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Choosing the Best POS System for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you always want the best for your company- especially when the best boosts sales, saves time and money, and provides efficient and convenient operations.

Did you know the proper POS system can do that for you? These systems should always be integrated into your business, no matter what industry you’re in, as they streamline the transaction process for both your staff and your customers.

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So what are POS systems, and how can you choose the top ones for your business?

What is a POS System?

A POS system- or point of sale system,- is the hardware and software used to enact transactions for your business. This system provides a safe and secure way to charge sales and accept payment methods from your customers.

It's virtually impossible to get by as a business these days without using one of these systems, especially for card processing. They are crucial for the efficiency of sales and the security of your customers’ financial information. These systems are also essential to the accounting side of your business, as they automatically calculate and add sales tax to every transaction.

What are the Different Types of POS Systems? 

There are a few types of POS systems that small business owners can use to sell their products and services. Which one you choose will depend on your business needs. Here are three common types of POS systems: 

  1. Mobile: This type of POS system sees smartphones and tablets processing payments. You can sync your app to your small business software to match your financial reporting and easily track inventory as you make sales. 
  2. Terminal: This option is suitable for brick-and-mortar businesses as the terminal is usually set up at a counter. Retail stores or coffee shops tend to lean towards using a terminal. Terminals are both hardware and software-based and can include scanners and printers. 
  3. Cloud-Based: Using an online or cloud-based POS gives you a flexible system. You can access this through a terminal or mobile app. This solution is usually cost-effective, and you can log in from anywhere, which means this is perfect if your small business takes part in markets or pop-up stores.

Benefits of Using POS Systems

No matter what sector your business falls under, the benefits attached to using POS systems are immense. This payment solution offers:

  • Efficiency: Faster and better sales services for your customers, so you can serve more people within a small amount of time.
  • Easy Usage: POS screens organize and categorize sales products to make ringing up purchases a straightforward process.
  • Increased Payment Options: Your customers can choose to pay with various payment methods, so they aren't limited to only cash purchases.
  • Professionalism: Illustrates to your customers that you are a professional business with the appropriate technology to serve them well.
  • Better Inventory Management: The system automatically tracks all transactions to show you what has been purchased and needs to be restocked in your inventory.
  • Accurate Calculations: Computer processing offers quick and precise calculations, factoring in sales tax automatically, so no more human errors.
  • In-Depth Record Keeping: POS systems help you with the accounting and bookkeeping responsibilities of your business, with detailed receipts and transaction history for proper record keeping in the coming tax season.

Questions to Consider When Using POS Software

Before choosing a POS system and software, you will need to consider a few things. When researching the numerous systems available on the market, it is advantageous to compare the various features of each product before settling. Ask yourself these questions while browsing your options:

  • What are the initial set up costs?
  • How much time and money must you spend to get the system running?
  • What are the payment processing costs?
  • What will be the percentage of sale and charge per transaction?
  • Is it economically viable to buy the hardware and equipment outright or rent them monthly?
  • What are the fees attached to the software?
  • Is the software a monthly subscription?
  • How mobile is the equipment?
  • Is the system stationary, or can you add machinery to smartphones or tablets to make the system portable?
  • Does the software offer cross-platform functionality?
  • Can the POS system accept EMV chip cards, contactless cards, mobile app payments from Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other such apps?
  • How secure is the system?
  • Can it appropriately protect all of the information stored on it?
  • Can the system help me with my inventory and product management?

Determining the Best POS Systems for Small Businesses

You will want to choose the best POS system based on the type of business you own. Depending on what industry you fall under, different POS software will provide you with various advantages and disadvantages for your specific services or products.

Always keep in mind what the most cost-effective payment methods are and what systems can process all types of transactions, like credit cards and debit card purchases.

Whether you’re starting an e-commerce business or have a storefront, you will need a way to take payments from customers, manage inventory, keep track of finances, and so much more. There are so many different POS systems to choose from, so to make your life a little easier, here's an overview of some of the most popular products by industry. 

Top POS Systems for Restaurants

If you’re in the restaurant business, you will need a highly specialized POS system, one that provides an easy path of communication between your bar and floor staff, and your kitchen staff. The system will also need to handle frequent menu changes meaning an easy-to-use interface. Look for a POS software that can split tickets for numerous billing options, create open tickets for ordering on a tab, and provide easy cash and card reconciliations.


Starting Price: $69/month

TouchBistro is one of the most popular point of sale systems for restaurant-type businesses. This brand’s systems help thousands of restaurants throughout the world. The system offers users multiple integrated payment processors, reporting and analytics, 24/7 support, inventory management, table-side and online ordering, and quality sales control all in one. Restaurant accounting can be tricky, so it's critical these types of businesses equip themselves with a quality payment system, like TouchBistro.

Floor Plan and Table Management
  • Customize and edit the floor plan by looking at the distance between tables
  • Track time seated
  • Track spend per table
Menu Management
  • Manage on and off-premise orders
  • Build and update menus for anywhere
Reporting Analytics
  • Over 50 reports
  • Find deep insights into sales
  • Track staff performance and more
 Inventory Management
  • Track food costs
  • Reduce waste
  • Alert staff when inventory is low
Table-side Ordering
  • Take orders faster by taking TouchBistro onto the floor
Bill Splitting
  • Split bills instantly 
  • Split bills by guest or by item
Staff Management
  • Manage shift schedule
  • Streamline payroll
  • Optimize labour costs


One downfall to this restaurant POS system is that it can be time-consuming to log in and out of various systems for all of your tasks. It has also been noted that customer service has long wait times.

