Point of Sale Software

Millions of businesses, small and large, use point of sales (POS) systems. There are tens of thousands of solutions available, and while many of these may be a perfect fit for your business, others will not be. Taking the time to study the field and make a carefully considered selection could be one of the best investments you make. Read more.


Compare POS Solution Providers

Square

A POS System Designed to Grow with You

Manage Inventory in Real Time

Integrated Payment Processing

Send Invoices

Average rating

4.4

Epicor

Business Inspired

Personalized and Customizable Ribbons

Intuitive Menus and Screens

Touchscreen and Electronic Signature

Average rating

4.0

Microsoft Dynamics

A Complete POS solution for SMEs

Streamline Transaction Processing

Scales to Meet Business Growth

Analyze Data with Flexible Reporting

Average rating

3.7

NetSuite

Unify the Online and In Store Experience

360-degree Customer Profiles

Continuous Buying Experience

Dynamic Merchandising

Average rating

3.4

Shopify

Making Commerce Better for Everyone

No Training Required

Synced Inventory

Collect Customer Emails

Average rating

4.2

Shopkeep

Run a Smarter Business

Tailored Hardware

Ligtning-fast Transactions

Game-changing Reports & Analytics

Average rating

4.1

Vend

One POS System for Retail Success

Award-winning 24/7 Customer Support

Customize Your Sales Reports

Vend Will Work Across the World

Average rating

4.2

Bindo

Ideal for Restaurants or Retail

Impressive Inventory Management System

Powerful CRM Features

Actionable Metrics and Analytics

Average rating

3.8

Erply

Efficient and Stylish

Cloud-based, Mobile, Easy to Configure

Franchise POS

Manage Sales, Customers, and Inventory

Average rating

4.8

Ambur

Facilitate a Seamless Dining Experience

Unparalleled Management Support

Data Stored Locally, with Dropbox Option

Run Orders, Take-Out, Delivery and more

Average rating

4.8

Breadcrumb

POS Built by and for Restaurant People

Simple and Fast Set-Up

Effective Offline Mode

Robust Menu Features

Not Yet Rated

Cashier Live

Point-of-Sale that Fits the Bill

In Over 1,000 Stores around the World

Handles Payments, Reports, and Inventory

Includes Credit Card Processing

Average rating

5.0

Clover

An All-In-One Solution

Sleek Dedicated Hardware

Personalized Feature Sets

Supports Personal Merchant Accounts

Not Yet Rated

GoFrugal

Connecting Businesses

Serves Multiple Business Types

E-Commerce Integration

Desktop, Cloud, and Mobile Options

Average rating

5.0

iConnect

POS Designed for All Modern Platforms

In-depth Reporting Features

Customer and Employee Management

ERP Integration

Average rating

5.0

Instore

The iPad POS Small Businesses Love

Store Customer Information

Handle Customer Rewards and Gift Cards

Features to boost Workflow Efficiency

Average rating

3.6

Lavu

Keep Your Restaurant in Check

Manage Business Resources

Delivery Management

Use the Efficient Quick Serve Mode

Average rating

4.0

Lightspeed

A Solution for Independent Businesses

Cloud-based Reporting

Online Store Management

Robust Inventory Management

Average rating

4.3

LivePOS

Cloud POS for Retail

Real Time Online Dashboard

Useful Franchise Management System

5 Second Credit Card Authorization

Average rating

1.5

Maitre'D

Feature-Rich and Customizable

Accounting & Payroll Interfaces

Fully Integrated Kitchen Video Display

Complete Back-Office and Reporting

Average rating

3.6

NCR Silver

Silver Drives Small Business

Advanced Security

Built-in Loyalty and Email Marketing

Serves All Business Types

Average rating

4.4

QuickBooks

QuickBooks Point of Sale Delivers

Seamless credit card processing

Sync data from popular apps

Handles sales, inventory and tacking

Not Yet Rated

Retail Pro

Our Most Flexible POS Solution Yet

Customizable, Extensible, and Integrable

Proven solution for global retailers

Ideally suited for specialty retailers

Average rating

4.4

Revel

The #1 iPad POS Solution

Highly Customizable to Your Needs

CRM Features

Online Ordering

Average rating

3.0

Sage infoPOS

True Omni-Channel Retail

Sage ERP Integration

Gift, Loyalty, and Membership Cards

