A comprehensive guide to the best POS software tools

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Choosing the right POS system is one of the most important decisions for any business. The best POS software tools control how you make and record sales, manage your accounting, keep track of inventory and more. There are many considerations to make when choosing POS software because these systems are so much more than just a cash register. In this article, we offer a complete guide to learning about POS software tools, how they can integrate with different mobile devices and provide the 7 best program options for a seamless business management experience.

What is a point-of-sale system?

Before looking at the best POS software tools, we explain what a point-of-sale system is. A Point Of Sale (POS) system supports retail transactions. POS systems calculate and record transactions, generate customer invoices and decide the different payment options that a customer can use. POS systems today are so much more than just cash registers.

These systems have evolved to integrate with mobile devices. Beyond just accepting payments, POS systems can also integrate with your accounting software to make it easier to run your business. SMB's can use cloud-based POS software to manage and store all of their transactional data with no physical back-end server.

Related: 9 essential business analyst skills

Choosing the best POS software tools

There are many types of POS systems and features available. These systems include payment processing solutions, card readers and mobile payment methods. The best POS software tools can handle various payment types and communicate with back-end software. This could include accounting software, CRM and inventory management integrations.

When looking for a POS system, the POS software is separate from the hardware your business uses. The software can ring up, record and track sales and perform back-office tasks. The POS hardware accepts payments and create receipts. In most cases, You can use POS software through apps on mobile phones and tablets.

Important POS software features

There are a few features to consider when choosing the best POS tools for your business. While all POS systems serve the same basic function of getting your business paid, each platform can operate completely differently. Here are some of the key considerations to make when choosing POS software :

Payment methods

The primary function of a POS system is to get your business paid. This means it's important to understand the different payment methods that the system can accept. This includes cash, card and contactless payments. Europay and Visa (EMV) use chipped technology, which has become the standard for making payments. Having hardware that can accept contactless tap-to-pay functionality is also important. Being able to accept the correct methods of payment is the basic requirement for any POS system.

The best POS software tools offer various additional features to consider. One of these is Near-Field Communications (NFC) transactions, which is a type of electronic payment system that is increasing in popularity. Being able to accept two different types of payment for each customer is also a consideration to make.

Back-office functions

POS systems not only accept payments, they're also used for additional back-end functions. Good POS systems can generate reports and offer insights into your sales performance. The software can create sales reports based on different periods, which you can compare to previous periods. This allows businesses to gain a clearer understanding of how their sales are performing. Reports are also important for identifying trends.

Some systems allow you to monitor inventory and profit margins on individual items. Being able to track exact sales figures and what stock remains is a vital part of running any retail business. Some POS systems notify you when stock is close to running out to help you restock in time.

Related: What is the back office and why is it important?

Hardware and technical considerations

Consider the various technical elements that your POS system requires. What kind of hardware can the POS software integrate with? How is a team able to use the POS system? What does your retail environment look like? Do you need a mobile POS system? These are all necessary questions to ask when finding the right POS software. Today, you can download many platforms as mobile apps on tablets and mobile phones and even connect them to card readers via Bluetooth. But, some systems only integrate with certain screens and card readers.

Mobility

One of the biggest trends for POS systems right now is mobility. This means being able to move the system away from a fixed till and accept payments from anywhere in your store. Mobile POS systems are also useful for businesses without a fixed location - such as those that operate in markets. Mobile systems have a focus on wireless connectivity.

Support

Even the most user-friendly POS systems require specialist support at some stage. Access to fast and efficient support is incredibly important for your POS system. If anything goes down, your entire business might not operate properly until you get the issue fixed. Understand what kind of support the POS software offers and make sure this matches your business. For example, if your business only operates at night, it would be beneficial to have 24-hour support in case your POS system suddenly goes down during a busy service.

Related: How to become a support worker: a step-by-step guide

Pricing

Finally, pricing is one of the most essential things to consider when choosing the best POS software tools. You can get free EPOS software and there may be various subscription options. Usually, the more you pay, the more features and flexibility you get. Choose your POS system based on the scale and demands of your business.

If your business has a single till and a basic range of products, free EPOS software is usually perfect. If your business has multiple tills and staff members that each require access to the POS system, you may need a paid version. Also, pay attention to the transactional charges that each system takes.

7 best POS software tools

Whether you're looking for free POS software or a more advanced system, there are many options available. Choosing the best POS software tools is one of the most important decisions for any business to make, as it directly affects the way your business operates. Here are 7 of the best paid and free POS software options available.

1. Vend

Vend is one of the most popular POS systems for all kinds of businesses. This POS accepts mobile payments and works with mobile sales seamlessly. The system even offers a built-in e-commerce shop option. The platform comes with 24/7 support and works on a monthly subscription basis.

2. Square

Square is one of the most popular POS systems for all kinds of businesses. It's free POS software, but the platform takes a 2.75% fee per transaction. Square comes with built-in payment processing, accepts mobile payments and offers built-in email campaigns. Unfortunately, the platform doesn't offer 24//7 support.

3. Shopify

The Shopify POS is a fully mobile platform that allows you to sell anywhere. If you already have a Shopify e-commerce store, using their integrated POS system is an advantage. The app offers easy sales order management and is available at a relatively low monthly fee.

4. Erply

Erply is a subscription-based POS system with a built-in e-commerce shop. The platform is suitable for mobile sales, but it does not have built-in payment processing. Erply doesn't accept mobile payments.

5. Lightspeed

Lightspeed offers e-commerce and POS software for easy business management. The system allows you to oversee your full business operations through a single cloud-based platform. If you also sell online, using Lightspeed is convenient for both your online store and your POS.

6. Bindo

Bindo accepts mobile payments and offers built-in payment processing. It's also a POS system with a built-in e-commerce store, with the option for mobile sales. Unfortunately, Bindo does not offer 24/7 support.

7. Quickbooks

Quickbooks is one of the most popular accounting solutions out there, so their integrated POS system is a good choice for any business that uses their software. This system offers built-in payment processing and has useful accounting features. It doesn't accept mobile payments and it doesn't have a built-in e-commerce store.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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