This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
A point-of-sale (POS) system is a combination of software and hardware that centralizes sales, payment processing, inventory management, and customer relationship management (CRM). The best POS systems also include robust tools for omnichannel sales, vendor management, employee management, and customer loyalty. Many POS software are free, though others cost as much as $200 per month for a single terminal.
According to our evaluation of more than 25 POS software across 32 data points, the best point-of-sale systems for small businesses are:
- Square: Best overall, and best free POS for small businesses
- Shopify: Best for multichannel retailers
- Lightspeed: Best for retailers with complex inventory
- Toast: Best for restaurants
- Vend by Lightspeed: Best for tracking warehouse inventory
- TouchBistro: Best for small food and beverage businesses
- KORONA: Best for high-risk businesses
- Hike: Best for layaway payment (lay-pay) sales
- Lavu: Best restaurant POS for cash discounting
- Revel Systems: Best for customization options and scalability
- IT Retail: Best for grocers and markets
The software in this article was selected by Fit Small Business experts, Meaghan Brophy, Mary King, and Brigitte Hodge. Together, they have more than two decades of hands-on experience working in and managing retail and restaurant businesses.
Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems Compared
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Square: Best Overall & Best Free POS System for Small Businesses
Square is the best POS system for most small businesses because of its affordable price point, mobile capabilities, and POS tools for retailers, restaurants, and service industries. All of Square’s POS systems―Retail, Restaurants, and Appointments―offer a free subscription that includes all the necessary tools for one location, plus an online store platform. There are also additional premium plans to support growth, all ranging from $29 to $60 per month.
With all this going for it, Square earned a 4.48 out of 5 in our evaluation. This user-friendly platform stood out for its competitive pricing structure and its retail, restaurant, and appointment tools–a trifecta not many other POS systems offer.
Square’s only obstacles were its limited customer support, lack of custom reports (as you find with Lightspeed), and lack of ingredient level tracking (like you get with Toast).
Square is one of our favorites in lots of categories, making the lists of best free POS software, mobile POS apps, and iPad POS systems. Meanwhile, Square for Retail is our leading retail POS, Square for Restaurants is our top-recommended food truck POS, and Square Appointments is our highest-scoring salon and spa POS.
Square’s standout features include:
- Speedy payments: Once your bank account is verified, you can start accepting payments the same day you open your Square account. Processing fees are a low flat rate, and many businesses qualify for next-day deposits, although two-day deposits are more standard. As of May 2022, Square POS users can accept buy now, pay later (BNPL) payments in-store and online through Afterpay.
- Square Appointments: Manage multiple appointment calendars, set up online booking, allow customers to book and manage appointments with an online portal, send automatic short message service (SMS) and email reminders, and require credit cards upon booking for no-show and cancellation fees.
- Square for Retail: If your business needs retail-supporting tools like inventory tracking and the ability to process refunds and exchanges, you’ll prefer Square for Retail. Like basic Square, Square for Retail offers a free baseline subscription with no long-term contracts. You’ll also get barcode printing tools, detailed sales reports, and easy purchase order (PO) and stock management.
- Square for Restaurants: Food and beverage businesses, from food trucks to full-service, restaurants will find restaurant-specific tools in the Square for Restaurants POS. This system includes table and check management, check splitting, online ordering and delivery integrations, and tip tracking.
- Free Square Online store: Every Square POS account comes with a free, integrated online store.
Learn more about what Square has to offer with our Square POS review.
Shopify: Best POS for Multichannel Retailers
Shopify POS is a great option for retailers that either already use a Shopify ecommerce store or those looking to sell online and in person. With Shopify, you first sign up for an ecommerce account. From there, you can opt for the included free POS or premium POS features at an additional cost.
As this structure suggests, Shopify is known primarily for its online selling tools, with a robust ecommerce platform and integrations for selling on your social channels.
