Bindo POS Review
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- Date Established
- New York City, NY
- Free eCommerce features
- Unlimited, free customer service
- Advanced inventory management features
- Software is occasionally buggy
- Tech support sometimes lacking
Bindo POS is a relatively new retail and foodservice point of sale system, designed in part to give small business owners a stake in the online shopping phenomenon. In 2010, founders Jason Ngan and Brad Lauster formed a small startup based out of New York City; the company’s flagship product, Bindo POS, was launched in 2013, and is now used by over 3,000 business owners.
As a mobile, iPad-based POS solution, Bindo is well-equipped for modern business practices. Because the software is tailored specifically to the unique requirements of each customer, it has achieved a surprising amount of success over the last three years. In fact, Bindo claims to have processed over $1,000,000,000 in transactions thus far, and has also managed to unite communities in over 50 countries.
Bindo separates itself from most other POS systems because it is intentionally suited to help businesses compete with large online retailers. Store owners can quickly add and manage inventory in the cloud while simultaneously maintaining both online and brick-and-mortar establishments. Bindo Marketplace actually makes it possible to connect directly with buyers in your own area, allowing them to make online same-day delivery purchases. Store and eCommerce transactions are automatically synchronized with Bindo, ensuring that even online inventory data stays current. Co-founder Brad Lauster sums up Bindo’s biggest selling point in this way:
“We are not interested in simply providing an online storefront for merchants to promote themselves; we are aggressively co-marketing our marketplace with our merchants so that together, we have the means to battle the Goliaths of e-commerce.”
Don’t have time to read an entire review? Take a look at our top rated Point of Sale solutions for a few quick recommendations. Every option we present here offers excellent customer support, detailed user interfaces, and easy-to-use software, all for a reasonable price.
Table of Contents
- Cloud-Based or Locally-Installed:
- Specific Industry:
- Specific Size of Business:
- Ease of Use:
- Hardware and Operating System Requirements:
- Integrations and Add-Ons:
- Compatible Credit Card Processors:
- Customer Service and Support:
- Negative Reviews and Complaints:
- Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
- Final Verdict:
Bindo POS offers a free, 14-day trial which requires no credit cards, no contract, and no commitments.
After that, price points with Bindo are a bit less cut and dry. For the most part, plans are custom tailored to each business. Bindo assigns an agent to work with you personally and help you set up your POS and online store. The company is reticent about exact pricing, but I was able to discover elsewhere that pricing is primarily based on the number of SKU numbers you expect to need. For low end merchants in the United States with 50 SKUs or less, people report subscription prices near $59-$80/month. The mid-level average in the U.S. seems to be around $150/month. All subscriptions include access to eCommerce features as well as free technical support.
Of course, the price of the software itself does not include credit card processing fees, which are as follows:
- 2.49% + $0.15 for swiped transactions
- 3.49% + $0.15 for manually keyed-in transactions
Cloud-Based or Locally-Installed:
Bindo is entirely cloud-based, and does rely on a Wi-Fi connection to fully function. Bindo has recently added some offline capabilities that can be used during the event of an internet outage. Retail owners, for example, can continue to queue up transactions even when their internet goes down. Bindo has also added a fully offline version restaurants can use in the event of an internet outage. Business owners choose an iPad to work as the master register, and if there is an internet outage it turns into a local on-site server. So as long as there is a network connection to the master register, you can continue to run your restaurant, print receipts and kitchen slips, and perform other necessary functions. Bindo does not support offline credit card processing though.
From what I’ve read in customer reviews, a high-speed Internet connection is essential when using Bindo, or you risk partial shutdowns, screen freezing, and other annoyances. It’s best to opt for a wireless service that offers speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 5 Mbps for uploads.
Bindo POS used to be suited only for retail industries (pet stores, wine/liquor merchants, salons, clothing establishments, etc.). However, it has recently added restaurant-specific features, such as an online ordering system, reservation management, raw ingredient tracking, menu modifiers, floor plan set up, online ordering, and table management that make it an excellent option for quick service and full service restaurants. Bindo can also be used in the hospitality industry.
Specific Size of Business:
Though the company’s mission statement implies a focus on small business, subscription price points and the depth of available features indicate a focus on medium and large retail operations as well. Whatever size business you have, Bindo POS is capable of storing thousands of inventory items.
