Running a liquor store is hard work. With many state and federal regulations for this industry, liquor store owners need a POS system to help them remain compliant.
Finding a good POS system means more than just quality inventory control. Ideally, you’ll want a system that offers mix and match pricing, discounts, customer loyalty, and other top features.
Additionally, your liquor store software should be easy to use, synchronize multiple locations, offer age verification, and of course solid inventory management and tracking.
In this guide, we’ll examine the top features and pricing of the top five liquor POS systems. As with any business, you’ll need a system that can help you track sales and maximize profits.
The goal is to help you run a successful and efficient liquor store operation. Our top software picks can all help you manage your inventory like a pro, track customers, and ensure that their operations are running as smoothly.
Also, these systems are efficient and legally-compliant, factors that all help determine a liquor store’s success.
- 1 Comparing the 6 Best Liquor Store POS Systems
- 2 1. Korona: Best Overall
- 3 2. POS Nation: Better Liquor Store Management Made Easy
- 4 3. IT Retail: Cutting-Edge Payment Technologies
- 5 4. Vend: All-In-One Liquor Store POS Software
- 6 5. CashierLive: Solid Inventory Management for Liquor Stores
- 7 6. mPower Beverage Software: Superb Customer Loyalty Feature
- 8 Top Reasons to Get a Liquor Store POS System
- 9 Ready to Utilize a POS System In Your Liquor Store?
Comparing the 6 Best Liquor Store POS Systems
1. Korona: Best Overall
KORONA has been in the liquor store industry for the past several decades and grown rapidly in the United States, now serving thousands of liquor retailers. The software comes with many features that have been designed specifically for the industry.
The solution is cloud-based and offered to businesses as a subscription service. All updates are automatically included in the subscription, so users always have the most advanced version. KORONA subscriptions start at $49/month per terminal and come with no contracts, processing agreements, extra fees, or cancellation penalties.
Liquor Store Inventory
The biggest hurdle for most liquor retailers is conquering a massive inventory. KORONA comes with the most robust inventory management system on the market. The solution handles automated ordering, stock notifications, par levels, vendor management, and more.
The software offers liquor stores added convenience with pricing and promotions. It’s simple to set case breaks, create bundled deals, or create any custom promotions that suit your store.
Any changes are applied in real-time and reflected in the backend reporting. Liquor stores can set specific time frames for promotions and adjust them to be for individual items, storewide, or across multiple locations.
KORONA ensures that each cashier gets an age verification prompt for each customer. Plus, stores can set custom permission levels for each employee, controlling drawer access, no sales, voids, comps, price edits, and more. And individual shift reports and a time clock manager helps liquor stores monitor performance and scheduling.
The robust inventory management allows KORONA to offer in-depth reporting, too. Hundreds of custom KPI reports can be generated within seconds. These help liquor stores identify overall trends, employee performance, best and worst sellers, revenue, margins, promotions, and a whole lot more.
Loyalty and CRM
KORONA comes standard with a point-based loyalty system. This allows liquor retailers to create a customer database and offer shoppers an incentivized loyalty program. For a more robust CRM system, KORONA integrates with Bottlecapps, the most popular liquor store CRM.
The software integrates with various pieces of hardware, including desktops, touchscreens, self-checkout kiosks, tablets, modern payment machines, and all over peripherals.
The software is built to scale with businesses and seamlessly caters to multi-store liquor chains or franchises. Data can be transferred quickly when opening a new location, and all reports and sales metrics can be run by an individual store or as the entire operation.
For franchises, KORONA will calculate royalty payments helping automate more for both the franchisor and franchisee.
2. POS Nation: Better Liquor Store Management Made Easy
Founded in 2001 with a company motto of “We help small businesses think big,” POS Nation has served up point-of-sale solutions to more than 7,500 merchants. Although it can tailor its POS software to a wide range of industry verticals, one of its core offerings is for liquor stores.
The POS Nation liquor store solution can be deployed in a variety of ways, including Cloud/SaaS/Web, installed – Mac, installed – Windows, mobile – Android Native, and mobile – iOS Native. Whatever installation type best suits a business, users will appreciate all its general POS functions along with a range of features specific to liquor stores.
Liquor store operators have a number of unique needs that need to be addressed by any POS solution, such as age verification.
POS Nation steps up to the plate with the following:
- Case-Break Inventory Tracking: Inventory can be tracked by the case, bottle or six-pack. When a case is broken, the POS automatically converts one case into individual bottles.
- An Inventory Database Aligned to the Business: Don’t waste time on a standard database with products not sold at your business. POS Nation helps create your specific inventory database.
