Only a decade or so ago, point-of-sale (POS) systems were characterized by several pieces of clunky hardware and less-than-amazing software. While these traditional POS systems remain a stalwart in the payments industry, today’s cloud-based POS systems are much more intuitive to use and integrate with various different devices.
Only a decade or so ago, point-of-sale (POS) systems were characterized by several pieces of clunky hardware and less-than-amazing software. While these traditional POS systems remain a stalwart in the payments industry, today’s cloud-based POS systems are much more intuitive to use and integrate with various different devices.Many businesses, particularly small businesses, are switching over to tablet-based POS systems. These systems enable business owners to control inventory, work orders, payments, and more, all from a portable ten-inch screen. For a small monthly investment, companies see a greater return on investment as tablet-based systems are built to expand opportunities for growth. Of course, as these systems have grown in popularity, they’ve also grown in number. Business owners seeking out a POS system for their tablet can get lost in a sea of options, each with its own pros and cons. Some might be best for retail, others for restaurants and yet another for hair salons. It can be tough to find a POS system that fits your unique business, but here are a few of our favorites right now:
Vend is outfitted for brick-and-mortar retailers, whether they have a single location or several. Known for being “intuitive” among users, the tablet-based software allows you to split payments, easily swipe through refunds and returns, identify the best selling item and even allows you to offer store credit to customers. Vend offers three different plans. The Lite plan, for small business with one location, comes in at $99 a month while the Pro plan, which is better suited for multiple locations, starts at $129 a month. If you run a franchise, visit Vend’s website to get a quote for their Enterprise plan, meant for businesses with six or more locations.
Hardware crashes are a big issue with traditional POS systems. Business owners who have faced a POS crash know how frustrating (and costly) it can be. Lightspeed aims to minimize that pain for retailers as much as possible. They offer omnichannel capabilities, and free updates in the palm of your hand, all for just $99 a month. Other features include multi-store capabilities, reporting and analytics, integrated payments, and vendor purchase orders, among others. On top of that, their 24/7 customer support (which customers love) is what sets them apart. Lightspeed representatives will routinely check on customers to make sure they're maximizing the software's potential. However, some customers have expressed concern that the system is not as customizable as it advertises.
SalesVu is praised among restaurant owners for its many functions that span from the kitchen to the bar. With this POS system, you can manage gift cards, online orders, and even employee scheduling and labor costs. While they offer a wide variety of plans, the real MVP here is their SalesVU Cloud Advanced service. At $150 a month, this software comes with basic POS system functions software along with CRM and marketing automation, inventory and vendor management, web and Facebook store processing, and recurring billing. Customers have said that the pricing structure can be confusing and that the system struggles to operate properly when offline, but if you can be patient with those glitches, SalesVu is just about perfect.
Korona makes the list for its cost-effectiveness. With a low monthly price of $49, this system offers all the basic features you’ll need. It is highly customizable and offers specific systems for several different industries such as pet stores and amusement parks. Users praise Korona for its modularity. Not having to pay for features you won’t use makes Korona very attractive for the cost-sensitive business owner. Best of all, Korona offers an unlimited free trial. That’s right, unlimited. You can test out the base model of Korona for your business as long as you want without ever having to enter your credit card information.
ShopKeep has carved out a niche for itself among small businesses. Its main focus is the food industry; One of its sleeker features keeps track of popular menu items, peak business hours, and what menu combinations work best. At $69 a month, it’s one of the more affordable options, too. Upon purchase, two hours of free setup with a ShopKeep expert is available to help merchants customize layout design. Although ShopKeep is comfortable in the small business realm, they are beginning to expand inventory and payment options to accommodate larger businesses as well.
Just as ShopKeep has made a name for itself in the food industry, Springboard Retail has claimed retail for its own. This system recognizes that the customer experience spans more than just a one-time transaction that happens at the point of sale. Springboard allows you to easily and quickly change promotions and process coupons, as well as take layaways by accepting partial payment over a period of time. Springboard Retail also allows businesses to create loyalty programs for their customers, making sure that each customer has a better experience with each subsequent visit.
When some of your biggest clients are national fast food chains, you know you’re doing something right. Revel can boast big-name clientele because their system is built for them. Everything from data analytics to online ordering is made easy for both merchants and customers. And, it’s not just about the cash register. Revel’s Kitchen Display System allows efficient communication between your kitchen and frontline (goodbye, paper receipts!). Orders show up in the kitchen as they’re being input to the POS, so your customers can get their meals faster. Merchants are also able to transfer inventory between multiple locations, something Revel claims makes them stand out from the competition. Don’t let all this big enterprise stuff intimidate you, though. If you’re a small business owner, you can still sign on without purchasing all the bells and whistles. Revel allows you to buy features as you need them, so the system grows with your company.
Outfitted specifically for restaurants, Upserve was built with efficiency in mind. What makes it stand out from other POS systems is its focus on employee management. With Server Performance by Upserve, owners and managers can keep track of strengths and weaknesses of staff members, making training sessions more valuable. It’s not meant to be fancy, it’s meant to help you run your restaurant seamlessly. Upserve offers two software systems; Core POS for $65 a month and Pro POS for $99 a month.These are a few of the best tablet-based POS systems out there, but of course, we can’t cover them all. When you’re shopping for a new POS system, keep these things in mind: be wary of companies that don’t offer a trial period, have a prepared list of questions for the sales representative, and do your research ahead of time. If you’re ready to modernize your company in a way that prioritizes growth and efficiency, start with a POS system that will take your business to the next level.
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