Vend is a cloud-based retail POS system with a real-time inventory management capability and a built-in loyalty program. Its features include multi-outlet handling, store credit payments, layaway tools, integrated payments, advanced reporting, and insights. Vend’s monthly fees start at $99. The platform is best for growing retail businesses that handle extensive inventories such as gift shops, homeware stores, fashion boutiques, and health and supplement retailers.
What We Recommend Vend For
Of the many retail POS software I have tested, I can say Vend has a lot to offer growing retailers. Its features are designed with scalability in mind, where premium tools—like real-time inventory management and analytics—are made available to low-volume users subscribed to a basic plan. As your sales grow, Vend’s more advanced features help you easily manage more transactions, customers, and locations.
There’s no question that Vend POS has earned its spot among the best POS systems for small businesses on the market today. However, its starting price point is higher than most of its competitors. Unless you have plans to build up sales or expand with additional locations quickly, it will be more sustainable to consider other affordable POS systems.
In particular, Vend is best for:
Retailers with extensive inventories:
Vend offers real-time inventory management tools for all its subscription plans. Mobile scanning apps for receiving shipments, built-in demand forecasting, bar-coding, and integrated purchase order management make it one of the best POS options for managing inventory.
Storefronts wanting a streamlined checkout:
Vend allows employees to add new customers to its database during the checkout process, which—along with its free customer display app, user-friendly touch-screen interface, and customizable payment methods (like store credit our IOUs)—makes Vend a great option for high-volume retailers looking to speed up the checkout process.
High-risk, high-volume businesses:
Vend has its own certified age verification tool that allows cashiers to scan and verify driver’s licenses at the point of sale. It is also compatible with several third-party payment processors. These features make Vend an ideal POS for retail stores with high turnover, for selling CBD, tobacco, and vape products.
Retail businesses that prefer flexible payment processing options:
Not all retail POS systems have built-in payment processors, and Vend subscribers are free to choose their preferred payment processor or request to be matched with one of its many partners and enjoy discounted rates exclusive for Vend users. It also has options for setting up layaway, gift cards, store credit, and other payment types not found in most POS systems.
When Vend Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Startups and small businesses looking for a free POS: Vend does not offer a free version of its POS software. And with its cheapest plan starting at $99 per month, small and startup retailers are better off with a free POS system like Square, which also provides features for growth in a more affordable, all-in-one solution.
- Small multichannel retailers: Its ecommerce integration features are only available in its Pro and Enterprise plan, which can be pricey for small businesses. Plus, Vend does not have any native ecommerce tools, so you’ll need to subscribe to a separate software like Shopify or BigCommerce. Retailers looking for a multichannel POS system would find more value for money with Shopify, if they primarily sell online, or Square, if they get more in-person and mobile sales.
- Service and appointment hybrid businesses: While it offers appointment software integrations, the subscription price point might be too steep if you can’t maximize Vend’s retail functions. For businesses like spas and salons, we recommend a more industry-specific POS alternative like Square Appointments or Fresha.
No additional fees for third-party payment processors
Transaction volume limit on its basic plan
Real-time inventory management tools
No native ecommerce features
Built-in customer loyalty program
No built-in payment processing
Outstanding customer support
Vend’s pricing page shows three monthly plans with fees that start at $99 and a quote-based Enterprise plan. Each tier comes with one register, and additional registers start at $49 per unit, per month. The main differences between the plans are the numbers of stores managed and access to advanced features like real-time inventory management, multi-outlet retail management, and premium API access.
Unlike other popular POS software, Vend does not have its own payment processing system, and users are not charged any extra fees processing transactions through third-party processors. Vend also offers its users the option to be matched with Vend’s partner processors that provide exclusive discounted transaction rates.
Fees and Features
Products and Users
Monthly Sales Turnover
Built-in Loyalty Program
Reports and Analytics
*Additional registers cost $49/month (billed annually) or $59/month (billed monthly).
Retailers can operate Vend’s browser-based POS software on any Mac or PC. Vend also has a Register app that can be downloaded onto iPads and iPad minis. You can also choose to purchase a Star Micronics mPOP all-in-one touch-screen system.
Most industry-standard accessories like bar code scanners and receipt printers are compatible with Vend. This flexibility means you can set up a countertop checkout with all the bells and whistles (including Vend’s free customer-facing display app) and use iPads for mobile sales curbside or on the sales floor.