- Mix-and-Match Pricing Specials: Liquor stores love to run mix-and-match specials, and POS National makes setting up any kind of combination discounts easy.
- Age Verification: Maintain compliance with an ID scanner to verify each customer is at least 21 years of age. NOTE: The ID scanner is an upgrade purchase.
Robust Standard Features
The POS Nation solution also offers all the basics needed in a liquor store POS, including the following:
- Hardware: Basic hardware included in any plan includes a Touch PC, MSR, Receipt Printer, Cash Drawer, Scanner, and Chip Card Reader.
- Vendor Management and Purchase Order Creation: When the system detects you’re down to 10 bottles of Hennessy, it will automatically reorder another five cases, sending the order directly to your preferred distributor by email. When the order arrives, your inventory will automatically update.
- Inventory Counts: The Pocket Inventory feature and handheld inventory device make counts easy, whether by case or bottle. NOTE: Handheld inventory device is an upgrade purchase.
- Sales Reports and Analysis: Quickly see which brands drive sales and profitability with 50+ built-in reports.
- CRM and Loyalty: Having customer information and histories at your fingertips is essential to catering to their needs, as well as having built-in loyal program features.
- Transactions and Payments: Barcode scanning and touchscreen lookups speed up checkout during busy times, and any form of payment (including credit cards) can be accepted with POS Nation Payment Processing.
POS Nation can be paid for three different ways: Pay on a monthly basis bundling software and hardware together for $119/month (requires separate agreement with Worldpay processing for payments); pay up-front for the basic hardware bundle of $1,249 and then pay $69/month for the software; or own both the software and hardware up-front at a cost of $1,999.
3. IT Retail: Cutting-Edge Payment Technologies
Its cloud-based POS solutions are built on the Microsoft platform (Microsoft Windows, SQL Server, .Net) and interface with the Microsoft suite of products, allowing businesses to eliminate the cost of maintaining their own servers, but can also work with site-hosted configurations.
Because IT Retail was developed for grocery stores and markets, it’s not as robustly tailored to the needs of liquor stores as other options, but translates well enough with its core features and functionalities.
The liquor store inventory management feature is capable of tracking bottles and cans, whether they are sold individually, in 6-packs, in a case, or all three.
In order to stay compliant with age restrictions on purchasing alcohol, the POS system can be configured to force entry of each customer’s date of birth before ringing up a transaction. Age verification is very important to any liquor store owner.
IT Retail supports all the latest payment technologies for customer convenience such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, 1-Second EMV, EBT, and swipe. All credit card transactions function even when if your internet connection is down, and will automatically sync back up with the cloud when you’re back online.
Employee Management and Theft Protection
Your employees can clock in and out directly through the POS system. This holds your staff members accountable for product inventories during their shifts. It also allows you to track employee performance to generate actionable insights from all transactions.
Note that hardware is not included in any IT Retail plans and must be purchased separately. Small, independent stores can use the software for $99/month using the payment processor of your choice. There are also plans for larger single stores (supermarkets) and chains (enterprise), but pricing for those is by quote only.
4. Vend: All-In-One Liquor Store POS Software
After countless hours of research and going through user reviews, we’ve (happily) settled on Vend as one of our top-picks for liquor store point of sale software. Why you may ask? Read on to find out!
Vend offers a giant, laundry-list of features, checking boxes on more than just a simple point of sale solution. For example, Vend works both on the cloud and offline. This means you can sync up your iPads, Macs or PCs, and continue selling when the Internet goes down.
In the event your connection does go down, Vend’s liquor store POS system will sync all your sales automatically. There’s no fear of losing data or tracking failure with Vend. Vend even offers fast staff training, discounts and notes, custom receipts, layaway and on-account sales options, returns, refunds, store credit, cash management, and even a multi-user platform!
Do More with Vend
With Vend, the opportunities and possibilities are endless – you’ll keep your inventory flawless and create an easier work environment in the process. What’s the most impressive feature of Vend? The price! Vend offers three different user plans for your liquor store business. Beginning with the starter plan at $69 monthly, it offers an advanced package at $79 after that, followed by a multi-outlet option for $199 monthly.
Each plan offers distinctive features, increasing in number and in utility as the price does. Check out our in-depth review of these payment plans, and even more info on Vend, in our review below.
A Little Bit About The Company
Vend describes its establishment as a company that has taken retail management software to the cloud. They partner with the best, they claim, teaming up with establishments like Apple, PayPal, Square, Shopify, Xero, iZettle and more. Even more than that, they’ve got the support to back them up, legitimizing their claims with 20,000 stores across 140 countries using their system. Vend also specializes in customer loyalty program and more.
