This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
A POS integration is a direct connection between important business software tools such as accounting, marketing, ecommerce, payment processing, and your point-of-sale (POS) system (where all the transactions take place). This direct connection allows your POS system to access real-time information from your business software tools and automate your tracking and record keeping tasks for a streamlined business operation.
POS software integrations can cost anywhere from $0–$300 per month.
Benefits of POS Integrations
No matter how you use your POS system, it sees a lot of action as a major component of your business. And, while a POS is powerful on its own, it becomes even more valuable when you connect it to other business tools. Integrations not only enhance the power of your POS, but offer a range of other business benefits.
With POS integrations, your backend system and your POS software works together and shares data, and allows you to:
- Get a clear, holistic, and data-driven view of your business. Integrating your POS system with other business software gives you a complete picture of your business. You can more easily connect the dots between different data points and glean valuable insights. Integrations help you see and understand how everything fits together—managing customers, inventory, employees, cash flow, and more.
- Save time. When you integrate different systems, you can marry data and information as well as leverage automation to help you cut down on admin time. Reporting is also easier, as it’s less manually demanding. Time savings is an important benefit to consider as small and midsize business owners have historically faced work-life balance challenges. This has only worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic, with 26% of owners saying their post-pandemic work-life balance is worse, according to a Capital One Business survey.
- Grow your business. When your backend business functions are integrated and you have better data, you can make better decisions. You can more easily identify growth opportunities, as well as execute them when the time comes. Plus, POS integrations allow you to improve the customer experience, which in turn drives more sales.
POS Integrations to Consider for Your Small Business
General Software Integrations
Regardless of industry, company type, or company size, most businesses will have some basic operating systems, such as accounting and payroll, they can connect with their POS. Here’s a list of the most common general software integrations to consider.
1. Payment Processing
Why you need it: Integrating your POS with payment processing features makes POS reconciliations easy since it matches the data for you seamlessly. It also allows you to accept a variety of payment methods.
Did You Know?
According to the Federal Reserve, the use of cash in consumer payments is on the decline as payments with credit and debit cards and electronic means tick up.
When it comes to payment processing, your POS will either have it built in or offer a third-party integration (or both, like Vend POS). If payment processing doesn’t come with the POS, or if it has high processing fees, you’ll need to consider a payment processing POS integration.
Payment processing allows you to administer credit and debit card transactions as well as other forms of payment, which is especially important as consumers have and use more payment options. When choosing the integration for your retail business, you’ll want to consider other payment methods, including:
- Mobile pay
- Contactless NFC payments
- Buy now, pay later
- Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) or click and collect
- Recurring/subscription payments
- Gift cards
- Loyalty and referral program rewards
- Saved payments
Our top recommended payment processors are:
- Square: For online and offline payments, invoicing, gift cards, and more
- Payment Depot: For low-cost subscription-based credit card processing
- Helcim: For interchange-plus pricing with no monthly fee
- Stax: For low-cost billing and recurring payment processing for high-volume merchants
Starts at $0
Starts at $59
Starts at $99
Card-present Transaction Fee
2.6% + 10 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
Interchange plus 0.1% + 5 cents to 0.3% + 8 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
Keyed Transaction Fee
3.5% + 15 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Interchange plus 0.2% + 10 cents to 0.5% + 25 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Ecommerce Transaction Fee
2.9% + 30 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Interchange plus 0.2% + 10 cents to 0.5% + 25 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Why you need it: Integrating your POS and accounting software makes tax reporting a breeze and will give you a better sense of your business’s overall cash flow.
Today’s POS systems include basic accounting features, so even independent merchants can engage in basic bookkeeping for their business. Accounting data from your POS might include sales, labor and payroll information, daily reconciliations, Economic Order Quantity (EOQ), and even your profit and loss (P&L) statement.
An accounting integration for your POS takes your bookkeeping and accounting up a notch—syncing and sharing information like taxes, tender totals, cash drawer activity, gift card sales, and advanced profitability reports. You can also use some accounting integrations to send and manage invoices.
More than a quarter of small businesses don’t even separate business and personal accounts. To avoid costly mistakes, keep these finances separate and consider using accounting software like QuickBooks Online.
Accounting POS integrations to try:
- QuickBooks: Most customizable for any type of inventory and business
- Zoho: Best for mobile app accessibility
- Xero: Unlimited users with automated financials and bank reconciliation tools
- Sunrise: Free accounting software for basic bookkeeping
3. Inventory Management
Why you need it: Inventory management integrations paint a more complete picture of your inventory across all channels so your stock is always up-to-date.
