A POS integration is a direct connection between your business software and your POS system (where all the transactions take place). Retail point-of-sale (POS) systems do more than simply ring up purchases. Today’s POS technology aggregates and summarizes data so you can see where your challenges and successes are. And the features go even further than that, especially when you explore add-ons and integrations.
POS integrations span all sorts of business functions, including:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Payment processing
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Email marketing
- Analytics reporting
- Social media marketing
- Employee scheduling
- Online ordering
- Appointment management
- Loyalty programs
- Marketing automation
POS integrations essentially connect your backend systems so everything works together and shares data, making it easy to streamline business operations.
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:
- 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. More than 90% of small and medium-sized business owners value work-life balance, so this is an important benefit to consider—especially if you’re feeling crunched for time.
- 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.
12 POS Integrations to Consider for Your Retail Business
1. Payment Processing
Why you need it: Integrating your POS with payment processing makes 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
Payment processing features make daily POS reconciliations quick and easy. Rather than matching tickets to sales from your charge report, your POS will match the data for you.
Our top recommended payment processors are:
- Square: for online and offline payments, invoicing, gift cards, and more
- Payment Depot: low-cost subscription-based credit card processing
- Helcim: interchange-plus pricing with no monthly fee
- Stax by Fattmerchant: flat-rate processing fees for in-store and online payments
Here are more resources to help you choose a payment processing integration:
- Best Merchant Services for Small Businesses
- Cheapest Credit Card Processing Companies
- Best Mobile Credit Card Processing Options
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.
Though accounting is important to ensure you stay profitable, more than a quarter of small businesses don’t even separate business and personal accounts.
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. The two tools can sync and share information like taxes, tender totals, cash drawer activity, gift card sales, advanced profitability reports, and more. You can also use some accounting integrations to send and manage invoices.
Accounting POS integrations to try:
- QuickBooks: create and send invoices, cash flow tracking, reports, income and expense management, inventory tracking, and business analytics and insights
- Xero: automated financials, cash flow, and expense reporting; send online invoices; automated bank reconciliation; manage transactions; and create expense claims
- ZipBooks: automated bookkeeping, invoice tracking, bank reconciliation, and intelligent reporting
- FreshBooks: organize expenses, time tracking, automated payment collection, double-entry accounting, and project management
More resources to help you choose an accounting integration:
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:
- Lightspeed Retail: Track multichannel sales, create and manage SKUs, create custom orders, and submit purchase orders
- Brightpearl: Reporting, payments, CRM, order management, shipping and fulfillment, warehouse management, purchasing and supplier management, retail accounting, and workflow automation
More resources to help you choose an inventory management POS integration:
Why you need it: If you have staff, payroll integration is nonnegotiable. 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: Automated payroll processing, tax filings, direct deposits, PTO management, insurance and benefits administration, cash-out (on-demand pay) feature for hourly workers
- Paychex Payroll: Payroll tax administration, new hire reporting, mobile apps, dedicated payroll specialists, learning management system (LMS), and workers’ compensation reports
- SurePayroll: Payroll processing, tax filings and payments, benefits and HR management, and quarterly and year-end reporting
- ADP Payroll: Direct deposit, mobile payroll, automatic tax calculations, and automated retirement contributions
More resources to help you choose a payroll POS integration:
- Best Free Payroll Software
- Best Payroll Apps
- Best Payroll Software
- How to Do Payroll in 8 Steps (+ Free Checklist)
- How to Calculate Payroll For Employees
5. Employee Scheduling
Why you need it: Employee scheduling software gives your team the ability to put in time off requests, trade shifts, track their sales and commissions, and more. 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. This is important because staff turnover for part-time hourly workers in retail is more than 75%—among the highest turnover rates of any business. 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: Hour tracking, schedule creator, online timesheet, and built-in messenger; ideal for managing a single retail location
- When I Work: Time clock, applicant tracking, schedule templates, team messaging, overtime visibility, labor forecasting, shift trading and bidding, and applicant sourcing
- 7shifts: Better suited for restaurants; time tracking, workforce management, employee engagement, labor compliance, and manager logbooks
More resources to help you choose an employee scheduling POS integration:
6. Shipping and 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 mix-ups.
Shipping and order fulfillment are no longer functions just for ecommerce businesses—many brick-and-mortar businesses are now multichannel 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:
- Stamps.com: Print USPS postage and shipping labels, save up to 46% on rates
- ShipBob: Outsourced 3PL, order management, stock level tracking, and receiving inventory reorder notifications
- ShipStation: Manage all orders from a mobile app, find the best shipping rates, and generate discounted shipping labels
- FedEx Fulfillment: Order fulfillment services, packaging, warehousing, reverse logistics, and product storage in warehouses across the US and Canada
More resources to help you choose a Shipping and order fulfillment POS integration:
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: Website builder, shopping cart, social commerce, in-person payments, marketplace app, product and inventory management, and mobile app
- Square Online: Create an ecommerce site, online ordering form, payment links to sell through social media, or add buy buttons to an existing website to make it shoppable
- WooCommerce: WordPress plugin, store templates, back-end management tools, and analytics tools for reports and taxes
- BigCommerce: Website builder, customer groups and segmentation, order and inventory management, and extensive app marketplace
More resources to help you choose an ecommerce and online ordering POS integration:
8. Reservation and 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:
- Acuity Scheduling: Real-time notifications and reminders, gift certificates and subscriptions, advanced reporting, and credit card vaulting
- Bookeo Appointments: Online payments, integrated marketing tools, calendar sync, and client database
- Setmore: Online payments, class bookings, staff scheduling, and automated reminders
- Fresha: Analytics, instant booking confirmation, payment processing, inventory management, and a live calendar
- Appointlet: Customizable booking confirmations, booking dashboard, reporting, multiple time zone support, Google Calendar, and Microsoft 365 integration
- Calendly: Calendar integrations, multiple meeting types, automated notifications, centralized billing, and metrics and reporting
More resources to help you choose a reservation and appointment management POS integration:
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: for every dollar you invest in email marketing, you’ll earn an average $42 return on investment (ROI).
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 things 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:
- Constant Contact: Automated welcome emails, trigger email series, segmentation, and list-building tools
- Mailchimp: Remarketing ads, landing pages, audience segmentation, website builder, split testing, and campaign builder
- ActiveCampaign: Personalized email marketing, contact management, audience segmentation, and website messaging
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 30% 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 do much the same—and then some. 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:
- CandyBar: Unlimited stamps, program performance metrics, customizable rewards, and messaging
- Loyalty Gator: Digital punch card program, no transaction fees, and customizable rewards
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
11. Online Listing and Reputation Management
Why you need it: Your online presence influences the success of your brick-and-mortar stores. You can update your store hours and respond to online reviews in one place.
More than half of internet users have left a review, and more than a third use them in product research. It’s important to read and respond to online reviews promptly. Doing so will show other potential customers that you’re both receptive and responsive to feedback—so they can expect a better experience for themselves. You’ll also want to keep business information up-to-date to provide a good customer experience—no one wants to drive out to your store to find it’s closed when your online listing clearly states you’re open.
Online listing and reputation management integrations allow you to do all of that from a centralized location, instead of having to check Yelp, Google, Facebook, and more individually. They give retailers an overview of how they’re represented online, as well as insights on how to improve. This includes customer impressions of the in-store and online experience.
Online listing and reputation management POS integrations to try:
- Yext: Bulk uploading, listings management, analytics, data management, automatic geolocation, revenue reporting, and voice search optimization
- Hibu: Listings management, online reviews, social marketing, display advertising, and SEO services
12. Online Ordering
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. Managing orders from multiple channels can quickly get complicated. When you integrate each system, your staff can more easily prioritize the orders as they come in. Plus, they can see where orders came from and where they’re going—this helps keep the team organized.
This big picture view of the business helps pinpoint and mitigate issues as well. For example, if your kitchen is busy and dine-in orders are taking too long, you can pause online ordering to allow them to catch up. Over time, you can look at your data to see if this is a recurring issue and find solutions like extra staffing.
We have a list of the best online ordering systems—many with POS integrations—including:
- Tock To Go: Can direct service fees to customer checks, fee-based model lets you pay as you go
- Restolabs: Open API for POS integration, supports multiple payment processors, includes menu setup
- Square Online: Includes free ecommerce site and fully integration with Square payment processing
How to Choose a POS Integration
With so many POS integration options, how do you decide which are best for your business?
First, 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.
If not, 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.
When you’re evaluating options, remember to do your due diligence. Look for both good and bad user reviews and pay extra attention to comments about 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.
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.
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.