Advertiser Disclosure

The Best Retail POS Systems For 2019

  • 3 comments
  • Updated on:
Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Not every POS software program is suitable for every industry. If you’re running a retail business, you’re going to suffer from a system that’s designed for a food service environment. Not only will you be inundated with tools you don’t need (like table-mapping and check-splitting), but you’ll sorely lack the features that could make or break your business. Choosing the right point of sale (POS) system will make your life much easier, improve your retail strategy, and, in many cases, end up saving you time and money.

Imagine being able to access your store’s back office from anywhere or being able to keep track of your inventory digitally instead of on a clipboard. Many point of sale systems offer retail-specific features, including robust inventory management, purchase ordering, CMR, loyalty programs, eCommerce, and much more.

This article will discuss the 10 (primarily cloud-based) retail POS systems we recommend most often.

The Best Retail POS Systems for 2018

Lightspeed POSSquare POSShopify POSSquare For Retail

Lightspeed Retail

Square POS

ShopKeep POS

Shopify POS

Square For Retail

Clover POS

restaurant pos software

Visit Site 

Review

Visit Site 

Review

Visit Site 

Review

Visit Site 

Review

Visit Site 

Review

Best for

Advanced retail features

Free POS

Credit card processing options

Ease-of-use

All-in-one service

Monthly fee

$99+

$0

Get a quote

$9-$29

$60

eCommerce integration

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Free trial

14 days

Always free

None

14 days

30 days

Note: The arrangement of these vendors doesn’t necessarily indicate ranking. It’s difficult to rank these systems since they all have high star ratings and will work differently with each business.

Promo DescriptionCTA
Grow your business with $300 in Free Yelp adsStart Now

Lightspeed Retail

Best For…

Any-size restaurant business, but specifically geared to smaller and mid-sized establishments

Retail Specific Features:
restaurant pos software

  • Hybrid system
  • Small plan $99/month, medium plan $169/month, Large plan $289/month
  • In-browser option or iPad app
  • Any size business
  • Inventory management, including matrix
  • Purchase ordering
  • Omnichannel
  • Mobile app

Lightspeed Retail (see our review) was created back in 2005 and is now used by more than 50,000 businesses around the world. This system offers myriad features including multi-tender options, the ability to issue store credit, inventory management, the ability to buy items in bulk and sell them individually, purchase ordering, employee management, CRM, reporting, and multi-store capability.

Lightspeed features some unique inventory features like customizable tags and the ability to manage bulk items that are being sold individually. You can create your own purchase orders and complete them across multiple vendors. Lightspeed comes with fairly advanced loyalty functionality as well, allowing you to store information on customers and offer specialized discounts. It also integrates with MailChimp and MailSync for marketing,

In terms of payment processing, Lightspeed Retail integrates with Vantiv Integrated Payments (Mercury), Cayan, and iZettle and has been EMV compliant since before October 2015. Lightspeed Retail offers 24/7 customer service support and live chat from 11 am to 8 pm EST.

RestaurantRetaileCommerce

Lightspeed Restaurant

Lightspeed Retail

Lightspeed eCommerce

Premium Restaurant POS

Premium Retail POS

eCommerce Integration

Get Started

Get Started

Get Started

$69/month

$99/month

$59/month

14-day free trial

14-day free trial

14-day free trial

No commitment

No commitment

No commitment

No credit card required

No credit card required

No credit card required

If you would like to learn more, read our full review of Lightspeed Retail or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

Get Started With Lightspeed

Square POS

Best For…

Small to mid-sized businesses, particularly ones with large numbers of SKUs

Retail Specific Features:

  • Free (Square for Retail is $60 a month)
  • Cloud-Based system
  • Android and iOS compatible
  • Small to mid-sized businesses
  • Real-time inventory tracking with unlimited SKU count
  • Barcode and custom label printing
  • Purchase order creation and management
  • Custom discounts
  • Employee management
  • Free online store
  • Square Loyalty

Square (read our review) prides itself on its simplicity and convenience — but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features. The free product features a robust package with strong inventory and employee management that’s particularly good for smaller restaurants and retail shops. Square for Retail narrows the product’s scope a bit, simplifying some aspects of the POS software while beefing up its inventory.

Inventory management is the big sell for Square for Retail. It includes real-time tracking, unlimited SKU count, custom printing, and bulk importing. You can also link vendors to products in an item catalog and receive purchase orders from the dashboard or within the app. Square comes with a virtual terminal (allowing you to take card-not-present transactions) and a basic free online store.