Shopify earned a 4.47 out of 5 on our ranking of the best POS systems, just behind Square and tied with Lightspeed Retail. This POS outscored the others on this list for its register features, including a customizable checkout interface, flexible payment options, and offline selling.
The biggest area where Shopify POS lost points was its pricing. To access Shopify POS, an ecommerce subscription is required at $29 to $299. Then, to access many of the best POS features (smart inventory management, advanced reporting, staff permissions), you have to upgrade to POS Pro for an additional $89 per month, so costs can add up.
Shopify’s standout features include:
- Omnichannel sales: Shopify POS can seamlessly facilitate and manage sales and inventory from all channels—in-store, online, and curbside.
- Online integrations: Shopify’s online store chat functions let your customers start a conversation with you from any page on your website. Shopify also integrates with Apple Business Chat, so iPhone users can send messages to you directly from their smartphones. A Facebook integration lets customers shop directly from Facebook and Instagram posts. You can also easily place “Buy” buttons on blog posts and other web content.
Since our last update: Shopify introduced mobile hardware called Shopify Go that you can use to process payments on the go, facilitate curbside orders, and take your business anywhere you are.
- Inventory management: POS Pro includes Stocky, a smart inventory app for performing inventory counts, receiving products with a barcode scanner, generating low-stock alerts and detailed inventory reports, forecasting demand, performing inventory analysis, and viewing sale item suggestions.
- Customer management: All Shopify plans include tools to generate customer profiles with contact information and shopping habits, add customer tags (such as VIP designations), track special requests, generate targeted promotions, create marketing content, and optimize social media campaigns.
Do you want a deeper look at the Shopify platform? See what makes Shopify our top-ranked ecommerce platform for small businesses. Also, get a better grasp on the available tools by seeing how Shopify works and exploring our full Shopify POS review.
Lightspeed: Best POS for Retailers With Complex Inventory
Lightspeed offers three types of POS systems—retail, restaurant, and golf. It operates on iPads for mobile use and stands out for its excellent inventory management tools.
Straight from your POS dashboard, Lightspeed not only lets you add and monitor your merchandise in real time, but it also includes vendor management, integrated product catalogs, PO management, and matrix product assortments and variants. These tools and more set Lightspeed apart, making it the best POS for retailers with large or complex inventory assortments.
In the news
In 2021, Lightspeed purchased competing restaurant POS, Upserve, which has the most automated restaurant inventory tools on the market. You can find those tools in the new Lightspeed U-Series POS.
Lightspeed earned an overall score of 4.47 out of 5 on our ranking criteria, tying with Shopify POS. This cloud-based system earned high marks for its offline functionality and excellent retail management tools, though its higher price point cost it some points. Like Square, Lightspeed has purpose-built POS options for retailers and restaurants. Both systems are strong, with excellent inventory management tools.
Lightspeed’s standout features include:
- Inventory management: Retailers can bulk upload up to 10,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) at once, manage variants, create bundles, and track unit costs, layaways, and special orders. Built-in product catalogs streamline orders, and low-stock alerts let you know when to place them. Lightspeed has the most sophisticated integrated product ordering on this list, largely because of the built-in supplier network.
- Supplier network: Retailers can discover products, submit POs, and track stock shipments from within Lightspeed POS. The only other system on this list that comes close to matching this tool is KORONA.
- Reporting and analytics: Lightspeed includes over 40 built-in reports and allows retailers to build custom reports that show data in easy-to-scan charts and graphs. Restaurant users can access basic reporting with the Essentials POS package and gain advanced reporting capabilities at the higher-level subscription tiers. While this may cramp some operations, it also ensures that small operations don’t pay for features they don’t use.
- Ecommerce: Lightspeed ecommerce syncs with POS data, offers more than 50 professional themes, and includes full shipping and order management tools and marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), and search engine optimization (SEO) features. Restaurant ecommerce functions are equally robust, including options for online ordering and reservation functions.
