Compare the best small business POS systems [2020]

Every business need a to make sure they are optimized and positioned for success, and SMB's even more so. One of the best ways to do that is to have the right Point Of Sale(POS) for your business. The right POS System can help you with your inventory, your customers loyalty program, invoicing and much more. To make sure you get the best one, here are the Top POS Systems for Small Business.

Compare the best small business POS systems [2020]

Every business need a to make sure they are optimized and positioned for success, and SMB's even more so. One of the best ways to do that is to have the right Point Of Sale(POS) for your business. The right POS System can help you with your inventory, your customers loyalty program, invoicing and much more. To make sure you get the best one, here are the Top POS Systems for Small Business.

9.5/10
Outstanding

859 reviews on 3 websites

Shopkeep Best Features:

  • Offers No contracts & Pay as You Go Plans
  • Excellent Customer Service with 24/7 Support
  • Great Reporting & Inventory Management Features
  • iPad / tablet POS
  • Retail
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Inventory Management
8.8/10
Very Good

606 reviews on 3 websites

Touchbistro Best Features:

  • Reservations and Table Seating
  • Menu Management, Custom Reports
  • Inventory, Analytics and CRM
  • iPad / tablet POS
  • Restaurants
  • Table Organization
  • Staff Management
  • Online Ordering
  • Order From Table
9.2/10
Outstanding

742 reviews on 3 websites

Revel POS is Best for:

  • Real Time Reports (Sales, inventory & More)
  • Great Customer Database & Loyalty Programs
  • Full Integration With Third Parties
  • iPad / tablet POS
  • Retail
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Pizza POS
  • Inventory Management
  • Online Ordering
8.2/10
Good

431 reviews on 3 websites

Upserve POS Best Features:

  • Payment Processing & Full Service Restaurant POS
  • Staff Management
  • Comprehensive Payment Services with Full Reporting
  • iPad / tablet POS
  • Restaurants
  • Quick Service
  • Bars
  • Pizza POS
  • Online Ordering
8.0/10
Fair

138 reviews on 2 websites

Springboard Best Features:

  • Cloud-based POS & retail management system
  • Manage inventory across all channels & locations
  • Quick and easy implementation
  • Integrate with the best omnichannel retail technologies
  • Retail
  • Inventory Management
  • Easy SetUp
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Small business
7.8/10
Fair

13 reviews on 2 websites

Future POS Best Features:

  • Fast and Accurate Ordering
  • Customer Loyalty Program
  • Advanced Security
  • Restaurants
  • Quick Service
  • Bars
  • Secured Environment

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Helping you to find the best POS system for your small business

While you might think that the business landscape in the US is dominated by big international corporations, you might be surprised to see just how crucial small businesses are the US economy.

That’s because small businesses (defined as those with less than 500 employees) actually make up 99% of privately owned enterprises in the US and employ just over half of the country’s total workforce.

Around 19.6 million people in the USA work for a company that employs fewer than 20 people, while 18.4 work for a business of 20 to 99 people, with more small businesses appearing each and every year.

Small businesses are crucial to their local economies and often succeed due to their ability to more easily adapt to their customer’s needs and offer a more personal experience and opening and running your own small business is the embodiment of the ‘American Dream’.

If you are lucky enough to run your own small business, there’s lots to take into account, but one of the decisions that you’ll have to make it which POS (point of sale) system you want to use.

Here, we’re going to run through some of the best POS systems for small businesses, as well as some of the key features that you should be on the lookout for when purchasing one.

The Importance of Selecting the Right POS for Your Small Business

Selecting a POS system is a crucial step for your small business as every transaction that the business makes will go through it.

It also helps to keep track of every sale/transaction that has been made, which is important not only for managing your inventory and stock levels but also for your own financial reporting and analysis, both for performance monitoring and tax purposes.

A POS is much more than just a cash register though and can perform multiple other functions, either on its own or by integrating with third-party software.

Essentially, a good POS system can go from just processing payments to a central business management tool which performs multiple tasks, both in terms of dealing with your customers and managing the back office side of things too.

If you want to streamline all aspects of your business to make sure it runs as efficiently as possible, a good quality POS system is of utmost importance, so what sort of things do you need to think about before choosing to invest in one?

Important Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a POS System

Here are some of the most important things you should consider when deciding which POS system to go with for your small business.

Features

We’ll be going into the specific sort of features that you might want your POS to include, but take a moment to think about what sort of things would benefit your business.

POS systems can vary quite a lot and one which works for one type of business might be totally incompatible with another.

Before you start your POS search, take some time to make a note of what kind of things you currently struggle with and make sure to look out for a system which has features to help you tackle these issues.

Costs & Compatibility

POS systems are a lot more affordable than they once were, but there is still a fairly large initial cost to get them up and running.

