pos systems for SMBs

Best POS Systems for Small Business 2023

All retailers with physical locations need a point-of-sale (POS) system to accept payments and keep accurate sales records. However, a furniture store with 50 locations will have different needs from a small jewelry business running its first pop-up shop.

When you’re deciding on the best POS system for your small business, it’s important to think about which features match your current needs and future goals. 

This post is designed to help you find out what features a POS system for small business should have, and how to choose the right point-of-sale system for your business.

What is the best POS system for small business?

Shopify POS: Best retail POS with seamless integration for online and in-person sales

Shopify POS sitting on counter in retail store
Shopify POS on counter in retail store.

Shopify POS integrates seamlessly with Shopify’s ecommerce platform, allowing small businesses to manage both online and in-person sales efficiently and effectively.

With Shopify POS Go, you can sell anywhere your customers are. You can look up inventory, check customer profiles, and create a more tailored shopping experience while interacting with a customer. 

Shopify POS helps you run up to 1,000 physical stores and your ecommerce store, all from one platform. You can understand where products are by location and availability when making a sale.

Screen showing inventory availability on Shopify Mobile POS
Screen showing inventory availability on Shopify Mobile POS.


  • Omnichannel sales
  • Smart inventory management
  • Customer profiles
  • Reports and analytics
  • Staff management
  • Intuitive checkout  
  • Shopify Payments
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Marketing tools
  • Hardware options
  • Contactless payments
  • Mobile selling

Payment processing fee: In person: 2.7%; Online: 2.9%, 30¢.

Monthly fee: Paid Shopify plan required for POS use.

Square: Versatile all-in-one solution for small businesses

Square offers a user-friendly interface, affordable pricing, and a range of features, making it an option for small businesses looking for an all-in-one solution. 

The free version has sales tracking and reporting, and the ability to accept payments without Wi-Fi. Square also offers services like payroll that integrate with the POS system. 


  • Customer accounts
  • Third-party integrations
  • Inventory management
  • Mobile access
  • Shift scheduling
  • Loyalty program
  • Employee management
  • Electronic payments

Payment processing fee: In person: 2.6%, plus 10¢; Online: 2.6%, plus 30¢.

Monthly fee: $0. 

Lightspeed Retail: Robust inventory management for retail businesses

Lightspeed Retail provides robust inventory management capabilities. It’s an option for small businesses with complex inventory needs, such as retail stores or multi-location businesses. Lightspeed Retail offers one-on-one onboarding and an account manager with every plan. 


  • Inventory management
  • Multi-store capabilities
  • Sales reporting and analytics
  • Employee management
  • Ecommerce integration
  • Point of sale (POS)
  • Loyalty program
  • Purchase order management
  • Hardware integration
  • Payment processing

Payment processing fee: In person: 2.6%, plus 10¢; Online: 2.6%, plus 30¢.

Monthly fee: Starts at $69 per month.

Toast: Designed for foodservice industry with menu management and tableside ordering

Toast is specifically designed for the foodservice industry, with features like menu management, tableside ordering, and kitchen display systems. It’s a choice for small restaurants and cafés.

Toast offers management of multiple locations, so you can publish different menus and set different prices at each location. Features like online ordering and the customer loyalty program cost extra depending on the plan you choose. 


  • Online ordering
  • Inventory management
  • Kitchen display system (KDS)
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Digital menu boards
  • Gift cards management
  • Employee management
  • Delivery tracking
  • Tableside ordering
  • Loyalty programs
  • Mobile ordering
  • Multi-location management

Payment processing fee: With monthly hardware payment: 2.99%, plus 15¢; Buy hardware upfront: 2.49%, plus 15¢.

Monthly fee: $0.

Vend: Cloud-based POS system for businesses with multiple locations

Vend is a cloud-based POS system that works for small businesses with multiple locations. It provides centralized inventory management and real-time reporting across stores. You can choose your own payment processor, or use the integrated one, which is Lightspeed Payments. 

The Lean plan gives you an account manager and 24/7 customer support via phone, live chat, or email. You also get integrated payments and cloud backup. For integrations with Shopify or accounting software like QuickBooks, you’ll need a more advanced plan.


  • Multichannel selling
  • Inventory management
  • Payments and security 
  • Sales tracking
  • Mobile POS
  • Stock control
  • Promotions and discounts 
  • Offline selling 
  • Refund management
  • Supplier management

Payment processing fee: 2.6%, plus 10¢.

