Vend and Epos Now are two popular POS systems in the UK with clear differences that set them apart.

Firstly, Vend is for retailers only while Epos Now caters to any kind of business such as shops and hospitality. Consequently, Vend positions itself as an expert in retail while Epos Now aims to be more of a jack of all trades – but that doesn’t mean Epos Now doesn’t beat Vend on some retail aspects.

Let us compare the POS systems to find out which is better for your retail business.

Vend logo Epos Now
Solutions offered POS software POS software, till equipment
Subscriptions Lite, Pro Standard, Premium
Billing Monthly, annual Monthly, annual
Monthly cost £15-£89 per till £25-£50 per till
Commitment Cancel any time, upfront payments non-refundable Cancel any time, lock-in contract in some cases
Ecommerce Works with BigCommerce, Ecwid, Shopify, WooCommerce Works with Shopify
POS app compatibility iPad, Mac, PC iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac
Payment integrations Barclaycard, Elavon, iZettle, Klarna, Paymentsense, Square, SumUp, Worldpay, Windcave, more Barclaycard, Global Payments, Paymentsense, Worldpay
Vend logo Epos Now
Solutions offered
POS software POS software, till equipment
Subscriptions
Lite, Pro Standard, Premium
Billing
Monthly, annual Monthly, Annual
Monthly cost
£15-£89 per till £25-£50 per till
Commitment
Cancel any time, upfront payments non-refundable Cancel any time, lock-in contract in some cases
Ecommerce
Works with BigCommerce, Ecwid, Shopify, WooCommerce Works with Shopify
POS app compatibility
iPad, Mac, PC iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac
Payment integrations
Barclaycard, Elavon, iZettle, Klarna, Paymentsense, Square, SumUp, Worldpay, Windcave, more Barclaycard, Global Payments, Paymentsense, Worldpay

Vend’s prices are clear, Epos Now not so much

Vend wins the prize of most transparent software costs, even though Epos Now makes an attempt to show prices upfront. How so?

Each has a standard and premium plan, where Epos Now appears cheap compared to Vend: £25 per month for Epos Now Standard versus £49 (annual billing) or £59 (monthly billing) per month for Vend Lite, and £50 a month for Epos Now Premium versus £69 (annual billing) or £89 (monthly billing) a month for Vend Pro (all excluding VAT).

Epos Now doesn’t state if their pricing is for annual or monthly payments, but POS providers often display the annual cost which is lower than monthly subscriptions. With both providers, any upfront costs are non-refundable and you can cancel the software subscriptions any time.

Software costs* Vend Epos Now
Standard features Vend Lite
£49/mo (annual billing)
£59/mo (monthly billing)
Retail Standard
£25/mo
Advanced features Vend Pro
£69/mo (annual billing)
£89/mo (monthly billing)
Retail Premium
£50/mo
Per extra till licence £39/mo (annual billing)
£49/mo (monthly billing)
£15/mo (Lite)
£30/mo (Premium)

*Excluding VAT.

Vend Epos Now
Standard features
Vend Lite
£49/mo (annual billing)
£59/mo (monthly billing)
Retail Standard
£25/mo
Advanced features
Vend Pro
£69/mo (annual billing)
£89/mo (monthly billing)
Retail Premium
£50/mo
Per extra till licence
£39/mo (annual billing)
£49/mo (monthly billing)
£15/mo (Lite)
£30/mo (Premium)

*Excluding VAT.

An Enterprise package with premium service options are available from both POS providers, but this is typically reserved for high-volume businesses or those requiring a more tailored service.

A free 30-day trial of the software is offered by both providers, but beware that many features accessible in Epos Now’s trial are actually add-on functions that you pay extra for on top of the paid subscription (costs of add-ons are not disclosed until you ask Epos Now). So if you do make use of the trial – and this can also apply for Vend – make sure you check that required features are included on the plan you will be paying for.

Another thing to be wary of is your monthly turnover. The Vend Lite plan is for retailers with a monthly turnover of less than £15,000, while Vend Pro allows an unlimited turnover. There is no such limit on Epos Now plans.

Both providers have a good range of hardware bundles, Epos Now with curated retail bundles ranging between £399 and £1199 + VAT for a PC touchscreen, iPad or Android tablet together with a tablet holder (if relevant), cash drawer, receipt printer and optional barcode scanner. If you rent the Epos Now equipment, you bind yourself to a monthly contract period that cannot be cancelled without an early termination fee.

