As a retailer, you need a point of sale (POS) system that can not only handle a high number of sales (and at an affordable cost to you), but that makes your day-to-day easier, so you can focus on the most important aspects of running your business.
While many retail POS systems have very similar offerings, it’s the differences in costs and features that can make one best for a retail clothing store and one best for a retail grocery store.
From tablets to touch screens and inventory, we’ve dug down into the specifics of a variety of card machines to bring you the six best retail POS systems for you to compare.
Or, if you feel like you’re ready to decide, why not get quotes for your perfect POS system today. All you need to do is provide us with some basic info about your business in the form at the top of the page and we’ll match you with the best providers for your needs.
You can jump straight to one of the providers below to learn more or keep reading to compare them all.
The 6 best retail POS systems: A deep dive
Lean: £39 per month
Standard: £59 per month
Advanced: £99 per month
Enterprise: Custom pricing
- Quick keys and easy search to keep sales moving
- Custom fields and customisable buttons and receipts
- Built-in inventory counting and low stock alert
- Retail analytics across multiple locations
- Integrations with accounting, ecommerce, and marketing apps
Lightspeed Retail is an all-in-one POS system and commerce platform for busy retailers, offering everything from customisable point of sales features to mix and match hardware bundles.
Lightspeed doesn’t sell its own hardware but allows you to combine elements from different brands within your setup. This means you can integrate an industry-leading printer with an industry-leading scanner and cash register.
The inventory management function is pretty comprehensive, with reorder points and low stock alerts to significantly reduce the chances of bestsellers being out-of-stock, and the ability to track unit costs, margins, and inventory levels across multiple locations. And with built-in inventory counting features, you can also minimise errors associated with manual entry.
There’s plenty of analytics and reports to get your teeth into as well, including staff performance and customer spend, all of which can be customised to align with your business metrics.
Finally, Lightspeed Retail offers integrations with loads of leading accounting, ecommerce, marketing apps, and more, allowing you to sync data across multiple platforms and even develop custom solutions with its open API.
Plus: £49 per month per location
Premium: Custom pricing
- Multi-location inventory management and stock forecasting
- Multi-channel selling both online and in-store
- In-depth sales reports
- Manage your team with unlimited employee passcodes and timecard reporting
- Next working day and instant transfers
Founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey, the man who started Twitter, Square has grown to become one of the most popular point of sale systems in the world for retailers.
And it’s not hard to see why: Square POS is fully stocked with everything a busy retail business needs to handle sales, customers, inventory, and more.
Let’s start with payments. Square integrates all payments, whether they’re through card, Apple Pay, or gift card into your POS, and can deliver funds into your account instantly or the next working day for just a 1% transfer fee. Meanwhile, in-depth, by-the-minute sales and profit margin reports give you granular insights into performance that you can act on.
Square also helps keep your queue moving with barcode scanning, item search, and customer profiles, and can quickly process itemised returns and exchanges. Its inventory counting tool makes it easy to update, review, and stock take, and stock forecasting alerts you when you need to reorder.
Finally, Square sells a variety of sleek, compact, and affordable hardware, including terminals, card readers, iPod stands, and accessories, so you can find your perfect retail POS setup.
Shopify POS pricing is on top of the cost of your Shopify store plan.
Basic: £19 per month
Shopify: £49 per month
Advanced: £259 per month
Shopify POS Pro: £74.70 per month per location
- Offer customers a fully omnichannel experience by integrating online and in store shopping
- Smart stock monitoring offers sales and inventory recommendations
- Control staff permissions and track the performance of each team member
- Comprehensive checkout function with customisable receipts, discounts, and sales
- Full range of Shopify POS hardware available
Befitting a company whose primary business is online commerce, Shopify has cornered the market in omnichannel selling. For example, a customer can buy in store and have the product shipped to them from the nearest location with it in stock. They can also purchase online and return in store, and you can send them emails promoting an item they were interested in but didn’t buy in store.
When it comes to stock management, Shopify’s Stocky app is a cut above. It uses smart technology to suggest purchase orders based on product performance and can make recommendations for releasing cash and inventory based on what isn’t selling. It also offers detailed inventory reports and tracking, so you can keep on top of stock and plan ahead.
