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The best POS software for 2023
As we move further into the 21st century, businesses are increasingly looking for ways to modernize and automate their ...
As we move further into the 21st century, businesses are increasingly looking for ways to modernize and automate their operations. For example, many food businesses are now using AI-based tools to create HACCP plans.
Point-of-sale (POS) software is another way to achieve this modernization, and it’s becoming more and more popular as time goes on.
In fact, recent insights suggest that the global market for POS software is expected to reach $70.75 billion by 2029.
So what makes software for POS so popular? And what should you be looking for when choosing a POS system for your business? Read ahead to learn more.
WHAT WE'LL COVER:
What is a POS system?
A POS system is a combination of software and hardware that helps businesses manage their day-to-day operations.
It can help automate the sales process, track inventory, manage customer data, and generate detailed reports. It can also be used to accept various forms of payments such as cash, debit card, and credit card. In other words, it can help you manage the basic operations of your entire business.
The components of a POS system include:
- A display unit, which displays transactions
- A touchscreen device or a keyboard, which allows the operator to enter billing details into the system
- A barcode scanner, which scans billed objects that have a scannable barcode on them
- Receipt printers, which print out paper receipts for your customers. Some POS solutions also offer digital receipts.
- A cash drawer, which allows you to store the cash from payments and keep your cash flow organized
- A software interface, which integrates all the components of a POS system and offers additional features such as advanced inventory management
- Credit card processors for processing payments
It's important to know that a POS system is different from a POS terminal. A POS payment terminal is a physical device (like a card reader) that can be used to process payments, and it's a component of a POS system.
A POS system, on the other hand, is a software and hardware combination that helps you manage sales-related functions of your business.
A relatively new advancement in the POS world are integrated POS terminals. These POS terminals integrate with your POS system, which means that any time you enter a sale into the POS system, the information is automatically sent to your POS terminal for payment processing.
This also works the other way round — if you enter a sale into the POS terminal, the information is automatically sent to your POS software. This makes it easy for businesses to keep track of sales and process payments quickly.
What are the different types of POS software?
There are 4 main types of POS software: legacy, cloud-based, mobile, and tablet POS systems.
1. Legacy POS systems
These are traditional POS systems that are installed on-site in a physical location. This means all of your data is stored on the premises, which can make it difficult to access it remotely.
Additionally, these systems are usually more expensive than other options because of the hardware costs associated with them.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of legacy POS systems is that they're difficult to use and require considerable training before your staff gets the hang of them.
They'll also need regular maintenance, which can add to their cost and may disrupt your business operations.
However, since all your data is stored locally in a legacy POS system, you don’t have to worry about internet outages hampering your business operations.
2. Cloud-based POS systems
Everything is going cloud-based today, from food safety management systems to POS solutions. These are POS systems that are hosted on the cloud. This means all your data is stored and accessed remotely, so you don't need to pay for any additional hardware.
Furthermore, cloud-based solutions are usually easier to use and can be used on multiple devices, which reduces the need for extensive staff training.
The systems are also regularly updated by the service provider to offer you more advanced features, and you don't need to worry about maintenance costs or downtime.
The only downsides of cloud-based POS systems are that they're more vulnerable to data breaches than legacy ones and require an internet connection to function properly.
3. Mobile POS systems
As the name suggests, mobile POS systems are cloud-based POS systems that run on smartphones. This means they can be operated from anywhere within a business, allowing sales associates or waiters to check inventory levels on the go and guide customers accordingly.
In addition, with multiple mobile POS systems operating in a store, customers can make mobile payments and don't have to wait in lines to complete their purchases, increasing the overall transaction rate of your business. This makes mobile POS systems ideal for restaurants and pop-up stores.
4. Tablet POS systems
Last but not the least are tablet POS systems. These are similar to mobile POS systems, with the only difference being that these sale systems run on tablets instead of phones.
This makes them ideal for restaurants and retail stores, where staff need to take orders and process payments while on the move.
But once again, they're based on the cloud, which may not be secure enough for some businesses.
How to choose a POS software?
Choosing a POS system can be confusing because there are just so many options in the market. But here are 3 steps you can take to streamline the process:
1. Assess your needs
The first step is to assess your requirements and determine the kind of POS software that would be most suitable for your business.
Think about the type of business you're running, the features you need, how many devices you'll be using, and whether a cloud-based system is right for you.
