In this review, I’m going to share my analysis and evaluation from my hands-on experience with Clover. But first, if you’re just beginning your search for the best Point of Sale systems, check out my picks for the best POS systems. You probably already know that Clover is among the most popular POS systems out there, but you need to better understand what’s good (and not so good) about it.
This in-depth Clover review will walk you through the tool's pros and cons, features and functionality, and more to help guide you to better understand its capabilities and its suitability for your needs.
Clover serves as a comprehensive point-of-sale system designed to process card payments swiftly, thanks to its efficient card reader, manage inventory and track sales. It offers a virtual terminal for online transactions, appealing to businesses that require both physical and online payment solutions. With a flat-rate pricing structure and upfront cost details available on Clover’s website, it caters to small business owners looking for transparency in their POS investments.
It caters primarily to small and medium-sized retail and restaurant businesses seeking a robust POS solution. The tool offers the benefit of streamlining sales processes while providing valuable business insights. It addresses common pain points such as inventory management, customer relationship management, and sales reporting. Among its best features are its intuitive design, extensive app marketplace, and strong offline functionality.
- Intuitive Design: The Clover device, with its user-friendly interface and integrated card reader, simplifies transactions, reducing training time and allowing business owners to focus on sales.
- App Marketplace: With Clover Flex and Clover Go, businesses can leverage contactless payments and a full-service POS on both Android and iOS platforms, tailoring to on-the-go sales needs.
- Offline Mode: Clover operates effectively even without internet, ensuring sales continue uninterrupted during outages.
- Hardware Investment: The Clover POS system requires a proprietary hardware purchase, which can be a barrier for some small business owners.
- Limited Customization: While Clover offers various apps, the core software has limited customization options, which may not suit all business models.
- Additional Fees: Users should consider transaction fees and the cost of additional features when evaluating Clover's pricing to avoid hidden fees.
In my experience, the Clover POS system stands out for its ease of use and reliable performance, particularly with the Clover Station Duo, which is crucial in a busy sales environment for small business owners. The standardization of quality across the Clover hardware, including the Clover Flex and Clover Go, makes it a full-service solution.
However, when comparing it to other POS systems, Clover can feel restrictive due to its proprietary hardware and less flexible software customization. It excels in environments where a turnkey solution is preferred but may fall short in settings that demand extensive personalization. Clover shines for businesses that are looking for a straightforward, reliable POS system and are willing to invest in a cohesive ecosystem.
Clover: The Bottom Line
Clover distinguishes itself with a blend of solid hardware options like the Clover Mini and Clover Station and a software ecosystem that's bolstered by an extensive app market, striking a balance between functionality and user-friendliness for small business owners. What sets it apart is the balance it strikes between functionality and user-friendliness. Particularly impressive is its offline mode, which ensures that businesses can continue to operate without hiccups during internet downtime. Its noteworthy features, like on-the-fly inventory management and comprehensive sales reporting, make it a strong contender for businesses looking to streamline their operations without a steep learning curve.
Clover Deep Dive
Let's take a detailed look at what Clover has to offer:
- Transaction processing - Yes
- Inventory management - Yes
- Customer relationship management - Yes
- Sales reporting - Yes
- Employee management - Yes
- Barcode scanning - Yes
- Receipt printing - Yes
- Digital receipts - Yes
- Touchscreen interface - Yes
- Cash drawer management - Yes
- Loyalty programs - Yes
- Gift card management - Yes
- Split payments - Yes
- Tip management - Yes
- Tax management - Yes
- Offline mode - Yes
- Mobile accessibility - Yes
- E-commerce integration - Yes
- Third-party app marketplace - Yes
- Customizable discounts - Yes
- Returns and refunds management - Yes
- Multi-location support - Yes
- Credit card processing - Yes
- NFC payments (e.g., Apple Pay) - Yes
- Reporting and analytics - Yes
Clover Feature Overview:
- Transaction Processing: Clover's transaction processing is swift and reliable, allowing for various payment methods, including credit cards, NFC, and mobile payments, which ensures a smooth checkout experience.
- Inventory Management: The inventory system is dynamic, updating in real-time as sales occur, which helps businesses maintain accurate stock levels and reduce errors.
- Customer Relationship Management: Clover's CRM tools not only help track customer preferences and purchase history but also support customer loyalty programs, encouraging repeat business and fostering a loyal customer base.
- Sales Reporting: Detailed reports can be generated to provide insights into sales trends, peak times, and customer behaviour, aiding in strategic decision-making.
- Employee Management: With Clover, you can set up employee profiles, track hours, and manage permissions, streamlining staff management and payroll processes.
- Offline Mode: Clover's ability to function offline ensures that businesses can continue to operate and process payments even during internet outages.
- Mobile Accessibility: The Clover mobile app extends its POS functionality to mobile devices, facilitating sales and management on the go.
- E-commerce Integration: Clover integrates with e-commerce platforms, allowing for a unified approach to in-store and online sales.
- App Marketplace: The Clover App Market contains numerous third-party apps that can extend the system's capabilities, from accounting integration to advanced inventory management.
- Multi-location Support: Clover supports businesses with multiple locations, providing centralized management and reporting that simplifies operations across various sites.
