7 Top POS Systems For 2022: Find The Best Retail Point Of Sale System For Your Business In This List
These popular POS systems for retail offer inventory management, loyalty features, and even eCommerce.
Smart retail business owners know that their retail POS system is a critical pillar in their business’s success. The high turnover rate in the retail space means retailers need an intuitive POS system that is easy to train new hires on. A great POS will also automatically capture data pertaining to your sales, inventory, customers, and employees. This means less work for you, and a higher profit margin.
But what, exactly makes a retail POS great? It’s actually quite simple. The best retail point of sale systems combine transparent pricing, good inventory management, strong reporting tools, and excellent ease of use. You might also want to find a system that has built-in loyalty and marketing features to get customers back into your brick-and-mortar store, and online selling features such as curbside pickup and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store).
There is no single best POS system for retail; the best one really depends on your specific business needs. Read on to learn about the top POS systems for retail and find out which one is best for your business.
Other Featured Options:
- Vend by Lightspeed:
- Integrates with multiple payment processors
- Runs on iPad, Mac, or PC
- Hike POS:
- Integrates with multiple payment processors
- Runs on iPad, Android, Mac, or PC
Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
Table of Contents
The Best Retail POS Systems For Small Businesses
The best POS system for retail business provides strong features:
- Lightspeed Retail: Best Inventory Management
- Revel Systems: Best Reporting
- Square For Retail: Best Marketing Tools
- Clover: Easiest To Use
- Vend: Best Loyalty App
- Hike: Transparent Pricing
- Shopify: Retail + Online
1. Square For Retail: Best For Marketing
Square For Retail
- Free plan
- Built-in text message marketing
- Free online selling options
- Occasional fund holds
Square prides itself on its simplicity and convenience — but that doesn’t mean it lacks in features. The free credit card processing solution and POS features a robust package with free online selling features, inventory, and employee management. Square for Retail narrows the product’s scope a bit, simplifying some aspects of the POS software while further beefing up its inventory and employee management. Plus, if you add the affordable Square Marketing add-on, you will also receive Square’s awesome built-in email and text marketing features.
All Square accounts come with a free online store and a newer “online checkout” option. Checkout lets customers pay using a link you text them, a button embedded into your existing website, a link on your social media profile, or a QR code they scan with their phone’s camera. Some other socially-distanced selling options Square offers include local delivery and curbside checkout.
Square For Retail Features:
- Link Vendors To Products In Item Catalog: This is a new feature but a helpful one, and it’s a good complement to the unit cost function.
- Purchase Order Creation: You can create purchase orders from the Square dashboard. However, at this time, Retail cannot auto-populate purchase orders based on low or empty stock, which is a sore point. Instead, merchants have to select each item on the purchase order manually.
- Team Plus: Team Plus is Square’s advanced employee management suite, which you can use to track employee hours, set user permissions, create custom employee roles, and much more. Employee timecards can sync with Square Payroll or another payroll provider. Team Plus is included in Square for Retail Plus, but not on Square for Retail Free. You can use the basic Square Team Management on the Square Retail Free plan if all you need is an employee timeclock and very basic scheduling and reporting.
- Free Online Store: Square’s free online store is really basic, but it works. It’s as simple as ABC to set up, plus you can integrate with other third-party shopping carts (though not all reporting features work seamlessly). Square even allows your customers to buy online and pick up in-store, which is worth looking at. If you want more features for your online store, Square also has paid online store plans.
- Item View: You can manage inventory across multiple locations from your Square dashboard. (You can also control employee permissions in the same way.)
- Client Messages: Customers can make an appointment and leave information in the form of a comment or note, saving employees a few steps.
- Invoicing: You can send invoices through the Square dashboard and pay 2.9% + $0.30. Invoices are customizable, and you can even keep customers’ cards on file.
Square for Retail isn’t the most advanced retail POS system, but it is super easy to get started with if you’re a POS newbie and don’t have a merchant account yet. It’s also quite affordable and even has a free version with a pared-down feature set. There’s a more robust version (Square for Retail Plus) that costs $60/month/location and has a 0.1% discount on Square’s standard processing rate. Square Marketing starts at $15/month for up to 500 contacts, or $10/month for text message marketing only.
