Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped hundreds of small businesses choose the right point-of-sale (POS) solution for managing their customers and retail operations.

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Epos Now

Epos Now is a retail management system for small to mid-sized businesses. In addition to its Point of Sale module, the solution also offers integrated Inventory Management, Customer Management, and Retail Accounting, including gen... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 97 recommendations

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HungerRush

HungerRush is a food delivery solution that enables restaurants of all sizes to streamline operations related to online ordering, loyalty programs, reporting and more. Professionals can utilize the platform to create custom order ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 61 recommendations

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Toast POS

Toast POS is a flexible system built exclusively for restaurants and the food service industry. Offering tools like online ordering, delivery, takeout, mobile app ordering, contactless payments, and e-gift card purchasing, this so... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 58 recommendations

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Rain POS

Rain retail software is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) and integrated website solution that is Mac OS and Windows compatible. Rain is an all-in-one platform designed for small to medium sized specialty retailers that offer... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 42 recommendations

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NetSuite

NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive rang... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 37 recommendations

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Lightspeed Retail

Lightspeed Retail is a cloud-based POS solution that is suitable for retailers in industries such as apparel, footwear, bike, jewelry, pet, sporting goods and home decor. The solution offers retailers tools including inventory man... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 36 recommendations

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talech

Talech POS is a cloud-based retail, restaurant & bar and professional services solution that offers point-of-sale (POS), inventory and customer management, appointment scheduling and deep, real-time analytics. The solution stores ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 35 recommendations

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Shopify

Shopify is a web-based e-commerce platform that offers a mobile POS (mPOS) system. The mPOS enables users to manage their business and complete transactions in-store as well as at markets, pop-ups, and trade shows. The e-commerce ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

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KORONA

KORONA provides point of sale software, inventory management, and CRM services for all types of retailers, such as convenience stores, liquor shops, and QSRs. The POS software also caters to museums, theme parks, and wineries with... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 20 recommendations

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Epicor Retail Solutions

Epicor retail POS and business management solutions are designed to help independent retailers work smarter, not harder. With more than 45 years of experience built-in, Epicor retail solutions help retailers in nearly 8,000 locati... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 20 recommendations

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SpotOn Restaurant

SpotOn Restaurant is a cloud-based point-of-sale solution that enables businesses to streamline processes related to food ordering, tableside payments, customer retention and more. The online ordering functionality enables busines... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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Agiliron

Agiliron cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) solution is designed to serve both in-store and mobile businesses as well as online sales channels. The system offers a host of features that work in tandem with the point-of-sale solution,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

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CAP Retail Point of Sale

CAP Retail Point of Sale is built to support retailers, including specialty businesses such as tobacco and vape shops, liquor, wine and beer stores, lawn and garden centers, hardware stores, convenience stores, groceries and marke... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

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COMCASH Retail ERP

COMCASH ERP is a cloud-based retail management solution that caters to multi-channel and multi-location retailers. The point of sale module utilizes multi-touch capabilities allowing users to navigate the menu similarly to th... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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IT Retail

Retail MARKET is a cloud­-based point of sale (POS) solution built especially for independently-run grocery stores and retailers. Key features include inventory management, customer management and mobile device support. R... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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GiftLogic

GiftLogic is a retail management solution for small businesses. In addition to Point of Sale, the solution includes inventory management, customer management, and e-commerce integrations. GiftLogic is an on-premise solution, and c... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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BrewPOS

BrewPOS is a Windows IOT solution for restaurants designed to intuitively manage the daily functions for your restaurant. Open Tabs with EMV chip cards and close them without the customer present. Never keep a credit card behind t... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Ordorite

Ordorite offers a fully end-to-end management software solution for furniture, bedding and related retailers. The system can manage every aspect of your business from point of sale, inventory control, warehouse management, deliver... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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CStore Office

CStoreOffice is a cloud-based inventory management solution by Petrosoft that helps businesses to keep track of their inventories and manage other back-office operations. CStoreOffice helps managers to eliminate dead inventor... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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SimpleConsign

SimpleConsign by Traxia offers a web-based single or multi-store solution for consignment stores, resellers, small retailers, antique malls, and art galleries. No download is required, and set up, data conversion and backups are i... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: April 22, 2021

Over the past decade, technology has brought disruption in customer expectations, as can be seen in the following statistics:

  • Sixty-five percent of the customers prefer to purchase products from businesses that know their purchase history and therefore provide better product recommendations.
  • Eighty-one percent of customers expect businesses to provide them with relevant offers and discounts.

Today's complex customer expectations can only be met with the right technology. For this reason, small businesses need to invest in the point-of-sale (POS) software that best helps them:

  • Record customer transactions and purchase history
  • Recommend products based on the customers' purchase preferences
  • Support payment methods such as online and credit card
  • Offer discounts to customers based on sales trends and purchase history

To meet the expectations of today's customers, small businesses must invest in point-of-sale (POS) tools that help them analyze customer transactions and provide discounts and recommendations accordingly.

