Note: This post was written in 2014. For an updated look at the iPad POS landscape, check out our Buyer’s Guide.
iPad point-of-sale (POS) software is increasingly replacing the use of traditional POS registers—and it’s easy to see why. A tablet’s size and intuitive user interface (UI) make it an ideal option for POS needs, while its mobility and low price point allow retailers to serve customers virtually anywhere, with no expensive installation necessary.
Offering the full suite of POS functionality, including inventory tracking and customer records, iPad POS options are especially useful for mobile merchants, such as food trucks. According to research by Accenture, both consumers and and merchants are finding enhanced value in mobile POS systems.
To give you a better sense of the options available, we evaluated dozens of iPad POS systems and selected the eight vendors with our favorite UIs.
Voted “Best Business iPad App of the Year” by Macworld, Revel Systems gives retailers a comprehensive overview of sales data, inventory and employees using colorful charts and a simple, attractive design that make details visually pop.
The top navigation bar highlights an icon that indicates which screen a user is on, quickly orienting them to where they are in the system. This is especially useful, as Revel Systems is geared toward larger businesses with numerous locations.
The system also features an open application programming interface (API), allowing users to customize it as they see fit by adding or removing features. Revel Systems also accepts unique payments, such as Bitcoin and gift cards.
Featuring a clean, visually compelling UI, Square is a leader in the mobile POS market, with 2 million users. Square’s free software, Square Register, processes more than $8 billion in annual payments.
We like how the UI features large, bold pictures of items that allow for easy visual recognition.The square pictures align well with the overall grid design of the page for compact “stacking,” and fit naturally with the iPad’s shape.
Square’s intuitive design can display product categories customized with colors, text and pictures, making it easy to select and distinguish between items. The POS system also allows retailers to add and manage inventory items directly on the iPad, which is not true of all cloud-based POS software.
LightSpeed has a fully brandable interface, allowing retailers to customize the UI to convey their own unique look and feel. The product’s sleek appearance is enhanced by its ability to store high-resolution product imagery to help customers get a better look at and feel for items. It also features multi-store inventory searches, and can integrate with many different payment processors.
Relying on simplicity over flair, LightSpeed guides the user’s eyes to the most important item—the price—placed prominently under a picture of the product being purchased.
We like how Vend categorizes items by color, allowing for the creation of quick visual groupings. In the screenshot below, for example, yellow items are skirts and purple items are shorts. These color groupings do a nice job of visually breaking up large blocks of information.
Customers can quickly view which items they’re purchasing as they’re added, as well as the total amount and applicable tax, streamlining the checkout process. We also like that users are able to switch between item categories, such as clothing and accessories.
Created for restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs, Groupon’s Breadcrumb organizes products into categories using tabs, allowing users to easily select from different menu items.
While this UI doesn’t rely on illustrations or images of inventory items, as many other POS UIs do, we like the skeuomorphic balance sheet on the left side of the screen. Resembling a ripped-out piece of paper, it adds an element of whimsy to an otherwise sleek, efficient design.
One of the most aesthetically appealing POS options showcased here, Change features bright, clean, organized visuals. Categories are grouped by color and use photos for quick recognition, and users can view single items or groups of items.
In the column on the far left, you can add up an order and calculate discounts and change in a single place, making this a highly functional interface. Efficient and stylish, Change is designed specifically for cafes, coffee houses and food trucks.
ShopKeep has an impressively immaculate interface, featuring simple shapes and minimal illustrations. Its interface aesthetic resembles that of Apple products, using a simple, sans-serif font and plenty of active white space.
We also like the large keypad, and how the amount tendered is prominently displayed in a modal window. Similar to LightSpeed, ShopKeep differentiates itself from other POS user interfaces with bright colors and a lack of graphics.
One of the simplest designs highlighted here, Cashier Live uses a compelling shade of orange to direct the viewers’ eye. We appreciate that the most essential information—the total price—is brightly displayed in neon green.
This cloud-based UI features a highly efficient layout, with a top menu bar that allows the user to scroll through different item categories, such as jewelry and shoes. We also like that each item is displayed with both a picture and price.
This gallery showcases our favorite UIs, but we’re always looking for sleek new submissions, new market entrants or redesigns, so please feel free to send us your best retail iPad POS software UIs.