2. Clover: Best For Ease Of Use
- Quick and easy setup
- Sleek, purpose-built hardware
- Customizable feature-set
- Locked into Fiserv processing
Clover is a solid and versatile all-in-one system that comes with everything you need to start selling within minutes. The custom-built Android hardware isn’t exactly cheap, but it takes a lot of the initial hassle out of the setup process and has an easy-to-use 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.
Clover 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 mobile devices. Clover additionally provides advanced loyalty tools to help you attract repeat customers. The Clover App Market gives you access to pretty much any type of feature or integration you might need.
- Inventory: Clover has updated its inventory features. Items can be described with variants (such as color) and options (such as size) and organized into categories or labeled for quicker access.
- Customer Management: Clover gives you the ability to collect customer information at the time of sale. Later, you can search for customers by name and date or look up a customer’s order history.
- Gift Cards: As you would expect, Clover is on top of its game when it comes to customized gift cards. Both digital and physical cards can be branded to suit your company. Customers can access and use their cards on their mobile devices. The cards are all tracked digitally.
- Loyalty: Clover’s loyalty functionality comes included with Clover Mini, Flex, and Station, which is a nice perk. You can customize your program, allowing customers to accrue loyalty benefits in several different ways. It’s also possible to store and easily look up customer information and track their spending habits. You can send out real-time promotions through text or email campaigns, and you can receive customer feedback directly.
- Online ordering: Clover plans at the $9.95/month level and up include a customer-facing online ordering portal with options for curbside pickup and delivery. Clover also works with various eCommerce platforms including Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento.
- App Market: Like Square, Clover has its own app market, giving you access to hundreds of different applications that can improve your business or your personal experience within the POS, and the market is constantly updating.
- Built-in Item Exchanges: The ability to exchange items within the store is simple and comes with the software. You don’t need to set up this function that also links up with your inventory to ensure an accurate count.
All Clover accounts come with a merchant account, and you have to go with First Data/Fiserv as your back-end processor. But many companies sell Clover products and offer their merchant accounts (backed by Fiserv) with their own terms, so do your research on those companies before committing. You can also check out our article on the best Clover resellers for an idea of the most reputable companies to get your Clover machine from. If you decide to buy from Clover directly (recommended), plans start at $0/month for payment processing only, though you’ll pay $39.95/month for the full Register plan with retail POS features. Additional devices are $10/month/register.
3. Lightspeed Retail: Best For Inventory Management
Lightspeed Retail POS
- Deep inventory management
- Advanced retail features
- Integrated eCommerce
- Advanced features cost extra
Lightspeed is known for its excellent inventory management and multichannel selling features, making it perfect for fast-growing retailers that need to track large inventories and sync their online and in-person sales. Lightspeed also has some unique inventory features, and you can create 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.
- Customizable Tags: Customizable tags allow you to essentially create your own inventory taxonomy for searching for items.
- Item Variations: Your inventory management system allows you to add multiple attribute matrices (large, black, leather, etc.). You also have the ability to assemble items into bundles, including serialized items. You can also manage items that are typically bought in bulk but sold individually.
- Returns & Exchanges: Simplify returns and exchanges with Lightspeed eCommerce by allowing customers to open a support ticket directly from their profile.
- Shipping Tools: Get organized when it comes to shipping out products with Lightspeed Retail’s shipping tools. You can organize, edit, and view shipments from the back end, issue tracking codes to customers, and integrate with shipping APIs like ShipStation and EasyPost.
- Holds & Layaway: You can hold and suspend sales and return to them later or transfer them to another device. You can also place items on hold/layaway for customers to pick up at a later date. Adding new/existing customers to a sale directly through the POS interface is seamless.
- Gift Certificates & Gift Cards: Gift certificates/cards also have a barcode for ease of use and can be reused (their balances can be changed).