- Marketing: Lightspeed has a built-in loyalty program in higher-level subscription tiers. You can create a tiered rewards system for both in-store and online purchases, send one-time deals for birthdays or to VIP customers, and design emails with templates or a drag-and-drop builder. If you need marketing tools in your baseline POS, consider Revel.
Are you looking for something different? The Lightspeed Restaurant POS also supports detailed ingredient-level inventory, but you’ll need the priciest subscription to get the full vendor management supported by the retail POS. If you need these restaurant tools built into the POS, try Revel instead.
Learn more with our reviews of Lightspeed Retail and Lightspeed Restaurants.
Find out how to make the most of Lightspeed Retail’s excellent inventory tools in our guide to Lightspeed inventory management.
Toast: Best POS for Restaurants
Toast is a powerhouse cloud-based POS built specifically for the restaurant industry. With a free starter POS and pay-as-you-go options for hardware, small restaurants can start with Toast for no upfront cost and increase their POS footprint as their businesses grow.
At the same time, enterprise-level restaurants will also feel supported by Toast’s integrated online ordering, delivery management, marketing, and employee management tools. This is why we love Toast for growing restaurants.
It’s no surprise that this massively functional POS is the top-ranking restaurant-only POS on this list; it also consistently ranks at the top of our guide to the best restaurant POS systems.
In our evaluation, Toast earned a 4.46 out of 5—pretty good for a system that only supports restaurants. Toast scored points for its price and the sheer scope of available POS tools, from employee scheduling to tip pool management. It primarily took hits because many of its tools are only available with higher-priced subscriptions or higher processing fees. The required proprietary hardware and standard two-year contract also lost Toast some points.
Toast has every tool a restaurant owner could dream of. You get essential restaurant functions like QR code ordering and payments, online ordering and delivery management, ingredient-level inventory, and employee scheduling. However, Toast also supports niche tools like pocket-sized, handheld order and payment terminals, tip pool management, and in-POS messaging to alert managers when there is an issue or alert customers when their orders are ready.
Toast continues to innovate on its POS solutions. Over the past few months, Toast:
- Revamped its mobile order and pay solution so that both customers and servers can open mobile order tickets
- Launched a new POS specifically for hotel restaurants, aptly named Toast for Hotel Restaurants
- Updated its quick service restaurant (QSR) POS to include more mobile ordering and payment functionality, expanded kiosk functionality, and a new Toast Flex for Guest touch-screen terminal with a customer-facing display
Toast’s additional standout features include:
- Front-of-house features: Toast includes table, course, and seat management; easy check splitting; and credit card pre-authorizations for bar tabs. You’ll also get table management, order management, and even direct messaging from the POS screen, so your team can hail a manager directly from the POS when needed.
- Reporting and back office: Toast includes comprehensive, customizable reports for everything from staff management to menu assessments. You can track inventory in real time at the ingredient level, receive low stock alerts, and generate POs from the back office.
- Workforce management: Like Square, Toast includes optional workforce management tools to draft and communicate employee schedules and streamline timekeeping and payroll. Toast goes a big step further, including tip-pool management and access to restaurant-tailored human resources (HR) documents like handbook templates and alerts for new, local regulations.
- Online ordering and delivery: With Toast, you can create an integrated online ordering site to receive online orders or integrate with third-party platforms like Uber Eats and DoorDash. Toast also includes full, maps-based driver dispatch if you want to support a team of in-house delivery drivers. You can also use Toast Delivery Services to hail on-demand third-party drivers to deliver orders for a flat, per-order fee with no commissions.
Are you looking for something different? The biggest downside to Toast is the required contract length. If you need something more short-term, consider Square, TouchBistro, or Lavu instead. If you’re looking for less expensive hardware or simply prefer an iPad system, consider Lightspeed’s restaurant system.
Find out more about Toast’s pricing, features, and more by reading our full Toast review.
