best POS system for retail

What’s the Best POS System For Retail Businesses?

The market for point-of-sale (POS) software was valued at $9.3 billion in 2020. With millions of users and even more customers, POS systems are a hot topic in the retail industry.


So, how does a retailer decide the best POS system for retail? With so many options, it’s hard to know which system will best fit your needs.

Keep reading to learn more about point-of-sale systems. And how to choose the right one for your company.

What Is a POS System?

A point-of-sale system is used in a retail store to complete a transaction. It is the method by which a product or service is paid for. The system includes the software and hardware needed to enable a company to process transactions.

Most POS systems have more features than just processing transactions. These benefits can range in variety and include:

  • Inventory management
  • Transaction processing
  • Sales and checkout
  • Customer relationship management
  • Employee/team management
  • Marketing
  • Reporting and data
  • Multichannel sales

There are many benefits to having a POS system in your retail store. It can save you time in managing tasks and teams. And it allows for a seamless transaction process.

POS systems can also allow companies to automate processes, offer more payment options, and increased accuracy.

How Much Does a POS System Cost?

The cost of a POS system ranges depending on the type and the features you choose. There are several types of systems and the cost is dependent on this. Types include:

  • Mobile
  • Online
  • Terminal
  • Self-serve

If you purchase the system outright with the hardware and software, the cost will start at around $175 and go up to almost $21,000. If you purchase an online or mobile system, you generally pay per transaction or a monthly fee.

These fees can range from around 3% of the transaction price to $100+ a month. It’s important to consider how you take payments and what options you want to offer when choosing a system.

Mobile Systems

Mobile POS systems are applications used on phones and tablets. These types of systems are usually low-cost. Many of these service providers offer free credit card readers.

This is a good option for companies that don’t have to manage their inventory on-site. Examples include PayPal, Stripe, and Square.

Online Systems

You can access an online system from anywhere and from any device. This option does not provide any hardware for the company to use, so this solution would only work for a company with existing electronics to use for its operations.

Terminal Systems

A terminal system is much like you’d see in a store. This type of system is usually the software and hardware you need to process transactions and manage inventory. An example would be a cash register you’d see at a store.

Self-Serve Systems

This type of system is a kiosk for customers to process their own transactions without interacting with an associate. Some stores offer self-serve kiosks in various locations for customers to look up information about product prices or locations.


How to Choose a POS System

Before choosing a POS system, you should assess your company’s needs. Do you have a lot of barcoded inventory? Or is your inventory online?

Do you want associates to be able to check customers out in various locations? Or do you have a designated area for transactions?

Once you’ve determined what features your company needs, it’s time to research available systems. Things to consider when researching systems:

  • Technology used
  • Budget
  • Your industry
  • What processes do you need to simplify?
  • What challenges does your business face?
  • How many users will it have?
  • What hardware does your business need?
  • Do you want to manage and market to customers?

If you’re having a tough time choosing a system, check out this tool to help you compare systems. Keep reading to learn more about specific POS systems and the benefits they offer.


Features to Look for in a POS System

A few top features that retail businesses look for in POS systems are:

  • Employee management
  • Loyalty programs
  • Inventory management
  • E-commerce selling
  • Reporting
  • Customer management
  • Integrations

Learn more about each below.

Employee Management

Many POS systems allow you to manage your employees’ time, attendance, and performance. This feature also allows you to track sales, monitor cash drawers, and give permissions based on employee levels.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a fantastic way to keep customers coming back! Many POS systems offer this feature so you can manage programs, discounts, and special offers. Loyalty programs are great for customer retention

These programs also allow businesses to target marketing efforts directly to interested audiences.

Inventory Management

One of the top benefits that businesses look for in a POS system is an inventory management feature. This can help you manage inventory easily if you have digital and physical storefronts.

And it can send alerts when stock runs low or enable you to transfer stock to different locations.

E-commerce Selling

Online selling is more important than ever. Many POS systems offer an online store with their plans. Others offer the ability to embed buttons on your existing website.

It’s important to have this capability if you want to reach the maximum number of customers.


Comprehensive reporting can give you key insights into your business and team. Many POS systems offer analytics around products, performance, and costs. This not only guides data-driven decision-making but makes your store operate more effectively.

With POS system reporting, you can quickly identify when the busiest times of the day and month are. This will help with staffing but also allow you to create more targeted advertisements.

Customer Management

When you process a transaction, you want to make sure your system is saving your customer’s information. This will help you to create targeted ads. It also is useful for loyalty programs.

Effective customer management features can give you insights into your customer’s actions and behaviors. You’ll understand selling patterns and it will enable customized marketing initiatives.

Many POS systems offer marketing capabilities, so the customer management feature is important so several other features run seamlessly.


