The Best POS System for Retail 2024 – Pricing & Features

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In today’s competitive landscape, a retail POS system needs to be much more than a transaction point. To win customer loyalty, empower retail staff, and boost sales, a retail POS system must be innovative, reliable, data-driven, and holistic.

With that in mind, we tested out tens of POS systems over a month-long period to discover the best POS system for retail in 2024.

The Best Retail POS System

  1. Square – Best retail POS for growing businesses
  2. eHopper – Best free POS for independent retailers
  3. Shopify – Best POS for retailers on multiple platforms
  4. Lightspeed – Best POS for in-person retailers
  5. Clover – Best POS for payment flexibility
  6. SumUp – Best POS with marketing capabilities
  7. AirPOS – Best for small businesses in the UK

Reviews of the Best Retail POS Systems

To ensure we evaluated each POS system fairly and consistently, we ranked each provider against several critical success factors, including price, features, usability, automation, and more. By evaluating each provider in this way, we calculated a clear overall winner.

1. Square – Best for growing retail businesses

Square Logo

Best For Growing retailers
Free Trial? N/A
Price From Free to use
Transaction Fees 1.75% per transaction
Reporting Yes
Why We Picked It

We chose Square as our best retail POS software for growing retailers for multiple reasons. First, Square’s core features are completely free to use. Instead of charging a subscription, Square earns money from transaction fees that occur every time you make a sale.

But that’s just the beginning. Square is also jam-packed with features that are easy to use and fantastic for enhancing operational efficiency. We loved that it’s free to manage inventory, making it easy to understand stock levels at a glance.

For an extra monthly fee, you can also use Square’s team management feature to schedule shifts and manage time tracking. Like the inventory management feature, this was incredibly easy to use and will be particularly useful for retail businesses with seasonal workers.

Features
  • Fast payments: We liked how speedy Square’s credit card payment processing was, with no glitches at any point. We also like how Square has a module to create gift cards.
  • Ecommerce functionality: Square comes with a customizable ecommerce app that makes it easy to build a website for your retail store. Like the mobile POS system, Square Online is very intuitive to use, thanks to drag-and-drop interfaces.
  • Inventory management: Square’s inventory management is excellent. We loved that you can receive daily email updates on stock levels to keep on top of stock levels–and that it’s easy to upload stock levels by importing CSV spreadsheets.
  • Loyalty program: Square allows you to set up loyalty programs for repeat customers. Unfortunately, you have to pay extra for this module. Still, like the rest of Square, it’s very easy to configure.
Pricing Plans

Square’s basic functionality is free–although keep in mind that its POS hardware is not, so there will be initial setup costs to use the platform.

Plan Cost Processing rate Hardware
Square Free 1.75% per transaction From $20

Square’s free plan will undoubtedly be a draw for retailers looking to keep costs down. However, we think this platform really comes into its own when you use all of its features, especially the team management and loyalty scheme modules.

While these can bring the costs up to nearer $70/month, Square is still overall great value for money, especially for a platform that is so beautifully designed and easy to use.

Who's It Best For?

Square is our all-around choice for small and growing retailers looking for a reliable, easy-to-use POS system.

Pros pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Loyalty scheme option
  • Fantastic inventory management
  • Free plan

Cons cons

  • Some features cost extra
  • Only compatible with Square hardware
  • Processing rate is higher than average

Read our full Square Review

2. eHopper – Best for independent retailers

eHopper Logo

Best For Independent retailers
Free Trial? Yes
Price From Free
Transaction Fees 2.5% +10c
Reporting Yes
Why We Picked It

eHopper is our choice for independent retail businesses looking for a reliable, cost-effective POS solution. We were super impressed by the brand’s free offering, which gave us free access to the software, free hardware, and a free ecommerce site too.

Even as we used the higher-tier plans, eHopper remains an extremely cost-effective solution. However, the user experience isn’t as intuitive and enjoyable as the likes of Square and Shopify. In fact, the interface felt slightly outdated to us.

Still, with great features that cover inventory management, team management and customer loyalty, eHopper is still a powerful platform and, for the price, would be a great option for independent retailers.