Vend by Lightspeed: Best for Tracking Warehouse Inventory
Vend by Lightspeed is a POS designed strictly for brick-and-mortar retailers and is ideal for those that need to manage inventory not only between stores but also at warehouse locations. It lets you designate your inventory’s location—whether a store or a warehouse/storage location— and then tracks and syncs that inventory as it sells or moves to new spots. This makes Vend perfect for retailers who have warehouse locations and want to manage that inventory from their POS.
Lightspeed purchased Vend in 2021. Vend is now referred to as Vend by Lightspeed, or Lightspeed Retail X-Series. If you choose Lightspeed Payments as your processor, you will save $30 on your monthly software fee.
It earned a 4.43 out of 5 in our evaluation, earning points for its 24/7 customer support, great ease of use, and payment flexibility. Additionally, we loved that the system comes with built-in store credit, layaway tools, offline processing, and the choice to integrate with different payment processors so businesses can shop around for the lowest rates. Where Vend lost points was its relatively high price point, lack of an ecommerce platform and email marketing tools, and basic reporting and staff management options.
Vend’s retail management tools are designed to be scalable, with options for small operations like gift shops up to multilocation boutiques. It is a user-friendly cloud system with offline processing, staff logins, and flexible configurations, including layaway and on-account sales, store credit, gift cards, and partial payment. You can scan new shipments to add them to your inventory and print custom barcode labels to get the new products onto the sales floor quickly.
Its standout features include:
- Detailed inventory tools: Vend allows retailers to track variants and bundles easily and create, import, and print barcodes from the POS dashboard. You can also build a centralized product catalog, set custom low-stock alerts, and manage multiple tax rates.
- Mobile barcode scanning app: Vend has a free iOS app for scanning barcodes to perform quick inventory counts, receive shipments, or look up product details from the sales floor. Any changes made in the app can sync to Vend’s reporting data, so you can update your inventory without spending hours in the back office.
- Add-ons and growth tools: As your business grows, Vend has the tools to expand your operation. The platform comes with a native loyalty program and integrates with third-party tools for ecommerce, accounting, employee scheduling, and multichannel inventory management.
- High-risk tools: Vend has built-in age verification tools that prompt your cashiers to scan and verify customer age. This is a great fit for shops that sell tobacco or alcohol products.
TouchBistro: Best for Small Food & Beverage Businesses
TouchBistro is an incredibly easy-to-use iPad-based POS that, like the competing system Toast, is designed specifically for food and beverage businesses. However, unlike Toast and Square, TouchBistro is compatible with multiple payment processors, so businesses can shop around for the lowest processing fees or keep their current processor when switching to TouchBistro.
This distinction, along with its mobile reporting―something else Toast lacks―makes TouchBistro a solid choice for small food and beverage businesses like food trucks, coffee shops, and restaurants.
In our evaluation, TouchBistro scored a 4.16 out of 5. This POS earned points for its ease of use, affordability, and responsive customer service. It operates on iPads and is easy to self-install. Its user interface more closely resembles the standard iOS than any other option on this list. So if you (or your staff) have ever used an iPhone, you’ll pick up TouchBistro immediately. Touchbistro took hits in the scoring for its lengthy contract requirements and manual inventory controls.
The biggest ace up TouchBistro’s sleeve is how easy the system is to install and use. Like Square and Lightspeed, users can quickly self-install it following its detailed instructions. Though, like Toast, TouchBistro also offers one-on-one installation assistance for a fee if users want it.
TouchBistro’s standout features include:
- Flexible hardware: Like several systems on this list, TouchBistro operates on iPads. With TouchBistro, these iPads can be configured as POS terminals, kitchen display system (KDS) screens, or tableside order and payment devices. There are some additional fees for KDS screens; you’ll need to contact TouchBistro for a custom quote.
- Support and training: TouchBistro maintains a detailed knowledge base with training videos. You can also request one-on-one or in-person training with a TouchBistro representative for custom-quoted fees.
- Straightforward pricing: Where other systems have multiple subscription tiers, TouchBistro has a single per-terminal price. You pay additional monthly software fees to add features like integrated online ordering ($50 per/month), gift cards ($25 per month), loyalty ($99 per month), or reservations ($229 per month). While this can make your costs add up, small cafes, coffee shops, and breweries won’t pay for tools they don’t use.
- Flexible payment processing: TouchBistro offers the best of both worlds when it comes to payment processing. Like competitors Lightspeed, Revel Systems, and Lavu, TouchBistro offers users the choice between a built-in processor or a third-party payment processor. Unlike those other systems, however, TouchBistro users do not pay higher software fees for using a compatible third-party processor.
Are you looking for something different? TouchBistro’s main drawback is that loyalty and online ordering require extra fees. For a restaurant POS with free integrated online ordering, your best bets are Square and Toast. Additionally, Toast and Revel will update your inventory levels as orders come in, something TouchBistro requires you to do manually.
Learn more about this system by reading our full TouchBistro review.
KORONA: Best for High-risk Businesses
KORONA is a cloud-based POS with tools that can support high-risk businesses like liquor stores, convenience stores, cannabis dispensaries, and vape shops. Korona is equipped with ID scanning, is compatible with high-risk payment processors, and includes loss prevention tools.
Additionally, this affordable and flexible POS comes with excellent customer support and operates on a variety of desktop and mobile devices, so you likely can use some hardware you already own.
Uniquely, KORONA has an unlimited free trial option. While you can’t integrate a payment processor and there are low daily transaction limits during the trial, you can take your time with customizations and save all of your data for later.
KORONA earned a 4.13 out of 5 on our POS scoring criteria. It earned high marks for the sheer number of business types it supports, from small retail shops to high-risk businesses and ticketed venues. Its ability to integrate with virtually any payment processor also earned it points. Korona, however, does not include a built-in ecommerce solution or marketing tools as you find with Square and Shopify.
The KORONA POS is a Swiss army knife for small businesses of all types. This system specializes in providing detailed tools for niche businesses, from event venues that need ticketing functions to liquor stores and vape shops that require additional product controls and high-risk processors.
KORONA’s standout features include:
- Payments agnostic: KORONA integrates with any major payment processor, making KORONA the most flexible POS on this list. You can bring virtually any processor you like, including high-risk processors or processors that include cash discounting tools. This one simple setting can save small businesses money in the long run, as you can shop around for the lowest available rates, and switch processors at any time.
- Flexible integrations: KORONA focuses on building integrations with niche applications that support specific business types. So while it lacks popular integrations with well-known tools like QuickBooks, it contains specific integrations for liquor stores (ecommerce tools Bottlecapps and City Hive), dispensaries (traceability apps Metrc, BioTrack, and Leak Data; ecommerce tools Dutchie, Leafly, Olla) wineries (bLoyal for wine club management), and more.
- Installation and training: Many systems on this list have $0 installation fees because you can self-install them. KORONA includes guided installation and training with every POS account. This is great if you don’t have the time or bandwidth to wade through tutorial videos and installation manuals.
- Inventory tools: KORONA’s inventory management tools allow you to break cases and set different prices for items—like beers sold by the bottle, six-pack, or case—that have the same Universal Product Codes (UPCs). You can scan new items with a barcode scanner to update inventory levels and print price labels from stock receipts, so your prices are always in line with your actual costs. You’ll also get low-stock alerts and shipment alerts, so you know exactly when to expect new items. KORONA is one of two systems on this list with shipment tracking; Lightspeed Retail is the other.
- Ticketing: KORONA also has built-in ticketing functionality, including time-sensitive, membership, group rates, and even turnstile integration. This also makes KORONA a great option for museums, amusement parks, stadiums, and events as it can handle ticketing, retail, and basic concession sales all in one POS.
Explore more features, pricing, and user insights in our full KORONA review.
