Vend Review

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Date Established
New Zealand


Nice knowing you, Cap’n Crunch.

Mascots are a thing of the past, relegated to baseball teams and breakfast cereals. Apple started it; the antiquated marketing trope of boisterous cartoon characters in commercials gave way to the products themselves being anthropomorphized. Computers were the new friendly face, promoting themselves, saying hello from your desktop. But even this trend may have run its course. Now, companies are defining their entire brand with personhood.

Software companies seem to be leading the charge with corporate personality; taking a cue from filmmakers, they introduce themselves with movie trailers worthy of the big screen. Such is the case in this wholly entertaining YouTube video, where Vend erupts into the POS market with un-ignorable personality.

We, as experienced viewers of cinema, recognize the narrative grammar at work here. This is not going to end well for the partner, who is actually a talking cash register, already looking lifeless in the passenger seat as he reminisces about the good times they’ve had in the many years of their retail operation. This video, entitled “POS doesn’t have to be a Piece of Sh*t,” is a promo spot for Vend, and it delivers more than the surface level message of ditching your cash register. To steep your technology company’s marketing in a “We do things differently” message has become so predictable that such efforts now have the opposite effect. Oh, you do things differently, do you? Get in line, so does everyone else. But I think Vend saw this rebuttal coming.

The impressively mustachioed founder of Vend, Vaughan Roswell led his team of software architects to create the world’s first web-based retail POS using HTML5 and its offline cache capabilities. The architecture of Vend is such that it is truly hardware independent and, despite being 100% cloud based, will continue to ring up sales during an internet outage. This is the big selling point of HTML5: it saves a mirror copy of the POS app, and most of your data (just most? see “Web-based or Locally Installed” below) in your web browser’s cache, so you will still be able to complete sales even when the internet connection is down. Once reconnected, all transactions made will sync up to your online Vend account and all is well.

Founder Rowsell’s career began in telecommunications. He developed New Zealand’s first tele-voting system before moving on to become CTO of the online travel company Vianet, and extended his expertise to assist Trade Me in building their popular travel booking site, Travelbug.  After that, he appears to have invented the modern form of the technological origin story, where a “dabbler in all things” tech has an epiphanic moment of what his true life’s work is to be: Rowsell says he became obsessed with “cloud” applications and began a mission to try and prove that a functioning and successful POS can move entirely into the cloud and still meet the demands of business owners:

I was inspired by Xero, taking industries that have outdated software and innovating beyond that. The setup cost to retailers for a traditional POS system can be astronomical, tens of thousands of dollars and weeks of hassle before they’ve even made their first sale. With Vend, retailers can be up and running in minutes, for a low monthly fee. Plus, it’s software they actually love to use.

The response to Vend since its inception shows that Roswell & Co. have absolutely filled a need. By 2011, one year into the mission, Vend secured a $1 million investment from Europe’s Point Nine Capital, a venture capital firm based in Berlin focused on early-stage investments in SaaS (“software as a service”) and eCommerce companies. Two years and 6,500 customers worldwide later, Point Nine kicked in another $2 million during a round of funding that saw Vend bring its total amount up to $10 million. This funding came on the heels of Vend winning two 2013 New Zealand Hi Tech awards. This money has proven to be an invaluable resource in mitigating the growing pains any startup faces as it really starts to catch on. Near the end of 2013, Vend opened offices in Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia, and hired former Intuit executive Anton Commissaris as President of their U.S. operations. With a customer base spread out in 100 countries and now over 15,000 installations strong, Vend has proven to be more than a fad in the POS market.


All subscription levels come with a free 30-day trial (limited to 200 products and weekly erasure of sales data). As with other web-based POS services, there is no contract and subscription is paid monthly via credit card. If you prepay for 1-year, then you’ll receive a discount on the monthly price. Here are Vend’s plans:

  • Free – 1 store, 1 register (maximum), 10 products, 1,000 customers, 1 user account, Community support (meaning no email/phone support with Vend’s team, just access to Vend user forums).
  • Starter – $69/month (or $59/month billed annually), 1 store, 1 register included (additional registers may be added at $39/month, or $35/month billed annually), 500 products, unlimited users, unlimited customers, 24/7 email support.
  • Advanced – $99/month (or $85/month billed annually), 1 store, 1 register included (additional registers may be added at $39/month, or $35/month billed annually), unlimited products, unlimited customers, unlimited user accounts, eCommerce, 24/7 email support.
  • Multi-Outlet – $199/month (or $169/month billed annually), multiple stores, 1 register included (additional registers may be added at $39/month, or $35/month billed annually), unlimited products, unlimited customers, unlimited user accounts, eCommerce, 24/7 e-mail support.

For the Starter, Advanced, and Multi-Outlet plans, Premium Support is available for an additional fee of $19/month, and is billed annually. This level of support includes personal set-up assistance, ongoing training, and phone support.

Web-Based or Locally-Installed:

Vend has its head in the cloud, so to speak, with all aspects of the operations happening within your HTML5 compatible web browser (or HTML5 iPad app). As long as you’re online, the web app will communicate with Vend’s servers at every turn. If you have a network outage, the cache takes over and runs things locally until connection comes back. This approach has its upside and downside. On the upside, you never have to miss a sale because you’ve lost your internet connection. On the downside, and unlike a hybrid approach (which runs things fully locally, and only syncs transaction data back to the cloud), operating during an outage does leave you with limited functionality:

  • You can access your entire product catalog and sell items, though there have been some remarks made in the user forums that they run into trouble with particularly large databases. I wasn’t able to find specifics on what “large” might mean, or what these troubles are, but this would be a good question to ask if you’re considering Vend.
  • You cannot add a customer to a sale, or create a new one (though you will be able to retroactively do these things once back online).
  • You won’t be able to switch users, or close the register, or take credit card payments (if you’ve integrated that into Vend).
  • If you use Vend through a web browser but haven’t logged in before the outage occurred, you will still be able to access the app in offline mode, assuming you haven’t cleared your browser cache since the last login. But if you’re using Vend on your iPad, and haven’t logged in yet, you will not be able to use it till you’re back online.

