Best Retail Software for Small Business

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POS systems are generally invaluable for small businesses. It can help them complete their daily tasks, make running a business smoother and organize their operations. They are perfect for restaurants, retail stores, service shops, and any other company that requires more than one employee to serve customers on a day-to-day basis.

In this article, we will be looking at the top retail software for small businesses.

BEST VALUE eHopper


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Inexpensive software with everything a small business owner needs to run a company.Pros

  • Most affordable POS system
  • Built-in inventory management
  • Works with most tablets

Cons

  • No gift card management
  • Credit card processing fees charged to customers

For nearly 15 years, eHopper has provided an affordable alternative to pricey POS software. Its low-cost plans give entrepreneurs access to customer and inventory management tools, making it a clear winner in our best value category. 

The eHopper POS system offers four plans, all of which include integrated credit card processing features. Currently, the merchant fees are passed to customers via a surcharge. With all versions, you’ll get features like:

  • Inventory management
  • Print or email receipts
  • Tip management
  • Reporting options
  • Customer management

Each of the four plans provides extra features, and the cost covers one POS system. The four programs are:

  • Essential: The free plan helps you easily adjust inventory, manage customer accounts, or create barcode labels for your products.
  • Freedom: For $29.99 a month, you get employee time tracking options, low-stock alerts, and QuickBooks integrations.
  • Restaurant: It’s $39.99 a month for menu building, table management, and floor planning tools, along with standard POS features.
  • OmniChannel: The regular cost is $49.99. This plan adds loyalty, and e-commerce, and enables Meta sales.

With eHopper, you can use existing hardware or Android tablets, iPads, Windows PCs, and Poynt terminals. But, eHopper offers a variety of hardware options for sale, including:

  • Hardware bundles
  • Thermal printers
  • Cash drawers
  • Credit card terminals
  • Scanners
  • Tablets
  • Stands and accessories

You won’t get many integrations with eHopper, but you can add an additional loyalty package to your plan. You can call, initiate a support ticket, or chat with customer service for help with your POS system. The company also offers an online knowledge base.

BEST FOR RESTAURANTSTouchBistro


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TouchBistro supplies restaurateurs with cloud-based analytics to boost their food and beverage sales.Pros

  • iPad POS system
  • Integrated credit card processing
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons

  • Must use mostly Apple products
  • Customer support isn’t always responsive.

In business since 2010, TouchBistro offers software designed specifically for the restaurant industry. TouchBistro is our top pick for the best restaurant POS system with restaurant inventory management tools and restaurant-specific hardware.    

TouchBistro POS software licenses start at $69 per month. With a TouchBistro system, you’ll get various tools and features to support your operations, such as:

  • Intuitive touch controls for table management
  • Remote menu management
  • Add recipes to manage inventory costs
  • Access data and reports via the cloud portal

You can add services to get more from your restaurant POS, which are available through TouchBistro, including:

  • Reservations system for $229 per month
  • Online ordering for $50 a month
  • A gift card program for $25 per month

Choose your own hardware or buy from TouchBistro’s hardware partners for equipment such as:

  • iPad
  • Apple Mac Mini computer
  • Apple TV
  • AmpliFi MeshPoint HD
  • Kitchen and thermal printers
  • Cash drawers
  • Networking hardware
  • iPad stands
  • Payment devices
ALSO READ:   Point of Sale Software for Small Business

TouchBistro integrates with many popular programs, including QuickBooks, Sage, and 7Shifts. 

Revel Systems: Best For Advanced POS Features

Revel POS Systems

    
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Pros

  • Advanced iPad POS
  • Adaptable to any industry
  • Strong offline mode

Cons

  • Long-term processing commitment

Monthly Fees

Revel Systems POS monthly pricing starts at $99/month, billed annually, with a two-terminal minimum. There is also a $674 one-time implementation fee. Add-ons, such as online ordering, delivery management, kiosk ordering, multilocation management, and software integrations, are offered at a premium. However, Revel does not publicly disclose the pricing for those services.