Hike: Best for Layaway Payment (Lay-pay) Sales
Hike is a cloud-based POS system that you can use to run your retail store, especially those such as furniture and appliance sellers or other big-ticket retailers that need to utilize layaway payment features. With Hike, you can let customers pay via layaway, starting with a deposit and then tracking subsequent payments on the layaway item until that purchase is complete. Hike will also automatically post outstanding sales data to your Xero or QuickBooks Online accounting system.
If you want to stick with your existing card terminal, Hike can track card payments made using an external card terminal.
In our evaluation, Hike earned a 4.01 out of 5, with excellent customization features, a wide variety of payment options, and mobile capabilities for sales on the go. While it did well in these areas, Hike lost points because it has limited payment processing options and integrations are only available in paid plans, unlike with Revel Systems or Square.
Hike has a lot to offer in the features department, with tools perfect for brick-and-mortar and omnichannel retailers (note, however, that ecommerce integrations are only available in Hike’s Plus plan, which comes in at $119 per month).
- Mobility: Hike can run on any internet-enabled device, including your phone or tablet. This, plus its offline selling capabilities, makes it perfect for mobile sales.
- Inventory management: Perform full and partial counts, get real-time updates, manage stock down to variant, track stock levels, transfer inventory between stores and sales channels, and manage POs all from your Hike POS dashboard.
- Store management: Take control of your store with tools for managing your cash float, staff access and PINs, a built-in cash drawer calculator, and daily transaction reports.
- Reporting: Hike has tons of reporting tools, including customer reports and data, shift reports, sales and transaction reports, and category reports where you can look at specific products or categories to see how they are performing.
Learn more with our full Hike POS review.
Lavu: Best Restaurant POS for Cash Discounting
Lavu is a cloud-based iPad POS designed for food and beverage businesses. It is the only system in this guide that offers a cash discount setting, which allows you to offer a discount for cash payments that will offset your credit card processing fees. This feature helps small restaurants that are switching from a cash-only operation to accept digital payments without incurring additional costs.
This software earned a 3.91 out of 5 in our evaluation. It scored well for its register features and ease of use, with an easy self-installation process, like Square. It lost points for not having a free trial or free baseline subscription option, and its customer reviews are the lowest of any system on this list. However, its native cash-discounting feature is notable, as the practice of passing along processing fees to customers is increasing in popularity among small businesses.
Lavu is a highly customizable iPad POS, with several cost-saving features. Like Lightspeed, TouchBistro, and Revel, Lavu supports both built-in payment processing and integrated third-party processors, so users can shop for the lowest processing rates. Though with Lavu, you will need to pay an additional $25 per month per terminal to use a third-party processor.
Its standout features include:
- Cash discount: Cash discounting allows you to charge one price for card payments and a different, lower price for cash payments. So, you build the price of processing into the price you charge for your products, then apply a discount—such as 4%—to checks that are paid in cash. This way, Lavu’s cash discounting tool helps small food businesses avoid the cost of credit card processing fees. This is especially attractive if the cost of processing has kept you from growing your business beyond cash-only sales.
- Transparent pricing: Like most of the systems on this list, Lavu has several software subscription tiers. Like TouchBistro, Lavu lists the monthly fees for additional features from loyalty ($50 per month) to KDS software ($30 per month) clearly. Small restaurants can choose which tools are important to them and only pay for what they need.
- API access: Lavu supports an open API that allows you to build custom software integrations with your POS. This feature costs an additional $30 per month, but if you want to connect your accounting program, delivery software, or other tools, it will be well worth it for the administrative time you can save.
- Accounts payable (A/P) automation: Lavu also owns A/P automation software Sourcery. It allows you to generate a central database of your vendors to create, place, receive, and pay for orders through the app. These are similar to the tools supported by Lightspeed Retail’s top-rated inventory functions. Sourcery costs an additional $99 per month, putting it more in the budget range of high-volume or multi-location restaurants. But, Lavu frequently offers deals with up to three months free if you want to try it.