- Customer Loyalty Program: Lightspeed Loyalty allows you to reward your customers online and in-store with its point-based loyalty program. This fully integrated program allows you to easily add customers, automate marketing campaigns, categorize rewards, and send one-time offers for birthdays, special occasions, or to celebrate your VIP customers. You can also use this add-on to create automated marketing campaigns via SMS and a drag-and-drop email builder.
Monthly pricing starts at $69/month for basic POS functionality, but features such as eCommerce, loyalty, analytics, and accounting software integration will cost you extra. In terms of payment processing, Lightspeed Retail integrates with processors such as Vantiv Integrated Payments and Cayan but favors its own payment processor, Lightspeed Payments.
4. Revel Systems: Best For Reporting
Revel POS Systems
- Extensive reporting functions
- Powerful enough for multilocation retailers
- Custom-built packages tailored to your business
- Long-term processing obligation
Equipped with incredibly robust back-end features, Revel used to focus primarily on the restaurant industry but has continued to evolve and can now handle retailers equally well, even powering nationwide chains such as Goodwill. Revel has an excellent reporting suite that puts critical data on your sales, employees, customers, and inventory at your fingertips. Revel customer management also lets you set up extensive email and marketing campaigns and reward your customers for their loyalty.
- Intelligent Reporting Suite: Revel reports are pretty extensive, and they’re easy to read. Some of the dozens of reports available include transaction details, sales summaries, ingredients sold, PLU report, available/used gift cards, total voids, total credit transactions, refunded/exchanged items, percentage of labor against sales, and employee check-out reports.
- Real-Time Inventory: Adding and managing inventory with Revel is simple, requiring only an item and price (though other fields, such as cost and SKU, are also available). A style matrix is available for easy mass entry of inventory items that are similar but differ by color, size, or style.
- Purchase Order Management: In addition to creating POs and associating inventory with vendors, Revel helps you manage when stock items arrive and are added to your inventory. You can notate partial orders when vendors only send you a portion of your stock and finalize orders once the order is complete.
- Till Management: All cash management functions are located under the manager selection of the settings tab: batch processing, over/under tills, and printable quick-view reports, such as total cash/credit/check/gift certificates for the night, items sold, and time management.
- Loyalty & Gift Cards: Revel integrates with several gift card companies to give you options, and its loyalty functions continue to expand. You can customize in whatever way you want to reward your customers, and the system can track and store data for research.
- Delivery Management: Track your deliveries and orders in real-time, all from your POS. The system can store customer information and order history and will automatically optimize delivery routes.
Revel is definitely not the cheapest iPad POS — pricing starts at $99/month/terminal with a three-year processing and agreement and a two-terminal minimum — but it is one of the most powerful. Revel can be customized to fit virtually any retail POS need, from kiosk shopping to delivery management to integrated eCommerce. With its advanced and flexible features, we recommend Revel for very niche markets, including both as a golf course pos and a garden center pos system.
Revel’s open API means this versatile system can also integrate with virtually any other business software you use. Midsize and larger retailers with multiple locations will find everything they need in a custom-built Revel solution.
5. Shopify POS: Best For Online Selling Features
- Strong retail-centric features
- Integrated eCommerce
- Email & text marketing capabilities
- Offline mode can’t process card payments
Shopify is an excellent multichannel solution for retailers that sell in-person, online, or any combination thereof. This retail POS system’s features include 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 can sync both on and offline.
Shopify makes it possible 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 also provides many socially-distant selling features, such as online ordering for curbside pickup and QR code shopping.
- Accept Two Or More Payment Options: Shopify POS allows you to split tenders and accept more than one type of payment in a single transaction. This is a fairly handy feature, created especially to deal with the inevitable customer who wants to pay partly with cash or divide their payment between two credit cards.
- Custom Payment Options: The ability to generate custom payment options (personal checks, gold coins, IOUs, etc.) is one of Shopify POS’s most interesting features. You can also give customers the option to make a partial payment on their purchases and/or allow for deposits or layaway.