Monthly fee: Paid plans start at $69 per month, billed annually. 

Clover: Versatile POS system with industry-specific solutions

Clover POS provides solutions tailored to different industries, with features like inventory tracking, customer management, and integration with various payment processors. It’s a versatile option for small businesses in different sectors.

Clover and third-party vendors sell Clover hardware bundles and components. On the back end, Fiserv, which owns Clover, processes payments, but you can choose your own service provider. 


  • Mobile payments
  • Employee management
  • Inventory management
  • Order tracking
  • Online ordering
  • CRM integration
  • Multi-location support
  • Security and fraud protection
  • Real-time reporting
  • Ecommerce integration
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Bar code scanning
  • Table layout and management
  • Digital menu board
  • API access

Payment processing fee: In person: 2.3%, plus 10¢ for most plans.

Monthly fee: Starts at $14.95 per month. 

Revel Systems: Feature-rich POS system for the hospitality industry

Revel Systems is a POS system that offers functionalities like CRM, loyalty programs, and online ordering. It’s suitable for small businesses in the hospitality industry, including restaurants, bars, and cafés.

Revel POS offers digital outdoor display hardware for drive-thrus, and delivery tools like driver tracking and text message updates. It can be expensive to install, and you must purchase a minimum of two terminals. 


  • Cloud-based point of sale (POS)
  • Quick service POS
  • Self-service kiosk
  • Inventory management
  • Real-time reporting
  • Enterprise management
  • Loyalty programs
  • Payment processing
  • Offline mode
  • API integration
  • Accounting integrations
  • Labor management
  • Hardware solutions
  • Tableside ordering
  • Split bill functionality
  • Customizable user permissions
  • Ecommerce integration

Payment processing fee: 2.49%, plus 15¢.

Monthly fee: Starts at $99.99 per month, per terminal.

Types of POS system

  • Retail POS system
  • Omnichannel POS system
  • Mobile POS system

As your small business grows, so will your need for a POS system that can handle increasingly complex retail operations and systems. 

Here are three different types of POS systems for small businesses.

Retail POS system

Retail POS systems let you accept payments in-person, monitor inventory, track sales, and manage team members. They’re usually anchored to a checkout counter and are designed for merchants who sell from physical locations like pop-up shops, events, festivals, and permanent brick-and-mortar stores.

Shopify POS being used in retail store.
Shopify POS being used in retail store.

They do the hard work for you, including maintaining accurate sales and inventory data. Whenever you buy, sell, return, or exchange a product, your sales data and inventory levels are updated in real time. 

Omnichannel POS system

Omnichannel POS systems can help unify your online and offline sales. 

Only Shopify POS unifies your online and retail store data—customer data, inventory, sales, and more—into one back office. View easy to understand reports to spot trends faster, capitalize on opportunities, and jumpstart your brand’s growth.

Mobile POS system

Mobile POS systems are handy hardware and software systems that process payments. They are similar to traditional retail POS systems but they don’t need to be attached to one checkout counter. 

Retail store owner using Shopify mobile POS.
Retail store owner using Shopify mobile POS.

Using a mobile POS system, you can download POS software onto your mobile device and process payments wherever your customers are. That means your physical location doesn’t need to have one fixed checkout counter, which is helpful if you’re selling at festivals and events.

Justyna Sylwia, the owner of Isle Wilde, says that having a mobile POS system has been great for jewelry festivals.

“Having a system that turns your phone into a POS system is a godsend,” Justyna says. “Shoppers feel more secure purchasing products via professional tools. It gives customers more confidence in who they’re buying from.”

Why does a small business need a POS system?

Small businesses that want to accept payments in person, track sales, and manage inventory need a point-of-sale system. 

Although you could accept only cash payments and manually track your sales on a spreadsheet, it would be hard to satisfy customer payment preferences and challenging to accurately manage your inventory. Let’s review all the benefits of investing in a POS system for small business. 

Accept payments

With a POS system for small business, you can accept multiple payment methods in-store. Depending on the POS software and hardware you choose, you may be able to take and record payment from mobile or tablet devices, as well as traditional checkout counters. 

Track sales and manage inventory

The best POS systems for small businesses automatically track all sales. They also store key product information like: 

  • Wholesale price
  • Retail price
  • Gross profit
  • Net profit 

Your POS system automatically updates inventory and sales data any time you buy, sell, return, or exchange a product, in-store or online. 