Features
  • Inventory management: eHopper’s inventory management comes with the free module, as well as paid plans. We loved the barcode scanner and receipt printer. This meant that we could easily create and print barcodes for our products–although the system does require quite a lot of manual configuration at first.
  • Digital signage: One of eHopper’s unique POS features that we liked is the digital signage option, which allows you to use in-store TVs to display marketing messages and products without needing to sign-up to a third-party provider. This is a thoughtful add-on for small retail businesses, and very easy to configure.
  • Time clock: Like Square, eHopper has a time clock feature to help you with employee management from a central interface. While the feature is a little clunky to use, it’s useful for small teams that want to digitize shift management.
Pricing Plans

eHopper’s range of plans are very cost-effective, especially as you don’t have to pay anything more for hardware. Plus, eHopper has a feature called Surchages that allows you to avoid paying transaction rates. Instead, your customers can pay the equivalent of your merchant fees if they use a credit card, which is great for keeping monthly fees down.

Plan Cost Processing rate Hardware
Free POS Free 2.5% +10c Free
Essential Plus $14.99/mo 2.5% +10c Free
Freedom $34.99/mo 2.5% +10c Free
Omnichannel $69.99/mo 2.5% +10c Free
  • Free: The free plan is perfect for independent retailers that want to use a POS without any upfront costs.
  • Essential Plus: A cost-effective plan for small retailers, enabling 1000 products within inventory and up to 1000 transactions each month.
  • Freedom: This plan includes additional features like a customer loyalty scheme, team management and the option to integrate with QuickBooks accounting software. You also get unlimited products and transactions.
  • Omnichannel: All of the features in freedom plus one hour per month of dedicated phone support from a customer service representative.
Who's It Best For?

eHopper is a solid choice for small retailers seeking an affordable solution.

Pros pros

  • Free hardware
  • Great value for money
  • Option to pass processing fees onto customers
  • Option to roll-out a loyalty program

Cons cons

  • Tied in for one year
  • Limited customer service support
  • Not scalable

3. Shopify – Best for retailers on multiple platforms

Shopify Logo

Best For Multichannel retailers
Free Trial? Yes
Price From $29 per month
Transaction Fees 2.9% + 30c per transaction
Reporting Yes
Why We Picked It

Shopify is truly a joy to use. Like Square, this POS provider has a clean, intuitive interface and plenty of thoughtful business tools to maximize operations and customer service levels.

While Shopify is on the expensive side, its data-driven tools are unparalleled. Although most POS providers on this list provide loyalty programs and reports, Shopify can help you to market your products to customers easily and effectively. We love that the application offers automations and templates to help with ads and marketing emails, for example.

Features
  • Designed for omnichannel: Shopify’s ultra-sleek POS creates a seamless in-store experience that merges the online and physical worlds. For example, if a product isn’t in stock, you can easily see if it’s available online and order it to the store for a customer in minutes.
  • Packed with features: The higher-tiered plans come with excellent, intuitive features that support team management, customer management, sales reports, inventory and marketing–all within a sleek interface.
  • Marketing and promotions: Shopify’s marketing tools are fantastic, making it easy for retailers to target customers with personalized marketing messages across channels.
  • Website builder: Shopify’s website builder is the best of the bunch, offering countless templates and customization options to build a beautiful, professional-looking ecommerce website.
Pricing Plans

Shopify is feature-rich and its pricing plans reflect that. Note, too, that on top of your subscription, you’ll also need to pay for hardware.

Plan Cost Processing rate Hardware
Basic $29/month 2.9% From $50
Shopify $79/month 2.6% From $50
Advanced $299/month 2.4% From $50
  • Basic: The Basic plan is a solid option for small retailers that want to boost their ecommerce presence.
  • Shopify: This plan comes with all the features of the Basic plan, plus five additional staff accounts.
  • Advanced: The Advanced plan is for established retailers, with features like 24/7 customer support and 15 unique staff accounts.
Who's It Best For?

Shopify is a great option for omnichannel retailers that want a sleek user experience for their staff and customers.

Pros pros

  • Excellent third-party integrations
  • Next-level marketing features
  • Scalable
  • Intuitive to use

Cons cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited customer support on lower-tier plans

Read our full Shopify review

4. LightSpeed – Best for in-person stores

LightSpeed Logo

Best For Best for physical retailers
Free Trial? No
Price From $89/month
Transaction Fees 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction.
2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
Reporting Yes
Why We Picked It

Lightspeed is a reliable POS provider that’s easy to set up and use. It’s our top choice for physical retailers because of its clean interface, excellent reporting features, and next-level inventory management, which is even better than Square and Shopify.

Plus, we love that Lightspeed doesn’t require you to purchase specialist hardware to use the software. You can use an iPad or Verifone hardware instead, which helps to save on costs. Saying that, Lightspeed is one of the more expensive providers in this roundup, with prices starting at $89 per month.

