all-in-one EPOS system or the EPOS software only. Basically, this system is meant for businesses in the hospitality and retail industries.
As such, the provider offers your business a complete hardware and software package to get started right away. So, what features set this system apart from its competitors?
This is a capability that is unique to this point of sale system. The feature allows you to create and view multiple quotations. This makes it easier for you to add all the items you have in your inventory with a single click.
The feature then allows you to send your quotations directly to your customers. For this feature, the provider offers several customization options. This makes it possible for you to develop personalized templates for all bespoke quotes in your business.
This option gives you an opportunity to showcase your products and services. With this capability, every item you add to your inventory will be automatically added to the product catalogue. As such, this feature will help you optimize the store and improve brand perception among potential customers.
Things You Need to Know Before Choosing a POS System
As a business owner, you must know that having the right POS system will make running your business easier, right? Basically, point of sale systems are designed to make it easier for small as well as larger business owners to keep track of sales, employees, and inventory and customers in their businesses.
While this is the case, not all the POS systems available today are best suited for your business. This is why a considerable number of business owners are having a hard time choosing a POS system today. Well, this choice does not need to be a cumbersome one, but you have to know what to look for.
If you are in the market for a new POS system, here are some of the key considerations you need to make:
First things first; POS needs vary from one business to another. As such, a POS that is best suited for salons and spas may not be a great choice for a grocery store.
This means that the right POS features will mainly depend on your specific business type.
While there are numerous general purpose POS systems that are meant for small and medium-sized businesses, you may need to settle for an industry-specific POS solution.
Such systems tend to have custom-made suits of features and capabilities; made for a specific business.
Mapping out the precise functionality you would want your system to have will give you a better idea on which POS solution to opt for. For instance, would you like to add a self-checkout Kiosk or just want a system that offers more advanced email marketing capabilities?
To give you an idea of what you may need, here are some of the POS needs based on the type of business:
POS Features for Retail Stores
If you own a retail store, these are some of the POS features and capabilities you should look for in your preferred provider:
- Advanced inventory capability, probably with matrix
- eCommerce integration
- Gift cards
- Loyalty programs
- Shipping features and capabilities
- Customizable SKUs
POS Features for Restaurants and Foodservice Businesses
What if you own a bar or restaurant? Your POS needs will certainly vary from those of a retail business owner, right? In such a case, here are some of the features you should look for in a restaurant POS system:
- Delivery Apps
- Online ordering
- Ability to integrate Kitchen Display System (KDS)
- Tip/Check splitting capabilities
- Front of House and Back of House Communication
- Loyalty programs
- Table layout and management capabilities
- Table-side ordering and payment processing
- Advanced Inventory capabilities, preferably with ability to track individual ingredients
POS Features for Service Providers
If you happen to offer services rather than sell goods and commodities, you will need a feature that caters for your specific needs. In this regard, these are some of the POS features you should look for:
- Online reservations
- Advanced scheduling for rooms, people and equipment
- Customer-facing booking hardware
- Loyalty programs
- eCommerce integration
- Gift cards
As you can see, none of those generic POS systems available today will serve your specific business needs. That said, it is advisable to get a solution that is tailor-made for your business.
2. POS Pricing
Regardless of what your business needs for a POS are, your choice will eventually boil down to what you can afford. However, your choice of the right POS system should not be solely determined by its affordability. Many business owners may be tempted to go for the cheaper POS options, but cheap is often the wrong choice.
As you may have noticed, different POS companies charge differently for their solutions. The best way to go about this is to try and get the best value for your money. In this regard, you have to consider all the aspects that influence the pricing of point of sale systems, including:
Much of the upfront cost you will be required to pay, if any, by your preferred provider will be for POS hardware. Basically, it is the size of your business that will determine the much hardware you will need. It goes without saying that the more hardware you need, the more you should expect to pay in hardware costs.
For instance, if you own a small restaurant, you will only need a tablet, a cash box and a credit card processor as your POS hardware. For a multi-location business chain, you will need more POS hardware components, such as several POS terminals hardware, bump bars, receipt printers, cash drawers, barcode scanners and probably digital board menus.
The much you will end up paying for your POS hardware will also depend on whether it is an Ipad/Android solution you will be installing or will need proprietary hardware. Regardless of the case, most of the leading providers offer flexible pricing options for their hardware.
In addition to the hardware, you will need POS software to have a functional POS system in your business. This is another factor that will affect the much you have to spend for your POS. When it comes to software costs, most providers are very transparent.