Vend claims to make running your liquor store easier, offering not only a strong checklist of must-have features for your liquor store, but also offering 24-7 global support every day of the year.
With Vend, each staff member can create their own, custom user profile to help aid in tracking sales, and you, as the business owner have access to restrict what specific users can see or do. There are even neat features like discount and notes, cash management, and quick, intuitive staff training. This makes Vend a top contender among liquor store POS software options.
More than that, one of the features Vend is proudest of is the cloud-computing software. You can access your software from any device at any time, allowing you to work and manage your business from anywhere and as often as you see fit. Better than that, though, you can continue using Vend even when you’re offline. Worried about all the sales and data you input while you were offline?
Don’t be. Vend has you covered. It automatically syncs up all the sales and transactions you made while you were offline, guaranteeing swift and accurate tracking.
Now, to the biggest and best point of all – the point of sale and inventory tracking feature. As a liquor store, you’re constantly organizing, tracking, and bringing in an influx of new, old, and featured wine, beer, or spirit products. That’s a lot to manage, and even more, that’s a lot to track flawlessly.
With Vend, inventory counts, stock orders, inventory control, bar codes and labels, and stock transfers are a breeze. This point of sale program offers all the features you need to sync your products across all channels, tracking your inventory, and ensuring that you always have the top-selling products in stock.
It’s no secret that Vend is our winner, by and large, for the best liquor store point of sale system!
5. CashierLive: Solid Inventory Management for Liquor Stores
Following close behind Vend is our second-favorite point of sale system and software, CashierLive. The company, a Chicago-based establishment that began in 2008, aims to provide a low-cost point of sale system to independent liquor stores and retailers.
Their website states that though they began in 2008, they already have customers all across the United States. As they grow aggressively, they are working to implement new features that liquor store owners want to see in a point of sale solution.
However, CashierLive is not only committed to improving its own product and providing excellent customer service to its users. This POS solution takes pride in their web-based distribution that allows for easy set-up, installation, and automatic upgrades. They claim to be 100% focused on retailers, especially small to medium-sized establishments.
CashierLive is a cloud-based system that works everywhere. Accepting payments is simple, allowing transactions to be made quickly and efficiently – faster than ever before. In addition to that, CashierLive lists features such as email receipts, customer tracking, and hardware compatibility. Also, split payments, inventory management and searches, transaction holding and barcode scanning.
Let’s dive in and take a closer look at inventory management and searching. As a liquor store, you’re not only selling but holding thousands of different labels and brands in your inventory.
No matter how many products you sell, though, CashierLive has you covered. They make it easy for you to search through your inventory, providing you with a number of ways to filter items, like UPC, description, supplier, reorder number, and more.
Further, it works with a VIN and barcode scanner system. Ringing up items should be easy, and with the provided barcode scanner, you’re able to collect all the information on the items within your inventory. CashierLive can make it even easier, allowing you to hook up Bluetooth with an iPad or using the camera on your iPhone to scan the barcode.
Once again, this POS system provides live 24/7 support. There is no waiting for a live person or shuffling through awkward automated systems. Instead, if you are facing a busy night at your business, you know that CashierLive can immediately help you solve your problems.
A huge benefit to CashierLive is their multi-location capabilities. In other words, if you own multiple stores you know without a dought that you can access all of your data for those stores on one POS system. This is a huge benefit, especially if your stores are far apart and it is difficult to check in regularly.
The pricing for CashierLive is hard to beat when you consider the number of features offered. For just $75 monthly per location, you’re able to unlock all the features that CashierLive offers, including unlimited registers, unlimited inventory, and even more impressive, unlimited technical support 24-7. They even offer you a 14-day trial to test out if it’s the right system for you!
6. mPower Beverage Software: Superb Customer Loyalty Feature
It is designed and developed by InfoSolve, Inc. It features dozens of reasons why we believe it to be one of the best.
For starters, the software can be installed remotely with current technology. This gives you the abilities and immediate access to your retail POS software.
The POS Software can import current inventory or use a pre-loaded database of over 20,000 standard beverage items. This is done with UPC, descriptions, sizes, case packs, and assignment in the correct department and category.
More than that, the ordering modules available can help you decide and order what you need based on stock levels and selling velocity. Your inventory will have room for only the hot-selling items that make sense for you.
You can review your history, edit your quantities and cost. Not to mention, you can create purchase orders for multiple vendors all with the push of a button.
Other features in this software include inventory monitoring, company messages, time clocks, barcode scanning, and customer tracking. It also helps you keep your inventory, products, and customer organization in line at all times.
The customer loyalty program on mPower is not to be reckoned with. This POS system allows you to provide your customers with discounts based on how often they shop at your store.