If you’re operating in an environment where your connection is reliable, and outages are brief (if they happen at all), none of these caveats ought to concern you. Mobile operations with unpredictable connectivity would do better to look elsewhere, though.

Specific Industry:

Vend is suitable for retail operations of all stripes. Service and hospitality businesses will find it lacking–there’s no table management, tipping, or item modifiers–but that’s OK. Vend does what it does very well, and I always like it when a software company doesn’t try to be all things to everyone.

Specific Size of Business:

With Vend there are no limits as to the number of stores a business can have. Size can range anywhere from a small store to a large chain. The affordability at the low end of their pricing spectrum, and the cost savings of having the whole system in the cloud, make Vend an easy fit for smaller businesses. That doesn’t mean it won’t scale up; Vend does boast a few customers, like Agatha Paris, that have a few hundred stores each.

Ease of Use:

Once signed up for the free trial, your dashboard will be populated with a self-guided tour. You can jump in to whatever you are most interested in learning about. Each category is linked to the appropriate page in the dashboard for configuration, and they guide you through adding products and customers, setting up taxes, and customizing the register quick keys among other things. It’s a great way to get oriented to the system; providing those direct links from Vend’s Dashboard helps you to learn where everything is located. Each heading will also link you to very New Zealandish videos demonstrating the related functions of Vend, as well as brief descriptions and articles in their Knowledge Base. These tutorials can be toggled on and off throughout the course of your 30-day trial.

Comparatively, Vend is about average among its competitors for on boarding assistance. I’ve seen better, and I’ve seen much worse. But that’s not a dig against them; to be completely fair, they don’t necessitate a lot of on boarding assistance. Their system is very easy to learn, and the few times I got hung up (or thought a feature didn’t exist) the solution was easily found in their Knowledge Base.

Vend has a very simple and clean design. It’s not too flashy, doesn’t sport any animations or sound effects, and that’s a good thing. Everything’s laid out in a logical fashion, with top level menus arranged across the top, and each category (Sell, Products, Customers, etc.) neatly divided into easy-to-understand subcategories.

I had a fully functioning POS within 15 minutes of logging in. There was no point where I had to consult help files, or reach out to support. Part of my job reviewing these things is testing out the responsiveness of the support team, and as I made my way through the Vend app, it became clear that all we had to talk about was facial hair grooming techniques (from Vaughan Roswell on down, the males on the Vend team appear to be as equally serious about their beards and mustaches as they are about their product).

Even as you get into some of the more peripheral functions of the POS–the loyalty program, inventory management, that sort of thing–Vend is ridiculously simple to use. You can mitigate that statement with the fact that I spent 15 years working in IT, with five of those years devoted to Software as a Service, and reach the conclusion that this sort of thing comes easy to me. But you must also realize that I turned 40 last year–I’m a month away from 41–and at this stage of my life I don’t understand how you kids can type so fast on a touch screen and I want you all to get off my lawn. I’m no longer a techno whiz-kid; I’m more like an Amish teenager on Rumspringa who’s just been given a cell phone. I’ve investigated every nook and cranny of Vend and just can’t seem to be confused if I try. If you poke around Vend’s Instagram account, there are plenty of pictures of young, attractive people having the time of their lives while eating donuts and juggling and playing with their dogs. My guess is these are all members of the support team, who have little to do each day while none of their customers have a problem using the software.

On to their eCommerce. Upon logging in for the first time, I didn’t even have to attempt navigating anywhere before I got the sense that this is a very new, very unrefined addition to the Vend system. To get you started, there’s an unremarkable link to their Help Center, and a 3-step checklist for setting up Shipping, Payments, and Taxes.

Under Shipping, the only options are for flat-rate fees and a “first + each additional item” approach.. No percentages or “percentage plus,” no weight-based calculators, no integration apparent for Fedex, UPS, DHL, or anything else. No item specificity.Under the Payments portion of the checklist, “Cash” is strangely an option. Sigh. On to trying to design the thing; there are presently only 13 themes available, many of which are practically identical. In short, while the interface was easy to use and everything was laid out in an organized manner, this tool still has a long way to go before I can call it a full-fledged and legitimate feature.

Hardware/Software Required:

Because Vend is a web app, the hardware platform isn’t as important as the software you’re using. The strictest requirement for running Vend is the web browser you use: in almost all cases it has to be Google Chrome (the exception being if you’re running a Mac, in which case Safari is also supported). This is because Chrome and Safari use WebDB–a variant of a SQL database designed specifically for web applications–to power Vend’s offline mode. Firefox uses its own proprietary engine (open source, anyone?) that won’t work here, and Internet Explorer continues to be the longest running punchline in a joke about terrible web browsers. So, as long as your hardware can run Windows XP or above, Mac OS X 10.5 or above, or just about any current flavor of Linux with a GUI, you’re good to go.