Businesses are free to choose between buying hardware directly from Vend or a third-party vendor. If purchasing through Vend, you can buy the hardware outright or lease through Portal Advantage, which includes a protection plan. But, if you already own hardware, then you can continue to use it—as long as it’s compatible. You can also purchase card readers through your chosen payment processor.
Vend’s website also has a comprehensive help center with a step-by-step guide and expert partners ready to answer questions regarding hardware and integration.
Vend offers a plethora of features for handling a large volume of inventory, multiple registers, and several locations with a single platform. The software works on the iPad, PC, and Mac, and it syncs to the cloud so that you can use one platform for all three devices. It can track cash movement, add discounts and notes for receipts, and customize receipts by adding your website details or company logo.
Though Vend is a cloud POS, you can continue selling even when disconnected from the internet. When you’re back online, it will re-sync your sales. Busy retailers will also appreciate its “Park” feature, which allows associates to put a sale on hold so that they can pull it up and complete the transaction later. This means that if a customer wants to add another item to their basket or needs to grab their wallet from the car, you can put the sale on hold, continue helping the next customer in line, and resume the sale when the first customer is ready.
Another notable POS feature is Vend Display—the brand’s free customer-facing display app for iPads. You can pair it with Vend Register or any checkout register. It enables customers to enter their email addresses for customer loyalty rewards and to receive receipts via email.
Vend Flexible Payments
In addition to accepting credit and debit card payments, businesses can allow their customers to pay with multiple tender types in a single transaction. The Vend Display app also lets you process returns, layaway, store credit, and on-account payments and create custom buttons to accept checks and gift cards. Contactless payments through mobile near-field communication (NFC) payments, like Apple Pay, are also possible. For businesses that create custom products or operate off work orders, you can create quotes and “park” the transaction to check out once the order is complete.
Vend Inventory Management
Vend has powerful inventory tools for brick-and-mortar retailers—including one that allows you to either add products individually through the platform’s dashboard or upload in bulk using a spreadsheet. Moreover, Vend is designed to handle many variants like different sizes and colors, and composite items like gift baskets or discount bundles.
One of its best features is the free Scanner by Vend mobile app, which helps employees when performing full or partial stock counts and receiving shipments; many POS systems don’t allow you to do partial inventory counts. However, the Scanner is a native feature of Vend, which is ideal for retailers with large or complex inventories that want to cycle spot-checks.
Scanner by Vend also allows employees to check if a product is in-stock at any location, verify pricing, and confirm product specs. This means that associates can answer customer questions right from the sales floor.
Another notable inventory feature is Vend’s ability to create, send, and track purchase orders (POs) from within the POS. Most systems will generate reorder reports but require you to export or create POs in a separate program. Vend’s centralized product catalog lets you manage POs across all locations centrally and provides employees visibility into what shipments are on the way.
Vend Ecommerce Integration
Vend has ecommerce tools that can help you sell items from your online store. While it does not have a built-in online store builder, the app integrates well with services like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and WooCommerce. This allows you to fulfill online orders straight from Vend, so you don’t need to switch between two systems to monitor or fulfill orders.
In addition to synchronized orders, Vend syncs customers and products between your POS and ecommerce platform, so there’s no need for double entry. This also means that when a storefront customer places an online order, the system will recognize them.
You can also connect your Amazon, eBay, and other online sales channels to sync inventory and prevent over-selling items.
Vend Gift Cards and Loyalty
Gift card selling, redeeming, and tracking capabilities are built-in. You can order cards through Vend’s supplier or a third party, or you can create your own. Vend’s point-based loyalty program is built into the dashboard and checkout screens and includes plenty of customization options. Reward or loyalty balances show up on receipts when customers make a purchase, and they can also be sent by email.
Vend Customer Management Software
The platform includes tools to build customer profiles, create customer groups (such as a VIP program), and give groups special pricing. Your customer’s information, which extends across all your sales channels, displays purchase history, loyalty points and account balances, and are automatically stored under each customer profile.
Vend Reporting and Insights
Vend has a streamlined and incredibly helpful reporting module. One of my favorite features is the ability to set daily, weekly, and/or monthly sales goals for each employee and track their progress. You can also choose to let employees monitor their progress against their goals.
Another key feature is Vend’s demand forecasting reports, which allow you to anticipate how much stock you’ll need and what is selling the most. There are also many other reports for inventory, customers, gift cards, and sales. All of the reports are adjustable, so you can click-through different variables and filters to problem-solve and find the data you need.