- Refunds & Store Credit: Shopify POS makes it possible to give out store credit on a gift card when you don’t wish to refund money to the payment method that the customer originally used. Customers can also buy an item from your online Shopify store and bring it to your brick-and-mortar store for a refund.
- Multiple Sales Channels: Sell online through Shopify or sell from your website. With the “Buy Button” feature, you can embed a link that will allow customers to purchase your products through your site (WordPress, Tumblr, Wix, etc.) quickly and easily. You can also sell on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay.
- Email & Text Marketing: Shopify has built-in email marketing functionality, allowing you to send 2,500 free emails a month. The POS also integrates with third-party add-ons that you can use to send your customers automated text/SMS/MMS marketing messages.
- Custom Sales: Custom line items can be added at any time and priced however you wish. This is a perfect way to integrate specials or seasonal items into your usual stock.
- Discounts: Shopify POS lets you offer discounts at checkout, either by percentage or dollar amount. These discounts can be used on one item only or applied to the customer’s entire order.
- Order Histories: You can get a good overview of your store’s operations by viewing all past orders (whether made in-store or online). Order histories may be filtered by customer, product, or date.
- Shipping & Delivery Options: Shopify merchants have new shipping and delivery options, including local delivery and curbside pickup, as well as BOPIS, BORIS (buy online, return in store), and ship-to-customer option that lets customers order an item in your store and it shipped to their home.
- Smart Grid: Your most-used apps and other functions are now front and center to help you speed through checkouts.
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, but you’ll have to pay a premium. Free 24/7 customer support is provided via email, live chat, and phone.
Shopify offers numerous different monthly packages with different features and price points. Shopify plans start at just $9/month for its mobile selling plan, Shopify Lite. However, to take advantage of all the multichannel selling options like BOPIS and BORIS, you will need to add the $89/month Shopify Pro package. Your processing rate also depends on your monthly plan level.
6. Vend: Best For Built-In Loyalty
Vend by Lightspeed
- Excellent loyalty package
- Extensive inventory features
- No built-in eCommerce
Vend was the world’s first web-based retail POS system to use the offline cache capabilities of HTML5. 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.
Vend comes with the following features (and more): loyalty, gift cards, purchase order capabilities, 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, Square, and several other processors for in-store credit card payments (Vend doesn’t offer its own in-house payment processing solution). If you want eCommerce, an employee time clock, or email marketing, you’ll need to pay for third-party software integrations.
- Price Books: Vend can maintain multiple price books, which you can use in several ways. You can keep separate price books based on store location or a specific group of customers (say, your Loyalty customers), or you can make them time-sensitive. For example, if you want to have a weekend sale, all you need to do is create a copy of your default price book, apply discounts across the board (or individualized discounts for different products), and set the time frame during which the new prices will be active.
- Gift Cards & Loyalty Cards: Vend’s gift card program allows you to create branded gift and loyalty cards, increase your payment options, and avoid issuing refunds by offering store credit instead. These are barcode cards you can redeem with a scanner at your Vend point of sale.
- iPad App: Known as Vend Register, this app is optimized for use on an iPad. It gives users the ability to streamline and process sales quickly, easily customize quick keys, and includes such features as payment integration, layaways, on-account sales, and loyalty programs.
- Transaction Options: Vend offers layaway options, and it’s very easy to look up customer information to track payment history and balances. Other slightly complicated transactions, such as parking sales and adding store credit to an account, are simple to process along with more basic functions, such as returns and split payments.
- Customer Management: You can customize the fields you want for your customer list with addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, websites, customer groups, Facebook accounts, and Twitter IDs.
- eCommerce Integration: Though Vend does not have an in-house eCom or online ordering feature, the POS integrates with most of the top eCommerce platforms on the market, making it simple to either import your online store or start from scratch. Purchase orders made through the online store are automatically emailed to the admin, so order fulfillment is in real-time.