This is because not only will you need to buy the software itself, but you might also have to purchase all the necessary hardware to go with it, such as the cash drawer, card reader, barcode scanner and more.

While you might already have some of the hardware, some systems will require you to use certain products that are compatible with their software, so do bear this in mind.

Thankfully, most systems will have a range of pricing plans available, so you should be able to find a system that falls within your budget.

Usability

A POS system can be fitted with all the best features, but it’s completely useless to you if you and your staff can’t actually use it!

That’s why the usability of a POS is super important to think about. A good system should have a simple and easy to use interface that all of your staff can easily get on board with, without the need for extensive training.

If a POS is hard to use, not only will this cause problems for your customers, but your staff will also grow frustrated, which can just cause unneeded pressure in what can already be a stressful environment.

If training is going to be required for the new POS, it’s important that the system itself has plenty of resources to help make this as easy as possible and get your staff up to speed as quickly as possible and save valuable time.

For example, POS systems will often contain training modules or videos to help make the process as quick as possible.

Scalability

It can be difficult to look past the present moment when you’re running a business, with so much to consider, but it is important to think where the business might be in one, five or even ten years time.

While a POS might be perfect for your needs right now, it’s important to consider whether it will still work as well as the business grows.

However, lots of systems will allow you to add new features on to your package at an extra cost, which means that you won’t have to go out and spend money on a whole new system a few years down the line.

Third-Party Integrations

While a good POS system will come with a whole host of features, it’s also important to know how well it will integrate with other third-party systems which could help to make things even easier for you.

Third-party software could help with everything from marketing to accounting, keeping everything together in one system.

This can save you and your employees loads of time, with all of your customer data stored in one place and making lots of the more mundane day to day tasks.

However, some POS systems will be more compatible with third-party software than others, so this is definitely something you’ll want to check before signing up for one.

Customer Support

Hopefully, everything should run smoothly with your new POS system, but it’s always good to know that if you ever do have any questions or any technical problems should arise, that you have a good level of customer support available.

As a small business owner yourself, you’ll know how important good customer service is, so it’s important to bear it in mind when it comes to your POS too.

Even multiple years down the line after you’ve had the POS installed, it’s good to know that there’s always somebody on hand to speak to.

If possible, try to pick a POS system that offers 24/7 support, whether this is via the phone, email or live chat, as any downtime that you suffer from problems with your POS is time that your business could be losing money!

Reporting

Effective reporting is crucial to ensuring that your small business is a success, so you need to be using data and analytics reporting to the full to ensure that you understand your business as well as possible.

Thankfully, your POS system can help with this too, although some systems offer more robust and detailed reporting than others, so consider what level of reporting your business is going to require to allow you to make the best decisions going forward.

The POS should allow you to view your sales figures broken down by year, month, week, day and even by the hour to give you a good overview of the business.

Key POS Software Features

Now we’re going to take a look at some of the more specific features that you might require from your new POS system, beginning with software.

Payment Processing

The most obvious feature that your POS system needs to fulfill is processing orders and payments, being able to accept multiple methods of payment.

The POS should also be able to generate invoices and both print and email receipts for customers.

This should all be as straightforward and simple for your staff to process as possible, with features such as discounts, capturing customer details and processing returns and refunds too.

Employee Management

Your POS system can also be used for managing your employees, such as tracking hours worked and sales performances to help keep on top of employee productivity.

POS systems will usually require your staff to sign in using a password or PIN number, which not only means that the system should be secure but also allows you to track sales for each member of staff, as well as setting individual goals.

Loyalty Schemes

Loyalty schemes can be an effective way to increase sales, but rather than having to hand out physical loyalty cards, a POS system can capture your customers’ details and track their loyalty incentives digitally.

Gift cards are also increasing in popularity, so you might want your POS to have the ability to process these too.

Inventory Management

Your POS system should also help you to keep a record of your current stock levels, which should update in real-time as new sales are processed.

Not only is this useful for staff, allowing them to look up on the system whether an item is in stock or not, but it’s also very helpful when it comes to ordering new stock.

In fact, some POS systems can be set up to automatically order in new stock when you hit a certain level, which can help save you and your team a lot of time.

Customer Management

While you might want to integrate your POS with a more refined CRM system, it should come with some fairly basic customer management features.

Most POS systems should allow you to capture the details of your customers, such as email and physical addresses, as well as purchase history, all of which is useful for marketing purposes, as well as for processing returns or addressing any queries a customer may have.

Key POS Hardware Features

Card Reader

Nowadays, it’s an absolute must that your business is able to process payments via credit or debit card, with fewer transactions than ever before being made by cash.

It’s also a good idea to ensure that your card reader can accept contactless payments, which also allows customers to make payments via mobile applications such as Apple Pay.

Cash Register

Of course, while the majority of payments are made via card these days, there are still lots of people who would rather pay with cash, so you’ll still need to have a cash register hooked up to your POS.

