Whether you’re a bike shop, off-licence, florist or other independent store, you’ll want a retail POS system that saves you time, money and frustrations.

Unless there are few products, retailers need a robust inventory management system that links stock levels to the shop floor till. Checkout times are faster with barcode scanning, your service is better with a loyalty scheme, and customer satisfaction higher with more payment methods.

But till features are not the only factor in choosing a till – cost and hardware options can make or break a deal. Can you commit to a contract of 1+ years? You don’t have to with some providers. Do you want an industry-grade touchscreen monitor or commercial tablet that’s cheaper? That’s down to your budget.

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

Comparison of retail POS systems:

Retail POS Review Best for Offer
Lightspeed Lightspeed

New independent shops looking for good value and user-friendly till
Square Square for Retail
Shop needing flexible options to sell via many channels
Epos Now Epos Now
Small-to-medium retailers looking for flexible, traditional setup
Shopify logo Shopify POS
Online retailers needing a perfect omnichannel till solution
Erply Erply
New, growing retail stores with complex inventory needs
Zettle by PayPal Zettle Go
Small shops that just need a basic till and basic inventory features

*Excl. VAT

Retail POS Review Best for Offer
Lightspeed Lightspeed

New independent shops looking for good value and user-friendly till
Square Square for Retail
Shop needing flexible options to sell via many channels
Epos Now Epos Now
Small-to-medium retailers looking for flexible, traditional setup
Shopify logo Shopify POS
Online retailers needing a perfect omnichannel till solution
Erply Erply
New, growing retail stores with complex inventory needs
Zettle by PayPal Zettle Go
Small shops that just need a basic till and basic inventory features

*Excl. VAT

We assess point of sale (POS) systems in these areas: 1) product, 2) pricing, 3) transparency and sign-up, 4) value-added features, 5) reviews and support, and 6) contract terms. Each criteria scores between 1-5, merging to one overall rating for the till’s true value for money.

In this comparison, we specifically consider features that small-to-medium retail shops need in a POS system. Among others, this includes a solid inventory system, detailed product menu, efficient checkout interface, barcodes, ecommerce integration and customer loyalty tools.

Main differences to look for

Your brick-and-mortar shop may prioritise certain functions above others, but these things are more fundamental:

  • Software device compatibility
  • Intended users
  • Pricing
  • Billing frequency/contract
  • Customer service

All of the below are cloud-based POS systems with a monthly subscription available. To save money, you can sometimes go for an annual or longer plan where you pay for the year(s) upfront, which works out cheaper per month. Just beware that any subscription payment is non-refundable.

You’ll also need to work out what operating system is best for your shop. Commercial Android tablets are cheaper upfront, but iPad is more universally used for small-business retail. Mobile merchants might prefer a POS app that also works on a smartphone, for impromptu sales. Those with the space might want a PC computer (touchscreen or not) or Mac for a stationery till on a roomy countertop.

Merchants new to the retail scene benefit from personalised support, while anyone can end up needing 24/7 support options if the till runs into trouble. Finally, each POS system suits different sizes and complexities of retailers.

Compare key aspects of each EPOS system for retail shop:

Lightspeed Retail
Square for Retail
Epos Now
Epos Now Retail
Shopify POS
Software iPad, PC, Mac iPad, iPhone, Square Register iPad, Android tablets, PC, Mac, custom register iPad, iPhone, Android devices iPad, Android tablets, PC, Mac
Suited for Small-medium retailers Small retail shops Small-large retailers Small-large retailers Small-medium retailers
Plans* Licence/mo for 1 till
Standard: £59-£89
Advanced: £99-£139
Licence/mo for 1 location
Licence/mo for 1 till
From £50

Add-ons from £14/mo
Licence/mo for 1 location
POS Lite:
POS Pro: US$89
+ E-comm subscription
Licence/mo for 1 location
POS only:
POS + inventory: US$69-$79
Billing Monthly or annual Monthly Monthly or one-time payment for software,
1-3-year hardware lease
Monthly Monthly or annual
Support 24/7 helpline & email support Weekday 9am-5pm helpline & email support Email only, or 24/7 helpline with add-on 24/7 helpline, email & chat support Limited email support, helpline optional

*Costs exclude VAT.

Lightspeed Retail (previously Vend) – inventory-focused

Our rating
  • Works online, some features offline

  • 24/7 email and phone support

  • Runs on iPad, Mac and PC

  • Monthly or annual plans

Vend POS has been around for a while, then acquired by Lightspeed and renamed to Lightspeed Retail (X Series). It is arguably the best retail POS system for small shops. It works on any choice of iPad, Mac, PC and standard POS equipment, but not Android tablets.

Officially, Vend is now Lightspeed, but it does still exist with its own website under the name of Vend by Lightspeed. What was previously the Vend POS app has been completely rebranded to Lightspeed Retail POS (X), keeping Vend’s original design and features.

The original Lightspeed Retail app still exists in the App Store, referred to as the R Series. Although you can test it, this app is no longer accepting new subscriptions and is only there for existing users. Whether you sign up via Vend’s or Lightspeed’s website, you end up using the X Series (previously Vend).

The interface is user-friendly with advanced inventory functions and 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.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Lightspeed Retail checkout screen

Lightspeed offers 24/7 online and phone support to all users. The company has a comprehensive resource section online with e-books, tools, articles and tips, courses – and even hosts events around the world about running a retail business. It is broadly well-regarded among retailers – whether small, medium or large.

Pricing depends on the 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 Standard plan adds accounting and ecommerce integrations on top of the POS features of the cheap Lean plan. The Advanced plan has detailed loyalty, analytics and serial number features on top. They all include one register licence at one outlet location – more till licences cost extra.

The custom-priced Enterprise plan is only for large businesses.

Plans incl. 1 till licence and Lightspeed Payments

Lean: £39/mo (annual), £49/mo (monthly)

Standard: £59/mo (annual), £69/mo (monthly)

Advanced: £99/mo (annual), £119/mo (monthly)

Without Lightspeed Payments, £20 is added to above costs

Note: VAT is added to prices.

There is no minimum commitment, so it’s possible to cancel any time, but annual plans work out cheaper per month.

The monthly and annual subscriptions cost less if you opt to use a fully integrated Lightspeed Payments card machine. If integrating with card terminals from SumUp, Zettle, Square, Paymentsense or Windcave, the plans are £20 more expensive on a monthly basis.

How do I learn more?

You can sign up for a 14-day free trial via Vend by Lightspeed or get a quote from Lightspeed directly.

Square for Retail – best for integrated payment tools

Our rating
  • Works online only

  • Support Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

  • Runs on iPad, iPhone and Square Register

  • No contract

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 the software.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

Square Stand and EPOS

There are two Square for Retail plans: Free (no monthly fees) and Plus (£49 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, 1.75% per card reader payment

Plus plan: £49*/mo per location, 1.6% per card reader payment

*Excluding VAT.

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.

Epos Now – most till customisations

Epos Now
Our rating
  • iPad, Android, Mac or PC register

  • 1 month’s to 3 years’ contract

  • Works online and offline

  • Customer support requires add-on

Epos Now Retail is a highly adaptable EPOS that’s available as an app on iPad and Android or software on Mac and PC computers. You can subscribe to the app on a monthly basis or purchase the software upfront.

The cheapest plan includes important till, inventory and shop management features, but plenty of add-ons are available through the browser dashboard.

Epos Now retail hardware kit

One of Epos Now’s main advantages is its hardware bundles sold at affordable prices (usually from £399 + VAT). These include your choice of equipment such as an industry-grade touchscreen PC with swipeable staff card slots, cash drawer, barcode scanner and receipt printer. “Free” or cheap bundles are available upfront, but only with a contract locking you into 1-3 years.

Apart from general point of sale features like a product library, discount options, variants and cash management, the Retail software offers a detailed inventory management system with stock levels, SKUs, location management, pricing options and much more.

Still, there are shortcomings, e.g. importing products from a spreadsheet needs a paid add-on. Some of the buttons in the till interface also have small text, making it difficult to read.


Retail Subscription from £50*/mo per till

Epos Now Payments: 1.7% per card transaction

*Excluding VAT.

If you go for the cheapest POS module, there is no proper customer support apart from self-help resources. An additional module of £25 + VAT is required to access a helpline, onboarding support and training when needed.

The till system has the Epos Now Payments system built in. To use it, you need to rent a card machine from Epos Now and pay 1.7% per card transaction. Otherwise, card readers from Zettle, Paymentsense, Global Payments, Retail Merchant Services, Worldpay and Verifone can be integrated.

How do I learn more?

Contact Epos Now for a custom quote and consultation.

Shopify POS – convenient for online retailers

Our rating
  • Runs on iPad, iPhone and Android

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

  • Works online, offline limited

  • 24/7 email and chat support

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.

Photo: Shopify

Shopify retail POS app

However, you have to be subscribed to a Shopify ecommerce plan to use any of the POS features. The cheapest ecommerce plan is Shopify Starter for £5 a month, which includes ‘buy buttons’ to embed on a website and invoicing. More expensive plans – starting at £25 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 ($89 USD 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: US$89/mo per location

Ecommerce plans: £5-£344/mo

* 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, Android devices, receipt printers and cash drawers, and cards are accepted with the Shopify card reader for a fee of 1.5%-1.7% depending on the chosen Shopify plan.

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.