Ease of Use:
Like most iPad-based POS systems, Bindo is intuitive, clean, and easy-to-use. For the most part, all buttons are labeled clearly and respond quickly with a touch of your finger. It did not take me long to get the hang of the system, and I think that even the slowest initiate would feel quite comfortable after just a day or two. Other features which save time and effort include:
- Importing Data: Bindo takes the drudgery out of a usually mind-numbing task, allowing you to quickly export inventory from your current setup into a spreadsheet file and from there to your Bindo account. This means that you can save yourself a whole lot of time and effort by uploading information (images, UPC codes, prices, brand names, tax rates, etc.) directly into your store without being forced to manually scan and edit each item you sell. There are a few caveats, however. As part of the “onboarding” process, Bindo will import any number of inventory spreadsheets for two weeks. Afterwards, the company agrees to process one spreadsheet/month/store. If for some reason you need to upload more than one spreadsheet during the course of a month, you will be charged $250/import.
- Adding New Items: It’s not hard to add new items to your stock. All you have to do is access your register and scan the item you’d like to include in your inventory. Then you simply type in the price and voila! The item is added to your inventory list (and/or to the current sale, if relevant). If you’d like, you can scan in the UPC or add it manually. It’s also possible to edit the price/quantity/tax rate/etc. of newly entered items at that time. Note: Editing items which already have an official UPC number is a bit of a grey area and can lead to potential fraud on the part of users, so if you need to change critical information about an item of merchandise (the name, brand, image, or description, for example) you must first get approval from Bindo.
- Creating a Matrix: The ability to create a product matrix is one of Bindo’s more inspired features, as it enables you to swiftly create different attributes and values for a single product. For example, if you sell a certain style of baseball cap, you might want to sell it in a variety of colors and sizes. After you form a matrix by inputting applicable variables, Bindo automatically calculates every possible combination of size and color for you. After that, you can price and name each permutation as you see fit.
- Favorites Grid: Another feature designed with the end user in mind, Bindo’s favorites grid provides shortcuts on your register screen to the most common items in your inventory or on your menu. This saves time and movement and generally speeds up the checkout process. You can create six pages of favorites, and rename and/or organize them in the way that makes most sense to your employees.
Hardware and Operating System Requirements:
Bindo POS can be installed on any iPad running iOS 8.0 or later. As for peripheral hardware support, the company advertises its recommended setup here on their website. Each hardware order comes with free shipping within the U.S., a 30-day return policy, and free tech support to iron out any glitches.
- Register Features: Bindo has a fairly robust register, which is always nice to see in a POS system. When checking a customer out, you can scan their items, add their purchases from a favorites list, or simply scroll through your entire inventory to find what you’re looking for. Bindo allows customers to pay in a variety of ways, and you also have the option to split tender. Any applicable discounts or coupons can be applied to individual items or to a customer’s entire purchase order. If necessary, you can also apply multiple discounts to one order. There are other practical features as well. For example, the Bindo register gives you the ability to hold receipts (save or hold a customer’s items that have already been run up) if/when you need to move on to other customers in line. The register also allows you to store customer information, issue refunds, print out duplicate receipts, and email receipts or gift receipts directly to the customer.
- Adding Custom Products: If you’re selling a custom product that has no official UPC (or you wish to designate services/fees) you can use the Add Custom Product feature.
- Inventory Management: As I mentioned in the Ease of Use section above, Bindo excels when it comes to inventory management, and is way ahead of the rest of the POS industry in this respect. It is a breeze to transfer your inventory initially, and Bindo’s SST (simple scan technology) is even more impressive. Using SST, you can actually scan a manufacturer’s barcode, and Bindo will automatically retrieve a photo, title, and description of the product from the company’s database of over 10,000,000 products. In essence, you don’t have to do any of the leg work; all of the information about each item you sell is autofilled for you. It is (as any fifth-grader worth their salt could tell you) easy peasy, lemon-squeezy. Bindo’s inventory management features also enable you to keep a close eye on stock and sales and view real-time updates. You can search for individual items, and add/delete your wares whenever necessary. If you happen to manage multiple stores, Bindo also offers multi-store management.