In addition, here are some POS features that you might want to consider when defining your needs:
- In-depth inventory management, which lets you keep track of your stock levels
- Seamless integration with payment processors to process payments quickly and securely
- Reporting and analytics, so you can monitor your business performance
- Customer management, which allows you to store contact information, track customer data, and operate customizable loyalty programs to increase customer retention
- Employee management, which can help you keep track of things like clock-in and clock-out times and employee shift schedules
- Integration with ecommerce platforms, which will help you integrate online and offline sales channels into a single platform
- Multi-store functionality, which allows you to manage multiple stores from the same POS software
2. Research the market
Once you've defined the features you require, it's time to hit the market. Your goal is to find the perfect balance between features and cost while keeping in mind your business type.
Start by researching the different POS software available in the market, then compare features and prices to find one that's best suited for your business.
Keep in mind that many POS providers offer customized solutions, so you can get the exact features and functionality that you need without having to pay for unnecessary add-ons.
You can also leverage online resources like review websites and forums to get first hand feedback from existing customers.
And of course, you can read the next section of this post to learn about the best software for 2023 — you might find something that’s perfect for your needs!
3. Test out the system
Once you've narrowed down your POS options, you should take the time to test them out before making a purchase.
Many vendors offer free trials or demos, so you can see how the system works and make sure it's the right solution for your business.
It's also worth asking your vendor about their customer support and training services, since these can be vital for businesses that are just getting started with a new POS system.
And if you're buying a cloud-based system, make sure it meets your security requirements and has the necessary features for data protection.
The top 14 POS systems for 2023
You now know what a POS system is, the different types of POS systems, and how to choose a solution for your business.
It's now time to take a look at the top 14 POS systems for 2023. These are some of the best POS solutions in North America and the UK today, and will help you manage your business more efficiently and effectively.
Best for: small businesses looking for a comprehensive POS solution
Square is an all-in-one solution that offers features like inventory management, customer loyalty programs, and reporting and analytics.
It has a global customer base of 2 million businesses and comes with an integrated payment processing solution, making it one of the most popular POS solutions in the market today.
It integrates payments, inventory, analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), and ecommerce with its POS system, providing powerful features such as:
- A wide range of payment methods, including chip cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Cash App Pay, plastic gift cards, and Tap to Pay on iPhone.
- Encrypted payments, which ensures your customers' data remains safe.
- Dispute resolution, which can help you manage disputes (such as issues with credit card payments) without too much hassle. You can track disputes via the dispute section on the Square Dashboard. The company is expert at dealing with banks, so you can focus on your business instead.
- eCommerce integration, which means Square integrates online and in-store sales into a single platform.
- Hardware options, such as Square terminal (a credit card reader), Square register (a cash register), reader for contactless and chip payments, and stand.
- Add-ons, which allow you to add on features like email marketing, loyalty tracking, team management, and payroll to run all aspects of your business from a single location.
- Buy Now Pay Later, which allows your customers to avail of Afterpay's BNPL service, with no additional cost to you.
Square's sale software is free to use, with no setup or monthly fees. You only pay payment processing fees of 2.6% + 10 cents every time you take a payment.
Best for: restaurants looking for spill-proof POS hardware
As the name suggests, Toast is an all-in-one system designed for restaurants. It comes with a wide range of powerful restaurant-specific features, such as:
- A handheld POS terminal, which allows for mobile payment and processing and lets your staff collect guest feedback.
- IP54 spill-proof hardware, which is designed to handle the rigors of a busy restaurant.
- Integration with delivery brands, which sends orders from 3rd party delivery marketplaces directly to your POS system, allowing you to maximize off-premise sales.
- Menu management features, which let you update your menu from any terminal in your restaurant or from your smartphone. You also get menu countdown, which lets your servers know when an item from inventory is running low.
Toast offers 4 pricing plans, which include:
- Starter Kit: This is the most basic plan. At $0 per month, you get a cloud-based POS system and hardware configuration including one terminal.
- POS: At $69 per month, you get additional features like custom hardware configuration.
- Essentials: at $165 per month, you get online ordering options, such as Toast TakeOut and Toast Delivery Services.
- Custom pricing: You can contact Toast's sales team to get a custom quote according to the features you need.
