How to Choose a Better and Cheaper Point of Sale System for Your Small Business

How to Choose a Better Point of Sale System for Your Small Business

If you’re using a traditional register and credit card reader, it’s forgivable. There weren’t alternatives before, and it’s easiest to stick with the way things were.

Now, however, there are many options to replace your current register system. One of those options might be the perfect fit for your business, and it’s probably cheaper too. At least take a look around. If you don’t, you might be leaving money and efficiency on the table.

For those new to point of service (POS) software, it replaces the traditional register and offers retail automation. Depending on the POS you choose, it can also solve issues when sales and inventory numbers don’t match up. You can automate markdowns and accurately track them, eliminating the headache of register receipts at the end of the day. If you run a promotion, your POS can quickly let you know how successful it was. For multi-location businesses, the system ensures consistent pricing and offers.

Many systems also feature add-on modules such as payroll time clocks and customer preference databases. The system’s automation gives you the freedom to walk out the door without worrying about inventory and register reconciliation. That leaves more time for employees to devote to customer service.

So how do you choose a system? For a small to medium business owner, consider choosing a POS system that allows you to completely track and manage inventory. It also helps you get to know your customers and what they prefer, so you know when and how much to reorder. Here are a few different solutions to consider as you search for the perfect POS system.

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Vend is a popular and easy POS solution used by retailers to manage sales, customers, inventory and rewards. It is compatible with Shopify and Xero. Vend works with existing hardware, so all you need is a web browser on a computer, iPad or Android device.

Pricing is packaged by size. The medium package offers $59 a month billed annually for a single outlet, 1 register, 1,000 products and customers, 10 users and email support. Personal set-up assistance, ongoing training, and phone support are an additional $39 a month.


Square is a popular free app that offers a customizable item library, sales reporting, staff management, business analytics, and pricing options to fit businesses of all sizes. You can upgrade your register or use your own equipment. The app allows you to accept debit and credit cards on your iOS or Android device. Customers use Square Wallet to set up a “tab” and pay with their name or barcode using a stored credit, debit, or gift card.

There is a monthly fee of $275 (with a free card reader) for swiped transactions, Square Wallet payments, and Square Market transactions less than or equal to $400. Manually-entered transactions cost 3.5 percent + $0.15.


QuickBooks allows you to track sales, customers, and inventory quickly and easily through three versions: Basic, Pro, and Multi-Store. Intuit’s solution is fully integrated with GoPayment and QuickBooks accounting software. With extensive FAQs, online video tutorials, and customer service via online chat and telephone, the product is one of the friendliest out there.

One major complaint with QuickBooks is that it isn’t recommended for many basic types of businesses, including full-service restaurants and retail stores with brick-and-mortar locations. If you’re a mobile operation, QuickBook’s POS is great for mobile purchases on your iPhone or Android device. The basic package allows you to ring up sales, accept credit cards, manage inventory, and track customer information for $1,199.95. You can add a receipt printer, credit card reader, cash drawer, and barcode scanner for an additional $600.

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The Revel Systems iPad app provides up-to-the-minute reporting, allowing you to track sales in real time. Revel’s secure cloud-based system means you don’t need backroom servers, and your inventory and reports are available anywhere.

There are three versions—Enterprise, Business, and REVELite—so you can start your iPad-based system at your pace. Pricing depends on the type of business. For example, a retail edition that works on one iPad in one location costs $1,000. There is a monthly cloud fee of $100.


This customizable cloud-based iPad system is great for keeping tabs on your inventory and employee hours. It also helps you understand your customers better to run and grow your business. Features include integrations with LevelUp and PayPal. Your cost is $49 a month for each register (up to three) with hardware (receipt printer, cash drawer, credit card swiper, and iPad stand) for $699.


Groupon offers a POS system with a marketing/customer retention aspect. It includes Groupon Rewards, Groupon Scheduler, and Groupon Payments.

The rewards feature offers customers a “reward” to use on a future visit after spending a predetermined amount. The scheduler is an online booking tool that allows customers to book appointments for services when they purchase their Groupon deal. The payments option offers business owners an infrastructure for accepting credit card payments. The app is free to download, and there is no monthly fee. Swiped transactions cost 1.8 percent plus $0.15 per transaction for MasterCard, Visa, and Discover, and 3 percent plus $0.15 per transaction for American Express. For restaurants, there is a newly acquired Breadcrumb POS.

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No matter which POS system you choose, make sure to check out all the features and capabilities. Also, consider whether the system is optimized for your specific type of business. There are specialized systems available for restaurant or hospitality businesses. So, if you’re selling flowers or handmade bags, find a POS tool with all the features to make your products shine and keep your customers coming back.

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