- Purchase Orders: Bindo organizes purchase orders in one place, so you can view created, submitted, fulfilled, and/or canceled orders “with the tap of a finger.” Each purchase order is populated with important information, including an image of the product, order number, associated supplier(s), status, the name of the person who generated the order, and so forth. In addition, immediately after a purchase order is generated, Bindo will inform you of any out-of-stock merchandise and provide alerts about items that are currently running low. The “virtual vault” for purchase orders also includes invoices, quotes, supplier information, and receipts so everything is safe, accessible, and in one, easy-to-find location.
- Credit Card Batching: Bindo automatically batches two times per day: once at 4PM and once at 11PM. Visa/MC/Discover cards batch together, while American Express batches by itself (this means, that if you accept Amex, you’ll have a total of 4 batches/day).
Employee Management and CRM Features
- Staff Management: Bindo’s PIN-based staff management system allows you to keep track of who’s working (on which register) and for how long. In an ideal world, you would trust everyone in your employ, but the reality is that some people will try to take advantage of you. Bindo side-steps this issue with a built-in Identity Safeguard, which uses individual passwords (four digit PINs) and actually takes a picture each time an employee checks in or out. As a backup, you can manually adjust time if an employee accidentally forgets to clock on.
- Permissions: Employees can be given one of three permission statuses: Manager, Associate, or Junior Associate. Managers have full access to all of Bindo’s features. Associates, on the other hand, can access most features, including information about customers and inventory, but cannot change settings or view reports or the time clock. Junior Associates have access only to the register.
- Customer Management: Good customer management is Business 101, so I am pleased with how far Bindo POS has gone to promote healthy, personalized CRM. First off, Bindo lets you create fairly complex profiles for each customer, including names, email addresses, and even seemingly small details like brand preferences and birthdays. Every purchase a customer makes is recorded on their profile, making it easy for you to follow trends and convenient for customers who would like to repurchase an item but can’t remember the name, size, or brand. All of this information is also extremely helpful for reporting purposes. Knowing important data–the average amount a customer spends, how many times they visit your store, the type/amount of items purchased–is valuable for marketing purposes, especially if you’re using a targeted marketing approach and/or trying to get the most out of your email marketing software. After all, if you can accurately suss out who your best customers are, you’re more likely to be effective in your efforts to keep them coming back.
- Loyalty Programs: Unlike many of its competitors, Bindo offers a flexible, multi-tier loyalty feature that helps track customer spending and rewards via three different methods: by number of orders/visits, by number of individual products purchased, or by total dollar amount spent. Click here if you’d like to learn more about how tiered loyalty programs generally operate. You can create as many tiers as you wish for your loyalty program. Fortunately, the loyalty program does not require customers to physically carry a card, so people are more likely to participate.
- Reporting: One of the most critical functions of a POS is to provide you with data to make smart, informed decisions about your business. To that end, Bindo provides a wide variety of reports including sales summary reports, income statement analyses, and side-by-side comparisons of your best and worst selling products. You can also take any metric and compare it against past performance. The Transaction Breakdown Report is especially useful, as it allows you to view every single detail of a sale or filter the information that interests you most. There are no time restrictions for reports. As long as you’re an active Bindo subscriber, you can access data or run reports across any period of time. Of course, you can export your reports whenever you want via email, but the option to print reports is only available for the Sales Summary Report.
- Mobile POS Option: Because Bindo is an iPad-based POS, you and your employees don’t have to be tied to your check-out counter. If it looks like people are facing a long wait, you can simply grab your iPad and work your way down the line, taking payments, issuing receipts, and doing whatever else needs to be done. Plus, the inherent portability of an iPad ensures that you can view reports, time sheets, etc. even when you’re away from the store.
- Bindo Storefront: Bindo Storefront provides a customizable way for you to improve your current website with a full POS eCommerce/online ordering/reservations integration. Bindo is responsible for back-end processing, but you have complete access to your own source code. If you’ve got basic HTML editing skills, you should have no problem setting up your site in just a few minutes, though you always have the option to hire an external third-party developer. Bindo Storefront allows you to accept credit cards and other payment methods with the same Bindo payment gateway you use in your physical store; this keeps all your business avenues consistent, easy to track, and easy to manage from a single location. To design a site unique to your business, you can customize the header text and product layouts as well as button colors, background colors, highlight colors, and product image size.
- Multiple Store Management: Bindo is suited for management of multiple brick-and-mortar stores, and enables you to view employee sales data for your entire workforce in one place. The single catalog management feature allows you to synchronize inventory across all locations, and know where any product is at any given time. That way, if a customer can’t find an item at one location, you can direct them to the nearest store with the item in stock. Conveniently, there are multi-user management features so you can grow at your own pace, whether you have two employees or thousands of workers nationwide.
- Custom Gift Cards: Bindo enables you to make customized gift cards featuring your store’s logo. The gift cards themselves don’t have to be purchased through one of the Bindo’s partnering gift card vendors–you can get them anywhere–but you’ll likely get a better deal by going with one of the preferred vendors. Gift cards are fitted up with both magstripes and PINs so that people can use them in your shop or online. You can transfer a balance from one gift card to another (or from one customer to another), link a card to a specific customer, and suspend cards so that they cannot be used again. All in all, these cards function well and are on par with industry standards.
- Bindo Marketplace: Bindo Marketplace is an innovative app that allows you to connect your stores (both online and brick-and-mortar) with potential consumers in your own neighborhood. It is, for lack of a better metaphor, a local, neighborhood version of Amazon.com. Customers can see at a glance what is in stock and order items online or have products delivered to their door right from local stores. Nearby customers are given access to all the stores in the vicinity that use the Bindo Marketplace app. According to Bindo, this will “hopefully make them more likely to buy from local mom-and-pop stores instead of large e-commerce businesses like Amazon.com.” As a shop owner, you can increase your visibility by providing detailed descriptions of your store on the Bindo Marketplace, specifying your return/exchange policies, including information about shipping/handling costs, and generally making your brand appealing to a local market. Marketplace fully integrates with Bindo POS so that you have just one portal to manage your inventory.
- Restaurant-Centric Features: Bindo goes a step beyond the basic inventory management features that generally translate across industry verticals and delves into the more advanced functionality required by full service restaurants. Create a floor plan with numbered tables that can be color-coded to indicate a table’s status, whether it’s open, already contains an assigned a party, or is reserved. You can also generate a waitlist, though the heat map allows you to quickly identify your peak hours so you can suggest a better time slot for customers when you’re overbooked. Bindo’s inventory system is also complex enough to support even the most advanced modifier sets and in the next two or three months will be offering ingredient level tracking. Also stay tuned for Bindo’s new mobile checkout feature for restaurants, coming in the next six months. Customers will be able to order on their phones, pay, and then pick up their purchase. Bindo recently added a kitchen display, allowing you to send orders directly to the kitchen (and 86 your old kitchen printer). The screen can also be configured to accept work orders for repair shops and other such businesses.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
Bindo currently offers a couple of integrations:
Opera PMS: Use Opera PMS for all your hotel hospitality needs.
Microsoft Dynamics: With Microsoft Dynamics you can take care of you CMR needs.
If you would like to integrate with an add-on that is not mentioned above, you can request access to the Bindo API here. Once you have access to the API, you can build eCommerce plugins (Bindo Market Embed, for example), or integrate with consolidated CRM systems, warehouse management software, and 3rd party accounting systems like Wave or Freshbooks.
Compatible Credit Card Processors:
Bindo POS works with 99% of credit card readers and is self-described as “processor agnostic.” The system can process Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AMEX, China UnionPay, JCB, Diner’s Club, and more. You have the option to use your own credit card processor (with no additional fees for statements or PCI compliance), or you can go with one of Bindo’s supported payment processors. Check out some of our favorite payment processors if you need one. Bindo guarantees payment processor integration within 24 hours.
Bindo is NFC-capable, so you can accept mobile payments like Apple Pay. In addition, Bindo is EMV-ready and comes with a free EMV credit card reader so you can keep up with EMV regulations.