Best for: businesses looking for free POS training and onboarding
NCR is another popular POS system that serves restaurants and retail businesses like convenience stores. Some of its most powerful features include:
- Offline support. Although NCR is a cloud-based system, it allows you to continue taking payments even during internet outages via its on-premise restaurant management system, keeping your restaurant or retail operation smooth.
- Handheld POS, which allows you to serve customers at the tableside.
- Free POS training, which reduces the overall cost of implementing NCR's POS system.
- Online and digital ordering, so you don't have to set up a separate system for online sales.
The price of the software is provided after careful consultation with their representative.
Best for: restaurants looking to provide an excellent checkout experience
Just like NCR, Lightspeed also caters to restaurants (via Lightspeed Restaurant) and retail (via Lightspeed Retail). It offers all basic POS system features, plus additional tools such as:
- Order Anywhere, which lets your customers make a contactless payment by simply scanning a QR code at their table. This speeds up service, allows for a frictionless payment process, and increases your table turnover.
- Bill splitting, which is powered by Lightspeed Payments and allows your customers to split bills at the table without any hassle. This is a rather unique feature and allows you to provide a great customer experience.
- Lightspeed Delivery, which allows you to receive orders from apps like DoorDash and UberEats right into your POS system. You can consolidate all online orders into a single screen to keep things organized and flowing.
- Floor plan adjustment, which helps you move tables and adjust your floor plan on the app so your servers know where to go.
- Kitchen display system (KDS), a solution for restaurant management that allows you to keep track of what's cooking and what's ready to go, making your operations smoother.
Lightspeed's pricing plans begin at $69 per month and go all the way to $400 per month if you need advanced options (charged annually).
Advanced plans offer features like floor plans, Order Anywhere, CRM and loyalty, and advanced reporting.
Best for: restaurants looking to integrate marketing and POS
Clover is a complete cloud-based POS system that offers both hardware and software solutions. It's designed to help the retail industry, restaurants, service businesses, and ecommerce businesses.
Some of the features it offers include:
- Team management, which is a solution for staff management and allows you to manage shifts and schedules, keep track of your employees' sales and tips, and set individual employee permissions based on your team's structure.
- A wide range of integrations with sale software like Yelp, QuickBooks, and MailChimp, which makes it easy to keep track of your customers and manage operations.
- Customer engagement features, which let you send out email campaigns and announcements to your customers right from your POS system.
- A wide range of payment methods, such as credit and debit cars, card chips, and mobile wallets.
- Different hardware types — including mobile, portable, and countertop POS devices — to meet your needs.
Clover's pricing for quick service restaurants starts at $90/month and goes all the way up to $175/month for full-service plans.
Best for: restaurant owners looking to stay on top of their establishment
Next up is Restaurant Manager POS. It is a comprehensive and integrated POS system designed to give foodservice operators more control over their operations. The tool is specifically designed for bars, cafes (or a coffee shop), hotels, caterers, and restaurants.
Restaurant Manager POS helps operators streamline their operations by automating and simplifying many manual processes. From order taking, to payment processing, to inventory management to even customer loyalty programs, Restaurant Manager POS has you covered.
In addition, the RM Handheld app makes it easy to take orders and process payments at the tableside with mobile devices.
On top of all that, Restaurant Manager also offers cloud-based DuetPOS applications, and services for Online Ordering and Customer Loyalty are being particularly loved by its customers.
Some prominent features of this POS solution include:
- Real-time alerts, which allow you to pull over 50 different types of alerts directly from your POS. This can include things like employee's daily hours and inactive tables, and can help you stay on top of your establishment all the time.
- SkyTab, which allows your customers to pay at the table.
- Caller ID, which allows you to pull up existing customer information on your POS to facilitate ordering.
- A broad range of premade templates for digital gift cards to help your marketing efforts.
For $29.99 per month, you can get:
- POS software
- POS hardware
- 24/7 customer support
- Mobile app for reporting and analytics
You can expect to pay extra for any third-party Marketplace integrations.
7. Epos Now
Best for: restaurants looking for an easy-to-use POS system
Epos Now has been providing software services since 2011. Jacyn Heavens, Epos' founder, was trying to find a point of sale solution that was reliable and affordable for his bar.
The search turned up nothing, and thus Epos Now was born. The company is now helping over 30,000 businesses across three continents use cloud technology to make their operations easier and to maximize their profits.
Epos' POS solution caters to a wide range of industries, from a retail business like a barber shop and grocery store to hospitality establishments like restaurants and bakeries.