Vend actively encourages you to use your existing till hardware or purchase any compatible iPad, iPad stands, computers, cash drawers, receipt printers, barcode scanners and so on. This means you have a lot of control of your setup and can save money by finding the best prices online, so the upfront cost can be low. In contrast, Epos Now will try to sell you their curated hardware bundles.

Point-of-sale software features

Retail POS features are where it gets interesting. When looking at any POS system, you should always ask yourself what functions are required in your shop. Vend and Epos Now both have in-depth inventory management features for serious retailers, so most shops can find all they need – the question is how much you pay for it.

You get all of Vend’s retail features on the Pro plan except for these that are exclusive to the Enterprise plan:

  • Premium API access for tailoring work flows
  • A dedicated account manager
  • Customised onboarding

Vend Lite has certain limitations that nevertheless make it feature-rich for single-location shops. A multi-location POS system requires the Vend Pro plan. The differences in features between those plans are reflective of that.

Epos Now, on the other hand, does not openly distinguish the software features on Standard and Premium plans, making it harder to make a like-for-like comparison of Vend and Epos Now. POS features you’d think were standard may turn out to require an additional module costing extra on top of even the “Premium” subscription. The following are examples of such add-on modules:

  • Bulk import of products into the inventory library
  • Accounting features
  • Email marketing integration

Let us compare some other differences and similarities between the Vend and Epos Now Retail software:

Software feature Vend logo Epos Now
Bulk import of inventory Included on all plans Only with add-on
Auto-supply orders Included on all plans Included
Products in system Unlimited on all plans Unlimited on all plans
Customer profiles Included on all plans Included on all plans
Promotions Only with Pro Included
Gift cards Only with Pro Available
Barcodes Included on all plans Included on all plans
Offline mode Available Available
Staff accounts Unlimited on all plans Included on all plans
Sales reports Good on Lite, advanced on Pro Good on all plans (advanced may require add-on)
Integrations & add-ons Available on Pro May require Premium
Software
feature
Vend Epos Now
Bulk import of inventory Included on all plans Only with add-on
Auto-supply orders Included on all plans Included
Products in system Unlimited on all plans Unlimited on all plans
Customer profiles Included on all plans Included on all plans
Promotions Only with Pro Included
Gift cards Only with Pro Available
Barcodes Included on all plans Included on all plans
Offline mode Available Available
Staff accounts Unlimited on all plans Included on all plans
Sales reports Good on Lite, advanced on Pro Good on all plans (advanced may require add-on)
Integrations & add-ons Available on Pro May require Premium

Although the Epos Now Retail software can seriously compete with Vend’s, the fact that Vend specialises in retail comes across in the more detailed inventory features on even the Lite subscription (Epos Now doesn’t have the same amount of features on the Standard plan). Vend’s software is very user-friendly for those used to retail – the interface is pleasant, and you can intuitively work out where the desired retail functions are. Epos Now is also well-designed, but may take a little longer to work out intuitively.

Epos Now sales analytics

Epos Now’s web portal gives you standard sales analytics for retailers.

Sales analytics and end-of-day reports are detailed on Vend Lite and even more advanced on Vend Pro, while Epos Now has a vaguer distinction between reporting on Standard and Premium plans. Integrations with accounting programs, ecommerce and other apps are only available on Vend Pro. It’s unclear whether Epos Now requires a Premium subscription for integrations, but customer complaints seem to indicate it does.

Vend inventory management

Vend’s inventory features are comprehensive for a small- or medium-sized shop.

Both Vend and Epos Now include automatic ordering of inventory that’s low on stock, unlimited products, customer loyalty tools, use of barcodes, promotions, employee permissions and most other things expected in a retail POS system. The problem with Epos Now is you don’t know which features you need to pay extra for on top of the subscription, but you can be confident Vend Pro gives you all the retail features the POS system has.

Card machines and ecommerce integrations

Where card payments are concerned, both POS systems can connect with several card payment systems, but there are more limitations with Epos Now.

Vend integrates smoothly with Worldpay, Barclaycard, Elavon, iZettle, Klarna, Paymentsense, Square, SumUp, Windcave and more. New Vend users can in some cases get a special deal with some integrations. Some of the payment companies offer contract-free card readers, so you can set up an entirely commitment-free POS system and payment solution with Vend.

