Choosing a POS system is not easy, especially when you’re a small shop with a limited budget for a point of sale. Many UK providers do not display pricing openly and often require the kind of commitment and investment only large companies can afford.

But several affordable, cloud-based point of sale systems are available today, whether it’s for an off-licence, gift shop, florist, bike shop or other independent store.

We have weeded through the options and chosen the most trustworthy, affordable till systems for retail.

Retail till systemReviewsPrice per licence*Offers
Vend logoVend
£49-£89/mo
Lightspeed logoLightspeed Retail
£69-£219/mo
Square logoSquare Point of Sale
Free
iZettleiZettle Go
Free
Shopify logoShopify POS
US$9+/mo

*Excl. VAT

Retail
till
system
Licence
price*
Offers
Vend logo£49-£89/mo
Lightspeed logo£69-£219/mo
Square logoFree
iZettle Free
Shopify logo US$9+/mo

*Excl. VAT

Vend – best for inventory-rich shops

Vend
Our rating
  • Works online, some features offline

  • 24/7 email and phone support

  • Runs on iPad, Mac and PC

  • Monthly or annual plans

Vend is arguably the best retail POS system for small shops (or best-known, at least). 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.

Photo: Vend

Vend POS on computer and mobile devices

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 is no wonder they are 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 £15k 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 till licences cost extra.

Price per licence

Lite: £49/mo (annual), £59/mo (monthly)

Pro: £69/mo (annual), £89/mo (monthly)

Per extra licence: £39/mo (annual), £49/mo (monthly)

Note: VAT is added to prices.

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 SumUp, PayPal, iZettle, Square, Paymentsense, Windcave and Klarna and works with 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.

Our review

Lightspeed Retail – advanced features with good service

Lightspeed
Our rating
  • Works online, can work offline

  • 24/7 phone support

  • Runs on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

  • No long-term contract needed

Lightspeed Retail is an expansive solution to retail point of sale. The advanced POS system runs from an iPad or desktop computer and can integrate with Lightspeed’s own ecommerce platform, advanced analytics, customer loyalty and other add-ons to enhance the in-store service. The system comes with a fully-fledged inventory management system and standard reporting.

Photo: Lightspeed

Round the clock (except for holidays), you can call or message customer support. Every new customer gets a personalised onboarding session, and there are plenty of online resources and tutorials to support your business.

The cheapest plan is Basic, which includes just the EPOS system and backend management features. This costs £69 per month for one till and store location if paying yearly (monthly payments cost more).

The Standard subscription adds on ecommerce, and Advanced takes it a step further with a customer loyalty module too. Finally, the Pro plan tops it off with advanced store analytics. Additional register licences cost extra. All plans can be cancelled any time, but anything paid upfront isn’t refundable.

Since Lightspeed is cloud-based, the POS features are meant to be used with an internet connection.

Pricing

Basic: £69/mo (annual), £79/mo (monthly)

Standard: £99/mo (annual or monthly)

Advanced: £129/mo (annual), £139/mo (monthly)

Pro: £199/mo (annual), £219/mo (monthly)

Per extra licence: £29/mo

Note: VAT is added to prices.

For card payments, the system can be integrated with iZettle Reader and Barclaycard card machines.

The Lightspeed EPOS interface is generally user-friendly, but can sometimes be more advanced than intuitive i.e. you may rely on user guides to understand certain features. The features are most comprehensive for inventory and vendor management.

How do I learn more? On their website, you can book a demo or sign up for a free 14-day trial allowing you access to the POS app.

Square Point of Sale – best free EPOS software in UK

Square
Our rating
  • Works online only

  • Support Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

  • Runs on iPad, iPhone and Android

  • No contract

Square Point of Sale is a free POS software system for iPhone, iPad and compatible Android devices. It is not the most extensive retail till system, but certainly the most dynamic of the free POS apps available. For face-to-face card payments, it is necessary to use Square Reader.

