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The Best POS Systems for Small Businesses in 2017 (Reviewed by Real Business Owners)

Georgia McIntyre

Georgia McIntyre

Finance Writer at Fundera
Georgia McIntyre is the resident Finance Writer at Fundera. She specializes in all things small business finance, from lending to accounting. Questions for Georgia? Comment below!
Georgia McIntyre

For many small businesses, a robust POS system (point of sale) is something they absolutely can’t function without.

But with so many POS systems on the market, how can you weed through your options to find the best pos system for your small business?

Well, we turned to small business owners just like you to get their take on the POS system they use.

Check out these four best POS systems—reviewed by real business owners themselves!

The 4 Best POS Systems on the Market

1. Vend: The Best POS System for General Needs

If you run just a general retail business—think fashion and boutiques, food and drink, computer shops, bike shops, beauty stores, etc.—then Vend could be your top option out of all the best POS systems available.

Vend has the full suite you need to run your brick-and-mortar store seamlessly. It has everything you’d need from a POS system on an operational standpoint—processing transactions, hardware, ecommerce services, sales operations, inventory management, and so on.

But they also have services you can use to take an analytical look at how your sales are performing over time—helping you not only manage your business but grow it along the way.

One of the distinctions that sets Vend apart from other POS systems is its offline functionality. Vend works fully whenever the internet goes down or you’re offline for some reason.

Vend Pricing

Any Vend subscription level comes with a free, 30-day trial.

The most basic package (the “Starter”) is $69 per month—but billed annually. Vend sets this package as a solid POS system that fits businesses with a single outlet, one register, and a maximum of three users. But this package comes with unlimited product upload, access to their popular inventory management system, customer profiles, and all the small business reporting tools.

The next level up is the most popular subscription level—the “Advanced.”

The Advanced is just 10 more dollars, priced at $79 per month. This package is a little more comprehensive and a good option for slightly larger retail businesses. The Advanced is still for just one store, one or more registers, unlimited users, and unlimited product uploads.

The Advanced comes with all the features in the Starter but adds in gift card capabilities, loyalty programs, e-commerce management, advanced reporting tools, and advanced user permissions.

Unless you run a very small brick-and-mortar operation (with no need for any online functionality for your POS system), then the Advanced package is probably your best option. After that, you could check out the Multi-Outlet for $199 per month. This is for businesses with multiple stores, many registers, many users, etc.

What This Business Owner Had to Say About Vend

When Did You Start Using Vend?

“We started using Vend about four years ago. When we started our business, Trees Adventure, we didn’t have a POS system to begin with. We were recommended Vend, and upon seeing its simplicity of use and reporting, the decision was easily made!”

How Has Vend Specifically Helped Your Business?

“With Vend, setting up POS systems for our sites around Australia has been made easy. We can use other stores as templates, and troubleshooting is quick as sites can communicate and help one another out. We’d definitely recommend Vend for small businesses that want all their locations in sync with one another. Each site runs Vend on iPad, so staff can walk around anywhere and still complete ticket sales.

“We sell tickets for our tree climbing sessions and in a small kiosk with snacks. The internet connections at some of our sites can be pretty patchy, so with Vend being able to run offline temporarily, the sales process is still simple and smooth. This is actually one of our mantras at Trees Adventure, ‘keep it simple!’

“This starts with a good customer experience. A positive first interaction is key for repeat business. Vend facilitates this process by tracking, managing, and providing clean reporting of inventory so we can focus on keeping customers at the door, instead of tiresome paperwork. Vend is a very simple solution for doing better business.”

—Nicolas Dansin and Marc Flaster, Founders of Trees Adventure

2. QuickBooks POS: The Best POS System for Advanced Needs

As a small business owner, you’re probably familiar with QuickBooks—it’s the giant of small business accounting software.

With their suite of software and subscriptions, QuickBooks is one of the most popular small business software on the market—so it should come as no surprise that this accounting powerhouse has ventured into the world of POS systems.

The QuickBooks POS system for desktop is one of the most powerful of the best POS systems. It has every feature you’d need—credit card processing, sales management, inventory management, customer tracker, employee hours management, etc. Plus, the QuickBooks POS system will integrate with your QuickBooks desktop accounting software to make bookkeeping easier.

The QuickBooks POS system is an comprehensive, feature-rich solution when compared to the rest of the POS systems available. If you’re fully convinced that you need every feature QuickBooks POS offers—and want complete control over every aspect of your enterprise management system—then the QuickBooks POS system might be the right solution for you.

However, if you’re looking for just a simple, easy-to-use virtual cash register, the QuickBooks POS system might be more than you need. Plus, the QuickBooks POS system is a locally installed POS system. If you want the flexibility of using POS systems that can work anywhere, on any device, the QuickBooks POS system might not be for you.

QuickBooks POS Pricing

The QuickBooks POS system is the pricey option among the list of the best POS systems for small business owners.

You’ll get a free 30-day trial, but after that, you can choose from the following plans:

The “Basic” comes in at $1,799.95. The Basic package lets you process payments, track inventory, and offer discounts and sales receipts. However, you’ll miss out on shipping features, special discounts across multiple products, employee tracking, and more.

The Basic is the least expensive option and the most suited for smaller, “mom and pop” businesses.

The next level up is the Point of Sale Pro, which is $2,499.95. You’ll get all the features of the basic subscription level, plus the ability to track employee hours, create loyalty programs, and offer gift cards. And finally, the Multi-Store (for $2,699.95) gives you all the features of the Pro, plus multi-store inventory tracking, the ability to manage multiple stores, shipping and tracking, and report generation.

What This Business Owner Had to Say About QuickBooks POS

When Did You Start Using QuickBooks POS?

