- Pros: Intuitive and good-looking interface. Multi-outlet. 24/7 customer support.
- Cons: Does not work on Android tablets. Limited features on cheaper plan.
Vend is a cloud-based point of sale system with inventory management available globally. It’s suitable for businesses of all sizes, and is a great alternative to a traditional, locally-hosted POS system. The features list is comprehensive and well-considered, making for a solution that’s perfectly tailored for anything from a one-man operation to a chain of shops.
First of all, Vend is a fully cloud-based point of sale (POS) platform. This means your POS data are stored online rather than on a local computer or server. Having the data stored on secure servers online means you can access it from anywhere at any time, and everything is backed up and updated automatically.
Like many other cloud-based POS systems, Vend does keep core features available in the event of a situation where you find yourself offline – so you can keep running your business through those (hopefully rare) eventualities.
Vend is designed for Windows, Mac and iPad and can work on any combination thereof. So you can, for example, operate your Vend POS system on a PC in a fixed location and also have the system running on an iPad for mobile use – all with access to the same real-time data.
Vend’s list of features is extensive, both in terms of back office management functions and the features the customers see. These include the basics like inventory management, barcode generation and management of multiple system users. There are also far more advanced options, such as customer relationship management features, provision for loyalty schemes and the ability to integrate the system with all kinds of third-party additions such as accounting and analytics software.
As with many cloud-based POS systems, using Vend is subscription-based. The Lite plan costs £69 per month on an annual billing basis. This is for a single outlet and monthly turnover of up to £15K. If you exceed this turnover for more than three months within a year, you will need to upgrade to the Pro plan that costs £99 a month on an annual plan. If you choose to pay monthly, it will cost you £10 extra a month (i.e. £79 for Lite and £109 for Pro).
Each plan includes a licence for one register (i.e. iPad, PC, Mac). If you need to use Vend POS on more registers, it costs £39/month per extra device you add if paying annually, or £49/month if you’re paying on a monthly basis.
Bigger businesses and franchises can opt for an Enterprise package at a custom price (you need to ask for a quote), which includes a dedicated Account Manager and customised onboarding. Apart from that, it includes all the same features as in the Pro plan.
If you’re considering using Vend, we recommend you try their 30-day free trial first, which should give you a feel for the software before committing to anything.
The above costs only apply to the POS software, so your hardware setup is an extra cost. Either you can use an existing PC, Mac or iPad for the POS interface, or you need to shop for this. You’ll also need to consider whether you need a cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode scanner or other equipment. If you have any of these already, it is likely they will be compatible with Vend, but do check on their website if you’re unsure. Vend sells hardware bundles for those who are starting from scratch.
Vend integrates with most card machines and payment processors in the UK. A low-cost way to get started is to opt for a mobile card reader with no monthly fixed fees except for a per-transaction fee (paid to the card reader provider). All the main mobile card readers in the UK can be fully integrated with Vend, including iZettle, SumUp, Square and PayPal Here. Using any of these with Vend, however, require that you use an iPad. If you’re using Mac or PC, you’ll have to go elsewhere for card processing.
You can opt for a traditional card machine as well; almost any can be integrated, but some easier than others. Payment Express and Paymentsense have partnerships with Vend and are integrated easily. Card machines from most other providers can be integrated too, but will require more work and higher costs.
Is Vend worth a try?
Vend has quite high average customer ratings on TrustPilot UK (7 out of 10), and their 24/7 customer support has a good reputation. As a downside, you’ll only get customised onboarding with an Enterprise plan, although the usability of the software is arguably easy enough for you not to need special support getting started. If you want tailor-made integrations, you may, however, need some support from a Vend partner.
Featurewise, the Lite plan has some limitations around reporting, gift cards, promotions and some other features. So you’ll need to opt for the more expensive Pro plan to make use of advanced features. Some businesses may find the subscription cost high, especially if using multiple iPads or computers or if you decide to pay per month rather than commit to a year.
But overall, if you’re in the market for a new EPOS system for a brick and mortar business, Vend is well worth a place on your shortlist. They certainly don’t make it a secret that many big-name retailers use it.