Some great features Epos Now offers include:
- Real-time reporting on parameters like sales reporting, staff, and stocks.
- A wide range of integrations, which allow you to connect your POS solution to accounting software and more.
- 1-on-1 onboarding, which will reduce the time it takes you to set up the system.
- User-friendly UX, which makes it easy to understand and use the system.
Currently, Epos Now is running an offer where you get both software and hardware components at an upfront cost of $99. For monthly pricing, you'll have to request a quote from their website.
Best for: restaurants looking to use their iPads for POS
Lavu entered the software market in 2010 with a simple iOS app. Today, it has grown into a comprehensive POS solution offering front of the house, back of the house, inventory, and labor features (and much more).
Some great features Lavu offers include:
- Restaurant specificity, which means it's designed specifically for restaurants and has all the features you need to run your establishment. These include inventory tracking, kitchen display system, payment processing, best seller identification, and a cash discount program to eliminate credit card processing fee.
- iPad technology, which means you can use Lavu's POS system on a technology you're already familiar with and know how to easily manage.
- 1-to-1 onboarding, where Lavu's rep will set the POS up for you and train you on how to use it. This can significantly reduce your learning curve and help you get to work faster.
- 24/7 support, allowing you to resolve any problems that may arise with just a call.
Pricing starts at $59/month with the Lavu Cash Discount Program. With traditional processing, it's $69/month, and without Lavu Pay, it's $79/month.
Best for: restaurants looking to integrate their POS with a wide range of other tools
Heartland is another popular POS solution that caters to the retail and hospitality industries.
It's designed for businesses of all sizes, from startups to large enterprises. The company started out as Heartland Payment Systems in 1997 and has grown into an all-in-one POS solution today.
- Online ordering, which allows your customers to recreate your restaurant at home and increase your sales.
- Tableside payments, which speeds up the checkout experience for your customers. Your customers can also pay from their own mobile devices.
- Back-of-the-house management options, such as kitchen, employees, waitlists, and inventory management.
- Tip management, to ensure your staff is rewarded for good service.
- Real-time menu updates, which allows you to easily update menu items and pricing across all locations.
- 75+ integrations, which allows you to integrate your POS with food delivery services like DoorDash and Grubhub.
Pricing starts at $89 per month for one station.
Best for: franchise management
Limetray is an India-based software company that has managed to onboard more than 3500 restaurants (including Burger King) across 11 countries in just 3 years.
In addition to a POS solution, Limetray also offers an online food ordering system and a CRM solution.
Some of Limetray's best features include:
- Franchise support, which allows you to control user access for different franchises and see who's performing the best.
- Inventory management, which helps you track stock and save recipes in one platform.
- Offline support, which means your data is stored both locally and on the cloud. This means you won't have to halt your operations when the internet is down.
- Easy set up — all you need is a computer to install and run Limetray's POS.
The price of the software is provided after careful consultation with their representative.
Best for: restaurant owners looking for business advice in addition to a POS solution
SpotOn payment solutions are aimed at restaurants, established single or multi-store retailers, professional services, and automotive companies.
It onboards more than 2000 businesses per month, has a $629 million financial backing, and is spread across 6 locations with more than 1600 employees worldwide.
When it comes to SpotOn's restaurant POS, it comes with a complete package. It offers everything from a POS terminal to online ordering to even a website builder.
Some of the best SpotOn features include:
- A wide range of integrations, such as DoorDash, QuickBooks, RASI, and Dolce, allowing you to consolidate your business operations.
- A Restaurant Advisory Council, which is a group of restaurant owners and entrepreneurs there to help you with things like a restaurant opening checklist, understanding the importance of food safety, and maximizing profits.
- A comprehensive POS solution that includes a handheld POS terminal, custom menu builds, table layouts, labor management, and multi-location management.
- A delivery service — called SpotOn Delivery — so you don't have to hire and manage your own drivers.
- A website builder that creates your restaurant's website in less than 48 hours. The website is fully integrated with your POS software and online ordering, as well as search engine optimized to increase your reach.
You'll have to request a quote from SpotOn to find out their pricing.
Best for: restaurants spread across multiple regions
Loyverse is currently serving over 1,000,000 businesses in over 160 countries. Plus, its apps are available in 30+ languages, which makes it an excellent choice if you operate in multiple regions or have employees who speak languages other than English.