“I’ve been using Intuit Quickbooks for eight years. I’ve been using their POS system in conjunction with QuickBooks accounting for three years.”

How Has QuickBooks POS Specifically Helped Your Business?

“I’m an independent consultant, so it’s often that I’ll be out at networking events, talking to a prospective lead, and said lead says, ‘I’m in. Let’s get this started right now.’

“It’s easy to open the app, set them up in my system, swipe a card (or send an invoice) and it’s done. It records both the income and expense without me having to do another thing. With my Zapier link from Quickbooks to Active Campaign, they are also instantly added to my customer mailing list. There is nothing better then done and done!”

“The one complaint with the QuickBooks POS system is it isn’t friendly for those with WordPress websites to easily create ‘Buy Now’ buttons and have a checkout system that runs smoothly with QuickBooks. It can be done through an extra set of plugins (many out there to pick from), however, for a non-techy there are many hoops to go through to make it all happen.”

Alaina Frederick, Founder of 4b Consulting

3. Shopify POS: The Best POS System for Retail Businesses

Shopify is currently one of the most popular online sales platforms, owing its success since 2005 to their ecommerce platform.

However, in 2013, Shopify ventured into the world on brick-and-mortar stores, added their own system to the list of best POS systems available to retail store owners.

The Shopify POS system wins out on affordability, simplicity, and customer support.

Shopify POS gives you a flexible way to sell your product—whether that’s out of one or two stores, your stand in a flea market, or on social media. You can accept payments from any device, and all your data gets synced into your Shopify POS platform. If you’re only using the Shopify POS for your brick-and-mortar store, all you need is an iPad to process payments with this POS system.

Shopify prides its POS system on its intuitive design. It’s easy to set up and easy to navigate. Plus, set up will be especially easy if you already use Shopify to manage your online storefront (you’ll simply have to purchase the Shopify POS system as an add-on).

Shopify POS is a great option for small- to medium-sized retail businesses, but they do only serve business in that industry.

Shopify POS Pricing

Shopify POS has some of the most affordable pricing structures when compared to other POS systems available to small business owners.

Their most basic plan, the Lite plan, is $9 per month. This is for business owners looking to accept payments only in person. With the Lite plan, you can add unlimited products and use the POS system across unlimited devices. Shopify will charge a 2.7% + 0¢ fee on each payment that’s accepted in person.

Next up is the Basic plan, which is $29 per month. The Basic plan is a good option if you intend on using Shopify and their POS system for both in-store and online payments. This plan allows for 2 staff accounts, unlimited products and devices, and Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest sales channels. The Basic account comes with a 2.7% + 0¢ fee on each in-person credit card payments, a 2.9% + 30¢ fee on online credit card payments, and an external payment gateways rate of 2.0%.

After the two most affordable plans, Shopify offers two more levels of subscription: Shopify ($79 per month), and Advanced Shopify ($299 per month). These subscriptions are best for larger businesses who intend to use Shopify as an e-commerce platform to manage their entire online and in-person storefront.

What This Business Owner Had to Say About Shopify POS

When Did You Start Using Shopify POS?

“We have been using Shopify POS for most of our company’s lifetime, roughly three years.”

How Has Shopify POS Specifically Helped Your Business?

“When we are at events for our company, Twill, and our table is crowded, all of our sales team members can have the Shopify POS app on their phone with a widget in order to accept credit and debit card sales. Shopify POS is very versatile with clear-cut information to see how we are doing daily, weekly, monthly, and with great detail.”

—Zac Halloran, Founder & CEO of Twill

4. Digital Dining: The Best POS System for Restaurants

If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use POS system for your restaurant business, then Digital Dining is a good option to check out.  

Digital Dining allows you to fully manage your in-store purchases but also gives you table, order, reservations, delivery, and online ordering management. They also help keep track of your employee scheduling and manage the inventory in your restaurant.

Another major perk of using Digital Dining is that it fully connects to any other POS hardware you currently have in your restaurant. This is an especially good option for restaurants that want mobility in their POS system but don’t want to buy new hardware for their payment system.

Digital Dining Pricing

Digital Dining doesn’t outright list their pricing structure on their website.

PC Mag’s review of Digital Dining states that each terminal costs $1,100. But the best way to figure out what Digital Dining will cost you is to contact one of their sales representatives and explain your POS system needs.

What This Business Owner Had to Say About Digital Dining

When Did You Start Using Digital Dining?

“Our favorite POS is Digital Dining. We’ve been using it for almost two years.”

How Has Digital Dining Specifically Helped Your Business?

“The reason why we prefer this POS system compared to others is because of its customer service—it’s pretty much 24/7. You can call them for any inquiry and they will make sure it’s solved. Plus, they educate you and your staff on how to optimize the POS system for you.

“One of the functionalities we particularly like is that we have access to customized reports. With these, we have total control over the information we need in order to make important management decisions.”

—Alejandro Puga, Manager at Dr. Limon

What’s the Best POS System for Your Business?

You’ve heard these four business owners’ take on the best POS system for them…

Now what’s the best POS system for your small business?

There’s a long list of the best POS systems these days, and each option serves a specific need or industry. Vend, QuickBooks, Shopify, and Digital Dining are just a few of the top POS systems available. Other favorites include ShopKeep, Bindo, TouchBistro, Clover, PayPal Here, and Square.

With lots of POS systems available, make sure you do your research to find the best solution for your business!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Georgia McIntyre

Georgia McIntyre

Finance Writer at Fundera
Georgia McIntyre is the resident Finance Writer at Fundera. She specializes in all things small business finance, from lending to accounting. Questions for Georgia? Comment below!
Georgia McIntyre

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