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

POS Software Reviews

buyers guide
Sort By
  • Lightspeed Retail POS Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Lightspeed is one of the most robust and easy-to-use solutions in today's POS market. If you're looking for a system that will likely have every option you could dream up in a POS in both the front and back end and pricing isn't a major consideration, Lightspeed should be fairly high on your list.

  • Clover POS System Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    At first glance, Clover seems like an ideal POS solution. It's flexible, feature-rich, and functional. However, the processing and customer service issues that have plagued the company continue to persist, and Clover has dragged its feet when it comes to addressing them. It is also not a cheap product, generally requiring some spendy initial hardware costs, and it must be sold with a merchant account. But if you want a simple, attractive POS solution -- and don't mind taking a risk on customer service and payment processing -- could do a lot worse than Clover and its many different offerings.

  • ShopKeep Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    ShopKeep is one of our favorite iPad POS apps because of its intuitive interface and powerful inventory management. See if the features and pricing are a good fit for your small business.

  • Square For Retail POS Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Square for Retail runs on an iPad with an interface optimized for searching and scanning. But do the back-end features also work for businesses with large inventories? See how Square’s retail-specialized POS system stacks up in terms of features, pricing, reporting, and more.

  • SwipeSimple Register Review (From Payment Depot)

    Read Review Visit Site

    Pros Low cost Included free from Payment Depot Incredibly easy to use Good customer service Offline mode Free card reader Cons Lack of integrations Limited backend Overview SwipeSimple (offered by Payment Depot) is one of the more unique POS products I’ve come across. For one, you can’t simply buy the product outright; you can only get […]

  • Vend POS Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    In 2010, Vend was revolutionary; it was a powerful POS system operating completely in the cloud, making it possible for your business to still function through an internet outage. Since then, Vend has stayed on top of current trends and remains one of the most user-friendly systems on the market. Vend is constantly updating its product and has very few flaws. The POS's front end is remarkably intuitive even to the greenest retail employee and its back-end features come with virtually everything you would expect from a top-end system -- and at a reasonable price.

  • Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Lightspeed Restuarant is a cloud-based iPad POS system built solely for the foodservice industry and, like many of its rivals, can be a one-stop-shop for your POS needs if that's what you're looking for.

  • Square POS Review (Free Version)

    Read Review Visit Site

    Can you really run your restaurant or shop on Square’s free Point of Sale app? Check out our in-depth review for a look at features, available integrations, use reviews and more!

  • Revel Systems Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Revel is one of the more advanced and loaded POS systems available to merchants of all sizes. While geared toward larger businesses with multiple locations, a smaller retailer/restauranteur with a savvy owner may find Revel to be an ideal fit. It's certainly not the cheapest system on the market. However, given its robust integrations and advanced back end, it's hard to imagine that any business owner (particularly in the foodservice industry) would find Revel lacking.

  • Toast POS Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Despite the pandemic's unquestionably devastating impact on the restaurant industry, Toast has shown its ability to pivot to socially-distanced dining, which may continue, to some degree, for the foreseeable future. Whether your restaurant is focusing more on in-person dining or takeout options, Toast POS comes with a fantastic array of built-in features to serve customers.

Why Do You Need POS Software?

Although the acronym “POS” can have many meanings (just consult Urban Dictionary), in our context, POS stands for Point Of Sale. In essence, the point of sale is the location where a customer carries out a transaction. It is the checkout stand.

You’ll find a POS anywhere transactions take place: boutiques, restaurants, hotels, cafes, grocery stores, strip malls, salons, etc. Thanks to the recent development of mobile commerce, you’ll even see POS software used for transactions that used to be cash-only. Merchants can now use their smart phones to process credit card payments in informal environments (such as craft fairs and food carts).

There are two parts to any modern POS system: the software and the hardware. Software—the virtual brain of your point of sale—lives in your main processing hub (typically a computer terminal or tablet or some sort). The physical components of your POS (the hardware) serve as accessories to that software.

The primary purpose of point of sale software is, of course, to process transactions and accept payments, but there are a few additional things you can do with a POS system:

  • Track Inventory: Some POS software automatically updates your stock when a transaction goes through.
  • Monitor Sales: Keep track of your best-sellers and products that, perhaps, are not moving as well.
  • Print Receipts Or Send Digital Receipts: If you send digital receipts, you’ll also be able to gather customers’ email addresses for your email marketing campaigns.
  • Integrate With Third-Party Software (email marketing software, accounting software, eCommerce software, etc.): This is most easily done with cloud-based POS software.