Manage inventory from one back office

Shopify POS comes with tools to help you manage warehouse and store inventory in one place. Forecast demand, set low stock alerts, create purchase orders, know which items are selling or sitting on shelves, count inventory, and more.

What features should a POS for small business have?

  • Accept multiple types of payments
  • Inventory tracking
  • Customer profiles
  • Sales reports
  • Staff management

A solid POS system for small business lets you process payments securely and comes with software to help you handle administrative tasks more easily. 

The kind of business you manage and the types of sales you make will help you determine which features your POS system needs to have. For example, a small business POS system that works well for a brick-and-mortar florist may not work so well for an online beauty retailer running their first physical pop-up shop. 

Here are the top five POS system features you should look out for.

Accept multiple types of payments

Statista projects that by 2024, digital and mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay will surpass card and cash payments — taking nearly 35% of the payments market share. 

Graph showing leading POS payment methods worldwide.

As a result of the pandemic and increasing payment options like mobile wallets, customers want the convenience of choosing from multiple payment types.

Your POS system should make accepting in-person and online payments simple. Most modern POS systems let you accept popular payment types like: 

  • Contactless payments: These can include mobile wallet payments using Apple Pay or Google Pay and chip cards
  • Cash: Which you deposit into your cash register
  • Chip cards: Credit or debit cards with a near-field communication (NFC) chip to allow tap to pay.
  • Magstripe cards: Which let customers swipe their card in your card reader.
  • Card not present transactions: When a shopper pays with their card without the card being physically present. These payments usually take place when a customer makes a purchase over the phone. 
  • Gift cards: Digital or physical cards that can be redeemed for online or in-person purchases.
  • Amazon and Facebook pay options: This allows customers to pay using their Amazon or Facebook accounts. 

📌 GET STARTED: Shopify Payments is the fastest way to start accepting payments in-person, online, and on-the-go. It’s included in all Shopify POS plans, so you can skip lengthy third-party activations and go from setup to selling faster.

Inventory tracking

The best POS system for small business can help track and manage in-store inventory, but most don’t let retailers track inventory across multiple channels like their online store, physical locations, and storage units. 

US retailers are sitting on an average of $1.40 in inventory for every dollar of sales they make. Successfully tracking and managing inventory can help lower these costs and ensure you’re not tying too much capital in inventory.

Using POS systems that track your inventory across multiple channels will help you order enough stock to meet customer demand, while preventing frustrating stockouts, expensive overstocks, and inventory shortages. 

💡 PRO TIP: Want to take the guesswork out of restocking? Set reorder points in Shopify admin to get low stock notifications and ensure you have enough lead time to replenish inventory of a product before quantities reach zero.

Maggie Owens, a Shopify merchant and owner of party supply and gifts shop Presley Paige, uses a POS system that seamlessly communicates between her online store and physical location. This helps her know exactly how much stock she has, so she can help customers find the product they’re looking for in-store.

“Offering store pickup for online purchases and managing them through our POS has been extremely helpful,” says Maggie. “Being able to track inventory in-store and send saved carts to customers who call in and want to put something on hold is useful too. This allows our in-store team to send customers items they didn’t purchase in-store, but mentioned wanting to purchase at a later date.” 

💡 PRO TIP: Encourage store staff to send the carts they save by email at the end of their shift. This is an accessible way to recover abandoned store sales and attribute more revenue to your store–even if the transaction happened online.

Justyna Sylwia, owner of Isle Wilde, says her point-of-sale systems takes care of inventory tracking, letting her focus on other priorities.

“When selling numerous small items, it’s difficult to keep track of what’s available and how much of it,” Justyna says. “Having a system that does inventory for you allows you to focus on the more creative parts of running a business.”

Customer profiles

According to a recent study, 60% of consumers say they will become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience with a retailer. By personalizing your offering to customers, you can improve brand loyalty and revenue. 

A POS system that’s connected to your online store will help you gather, track, and manage customer data more easily. 

For example, with Shopify POS, you can create customer profiles and view their entire purchase history, including details like: 

  • Everything they’ve bought at your store or online
  • How much they’ve spent to date 
  • The number of times they’ve ordered
  • How long they’ve been a customer

All of this customer data updates in real time and is located in one place. This helps customers, since your staff has more context and can serve them better. You can also use data to segment customer profiles and build email lists to keep customers engaged and increase repeat purchases. 

Sales reports

Look for a POS system for small business that compiles sales reports from data collected at both your physical locations and online. That way, you get a complete picture of how your business is performing.