Many POS systems come with built-in inventory management features, most allowing you to create SKU numbers and barcodes as well as store important product data and monitor stock levels.
For many small businesses, choosing a POS system that has strong built-in inventory management tools is all you need. Lightspeed Retail, for example, has strong inventory control capabilities, so brick-and-mortar shops using this system may not need an additional software integration.
An inventory management integration expands on your POS system’s native stock-tracking features—specifics vary depending on the integration and your exact needs. Inventory software connects to your POS to allow for a comprehensive look at your inventory across all channels, store locations, and warehouses. This is important to ensure you optimize stock levels to mitigate stockouts and dead stock.
An inventory management integration is helpful for large or enterprise-level retailers, businesses with multiple warehouses, or businesses that have a lot of online sales, especially if those sales are coming from multiple channels such as Amazon, Walmart, and your own website.
Some features to look for in an inventory management POS integration include the ability to manage online orders, create shipping labels, track orders for curbside and in-store pickup, and set customized stock alerts. Advanced tools might also forecast demand using artificial intelligence.
Inventory management POS integrations to try:
- Zoho Inventory: For multilocation and multichannel inventory management
- Agiliron: Inventory management for B2B retail companies
- EZ RentOut: For managing rental products
- Lightspeed Retail: Advanced matrix inventory management tools for retailers
Why you need it: If you have staff, payroll integration is non-negotiable. It allows you to track schedules, deduct taxes, stay compliant, offer benefits, and accurately pay staff on time.
It’s important to handle payroll accurately for a few reasons: You need to pay employees the correct amount, there are labor laws and taxes to consider, and it also determines shareholder payouts. Some POS systems have payroll features baked in. Others offer their own integration, like Square Payroll which connects to Square POS to help you manage and process payroll with just a few clicks.
Not all POS systems offer their own payroll integration, or you might need something more robust. That’s where a third-party payroll integration comes in handy. With payroll software, you can manage schedules and track time, attendance, sales, and commissions. An integration makes it easy to import/export work hours and calculate and issue paychecks.
Payroll POS integrations to try:
- Gusto: Best value-for-money payroll and HR functions for small businesses
- QuickBooks Payroll: For QuickBooks Accounting users
- Paychex Flex: Full health insurance management and flexible payroll features for all business sizes
- Square Payroll: Small businesses using the Square POS ecosystem
5. Employee Scheduling
Why you need it: Employee scheduling software gives your team the ability to put in time off requests, trade shifts, and track their sales and commissions. This integration allows you to manage your employees while also empowering them.
In a similar vein, employee scheduling integrations give you more control over managing your staff, and it empowers staff to be in control of their own schedules too. A widely cited study found that proper scheduling reduces employee turnover. While POS systems might include basic employee scheduling features, a dedicated integration makes it more seamless.
In your POS, you can probably see who’s working when and where, how much they’re selling, and the commissions they’ve earned. Many also allow you to create employee accounts with limited permissions so employees can log in to and use the POS themselves.
With an employee scheduling POS integration, time tracking and shift scheduling are centralized in an automated system. Employees can see their schedules, trade shifts, and submit time-off requests. These integrations also typically come with advanced labor tracking to help ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
Employee scheduling POS integrations to try:
- Homebase: Free scheduling plan and labor cost forecasting for startups
- Social Schedules: Reliable labor law compliance tools
- 7shifts: Detailed time tracking and workforce management for restaurants
- Deputy: For multilocation businesses with shared hourly and shift workers
6. Shipping & Order Fulfillment
Why you need it: Sync backend operations for seamless customer service. Track shipping and fulfillment all in one place to eliminate (or at least minimize) stocking mixups.
Shipping and order fulfillment are no longer functions just for ecommerce businesses—many brick-and-mortar businesses are now multi-channel operations. As a result of the pandemic, many storefronts opened online shops and/or started offering curbside pickup options. And, if you sell bulky items like furniture or outdoor equipment, customers might shop in-store but request home delivery.
When you add an ecommerce component to your retail store, you need to find a shipping and order fulfillment solution to help you manage these additional sales. Shipping and order fulfillment POS integrations sync all of your orders in a centralized database so you can manage all in-store and online orders (and even customers) in one place. Features might include order tracking, supplier management, shipment tracking and updates, label creation, and more.