Retailers can also use Vend to set up custom reports. Many POS systems in this price range only offer templated analytics, so this is a notable feature. View information from anywhere via Vend’s browser-based dashboard. Though Vend does not have a mobile reporting app, the dashboard is mobile-friendly.
Vend integrates with Dor, a foot traffic analytics platform for small businesses, so you can track your in-store conversion rates and accurately staff for peak hours. Vend also integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, MYOB for accounting.
Vend RACS Compliant Age Verification App
Vend’s exclusive age verification app is certified for the Retail Access Control Standard (RACS) as required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning Vend users can sell age-restricted products. It integrates seamlessly with Vend’s POS software to enable users to scan and validate a customer’s driver’s license during a sale.
Vend offers a wide range of integration options, from accounting applications to employee management tools. It also has an in-house developer community to assist users in building highly customized functions, such as an online store or third-party payment processor, through Vend’s open application programming interface (API).
Some of Vend’s most popular integrations include:
- QuickBooks Online
- Homebase (employee management)
- Timely (scheduling)
- Loop Insights (analytics)
- NetSuite (cloud ERP)
Vend Ease of Use
- Easy-to-navigate checkout screen
- Flexible payment options
- Bulk uploading
- Offline mode
- Compatible with most hardware
- Responsive customer service
- Extensive help center
- 24/7 customer support
- iPad register app
Setting up Vend POS is easy. The software is compatible with most PC, Windows, Macs, and iPads, and it integrates seamlessly with popular payment processors. You can also upload your customer database and inventory in bulk. Depending on your requirements, you can add third-party integrations with a few clicks or contact Vend’s developer community to assist you in developing customized tools with the API.
Vend also integrates your customer data and inventory, enabling you to track and manage business activities for every channel and location from a single platform. Transactions are synced in real time, meaning inventory count and customer purchase histories are always up-to-date.
The provider has one of the most highly rated customer support teams. It provides 24/7 global customer support via email and chat. Plus, its experts are available for hands-on support and on-site training requests.
ShopKeep by Lightspeed
Square for Retail
Best for: Specialty shops needing detailed inventory
Best for: Online retailers expanding to multichannel sales
Best for: Retail POS system
Software from: $0 (free to use)
Software from: $49
Software from: $0 plus ecommerce subscription $29
Software from: $0–$60 per month
Hardware from: $0
Hardware from: $249
Hardware from: $29
Hardware from: $0
Runs on: iOS, Android, and Square hardware
Runs on: iOS and Android
Runs on: iOS
Runs on: iOS and Android, and Square hardware
The best alternatives to Vend offer affordable POS and inventory features to efficiently manage mobile, in-store, and online sales. Square is one of Vend’s top alternatives, with a forever-free POS software and ecommerce integration. It also offers competitive transaction fee rates and affordable hardware solutions. See how Square compares to Vend.
ShopKeep’s user-friendly iPad interface is also a top rival of Vend’s. Though ShopKeep does not offer a free plan, starter plans are half the cost of Vend, making it a more affordable option for growing businesses on a budget. See how ShopKeep compared to Vend.
What Users Think of Vend
Vend is among the top retail POS systems on the market. However, as of this writing, there are not enough up-to-date iOS user reviews for this provider in the app store.
Meanwhile, Vend has earned the following scores on popular review sites:
- Software Advice: 4.27 out of 5 based on 213 reviews.
- G2: 4.1 out of 5 based on 57 reviews.
- Capterra: 4.3 out of 5 based on 213 reviews.
Overall, users are positive about the Vend platform, but still desire more third-party integrations, among other things. Some of the most common feedback that I noticed from reading user reviews and speaking to business owners who use the platform are as follows:
Vend Users Like
Vend Users Don’t Like
Intuitive, easy-to-use software
Rising cost to use advanced features
Useful inventory tools
Limited integration options
Versatile and flexible workflow
Errors when using bulk upload feature
Businesses with large and fast-moving inventory require a POS system that can easily track and manage their business activities. Vend’s granular inventory features make it one of the best retail POS systems on the market. To top it off, it also offers built-in customer management and loyalty features that you usually find as add-ons in other top-ranking POS software. Vend also gives its users the freedom to choose their payment processor at no additional cost. Visit Vend for a free trial.