When choosing a POS system, you want to make sure it will run smoothly with your other business systems. Many POS systems offer integrations with leading applications. This not only makes your business easier to manage but also saves you tons of time.


Retail POS Systems

There are countless point-of-sale providers out there. With so many providers and so much information available, it can quickly get overwhelming to pick the best option.

Below, you’ll find some of the top providers detailed. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of POS systems.


Square is a simple, yet beneficial POS system you could choose for your retail store. This system is convenient and easy to use. When you create an account with Square, you get an online storefront and the ability to process transactions online.

Customers have several payment options with Square, such as:

  • Text payments
  • QR code
  • Website button
  • A social media link

The fees associated with Square are straightforward. It’s 2.5% or 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. There aren’t any monthly fees for using Square.

Square for retail offers a variety of features. They are outlined below.

  1. Ability to create purchase orders
  2. Linking vendor to product capability
  3. Employee management suite
  4. Inventory management across several locations
  5. Client messages about orders
  6. Invoicing for an additional fee per invoice

Square offers a more complex retail option for $60 a month per location. They also offer marketing packages.



This web-based system will work on any device with a Chrome browser. There is also the option to download an Apple device app. Vend has a vast amount of features.

A few include:

  • Loyalty program
  • Gift cards
  • Customer management
  • Purchase order creation
  • Inventory management
  • Barcode creation
  • Price book creation

Vend easily integrates with credit card processors to make transactions seamless. It does not offer an internal payment processing capability.

Vend has several pricing plans available depending on the size of your business.



Taltech has an automated feature to calculate the price of items sold. This gives you a quick overview of your expenses and profit after each transaction.

It also offers the following:

  • Inventory management
  • Product editing and batching
  • Customer tracking
  • Marketing communications
  • Employee time tracking
  • Employee performance
  • 24/7 email and phone support

Taltech pricing plans vary and are per device.



Shopify is great for e-commerce or brick-and-mortar selling. With its advanced integration features, you can sell across multiple channels easily. It also allows you to easily manage inventory and process sales.

Key highlights of Shopify include:

  • Split payments
  • Refunds and store credit
  • Barcode support
  • Gift cards
  • Custom receipts
  • Order histories
  • Customer relationship management
  • Detailed reporting
  • Inventory management

Shopify has an internal payment processor. It also allows integration with external processors, but it is a premium feature. It offers free, 24/7 customer support across email, chat, and phone.

Shopify’s processing rates depend on the package you choose. They offer several tiers ranging from payment processing to full-service.



Clover is an all-in-one system that offers an easy-to-use Android application. It offers you the ability to assign capabilities to each employee. And it has an advanced inventory management system.

Other features include:

  • Comprehensive reporting
  • Inventory categorization
  • Customer management
  • Gift card capability
  • A loyalty program
  • Online ordering with curbside pickup or delivery for an additional fee
  • Hundreds of app integrations
  • Item exchange feature

Clover offers several plans based on your business needs and size. It also offers several hardware options:

  • Station
  • Mini
  • Flex and Go

You can buy a Clover machine directly from the company or through a reseller.



Lightspeed has an advanced inventory system with multichannel selling abilities. It also allows you to create purchase orders for multiple vendors. Other benefits of this system include:

  • Advanced loyalty program with custom offers
  • Custom inventory tags
  • Item variations
  • Returns and exchanges
  • Shipping
  • Holds/layaway
  • Gift certificates and cards

Lightspeed has plans starting at $69 a month and going up to $299 a month if paid annually. You can add-on additional registers for $29 a month.

It has an internal payment processor but also integrates with Vantiv and Cayan.



Revel started out as a POS for the restaurant industry but has expanded its capabilities to include retail stores. It offers an advanced reporting feature with insights on employees, sales, customers, and inventory.

Other benefits include:

  • Real-time inventory
  • Purchase orders
  • Cash management
  • Loyalty program
  • Gift cards
  • Delivery management

Revel’s plans are monthly, per terminal and it offers custom flat-rate processing fees. When selecting Revel, you do have to sign an agreement with three years of processing and two years of terminal usage.

It has an open API and integrates with many business software and systems. Revel will allow you to streamline your entire business with one system!


Epos Now

This comprehensive system offers equipment starting at $599. Epos Now’s features include:

  • Custom dashboards and reports
  • Report access from any device
  • Restrictions
  • Inventory management
  • Loyalty programs
  • Gift cards

You can use Epos Now with vArtois plans once you purchase the hardware. It does not offer internal payment processors. And customer support is a paid feature.


Choose the Best POS System for Retail

There are a lot of options for a point-of-sale system. You can choose a complete system, the hardware only, or just the software. The best fit for your business will be determined by your company’s specific needs.

Are you ready to find the best POS system for retail and level up your operations? Check out our pricing tool in our buyer’s guide to find the system that best fits your business’s needs.