The cash drawer needs to be robust and secure and able to be stored in a safe place, such as underneath a counter.

Barcode Scanner

You’ll need a barcode scanner to easily process sales, but they’re also useful when it comes to looking up product information, as well as adjusting and checking stock levels.

Receipt Printer

While many customers these days prefer to receive a digital receipt via email, most will still require a physical proof of purchase, so it’s important to have a receipt printer integrated with your POS system.

You’ll probably also want a label printer for printing barcodes to be placed on stock too, which you’ll probably require a separate printer for.

Mobile POS

As well as having a physical terminal installed, POS systems which make use of mobile devices such as tablets, phones and smaller, mobile terminals are also proving to be increasingly popular.

Having a portable POS like this can make things a lot easier for your staff, meaning they’re not tied to a physical terminal and can process payments anywhere on the premises.

Some small businesses choose to simply have a mobile POS rather than a physical one, as it takes up a lot less space and is more affordable and they simply don’t need to invest in a terminal at this stage.

Mobile POS systems can usually be easily integrated with other systems such as card readers, receipt printers and more too.

The Best Small Business POS Systems

ShopKeep

Our top pick for small business POS systems for 2019 goes to ShopKeep, an iPad-based POS system with built-in payment process, as well as inventory management, detailed reporting, and 24/7 support.

The iPad system is especially well-suited to smaller businesses, with a high level of customization to tailor it to the needs of your particular business.

While ShopKeep don’t publish their exact pricing and encourage you to get in touch for a quote, you can expect to pay upwards of $69 per month for the system, although one of the big bonuses is that you aren’t tied into a long contract with them.

The touchscreen interface is extremely easy to use for your staff and the system as a whole is very simple and straightforward while delivering a great variety of features for your small business.

Finally, their 24/7 customer support means that there’s always somebody on hand to speak to if you have any issues.

Lavu

If your small business is a restaurant, then Lavu could be the POS system for you. Designed specifically for the restaurant industry, Lavu offers an all-in-one iPad-based solution.

Lavu offers a streamlined service, with clear sales data to base your reporting on and loads of different features, all based in the cloud, meaning that it can be accessed anywhere, regardless of your physical location.

Being based on an iPad offers flexibility and speed, to make sure orders are processed and sent to the kitchen as quickly as possible, as well as making payments easier too.

As well as making life easier for your front of house staff, Lavu will help out your back office staff too, with features such as staff management, reporting and inventory management.

TouchBistro

Like Lavu, TouchBistro is an iPad-based system, designed with the food and drink industry in mind.

Their comprehensive system allows restaurant owners a full overview of their operations, with features such as employee management, menu design, reservations modules, and stock management.

Their pricing starts at $68 per month for their ‘Solo’ package, although the package is customizable to your business’s requirements, with various tiers of pricing.

TouchBistro makes it super easy to manage tables on the fly, split bills between customers and send orders wirelessly to the kitchen, all of which can save your staff lots of valuable time.

Springboard Retail

This user-friendly POS system has been built for retail businesses, with a focus on providing easy to understand data to let you see where you’re performing well, and where there’s room for improvement.

Their cloud-based system is designed to help multi-site retailers, allowing you to access the system and view your inventory no matter where you are.

With detailed reporting and analytics, this easy to to use system gives you all the tools that you need to make your business a success.

Toast

Another POS system geared towards the food industry, Toast combines great back end and front of house features to offer an all-in-one solution for your business, such as inventory and sales reporting and staff management.

There’s also a host of features specific to the restaurant industry such as menu management and one of the best kitchen display systems

It’s also a system that very easy to scale with your business, with a simple, flexible pricing structure, starting at $79 for the Express package, $99 for Professional and an Enterprise, multi-location package which you’ll need to get a custom quote for.

Toast is one of the best POS systems on the market for the restaurant trade, although it might be better suited for mid-sized to large businesses, rather than smaller ones.

Upserve

Another restaurant POS system, Upserve (formerly known as Breadcrumb) is part of the wider Upserve management platform and is an easy to use system to help grow your small restaurant business.

Their cloud-based system is considered to be one of the most cost-effective available in the restaurant industry and can easily be adapted to your own business needs.

As mentioned, it’s also part of a larger group of software which includes Upserve Payments and Upserve HQ, to give you the ultimate all in one solution.

Pricing starts at $99 for the Core package, with a ‘hardware refresh’ program promising you a new iPad for the system every two years.

Vend

Vend is particularly well-known for its multi-retailer functionality, as well as its built-in loyalty program.

Vend has one of the best in-built CRM systems, allowing you to create customer groups which you can apply special pricing to, while another favorite feature is the sophisticated inventory management, allowing you to add product by bulk, apply variants and split into groups and bundles.

It’s extremely easy to add more registers, sales channels, and locations if your business grows, with the ability to access all your data from anywhere at any time.

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