Shipping and order fulfillment POS integrations to try:
- ShipBob: Flexible fulfillment services for small businesses
- ShipMonk: Has a wide range of market integration and outstanding customer support
- Red Stag Fulfillment: Special fulfillment handling for high-ticket and oversized goods
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): For Amazon sellers
Why you need it: If you run a multichannel operation, it’s imperative you’re managing orders in one integrated system to keep track of inventory. This integration connects your online store and commerce channels with your physical locations.
Given that ecommerce is an extension of your brick-and-mortar store(s), you need a POS that can handle multichannel sales—or a POS integration that can fill in those gaps. This centralizes all your data so you can run your business as a whole, not as two separate entities.
Many POS systems integrate with online store platforms so you can sync online and offline sales, payments, customers, and inventory. Some POS systems offer dedicated ecommerce solutions. An ecommerce-first platform, Shopify POS has strong multichannel capabilities.
There are also integrations you can use to connect an existing online store or ordering system to your brick-and-mortar business. This is helpful for buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and other multichannel buying behaviors that have surged since 2020.
Ecommerce POS integrations to try:
- Shopify: Most value-for-money ecommerce platform for small businesses
- BigCommerce: Easily scalable ecommerce platform for tech-savvy businesses
- Ecwid: Best add-on ecommerce integration for existing websites
- Square Online: Free POS system with built-in ecommerce tools
8. Reservation & Appointment Management
Why you need it: If your business requires managing a customer schedule, a reservation and appointment management integration will help keep you organized and running on time.
Appointments have traditionally been reserved for service-based and restaurant businesses. However, retailers also use appointment scheduling tools to manage custom fittings, styling services, and personal shopping. As a result of the pandemic, many businesses started using appointments to manage the number of people inside at any given time to help allow for social distancing.
Whether it’s a service/retail hybrid or appointment-only shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some POS systems can handle basic reservation and appointment management themselves. Square Appointments, for example, does a great job of this.
For something more robust, you’ll want to consider a dedicated reservation and appointment management integration. This will get you the basic features, like appointment reminders and notifications, the ability to view a calendar, and the option to change/edit appointments.
You can also sync information with your POS’s customer profiles for richer insights. Beyond that, these POS integrations can also save and process credit card payments.
Reservation and appointment management POS integrations to try:
- Squarespace Scheduling: Top appointment scheduling software
- 10to8: Affordable appointment scheduling software with advanced messaging features
- Bookeo: For seasonal businesses requiring account freeze option
- SimplyBook.me: Appointment scheduling software plans based on scheduling volume per month
9. Email Marketing
Why you need it: You can send your customers digital receipts, updates, and special promotions.
Email marketing is a powerful tool for retailers because your email list is an audience you own and an audience who has actively opted to receive messages from you. It’s also cost-effective; studies historically show that for every dollar you invest in email marketing, you can earn an average return on investment (ROI) of the mid- to high $30s or even the low $40s.
Your retail POS makes it even easier to grow your email list because associates can ask customers if they want to subscribe while they make a purchase. Plus, email marketing with your POS allows you to send digital receipts, product recommendations, and promotions for in-store events.
If you’re looking for a third-party POS integration to amplify your email marketing efforts, you’ll want to consider functionalities like automated emails, drip campaigns, split testing, advanced tracking, and personalization features. It’s also a good idea to look for list management features, like the ability to segment and group your subscribers based on commonalities.
Email marketing POS integrations to try:
- Mailchimp: Feature-rich solution for email marketing with affordable plans
- Sendinblue: For managing and automating transactional emails
- HubSpot: Free email marketing tools for lead nurturing
- Constant Contact: Suitable features for simple ecommerce businesses
10. Loyalty Programs
Why you need it: Collect valuable customer data like sales while boosting customer retention with personalized promotions.
Customer loyalty programs reward shoppers for repeat purchases and word-of-mouth referrals. This is valuable for retailers because it gives customers a reason to keep coming back. Plus, shoppers who belong to free and paid loyalty programs are 90% and 60% more likely, respectively, to spend more than those who don’t.
Vend POS and Lightspeed Loyalty are both known POS integrations that boast top-notch customer loyalty program features. With a loyalty program POS integration, you can enroll shoppers, track spending, and reward your best customers.
With a third-party integration, you can know who shops at which locations, who your most frequent shoppers are, and who the biggest spenders are. You can drill down to see exactly which items each customer purchased, how much they paid for each item, the payment method they used, the time of day they visited your store, and if the items were returned. An integrated POS arms your associates with this information so they can act accordingly on the floor, offering informed customer service.
