Best Retail POS System Shortlist
Here’s the retail point-of-sale software that made the cut:
- Square - Best all-in-one solution
- Shopify POS - Best for omnichannel sales
- Clover - Best variety of hardware options
- Lightspeed - Best customer support
- Revel - Best for offline payment processing
- Brilliant POS - Best for niche retailers
- Vend - Best for ease of use
- Stax - Best for high transaction volumes
- Ehopper - Best for cash discounting and credit card surcharging
- Total by NCR Silver - Best for remote teams
- PayPal POS - Best retail POS system with no commitment
- Rain POS - Best for integrations
In the guide below, I’ll break down my top 12 POS systems for retailers—and explain what makes them the best. I’ll aim to help you find the right fit for your company, whether you’re running a small mom-and-pop boutique or a chain of dozens of locations. If you're running another type of business - say, a restaurant - you may want to check out my more general POS system round-up.
The tools that made the list were selected using criteria that are most important for retailers: user-friendliness, functionality, available integrations, and overall value.
What is a Retail POS System?
POS is an acronym for point-of-sale. POS systems include the hardware and software required to conduct sales transactions and process payments during the checkout process (in retail stores or online).
Retail POS systems are designed for retail stores. These systems have both the hardware (cash registers, card readers, and computers or smart devices like iPads) and the software required to execute retail sales transactions.
The primary purpose of a retail POS system is to help staff check customers out. Staff can scan items using a barcode scanner or search an internal inventory system to add items manually. From there, the POS system keeps a running tally of the transaction amount—and, crucially, calculates sales tax and any other applicable taxes.
POS systems can also be used to apply sales discounts and coupons, collect customer data, and manage customer loyalty and rewards programs.
Most modern retail POS systems utilize cloud-based software. These systems typically require internet or cellular connection, although some systems have limited offline functionality that allow you to store transaction data and process it when your connection is restored.
Retail POS systems will require hardware (unlike ecommerce systems, which may be entirely cloud-based), including payment terminals (card readers), cash registers, and some sort of display (either a computer or tablet).
Overview of the Best Retail POS Systems
Below, you’ll find detailed reviews of the top point-of-sale (POS) systems for retailers. Each section provides a summary of the key features, available integrations, and some notable pros and cons.
1. Square - Best all-in-one solution
Square is one of the most popular point-of-sale systems on the market. Their Square for Retail POS includes tools for inventory management, sales, payment processing, and some basic staffing and scheduling features as well.
Why I Picked Square
I selected Square because it’s a versatile all-in-one platform that’s easy to scale to your needs.
Standout features include inventory and fulfillment management, which helps track inventory levels. I like that you can set alerts to notify you when stock levels are getting low.
Plus, Square’s retail POS flows sync perfectly with the e-commerce platform, allowing omnichannel operations. For instance, stores selling online can offer shipping or in-store pickup—and both in-person and online transactions will automatically update stock levels in Square’s inventory management system.
I appreciate the built-in staffing functionality, so you don’t need separate scheduling and staffing software.
Integrations include Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xero, Mailchimp, TouchBistro, Upserve, Vend, and Toast.
Pricing: From $0/month plus payment processing fees (starting at 2.6% + $0.10 for offline payment)
Free Trial: Demos available.
- Free base plan (just pay transaction fees)
- Offline functionality
- Inventory tracking tools
- Mediocre customer support
- Add-ons can get expensive
2. Shopify POS - Best for omnichannel sales
Shopify POS is a retail POS system that’s designed for retailers with omnichannel sales.
Why I picked Shopify POS:
I selected Shopify POS mostly because it’s beneficial for omnichannel retailers. Plus, it’s really easy to use retailers that are already familiar with Shopify.
Shopify Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include company-wide discounts (online and offline) and tools to schedule and manage local deliveries and pick-up orders.
Their customer data management system helps keep customer data in sync across online and in-person sales.
In my opinion, Shopify is also one of the more intuitive platforms on the market—for both retailers and consumers.
Integrations include PayPal, Stripe, Square, Authorize.Net, QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Zendesk, Google Analytics, Metrilo, ShipStation, and Easyship.
Pricing: From $39/month, plus payment processing fees (starting at 2.7% + $0.00 per transaction)
Free Trial: First three months at $1/month
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface
- No per-transaction fee for in-person transactions (many competitors charge $0.10-$0.30 per transaction)
- Inventory management tools
- Limited offline functionality
- Shopify and POS Pro subscriptions are required for full functionality
3. Clover - Best variety of hardware options
Clover is a popular POS that offers a range of hardware options, from ultra-basic smartphone setups to more comprehensive retail POS systems.
