Top Square Competitors:
10 mPOS Alternatives to Square for Your Business
In the many conversations Software Advice has every day with buyers seeking new point of sale (POS) systems, mobility is a top-requested capability. In fact, 72 percent of restaurant owners and 65 percent of retail owners we spoke with in the last year are considering tablet-based POS systems. And many of these buyers are turning to the definitive market leader: Square POS.
Square is the go-to mobile payment and iPad POS system today. It exploded on the scene in early 2009, and lit the fire for the now-expansive mobile POS (mPOS) market. Square has various offerings, which can be as simple as a card reader and corresponding app for traveling merchants. At the same time, it can be used to fully manage coffee shops, bars, retail stores and any other number of businesses.
In addition to boasting an affordable transaction fee, some key features of Square include:
Although Square is great option for retailers and restaurants looking to adopt their first POS system or replace an outdated one, it’s not a fit for everyone. That’s why we’ve made this list of seven market-leading and three top-rated alternatives to Square. These are all great POS options, but some may be better suited for running your business than others.
The following market-leading Square competitors are all cloud-based options. They have been selected based on the amount of online search traffic each receives as well as data from our own survey of software users. (See our “Methodologies” page for more details.)
Along with Square, Revel is an aged veteran in the mobile point-of-sale market. It has the highest market share of all our Square alternatives. Revel helps users keep track of their inventory, manage customers and monitor employees with scheduling, time clocks and payroll functions. The system also features robust capabilities for sales reporting and data analytics. Reports include hourly sales breakdowns, payment summaries and product order histories. Revel is designed to work for restaurants as well as retail and other shops.
Another alternative to Square is ShopKeep, which enables users to take payments, track sales and manage inventory and staff. It has the second-highest market share of these alternatives. Like Square, ShopKeep works great for restaurants as well as retail shops. It is supported on the iPad, and includes a free iPhone app called ShopKeep Pocket, which allows operators and managers to see sales data while on the go. ShopKeep also integrates with various other providers, including MailChimp, QuickBooks and customer loyalty program AppCard.
Shopify has the most Google searches of any system listed here, and comes in third on our list. With Shopify’s mobile POS capabilities, you can track register use, sales and customer purchase histories. And not only is Shopify a viable mPOS system, it also offers a full-fledged e-commerce platform through which users can set up online stores. What’s more, Shopify integrates with wireless printers and barcode scanners, allowing retailers to complete the entire transaction from anywhere. It is supported on iPhones and iPads.
Our fourth-highest Square competitor by market share is Vend. Vend allows users to conveniently add and remove products and add detail to products listed within the system. Vend offers customizable reporting capabilities, so users can get a snapshot of exactly the information they need. Like Shopify, Vend also features e-commerce support. What’s more, it offers a centralized customer loyalty program that identifies customers both shopping online and in the store.
Based on our survey of software users, Lightspeed is the most used mobile POS system listed here, and comes in fifth on our list. The software provider recently split, and now has two specialized offerings—Lightspeed Retail and Lightspeed Restaurant—that satisfy the different needs of retailers and restaurateurs. Of course, both products offer true mobility to accept orders and process payments from anywhere in your store or restaurant. And both come with in-depth reporting and management as well as inventory control capabilities.
NCR was the pioneer of the original cash register back in 1884. The company is still innovating to this day, and that innovation is most apparent in NCR Silver, its mobile POS offering. This Square competitor is sixth on our list for highest market share. Along with its storied pedigree, NCR Silver features in-depth marketing and social media tools. These enable retail and restaurant operators to create specialized messages about sales, specials or other important announcements—then share them across social media and other channels to reach more potential customers.
Cashier Live wraps up our list as the final market-leading alternative to Square. It’s a POS system built for iPads and iPhones as well as PCs. Cashier Live features customer tracking capabilities, which can help users build stronger relationships with, and encourage greater loyalty from, customers. Another beneficial tool Cashier Live provides is the cashier management module, which enables managers to track and analyze the performance of every employee signed into the system in real time.
For the next Square alternatives category, we analyzed Software Advice reviews data to determine the top-rated POS products, according to actual users. Square has an average rating of 4.3 out of five stars, and is recommended by 69 percent of reviewers at the time of publication. (You can check out Square’s reviews here.)
Products already identified as market leaders are omitted from this category.
Retail Pro is the highest-rated of the Square competitors on our list. The mobile POS system has an average rating of 4.4 out of five stars, and is recommended by 95 percent of reviewers on our site. Along with the expected POS capabilities, Retail Pro features a customizable user interface that enables users to tailor the various modules and capabilities of the system to meet business needs. Retail Pro operates as a modular suite of applications, meaning users can pick and choose the retail modules and tools that fit their needs.
Clocking in with an average rating of 4.6 out of five stars is Springboard Retail, our second highest-rated mPOS system. This solution is recommended by 80 percent of Software Advice reviewers. Springboard features an in-depth customer dashboard that lets users see high-level statistics and data about a customer’s purchase history, including their average transaction value, net spend and return rate. The dashboard also automatically shows how a given customer’s statistics compare with the average customer’s over the past 12 months. This helps users easily identify their most valuable customers so they can create targeted marketing.
Our final top-rated alternative to Square is iQmetrix’s RQ Retail Management solution. It has an average rating of 4.21 out of five stars, and 85 percent of reviewers recommend the system. RQ users can personalize their digital workspace—meaning they can easily access the information and tools within the system that are most important to them. RQ also offers customer marketing capabilities, which allow users to reconnect with customers after a purchase to make sure they’re happy with their experience.
While these mobile POS systems all share similarities, each offers a distinct advantage over the others—Square included. Take your time and check out multiple options before jumping in. This report, along with our in-depth mPOS Buyer’s Guide, can be used to help identify the right mobile POS system for you and your business. And for a larger list of mPOS products, visit our mPOS listings page.
To arrive at the market-leading rankings, we surveyed U.S. software users about current products used. We then calculated an online brand popularity score, which is based on the number of times the product name and related phrases are searched for on Google per month. We valued the popularity score twice as much as the survey data.
To arrive at the rankings for top-rated competitors and top-rated best-of-breed alternatives, we analyzed our proprietary reviews data. From this data, we ranked products based on their average overall star rating (out of a possible five) as well as the percentage of reviewers who said they would recommend the product.