Epos Now, on the other hand, integrates only with four payment providers: Barclaycard, Global Payments, Paymentsense and Worldpay. You commit to a contract term with all of these payment companies, but if you already have an existing contract with them, it will be possible to link it with the Epos Now system.

What about ecommerce? Vend integrates fully with Shopify, and can also connect with BigCommerce, Ecwid and WooCommerce directly. Epos Now only advertises a direct integration with Shopify, but the POS system can be connected with other ecommerce platforms with a connector app to mediate the integration (this can work out more expensive than a direct integration). In most cases, an ecommerce integration means that sales data and stock levels are updated in real time across all sales channels.

Purpose-built till screens only possible with Epos Now

Small retail shops with another POS system may be able to use their old equipment with Vend POS as it is compatible with iPad, PC and Mac computers, though not Android tablets.

The best till setup is with an iPad, as Vend’s compatibility with Macs and PCs only stretches to consumer-grade computers without a touchscreen. If using a laptop, for example, you will need to use it with a mouse or touchpad, which is slower than tapping a touchscreen at the point of sale.

Vend retail POS equipment

Vend retail POS bundle with iPad.

Epos Now retail bundle with PC touchscreen.

Epos Now is compatible with Android tablets, iPad, iPhone, PCs and Macs. When it comes to computers, Epos Now stands out with its purpose-built PC touchscreen setup that can be purchased upfront or rented with a lock-in contract. This would make any retail shop look more professional and potentially prevent theft, since few would be interested in a retail touchscreen not built for consumers.

Both systems work with standard cash drawers, barcode scanners and receipt printers, but till equipment from Epos Now comes with the Epos Now logo. The company even sells a portable ‘Epos Pocket’ device, which is a handheld tablet till for taking payments on the shop floor.

Vend’s customer support has a better rep

No matter how little or much your subscription costs, Vend gives you 24/7 customer support every day of the year through telephone and email.

Choosing the Standard Epos Now subscription only gives you onboarding and email support. There is no Epos Now telephone support unless you upgrade to the Premium plan.

While Epos Now likes to boast the highest TrustPilot ratings for a POS provider, there’s consistently a high volume of complaints among the many (not-genuine-looking) reviews that are positive. It is common for Epos Now to get multiple really bad reviews in a day, while Vend’s negative reviews are much more spaced out.

The most common complaint about Epos Now is the lacking or poor experience of customer support after merchants have signed up. It’s not uncommon to see people saying they received a hardware kit that didn’t work, and then having to wait many days for Epos Now to sort out the issue. Some users say the software has bugs, which is not helped by the lack of support – even on the Premium plan with a helpline.

Vend also gets criticism about slow or lacking support and bugs in the system, but the complaints are a bit more forgiving. Other Vend users highlight features that Vend doesn’t have but that some retailers really need, so it seems that Vend POS doesn’t suit all retail businesses.

Our verdict

If you care about transparency and depth of retail features, you generally get more from Vend’s Pro plan compared with Epos Now Premium. Many customer reviews have highlighted that Epos Now tries to trick you into believing you’re getting more features than are actually included, followed by requests to pay for those add-on functions.

A venue with a souvenir store and café could really benefit from Epos Now’s offerings for both hospitality and retail. Vend, on the other hand, is suited for retail only, which brings more special features in that area and an overall better experience for retailers.

Most small-to-medium businesses won’t need any add-ons with Vend, and there are even more options to connect external tools with Vend’s POS system.

Another consideration is whether you’re willing to invest in Epos Now’s own hardware or use existing hardware with Vend. The contract lock-in required for renting Epos Now equipment has been a problem for some businesses, but if you have the budget to buy a bundle upfront, then the only lock-in required is the card machine contract. Vend does not have contractual commitment and allows you to integrate the software with no-contract card readers.

Last but not least, the choice between Vend and Epos Now depends a lot on the type of retail you’re dealing with. For instance, a venue with a souvenir store and café could really benefit from Epos Now’s offerings for both hospitality and retail, as you’ll be able to link it all up under one account. Vend, on the other hand, is suited for retail only, which brings more special features in that area and an overall better experience for retailers.