Hardware Cost

revel pos on iPad with stand

The iPad-based Revel POS hardware sold on Revel’s website is quote-based.

Payment Processing

Revel has an in-house flat-rate payment processing service called Revel Advantage, with a standard rate of 2.49% + $0.15 per transaction. You can also integrate an outside payment processor of your choice for an additional fee.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Revel’s $99/month package requires annual billing, with a three-year processing contract with Revel Advantage. Given the two-terminal minimum, this means you are committing to pay at least $2,376 upfront per year for the next three years (in addition to payment processing fees).

Where Revel Really Shines

Despite its steep price tag and long-term commitment, Revel Systems is arguably the most advanced iPad point of sale system out there, particularly for quick-serve (though many retailers use it too). Whether you need digital menu boards, self-order kiosks, caller ID integration, or all of the above, Revel has got you covered. Revel is one of the few cloud POS systems that can process payments offline and even has a proprietary wired Ethernet connection for iPad. As a result, Revel can handle any size business that needs a powerful and reliable POS system.

Get Started with Revel POS Systems

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Square: Best Free

Square POS

    
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Pros

  • Feature-packed free plan
  • Works for any industry
  • Works on most mobile devices

Cons

  • Account stability issues for some merchants

Monthly Fees

Square POS is free ($0/month) with unlimited registers/devices. You can, however, purchase paid Square add-ons, such as advanced team management ($35/month/location), email marketing ($15+/month), and loyalty ($45+/month/location). Additionally, Square has dedicated point of sale systems for specific industries, including Square Appointments (for salons and other appointment-based businesses), Square for Restaurants, and Square for Retail, all of which offer free and paid plans.

Hardware Cost

Square Stand

Hardware prices range from $0 (just use your mobile phone and a free Square magstripe reader) to $1,668 for a complete Square Stand Restaurant Station kit. The kit includes an iPad, swiveling Square Stand with magstripe reader, portable Square Terminal ($299 when purchased separately), Square chip and tap reader, cash drawer, kitchen printer, and USB receipt printer.

Payment Processing

Square has built-in payment processing on all plans, charging a flat 2.6% + $0.10 per tap, dip, or swipe. Manually keyed-in card payments have a rate of 3.5% + $0.15, while online payments are 2.9% + $0.30.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square’s month-to-month contract is ideal for any business that doesn’t want a long-term commitment. After signing up, you’re not even committed to using the POS at all, as there is no monthly minimum. A caveat is that Square has an aggregated merchant account model (i.e., businesses do not get their own dedicated merchant accounts), which can lead to withheld funds on transactions that Square’s algorithm flags as high risk or even sudden account termination for some merchants.

ALSO READ:   Manufacturing Software Companies

Where Square Really Shines

Square really shines when it comes to the number and quality of its free POS features. No other free POS offers free eCommerce, free employee management, free inventory management, and as many other free features as Square does — or at least, no other free POS executes these features quite as expertly as Square does. Simply put, you can’t find a better free POS than Square.

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Shopify: Best Multichannel POS

Shopify POS logo

Overall Score: 4.47 OUT OF 5 i

  • Good value for small businesses
  • Omnichannel and smart inventory sales tools
  • Easy to use, intuitive interface
  • Best-in-class ecommerce platform

  • Glitchy offline mode
  • Free POS app has limited features
  • Requires ecommerce subscription

Shopify Pricing

  • Monthly ecommerce software fees (required): $39–$299
  • Monthly POS software fees: $0 for basic POS app, $89 for Shopify POS Pro
  • In-person processing fees: 2.4%–2.7% with built-in Shopify Payments
  • Tap and chip card reader: $49
  • Operates on iPads and desktops
  • 14-day free trial

Read Full ReviewVisit Shopify

Shopify is an ecommerce platform that comes with a free POS software for selling products at events or on-the-go, plus features to sell on social media and third-party marketplaces. For brick-and-mortar retailers, Shopify has a POS Pro plan with omnichannel selling tools, sophisticated inventory management, and more detailed analytics. With all Shopify plans, sales, inventory, and customer data are stored in one place, making Shopify the best POS for multichannel sellers.