Why I Picked Clover
I selected Clover because of its versatility and its build-to-suit style. You can customize both the selection of devices used as well as the features you want to pay for (via Clover’s own functionality as well as third-party add-ons).
Standout features include the ability to accept and scan physical checks, as well as contactless payments.
I also like Clover’s extensive app marketplace, which can be used to expand functionality. These are essentially native integrations into the Clover POS system that allow you to add workflows for selling online, bookkeeping, and customer loyalty support.
Integrations include True Group, Abreeze Technology, LoyalZoo, Thrive Inventory, Melio, DirectSource, Solupay, Infuse, and MiPoint.
Pricing: From $14.95/month (plus 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction).
Free Trial: 30-day free trial for the no-hardware plan.
- Multiple hardware options
- Offline payment processing
- Mix-and-match device compatibility
- No free hardware
- Higher fees than some competitors
4. Lightspeed - Best customer support
Lightspeed POS is a retail POS system that offers a centralized place to manage sales, suppliers, and multiple channels.
Why I picked Lightspeed
I selected Lightspeed because of its personalized approach to customer support. Each Lightspeed client is paired with a dedicated advisor to help with onboarding as well as ongoing support.
Standout features include an open API for custom integrations in addition to native integrations.
I also like Lightspeed’s reporting features, which help management teams drill down into sales stats and other performance metrics.
Integrations include Mailchimp, iZettle, Cloudbeds, Homebase, Movi2go, Planday, Moneris, Seatninja, Accumula, Mews, Bike Index, QuoteMachine, UEAT, Wisk, Pointy, and Booxi.
Pricing: From $89/month plus 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction.
Free Trial: 14-day free trial
- Free register
- Customer loyalty programs and omnichannel rewards
- 24/7 support, plus a dedicated account manager
- Advanced features only available on higher tiers
- Relatively high monthly fees
5. Revel Systems - Best for offline payment processing
Revel POS gives you multiple options for online ordering and delivery management.
Revel Systems is an iPad-native POS software that’s commonly used in food service and retail locations.
Why I picked Revel Systems
I selected Revel Systems primarily because it can take payments offline, without a cell or WiFi signal. This makes it very useful for companies that may sell at outdoor markets or for mobile vendors.
Standout features include an intuitive iPad interface that can help reduce employee training time—crucial for high-turnover industries like retail and hospitality.
I really like the offline payment tech as well. If a customer makes a purchase and the payment device doesn’t currently have a signal, the software stores the payment details to be processed later.
Integrations include eConnect, FreedomPay, Give Gift Cards, Gratuity Solutions, Homebase, Incentivio, LevelUp, Paytronix, Pepper, Quickbooks Online, Thanx, Value Tec, and Wand.
Pricing: From $99/monthly fee per terminal, plus payment processing fees.
Free Trial: Free demo available.
- Supports offline payments
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface
- Offers self-service checkout kiosk tech as well (sold separately)
- High subscription fees
- Limited inventory management features
6. Brilliant POS - Best for mix-and-match item pricing
Brilliant POS is a point-of-sale software and hardware provider. They offer their own proprietary software POS (Cash Register Express), as well as POS bundles in partnership with Clover.
Why I Picked Brilliant POS
I selected Brilliant POS (and specifically, Cash Register Express) for its unique pricing structure, which gives you the ability to mix and match hardware and bundle items (e.g., “Buy any five items for $20).
Standout features include gift card creation service with custom and standard designs, with free gift card processing. Gift cards can be a huge revenue driver for small retail companies, particularly around the holidays.
I also like the unique pricing functionality, like mix-and-match and item bundles. This can be really helpful for small boutiques with a lot of small items in their product inventory, like bottle shops that sell wine or beer by the bottle. This software lets you customize bundles at special pricing (e.g., two bottles of wine and a wine opener as a gift bundle) or utilize mix-and-match pricing (e.g., a mixed six-pack of beer at $20 flat).
Integrations include BevSites, GetSeller, NitroSell, and Quickbooks.
Pricing: From $5.95 per month, plus payment processing fees
Free trial: Product demo available
- Unique pricing strategy and bundling features
- Affordable plans
- Dedicated account manager and onboarding support
- Dated UI
- Limited integrations
7. Vend - Easiest retail POS system to use
Vend is a popular POS system built for retailers. It’s made by the same company behind Lightspeed (another POS system on my list).