The Square app marketplace gives you options for scores of integrations. Square also features strong customer management (including loyalty programs), allowing you to easily edit your customer database. Square Loyalty is an extra add-on but it features everything you could want, allowing customers to rack up and easily see their loyalty points — all while information is stored, giving you what you need for easy marketing campaigns. Win-win.

ReadereCommerceRetailFood Service
Free App & ReaderSquare eCommerceSquare for RetailSquare for Restaurants
Get StartedGet StartedGet StartedGet Started
Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and AndroidEasy integration with popular platforms plus API for customizationSpecialized software for more complex retail storesSpecialized software for full-service restaurants
$0/month$0/month$60/month$60/month
Always FreeAlways FreeFree TrialFree Trial

You can try Square for Retail free for 30 days and if you’d like to know more, read our full review.

ShopKeep

Best For…

Smaller to mid-sized retailers

Retail Specific Features:

  • Hybrid system
  • iPad or iPad mini
  • Pricing is quote-based
  • For small to medium-sized businesses
  • Inventory management, including matrix
  • Integrates with eCommerce and accounting
  • Mobile app
  • Offers 24/7/365 customer support

This software has been around since 2008 and continues to be one of the best POS systems for retail. ShopKeep (see our review) is easy to use and offers a great inventory management feature that includes matrix and the ability to track quantities of each item of your merchandise. You can also set reorder points and use a reporting function to designate what, how much, and from which vendor to order any low stock item. 

ShopKeep gives you the ability to view all of your stores on the dashboard and also offers a Pocket App which lets you check in on sales or inventory remotely. The company integrates with BigCommerce, QuickBooks and MailChimp, among others.

Other features include the ability to create your own barcodes, use different tax rates, create thousands of SKUs, CSV file import, and multi-store capability. While this retail POS system does favor its own in-house payment processor, ShopKeep Payments, it can be used with other credit card processors and is fully EMV integrated. ShopKeep offers unlimited 24/7 customer support for retailers, although premium phone support will cost you extra.

Read our full review of ShopKeep if you would like more information.

Shopify POS

Best For…

Small to mid-sized retailers

Retail Specific Features:

  • Hybrid system
  • Basic Plan $29/month, Shopify Plan $79/month, Advanced Shopify Plan $299/month
  • Enterprise option available
  • Small to Medium businesses
  • Integrates with eCommerce and accounting
  • Mobile app

Shopify POS (see our review) is used by over 150,000 businesses and has been around since 2013. This system includes features such as the ability to accept split payments, the ability to grant refunds and store credit to customers, barcode support, gift cards, customizable receipts, order histories, CRM, detailed reporting (including reports on bestsellers), and inventory management that is able to sync both on and offline.

Shopify also does some things well within its inventory and reporting that may fly under the radar. They make it easy to sell your products across multiple platforms, even directly through Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Refunds and store credit can be offered and Shopify allows for pretty much any payment option you can think of.

Shopify review

Shopify integrates with its own in-house merchant services processor, Shopify Payments. If you would prefer to use a different processor, Shopify offers a large selection. If you purchase Shopify’s Card Reader, you will be able to accept EMV and NFC payments. Free 24/7 customer support is offered via email, live chat, and phone.

If you would like to learn more, read our full review of Shopify POS or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

Vend

Best For…

Virtually any-sized retail store

Retail Specific Features:

  • Cloud-based system that works on Google Chrome web-browser
  • Lite plan $99/month, Pr0 plan $129/month
  • Enterprise plan available
  • SMBs
  • Inventory management
  • Purchase Ordering
  • Omnichannel
  • Integrates with eCommerce and accounting

Vend (see our review) is the world’s first web-based retail POS to use the offline cache capabilities of HTML5. It was started back in 2010 by Vaughan Roswell. Currently, it is used in 100 countries and has over 20,000 installations. Vend is intuitive and well-designed. It works on virtually any system (as long as you use a Google Chrome web-browser). Vend also offers an iPad app (pictured below).

Vend comes with the following features (and more): eCommerce, a loyalty program, customer management, inventory management, barcode creation, and price books that can be used to store different prices for sales. Vend is EMV and NFC capable and integrates with Vantiv, PayPal, and Square for in-store credit card payments. One downside to using this system is that you will need to pay for tech support. Another downside is that it doesn’t allow for item modifiers.

Vend has a unique and simple user interface that features quick keys and has plenty of customization options to help tailor the POS to your unique brand. It also offers layaway options and gives you the ability to easily add store credit or park a sale. Its inventory features are extensive but they’re also a snap to use, allowing you import bulk items in seconds and categorize them however you’d like.