In our evaluation, Shopify earned a 4.47 out of 5, coming in just behind Square. Whereas Square excels in price and ease of use, Shopify earned a perfect score in register features and a high score for management tools. So, while they earned nearly identical scores, their strengths are very different. The biggest drawback to Shopify POS is that an ecommerce subscription is required, and many of the best POS features (smart inventory management and advanced reporting) require you to upgrade to POS Pro for an additional $89 per month.Screenshot of Shopify Ecommerce PlatformShopify is also one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, so you can create a fully integrated online store. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify POS and POS Pro

Shopify POS and POS Pro can be used on tablets for a countertop solution, or on mobile devices to meet your customers where they are. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify Chip Reader
Shopify’s contactless and chip reader is portable and has a smartphone case option for market and curbside sales. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify POS Checkout Screen on a TabletShopify POS has a checkout screen with customizable tiles so you can put whatever products, policies, information, or actions are most important to you at the front and center. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify POS on MobileShopify POS also works on mobile (along with the contactless reader). Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify Mobile App AlertsShopify’s mobile app alerts you to new sales, shows what orders need fulfilling, and show you general sales data. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify Dashboard Insights Into Sales Customers and Online Store TrafficShopify’s web-based dashboard provides deeper insights into sales, customers, and online store traffic. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify Ecommerce PlatformShopify is also one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, so you can create a fully integrated online store. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify POS and POS Pro

ALSO READ:   Cashier Software For Small Business

Shopify POS and POS Pro can be used on tablets for a countertop solution, or on mobile devices to meet your customers where they are. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify Chip Reader
Shopify’s contactless and chip reader is portable and has a smartphone case option for market and curbside sales. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify POS Checkout Screen on a TabletShopify POS has a checkout screen with customizable tiles so you can put whatever products, policies, information, or actions are most important to you at the front and center. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify POS on MobileShopify POS also works on mobile (along with the contactless reader). Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify Mobile App AlertsShopify’s mobile app alerts you to new sales, shows what orders need fulfilling, and show you general sales data. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify Dashboard Insights Into Sales Customers and Online Store TrafficShopify’s web-based dashboard provides deeper insights into sales, customers, and online store traffic. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)Screenshot of Shopify Ecommerce PlatformShopify is also one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, so you can create a fully integrated online store. Swipe to see more Shopify POS features. (Source: Shopify)

Shopify POS Features

  • Omnichannel selling: Offer frictionless shopping experiences with buy online, pick up or return in-store; buy in-store, ship to the customer; and browse in-store, buy online with email carts and QR product codes.
  • Products: Add unlimited products, categories, and collections, including multiple variants.
  • 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.
  • Online sales: Shopify is the leading small business ecommerce platform, but it also offers features to sell on social media and third-party marketplaces and to add “Buy” buttons to blogs. Learn more in our Shopify ecommerce review.

What Shopify Is Missing

Shopify is an ecommerce platform that has a great POS extension. If you’re not looking to sell online, a different retail POS that does not require an ecommerce subscription, like Vend, might be a better option. And, while Shopify does advertise solutions for cafes and coffee shops, it’s built with retailers in mind. So, these businesses might be better suited with Square or Toast.

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Conclusion

The small business software evolution has made it easy for people to start their own retail business. Many entrepreneurs start this way, by purchasing the software that fits their budget and then customize it according to their needs. There are many types of retail POS systems available today with affordable price tags, but not all have the same functionality. There are some cheap POS options that are designed to serve your sole purpose of running a retail shop while there are more advanced options that serve other purposes as well.

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