“Having sales reports is extremely helpful and makes tax season a literal breeze,” says Sylwia. You can download reports in just a few seconds. Also, it’s a great tool to understand how your business is doing and when you need to pump up the marketing.”

💡 PRO TIP: With Shopify, it’s straightforward to track sales by channel, store location, or product over time. To get started, view Sales reports in Shopify admin.

Staff management

Your POS system should help you manage your team members as you grow and scale your business. 

Look for management features like permissions and staff roles to make it easier to lead your staff. Using these features you can set boundaries for what actions team members can do without supervisor permission, for example, refunding a customer or applying a discount to a product. 

It’s also helpful to have visibility on staff’s performance, like their average transaction values, median units per transaction, and daily sales. 

💡 PRO TIP: With Shopify POS, you can assign different roles and permissions and set boundaries on what store staff can do in your POS system without manager approval—like changing a product’s price or applying a custom discount to a sale.

How to choose a POS system for your small business

When you’re choosing the right POS system for your small business, it’s important to consider the features you need to effectively manage your business, now and in the future.

Compare POS providers

Review cost

For any business, the cost of a POS system will be a determining factor. The POS system you choose needs to match your budget. 

When reviewing the cost of POS systems for small business owners, there are three factors to consider: 

  1. POS software fees: There are usually monthly or annual fees, with different plan tiers and corresponding prices. Higher-tier plans usually come with more advanced features, like advanced reporting and analytics.
  2. Hardware costs: These depend on the payment types you want to accept, the number of stores and staff you have, and the overall functionality you need. 
  3. Payment processing fees: Every time you process a sale, your payment processor charges a fee. This fee is usually charged per transaction and taken as a percentage of the overall transaction amount. Sometimes the amount you pay per transaction depends on the credit card the customer uses. 

Account for inventory management

Effective inventory management usually starts with a POS system that automatically updates your inventory levels as you sell, return, or exchange products in both physical and online retail settings.

When you manage inventory from one platform, you can ensure accurate inventory reporting and simplify your overall management system. That way, you’ll spend less time manually counting and reconciling inventory, as well as reduce the likelihood of human error. 

💡 PRO TIP: When you use different platforms to run your online and retail stores, inventory discrepancies are more likely to happen. This can lead to more frequent inventory counts to reconcile differences and ensure stock levels are accurate.

Consider online and in-person selling

Nearly 50% of brands say that unifying their online and in-store operations and data is their biggest challenge.

The best POS systems unify online and in-person selling. They don’t just connect to your online store via an API, but collaborate with it and have built-in omnichannel selling features.

Even if you sell exclusively in online or physical settings today, you may want to give customers the option of both shopping channels in the future. Ensure the POS system you choose can support your business as it evolves.

Get started with a POS system for small business 

A small business POS system helps you accept more payment methods, accurately manage inventory, run sales reports, and more. Consider your unique needs as a growing small business. What might suit some retailers might not be right for you. So think about which POS system features are most important to have, your budget, and your future business goals.

Sell the way your customers shop

Only Shopify POS unifies online and in-store sales and makes checkout seamless. Get all the tools you need to break free from the counter and sell wherever your customers are without worrying about your tech stack, integrations, or fragmented sales reports.

POS systems for small business FAQ

What should be included in a POS system?

  • Point of Sale (POS) terminal: This is the main computer that connects to the payment processor and maintains the inventory and sales records.
  • Barcode scanner: This is used to read barcodes on items and quickly enter them into the system.
  • Credit card reader: This is used to process credit and debit card payments.
  • Receipt printer: This prints customers’ receipts.
  • Cash drawer: This is used to store and secure cash payments.
  • Inventory management software: This is used to manage the inventory and keep track of sales.
  • Customer display: This is used to show customers the items they are purchasing and their total cost.
  • Security measures: These may include cameras, motion detectors, and other measures to protect against theft.

Do I need a POS system for my small business?

It depends on the type of business you operate. If you run a retail store, a POS system is essential for tracking sales and inventory. If you run a service-based business such as a restaurant, a POS system can help you manage orders and payments. If you run an online business, a POS system is not necessary, but can still be beneficial for tracking sales and managing inventory.

What is needed for a POS system?

A successful POS system needs hardware (barcode scanners, cash registers, receipt printers, payment terminals) and software for efficient transactions. Must-have features for POS systems include inventory management, sales reporting, customer relationship management, employee management, and secure payment processing.

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