Erply – adaptable POS with powerful inventory system

Our rating
  • Runs on iPad, Android, PC and Mac

  • Monthly or annual contract

  • Works online and offline

  • Support Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

US-based Erply started out as a comprehensive inventory management platform, but have since become a decent retail POS system in several countries including the UK. Its point of sale software works on iPad, Android tablets and computers through an internet browser.

Photo: Erply

Erply POS interface

Erply’s free Point of Sale plan includes one user account and one till licence to use the Android or iPad POS app. Only basic POS functions (incl. simple X and Y reports) and customer management features are included, and there’s no access to the back office where comprehensive inventory features are used. In other words, the free plan suits mainly a small shop with not that many products.

For shops with many products or multiple locations, we recommend the Inventory + Retail POS plan. This includes 2 users, the full inventory system, back office access, advanced reports, store credit system, warehouse management and much more. Each till does need its own subscription, though.

A third plan, Inventory for E-commerce, does not include the till system, but gives you one warehouse licence and complex inventory management that’s integrated with Shopify or another online store front.


Point of Sale only: Free

Inventory + Retail POS: $69/mo (monthly contract) or $79/year (annual contract)

Note: USD pricing, excluding VAT.

The till works through the cloud (online), but many features – like accepting cash – also work offline. In the UK, only card machines from Windcave integrate with the EPOS.

Customer support is limited to emailing on the free plan, but phone support is available on other plans. To end a contract, you have to email Erply a 30 days’ cancellation notice. Even changing your card payment details requires emailing, which we find odd when other providers just let you do it straight away in your account.

How do I learn more?

Sign up on Erply’s website to try the free POS plan or a 60-day trial.

Zettle Go – basic POS app with popular card reader

Zettle by PayPal
Our rating
  • Works on iPad, iPhone and Android

  • No contract

  • Support Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

  • No offline mode

Zettle Go (previously iZettle Go) is the free POS app for Zettle Reader users. As a popular mobile card reader company in the UK, the app has been widely used in small shops that do not need advanced features at their point of sale. The app can be downloaded on all the most recent iPhones, iPads and Android 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 Zettle, you get access to the free Zettle Go POS app by default. This has all of Zettle’s features relevant to retail, including bulk upload of products, stock level tracking, product variants and basic sales analytics on e.g. best-selling items.

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


Go: Free

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 Zettle Reader with the system, so if you are planning on getting another card machine, you would have to use another POS system. Zettle 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?

Zettle Go is free to sign up for, so you can do that straight away to trial the app without committing to a contract.

POS systems compared

No point of sale system is perfect, but Lightspeed Retail/Vend has the most balanced features for the price. Its interface is intuitive and tends to be popular among independent shops in the UK.

Square for Retail is best for its payments integration with Square, including free tools like click-and-collect. The downside is that you can’t pick another payment system, so you’ll need to be happy with its fees and somewhat simpler retail features (it is not as advanced as other retail EPOS systems).

Epos Now is a popular till system for any device, but a longer-term commitment when leasing the till equipment too. Many features – usually included as standard in other software – require paid add-ons, so the Epos Now costs do easily add up.

Shopify POS is the only option requiring a paid ecommerce subscription in addition to the free or paid POS plan. Consequently, it is only worth going for Shopify POS if you run an online shop with Shopify – in which case, Shopify POS Pro is the best ecommerce-POS integration around.

Erply was primarily an inventory system before it branched into a feature-rich EPOS for retail, so it’s naturally recommended for complex product management. Zettle Go, on the other hand, is too basic for that, but is instead super-easy (and free) to use.

Checkout features

The checkout features determine the cashier’s experience of the till. What does the interface look like? What functions support each sale?

Most retail EPOS show a neat product grid grouped into categories and types. Shopify is the odd one out that relies on barcode-scanning or searching for items – some consider this faster, especially with products stored at different locations.

Checkout Lightspeed Square Epos Now Shopify Erply
Product grid
Product search
Custom sale
No sale
Saved carts Yes, on POS Pro
Custom receipts Yes, on POS Pro
Barcode scanning
Offline mode Partial Requires specific setup Partial

While all the above accept cash in/cash out to track shop expenses, they don’t all do ‘no sales’, layaways or custom-description items added to a bill (‘custom sales’).

Offline mode is mostly practical with an unreliable internet connection. Even when this available, the till will usually only allow limited actions such as cash sales rather than card payments.

Inventory management

Serious retailers need good inventory management, unless you’re selling only few products in quantities you can count on one hand.

Most paid POS systems allow for unlimited products, stock levels, variants and stock alerts. Only Epos Now requires downloading an add-on to import new items from a spreadsheet.

