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6 POS Systems With Good Inventory Management

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When casually shopping for a new point of sale system, it’s easy to focus on things like the software’s price point, its design, and how simple it is to use. But, for any sizable retail or restaurant establishment, one of the most important components of a POS system is inventory management.

It’s imperative to be careful, or you could find yourself facing an immediate hassle upon purchasing your POS system. If the items you sell are difficult to upload or categorize — or if, in your fast-paced restaurant, ingredient tracking isn’t up to snuff –, you could end up burning valuable time. Worse still, the inefficiency could cut into your profits.

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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

Most of the top systems on the market come with built-in inventory tools, but each program is different in terms of the features and functionality on offer. There’s really no excuse to stick with a system that doesn’t quickly help you analyze your inventory and determine how to maximize your profits.

Which POS Inventory Management Tools Are Essential?

pos with raw ingredient tracking

Before we discuss specific POS systems that thrive in the area of inventory management, here are a few things you should be looking for:

  • Ease of Use: Some inventory systems are incredibly in-depth, with the ability to store information on thousands of items. But that doesn’t do you a lot of good if the interface is clunky and you’re constantly struggling to remember how to get to exactly what you’re looking for. You could also burn valuable hours training every new employee on a difficult system. This carries over into the set-up process as well. Make sure that your system allows you to import items in bulk otherwise you’re in for hours of painstaking data entry.
  • Basic Features: Seems obvious but it’s never a bad idea to do a quick run-through of what is actually included in a system’s inventory management and make sure that those features are offered with the plan you’ve selected and no in an advanced plan that are only available if you shell out more money. Most inventory systems feature things like real-time monitoring and low-stock alerts and, for the restaurant industry, raw ingredient tracking is virtually a must.
  • Easy Integration: This is one of the benefits of an all-in-one system. If you’re using an outside inventory program, it may not sync up seamlessly with your POS or perhaps with your accounting software. Make sure that whatever inventory software you’re using will run smoothly with any potential add-ons that you may be using elsewhere with your POS system.
  • Multi-Store Functionality: If your business is large enough to be operating out of more than one location, its common sense that you’ll want your inventory management to run fluidly between stores. Most good inventory software should have you covered here. Make sure that you can keep an eye on your inventory at all locations and check for features like the ability to set up transfers and delivery of stock from one location to the other.

Read on for a look at a few point of sale systems that have exemplary inventory management functions.

1) Lightspeed

Best for…

Retailers and restaurants — it can handle virtually any-sized business for either

Price:

Lightspeed starts at $99 a month and its medium option is $169 a month which includes two users. The large shop package is $289 a month.

Special Inventory Features:

  • Order stock directly from the POS
  • Create work orders and layaways within the system
  • Thousands of preloaded catalogs
  • Custom labels and barcodes
  • Consolidate purchases, transfers and orders into a single order
  • Change prices in bulk
  • Automatically remove returned items from inventory
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Lightspeed Retail

Lightspeed eCommerce

Premium Restaurant POS

Premium Retail POS

eCommerce Integration

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$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

Lightspeed (read our review) is one of the most consistent and stable POS systems we’ve reviewed. They offer a separate Retail and Restaurant POS with terrific inventory features that cater to both business types and their packages start at $99 per month. On the retail side, loading bulk items is simple and they can be easily sorted into groups by color, size, material, season, or any other qualification. Getting more advanced, Lightspeed also makes it easy for items that require unique serial numbers (like electronics) with the ability to create and track those products. If you need to bundle items to sell as a single SKU, Lightspeed also makes that process easy and calculates the cost automatically. As an added bonus, there are thousands of pre-loaded catalogs as well.

For restaurants, you can toggle stock levels on and off and, when the function is switched on, you can see exactly how much of each ingredient you have on stock across multiple locations and you can set up automatic alerts when an item runs low. There is also a unique ingredient management system which allows you to individually create an ingredient and add it to an item, allowing it to be tracked.

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

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2) ShopKeep

Best for…

Any small to mid-sized retail store in any industry and some quick-service restaurants

Price: 

ShopKeep has implemented a quote-based system and you have to talk to a representative to get an exact number, but prices generally start around $69 a month.

Special Inventory Features:

  • Bulk importing of thousands of SKUs
  • Best-seller tracking
  • Track costs and profit margins per item
  • Bluetooth scanning available
  • Unique and customizable modifiers
  • Manage multiple stores in real time with the pocket app

We’ve considered ShopKeep (read our review) one of the best POS systems on the market pretty much since its inception. Inventory wasn’t always its top selling point, but it has made dramatic improvements in that area over the past couple of years and now ranks alongside its competitors. ShopKeep is a very affordable option for everything that it comes with and offers a quote-based system for pricing and is ideal for small to mid-sized businesses in both the retail and food-service industries.