Loyalty program POS integrations to try:
- LoyaltyLion: Rich and highly-customizable features for ecommerce businesses
- TapMango: Best reporting tools for in-store customer behavioral insights
- Yotpo: For customer retention tools that include reviews and reputation management
- Annex Cloud: For in-depth customization features for building loyalty programs
SMS and Email
Reward Structure Options
Points, tiers, rewards, reviews, referrals
Points, rewards, referrals
Points, tiers, rewards, reviews, referrals
Points, tiers, rewards, reviews, referrals
More resources to help you choose a loyalty program POS integration:
- Best Loyalty Program Software
- How to Create a Loyalty Program for Your Business
- Customer Loyalty Program Ideas to Keep Customers Happy
Industry-specific Software Integrations
Here is a quick rundown of retail and restaurant-specific software integrations that can be used to better track and manage certain tasks. Note that some of these solutions can be more expensive than others depending on the range of functionalities available in the software.
1. Warehouse Management for Retailers
Why you need it: Larger businesses and establishments like groceries and supermarkets that maintain a warehouse to hold a large amount of inventory require a means to efficiently track and manage products. This is particularly useful if you handle a mix of perishable and non-perishable items or share warehouse products between multiple locations.
2. Rental Management
Why you need it: If your retail business includes product rentals, you will need an application that provides a set of tools to track reservations, maintenance, deliveries, and payments. These types of integrations are usually highly niche such as bike or skate rentals.
3. Age Verification for Retailers
Why you need it: Businesses that sell age-restricted products such as tobacco and alcohol will have a better chance of being approved for a business license with the proper age verification tools integrated into their POS system.
Scans US driver’s licenses to check the barcode format for authenticity and verify the data against third-party databases
Provides identity screening at checkout with various options such as age, address verification, and Government ID verification
$0; Custom pricing
4. Online Alcohol Sales & Delivery
Why you need it: Liquor stores require specific tools for managing alcoholic beverages, which include detailed inventory tracking, online ordering, and delivery management features. Small retailers can choose from a range of software options based on how much control they need to manage their stock.
An online and in-person selling platform that can be integrated into a number of restaurant and retail management POS
An ecommerce and mobile app software for liquor stores that can manage and track inventory and engage customers with marketing tools
$300–$500 per month
5. Membership Management
Why you need it: Businesses that offer premium services for a monthly subscription would require features that go beyond customer relationship management. Membership management software is a custom-fit application that bundles different tools depending on the business type. But, in general, users will have the ability to create subscription plans, invoices, sign-up forms, and even authorization forms for recurring payments processing.
Membership management software for retailers; provides customizable online order forms and invoices, interactive quotes, and advanced payment solutions
Integrates with your events management software to handle online registration and payments and event monitoring for golf tournaments
$79–$169 per month
6. Customer Support
Why you need it: For small businesses whose revenue depends heavily on customer relationships before and after sales, consider integrating your customer support function with your POS system. This type of software will have access to customer information stored on your point-of-sale system and use this data to provide exceptional customer support and upselling opportunities.
Provides retailers with tools mainly for receiving customer feedback on work orders, including email messaging and online reputation management
Customer service tool with a hardware-free loyalty feature that collects feedback and customer data with every scanned receipt
$0–$20+ per month
Contact GourmetMiles for pricing
7. Online Ordering for Restaurants & Retail
Why you need it: Streamlining workflows for online and in-person orders is essential to ensuring every meal is prepared and delivered on time. Integrating your online ordering system and POS helps you streamline orders, keep your kitchen organized, and ensure customers get their food on time. Staff can easily prioritize the orders as they come in and see where orders came from and where they’re going.
Lightspeed direct integration that allows you to create delivery-only menu and syncs your restaurant menu with multiple delivery platforms
Retail ordering application on mobile that automates engagement and provides multichannel marketing tools to expand your online presence
Contact Lightspeed for Pricing
$49–$249 per month
8. Kitchen Display Systems
Why you need it: Restaurants receiving orders from multiple channels like online, in-house and on an app will find a kitchen display system integration useful for efficiently managing customer orders. It improves communication between the front- and back-of-house, maximizes inventory, and reduces errors especially during peak hours of restaurant operations.
Partners with over 70 restaurant POS systems to provide restaurant management features including a fully customizable kitchen workflow with its KDS
Offers a complete software and hardware kitchen display system that syncs online and in-house orders in Toast’s multiple restaurant-grade hardware
9. Guest Management
Why you need it: Businesses such as restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and venue rentals will require an application that goes beyond reservations. Depending on your business type, a guest management system comes with different combinations of reservation and appointment features with inventory, employee scheduling, invoicing, and payment processing.