Lightspeed Square Epos Now Shopify Erply
Unlimited products
Bulk-import items Only with add-on
Categories & variants
Stock levels
Stock alerts Yes, on POS Pro
Purchase orders Yes, on Plus Yes, on POS Pro

If purchase orders and supplier management are included, you know it’s a complex inventory system. However, be sure to check how advanced these systems are, as they vary a lot in quality.

Customer loyalty

Recording customer profiles has become an essential feature of any POS system. This allows you to offer loyalty points, gift cards, integrate with email marketing and personlise your customer experience.

Lightspeed Square Epos Now Shopify Erply
Customer profiles
Gift cards Yes, on Pro
Timed promotions Yes, on Pro
Loyalty points Yes, on Pro Only with integration
Email marketing Only with integration Only with integration Only with integration Only with integration

While discounts are an essential feature, running a promotion on the till requires more features that not every POS system has.

Reports and analytics

Your shop’s performance is only as good as the data, so the depth of reporting available is important. At the very least, you’ll need to look up sales figures and transactions and monitor the cash float – this is possible with all the EPOS systems.

Generating an end-of-day report (X or Z report) is not, however, included with all the systems.

Reports &
Lightspeed Square Epos Now Shopify Erply
Daily reports Yes, on POS Pro
Close of day report Only with Shopify or higher e-comm plan
Export reports Yes, to CSV Yes, to CSV Yes, to CSV Yes, to CSV Yes, to different formats
Sales analytics Detailed Standard on Free, Advanced on Plus Detailed Detailed Detailed
Custom reports Yes, on Pro May require add-on Only with Advanced Shopify ecommerce
Accounting integrations AccountsPortal, MYOB, QuickBooks, Xero Enterpryze, Kashoo, KashFlow, Xero, Zoho Books, more QuickBooks, Sage One, Xero, more (only integrates on Premium) QuickBooks QuickBooks

Whereas VAT and taxes are included as standard in all systems, other advanced analytics are usually available on higher subscriptions or via integrations.

Employee and store management

If more than one cashier or manager uses the till or admin account, it’s best to assign staff permissions and user PINs to each person. This allows you to control who can access which features and monitor shifts or sales by employee.

Employees &
Lightspeed Square Epos Now Shopify Erply
User logins
User permissions Yes, on POS Pro
Staff analytics
Shift reports Only with integration Only with integration
Close/open till
Multi-location support Yes, on Pro
Stock transfers Yes, on Pro Yes, on Plus Yes, on POS Pro
Location analytics Yes, on Pro Yes, on POS Pro

Multi-store outlets and retailers with a warehouse benefit from a system that’s able to manage stock across locations. Sometimes, you only get these features with an upgrade to a pricier plan.

Card machines, payment methods and ecommerce

Retail till systems don’t all accept the payment methods you prefer, so these are important to check. Can the till accept cash, gift cards and integrated card payments? Can you exchange as well as refund sales?

We highly recommend choosing a POS system that’s integrated with a suitable card machine. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually confirm on the till when a card payment has been processed on the side (if not integrated).

Payments Lightspeed Square Epos Now Shopify Erply
Payment methods
  • Cards
  • Cash
  • Vouchers
  • Gift cards
  • Cheques
  • Store credit
  • Cards
  • Cash
  • Cheques
  • Gift cards
  • Card on file
  • Invoice
  • Cards
  • Cash
  • Gift cards
  • Store credit
  • Invoice
  • Cards
  • Cash
  • Vouchers
  • Cheques
  • Store credit
  • Gift cards
  • Cards
  • Cash
  • Vouchers
  • Store credit
  • Gift cards
  • Invoice
Exchanges Yes, on Plus Yes, on POS Pro
Card machine integrations Paymentsense, Square, SumUp, Windcave, Zettle Square Global Payments, Paymentsense, RMS, Verifone, Worldpay, Zettle Shopify card reader Windcave
Click & collect integration
Ecommerce integrations BigCommerce, Ecwid, Shopify, WooCommerce Ecwid, GoDaddy, Magento/Adobe Commerce, Square Online, Wix, WooCommerce, more BigCommerce, Epos Now Online, Shopify Shopify Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento/Adobe Commerce

It’s also important to consider which ecommerce integrations you want, to make your life easier in the long run.

Alternative EPOS for retail

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:

  • Are only available to the US or other countries

  • Have a limited user base and limited success

  • Have a high set-up cost

  • Have worrying customer service issues

  • Are expensive for a small shop

  • Have not improved their software for a while

  • Focus more on marketing than actual product quality

A few alternatives could work for a small shop, though:

  • SumUp Point of Sale – Custom features through modular add-ons (features are paid for as modules, racking up costs)
  • Hike POS – Good value retail POS that works on iPad, PC and Mac (Australian customer support, but catering for UK too)
  • Clover – Fancy-looking till terminals with customisation options (beware of contract terms)