When it comes to peripheral equipment, Vend works with just about anything:

  • Receipt printers – Vend recommends any Star or Epson USB receipt printer, but really any USB printer will work. As a test, Vend recommends trying to print a document from Word or Notepad with your printer. If it works, then your printer will work with Vend.
  • Cash drawers – any brand is compatible as long as it has an RJ12 port.
  • Label printers – Vend recommends the Zebra brand.
  • Barcode scanners – any USB or Bluetooth scanner will work fine. USB card readers are also compatible with the system, but for integrated credit card payments one must have a merchant account that uses the Authorize.Net gateway (see details in “Compatible Credit Card Processors”).

For the full list of hardware compatibility, check out this handy document from the Vend Knowledge Base.


You can check out a full list of Vend’s features by taking their “tour” at the website. Here, I just want to touch on a couple of Vend’s most notable features.l.

  • eCommerce Functionality – One of the newest, and biggest, features of Vend is its expansion into the Online Selling market. It’s only available in the Advanced and the Multi-Outlet plans, but the good news is that it is included for no additional charge at these subscription levels. It is not currently offered, even for an additional fee, in any other plan. They offer hosting, an integrated website builder, design help through a selection of Responsive Themes (more on this in a sec,) live sync with your in-store inventory, and the ability to tie in your own domain name. One of the best things about this eCommerce tool is its Responsive Design- the ability to automatically display correctly on any sized screen; phone, tablet, or desktop. This functionality makes me giddy. With the plethora of devices out there, there’s no reason for any web developer NOT to use their own flavor of device-responsive design, yet so few actually do. As for other noteworthy features, Vend eCommerce has a fairly slick Content Management system, which allows you to add products, add pages, rearrange design elements, and add functionality without knowing a jot of code. Having said that, the store is also HTML and CSS friendly, if coding is totally your thing. Next up: I was a little (ok, more than a little) disappointed to find that the in-store POS didn’t have the ability to support purchase orders. What happens when they display demo products, but ship merchandise from a separate warehouse? Or when a business wants to do commission-based work? Well, if they want to use Vend, the only option is to accept payment upon delivery, rather than having the option of an upfront payment. However, this is a built-in functionality with an online POS, since every physical product sold online must be shipped. Purchase orders made through the online store are automatically emailed to the admin, so order fulfillment is in real time. Now, I’m just a little disappointed (again) that I have to get the whole Vend in-store POS system, just to access this kind of sale. Sigh. I should move on. As for payment gateways for Vend eCommerce, they advertise PayPal, Stripe,, and DPS.
  • Loyalty Program – It’s becoming commonplace for a POS to include some kind of Loyalty engine, and for good reason. Any time you can create an incentive for customers to keep shopping at your store, you’ve got a leg up on the competition. Vend’s approach, as with all things in the POS, is to keep it simple. They’ve used the model where spending money earns rewards, but rather than add a layer of complexity with a confusing point system, it’s simply a dollars to dollars scenario. You specify how much a customer has to spend before she earns a dollar in Loyalty rewards–the default setting is a dollar earned for every $50 spent, but it can be whatever you want. The great thing about this is that those earned dollars are available to use on the next purchase; there’s no need to reach a minimum amount of points before your customers start saving. The balance is viewable from the payment screen at the time of checkout (assuming you’ve attached this person to the sale). You’ll see clearly how much this sale will earn them, how much she has available, and how much is owed on the current transaction. As long as the balance owed is the same or less as the rewards balance, Loyalty becomes a payment option alongside Cash and Credit. So, say your customer has earned $5 in rewards, and you’re ringing up a $20 sale. She can hand over $15, you punch that in as a cash or credit transaction, and then the amount owed is lowered to $5. At that point, all you need to do is click the Loyalty tender type, and the $5 is deducted from their rewards balance, the sale is complete, and everyone’s happy. The Loyalty program also makes its way into other areas of Vend, and with some creativity can be used to really drive sales. For example:
  • Customer Management – Vend maintains a contact list of all your customers, which can be done as a mass import from a CSV file, or added one by one through the web console or even in the POS interface at the time of sale. You can customize the fields you want for your customer list, with things like address, phone number, email address, website, customer group, Facebook account, and Twitter ID available. Vend uses the Loyalty program to entice your shyer customers into giving up their info. When you enable the Loyalty program, there’s an option to create and send an automatic e-mail to new enrollees, and the email can contain a personalized link to a Customer Portal where people can give you their full contact info in exchange for bonus loyalty dollars. This makes adding customers at the time of sale quicker and less invasive–you only need to ask for their email address, and then let them know to wait until they get the email so they can earn more rewards. The link they receive is tied directly to the account you just created, and can only be used to redeem for rewards once (meaning if they fill out their info and get their bonus, the link will then expire to prevent double dipping).
  • Inventory Management – With Vend you can easily add, remove, and edit inventory items. You can also include images of products, as well as keep track of stock levels and any special taxes, costs, or prices for certain products. Prices can be set differently based on location or customer type, or by creating special promotional discounts. Additionally, inventory can be imported/exported from/to a CSV file. The system also has the ability to import, create, and print barcode labels for easier inventory management. And any product can have an individualized Loyalty earning that overrides the default spend-to-earning ratio, which is especially helpful if there’s a particular product you want to push.
  • Pricebooks – Vend can maintain multiple pricebooks, which you can use in a number of ways. You can maintain separate pricebooks based on store location, or by a group of customers (say, your Loyalty customers), or you can make them time sensitive. Maybe you want to have a weekend sale–it’s a simple matter of creating a copy of your default pricebook, applying discounts across the board (or individualized discounts for different products) and setting the timeframe that it will be active. It will then override your default pricebook, beginning at the time you’ve specified, and then return back to regular pricing at the time you set it to end.