Loyverse offers a complete solution that includes POS, inventory management, sales analytics, employee management, multi-store management, and integrations.
Some of its best features include:
- A free POS application that works on iPad, iPhone, and Android devices, allowing you to keep working with familiar technology. Loyverse also has a list of supported hardware on their website, which includes credit card machines, printers, barcode scanners, and other hardware that has been tested with Loyverse. Unfortunately, Loyverse doesn't come with its own hardware.
- Offline mode, which allows you to continue working even when the internet is down. All your data will be synced once you're connected back to the internet.
- A dark theme to use in a low ambient light environment, which ensures your staff doesn't experience eye strain.
Loyverse's POS software, kitchen display, and customer display are all free of cost. You'll only have to pay for any add-ons, such as $5/month/employee for employee management and $9/month for integrations.
Best for: restaurants looking to master upselling
POSbistro was founded in 2012 and is a software solution that makes the daily operations of restaurants easier to manage. It provides a complete set of tools that allows restaurant owners to tailor their solutions for any size of business. All of the data is stored in the cloud, allowing remote access to sales data in real time.
Some of the best features this POS solution has to offer include:
- Easy upselling with appropriate product recommendations, which allows your waiters to upsell to your customers based on what they order.
- Offline access, which allows you to work without the internet and take orders in the basement, on a beach, or even in a garden.
- A smartwatch app, which allows your waiters to receive messages about orders, table numbers, and meal preparation times. This means they'll spend more time talking to your customers, improving your restaurant's overall customer service.
POSbistro offers three pricing plans — standard, delivery, and enterprise. But you'll have to request a quote to find out their costs.
14. Mad Mobile
Best for: restaurants looking to enhance their current POS system
Last but not the least on our list is Mad Mobile, which was previously known as Try Cake.
It's a comprehensive POS solution with technology partners that include Apple, Samsung, Salesforce, and Ingenico. This allows Mad Mobile to deliver a top-of-the-class POS solution with features like:
- Real-time reports on your restaurant's POS performance metrics, which means you don't have to wait for data that's important for running your businesses.
- Spill-proof hardware that includes tablets and card readers, so you don't have to replace your hardware again and again.
- Powerful guest management features that allow you accept online reservations, manage your waitlist, and see real-time table statuses.
- A POS modernization service that can help you enhance your current POS solution without having to replace it with Mad Mobile
Mad Mobile offers two plans. If you want their complete POS solution, pricing starts at $69/month. But if you want to only enhance your current POS solution, pricing starts at $20/month.
The best POS system for small businesses
So, those were some of the best POS solutions for 2023. But how do you decide which one is the best for your business?
The answer depends on the size and type of business you have. Some POS solutions have better features, while others are more affordable. You should therefore compare the features and pricing of each one to find out which one is best suited for your business.
In general, small businesses should look for the following features when choosing POS software:
- Low cost, which will help you invest in other, more important areas of your business to help it grow.
- Familiar technology. POS solutions that can be used on tech you already own — such as iPads — can help you save money.
- 1-to-1 onboarding. This is important because many small businesses don’t have the expertise or experience with POS solutions. In this case, the exclusive help of a POS customer service rep can get your system up and running much faster.
- 24/7 customer support. As a small business, you might not have complicated systems to serve as back up when things go wrong with your POS. This means 24/7 support is a must-have feature, especially when you’re just starting out with a POS platform.
The best POS system to use in a restaurant
For restaurants, the decision becomes even harder because they are so many equally good options out there.
But once again, the best POS system for one restaurant might not be the best for another. So make sure to consider all the factors, such as features and pricing, before making a decision.
We recommend you go for the following:
- Spill-proof hardware, which means you won’t have to replace your hardware again and again.
- Offline support. As a restaurant, you have limited service hours to generate revenue. If the internet goes out during this time, you could lose a significant part of your daily sales. That’s why it’s important to look for a solution that’s cloud-based but provides offline support at the same time.
- Food safety features. Some POS solutions allow you to stay compliant with food safety rules by adding allergy alerts and nutritional information to your menu. It’s a good idea to find a solution that offers food safety features.
- Tableside payment processing features. Good customer service is an important part of the restaurant industry, so look for a POS solution that allows your customers to pay at the tableside.
Ultimately, choosing the best POS system for your restaurant comes down to personal preference and the needs of your business.