Photo: Square

Since this is a free app, there is only support 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.

You can add products with details and images, but also manage multiple users, add customers, use gift cards, and more. Apart from accepting cards via the card reader, it is possible to manually enter card details in the app, send invoices, delve into ecommerce and use the complimentary Virtual Terminal for phone payments in the backend Dashboard. Overall, it has quite a few extra features that not even all paid POS apps include, plus it integrates with many partner platforms to allow for more advanced features – including upgrading to other POS systems.

Pricing

Point of Sale app: Free

Card fee: 1.75%

Manual entry cards: 2.5% fee

Square Point of Sale is excellent for those who want to start taking payments quickly without commitment. Since it is by default a free shop till system (not including card payment fees), all you do is sign up, download the app, order the card reader, and start using the system.

How do I learn more? Sign up any time on Square’s website and just start trying out the features.

Our review

iZettle Go – most popular POS app with card reader

iZettle
Our rating
  • Works online only

  • Support Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

  • Works on iPad, iPhone and Android

  • No contract

iZettle Go is the free POS app for iZettle Reader users. As the most popular mobile card reader company in the UK, this app is widely used in small shops that do not need very advanced features at their point of sale. The app can be downloaded on all the most recent iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

Photo: iZettle

iZettle Reader 2 on Dock 2, next to the Go app on Apple devices

Customer support is available for free during work hours on weekdays. There is also a good help section online where you can find answers to most questions.

When signing up for iZettle, you get access to the free iZettle Go POS app by default. This has all of iZettle’s features relevant to retail. If you want extensive ecommerce functionality integrated with the point of sale, you can pay a monthly subscription to get on the iZettle E-commerce plan.

The POS app can also send payment links for remote transactions, as well as email invoices.

Pricing

Go: Free

E-commerce: £29/mo + VAT

Card reader fee: 1.75%

The app is very user-friendly and generally has a lot of positive feedback from users.

The only catch is that you can only use iZettle Reader with the system, so if you are planning on getting another card machine, you would have to use another POS system. iZettle is compatible with a lot of receipt printers, a scanner (if you’re not using the in-app barcode scanner) and cash drawer, so it can be used as a complete point of sale at a counter.

How do I learn more? iZettle Go is free to sign up for, so you can do that straight away to trial the app without committing to a contract.

Our review

Shopify POS – convenient for online retailers

Shopify
Our rating
  • Works online, offline limited

  • 24/7 email and chat support

  • Runs on iPhone, iPad and Android

  • Monthly, annual, 2- or 3-yearly plans

The Shopify POS system is one of the most approachable options on the market for retail shops that primarily sell online. It’s a great choice for people running a business both online and face-to-face, but the backend and frontend may feel more cumbersome than other POS systems designed for face-to-face sales primarily.

Shopify POS setup

There are two different POS plans: Shopify POS Lite (free) and Shopify POS Pro (US$89 a month per location). You have to be subscribed to a Shopify ecommerce plan to use any of the POS features.

The cheapest ecommerce plan available is Shopify Lite for US$9 a month, which includes ‘buy buttons’ and features for Facebook selling. More expensive plans – starting at US$29 monthly for Basic Shopify – let you run an entire online store.

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 the more advanced POS plan is if you make good use of the ecommerce platform that Shopify excels with. On its own, there are better POS systems out there.

Pricing

Shopify POS Lite: Free with any Shopify plan

Shopify POS Pro: $89/mo per location

Ecommerce plans: $9-$299/mo

* Shopify charges in USD. VAT 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, and cards are accepted with the Shopify card reader for a 1.5%-1.7% transaction fee depending on the chosen Shopify plan.

Customer support is available round the clock over email and chat on Shopify Lite, and by phone as well on pricier plans.

How do I learn more? On their website, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial without committing to anything.

Our review

Alternative store POS

There are other retail till systems for small shops in the UK – why not include them on the list above? That’s because the many POS systems we’ve researched usually: