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The Best POS Systems for Small Businesses

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Last editedAug 20213 min read

A seamless, stress-free checkout is one of the easiest ways to encourage sales and boost revenue. Is your business using the best possible POS system? A good point of sale system does more than just facilitate transactions. Today’s software also tracks productivity and manages day-to-day business operations. What is a POS system, and what should you look for? We’ll answer these questions below and give our top picks for small businesses in Australia.

What is a POS system?

A POS, or point of sale, system includes both hardware and software designed to track sales and accept payments. A cash register is an example of a traditional POS system. Yet with so many sales taking place online, today’s systems offer an array of digital features and accept online payments. You can pick and choose from a selection of set-ups to best suit your business model. Some systems work with online shops, while others are designed for hybrid and physical retail locations. POS software performs a variety of functions, including tracking inventory, managing employees, and enabling payments.

Typical components of a POS system include the following:

  • Register consisting of a computer and touchscreen display

  • Credit card reader

  • Cash drawer

  • Barcode scanner

  • Receipt printer

What to look for in a POS system in Australia

Before we dive into the best POS systems, here are a few of the main features they typically share. A good system will be able to:

  • Process payments with third-party integrations or a built-in processor

  • Integrate with your ecommerce store

  • Be intuitive to use for easier POS system training

  • Offer sales, inventory, and employee management features

  • Produce analytics and financial reports

  • Enable loyalty programs for customers

  • Integrate with marketing activities

As you compare your options, you should also think about the types of payments your business typically takes. A good POS system can be set up to handle:

  • Online payments

  • Cash

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Contactless payments

The best POS systems

For small businesses, here are the best POS systems in Australia. They differ slightly in setup, price point and function, but all provide the major features mentioned above.

1. Square

The Square POS system is ideal for small businesses, whether you run an online store or a food cart. One of its key benefits is its flexibility. Square allows you to transform your smartphone or tablet into an on-the-go POS system without clunky hardware. If your typical workday takes you from pop-up market to evening event, this flexibility is ideal.

It’s also scalable for larger businesses with a physical presence. Square POS system hardware includes a register and stand-up terminal for those who need it. The software is capable of handling credit card processing without bringing in a third-party solution, and it offers real-time reporting and analytics. 

2. Helcim

Another top option for small businesses is Helcim. This all-in-one POS system includes a wireless card reader that lets you accept card payments, syncing easily to your devices for flexibility. Helcim is a good choice for those with online shops, as it includes an ecommerce platform to create your store from scratch with a wide selection of layouts and themes. There’s no recurring fee; instead, you’ll pay based on sales volume.

3. Lightspeed

Lightspeed POS is another contender with a well-organised inventory management system that lets you use pre-loaded purchasing catalogues for easy import into your shop. Lightspeed easily connects with coordinating hardware including scanners, tablet stands, and cash drawers. This also makes it ideal for retail shops, who can send requests for work orders and custom items directly from the POS software.

4. Shopify

If you have an ecommerce business, you’re probably already familiar with Shopify. The company’s POS system offers seamless integration with its online store platform. Users can manage and update inventory in real-time, manage store transfers and build customer loyalty. Those with an existing Shopify plan can add on Shopify POS for no added charge apart from processing fees. This system isn’t cut out for larger retailers with hundreds of locations, but it’s well suited to smaller businesses with an online presence.

5. Vend

The fifth and final POS system on our list is Vend. While the other systems mentioned on this list are designed both for online and physical retail activity, Vend is solely cloud-based. If your business primarily operates online, this can be a good, simplified choice with little need for POS system training. The software integrates easily with third-party payment processors and includes features like customer loyalty promotions, API access, and analytics.

It’s worth shopping around to find the best POS system for your business. This will depend on your turnover, business size, and industry. Finally, don’t forget to compare pricing plans carefully. Some will involve monthly subscriptions and set-up fees, while others only charge by the transaction.

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