The Best Retail POS Systems 2021: Reviews, Costs and Benefits

Retail POS systems

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 11 January 2021

Bring in the cash and bolster your business with the best retail POS systems


Modern POS systems for retail help you process payments more efficiently, manage your staff hours, and even create marketing campaigns. In short, they can boost your business in many ways.

Worried about choosing the wrong retail POS system? Don’t be. We’ve done plenty of research and selected the best options on the market. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which one is right for you.

We’ll cover why Lightspeed has the best all-around retail management software, why Square is the best choice for pop-up stores, why Vend has the best ecommerce integration, and much more. Note all prices are in USD.


The Top 5 Retail POS Systems

So what makes each retail POS system so great? Take a look at the table below to see how they stand out.

Retail POS System SupplierBest For
LightspeedOverall POS system
EPOS NowOffline mode
SquarePop-up shops
Revel SystemsCustomer management
VendE-commerce integration
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1. Lightspeed

Best Overall Retail POS System

Pricing: Lightspeed’s most popular plan starts at $99 per month

Lightspeed offers sophisticated retail management software that enables you to delve deeper into your stock control, inventory, and sales reports. You’ll be able to do things like order from integrated catalogs, receive notifications when items are running low, and download detailed sales reports that give you insight at employee level.

On top of that, Lightspeed can help you set up a retail system that is tailored to the unique needs of your business – whether you own a cycle store, a pet store, or anything in between. This comprehensive set of useful features is why Lightspeed tops our list today.

Pros:

  • Heaps of tailored features
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Great for multi-site stores

X Cons:

  • Relatively expensive compared to competitors
  • No sophisticated offline mode

2. EPOS Now

Best for Offline Mode Features

Price: A one-off payment of $1,799, or $72 per month, for hardware and software

Some stores aren’t guaranteed a reliable Wi-Fi connection, but with EPOS Now, you don’t need to worry about that. Its system can work in offline mode for up to two weeks, storing all of your transactions until there’s a Wi-Fi connection to upload them to the cloud.

With regular updates, an incredibly intuitive user interface, and plenty of hardware options, EPOS Now is just a great all-rounder.

Pros:

  • iPad and fixed hardware options available
  • Great offline capabilities

X Cons:

  • Maintenance costs extra
  • Doesn’t include a merchant account
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3. Square

Best for pop-up Stores

Price: Square’s card reader costs $59, but its software is free

Square offers a simple, modern retail POS system that enables you to get your business off the ground in a matter of days. You can set up a Square account in just 10 easy steps – then, once your account and card reader are synchronized, you’re ready to start taking payments. This makes Square ideal for pop-up stores that need to get up and running quickly.

Square supplies its software free of charge, but charges about 3.4% plus 10¢ for tap and go card payments – a tad higher than other merchant account providers.

Pros:

  • Easy to use software
  • Lots of app integrations available
  • Quick and easy to set up

X Cons:

  • Software is less sophisticated than other systems’
  • Transaction fees are a tad higher

4. Revel Systems

Best for Customer Relationship Management

Price: Revel Systems’ software packages start at $99 per month, per terminal

A Revel Systems retail POS system already has a CRM (customer relationship management) system built in. This means you’ll have all the tools you need to capture your customers’ data and regularly interact with them, to help encourage repeat purchases and capture lost sales through personalized marketing.

You can even use Revel’s POS system to book client appointments, which is handy if you run consultations as part of your retail business.

Pros:

  • Great offline functionality
  • Integrated CRM system
  • Tailored solutions for different store types

X Cons:

  • Apps and add-ons cost extra
  • Onboarding and installation are priced separately
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5. Vend

Best for Ecommerce Integration

Price: $99 per month for Vend’s ‘Lite’ package

Due to COVID-19, consumers are turning to ecommerce for nearly all retail purchases. Vend easily integrates with a range of ecommerce providers, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento, meaning you can rake in the sales even while your brick-and-mortar store is closed. There are also three system packages to choose from, so you’ll never pay for more than you need.

Pros:

  • Allows you to become an omni-channel retailer
  • Sophisticated software
  • Lots of great integrations

X Cons:

  • 24/7 support will cost you extra
  • Reporting is not as sophisticated as others’

Retail POS System Prices

Retail POS system software typically costs between $50 and $100 per month, with the hardware costing anywhere from $300 to $1,500+ as a one-off fee. As a total sum, most small to medium-sized retailers will pay between $1,300 and $2,000+ for a retail POS system, while larger businesses can pay up to $7,000.

The overall cost of your POS system will depend on the features you need, the types of hardware and software you require, and the volume of your sales. For example, higher-scale retail POS solutions are comprehensive business management tools that can track inventory levels, log staff hours, build customer relationships through email marketing, generate detailed sales reports, and much more.

So, what may seem like an expensive initial investment can help your business save money in the long run by boosting profits, improving staff efficiency, and reducing workplace stress.

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What is a Retail POS System?

Retail POS systems combine hardware and software that’s designed to help you sell products and grow your physical or online retail business more easily. Whether you’re selling clothing, boutique items, liquor, books, or groceries, you’ll find that a retail POS system is a vital piece of equipment going forward.

The best retail POS systems not only log your sales and generate reports, but also come with inventory management features that notify you when it’s time to restock or display ‘out of stock’ labels. With these features, you can easily analyze your seasonal performance, which can help you maximise profits in the long run.

Retail POS solutions can also be integrated with customer relationship management software (CRM), to help keep your audience connected to your business and ensure they never miss your latest offers.


Why use a Retail POS System?

Retail POS systems can help you cut costs, sell more products, and keep your staff and customers happy.

These systems streamline your business, helping you manage staff hours, manage your stock levels, accept a greater variety of payments (whether it’s cash, credit, or contactless), and analyze your sales performance.

The right POS system could be that competitive edge your business needs to reach new heights, and we’d love to help you get there. We can match your business with retail POS suppliers that best suit your unique requirements – all you need to do is tell us what you need on our short webform. Once you’ve done that (it only takes a minute), we’ll match you up and you’ll then receive free, no-obligation quotes from trusted retail POS suppliers.

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Top Retail POS System Features

Every retail POS system can accept payments, but the best solutions will come with extra features that can really help your business:

Inventory management – automatically update your stock after each sale, and receive alerts when stock is low

Sales logging – take payments quickly and log each transaction to better manage your performance

Staff management – create and monitor staff schedules to monitor performance and log hours

Reporting and analytics – use these reports to optimize operations, track sales, monitor inventory, and more

Customer relationship management – integrate your POS with CRM software to help encourage repeat purchases, provide information on your latest deals, and much more


Expert Verdict

You now know what the best retail POS systems in Canada are – but it can be hard to pin down pricing when your overall costs depend on hardware and software, transactional fees, installation fees, and ongoing maintenance.

The quickest and easiest way to get an exact price for your next retail POS system is by comparing free quotes from trusted suppliers. To get started, all you need to do is tell us what you need on our webform (it only takes a minute), and we’ll take care of things from there.

With the information you’ve provided, we’ll match your business with POS suppliers that suit your exact requirements, who’ll then be in touch with you with more information and no-obligation quotes. It’s quick, easy, and free to get started.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

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