The customisable checkout is also worth highlighting. You can create customised printed, email, and SMS receipts, and there’s a tailored smart grid that adapts based on cart actions, which makes it easy to offer a seamless experience to both staff and customers.
Lastly, it might have started online, but Shopify now offers its own complete ‘plug-and-play’ POS hardware package through the Shopify Hardware store, all available with a one-year warranty.
£399 or £25 per month
- Full EPOS Now POS hardware available
- Multi-site and omnichannel store management
- Import, update, and manage thousands of products
- Customer profiles that automatically update with every purchase
- Access reports on everything from best sellers to top performing employees through the cloud
EPOS Now is the real deal when it comes to retail. As well as selling its own retail POS hardware, it provides all the features and functions you could ever need, whether you’re a florist or a farm shop.
EPOS Now’s award-winning hardware starter kit includes a touch screen, printer, cash drawer and software, which can be expanded through the addition of other devices and accessories as your business grows. That’s not to mention the hundreds of software integrations, including Mailchimp, Sage, and a variety of ecommerce platforms, so you can build a fully comprehensive setup.
The analytics are also worth shouting about. You can access insights and reports at any time and on any device through the cloud, including individual product performance and employee performance. You can also use the search function to identify trending items or non-selling stock and use reports to identify peak sales times.
What’s more, you can manage customer relationships and build loyalty with customer profiles, which automatically update every time they make a purchase, allowing you to create targeted campaigns and award points.
Zettle card reader: From £29
Full POS setup: From £189 (excluding VAT)
- Full range of sleek and compact hardware
- Bulk import thousands of products and manage them within the app
- Bank deposits made within 1-2 business days
- Accepts all major cards, as well as Apple, Android, and Google Pay
- Daily reports on sales and staff performance
Zettle’s range of hardware is both aesthetically pleasing and compact, making it a great option for small retailers with limited space. You can connect the Reader 2 and barcode scanner to your smartphone or tablet or use the in-built barcode scanner on the Zettle app.
Zettle also makes it easy to build and manage your product library. You can bulk import thousands of products from Excel, add photos and descriptions and group products by category and collection for easy search. All products are then synced online, and in-store and sales are tracked so you can keep an eye on inventory, with automatic alerts for low stock levels. You also get automatic daily reports on sales and staff performance.
The payments and fees really set Zettle apart. Card transaction fees are set at a flat rate of 1.75%, so you always know how much of your revenue will be charged, and bank deposits are made in a speedy 1-2 business days, which is much quicker than the average. Zettle accepts all major debit and credit cards, as well as Apple, Android, and Google Pay, so you shouldn’t ever be in a situation where a customer isn’t able to make a purchase because their payment type isn’t supported.
Essential: £59 per month
Pro: £79 per month
Unified: £129 per month
- Tap, scan, or search barcodes to add items or use your smartphones camera
- Product sync across multiple stores
- Intuitive, easy-to-learn system
- Accept multiple payments on one order and take deposits or partial payments
- 14-day free trial
Saledock might only be two years old (it was founded in 2020), but as a Yorkshire-based, family-run POS that’s been designed specifically for the UK market, we think it’s worthy of your consideration.
Saledock is an all-in-one, cloud-based POS, ecommerce, and inventory solution that aims to give retailers only the features they need to make their lives easier. In practice, this means an intuitive, responsive system that staff can quickly get to grips with, and which reduces mistakes at checkout. You can add multiple stores and manage stock across each one with reorder alerts, product sync across devices and online, and top product data.
As well as being able to tap, scan or search barcodes to add items to an order, you can use the camera on your smartphone as a scanner. You can also accept multiple payments for just one order and even take deposits and partial payments if the customer wants to secure an item and settle the full payment later.
With pricing ranging from £59 to £129 per month, it is quite expensive compared to our other top POS systems. And on top of the subscription cost, if you don’t already own hardware, you’ll have to buy third-party equipment through Saledock.
That said, you do get a 14-day free trial, so you can always give it a go and see if it’s right for your business before committing to a subscription.
Still not sure which of our 6 top POS retail systems is best for your business? Why not use our free comparison tool to be matched with the most suitable provider for your needs.
Simply fill in our free quote-finding form, and answer a few simple questions about your business (it takes less than a minute). We’ll match you with the most appropriate retail POS systems.
All pricing information is accurate as of 12th July 2022.