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 add store credit or park a sale easily. Its inventory features are extensive and a snap to use, allowing you to import bulk items in seconds and categorize them however you’d like. An area where the retail POS software lacks includes its reporting suite, which some users say is too basic. Vend’s plans start at $99/month. With its middle-of-the-road price-point and complete but not overly advanced feature-set, Vend is best for medium-sized businesses.
7. Hike: Best For Transparent Pricing
- Versatile & customizable
- Transparent, affordable pricing
- Can process payments in offline mode
- Can sometimes be glitchy
While Hike is used by some big-name brands like Dyson, Mercedes-Benz, and O’Neil, small retail businesses are Hike’s bread and butter. These businesses praise Hike for its affordability, ease of use, and customizability. Hike is also excellent for retailers that want to send marketing emails, thanks to its built-in Mailchimp integration and a convenient tab in the POS where customers can be added to groups for marketing campaigns.
Hike has dedicated apps for iPad and Android tablets. You can also run the POS software on a PC or Mac in a web browser. In addition to giving you multiple hardware choices, Hike is highly customizable in terms of its software — from layout to settings, features, and integrations. Hike integrates with most major accounting and eCommerce software providers, and customers praise Hike’s Shopify integration in particular. Hike also integrates with a variety of payment processors, including PayPal, Westpac, Square, Tyro, and Worldpay.
- Loyalty Rewards: Hike offers a custom loyalty setup. Customers can gain loyalty points by signing up for mailing lists or by reaching preset spending goals. Hike’s loyalty program is highly customizable, allowing certain products to have different point values for promotions.
- Marketing: Hike has a free Mailchimp integration built into its system, making email and marketing campaigns efficient and effective. Customers can be grouped and targeted so you don’t annoy them with irrelevant offers and promotions. It’s also easy to import and/or export your customer database into the Hike POS to add them to your marketing campaigns.
- Reporting: Hike’s dashboard for reporting is a highlight of the product. The basic analytics for your store are all shown on one screen and update in real-time. Hike offers a wide variety of reports that can analyze customer trends, displaying sales ratios by age, gender, and so forth. Sales reports are customizable, and tracking top employees by week, month, or year can be done with a click.
- Purchase Orders: You can select suppliers to email and also print the orders to mail out copies if necessary. It’s also easy to track orders online.
- Multistore: When your business is ready to expand into multiple locations, Hike is scalable. You can access reports that break down transactions across stores, and there are advanced inventory options, helping you transfer and track products across locations.
- Inventory: Hike offers a fairly robust inventory management system. The software can handle an unlimited number of products and can be sorted based on virtually any number of variants (size/color/cost, etc.). Hike also offers custom barcode creation for receipts. It’s easy to make adjustments to product lines by simply sorting them and adding pricing changes or promotional information.
Hike offers a broad range of retail POS features, including multi-store inventory management, loyalty, gift cards, offline mode, purchase ordering, and reporting. Hike even has appointment booking and foodservice features for businesses that need those features.
Hike’s price is right, with monthly packages starting at $59/month. To get the full feature set that includes everything a retail business needs to do business — including gift cards, loyalty, store credit, custom reports, detailed analytics, and advanced user permissions — you’ll only pay $79/month for a single location or $129/month for a multistore account (with two register licenses; additional registers are $29/month each). The value that Hike POS software provides for its very reasonable price makes Hike one of the most affordable, transparently priced systems on our list.
How To Find The Best POS System For Retail Stores
If you’re shopping for the best POS system for retail, you will want to choose a system that provides most or all of these features, depending on your particular business needs:
- Employee Management: Many POS systems come with built-in time card functionality and the ability to manage your employees’ hours. You can also assign permissions, giving certain employees different levels of access, and keep tabs on voids and cash drawer interactions to prevent fraud.
- Loyalty: Some retail POS systems come with a built-in loyalty program or have one that can easily be purchased as an add-on. Loyalty programs can help attract repeat business and effectively help you market to interested customers. They can sometimes include gift card functionality as well.
- Inventory Management: Having a POS system that specifically helps you manage your retail inventory can be a lifesaver. Some retail inventory management features can include purchase order management, low stock alerts, multichannel inventory syncing, and the ability to transfer stock across multiple stores.