Features
  • Inventory management: Lightspeed’s inventory management feature was the best we tested. It’s super reliable, fast and easy to use, making it perfect for retailers with inventory across warehouses and different stores, as it even allows you to transfer inventory easily.
  • Ecommerce tools: Lightspeed offers an ecommerce arm for retailers wishing to create online stores. However, the tool isn’t as intuitive to use as the likes of Shopify and Square.
  • Integrations: We thought Lightspeed’s range of integrations were excellent. Covering everything from accounting to customer relationship management, this app can become a core part of your retail operations.
Pricing Plans

Lightspeed is one of the more expensive providers on our list, so we wouldn’t recommend it for independent and small retailers. However, for multi-site organizations, this software can do wonders for accelerating payment processing speed and managing inventory.

Plan Cost Processing rate Hardware
Lean $89/month In-person: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction.
Online: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction
N/A
Standard $149/month In-person: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction.
Online: 2.9% plus 30 cents for transactions.
N/A
Advanced $269/month In-person: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction.
Online: 2.9% plus 30 cents for transactions.
N/A
  • Lean: This is a simple solution that offers Lightspeed built-in payment processing, reporting, and the option to create a customer loyalty program.
  • Standard: This plan also gives you access to inventory management.
  • Advanced: This plan includes API integration, allowing your in-house IT team to leverage customer and sales data from Lightspeed’s backend system.
Who's It Best For?

Lightspeed is a great choice for established retailers with complex inventory requirements.

Pros pros

  • Easy to use retail POS system
  • Excellent inventory management features
  • Compatible with third-party hardware
  • Powerful reporting tools

Cons cons

  • Expensive
  • No free trial
  • Requires technical knowledge to make the most of potential integrations and data-driven insights

Read our full Lightspeed review

5. Clover – Best retail POS for flexibility

Clover Logo

Best For Best for flexibility
Free Trial? No
Price From Quote based depending on sector
Transaction Fees Quote based
Reporting Yes
Why We Picked It

We love Clover because it’s a super flexible, scalable system that retail businesses of all sizes can benefit from. We love how easy the software is to use–and it packs a bunch of powerful payment features: the ability to choose between print and digital receipts, easily process refunds, and even accept PayPal and Venmo in store.

On top of that, we think Clover’s retail POS integrations and apps are excellent–even better than Shopify’s–with intuitive modules to improve customer loyalty, manage inventory, and the online order process.

Features
  • Competitive pricing: Clover’s pricing is opaque, but this is because the POS software tailors its pricing depending on the scale of your business, making for competitive offers overall–not to mention scalable ones.
  • Flexible payments: From credit to debit cards to PayPal and Venmo – even contactless payments, we love that you can accept almost any payment time with Clover’s POS.
  • Team management features: Clover’s team management feature was one of the best we tested. It’s great for busy retailers that want to better manage staff rotas, overtime, and so forth in an easy, intuitive way.
  • Data-driven insights: Clover uses your POS and team data to deliver powerful insights relating to sales, customer loyalty, and inventory, which is extremely useful for informing retail strategies.
Pricing Plans

Clover’s pricing structure isn’t as readily available as other providers. What we can share is that our plan came in at $50 per month, including a Handheld POS, making this POS one of the more affordable providers on the list.

Of course, for larger businesses, Clover will undoubtedly be more expensive, but it’s still competitive against the likes of Shopify and Lightspeed.

Who's It Best For?

Clover is a great choice for a retail business that wants to offer their customers plenty of payment options, as well as unlock next-level team management features.

Pros pros

  • Flexible payments
  • Competitively priced
  • Great reporting
  • Hardware included in each plan

Cons cons

  • Opaque pricing
  • Need technical knowledge to understand reporting insights

Read our full Clover review

6. SumUp – Best POS combined with marketing software

SumUp Logo

Best For Businesses wanting POS and marketing
Free Trial? N/A
Price From Free to use
Transaction Fees 2.75% per transaction
Reporting Yes
Why We Picked It

SumUp makes our list for its sleek, intuitive interface that’s incredibly easy to use. Plus, its basic plan is completely free bar the one-off payment for hardware.

While Square and LightSpeed also offer free plans, SumUp is compelling for sole traders because the POS software also doubles up as an invoicing system. Plus, as you move up the tiers, you’ll get access to a range of great retail features that help with marketing, customer relationship management, and inventory management.

Of course, most of the providers on this list offer these features, but we have to say that SumUp’s marketing is the best that we used, and its other features come second only to Square and Clover for ease of use.