Customer Service and Support:
One of my favorite things about Bindo POS is that full customer service and technical assistance is included with all plans and service levels. But there is something even better than free support, and that is that Bindo never outsources customer service, which means you will always be talking to someone who knows what they are talking about. Bindo offers support through email and the live chat feature on their site, which are both monitored 24/7/365. Users can also get in contact with Bindo via the phone from the hours of 9:30 AM EST to 7:30 PM EST. I was also told by a Bindo representative that in the event of an urgent issue or emergency, Bindo will respond ASAP. Other support services include:
- Support Page: The Bindo support page includes a searchable knowledgebase, a FAQ section, and a selection of well-written instructional articles, often accompanied by screenshots. I read the entire database and found it extremely helpful during the initial stages of learning the software. If you’re super committed to learning, you can check out Bindo’s free eBook called Growing Sales: Proven Methods to Grow Your Business in 2015.
- Video Tutorials: There are a few video tutorials sprinkled throughout Bindo’s official support section, but the best, most reliable way to find tutorial videos is on YouTube. There is a decent selection of videos available there, teaching everything from customer engagement to register features to inventory management.
- Social Media Engagement: The Bindo Facebook page is a bit spartan. It is not so much a social media site as an advertisement for the company with a link to the website and a sign-up sheet for Bindo Marketplace that hasn’t been active since 2015. The company’s Twitter feed (@shopBindo) hasn’t been active for quite a few months and unless you’d like to know “how Bindo is doing on Twitter,” their recent tweets aren’t going to be much of a help to you.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
Bindo is not BBB accredited, and currently has a score of C on the BBB site, due in most part to the short length of time the company has been running, and to one unresolved customer complaint that is a year or two old at this point.
In general, users have the following common problems with Bindo POS:
- Some users feel that tools for training/self-help and support are too limited.
- They find customer service can be hard to reach via phone at times or isn’t as responsive as they’d like.
- Additionally, the software has a tendency to be buggy and unreliable unless you have a very fast, dependable internet connection. Several users have complained of glitches or issues that prevent them from doing business for short periods of time. Many of these complaints are from a few months ago at this point, so it may be the improvements Bindo has made are working. Only time will truly tell.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
For the most part, customers and reviewers alike are pleased with Bindo’s strong focus on small business concerns. Other positive features include:
- Reasonable price tag
- Customizable interface and features
- Integrated eCommerce features
- Excellent customer support
- User-friendly design
- Thoughtful, robust CRM, invoicing, and purchase order features
- Enormous inventory database
- Quick transactions
I don’t get excited about software very often. That doesn’t make me heartless, jaded, or blase; it just means that I am a normal flesh-and-blood person. The truth is, if we’re honest, I think we can all agree that software is inherently boring stuff. So I was as surprised as anyone to find myself feeling genuinely pumped about Bindo POS. For one, surreal moment, I actually found myself wishing I was in retail or foodservice, just so I could use this gem of a POS system. And let me tell you–when you get an introverted writer to seriously consider a job in sales, you know you’re dealing with something special.
Bindo’s best quality is not its user-friendliness (though it is imminently easy to learn), nor its relatively moderate price tag, nor its amazing database of products. For me, Bindo POS succeeds because it is just so darn likeable. It’s a friendly software, made by friendly people. It’s simple and eager to please, showering you liberally with great extras like invoicing, purchase orders, eCommerce integration, CRM tools, and loyalty programs–running your business for you just like a happy and well-trained employee. Not many companies offer such varied features with their POS systems, but Bindo makes it possible to ring up customers while simultaneously marketing your brand, managing large inventories, and analyzing data. And you can do all of this with just one humble little iPad! Being able to add a free (and fully supported) online store to your business’ website, while awesome and well-conceived, is just the bright red cherry on top of the delicious sundae that is Bindo POS.
No sundae is ever perfect, though. Much as I try, I can rarely find one without nuts or whipped cream, both of which I despise. In the same way, Bindo has its flaws. Multiple users have complained of bugs, stalls, freezes, and crashes which interrupt business and can disturb cash flow. Making sure you have quick Wi-Fi is a good deterrent to these kinds of problems, but you shouldn’t have to have lightning speed Internet to avoid system crashes (and for some store owners, spotty Internet is just par for the course). In short, be certain you do your research before signing any contracts to ensure Bindo is the right choice for your business.
Bottom line: just as I’m willing to scrape away nuts and whipped cream to get to a hot fudge sundae below, I am equally willing to take Bindo as I find it, flaws and all. I wholeheartedly recommend this company and this product to retail store owners. Keep up the good work, Bindo.