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POS Software Reviews

buyers guide
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  • ERPLY POS Review

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    ERPLY’s POS system caters to retailers of all sizes, with a cloud-based, device-agnostic platform and your choice of payment processors. Check out the impressive feature set and see whether ERPLY could be a good choice for your business!

  • Aloha POS Review

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    NCR Aloha has an excellent ordering system and an interface that anyone with experience in the restaurant industry will find to be intuitive. It's a one-stop-shop product with strong inventory management, employee management, loyalty, and eCommerce options. Now for the downside. Aloha POS system pricing is difficult to pin down, even when you've given it some specifics about your business.

  • Ambur POS Review

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    An iOS app designed by restaurants for restaurants, Ambur POS caters to businesses on a budget, but the low price doesn’t quite make up for some of the limitations of the system.

  • Cake POS Review

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    Customer reviews for Cake are quite positive, and it's easy to see why: Cake's feature-set is complete, without being overly complex. The system is straightforward and easy to use, with similarly straightforward monthly software pricing and flat-rate payment processing. But is it right for your business?

  • Cashier Live Review

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    Pros Specific functions for pharmacies Integrated purchase orders Cons Lacks offline functionality Mediocre customer service Reporting is thin Overview: Cashier Live is a 100% cloud-based POS and inventory management SaaS (“software as a service”) that was launched in 2008. It was founded by Tom and Thomas Greenhaw, a father-son duo motivated to provide a low-cost […]

  • Cegid POS Review

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    Cegid is a modern POS solution for mid-sized to large retail businesses featuring a sleek interface, interactive features for customers and employees, and strong back-end reporting.

  • Cin7 Inventory Review

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    Pros Very feature rich Strong customer service Point of sale included Cons Expensive Slightly buggy Overview As any biblical scholar or mid-90s psychological thriller aficionado will surely know, the seven deadly sins are envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath. But if a modern, eighth deadly sin were to be included, it almost assuredly […]

  • Clover Flex Review

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    The Clover Flex is a handheld POS terminal backed by the full power of the Clover POS, but how well does that translate to a supposedly mobile device? Check out our review to see if the Clover Flex actually delivers on its promise of flexibility.

  • Clover Mini Review

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    Designed to be a smaller, more accessible version of the popular Clover Station POS system, the Clover Mini comes with a built-in receipt printer, a USB hub (to allow for interface with peripheral hardware), and a customer-facing camera. Read on for more details and a comprehensive review of the Clover Mini.

  • Clover Mobile Review

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    Pros Access to Clover app market Highly customizable Accepts virtually all forms of payment Portable Cons Can’t separate POS from payment processing Hardware is proprietary Overview Imagine having access to one of the more innovative and user-friendly POS systems in the palm of your hand, with the ability to check inventory, analyze reports, and make […]

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.

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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.

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