Why I picked Vend
I selected Vend because it’s intuitive and easy to use. While that might not seem like the biggest deal, for retailers facing high employee turnover, ease of use is a very important metric to look at.
Standout features include integration support with most major payment processors (and many types of hardware), which helps make it easier to switch to Vend without starting from scratch or buying a bunch of duplicate equipment.
I also appreciate Vend’s reporting features for managers and owners. Vend lets you easily drill down into daily revenue figures, product sales counts, average basket size, and other metrics—each with handy graphs showing performance over time
Integrations include Quickbooks Online, PayPal, Deputy, Square, Timely Xero, WooCommerce, and Shopify.
Pricing: From $89 per month, plus payment processing fees (from 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction)
Free Trial: 14-day free trial
- Easy to navigate
- Compatible with existing hardware and most payment processors
- Solid reporting features
- High monthly fees
- Telephone assistance only available on advanced plans
8. Stax - Best for high transaction volumes
Stax is a payment processor and POS software provider that focuses on low-cost payment processing services.
Why I picked Stax:
I selected Stax because it will help certain businesses save money on payment processing. And by certain businesses, I mean firms running at least $150K in POS-processed revenue per year. And for very large firms, Stax offers customized payment solutions for firms with over $5M in annual revenue.
Standout features include a zero-markup fee structure for payment processing. With most POS providers, you pay a monthly subscription fee plus an interchange fee and a markup that goes to the payment processor or POS vendor. With Stax, you pay a flat monthly fee, and then each payment you process will only be charged the standard interchange fees (with no markup). Stax claims it can save firms up to 40% on payment processing fees—which, given my back-of-the-envelope math, seems generous but accurate depending on the payment processor you’re currently using. I would say savings of between 20% and 35% are more realistic—and be sure to account for Stax’s tiered monthly fee structure when running your numbers.
Integrations include Calendly, Asana, Atlassian, Google Sheets, HubSpot, QuickBooks, Slack, Wrike, WordPress, Xero, and Zoho.
Pricing: From $99 per month, plus payment processing fees (flat interchange rates with no markup—expect around 0.3% for debit cards and around 1.8% for credit cards, though it varies by card type).
Free Trial: Not available
- Affordable payment processing fees
- You get the first month for free if you don't save $100 in processing fees
- Can handle high transaction volumes
- Additional fees for advanced features
- Monthly subscription rates increase with transaction volume
9. eHopper - Best for cash discounting and credit card surcharging
eHopper is a POS system provider for retail stores and restaurants. Its unique selling point is a “free to you” payment processing fee structure.
Why I picked eHopper:
I selected eHopper because it allows you to pass on the cost of credit card processing to your customers, which can provide significant cost savings for some businesses.
Standout features include a unique no-cost payment processing structure. There are two methods available to choose from. The first is to increase your prices by the cost of payment processing (i.e., raise prices by 3%), then provide a cash discount. The other option is to use credit card surcharging, which would add an extra fee on transactions that are paid for via credit cards.
Integrations include Authorize.Net, DoorDash, Grubhub, Loyverse, Mailchimp, PayPal, Quickbooks, Shopify, Square, Stripe, Uber Eats, WooCommerce, and Xero.
Pricing: From $0/month
Free Trial: Base plan is free. 30-day money-back guarantee on paid plans.
- Free hardware options
- Free base plan
- Cash discounting tools to incentivize sales
- Limited customization options
- Credit card surcharging may present legal issues
10. Total by NCR Silver - Best for multi-location retailers
Total by NCR Silver is a versatile POS system with cloud-based software for managing multiple retail locations.
Why I picked NCR Silver:
I selected Total by NCR Silver because its centralized management and performance monitoring features make it well-suited to companies with multiple retail locations.
Standout features include an NCR console with financial reporting tools that cover sales revenue, profitability, and other key performance metrics.
I also like that NCR Silver has integrated customer loyalty programs available to help boost customer engagement.
Integrations include DoorDash, Grubhub, LevelUp, Mailchimp, QuickBooks, Shopify, WooCommerce, and Xero.
Pricing: Pricing available upon request
Free Trial: Demo available by request
- Instant access to information and monitoring of operations
- Versatile deployment with wide device compatibility and multi-location support
- Fast payment processing
- Limited customization options
- Relatively expensive
11. PayPal POS - Best retail POS system with no commitment
PayPal POS is a service provided by PayPal, the popular online payments and invoicing company.