Learn more about Lavu’s features and pricing in our full Lavu POS review.
Revel Systems: Best for Customization Options & Scalability
Revel Systems is a multichannel iPad POS system that can support a wide variety of businesses due to its extreme customizability. With tons of integrations and an open API, Revel lets you design your POS system from the ground up, so it can include the tools you need and remove the fluff. As your business grows, you can add new tools and features to support you―you are not locked into your initial selections.
Alongside the basic tools of the Revel POS terminal, businesses can integrate scales, barcode scanners, handheld inventory, online ordering and delivery, and custom tools.
In our evaluation, Revel scored a 3.74 out of 5. It earned a perfect 5 for register features (as did Shopify) and outscored the competition in the management tools category. However, Revel’s three-year service agreement, expensive base plan, minimum terminal purchase requirements, and mandatory installation fees prevented it from earning a higher score.
When you look beyond the price, you’ll see that Revel includes a wealth of insightful POS features that many cloud-based systems lack. The reports are endlessly customizable, as are menu and order screens, and you can track every bit of sales and performance data imaginable.
It also includes a slew of free smartphone apps for reporting, inventory counting, and delivery drivers—extending the POS system’s functions. You can also commission a custom commerce app from Revel that allows customers to shop your store directly from their iOS and Android devices.
Revel Systems’ standout features include:
- Grocery features: Revel’s POS screens are highly customizable, and the system integrates with scales and barcode scanners to support all types of markets. You can prompt for age verification to sell alcohol or tobacco products and also process bottle deposits. You’ll also find integrated CRM, loyalty, gift card, and discount tools to encourage customer retention.
- Restaurant features: Detailed table mapping and management, menu-building tools, integrated kitchen display communication, and integrated online ordering form the foundation of Revel’s restaurant tools. Tip tracking, preauthorized bar tabs, and employee scheduling are also included.
- Inventory and vendor management: Revel’s inventory module is strong enough to compete with the best retail inventory tools and offers the strongest built-in restaurant inventory tools on this list. In addition to real-time inventory updates with low-stock alerts, users get vendor and PO management. You can also perform physical counts using Revel’s free inventory app for smartphones.
- Delivery management: If your restaurant or market wants to offer local delivery, Revel has you covered there, too. You can manage a team of in-house drivers with maps-based driver dispatch. Your dispatch dashboard tracks driver locations in real time and includes a free driver app, so you can send drivers turn-by-turn directions and delivery information. If you prefer to use third-party drivers, you can hail them on-demand using Revel’s integration with DoorDash Drive.
- Flexible hardware: Revel’s iPad-based POS terminals tend to be less expensive than the custom-built hardware required by IT Retail. The setup is also more straightforward than KORONA, where the sheer number of hardware options might be daunting. Revel includes the barcode scanners and integrated scales that grocers need, alongside customer display systems, self-order kiosks, and mobile ordering for speedy and contactless service.
IT Retail: Best for Grocers, Markets & Specialty Food Stores
IT Retail is a robust POS system designed by grocers specifically to support independent food markets. The system comes packed with the rugged hardware necessary in a grocery environment, such as scale integration for selling goods by weight, bottle deposit management, automated rewards, and self-checkout options.
Additionally, IT Retail includes ecommerce integrations like Mercato and Instacart for online ordering and delivery services. The software also supports the widest variety of self-checkout hardware on this list, including a contactless mobile self-checkout system through FutureProof.
In our evaluation, IT Retail scored 3.95 out of 5. It earned points for supporting multiple payment processors and for its robust inventory tools but lost some ground when it came to price, with starting rates at $99 plus proprietary hardware fees. This provider also lost points for missing features like marketing tools, a loyalty program in its base account, and mobile functionality.