Promotions and Multi-Buys

Not Yet Rated

SalesVu

The Complete POS System

Unlimited Terminals

Viral Social Media Marketing

Detailed Sales Reports

Average rating

4.3

SAP

The Standard of Excellence for POS

Unmatched Flexibility

Enhanced Security Strategy

Powerful Back-Office Applications

Not Yet Rated

Touchbistro

Business News Daily's Best Diner POS

Stadium POS System Features

Efficient Order Taking and Payments

No Hassle Bill Splitting

Average rating

4.5

TouchSuite

Don't Just Survive, Thrive.

Affordable Merchant Rates

Simple and Sophisticated POS Offerings

Helps SMEs Thrive

Not Yet Rated

Verifone

A World-Class POS Platform

A Secure, Scalable Framework

Enables Efficient Integration

A POS System That Can Help Grow Sales

Not Yet Rated


Point of Sales Software Buyer’s Guide

In its simplest form, a POS solution replaces a simple cash register. It sits where the traditional cash register did and based on what is sold, how much is sold and the prevailing price, the solution adds taxes and works out what is due. It records the sale and tracks the cash received. However, the similarity with conventional cash register ends here.

Modern POS systems go well beyond this basic capability. Once a sale is recorded in their database, they can perform all kinds of backend operations to provide managers with information to make their businesses more efficient. Some key areas where POS solutions really stand out are:

Are All POS Solutions Similar?

No. There is a wide variety of distinct verticals offered by different POS solutions. For example, a solution that caters to clothing retail could have the built-in capability to handle the different colors and sizes of garments. You will want to collect this data to determine which colors and sizes are popular and stock accordingly. The hospitality POS solution is very different. A restaurant POS solution will also have a different underlying structure. Purchasing a solution without understanding these basic differences could force you into needless (and expensive) customization.

Understanding POS Hardware

A typical POS solution will consist of POS terminals at the checkout counters, barcode readers, POS printers, POS cash registers, credit card readers and customer displays. Some of these can be combined together - the keyboard or the monitor could include the magnetic card reader for example. Touch screen enabled POS systems have become commonly available, improving employee productivity further.

At the backend, there is a server that stores the data and creates reports for managers to monitor. Depending on the scale of operations, a single server may suffice, or a business may have several servers, each dedicated to a specific task. Standard IT tasks such as server administration, data back up and database management will need to be planned for.

The entire hardware is connected over a network and must be provided with a stable power supply. Connectivity could even be over a wide area network if several stores use common servers and data. In such a situation, a more complex network may be necessary to ensure that operations are not impacted by Internet non-availability.

In most cases, POS software does not really demand high end computing devices. Therefore, hardware specs don’t really need to be cutting edge or top of the line. Any midrange device should perform reasonably well. As mentioned previously, there is a range of software that is built for different industry verticals. Even within a vertical, there could be a wide selection to choose from.

Classes of POS Solutions

Even within the same vertical there are several classes of POS solutions. The solution that a small store with a single location will use should be very different from that used by a large retail chain. The classifications are:

There is often a feeling among business owners that a small business that has not yet hit $3 million in revenue cannot derive much benefit from POS solutions. This is not true. Even though the volume of business may be small, the backend analytics, inventory management and customer support provided by a POS solution can help the business grow faster and retain customers more effectively.