Included in its basic package, ShopKeep has a strong inventory management package. You can import via a CSV file and hold thousands of SKUs. Viewing your top selling items and departments is simple and you can get immediate updates when stock is running low. You can track the costs of each item to assess how profitable it is compared to other sellers. Another nice feature is, with the addition of a bluetooth scanner, you can look up or add new items from anywhere in the store.

For restaurants, ShopKeep’s ingredient tracking is extremely detailed and the software offers numerous modifiers that are all customizable. ShopKeep’s pocket app also allows you to check on your inventory from anywhere with a wireless signal.

3) Vend

Best for… 

Virtually any sized retail establishment, though the cost may lend itself to mid-sized to larger businesses

Price:

Packages begin at $99 a month if billed annually. More advanced packages are $129 a month and if you need the enterprise service you’ll have to call for a quote.

Special Inventory Features: 

  • Bulk importing from a CSV file
  • Product bundling and separating
  • Import new barcodes or create new ones
  • Centralized product catalog
  • Duplicate products with a click
  • Automated promotions and discounts
  • Customizable taxes and pricing

Vend (see our review) does a lot of things well (that’s why it’s already earned one of our coveted 5-star ratings). It numbers among the most user-friendly systems on the market, requiring very little training to install or operate. Vend is continually updating and integrates with dozens of companies. Vend has robust plans starting at $99 a month.

Vend’s inventory management is easy to maneuver without sacrificing functionality. This POS allows you to import a CSV file to easily transfer large amounts of inventory. You can also import existing barcodes or print new ones. There is a wide variety of options for organizing your products, making it possible to build customizable reports. The centralized product catalog is also a nice function.

Vend comes with a built-in way to automate promotions, making it possible to set discounts across multiple stores or create discounts for individual customers. Stock orders can be automatically generated once a certain item dips below a set point. What’s more, Scanner by Vend simplifies stock counts.

4) Revel

Best for…

Any type or size of business, though the feature set favors larger establishments

Price: Revel has a flat fee that is $99 a month for each register billed annually and with a three-year contract.

Special Inventory Features:

  • Simple matrices to track and find products
  • Scan items with your mobile device
  • Special app to monitor inventory levels across multiple stores remotely
  • Automatic low stock alerts
  • Create custom purchase orders
  • Easily compare sales numbers across a selected time period

Revel (read our review) has emerged as one of the big players in the POS world and stays at the forefront of the industry with constant updates and expanding integrations. Featuring a flexible pricing structure, the company is equipped for both restaurant and retail businesses and its inventory management has all of the functions you would want in an easily digestible format.

revel systems pos

Revel offers a convenient style matrix for adding large amounts of inventory en masse with customizable category options for easy searches. For restaurants, it’s easy to check out ingredient levels and costs. Revel allows you to create your own purchase orders, including a convenient function where you can note if only a partial order arrives. As with some of the other systems, inventory levels can be viewed in real time and alerts can be set up when products are running low — or you can have the system automatically order new stock. Revel also has an inventory app that can be downloaded, turning your phone into a scanner.

5) NCR SilverNCR Silver POS review

Best for… 

Small to mid-sized retail establishments, though it has enterprise functionality

Price:

Prices begin at $79 a month and more advanced packages range up to $149 a month.

Special Inventory Features:

  • Cross-channel views of all inventory
  • Transaction functions based on employee permissions
  • Near real-time updates that can be viewed remotely
  • Completely customizable configurations
  • Automatic stock reordering
  • Modern analytics

NCR is a behemoth of a company, but it has carved out a nice niche in the POS world and continues to impress. NCR Silver (check out our review) offers strong customer support and was created with the business owner in mind, featuring an interface that can get customers through the line quickly. Pricing starts at $79 a month with an annual contract.

NCR is one of the rare products whose inventory management is equally strong for both retail and restaurant establishments. Inventory can be viewed in real-time and, for larger businesses with multiple locations, it’s easy to toggle back and forth from store to store to check product amounts. Like with Hike, many of the inventory functions can be automated to save employee hours. Orders can be made automatically once stock drops below a certain level, and variations for products, like size and color, can easily be added.

NCR Silver Review

For restaurants, forced and optional modifiers can be added to boost sales. The Inventory Snapshot feature also lets you see the total inventory you have on hand at any given moment. NCR Silver’s analytics, predicting item sales and profits from inventory, are also top notch.

6) Hike

Best For…

Small to mid-sized retailers, particularly in the clothing industry, and small, quick-service food businesses

Price:

Hike’s plans start at $49 a month with additional registers costing $29 a month. Their one-store plan starts at $79 a month and their multi-store plan with unlimited users and items is $129 a month.