Features
  • Customer rewards and automated marketing: Like Shopify, SumUp is a retail POS system that wants to help your business grow. We thought the customer rewards feature was exceptionally easy to use, and the automated marketing tools are especially handy for growing retailers that don’t yet have an in-house marketing team.
  • Ecommerce builder: Like Square and Shopify, SumUp allows you to build a dedicated ecommerce website. However, the number of customization options is limited.
  • Great dashboard: The SumUp dashboard is simple and clean, making it easy for all team members to use, even if they’ve never used a POS before.
  • Integrations: SumUp’s range of integrations are excellent, including accounting software like Xero, marketing tools like MailChimp, and talent management apps like PlanDay, all of which help retail businesses streamline operations across different departments.
Pricing Plans

Although SumUp’s initial plan is free, this provider’s plans quickly become expensive as you pay for more features, putting it at almost the same cost as Shopify and LightSpeed. Still, for the powerful marketing tools you get, SumUp is quite cost-effective. You’re essentially paying for a great POS and marketing tool in one.

Plan Cost Processing rate Hardware
Pay-as-you-go Free 2.75% per transaction From $60
POS with Connect Lite $99/month 2.6% per transaction From $60
POS with Connect Plus $199/month 2.6% per transaction From $60
POS with Connect Pro $289/month 2.6% per transaction From $60
  • Pay-as-you-go: An excellent, cost-effective option for sole traders who don’t want to pay a subscription to accept payments.
  • POS with Connect Lite: This plan is suitable for small businesses that want a reliable POS, although it has limited features compared to the higher-tier plans.
  • POS with Connect Plus: Level up your POS with intelligent, intuitive software that delivers customer rewards, automated marketing, and weekly customized promotions to your customer base based on their purchase history.
  • POS with Connect Pro: All of the features above plus unlimited SMS and email promotions.
Who's It Best For?

SumUp is our pick for retailers that are serious about using automated marketing tools to boost sales and customer loyalty.

Pros pros

  • Intuitive POS software to use
  • Great data-driven marketing suite
  • Sleek design of POS hardware
  • Free plan

Cons cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Hardware costs extra

7. AirPos – Best POS for small UK retailers

AirPos Logo

Best For UK-based boutiques and independent retailers
Free Trial? Yes
Price From Free
Transaction Fees From 0.8%
Reporting Yes
Why We Picked It

While most of the providers in this list serve the UK market, AirPos is the only POS vendor we liked that’s tailored specifically to businesses in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland–and it does so excellently.

For one, its payment structure is very competitive, with low transaction fees and a free plan.

It also comes with free native inventory management features to help you keep on top of stock levels. Like the entire platform, this feature is incredibly easy to use–although it does take a little while to set up.

However, while there’s a lot to like about AirPos, it’s not as feature-rich as other providers on this list. For example, to engage in marketing or team management, you’ll need to lean on separate pieces of software.

Features
  • Intuitive system: Whether taking payments, running inventory, or analyzing sales, AirPos’s dashboard is attractive and easy to use.
  • Free: AirPos’s software is refreshingly free–with no higher-tiered plans that cost more and unlock additional features. Saying that, you will need to invest in its hardware, with costs starting at £29.00 for a card reader, which you can use with your iPad.
  • Integrations: You can sync AirPos with Shopify, Xero and plenty of other apps to boost the software’s features and gain more insights from your in-store sales data.
Pricing Plans

AirPos offers one flat plan with processing rates starting from 0.8%, depending on how many transactions your business usually undertakes. As with most other POS vendors, you’ll also need to pay for hardware, but this is a one-off cost.

Plan Cost Processing rate Hardware
Free POS Free From 0.8% From £29.00
  • Free: The free plan is perfect for small UK-based retailers that want to use a POS without paying a subscription.
Who's It Best For?

AirPos is a great choice for small UK-based retailers and boutiques that want a straightforward, low-cost POS solution.

Pros pros

  • Free point of sale system
  • Inventory management features
  • Excellent integrations

Cons cons

  • Lack of additional features
  • Not scalable
  • POS hardware costs extra

The Best POS Systems for Retail Compared

Now that we’ve looked at each retail POS in-depth, here’s a side-by-side comparison of each.