Types Of Point Of Sale Systems

Point of sale software is divided into two categories: cloud-based POS (or SaaS for you tech-savvy readers) and on-premise POS solutions.

On-Premise POS

On-premise point of sale systems are the type that comes on a disk. You download and install the software yourself, and then everything runs on a closed server within your system. The appeal of on-premise software is your ownership and full control of the system. You only pay once for the software and then it’s yours.

Cloud POS

Cloud-based point of sale systems, on the other hand, are more or less leased. You pay a monthly fee for the right to use the software and store your information on your vendor’s servers. While over time you may end up paying more for your software, cloud-based solutions come with a whole host of benefits that, in our opinion, more than make up for the higher cost. Some of these benefits include:

  • User-friendliness
  • Smaller upfront investment
  • Scalability as your business grows
  • Included customer service and technical support (which is often free and available 24/7)
  • Automatic updates and bug fixes
  • Offsite (cloud) data storage

Really, the only potential issue with SaaS technology is the web-based aspect. Your POS system relies heavily upon an internet connection. If your internet goes down, you could encounter some serious technical difficulties. Fortunately, most POS software systems have fail-safes for this eventuality. You can read more about dealing with internet downtime and point of sale software in POS 101: Offline Mode.

Why A Good POS Is The Solution To A Lot Of Problems

Generally, the only things required for a traditional point of sale are a cash register, a receipt printer, and a card scanner (or a shoe box and a money clip, if you’re not particular). In fact, you probably already have a point of sale solution, unless your business is both cash-based and microscopic or you’ve time-traveled from 1867 to set up your Dry Goods store in a modern marketplace.

But do you have a good point of sale system? And do you need one?

A POS software system is so much more than just a way to sell merchandise and accept payment. A true POS system will allow you to perform tasks such as the following:

  • Manage your employees
  • Track and order inventory
  • Keep your books
  • Set up and maintain an online presence
  • Offer loyalty rewards programs
  • Facilitate quick service
  • Process orders
  • Analyze sales

In short, POS software systems solve multiple common problems for business owners, wearing many hats with aplomb.

How To Find The Right Point of Sale Software For Your Needs

Before you begin the search for your ideal POS solution, you should consider which features you’ll need in your new software.

These requirements vary from industry to industry and from merchant to merchant. Restaurant owners, for example, will likely need raw ingredient management tools and time clock tools. Retail owners, on the other hand, might need an eCommerce integration and a loyalty rewards program.

Make sure you consider every aspect you need your POS software to cover. Draft up a list of the qualities you’d like and begin the search accordingly.

Here is a brief list of the most common features you’ll find available with POS software.

  • EMV & NFC Capability: In October 2015, data security requirements changed to encourage the use of chip and pin transactions. Fortunately, most POS solutions are now EMV-compliant. Many, but not all, POS systems can also now accept “tapped” (NFC) payments such as Apple Pay and contactless credit cards, which are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Onscreen Signatures & Tips: When customers can sign for their purchases directly from your POS screen, this allows for faster checkouts, easier tipping (with percentage or amount-based tip prompts), and the option for paperless receipts.
  • Inventory Management: Inventory management features allow you to monitor stock levels and receive low stock alerts. Restaurants and cafes, in particular, may find Raw Ingredient Tracking helpful (about 50% of the vendors we’ve reviewed have this feature). Some point of sale systems also provide inventory management specifically for retail businesses.
  • Employee Management: Set your employees’ schedules, assign permissions, and allow them to punch in and out of work on your POS system.
  • Offline Mode: Essentially every cloud-based POS platform comes with some sort of feature that allows you to continue using the system even while the internet is down. The amount of functionality you can use during downtime, however, varies from POS to POS.
  • eCommerce Integration: Many POS solutions have the ability to connect to an eCommerce platform. The ease of connection, however, may vary depending on which eCommerce platform you’re using. (We review eCommerce solutions too, by the way. See our top recommendations.)
  • CRM Capabilities: Almost every POS system comes with some way to input customer information, maintain contact with those customers, and monitor customer engagement. Use that information (and an integration with an email marketing system) to better market your products and services.
  • Integrated Loyalty Rewards & Coupons: Encourage customers to return to your place of business with discounts and customer rewards. A few POS software vendors offer these features built-in, but most at least allow you to integrate with 3rd-party loyalty software.
  • Purchase Order Management: This feature allows customers to submit purchase orders (PO), which are a lot like invoices that a buyer sends to a seller. With PO management, you can process and fulfill those orders and have a nice, clean digital record of all of it.
  • Bookkeeping: Most POS systems have some built-in accounting features, or give you the option to integrate your POS data with your accounting software, such as QuickBooks and others.
  • Reporting: Cloud POS software allows you to monitor metrics like your bestselling products, your current sales reports, and your top-selling employees, all from your web browser or mobile device.