Vend offers a ton of integrations with third party software. You can view the full list here, with some highlights listed below:

  • Xero – This is an online accounting system which, when integrated with Vend, imports daily sales automatically for easy bank reconciliation, creates customized invoices and statement balances to send to customers, and imports stock orders as accounts payable invoices to keep track of/reconcile purchases. Additionally, you can import your Xero customer list easily into Vend or vice versa.
  • Shopify – This is a web store application that, when integrated, syncs in-store and online inventory with each other (i.e. same products, pricing, and stock levels). That way inventory is automatically updated in both systems whether a purchase is done in store or online. Even product changes in Vend in description or price automatically update to Shopify.
  • PeopleMine – This online application does data analytics on your customers and their spending habits. When integrated with Vend, PeopleMine automatically imports customer data to generate reports on specific customer spending habits like frequent purchases, frequent customers, and specific product sales figures in relation to total sales.
  • Perkville – By signing up with Perkville, merchants can create an online rewards program for their customers, rewarding them with purchase points redeemable for free items or discounts, or creating special coupons for referrals to their friends and family. Integrating with Vend allows customer lists to be transferred and synced between the two systems.
  • Stitch Labs – Vend offers some basic inventory management functions that are well suited for smaller operations. If you’re running multiple stores, juggling several vendors, or in any way finding that your inventory control is getting the best of you, Stitch Labs can integrate with the POS to really extend your ability to manage stock. From in-depth reporting, to order fulfillment, and delivery management, Stitch is a recognized leader in this area of retail management.
  • Swarm – Advanced analytics that help store owners understand foot traffic, conversion rates, loyalty, and more. By integrating with Vend, Swarm can identify patterns in your sales and opportunities for more.

Compatible Credit Card Processors:

Vend can pretty much integrate (i.e. automatic notification to the POS from the swiper if payment was successful or not) with any credit card processor so long as that processor offers Authorize.Net as a payment gateway option. Since the majority of processors do offer Authorize.Net as an option, you’re good to go. Additionally, Vend will integrate with Element Payment Services, PayPal Here, and the Australian payment processor Tyro. Check out our highest rated processors here, or contact us, if you need help choosing one.

Vend eCommerce offers built-in compatibility with PayPal Express, Stripe,, and DPS Payment Express.

And, of course, the system can also be used without integrated payments simply by completing the sale manually within Vend after a successful credit card swipe. Any USB plug-and-play credit card reader is compatible with Vend.

Customer Service/Technical Support:

One of the upsides of Vend’s success and recent funding has been their ability to expand their support offering. When we last looked at Vend over a year ago, Vend had no phone support whatsoever. It was either email or community forums. And while many users had good things to say about Vend’s technical support, even back then–and while the software itself is so easy to use that general questions will be minimal–email communication is too asynchronous to be an acceptable frontline defense against unforeseen troubles. If you’re a shop owner, and you need help ASAP, you don’t want to send an email and then wait to find out if it was received and read by a person, let alone wonder whether that person is actually working on your problem. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. As I noted above in the Pricing section, Vend offers yearly contracts for Premium support on the paid plans, with technical help just a phone call away 20 hours a day, six days a week.

In addition to phone, email, and live chat, Vend has a very thorough and searchable database of answers to common questions. This database is compiled of frequently asked questions as well as questions posed by a community forum. Users are free to ask and answer questions, leave tips, or share stories. Furthermore there is also a searchable Vend blog with occasional updates on upgrades, new features, new integrations, how to use certain functions, businesses using Vend, and other POS-related articles.

Vend also has a YouTube channel with over 60 videos, including promotional bits (like the one I detailed at the beginning of this review), tutorials, quick tips, and long form webinars. They also maintain active Facebook and LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts. Finally, Vend has created its own website called We Love POS as a place for people to share their POS horror stories on the web, as well as to insert funny anecdotes, pictures, and videos related to POS. Anybody interested in sharing their POS story on the We Love POS site, whether they’re a current Vend customer or not, receives a free month of Vend.

Negative Reviews/Complaints:

Vend’s simplicity is a selling point, for sure, but it does come at a certain cost. Some features, already standard in many of its competitors, are lacking here:

  • No Employee Management – Unlike its competitors, Vend has no feature for employees to clock in and out, track employee hours, figure employee sales commissions, or figure payroll.
  • No Security Between Users – On Vend every employee has a username and password with which they log into the system, as well as a security level to regulate access to certain features (e.g. manager, cashier, sales associate). Anytime you switch over to a manager or administrator, you must enter the password–which is good! But switching between cashiers is possible without having to reenter any credentials, so one employee can switch to another’s login without being prompted to re-enter the password. This is a big issue maintaining internal controls with cash handling.  Or it would be an issue with cash handling if it weren’t for the fact that there are…
  • No Cash-Handling Features – The Vend developers have left out a vital POS element when building the system: cash-handling. The Vend system has no feature to account for petty cash, cash drops, float cash, or to aid in counting the drawer. This is a huge negative as there is no way for merchants to know what their drawer cash balance should be at any given time, making balancing the till virtually impossible, and increasing the possibility of theft. The developers have come up with workarounds—adding products to your inventory called “Cash Out” or “Float”—and ringing these up as “sales” to track cash movement.  But when you first log in and fire up the “Sell” screen, there’s no prompt for entering how much and what kind of cash is in your drawer at the start of the day.  Vend has stated they are currently in the works of creating a cash in/out feature. On the positive side the Vend “closing register” function under the “Sell” tab sufficiently aids in bank reconciliation of deposits.
  • Sales With Negative Inventory – It appears several users have complained that the Vend system allows them to keep selling items even when they have zero or negative inventory. In this case, there’s the obvious problem of your system telling you there is no inventory left while a customer is at the counter with item in his hand. That aside, selling items out of stock could cause big problems with continual backorders and refunds, especially in online sales. Although Vend is justified in saying they don’t want to ever create a function that could potentially block a sale completely, they have said they are working on developing a warning system within the “Sell” screen that can warn users when a product is starting to run low at the moment it is being purchased.
  • A Very Weird Way to Handle Change Due to a Cash Customer – If you’ve rung someone up for a $12.73 sale, say, and he pays you with a $20 bill, you enter $20 at the payment screen and then press the cash button. Here is where you’d expect the system to tell you how much change is due to the customer, but it doesn’t. Vend just prompts you to see if you want to email the receipt–you select Yes or No–then it prompts you to see if you want to print the receipt–and you select Yes or No. Then, when the sale is complete, you get asked “Have you issued the customer $7.27 in change?” If you select “Yes,” you’re all done. But if you select “No,” the POS proceeds as if you’ve already closed the drawer, and then rings up another transaction in the amount of -$7.27, and prints another receipt. Though cashiers can easily adapt to this way of doing things, it’s just a downright weird way to go about doing one of the most simple functions a cash register can do.
  • No Ability To Save Discount Presets – If you want to quickly add Military discounts, Senior Citizen discounts, or any promotional discounts you may be running, they must all be entered manually for each order. I envision a system of sticky notes stuck to the sides of your iPad, reminding your cashier which discount rates get applied to which customer.
  • Restrictive eCommerce – Although eCommerce is now supported, it is not a standalone offering. You have to buy in to one of the two most expensive in-store plans in order to access this functionality. So if eCommerce is the only thing you’re looking for, don’t waste your time with Vend. Just go elsewhere.

All of the drawbacks and missing functions could easily be implemented. And they absolutely should. It’s been a while since I was a programmer, but even I know that these issues would not require any major re-writes of the existing code. Moreover, these issues haven’t changed since our last review of the Vend platform two years ago. It’s well past time that the Vend dev team should tackle these.

Positive Reviews/Testimonials:

Several Vend testimonials can be found on the Vend site itself, as well as on the Vend blog under the tag “customer profiles.” Below is some of what the satisfied Vend customers have to say:

Vend’s beauty is in its simplicity. There’s no complicated maintenance and there are no expensive support contracts. It all just works, so we can get on with running our store. – Laurel Watson, owner of Petal Cupcakes.

Vend’s user interface is intuitive, smooth, and speedy. Going with a cloud-based POS has allowed us to scale and access our data from any location and smoothly integrate the eCommerce and retail experience. – Travis Becker of Mollusk Surf Shops.

Additional positive reviews can be found on the Shopify apps site, like:

Vend is a refreshing solution to the tired software-based POS programs. The easy inventory synchronization with Shopify is a bonus as it is already a superior product to other POS products I’ve researched and used in the past. Vend truly understand the independent business persons needs. This program is streamlined, efficient, and intuitive. Three things that are critical to helping our store and employees make sales rather than be POS experts. Plus, by logging in from any computer, it allows me to easily update/add products and check sales figures from home or on the road. I highly recommend this app. –

On going support for Vend is incredible. The team are fast to respond and always on point. If you have a Shopify store and a brick and mortar store, Vend is a no brainer. –

The usability and the customer relationship management is super simple. All in all, I can’t recommend it enough. Their customer support is great and the product just keeps getting better and better. Lastly it is an inexpensive alternative to a lot of other POS systems and since all your information is stored on the cloud you won’t ever lose anything. –

Final Verdict:

Vend has a lot going for it, and it’s definitely in the top five (or so) of POS systems I’ve tested as far as ease of use is concerned. By now, it would be redundant of me to list all the selling points of cloud based software, which is why I refuse to once again mention that cloud services save you the time and money of maintaining an entire IT infrastructure just to support your Point of Sale, and I simply won’t mention that you don’t have to worry about backups or data loss, and frankly we’d all just be bored if I reiterated that you’ll never have to perform a software update every time a bug needs fixing or a feature is added. I won’t do it, so don’t ask me. But even though I won’t go into all that, it’s important that I stress that the benefits of the cloud are all there with Vend; the fact that the software is also so easy to learn and start up makes it a must-try for any retailer looking to find a new POS.

It doesn’t have the scope of functions that many of its cloud competitors offer, but it has a further reach geographically and a clearer focus on retail. And while something like Revel does all these things–full offline functionality, more advanced inventory management, and extensive hospitality/foodservice features–Vend has a much lower cost of entry while satisfying a great many of a retailer’s needs. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, none of Vend’s competitors show the same commitment to making unironic facial hair acceptable in the workplace again, an important issue. Were it not for the missing features I noted above, this might be one of our rare 5 star products. Even without those features, though, Vend is more than worth the minimal investment you’d need to make to get it up and running in your store.