- Online Selling/eCommerce: More than ever, retailers need POS software that allows them to sell online. Whether the POS provides a full-fledged eCommerce website or even just a selling button that you can place on your existing website or social media, your system should offer some online ordering/purchasing options (also called “multichannel selling.” Already use an eCommerce system? Check out The Best POS Systems That Integrate With QuickBooks.
- Reporting: Even if you think you might not be doing a lot of in-depth analysis of your business, having a basic set of reports can help you diagnose potential issues within your store. You can track busy times during the week or month, find out who your top-selling employees are, and discover what items you’re selling that are the most or least cost-effective.
- Customer Management: Your POS system should be able to save information about your customers that you can use for marketing, reporting, and loyalty.
- Integrations: For best performance across all your systems, your retail point of sale software should integrate seamlessly with your other business management software, such as accounting and eCommerce.
4 Ways To Manage Your Business With Retail POS Software
Here are some specific things you can do to make the most of your POS and run your business better. Especially during COVID, using your retail POS system to its fullest extent can help you handle the struggles you’re facing right now.
1. Use Your Point Of Sale Reports
Your POS system’s reporting suite contains a wealth of information that can help you manage your business and make important decisions. POS reports can show you how your loyalty program is performing, your top-selling and least-popular items, which employees are selling the most, and much more. When learning the POS, make sure you thoroughly explore your reporting suite and develop a plan as to how you’ll use these reports.
2. Incorporate A Marketing Plan
Any retail POS system worth its salt will have some sort of CRM (customer relationship management) functionality. That means your POS system can collect and save information about your customers. Especially when integrated with a loyalty program and text (SMS) or email marketing program, you can use the customer information you collect to drive sales and offer discounts to your loyal customers. To make the most out of your POS system’s CRM feature, you need to develop a solid marketing plan that includes targeted emails and promotions. If you need some extra help, many POS systems may also offer in-house marketing features or integrate with third-party marketing software.
3. Promote Distanced Selling Features
All of the POS systems on our list have beefed up their socially-distanced selling tools, such as online ordering, local delivery, curbside pickup, contactless payment support, and more. The pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon, and your customers will certainly appreciate these features, not just for safety but also for convenience. However, these convenient POS features won’t do any good if you don’t set them up and promote them. Make sure your customers know that they can order ahead online, pay with Apple Pay, etc., and maybe even consider offering a short-term promotion to encourage customers to start using this feature.
4. Connect Your Other Business Software
Your retail business management software works best when it works together. Thus, it’s essential that your POS software integrates seamlessly with your accounting software, eCommerce platform, payroll, and any other business software you use. For example, QuickBooks users will want to make sure they buy a retail POS that integrates with QuickBooks. Integration quality and depth will vary by POS, so make sure you understand what the integration can and cannot do. Going back to the QuickBooks example, some POS systems will let you export data into a spreadsheet that you can manually enter into your QuickBooks, while other systems sync your POS and QB data in real-time.
In some cases, you may have very specific retail POS needs and will need a niche retail POS system. If that describes your business, here are a couple of POS resources that might help you:
FAQ: Retail Point Of Sale Systems
In Summary: The Best Retail POS Systems For Small Businesses
- Square For Retail:
- Flat-rate processing at 2.5% or 2.6% + $0.10
- Runs on iPad or Square Register
- Clover POS:
- Flat-rate processing at 2.3-2.5% + $0.10
- Hardware options include Station, Mini, Flex, & Go
- Lightspeed Retail POS:
- Flat-rate processing at 2.6% + $0.10
- Runs on iPad or desktop PC
- Revel POS Systems:
- Custom flat-rate processing
- Runs on iPad
- Shopify POS:
- Flat-rate processing at 2.4%-2.7%
- Runs iOS & Android
- Vend by Lightspeed:
- Integrates with multiple payment processors
- Runs on iPad, Mac, or PC
- Hike POS:
- Integrates with multiple payment processors
- Runs on iPad, Android, Mac, or PC