Often, POS providers have at least two or three different monthly plan options at different price levels or the option to purchase add-ons that let you customize your system’s capabilities to match your business’s particular needs. Learn more about POS system costs if you’re not sure how much you should spend on a POS.

In addition to software features, you’ll have to shop for POS hardware. Generally, you’ll get the most for your money if you buy a hardware bundle from your POS system vendor. That’s also the safest route in terms of equipment compatibility. But smaller operations may find it easier (and cheaper) to simply bargain-hunt for their own hardware. And many standard SaaS point of sale systems these days can operate almost entirely on an iPad or Android tablet; this is especially true if you intend to email receipts rather than printing them. For more information about the different ways to purchase POS hardware, check out our Guide To Buying POS Hardware.

Share

Featured Offer: We Recommend QuickBooks 🎉

Get 50% QuickBooks Online for a limited time!

Take it for a spin with a free trial.

Try QuickBooks Today

We Recommend Fattmerchant 🏆

Fattmerchant is one of our top picks for credit card processing!

 

 

We love Fattmerchant's predictable pricing and excellent service.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend Brex Corporate Card for Startups 🏆

Brex Corporate Card for Startups is one of our top picks for business credit cards!

 

 

For a limited time get 50,000 rewards points when you spend $1000 with Brex.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend Fattmerchant 🏆

Fattmerchant is one of our top picks for credit card processing!

 

 

We love Fattmerchant's predictable pricing and excellent service.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend Fattmerchant 🏆

Fattmerchant is one of our top picks for credit card processing!

 

 

We love Fattmerchant's predictable pricing and excellent service.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

⭐️ Featured Promo! ⭐️

Sign up now and qualify for a limited time deal!

Standard Plan: One month free ($29.95 value)
Plus Plan: Two months free ($159.90 value)
Pro Plan: Three months free ($899.85 value)

Learn More

At BigCommerce

We Recommend Fattmerchant 🏆

Fattmerchant is one of our top picks for credit card processing!

 

 

We love Fattmerchant's predictable pricing and excellent service.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend Helcim 🏆

Helcim is one of our top picks for payment processing!

 

 

Helcim has exceptional service and an advanced platform that we highly recommend for businesses in Canada and the US. Get three months free when you sign up with Helcim through our links!

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend PaymentCloud 🏆

PaymentCloud is one of our top picks for credit card processing!

 

 

We love PaymentCloud's predictable pricing and excellent service.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend OnDeck 🏆

OnDeck is one of our top picks for Business Loans!

 

 

OnDeck is our featured vendor for business loans and lines of credit. If you have at least one year in business, a personal credit score of 600 or higher, and $100K in annual revenue, OnDeck is ready to help your business get funded.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

Get 50% Off FreshBooks ✨

FreshBooks accounting is offering 50% off of their accounting and invoicing software for three months and a 30-day free trial!

Start For Free

No credit card required

We Recommend ShopKeep POS 🏆

ShopKeep POS is one of our top picks for Point of Sale software!

 

 

ShopKeep is offering free eCommerce tools and free online ordering for all existing and new customers for the next 3 months!

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend Fundera 🏆

Fundera is one of our top picks for SBA loans!

 

 

Fundera is a free-to-use marketplace that allows you to compare lenders side-by-side. Easily find SBA 7(a)loans alongside other financing options.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend ShippingEasy 🏆

ShippingEasy is one of our top picks for shipping software!

 

 

ShippingEasy got a 5-star review from our team. Get a 30-day free trial to access discounted USPS and UPS shipping rates and print labels in no time. No credit card required.

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.

We Recommend Square POS 🏆

Square POS is one of our top picks for Point of Sale!

 

 

Square is free to use and include a free card reader at sign up! No credit card required to create your account.👌

Get Started

Get started with no commitment today.


 

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

Sign up for the Maverick Newsletter

  • We occasionally send out emails with special offers.