Erik Robie

Erik Robie

Erik is a writer, small business developer, and photographer, making his home in Northern Colorado. He has been publishing his writing for 15 years, and occasionally sells his photos when he can pull himself away from the keyboard. When he's not writing the CRM, HelpDesk, and Shopping Cart categories for Merchant Maverick, he can usually be found on his mountain bike, playing volleyball, hiking with his camera, or keeping the local coffee shops in business.
Erik Robie

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    Thank you Erik for such a detailed and honest review. I appreciate your candid review of pros and cons. I used the trial version of Vend, Revel, Lightspeed, and Shopify based on your reviews (they were all top placed). Each one as you describe had pros and cons. I won;t go into detail as to why unless son=meone contacts me direct, but I decided Vend was best for our business. Thanks again for all your explicit UPDATED review.

    vince hansimikali

    I have had Vend for 1 year and have it synced with my Shopify webstore. At the moment we have having major issues with the inventory sync and am finding it extremely difficult getting an answer for the problem. We are selling products in our online store which are out of stock in Vend.

    There must be an issue with the integration and i am yet to receive an answer to this problem.

    At the moment i am contemplating changing the Vend POS as its becoming very hard to run a business like this when you have to spend much of your time telling customers you are out of stock. It reflects badly on the business.

    roblox free codes

    Superb, what a website it is! This web site provides valuable data to us, keep it up.

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    Irwin Miller

    They claim to have Quick Books integration but the way they integrate ALL “On Account” sales are totally ignored, as if they never happened leaving you to manually enter each transaction into Quick Books. This gives a whole new and accurate definition to POS software!!!


    The basics of my business and Vend
    I own Dr Vape It an electronic cigarette brick and mortar retailer and we use Vend and have three location with two registers at each location and an office/warehouse location that we do some wholesale out of that requires one register purchase.

    Cost: We pay $433 per month and $200 per year for support. That is $5396 per year.

    Stability and Speed: Vend is good, no real complaints their for daily operations like ringing customers up. Taking inventory has been a major issue. It is extremely slow (unresponsive) and inventory often come out dramatically short or over at each location. We have been taking inventory on a weekly bases to try and resolve the issue and with no success. Is this our problem or a problem with Vend? I really don’t know and problem never will considering we are being forced to leave Vend.

    Major Complaints: One big complaint I do have about Vend is the receipts are constantly changing and they are just wonky. I don’t even know how to explain it. They say it is an issue with Chrome but that is the case why are you using Chrome as your backbone. Look you get a receipt it just is not going to print as you would expect to to.

    We had a major issue of loosing credit card sales at one point because of the receipts or the enter button on the keyboard. To get all the receipts you want you could hit the enter button 3 times fast but if the credit card do not go thru for some reason you would never know. That was a major issue. Look all software is going to have glitches but this one pissed me off.

    The major problems I see with not owning your POS system.
    1. Updates. This one is a double edge sword. Should be pro but often is a negative. Hosted solutions updates are down on their schedule not yours. The updates rarely come with detailed explanation of what and when. If you own your own local system you can familiarize yourself with the update and implement it on your schedule. Like after you have informed your employees that something is changing.

    2. They can update you out of the system by doing upgrades or downgrades that will not work for your company. In our example Vend is doing a major update and dropping support for our merchant account gateway. They have choose one and only one merchant account company to work with. They will not process credit cards for companies that are consider high risk; We are considered high risk. Even if you are not high risk this is likely going to cause your merchant account fees to go up.

    3. Cost becomes out of control with just a small amount of growth. We pay over $5000 per year for Vend POS and they are one of the better priced hosted Multi Location/Store POS systems we found. We are having Retail Edge locally installed for about $5000 at all of our locations. I would expect our overall cost long term to go down dramatically.

    Some after thoughts
    I believe many people are choosing these hosted solutions for the sake of support, low cost of entry and updates. Once you have learned the system how often do you need support. I am pretty technically savvy so support is not something I need often. Even if I did I would by a support plan. By the way most support plans are very negotiable. Host solutions cost of entry are hands down a winner but if you plan to stay in business for a long time the total cost far out ways simply purchasing your POS out right and then buying updates, or not buying updates. I would like to get a solid 5 years out of my POS without any major updates. Do you want to learn essentially a new POS every year. Not me. I just want my POS to work and not be headache and of course not bleed me dry.

    Tablets! Oh I hate a POS system on a tablet. Yes even more than I hate Windows 8. I like efficiency and tablets are anything but. If we bar coded everything in the store maybe it would be better. Typing customer information on a tablet is not the same as a keyboard. This is a personnel opinion and I have never been a tablet lover for anything more than reading a book. Love by Kindle Paper White.

    So in summery, if you have a small single location business perhaps a hosted POS solution like Vend will work well for you. If you are planning on growing your business I recommend finding a locally installed multi store POS system.
    I really hope this helps someone out.

    Chris McInnis

    This review has lots of good information, but I’ve been shopping around for a long while and as far as I’m aware, it was actually posted quite a while ago. I see the “updated on” date was changed to January 2015, but can’t see any real updates or changes in the review. Have you revisited the negative reviews/complaints?


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    Amad Ebrahimi


    Thank you for the kind words. We do minor updates regularly, but we definitely need to do a full update very soon. Stay tuned.


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    I would not use Perkville again in a million years!! ON our receipts to customers they were told to go shop at a competitors business.. working with Nick at the PErkville customer service he said “yes that’s the case if the person ever spent money at that other store they remind them of the other business so that they could begin to go to to earn points with them” – Sorry this sounds ethically wrong since we were paying for their services!
    Is it crazy to wonder how its ok that they can charge us $100 a month to promote our competitors store with our customers??