Additionally, the program allows you to set discounts when customers purchase entire cases of a product. This can be a huge benefit when servicing restaurants or customers who know what they like. It also prevents your employees from needing to check and re-check price points whenever they sell a large quantity.
When it comes to having multiple stores, mPower simply takes the cake. Not only can you check in on your stores from any place at any time, but it also allows for sales to span all stores. What does this mean?
Basically, all of your stores can have sales of the same items at the same time or allows your customers to use loyalty cards at all locations. This creates an incredibly easy way for you to make sure your customers across regions are satisfied.
Customer service for mPower is not as strong as other services. Though they do offer a live line, they recommend that you send many concerns via email. This can simply take longer than most stores prefer.
The pricing module is a bit different than other software we’ve seen. We still think it offers an effective bang for your buck. It has three main components: software license, professional services, and hardware. Initially, the licensing costs $2,200 for the first register in each location. This is followed by an additional charge of $1,750 for additional registers.
Cloud computing services will then costs a monthly fee, beginning with $75 per location monthly, ranging all the way up to $200 per location monthly.
Top Reasons to Get a Liquor Store POS System
Your Product Influx is Huge & Your Inventory is Massive
It’s no secret that liquor store warehouses are filled to the brim with thousands of different products. Not only are they stocking beer, wine, spirits and the like, they’re also stocking thousands of different brands and labels. With an inventory like that, how could you keep everything straight?
With liquor pos software, it’s easy! There is up-to-date technology based on bar-code scanning, VIN identification, and automatic categorization.
You’ll not only keep track of every item in your inventory, but you’ll be able to better report which products work best for you. Gone are the days of keeping slow-selling bottles in your warehouse. You can move on, purchasing only the products with a short shelf life.
Given all of the above, anyone who is serious about opening a liquor store must consider getting a POS system.
Tracking Customers is Crucial for your Legal Standing
As an establishment, customer management and keeping tabs on your customers is crucial. As a liquor store selling alcohol, maintaining the correct customer base is what keeps you running.
Solid liquor store POS systems provide correct and accurate customer tracking, as well as birthday identification and age-checking software. In other words, you can ensure that you’re never accidentally selling to underage patrons.
More than that, these systems allow you to track these customers. That way, you can always ensure someone is giving you the correct identification. Be confident your customers are not purchasing for minors without your knowledge.
Ability to Verify Age
Working in a liquor store, constantly verifying identification is a constant part of the job, so why not make it easier? A POS system that contains the ability to verify the age of customers through scanning ID’s.
Underage drinking is still an issue, and it could greatly hurt your store’s reputation, so a system in which customers can simply swipe their proof of identification can speed up the checkout process, as well as prevent identification and legal issues that may occur in the future.
You really never know when someone with a fake ID could show up, and even with a simple glance, it could appear just like the real thing. Those who have a fake ID on them could not be abiding the law, or they could be an undercover cop, so a scanner could eliminate these issues and ruin the chance of fines or other legal issues in the near future.
Technology That Can handle Different Sale Types
If you operate a liquor store, chances are that you offer discounts on your products. Maybe you offer further promotions during holiday or special events, where individuals make large purchases.
On a daily basis, simple purchases could contain up to six items in a case or more, due to liquor and beer products usually being sold in sets. For that reason, a robust POS system could make the checkout process so much easier.
Discounts and different sale opportunities could also be made much easier for the clerk and the consumer.
Software & Hardware Price
Researching the price of a POS is an obvious first step in finding the best one for your store. However, while it is an important factor, it should not dedicate or control your entire choice or purchase.
Before browsing through the features of a POS system you may have in mind, be sure to set a budget for yourself first. POS hardware should also be taken into consideration. Most scanners generally run at a price range of $200-1000, based on how new the hardware is.
The data usually stored internally is important and should be treated as so. Security levels are pretty much a must-have with anyone processing payments. Recently, many point of sale systems were hacked. There is always some risk or potential security breaches with any system. However, a liquor store pos in high-value target due to the number of credit card transactions.
Therefore, a good liquor pos system would have extra protection or precautions. The system should use two-factor authentication, daily antivirus scan and segmentation of networks.
Ready to Utilize a POS System In Your Liquor Store?
As a liquor store manager, owner, or operator, you’ve got your work cut out for you, no doubt. However, with a liquor store POS solution, you’re able to better control and organize your business.
We’ve gone through the dozens of point-of-sale systems that we think might be perfect for your liquor store. We’ve added our thoughts and reviews to the above lists.
We know that running a liquor store is as hard as running a grocery store. The profit margins can be thin, and the workload can be much at times.
A POS system can help you automate various tasks like inventory management, but most importantly help you sell more.