Special Inventory Features:

  • Bulk importing
  • Full and partial inventory counts that can be scheduled ahead of time
  • Automated re-order reminders
  • Simple stock transfers between stores
  • Easy purchase order creation
  • Taxes by location

Hike (read our review) is an affordable retail system (starting at $49 a month) with surprisingly robust inventory management that could also be utilized for small food carts or cafes. Hike’s mobility makes it a nice option for businesses that want their employees to be able to interact on the floor with customers, and to that point, its employee management is also strong.

The system can handle an unlimited number of products and is custom-made to handle large amounts of inventory. Custom barcodes on receipts make it easy to look up products. Virtually everything can be automated, from re-ordering to setting up reminders and shipping items between stores.

Hike’s purchase ordering is intuitive, as is its ability to track orders online. Inventory can be quickly imported in bulk, and a central inventory system makes it possible to keep tabs on your stock across multiple locations from one system. You can schedule a full or partial inventory count in advance to save time as well. There are myriad categories and subcategories that you can place items into, making it easy to search for them.

Final Thoughts

Price, ease-of-use, and aesthetics matter, but depending on what type of business you operate, strong inventory management may actually be the most important feature to look for when shopping for a POS. Before purchasing a new system, do your research and ask as many questions as you can about the inventory features available. Whenever possible, take advantage of free trials.

Good luck, and happy selling!

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Price

$49 a month

Quote based

$99 a month

$69 a month

Quote based

$99 a month

Mobile Compatibility

iOS (Android coming soon)

iOS and Android

iOS and Android

iOS

iOS and Android

iOS and Android

Ease of Use

Easy

Very Easy

Easy

Very Easy

Moderate

Very Easy

Size of Business

Small to medium

Small to medium

Small to large

Small to large

Medium to large

Small to medium

Compatible Credit Card Processors

Vantiv and PayPal

Many

Vantiv, Paypal, Square

Vantiv, Mercury, Cayan, iZettle

Many

Elavon, Vantiv, WorldPay, and others

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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.
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8 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.

    iuioujio

    This site really help.

      Rob

      Great Read!! Which would you recommend as a POS system and one that would be most beneficial with Inventory management
      . We are opening up a small cigar company and would like to barcode every cigar.

        Jessica Dinsmore

        Hey Rob!

        I think any of the systems that say they are best for small to mid-sized businesses would suit your company. ShopKeep is always a solid option and you can create and scan unique barcodes with their system. If you have a little extra money you might want to look at Vend as their inventory management is a little more robust but it may be more than you need ultimately.

          Sam Wheeling

          Great Read! However, I am a small business that deals with gift cards as well as cash and hardly any credit cards. I am looking for a POS system that I can use on a PC and or Ipad/Tablet that will also do inventory control. Where can I find such a item?

            Jessica Dinsmore

            Hi Sam!

            Pretty much of all the options in the article will be able to handle cash and gift card transactions. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for with any of those, I would check out SalesVu. They are compatible for both iOS and Android and have solid inventory and gift card features. One of the only real issues is a less than stellar offline mode but, as a primarily cash business, that shouldn’t be much of an issue. You could also check out ShopKeep, one of our highest recommended systems, which should be able to handle your needs as well.

              Buddy

              Hi Matt,

              We need inventory system with a twist… So far the above systems seems not to be able to handle our situation and I have been searching the interweb high-and-low.

              We sell sausages that we produce in our own kitchen. That means our stock inventory will need to track Beef and Pork that we buy from our suppliers. We will not sell these items. Instead we will convert them into Sausage stock items. Also, very importantly, if I use 1kg of Beef and 1kg of Pork, I will end up with 2.45kg of Sausages (because I add water and spices that is not in my inventory), and these sausages will be sold as three different products: 1kg pack, 500g pack and 450g packs. If I use 2kg of Beef, I will end up with 920g of Beef Jerkey. So there needs to be a build-in recipe kind of thing for many of our sales products.

              Other products we sell may come from another supplier that we directly sell on. Also we have our own website (Magenta) with incoming orders (sales), then another website almost like Amazon (also with their own csv format of sales), and then also we have walk-in customers that will pay by credit card or cash. All of these needs to be captured (or imported) for our stock control.

              VEND is not capable of handling weights at all. The others mentioned above has no free trial period.

                Jessica Dinsmore

                Hi Buddy!

                Thanks for your question. We did a little digging, and we are surprised that Revel wasn’t able to accommodate your needs. That said, if you’re sure that can’t help, we’d suggest taking a look at TouchBistro. They have a really good ingredient-based inventory system that should be able to handle all of your specifics.

                  N.F.

                  Revel does this type of inventory Mgt, no free trial but if you setup a demo they sill show you. I was looking at Revel last year and setup a demo and this is how the ingredient level inventory feature works.

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