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    We love Vend. Many updates, and great things to come from them


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    I started using Vend about 2 weeks ago and switch my accounting software from QuickBooks Online to Xero ( to automatically sync information) . I was surprised of the easiness this is done, but extremely disappointed with the lack of cost of goods sold transactions….How can a company say is fully compatible with Xero if is not transferring the cost of goods sold of the sales….I’m really thinking in finding another POS where I can transfer all transactions into either Xero or QuickBooks Online..


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    Oliver Carle

    Hi Adrian,

    Oli here from Vend, thanks so much for the feedback.

    You are correct here, this is simply a missing feature in the Xero integration right now. We are actually looking into implementing exactly this feature in the future but it’s still only in it’s planning stages. The Quickbooks integration is very much a beta but the same will be true of that integration as well.

    If you have any other questions about this please feel free to contact me directly,, or get in touch with our awesome support team at

    Oli, Vend Community Support

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    Hello, there. I am a small shop owner with 5000+ SKU’s in Miami, FL, looking for an online alternative to my Quickbooks POS. Noticing that the last post on this thread was as of October of 2013, I was wondering whether any of the missing features that prevent a five-star rating, such as no Employee Management (clock-in and out, so important!), and no Security between Users (sounds quite basic) have been addressed. I would seek to use three registers at one location. I wish the Medium version handled not just 1000, but 5000 SKU’s. I appreciate the granularity of the review and the candor of all the users, as well as the replies from the Vend staff.

    I look forward to your replies.


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    Dave Eagle

    Hi Lou-

    I’m actually in the middle of researching/testing Vend for an updated review as we speak (as we type, actually). Look for it by early next week.

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    i find both Vend and their support very good and very fast actually!and the system its self is very easy to work with, we have put our own procedures in place to work around the lack of cash facilities, so that’s not a problem for us either :). However the only problem i am experiencing is that after doing a CSV and importing it, our vend account and our inventory wont update, but yet again with the service as good as it is with us, we have a the support dealing with it, and emailing me back and forth with updates, they even used “openoffice” to do it for us as difficult as it is with the time difference from US to South Africa!

    so thank you Vend support!

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    Robert Kaiser

    I’ve been trying to set up my account for more than a week. PayPal integration is far more complex then Vend would have you believe and support is awful. After being supplied the same stock answers available online I was informed that, as an unpaid subscription, I was not eligible for email support (the only support available). So much for free trial.

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    Tara Benedict

    Hey Robert,

    Sorry for being months late to the party, but just noticed your comment here. Have you sorted this out? The PayPal integration really ought to be appallingly easy, so I’d love to get to the bottom of your problem. Feel free to email me directly at and I’ll see what I can uncover.


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    Vend is not perfect, but pre store opening (18 months ago), even after trying Vend, we looked at half a dozen other solutions and even imported inventory into those systems to see how they would work. In spite of the missing feature (cash float, etc), we ended up going back to Vend because of it’s simplicity.

    The quick keys at first had me concerned, as it appeared that Vend would be more suitable for a cafe style of store without thousands of SkUs. However, the quick keys have proved to be very versatile, for defining “odd” small items that can’t easily be barcoded, defining “miscellaneous” keys especially for unprocessed items that are being sold out of the box before being defined, a cash rounding button on cash sales, gift cards, tax exemptions, etc.

    Negatives for us: Shopify: This is a Shopify issue, not Vend. Vend lets you assign different tax rates on a product by product basis, which is required in Canada, but Shopify (Canadian roots!) can’t. Found this out after setting up templates, etc, and paying Shopify for these templates, only to find out that they only handle location specific tax rates , not product specific. Mentioning it here because Vend refunded the incremental monthly fee for Shopify integration, while Shopify did nothing. Kudos for Vend, can’t say the same about Shopify.

    One issue that did take a whie to resolve: We simply could not get bar codes for product labels to print with sufficient resolution; in both Safari and Chrome. This is one area where I think Vend could put more attention, or at least provide more support or resolution on. After lots of trial and error, it seems to be a problem in general with web based printing, we had the same problem with Apple CUPs printer drivers. Fortunately, we got around with a very low cost 3rd party product (Belight) and a locally installed print driver. (We don’t bother trying to print bar codes from Vend anymore, which is unfortunate as it also means we don’t really use their order processing that much either).

    My verdict – I still don’t know of another POS solution that I would use instead. Almost zero training involved, and what’s missing, at least for us, such as cash float, are not enough to sway this. We were also concerned about a cloud based POS that went down if the internet went down, on this aspect Vend has worked great through it’s offline cache and data base syncing.

    – Elm Hill Kids, 499 terry Fox Drive, Kanata, Ontario, Canada

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    Paul Whitfeld

    Reorder point and inventory is broken in vend…

    You cannot set a minimum and maximum for your outlet.

    If I set actual stock on shelf to 12 (maximum I want in my shop), reorder point 6, reorder amount 3…. As soon as stock falls to 6, an order is generated, not for the difference in my inventory but for 3! My stock then is 9 and won’t order until it falls again to 6 and an order is again for 3. So i never ever reach my optimum quantity of 12! If I have a massive weekend and sell out…. guess what? An order is generated for 3 (reorder amount that I set)

    I cannot believe vend has not fixed this broken feature, I have been sending them requests for months, aa have many other users…I am a growing business with multiple outlets, and inventory with vend is a REAL nightmare… At the moment I have to pay a staff member to stay behind and MANUALLY write an order for each outlet….!!!

    The more people talk about this the sooner something will be done …

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    Paul Bickley

    Hi Paul Thanks for your feedback on vend. The reorder point works great in vend. But just not how you’d like it to work. Vend will always re order the amount of stock you specify in the reorder amount field found when you are setting up products.