Key POS Features

Features can be broken down into several key categories. Each of these categories will have a number of features. Some may be unimportant to your business, others could be absolutely critical. Broadly speaking, these are:

POS functions:
- Create and print bills
- Customer support
- Market reputation and user feedback
- Handle credit cards
- Handle gift certificates / cards
- Handle customer loyalty cards
- Support frequent buyers
- Create and manage customer records
- Calculate sales commissions
- Manage promotions and ad campaigns
- Compliance with PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards
- Managing returns and exchanges
- Tracking employees
Inventory management features:
- Track inventories by classification, department, serial number or other parameters
- Analyze inventory movement. Track slow and fast moving inventory
- Create item groups (example-toiletries) that often sell together
- Track consignments
- Track special orders
- Automatically generate resupply orders
Accounting and bookkeeping:
- Manage accounts receivable and payable
- Handle bank reconciliation
- Handle commissions and payrolls
- Interface with the specific accounting module used by your business
Integration with other software and reporting solutions:
- Large range of relevant, readymade reports
- Easily create custom reports
- Creation of mailing lists
- Integration with CRM systems to schedule customer calls and campaigns
- Network support
- Multi store support
Peripheral support:
- Support for POS cash drawers, signature pads, weighing scales and online check verification
- Customer displays / pole displays
- Support for iPad terminals for inventory management, invoicing etc.
eCommerce support:
- Integrate website sales with POS database and inventory
- Integration with your current eCommerce solution
- Support website cart with POS data (item details, pricing, quantity available)
- Connect to and manage accounts from online payment gateways
Managing promotions and ad campaigns:
- Track advertisement effectiveness
- Track impact of promotions and in-store changes
Features specific to your industry:
- Check with your vendor

Costs

Costs vary considerably given the kind of solution you select. A basic solution can start at about $2,000, whereas an upper end or enterprise solution can run into millions. While you will obviously look for a solution that meets the scale of your operations, do not focus on price alone. Look for a system that meets your business needs, is upgradable and that allows you to purchase additional modules as your requirements grow.

A POS system that complements your operations will pay for itself rapidly by lowering transaction costs, improving sales and increasing efficiency.

In general, the hardware you buy should last you 5 to 7 years. The vendor should provide regular software updates and you should be able to add new terminals with ease, without having to overhaul your server infrastructure.

POS Vendor Selection

Most solutions are offered through authorized resellers and vendors. As a result, there could be differences in costs, service quality and implementation between vendors offering the same solution. Therefore, you must not only select the solution you wish to use, you must also devote some effort to vendor selection.

A number of online forums can help in giving user inputs about the quality of service and support a vendor provides. It is important to select a vendor that has a presence in your city. One must also ask for references and check their impressions about the quality of vendor’s support.

During vendor selection also look for the following:

Support for Mobile Terminals

Many businesses have use for mobile POS terminals. These could be connected to the regular system over Wi-Fi, in which case it would operate just like a normal terminal (except a printer may not be available). On some systems, the terminal could be self contained and will update the POS system subsequently in batch mode.

If the mobile point of sale option is exercised imaginatively, it could open up new avenues of sales. For example, restaurants that equip their staff with iPad POS systems can deliver higher quality customer service.

Test Driving a Solution

Once a few solutions have been shortlisted, it is time to take them for a test drive. Ask vendors to offer their solutions for trials and check them out for the following:

Remember that trials must involve different kinds of users. Billing clerks, accounts persons, inventory managers and store managers will all use the system for some time and their input is important.

Cloud-Based POS Solutions

A number of POS solutions are now being offered in the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. In such a situation, the solution runs in a data center instead of on your servers, and the POS terminals connect to the data center to run the solution.

There are pros and cons to using such solutions.

The advantages are:

The one big disadvantage of using SaaS solutions for POS systems is their dependence on the Internet. One cannot have a situation where sales don’t go through due to poor connectivity. SaaS vendors have also realized this and often offer solutions that store critical data offline so that basic sales activity can go through without a hitch in case of difficulty in connecting to the Internet. In such systems, POS servers are updated when connectivity is reestablished.

Many businesses, particularly smaller ones, may find SaaS POS solutions attractive. Our recommendation is to carefully evaluate off-line operations before committing to a purchase.

Post-Purchase Actions

Even after your system is up and running there are a number of steps you can take to ensure you get the best possible returns from your investment. Some of the steps that can be taken are:

Summary

It may take some time and effort to find a POS solution that is perfect for you, but it is time well spent. A good solution will not only help you service sales better, it will also help you improve the decisions you take about your business by giving you quality information about what is making your sales move.