Why I picked PayPal POS:
I selected PayPal POS because there is no contract or minimum term to subscribe for.
Standout features include a free account for basic functionality. This is useful for companies who are just getting started with in-person sales, as well as those expanding from e-commerce into in-person retail sales.
The compatibility of its mobile payments functionality with lots of different smartphones and tablets is another feature I thought most retailers would probably find convenient.
Integrations include WooCommerce, BigCommerce, SalesVu, PayPal, and Quickbooks.
Pricing: From $0/month plus payment processing fees (starting at 2.29% + $0.09 per transaction).
Free Trial: Free plan available
- No upfront cost
- Competitive processing fees without requiring high volume
- Simple to use
- Not ideal for high transaction volumes
- Limited integrations
12. Rain POS - Best with website and marketing integration
Rain POS provides small businesses with point-of-sale systems that include tools for website development, website hosting, and marketing.
Why I picked Rain POS:
I selected Rain POS for its built-in website builder and marketing tool suite. Instead of using multiple vendors, businesses can keep things all under one roof with Rain.
Standout features include an e-commerce website builder with drag-and-drop functionality (so you don’t need to hire a developer), and marketing automation tools.
I also like the automated reminders asking customers to leave a review, which is helpful for retailers trying to optimize their local search engine ranking.
Integrations include ShipStation, Avalara, and TaxJar.
Pricing: Custom pricing available upon request
Free Trial: Demo available
- Supports omnichannel retail sales
- Relatively easy to use
- Targeted remarketing tools and other marketing features
- Opaque pricing
- Not ideal for companies that only offer in-person sales
While they didn’t quite make my top 10 during my research process, I found some additional tools that are worth checking out.
- Netsuite - Best for enterprise-level retailers
- Epos Now - Best for scalability
- Brilliant POS - Best for advanced inventory management
- Korona POS - Best for mid-size retailers
- TouchBistro - Best for restaurants
- Odoo - Best integrated business management software
Selection Criteria For Retail POS Systems
Below is a summary of the criteria for selecting the best retail POS systems.
On a basic level, a retail POS system should enable your business to:
- Build carts/orders: Your team members should be able to easily scan items (or search for them using SKUs or keywords), add items to the cart, and start the checkout process.
- Calculate and collect sales tax: A crucial feature of POS systems is the accurate calculation and collection of state and local sales taxes.
- Process payments: POS software should enable workers to close out transactions by processing payments. At a minimum, POS systems should be able to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express (as well as cash). Nice-to-haves include mobile wallet payments and perhaps even check scanning.
- Track inventory levels: While some retailers can benefit from dedicated inventory management software, POS systems should at the very least be able to track basic inventory levels.
The features that a POS system offers can significantly impact the way you do business and the way customers and employees interact with your technology stack. Here are some beneficial features to look for:
- Rewards programs: Having customer loyalty programs built into your POS system is a big selling point, in my opinion. Loyalty programs can help increase customer engagement and encourage repeat purchases.
- Customer data management: POS systems should collect (and analyze) customer data. Ideally, the POS should be able to identify customers based on the payment card they use and sync in-store purchase data with any available data from e-commerce transactions.
- Workforce management: Some POS systems offer features like employee scheduling, timesheets, and even payroll support.
- Reporting & analytics: Beyond processing payments, a good POS system should also help you drill down into data to monitor performance, revenue metrics, and other KPIs.
When selecting a POS system, it’s wise to prioritize user-friendliness. Given the relatively high turnover rates in the retail industry, it makes sense to opt for a system that's easy to learn.
While employee user-friendliness is perhaps the most important, it’s also a good idea to consider the customer experience and ease of use there.
It also makes sense for you to prioritize integrations when making your selection. By connecting your POS with your other crucial business software—like accounting, ERP, CRM, etc—you'll be able to synchronize data in real-time.
Value for Money
Your choice of POS systems can make a significant difference to your bottom line. While the monthly fees are important to pay attention to, the crucial component for most firms is the payment processing fees. These can range from 1.8% on the low end to up to 2.9%.
What hardware is needed for a POS system?
How much does a POS system cost?
There are a lot of POS systems for retailers to choose between. I hope this article helps you find the best POS system for your retail business.
Want more business and finance resources and advice? Sign up for our weekly newsletter for the latest tech industry news and business insights from financial leaders.