    Thanks again

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    Jimmy Edwards

    I must respectfully disagree with the 4.5 star rating. I own two retail stores (Betty’s Health Foods) in Homestead and Key Largo, FL and have been in business for 35 years. After reading this review I eagerly went to their website (using your link, so I hope you got credit) : ), and registered for my trial version.
    They had some issues with the formatting of the various reports. The layout was kind of blocky like it was made up of fields, directly off of a spreadsheet or something, instead of having nice neat line items. when you have to run 8 or 10 reorder reports/wk this is more important than one might think. But the
    deal breaker for me, and should be for everyone is the total lack of cash handling ability. I know you covered it, but let me illustrate so everyone can grasp the significance of it. With no cash in or cash out function, I was forced to create a new item in inventory called “cash in”. This item was not tracked or counted, and had zero cost associated with it. To open the drawer in the morning I had to sell one “cash in” for the amount of my start cash. Lets say $200. Then I sold one item with a cost of $10 and a price of $20. Then I closed the drawer and ran reports. I showed sales of $220 and revenue of $210!!! I honestly don’t know how any business can use this POS, or how it could garner 4.5 stars. Sure it looks good, is easy to navigate, but this is a FUNDAMENTAL function that any and all POS solutions must have. Thank you.

    Jimmy Edwards
    Betty’s Health Foods

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    Amad E.

    Thank you for the comments Jimmy. I noticed you left some responses on our other reviews as well. This reply should address them all.

    Although we do our best to be as thorough and detailed as possible with our reviews, we unfortunately cannot duplicate every type of point-of-sale transaction in every environment, thus our ratings are more of a generalized view. We’re definitely working on it though, and it’s comments like yours that give us insight into the different types of retail settings, which ultimately help us update and refine our process.

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    Daniel S.

    Vend is beautiful and easy to learn. I would love to use it but I’m a store owner with multiple outlets located in the USA and Vend does not support different tax rates determined by the outlets physical location (County it resides in).

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    Gerrard M

    I agree with Jenny re Vend support – and Jenny we are in New Zealand. Getting support via email only is crap. We need answers now and we need the integration with Xero fixed now. Given the problems we are experiencing with Vend I find it to believe all those positive testimonials.

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    Jenny S

    I have never in my life experienced worse service than I have with Vend. No serious business owner should feel comfortable using them. My system has been down for 5 business days their answer is to write down every sale and not give a customer a receipt. It is UNBELIEVABLE how excruciating it is to deal with a company in New Zeland when your business is in the US. I HIGHLY DISCOURAGE anyone from using their overpriced product that truly comes with the worst support I have ever experienced. I am shockingly disappointed.

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    Paul Bickley

    Hi Jenny,

    Thanks for your feedback on your service experience with vend. I’m sorry to see that you experience very poor service from our support team. I’d like to now highlight that we have an office on the East Coast of North America now. We’ve now got North America covered off for support and sales in your time zone. Again if you’d like to take a free trial of vend you can sign up here

    Thanks again

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    As far as the cash handling thing, I am gathering I can still accept and ring things up as cash, just that vend doesn’t keep a tally of the cash taken in or given back?
    Is that correct? Also, are there reports that can be run at the end of the day? And one more, does it accept gift cards?
    Also, although I now live int he States (born in Dunedin though (-: ) I have been looking into Xero accounting software. is that something you would recommend over say quickbooks etc?
    Thanks so much for your time.

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    Hi roman

    The cash handling side of things is not as dramatic as in the review. Sure it would’ve been nice to have all those features but what Vend lacks on this it makes up handsomely as a fantastic POS system.

    Each sale you select the payment method. The register closure report at the end of the day will tally everything up. That is what I enter in my accounts like MYOB. I can keep a track of what the amount should be in the till by deducting the balance of that from what the cash on hand figure is in my accounts.

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    Eric Pain

    Anyone got a review of eposfreedom ?

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    Amad E.

    Not yet Eric, but we’ll add them to the pipeline.

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    Nicolette Coetzee

    Thank you for the most thorough and balanced review I’ve read in a very long time. I’ve been searching for a good POS system for weeks now and never felt I could make an informed decision. Thanks to this review I’m getting VEND right now!

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    Hi Nicolette,
    I’m looking at a POS solution at the moment (located in Australia). I was wondering if you went ahead with Vend and if so, how do you find it?

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    Nick Houldsworth

    Hey team, thanks for the balanced and thorough review :)

    I would just like to comment on one point, if I may?

    > I can’t ignore the fact that the Vend site has no phone number, email address, or live chat available.

    While it is true that we don’t currently offer telephone or live chat support, we do have a support email address. support [at]

    We encourage all our customers to submit priority requests through our online support portal, hosted on Zendesk – which is an industry leading support platform. Customers receive email notification of replies to all tickets, and can reply by email or our web portal. Private requests we endeavour to reply to within 8 business hours, and less than 2 hours for urgent requests.

    In addition to private support tickets, our lively community forums offer a place for our customers to ask questions of other users and the Vend team, post and vote on feature requests, and learn in detail about setting up and using our product.

    We received 90%+ satisfaction ratings for our email and web support. We’re very proud of our support channel, and are even brave enough to publish our feedback ratings right on our support homepage!

    Many thanks,
    Nick Houldsworth

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    Amad E.

    Thanks for the heads up Nick. I’ll have the review updated shortly. Great product btw. :)

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    Amad E.

    Nick, we went ahead and updated the review, and increased your rating to 4.5. :)

    Let us know if you have any other questions/comments.

    Take care!

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