When it comes to opening a business, you have many decisions to make. Who you'll hire, where you'll operate, and, most importantly, what Point-of-Sale system you'll use. This choice is a big factor in how your business will run.
What are You Looking for?
Point-of-Sale systems all do different things. When picking a POS system, you need to decide what you're looking for. Do you need a system that works with inventory? Do you need a system with a built-in customer loyalty program? Do you need a system that's primarily cloud-based? These are all important things to consider.
What are Your Options?
There are a few major Point-of-Sale systems to consider for your business. They have different strengths and weaknesses. Below, we'll examine three options for your business.
Best for Start-Ups
Square is by far the most common POS system for small businesses. The initial set-up is free and the basic version has no monthly cost. It comes with a free card-reader that plugs into your phone or tablet. The only costs to you are other hardware and transaction costs. Their transaction costs are very clear on their website:
- 2.5%+$.10 for Swiped Magstripe Cards, Swiped or Inserted Chip Cards, Contactless (NFC), Payments, Prepaid Gift Cards, Point-of-Sale API Swiped or Inserted Payments, Swiped Virtual Terminal Payments.
- 3.5%+$.15 for cards on file, manually entered card payments, Point-of-Sale API Keyed-In Payments, Manually Entered Virtual Terminal Payments
- 2.9%+$.30 for Invoices, Online Store, Square eCommerce API, eCommerce Card on File payments.
- No fees for cash, check, or other.
The features of the basic plan include:
- Barcode scanning
- Electronic signature
- Discount management
- Gift card management
- Retail POS
- eCommerce integration
Square has specific features for restaurants. It costs $60 per month for each location plus $20 per month for each additional device. This gives you the ability to split checks.
From reviews on and off of their website, Square is known for their customer service. They consistently resolve issues quickly and easily. They have, by far, the best customer service of POS systems for small businesses.
If customer loyalty is important to you, Square is a good option. It has a built-in loyalty program that you can customize to fit your business. You pay for this based on customer involvement per location per month. The cost of this is spelled out on their website:
0-500 loyalty visits: $45
501-1,500 loyalty visits: $75
1,501-10,000 loyalty visits: $105
10,001+ loyalty visits: individual pricing
Here's an article about why you should be using a customer loyalty program.
This would be your best option if you're looking for a non-expensive Point-of-Sale system with cohesive features that work well with food-service, retail, and appointment-based businesses.
Easy to Set Up and Use
Clover is a Point-of-Sale system that's incredibly user-friendly. It's better for bigger businesses because it's a lot more expensive to both start and operate. You pay a monthly fee for the software, the up-front cost of the hardware, and transaction fees.
There are two versions of the software: Register Lite and Register.
- Register Lite is $14 per month and 2.7% + $0.10 for in-person transactions and 3.5% + $0.10 for keyed-in transactions. With this software, you can accept all forms of payment, set employee permissions and shifts, track sales and reports, process payments offline, and access the Clover App Market.
- Register is $29 per month and 2.3% + $0.10 for in-person transactions, and 3.5% + $0.10 for keyed-in transactions. This software gives you all the Register Lite capabilities, plus inventory management, ability to access customer feedback, add gratuity to checks, and implement a customer loyalty system.
For the hardware you have four options:
- $69 for the Clover Go, the mobile device attachment. This allows you to process magstripe-only cards, chip cards, and contactless payments.
- $499 for the Clover Flex, the handheld POS system. This system processes magstripe-only cards, chip cards, and contactless payments. It also scans barcodes and prints receipts.
- $749 for the Clover Mini, the small countertop system. This does the same things as the Clover Flex but it has a much bigger display.
- $1,349 for the Clover Station, the full system with card terminal, receipt printer, cash register. This does everything. It processes card payments and cash payments, prints receipts, and has a place to keep cash.
The Clover POS system has a marketplace of apps to specialize each device to your business. These apps include inventory, management of employees and customers, view and create reports, and monitoring your revenue stream. Most apps are free or at a very low price.
A major downside for this company is their customer service. They don't get back to you quickly if at all. The system is very user-friendly but the company isn't. If customer service is important to you, this may not be the system for you.
This would be your best option if you're a bigger business with more budget for a Point-of-Sale system. It's an easy-to-use system with comprehensive hardware that you won't need to supplement.
Best for Restaurants
Ordyx was the first cloud-based Point-of-Sale system in the US. Unlike Clover, this works on third-party devices, so you don't have to spend a fortune on specific hardware. The software lends itself easily to customizations as Ordyx has come out with vast amounts of apps. As for prices, this is a very middle-of-the-road system. There's a Lite and a Premium version.
- The Lite version is $49.99 monthly. Additional terminals are $17 each month. It includes the ability to manage staff (up to ten people), see the table layout, process credit cards, house unlimited menus, and track inventory.
- The Premium version is $59.99 monthly. Additional terminals are $17 each month. It includes all the same abilities as the Lite version and you can manage unlimited employees and have unlimited software integrations.
Their customer loyalty program is built into the software so you don't have to worry about setting up another system. It works during Point-of-Service transactions using points. You can customize it for your business.
Reviews have shown that Ordyx's customer service is lacking. They don't communicate in a timely manner. Although, their software engineers spend a lot of time helping customers. If you request a specific app integration, they will program it for you.
This would be your best option if your business is a restaurant in need of a specialty Point-of-Sale system. Ordyx is an incredibly customizable system with options geared towards the food-service industry.
The Bottom Line
Whatever your business is, you need a good Point-of-Sale system. Every system has different strengths and weaknesses. To understand which one you should use, you have to first understand the needs of your business. If you need something to fit a small budget, Square is for you. If you need something for a bigger business, Clover is for you. If you need something customizable for restaurants, Ordyx is for you. If you’re starting a business, consider using one of these systems.