IT Retail has all the tools an independent grocery or specialty market needs—from checkout lanes enabled with scanners and scales to smart inventory management and ecommerce tools. This incredibly flexible system can support markets with only a few checkout lanes, but it excels with markets that have several lanes, including self-checkout stands.
Its standout features include:
- Flexible checkout: Integrated scales make it easy to sell produce and bulk goods and goods by weight. You can accept all major credit and debit cards, EBT food and cash payments, gift cards, eWIC, and contactless payments, such as Apple Pay. IT Retail also offers a slew of self-checkout options, including digitized, mobile in-person checkout via FutureProof, allowing customers to checkout via their smartphones.
- Inventory management: You can generate POs from your IT Retail back office and track products by case, six-pack, or bottle. When supplies arrive, you can receive and count stock using a mobile app and generate new shelf tags as needed. These seemingly small functions can save you labor hours when it comes to receiving and restocking. As with other systems on this list, your IT Retail POS will alert you to low stock, so you never forget to reorder.
- CRM tools: You can create a custom loyalty program and issue scannable loyalty cards—giving your small market the same feel as a larger brand. Your IT Retail POS automatically tracks available rewards at checkout and prompts your cashiers to ask customers if they would like to redeem accrued rewards.
- Ecommerce integration: Market owners can enable online ordering and delivery, including specialty and fresh items, with several ecommerce integrations, such as Local Express, Mercato, Freshop, My Cloud Grocer, and Instacart. So, you can find the best solution for your market.
- Age verification: Like Vend by Lightspeed, IT Retail includes built-in tools for scanning IDs for age-restricted purchases. This is a great fit for markets that sell alcohol and tobacco products.
Are you looking for something different? IT Retail estimates that hardware for a single lane can run from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on your selections. If your independent grocery needs more accessibly priced iPad-based hardware, consider Square instead.
Explore more of the platform’s grocery-supporting features by reading our full IT Retail review.
Methodology: How We Evaluated POS Systems
Take a look at the criteria we used to evaluate POS systems and the experts doing the evaluating.
POS System Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Click through the questions below to get answers to some of your most asked questions.
What POS system is the best?
The best POS system for you depends on your business type and what functions you need the machine to perform. However, the best POS systems for small businesses offer decent functionality at a low price and can grow with your business.
According to our evaluations, the best POS systems are:
- Square: Best overall
- Shopify: Best for ecommerce and multichannel retail
- Lightspeed: Best for complex inventories
- Toast: Best for restaurants
What is the cheapest POS system?
The cheapest POS systems tend to be those that offer their POS software for only the cost of payment processing. Popular systems that follow this model include Square and Toast—though you can also find systems that offer free POS software without any integrated payment processing, like Loyverse (see our full Loyverse review).
However, software and processing fees won’t be your only POS costs. You’ll also need to consider hardware like touch screens and card readers. If you’re on a budget, iPad-based POS systems like Lightspeed and TouchBistro are good options.
What is the difference between a POS and terminal?
Many people use the terms “POS” and “terminal” interchangeably. A POS (or “point-of-sale”) system is a combination of hardware and software that allow businesses to track inventory, enter sales, process payments, and log business performance data. A terminal is one part of a POS system; it is the hardware component where you enter sales and process payments.
What POS system do retailers use?
Retailers use a variety of POS systems depending on their business type. Multi-location national chain stores often design their own POS systems so they can quickly respond to POS technology trends. Independent retailers tend to rely on commercially available cloud-based systems like Square (which has more than 2 million active sellers), Shopify, Vend, and NCR.
Related: Best Retail POS Systems
Square offers the most tools for the lowest price of any small business POS. Whether your business is mobile or brick and mortar—or retail, restaurant, or service-based—it has POS options for you. Beyond the affordable POS tools, the platform includes a wealth of small business tools to help you manage your staff and grow your business online and offline. With easy setup and quick account approval, small business owners can get started with Square in a single day—all you need to do is contact Square.