Combines menu management, online ordering, pay-at-table, third-party delivery, reservations, loyalty, inventory, labor, and analytics in a single solution to manage guest experience
A hotel management software that supports tools for advanced rate management, reservations, two-way guest engagement secure payment processing, self-service portals, and check-in/out kiosk
Contact Omnivore for Pricing
10. Food Delivery Management
Why you need it: An integrated food delivery management system streamlines the process of accepting food orders and delivery from multiple channels. This means orders are received directly from the integrated platform to your POS system, streamlining the workflow and minimizing errors in tracking sales and inventory.
Integrates with your POS to accept online orders through various social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram
Provides native mobile ordering, payments, analytics, custom CRM, and marketing tools in a branded mobile app
Contact Sauce. for Pricing
Contact SpeedETab for Pricing
11. Menu Management
12. Tip Management
Why you need it: It takes the errors out of manual tip management procedures by automating the calculation and distribution of gratuities. This is particularly useful for busy restaurants with multiple wait staff working on shifting schedules.
Provides tools to track, pool, and distribute tips by shift, day, or entire pay period based on the number of hours worked by pool participants within a specific period on record in your POS system
Connects with your time clock, transaction records, payment methods, and payroll reporting platforms to automate the computation and distribution of tips and wages for your staff
Contact GraTrack for Pricing
Integrated hardware accessories are often used to automate the input of information into your POS system, which then helps in faster and more accurate tracking of inventory and transactions. Most POS systems support a range of brands, while some provide proprietary hardware aside from the usual receipt printers. Cost can vary depending on the function, and while often pricey, usually comes with payment plans. Here are some examples.
1. Handheld POS Terminals
Why you need it: A handheld POS allows users to accept customer orders and payments within the business premises. And because it is equipped with the same POS software, this synchronized information transmits transaction data directly to your records.
2. Card Readers
Why you need it: Integrated credit card readers are considered a must-have for businesses to streamline payment processing. This eliminates the need to reconcile card transaction records between a credit card terminal and your POS since the integration allows the system to share information. The best POS systems often have their card readers built-in to the hardware.
3. Barcode Scanner
Why you need it: Aside from processing items at checkout, a barcode scanner can be used for tracking inventory. Other barcode scanners are programmed to scan IDs to automate age and address verification.
4. Add-on Display
Why you need it: An add-on display can be programmed for customers or as a restaurant kitchen display. It boosts customer engagement at the point of sale by allowing them to choose their payment method and mode of receipt, and even sign up for your loyalty program. For restaurants, a kitchen display provides an itemized list of orders and allows the staff to update the status in real time.
5. Cash Drawer
Why you need it: For businesses that would still like to offer cash payment options to customers, an integrated cash drawer is essential to efficiently control cash transactions. When linked directly to a POS system, it can keep track of cash ins and cash outs and reconcile actual and estimated cash balance.
6. Weight Scale
Why you need it: An integrated weight scale allows users to directly send weight information to the POS system. This minimizes errors and makes inventory tracking and checkout (for retailers that sell products by weight) faster.
How to Choose a POS Integration
With so many POS integration options, how do you decide which are best for your business?
Step 1: Evaluate your business needs.
Identify any challenges or problem areas as well as any potential opportunities you see. Check to see if your existing POS provides the features you require. There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel and adding new integrations if your current system can adequately do the work.
Step 2: Make a list and explore your options.
If you do find missing features you need, it’s time to start looking for integrations that work well with your current tech. This is when you’ll have to identify your business needs and find platforms that integrate with your existing tech stack. Once you have a list of compatible options, it’s time to evaluate and compare these platforms to see what will be best suited for you and your business.
Step 3: Remember to do your due diligence.
Look for both good and bad user reviews and pay extra attention to comments about the ease of use and ease of integration. Compare pricing and request a demo to see how it functions, preferably with your systems. It’s also a good idea to inquire about onboarding, training, and other post-purchase support they offer.
Step 4: Check for compatibility with your point-of-sale software.
Once you’ve selected the tech that’s best for your business, look for which integrations they offer off the bat. Your POS platform should have a list available; likewise, the tech you’re adding should have a list of POS integrations. Follow these directions and check to see that the two systems are working correctly together. Make sure to take advantage of free trials to test the software with your system whenever possible.
Your POS is a powerful tool for every retail business, and it’s made even more powerful when all of your business tools work together to give you complete control. When all your apps and software communicate, your retail business will run smoother and make your job easier.