To learn more about Vend, check out our full review. If you would like to take Vend for a test drive, sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Revel

Best For…

Mid-sized to large retail businesses

Retail Specific Features:

  • Quote-based pricing
  • Hybrid system for Apple hardware
  • Kiosk functionality
  • Robust purchase order functionality
  • Extensive reporting
  • Open API and myriad integrations

Revel (see our review) is somewhat of a monster of a POS with incredibly robust back-end features. Revel used to focus primarily on the restaurant industry but has continued to evolve and can now handle mid-sized retailers equally well. It features real-time inventory management with a style matrix which makes organization easy. Revel also has advanced customer management, letting you set up extensive email and marketing campaigns and reward your customers for their loyalty.

Revel is an all-in-one system and also makes it easy to manage your employees. You can run employee reports to accurately assess your top performers and control scheduling and permissions from the dashboard or remotely.

The company also comes with loads of integrations, including Shopify for eCommerce and both QuickBooks and Xero for accounting. You have flexibility when it comes to choosing your credit card processor.

Check out more about Revel in our full review.

Clover Station

Best For…

Small to mid-sized businesses

Retail Specific Features:

  • $1199 for the system with plans starting at $14 a month
  • Simple set-up and interface
  • Access to Clover app market
  • Customized gift cards and loyalty functionality
  • Updated inventory management
  • Simple permissions mechanism

Clover Station (see our review) is a solid and versatile all-in-one system that comes with everything you need to start selling within minutes. The system isn’t exactly cheap, but it takes a lot of the initial hassle out of the setup process and has an interface that can be mastered in a very short amount of time. You can easily assign each worker a unique role or permission. The inventory management is advanced and allows for bulk importing and easy labeling and sorting.

The reporting systems are also solid and can be viewed directly or exported with a simple click. Clover has one of the more generous gift card options around included with the software, allowing customers to access cards on their own mobile device. Clover also features advanced loyalty tools to help you attract repeat customers.

Clover Station hardware setup

For processing, you have to go with First Data — so do your research on that company before committing. Clover also comes with access to the Clover App Market, which gives you access to pretty much any type of integration you might need.

Check out our complete review of Clover Station for more information.

Final Thoughts

To break it down for those of you who skipped to the end…

  • Lightspeed Retail is a hybrid system designed to be used by businesses of any size.
  • Square is for businesses that value convenience and a simple pricing structure.
  • ShopKeep is for SMBs that don’t mind paying an additional $30 a month for phone support and would like an in-house credit card processor.
  • Shopify is for those looking for with a great eCommerce system and an in-house credit card processor.
  • Vend is for those who like browser-based systems and don’t mind paying for customer support.
  • Revel is for businesses that need extensive inventory management and reporting.
  • Clover is for businesses that want a simple interface and loads of integrations.

Hopefully, this article has given you what you need to make an informed decision about the POS system you will choose for your retail business. The right POS system can make your life easier — and improve the experience for your customers — while the wrong one can really set you back. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave comments below.

Looking for cash drawers, barcode scanners, cash registers, or receipt printers for your retail business? Check out our complete guide to choosing POS hardware.

Another look at your retail POS options

Lightspeed POSSquare POSShopify POSSquare For Retail

Lightspeed Retail

Square POS

ShopKeep POS

Shopify POS

Square For Retail

Clover POS

restaurant pos software

Visit Site 

Review

Visit Site 

Review

Visit Site 

Review

Visit Site 

Review

Visit Site 

Review

Best for

Advanced retail features

Free POS

Credit card processing options

Ease-of-use

All-in-one service

Monthly fee

$99+

$0

Get a quote

$9-$29

$60

eCommerce integration

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Free trial

14 days

Always free

None

14 days

30 days

Promo DescriptionCTA
Grow your business with $300 in Free Yelp adsStart Now
Matt Sherman

Matt Sherman

Point of sale writer at Merchant Maverick
Matt Sherman has been immersed in point of sale systems for over a year now. Previously, he spent 14 years in the newspaper industry, the majority of which was as the sports editor for a pair of weekly newspapers in suburban Portland, Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon where he majored in English because he knows where the money is. Matt is the father to a pair of energetic boys and can easily be distracted by Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go.
Leave a comment

3 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Bobby

    Those are the most popular and probably the best POS software systems available on the Internet for modern businesses these days! Shopify POS is indeed one of the most recommended point-of-sale system. Thanks for sharing it here!

      Priyanka Gupta

      Thank you.It was very informative.keep sharing.

        Kayla

        Cheers on the breakdown! ;^”)

        Leave a Reply

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

        Your Review

        Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.
        Please read the "User Review and Comment Policy" before posting.

        Share