If you’re searching for a suitable POS system for your retail business, you’ve come to the right place.
Options abound when it comes to available retail point of sale systems, which makes selecting one even more difficult because they each have advantages.
Having tested the various options available in the Australian market, and their merits, we have selected the most suitable cloud-based retail POS systems for small business merchants.
Vend – best for inventory-rich shops
Vend is one of the best retail POS systems Australia can offer a small shop. The interface is user-friendly, but with advanced inventory functions while encompassing a well-rounded breadth of features to maximise retail performance.
This makes it especially suitable for extensive stock systems required in, for example, jewellery, clothing and fashion outlets, book stores and grocery shops. It works on any choice of iPad, Mac or PC, but not Android tablets.
Vend offers 24/7 online and phone support to all their users. They have a comprehensive resources section online with e-books, tools, articles and tips, courses, and even hosts events around the world about running a retail business. It’s no wonder Vend is well-regarded among retailers – whether small, medium or large.
Pricing depends on turnover, number of registers (you pay per iPad or computer using the application), and whether you pay monthly or annually. All plans include general POS operations, real-time inventory management, unlimited products and unlimited users.
The Lite plan can be used with a turnover of up to $25k a month and one outlet. The Pro plan can be used with any turnover and includes advanced reporting, promotions, gift cards, multi-outlet management and access to all add-ons. Both include one register licence – more POS licences cost extra.
Price per licence
Lite: $119/mo (annual), $139/mo (monthly)
Pro: $149/mo (annual), $169/mo (monthly)
Per extra licence: $59/mo (annual), $69/mo (monthly)
Note: Prices exclude GST.
The custom-priced Enterprise plan is only for large businesses.
There is no minimum commitment, so it’s possible to cancel any time. The Pro plan allows you to connect with additional business tools, including the ability to link in-store sales with an online store. The software can be integrated with card terminals from the Commonwealth Bank, Square, Tyro and Windcave, and works with Klarna and most POS equipment.
How do I learn more?
On the website, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial, book a consultation or view a demo video.
Hike – low-cost point of sale for small shop
Hike is an Australian company that exclusively designed its POS offerings for the retail sector. The software is versatile and can be used on iPad and desktop computers.
In Australia, this cloud-based POS integrates with leading payment terminal providers including Westpac’s Presto, Tyro and Square. Hike also provides 24/7 live chat and email support, meaning retail businesses are not left waiting for after-sales assistance.
With respect to pricing, Hike POS provides annual and monthly subscriptions, and does so on a no lock-in basis. However, to encourage customers to subscribe for longer, the annual subscription works out to be cheaper on a month-to-month basis.
There are three plans available to customers, including Start-up, One store and Multi-store.
The ‘Start-up’ and ‘One store’ plans both cover one outlet and one checkout licence, however additional licences can be purchased. The ‘Multi-store’ plan covers unlimited locations, but only includes two POS licences, so you still need to pay per extra one beyond this.
As there is no contractual commitment, it’s possible to cancel at any time. The “One store” plan has all the functionality of the “Start-up” plan, plus gift card loyalty, marketplace integrations, custom reports, detailed analytics and advanced user permissions.
Start-up: $59/mo (annual), $69/mo (monthly)
One store: $79/mo (annual), $99/mo (monthly)
Multi-store: $159/mo (annual), $199/mo (monthly)
Per extra licence: $29/mo (annual), $39/mo (monthly)
Note: All prices are inclusive of GST.
The “Multi-store” plan goes a step further with its central dashboard, central products and customers list, multi-location inventory and consolidated business reporting.
All plans allow you to integrate with ecommerce (Shopify, BigCommerce or WooCommerce), cloud accounting software (Xero or QuickBooks) and MailChimp, but only One Store and Multi-store connect with Amazon Marketplace.
Square for Retail – best for integrated payment tools
Square for Retail is a user-friendly POS software system for iPhone and iPad only. It is not the most extensive retail till system, but certainly the most versatile of the simpler POS apps.
For face-to-face card payments with an iOS device, it is necessary to use Square Reader. You can otherwise purchase the all-in-one Square Register which includes a tablet screen and touchscreen card terminal compatible with Square for Retail.
