Smarter Loans Inc. is not a lender. Smarter.loans is an independent comparison website that provides information on lending and financial companies in Canada. We work hard to give you the information you need to make smarter decisions about a financial company or product that you might be considering. We may receive compensation from companies that we work with for placement of their products or services on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of products & companies listed on our website, it does not influence our evaluation of those products. Please do not interpret the order in which products appear on Smarter Loans as an endorsement or recommendation from us. Our website does not feature every loan provider or financial product available in Canada. We try our best to bring you up-to-date, educational information to help you decide the best solution for your individual situation. The information and tools that we provide are free to you and should merely be used as guidance. You should always review the terms, fees, and conditions for any loan or financial product that you are considering.
Point-of-sale (POS) software is evolving quickly. Brick-and-mortar stores have more options for checkout software today than they have ever had before, which is, on the whole, good news for those stores.
But with that increase in options comes complexity. How do you know which one to buy? Or even more tantamount — do you even know for sure that you need point of sale software? Having a full understanding of the options in front of you and what your business actually needs is necessary to make the right choice.
With dozens of different options, it’s critical that you make the right decision. Remember, your competition has to make this same decision, and the wrong choice could potentially put you behind your competitors. Ultimately, the point of sale software that you choose will have an ongoing impact on the success of your business for years to come.
On this page we’ll review what point of sale software is, how to pick the right one for your business, and best ways to use it.
To help you more, we’ve also put together a list of the top POS Point-of-Sale software solutions available on the market. Take a look at the list below and click on any of the companies to see their full profile. You can also get in touch with any of the listed companies right here on Smarter Loans.
Point of sale software is the software that brick-and-mortar retailers use to conduct sales and checkout customers. Point of sale software tracks your products, calculates the cost of the sale, and facilitates the financial transaction.
Traditionally, most companies used cash registers. Today, the options for point of sale hardware can take many different forms. It could be a register, a computer, or even a tablet device. 48% of retail workers prefer using a mobile POS system.
While not true of all POS systems, most modern systems also either natively track or connect with systems that track inventory levels in your store. Then your current counts are always automatically tracked and you have an updated log of your current stock levels. They have grown from being systems that were mainly concerned with checkout, to being broader systems that help businesses in many areas of their business.
Big box stores may use their own custom-built solution. However, most smaller retailers buy into standard packages for their POS software and hardware systems, often with optional upgrades and features that can be attached to the base plan.
There are typically three types of POS software systems that you can buy into.
Before diving into more specifics about point of sale systems, it’s important that you understand what a cloud-based point of sale system is, so that you can differentiate between the options available to you.
A recent trend in the POS software industry is the rapid growth of cloud-based systems. Cloud-based systems can be accessed directly from the internet, which means that in theory, you could access your POS system data from any device with an internet connection. Some of them have apps available, making it easier to access data or make changes directly from your mobile device.
With a cloud-based POS system, you may have other pieces of hardware like cash drawers or credit card readers that integrate with the system as well.
Often, cloud-based POS systems are not as expensive and preferred because they offer the ability to access your data from outside of the store. While they may not be ideal for enterprise companies, cloud-based solutions often make the most sense for smaller stores.
For small businesses that operate both a brick-and-mortar location and E-commerce website, a cloud-based option may be the best choice because it allows you to connect to separate areas of your business into one system. Additionally, a cloud-based system would be ideal for any business that sells at trade shows, flea markets, and other gatherings.
Having that top-down view of your data from anywhere and connecting separate aspects of your business can help companies to improve ordering accuracy and ensure that they stay on top of their inventory.
Onsite POS Software
Cloud-Based POS Software
Who uses POS platforms? Well, everyone. Or at least any business that accepts payments from their customer in-person and not solely online. POS systems are used in any industry that sells products from a physical location.
Any company that does even modest volume for a small store requires a POS system to stay up to date, check out customers, and keep track of their inventory. Sure, you could technically do it all by hand. But your competitors aren’t. And you don’t want to get left in the dust.
Big box retailers like Macy’s, Target, or Best Buy use them. So do small local businesses, restaurants, and your local corner store. As well as sellers at your local flea market or outdoor event.
Everyone who sells their products in person uses a POS system.
As you evaluate point-of-sale systems, one of the key evaluations that you will need to make will be the features offered by the individual systems.
But this can be a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. Before deciding on POS software, you must determine the features that you will need, based on how you want your operations to run.
Some of the basic functionality that is included in most POS systems include:
Now, all of these features might not be important to you. It depends on your situation. But these are the core features that are included or purchasable with most point-of-sale software packages.
Taking stock of what is important to your company will help you to make the best possible decision, so put some thought into what features you would like to have before you begin your search.
The price of a POS system can range a lot based on many factors. First, you can expect an enterprise or high-volume solution to cost substantially more than it would for lower volumes, especially in cloud-based systems. That’s universal across almost all POS systems. Others may require that you buy hardware upfront.
A point-of-sale platform can be a big, but necessary investment for any retail company. But it is important to understand that many modern POS systems are not just there to facilitate the sale, but to help you organize and manage your business as a whole — tracking inventory, logging employee actions, managing relationships with customers, and helping you to manage your daily scheduling.
Legacy POS systems would have cost you $5,000-$10,000 for the hardware alone, and that is without setup and maintenance.
With modern POS systems and particularly the cloud-based systems, you can usually have a single-register setup for less than $1,000, with a monthly fee.
However, there are many variables. Some of the potential costs of a POS system, depending on the one you choose, could include:
A point-of-sale software system is a big investment for any retailer. There is a lot to consider. Before making your decision, ensure that you have a solid understanding of all of the options available to you, and how POS software packages are typically structured. With so many add-ons, options, and different types of hardware and software setups, it can be a tangled web to navigate.
Point of sale software is the software that brick-and-mortar retailers use to conduct sales and checkout customers.
The features offered from one system to another can vary, but typically POS software includes features like billing and order processing, sales reporting, inventory and stock management, return management, customer relationship management features, employee management, and loyalty programs.
Pricing depends on a number of factors. On-premise POS systems typically cost more than cloud-based systems with software integrations. Also, each system may price differently — per user, or revenue-based pricing. Typically, software-as-a-service point of sale systems cost anywhere between $20-$1000 per month, depending on your needs.
No, POS software is typically used by brick-and-mortar companies.
The Smarter Loans Staff is made up of writers, researchers, journalists, business leaders and industry experts who carefully research, analyze and produce Canada's highest quality content when it comes to money matters, on behalf of Smarter Loans. While we cannot possibly name every person involved in the process, we collectively credit them as Smarter Loans Writing Staff. Our work has been featured in the Toronto Star, National Post and many other publications. Today, Smarter Loans is recognized in Canada as the go-to destination for financial education, and was named the "GPS of Fintech Lending" by the Toronto Star in 2019.