To give you an understanding of small business POS market, we've created this guide that includes necessary information related to the purchase of a POS solution.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Small Business POS Software?
Common Features of Small Business POS Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Popular Small Business POS System Comparisons
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Small Business POS Software?

Small business POS software is a retail management solution that helps small retailers and other businesses manage their point of sale (POS) operations, including customer records, inventory, purchases and other transactions.

This type of software assists store operators in creating product entries, calculating total costs and taxes, creating bills and accepting payments.

POS software also integrates with useful retail hardware such as terminals, barcode scanners, card readers and iPads and other tablets.

There are four main types of POS solutions on the market:

  • Tablet POS: A cloud-based application that helps you manage transactions from a tablet device.
  • Mobile POS: Delivered through a mobile application, mobile POS helps manage retail transactions using smartphone devices.
  • Terminal POS: Helps you manage transactions from a check-out counter. These can be delivered either as cloud-based or as on-premise systems.
  • Online POS: This software is delivered via the cloud and can be accessed from a web browser by signing into the POS account.

Common Features of Small Business POS Software

Before you make a final purchase decision, you'll need an understanding of the features included in a POS solution. In this section, we're describing the most common POS software features to look for.

Order management Track and manage customer orders across all your business locations. Define stock keeping unit (SKU) codes and receive automatic prompts to reorder when inventory levels go below the set minimum.
Inventory management Receive real-time reports on inventory levels. Transactions are synced in real time as soon as an in-store or online sale is made.
Customer management Manage the customer registration process and add customer data to the database at the point of purchase. Marketers and business owners can use this information to create upselling and cross-selling campaigns.
Shift management Schedule available staff and log their attendance and work hours. This functionality also allows managers to track employee clock-in/out times, leave and shift-swap requests.
Reporting Generate real-time reports on sales, employee performance and inventory levels.
Payment management Integrate with card readers and other payment devices to support multiple modes such as cash, credit cards and debit cards. POS software also generates invoices and sends email receipts to customers once a transaction is complete.
Sales log in Square POS

Sales log in Square POS (Source)

What Type of Buyer Are You?

In this section, we've classified small retail businesses into three categories, each having different characteristics and unique POS software needs:

Single store business. Due to limited resources and staff, single-location business owners have to manage a number of business functions on their own. They must schedule employees, prepare sales reports, track inventory, manage payroll and calculate business taxes.

For this reason, if you operate a single-location store, you should invest in a POS solution that helps you automate operational tasks. Look for a product that includes inventory tracking, reporting and employee scheduling functionalities, as well as the ability to integrate with your accounting platform.

Multilocation chain. If you operate your business across multiple locations, managing inventory is a big challenge because you have to track sales, profits and purchases across each of these locations.

For this reason, POS software buyers that operate more than one store should invest in a product that specifically offers multilocation support. These products enable users to manage purchases across each business location, monitor inventory levels in real time and track sales and profits across all the locations.

Combined brick-and-mortar and online business. Businesses that sell their products both in store and online have significantly different needs compared to businesses that sell exclusively from physical stores. They have to manage their website, product listings on marketplaces (such as Amazon and eBay), online orders and online payments. They must also track in-store inventory in tandem with online orders.

For this reason, if you run a retail business that sells products online, you need to invest in a POS solution that offers e-commerce integration and website management functionality. You should also look for marketplace integrations such as Amazon.com and eBay that help you manage product listings and sales on these channels.

Popular Small Business POS System Comparisons

Market Trends to Understand

Artificial intelligence (AI) to power product recommendations in the future. "Product recommendations" is one of the most important parameters that today's customers value. In response, small businesses have started exploring AI technology to provide better and more relevant recommendations. An AI-powered recommendation engine processes a number of factors such as purchase history, retail trends and season to provide the most appropriate product recommendations. We expect to see an increase in adoption of AI-powered recommendation engines by 2020.

Digital receipts to replace paper invoices. The relevance of paper receipts is diminishing rapidly: Nine out of 10 paper receipts generated today end up getting scrapped. This trend is driving the rapid adoption of digital receipts in retail businesses. As digital receipts completely replace paper-based receipts, we expect digital receipts to become a core feature in all small business POS solutions by 2021.

IoT will completely disrupt customer expectations. With the proliferation of smart devices, IoT is already disrupting customers' purchase preferences. For instance, using IoT-based products such as Amazon Dash, consumers can place orders on Amazon.com using voice commands. Retailers have also started leveraging IoT devices to offer personalized discounts to customers based on the section of the store they're in. With these developments and the increasing adoption of smart devices, we can expect this trend to disrupt the retail industry significantly by 2023.