Point of sale (POS) systems exist to create a seamless customer experience that combines everything from payment processing to inventory management and accounting into a fully integrated system. They may have started life as relatively simple products, but today’s POS solutions allow for in-store and online sales to be effortlessly linked.
The days of keeping track of sales and inventory with an Excel spreadsheet are behind us, with even the majority of smaller businesses appreciating the benefits of POS systems. But with so many solutions now on the market, what is the best POS system for your small business? We’ve collected what we consider to be the top five options that should provide even the smallest startup with a reliable, practical, cost-effective solution.
Perhaps the name with the highest brand recognition on this list, Shopify currently boasts over 1 million global business customers. It is an incredibly powerful platform that’s simple to set up and customise and, better still, scales naturally.
Shopify offers a 14-day trial and the basic subscription is very affordable, but you could quickly find yourself outgrowing that basic subscription as it offers only limited reporting options. Shopify’s transaction fees can also get a little complicated if you don’t use Shopify Payments, so if you do choose Shopify as your POS solution, you will probably want to use it as your payment gateway too.
Perhaps the most immediately appealing thing about Square is that it’s completely free to start, meaning it’s the most cost-effective option on the market for those wishing to get started with POS quickly and efficiently. Your account includes a free mobile card reader, which means it has become incredibly popular among mobile businesses.
The only catch we can think of when it comes to Square is that the transaction fees are a little higher than many competitors. But when you also factor in the zero monthly cost and the sheer ease of use of the system, that might be less of an issue.
If you really don’t want to spend much on your POS system then eHopper is the logical choice as it’s comfortably the most affordable POS solution on the market. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s a slouch when it comes to features, as it contains everything you’d need from a payment system for a small business.
eHopper’s main drawback is that processing fees are charged to the customer, which could be off-putting if you’re looking to gain a loyal user base. But with four levels of plan to choose from, each offering more options than the last, it’s certainly not a solution to be ignored.
For slightly larger retail businesses, Vend is a tough solution to beat. But what makes it the best POS system for retail? The functionality, of course. Not only does Vend work offline but the inventory management is second to none and there is no limit on how many products you can upload to the system.
The major drawback is that the cheapest plan has a $20,000 turnover limit and costs can add up quickly when you factor in every register signed up to the system costing extra. It does have wonderful customer service though, and if you are a retail business with a large inventory then it might be the most sensible option.
In much the same way that Vend aims to provide the perfect POS solution for retail, TouchBistro is engineered towards restaurants. While licenses are not cheap, a TouchBistro account provides bespoke tools specifically designed for the restaurant trade, such as table management controls, remote menu management and recipe inventory costs.
Granted, you’ll need to use an iPad to get the most out of it but if you run a busy restaurant there really is no better POS option currently available. As a bonus, it integrates seamlessly with other programs. A truly tasty offering.
We can help
If you’re interested in finding out more about POS systems, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts at GoCardless. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.