Retail POS System Free Version? Starting Price Best For? Top Features
Square Y Free Growing businesses Intuitive interface, Free inventory management, Great customer loyalty program
eHopper Y Free Independent retailers Free to use, Digital signage feature, Team management feature
Shopify N $29 per month Multichannel retailers Fantastic website builder, Great marketing features, Excellent user experience
Lightspeed N $89/month Physical stores Extensive integrations, Solid website builder, Superb inventory management
Clover N Quote based Payment flexibility Accepts all payment types, Great reporting insights, Team management features
SumUp Y Free POS and marketing features Next-level marketing capabilities, Personalized SMS campaigns, Intuitive to use
AirPos Y Free UK boutiques Cost effective, Inventory management, Low transaction fees

What Does POS Stand for in Retail?

In retail, POS stands for point of sale. These systems blend specialist software and hardware to create an endpoint where customers can pay for their items both in-store and online.

Beyond that, leading POS systems feature additional functionality, such as automated marketing tools, team management, and inventory management, to help retailers boost sales and optimize productivity.

Benefits of POS in Retail

A POS is a crucial aspect of retail operations that, at the most basic level, enables retailers to accept payments for their goods and services. Beyond that, a great retail POS system will deliver data-driven insights, customer data, and added features that help to streamline operations, boost the customer experience and enhance team efficiency.

Retail POS Systems Cost

The cost of retail POS systems can vary widely depending on a few critical factors, which are as follows:

Hardware

Some retail providers bundle hardware with their subscriptions, while others tack on additional fees for access. It’s crucial to scrutinize the pricing plans to avoid surprises. Opting for a provider that allows the use of existing tech can cut costs significantly.

Software Subscription

Most retail POS providers operate on a subscription model, with some offering free plans. Choosing an annual payment option often leads to discounts.

Transaction Tolls

Be prepared for transaction fees every time a sale is made. These fees differ based on the provider and plan, so careful review is essential.

Add-On Expenses

While additional features can enhance retail operations, they usually come at an extra cost. Expect to pay a monthly subscription fee for these add-ons.

POS System vs Cash Register for Retail

In retail, a cash register is a basic device that can process transactions. A POS can do this and a whole lot more, including key features like inventory management, customer loyalty program management, sales analytics, staff time tracking, marketing, and so forth.

How We Review and Test POS Products

To provide our readers with accurate and well-informed recommendations, we test the most popular POS products on the market to find the best options for you. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Features: We examine the features offered by each POS software, how useful those features are, and how they compare to others on the market.
  • Scalability: We look at how many users can be added to a platform and how easy it is to do so to ensure companies can easily add more employees to their payroll as they scale their operations.
  • Integrations: We evaluate each piece of software’s integrations to determine how well it fits in with other key pieces in a business’s software stack and whether its functionality can be expanded as required.
  • User Experience: We get hands-on with each product to put ourselves in the shoes of a new user, testing each platform to gain an understanding if the platform is easy to use or requires onboarding.
  • Total Cost: Transaction fees, hardware costs, and additional costs. We look at the features, integrations, customer service, and extras to determine if the price of the software matches the value it provides. We score a product higher if it offers customers a free trial and is upfront and transparent about its pricing plans.
  • Security: We delve into the security protocols of each company, assessing the measures in place to safeguard user data.
  • Customer Reviews: We consider customer reviews from reputable third-party websites as a crucial aspect of our evaluation process.

How to Choose A Retail POS System

When on the hunt for a retail POS system, prioritize platforms with at least some of the following features, depending on your needs:

Diverse Payment OptionsRobust Inventory ManagementScalabilityMarketing and Customer Loyalty Programs

A top-tier POS system should be a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to payment methods. From credit cards to QR code payments, the more options available, the better. This flexibility not only caters to diverse customer preferences but also maximizes sales potential by removing barriers to purchase.

Your POS system should come equipped with inventory management capabilities like real-time tracking and automated stock alerts to help with stock management and ordering.

As your business flourishes, so should your POS system. Select a solution that can effortlessly scale alongside your company. Whether you’re expanding to new locations or diversifying your product offerings, your POS system should adapt to meet your evolving needs

Look for a POS that enables you to harness sales data to deliver targeted marketing and a loyalty program: rewarding repeat customers, incentivizing referrals, and gathering valuable insights on consumer behavior.

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Hannah Pisani
Tech Expert
Hannah Pisani
Tech Expert

Hannah Pisani is a seasoned writer with a keen focus on the intersection between technology and the evolving nature of work. Over the last five years, she has written content for numerous leading technology brands, including Microsoft, AWS and Oracle. She regularly contributes to international technology publications such as Silicon Angle, Cloudwards and Techopedia. Hannah's depth of knowledge encompasses HR software, cybersecurity, SaaS tools and marketing optimization. She thrives on leveraging her expertise to empower business leaders, guiding them towards informed decisions that optimize efficiency and drive productivity.