- App Marketplace: Clover's App Market is particularly rich, offering a variety of third-party applications that can be added to the system, allowing for a level of customization that can be tailored to the unique needs of a business.
- User Interface: Clover's user interface stands out for its clean design and ease of use, which can significantly reduce the learning curve for new users.
- Payment Versatility: Clover's ability to accept a wide range of payment methods, from traditional cards to mobile payments like Apple Pay, sets it apart from some competitors that may have more limited options.
Clover offers native integrations with popular accounting software like QuickBooks, e-commerce platforms, and other business tools. It also supports payment processors such as PayPal, providing flexibility for merchant accounts to choose their preferred service providers.
These integrations allow for seamless synchronization of sales data, inventory, and customer information. Clover also provides an API, which enables businesses to create custom integrations if needed. Additionally, the platform can be extended with add-ons from the Clover App Market, which includes tools for everything from marketing to advanced analytics.
Pricing for Clover is not one-size-fits-all and can vary based on the hardware and software capabilities a business requires, and therefore pricing is only available upon request. You can get in touch with the Clover sales team by phone or by filling out a form on their website. Typically, there is a base fee for the software plus the cost of any hardware.
There may also be additional costs to consider, such as payment processing fees and the cost of any additional apps from the Clover App Market.
Ease of Use
I found Clover's interface to be straightforward to navigate, whether you're using the standard Clover device or the mobile-friendly Clover Go, both of which support contactless payments—a must-have feature in today's market.
The onboarding process is well-guided, especially for quick-service or table-service restaurants, and the organization within the tool is logical, allowing for quick access to various features. The system's compatibility with Wi-Fi and its ability to pair with a receipt printer and barcode scanner make it a comprehensive solution for various service restaurants. However, some users may find the initial setup of hardware and software to be complex, and the vast array of features can be overwhelming at first.
Clover provides a range of customer support options, including documentation, webinars, live chat, and tutorials, ensuring that whether you're setting up a Clover Mini or troubleshooting a Clover Station Solo, help is readily available.
Response times are generally prompt, and the available channels are comprehensive. Some users may find the level of support less than ideal when dealing with more complex issues or during peak hours when response times can slow.
Clover Use Case
Let's have a look at who benefits the most from Clover.
Who would be a good fit for Clover?
Clover is particularly well-suited for quick-service and full-service restaurants, as well as retail businesses that benefit from features like online ordering and a robust Clover payment system. It's also a good fit for businesses that require a merchant account with a strong emphasis on PCI compliance.
Who would be a bad fit for Clover?
Conversely, Clover might be a bad fit for businesses that need highly customized POS software or those that prefer not to be tied to proprietary hardware. Larger enterprises or those with complex inventory management needs might find Clover's features limiting.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Clover.
What payment methods does Clover accept?
Clover accepts a variety of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, NFC payments, and mobile payments.
Can Clover handle multiple locations?
Yes, Clover supports multi-location businesses with centralized management and reporting.
Does Clover work offline?
Yes, Clover has an offline mode that allows it to process payments without an internet connection.
Is there a free version of Clover?
Clover does not typically offer a free version; pricing is based on the hardware and software package selected.
Can I use my credit card processor with Clover?
Clover generally requires the use of its payment processing services.
Does Clover offer customer support?
Yes, Clover offers customer support through various channels, including phone, email, live chat, and an online knowledge base.
Can I integrate Clover with my existing accounting software?
Yes, Clover offers integrations with popular accounting software.
Are there additional costs with Clover beyond the initial purchase?
Yes, there may be additional costs for payment processing, apps from the Clover App Market, and other services.
Alternatives to Clover:
- Square: Often compared with Clover for its no monthly fee model and strong brand presence, Square is better for those looking for a straightforward, cost-effective POS with a simple pricing structure, though it may lack the full-service capabilities and hardware variety that Clover offers.
- Lightspeed: Known for its advanced inventory management features, Lightspeed is a better fit for businesses with complex inventory needs.
- Shopify POS: Ideal for businesses that have a strong online presence, Shopify POS offers deep integration with Shopify's e-commerce platform.
Clover Company Overview & History:
Clover, a comprehensive POS system provider, caters to small and medium-sized businesses across various industries. Fiserv, a global provider of financial services technology, owns the company. The headquarters is located in Sunnyvale, California. Clover's mission is to make it easier for merchants to meet their customers' needs and grow their businesses. Since its inception, Clover has reached notable milestones, including the expansion of its hardware line and the launch of its app marketplace, which has become a central feature of its offering. The company has grown rapidly, with wide adoption across retail and restaurant sectors, among others.
Clover's unique selling point in the crowded POS market is its combination of sleek, user-friendly hardware with a versatile software platform that's bolstered by a rich app marketplace. This ecosystem allows for a high degree of flexibility in how businesses set up their POS systems to meet their specific needs. The offline mode is a critical feature for businesses in areas with unreliable internet connectivity, ensuring that transactions can proceed without interruption. Clover's intuitive design and ease of use make it particularly good for small to medium-sized businesses that need a robust POS system without a steep learning curve. Its most noteworthy features include its customizable interface, comprehensive payment processing options, and the ability to extend functionality through a wide range of third-party apps.
I invite readers to share their experiences with Clover in the comments to help others make