There are two Square for Retail plans: Free (no monthly fees) and Plus ($109 a month per location). The free plan gives you more retail-specific features than Square’s other free app, Point of Sale (which can also be used for retail). Plus also gives you vendor management tools, advanced inventory features and retail reports, as well as staff management features.
All users can add products with details and images, manage multiple users, add customers, use gift cards, and more. Apart from accepting cards electronically, it is possible to manually enter card details in the app, send payment links, send invoices, delve into ecommerce and use the complimentary Virtual Terminal for phone payments in the backend Dashboard.
Overall, it has quite a few extras that many POS apps don’t include, plus it integrates with many partner platforms to allow for more customisation – including upgrading to other POS systems.
Free plan: Free, 1.9% per card reader payment
Plus plan: $109/mo per location, 1.6% per card reader payment
Note: Prices include GST.
Square is excellent for those who want to start taking payments quickly without commitment. Since it has a free shop till system plan, you can just sign up, download the app, order the card reader and use the system indefinitely even after the Plus trial ends.
Customer support is only available during work hours from Monday to Friday through either phone or email. That being said, Square has a good online support section that covers most questions.
How do I learn more?
Sign up on Square’s website to start a 30-day free trial of Plus, or just use the Free retail plan indefinitely.
Shopify POS – convenient for online retailers
The Shopify POS system is one of the most approachable options on the market for retail shops that sell online through Shopify. It’s one of the most seamless omnichannel solutions, since your online storefront is completely aligned with your point of sale.
However, you have to be subscribed to a Shopify ecommerce plan to use any of the POS features. The cheapest ecommerce plan is Shopify Lite for US$9 a month, which includes ‘buy buttons’ to embed on a website and invoicing. More expensive plans – starting at US$29 monthly for Basic Shopify – let you run an entire online store.
The POS app is free to download while subscribed to Shopify, but the amount of accessible features depends on your chosen POS plan: Shopify POS Lite (free) or Shopify POS Pro (US$89 a month per location). This subscription is in addition to your online plan.
POS Lite is only really suitable for shops primarily selling online, but occasionally also face-to-face. POS Pro has enough to run a serious brick-and-mortar store alongside an online store.
Frankly, the only way to justify the higher cost of POS Pro is by making good use of the ecommerce features. Otherwise, there are better POS systems out there.
Shopify POS Lite: Free with any Shopify plan
Shopify POS Pro: $89/mo per location
Ecommerce plans: $9-$299/mo
* Shopify charges in USD. GST is added to all prices.
With Shopify POS, you can manage the shop inventory, employees and orders. Online and POS sales are constantly synced through the cloud. The system is compatible with iPad, receipt printers and cash drawers.
Customer support is available round the clock over the phone, email or chat.
How do I learn more?
On the website, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial without committing to anything.
Revel Systems – better for medium and high-volume shops
Revel Systems POS is a hybrid POS that uses the cloud as well as a business’ local network, meaning it can work offline. The Revel POS app only works on iPad, not Android, computers or other devices.
In addition to providing a complete POS solution, Revel Systems POS also includes an advanced CRM, inventory management, automated ordering, kiosk functionality and employee tracking.
It integrates with Revel-developed solutions (like online ordering) and third parties including Adyen and Tyro card machines, and has 24/7 phone and online support to accommodate client needs at any time.
Revel Systems POS is on the pricier side than its competitors, with prices starting at USD 99 per terminal per month for a shop with one register. This price only refers to a particular deal where you’re billed annually, locked into a three-year contract and you buy at least two terminals.
Per iPad licence: From $99/mo
Implementation and onboarding: From $674
* Revel charges in USD. GST is added to prices.
You can be billed less frequently than once a year, but this leads to a higher per-month price. There is also a hefty implementation fee of at least USD 674, the exact cost depending on how extensive your setup is.
Generally, Revel is known to not be completely honest about all its costs until you sign you, which has left a lot of bad reviews.
But for retailers requiring a multi-store solution with hardware bundles coming directly from the POS provider, Revel Systems could be a convenient choice providing everything you need for the point of sale.
|Retail POS||Price||Best for||Website|
|$119-$169 + GST/mo||Large inventories and all-round value|
|$0-$109/mo||Integrated payment tools and free features|
|From US$9 + GST/mo||Ecommerce businesses that sell in person too|
|From US$99 + GST/mo||Medium-sized retailers who want hardware too|