In this regard, the provider will let you know whether you are required to pay a one-time licensing fee or will have to continue paying for monthly subscriptions. As such, you need to factor in the much you will be required to pay each month for your software subscription into the pricing.
Some POS providers are also known to charge for software support and upgrades. This being the case, you need to check whether your preferred provider charges additional software fees before deciding.
Credit Card Processing Costs
When deciding on whether they can afford a POS provider, many business owners tend to overlook the card processing fees. If you would like to incorporate card processing capabilities into your POS system, then you need to worry about card processing costs.
To be able to process debit and credit card transactions using your POS, most providers require you to set up a merchant account. While choosing the right provider, you need to keep the recent EMV Liability Shift in mind. In this regard, you need to get a POS system and processor that is EMV-compliant.
Additionally, you should consider the processors supported by your preferred POS system as well as the much they charge per card transaction. You will save more with the EMV-compliant card processors that charge less per transaction.
As a rule of thumb, you should get a pos system that offers most of the features and capabilities you need in your business. While most of the industry-specific POS providers try to achieve this, you may still need to use third-party integrations with your POS.
As you will come to realize, some of the third-party POS integrations available today are free. However, a considerable number of these integrations come at a cost. This is often in the form of monthly subscriptions. Some third-party services will even charge you to sync your POS data to external servers.
This extra charge will also affect the much you need to spend on your POS system in the long run. To save more on your system, it is advisable to get a solution that requires minimal integrations to offer the features and capabilities you need.
You may think of this as unfortunate, but some POS vendors have been known to charge for support. For most of the leading cloud-based POS providers, support services are offered as part of the monthly subscription. In such a case, you will get 24/7 access to support, provided you have paid your monthly subscription.
However, you often have to pay extra to get premium support services, such as on-site training. This is particularly the case for locally-installed POS systems. As you may have realized, most of such systems charge exorbitant fees for technical support.
With regards to support charges, cloud-based point of sale systems may prove to be more affordable in the long run.
3. Cloud-Based vs. Locally Installed POS
While there are some providers offering locally installed POS systems, cloud-based systems appear to be the preferred option. For those upgrading from traditional cash register and do not need sophisticated POS functionality, a locally installed POS may suffice.
Though considered to be more stable, locally installed POS systems are becoming a thing of the past. Among the key downsides of these POS systems include high support costs, expensive hardware—especially the servers, and a limited number of features.
As opposed to such systems, cloud-based POS systems are more mobile, convenient and offer more advanced POS capabilities. Additionally, business data collected by these systems is stored in the cloud. This allows you to manage the business and access important business data anytime from wherever you are.
You will also find most of the best cloud-based POS systems today to be a more affordable option. This is partly because they do not require you to pay hefty charges for support.
4. Third-Party Hardware and Processor Compatibility
As your business grows, your POS needs may change. When that happens, you need to ensure that your POS system can accommodate the changes. So, what options do you have on this subject? Well, most POS systems are only compatible with hardware by their provider.
For instance, there are those POS providers that require you to only use their proprietary hardware and card processing fees. This can be very limiting and even expensive, should you decide to upgrade your POS. Again, changing your POS software may render the hardware unusable; in such a scenario.
While this is the case, there are still providers that allow you to use third-party hardware and card processors of your choice. You will find such POS systems to be more scalable and affordable. In such a case, you only need to ensure that the hardware you intend to buy is compatible with the POS system.
5. Contractor Lease
In a bid to make their POS hardware more affordable, some providers may allow you to sign a lease contract. This allows you to pay a more affordable monthly charge for a preset period to clear the upfront hardware cost.
This appears to be an appealing choice for many business owners today. However, it has its fair share of downsides. For instance, you will not be able to change to a more affordable or feature-rich POS for the period of the contract.
Again, lease contracts are known to be costlier in the long run, as compared to paying for the hardware upfront. As such, it is advisable to buy your POS hardware outright whenever you can.
6. Ease of Use
Your preferred POS system may be affordable and packed with a horde of industry-specific features, but how usable is it? Basically, you need to ensure that your preferred system is relatively easy to implement and use for the staff.
You do not want to waste time and business resources training your employees on how to use a POS system, right? To begin with, the right POS should feature an intuitive interface; one that is comparatively easy to learn and fun to use.
Our Final Verdict
With the right retail point of sale system, you will be able to track the inventory, accept payments, connect online sales to on-site sales, manage your staff and customers as well as manage tax information. However, choosing the right system can be a daunting task.
Whether you are looking for a minimalistic and affordable POS solution or need a more complex feature-rich system, this guide will help you choose. Both the reviews and the guide will make it easier for you to choose the best POS system for your business.