Margin Edge

Starting Price: $300/month

The strengths of this system lie greatly in its integrations and partnerships. Margin Edge syncs with QuickBooks accounting software, as well as other leading software brands to offer seamless possibilities. Clients rely on them for up-to-date cost tracking and automated sales accounting entries.

Top POS features for MarginEdge include the following:

Automated invoice processing
  • You won’t need to hand-enter or code invoices ever again
  • Keep items consistently coded – categorize an item once, and it stays that way. Plus, add coding rules by the supplier
Prime costs data daily
  • View your sales and cost data all in one place, updated daily. No more surprises at the end of the month
  • Track actual spend vs. targeted spend for cost categories (including labour) throughout the period, all updated in real-time
  • Since they know what you buy (invoices), what you sell (POS connection) and what you have on hand (inventory) we’ll show you any discrepancies and what impacts they have
Food cost management
  • Set cost targets as a percentage of your dollar cost for key categories
  • See invoice details and inventories to identify what’s really driving the numbers
  • Get an overall picture of your business operations – see all locations at a glance, and compare them by total budget or category budget
Commissary kitchens
  • The commissary feature is a comprehensive system of transferring products and recipes from your commissary to your restaurant units
  • If the commissary unit runs out of anything on an order, they can edit and remove the item
  • Restaurant units can use our online ordering feature to order from the commissary like a regular supplier


This is a pricier option. They only have one flat rate of $300 with no free option, they do however, have a free trial period that businesses can take advantage of before deciding if the software is right for them.

Top POS Systems for Retail

Retail businesses will also need the right POS solutions- these systems for small businesses should be able to manage inventory with seamless integration to a barcode scanner and receipt printer.


Starting Price: $89/month

The Lightspeed POS system works great for both restaurants and retailers. However, the online retail capabilities are where this software shines. The e-commerce services provide small businesses with a significant advantage on the online marketplace, turning browsers into buyers.

Listed below are some of the top features associated with the Lightspeed POS product, including:

E-commerce capabilities
  • You can sync your physical inventory across all your locations to your e-commerce store, so you end up saving time and increasing profits
  • Easily set up your e-commerce store with mobile-responsive and customizable templates and quick inventory sync
  • Direct shoppers to your physical stores with a locations page that always stays up to date
  • Drive traffic to your online store with built-in tools to boost SEO
Making appointments
  • People can schedule in-person appointments through your e-commerce store
  • Reduce no-shows with automatic confirmation and reminder emails
  • Manage all your appointments in one place
Bringing Google Shoppers in
  • Be one of the top results on Google by reaching out to nearby shoppers searching for products online with local inventory ads
  • Combine local inventory ads with curbside pickup through Lightspeed to adapt to changing customer behaviour
  • Automatically pause ads when products sell out to minimize marketing costs
  • Leverage ad campaign results to stay on top of changing customers. tastes—measured right in your POS
Processing gift cards
  • Regulate omnichannel gift cards without extra fees or third-party partners
  • Sell customizable gift cards, from design to messaging to amount and more
  • Choose between paper, plastic or eGift cards, or make them all available for customers
  • Issue gift cards, transfer balances, and view gift card balances and history without leaving your POS
Managing stock
  • Import high-quality product images and detailed supplier information from integrated catalogues
  • Search multiple suppliers and catalogues simultaneously for the products you need
  • Automate purchase order creation—POs are created for you when suppliers ship your order
  • Purchase, organize, manage and sell your inventory from a single platform, no external sites or third-party tools required
Running loyalty programs
  • Craft a tiered rewards program to encourage repeat purchases online and in-store
  • Determine whether you want to send a promo to those who bought online, in-store or everyone
  • Send custom one-time deals on birthdays or to VIP shoppers
  • Design emails with built-in templates and drag-and-drop builder
Managing subscriptions
  • Make more monthly sales with lower customer acquisition costs
  • Build loyalty through memberships and give your customers exclusive access to deals and discounts
  • Offer customers convenience with monthly boxes of their favourite products
  • Easily manage all your memberships and subscriptions with secure automated recurring payments


A common complaint about LightSpeed is that its customer service is slow. Reviewers say they had issues getting in contact with customer service because of long wait times. And then once they do get ahold of customer service they have to wait a while for issues to actually get resolved. 


Starting Price: $75/month 

Quetzal is another retail POS system, designed specifically for shoe retailers and fashion boutiques. This cloud-based system offers businesses quality software and hardware at a lower price than other POS providers, with reliable software and almost zero support costs. Quetzal is compatible with iPads, desktops, and laptops, with an organized and easy-to-use interface for intuitive learning.

This quality cloud-based POS system, Quetzal is perfect for managing your boutique retail shop from your iPad and offers feature highlights like the ones below. 

Making sales
  • A simple layout
  • The thought-out space makes it easy to get your hardware hooked up, your e-commerce humming and the money flowing into your coffers
Manage items
  • As a clothing and shoe specialty POS system for stores, Quetzal has a size and colour matrix when you need it
  • Add #tags to organize and report, print barcodes, and always see at a glance how each item is doing for you to maximize your potential
Offering business insights
  • See all the aspects of your business whether it’s your best customers, your top sellers, as well as how much tax you need to remit
  • Export any information or let others securely into your numbers, using the latest in no-SQL database technology


One of the biggest issues with Quetzal is that there is no free trial that allows users to try out the software before purchasing it for the store. That being said, this quality retail payment system offers a whole slew of needed features, meaning it's worth it to dive straight into a paid plan.

Top POS Systems for Diverse Businesses

Some point-of-sales systems are so diverse they can be used for any number of small business requirements. Keep your eye out for things like mobile POS capabilities, customer management and employee management, sales reports, and hardware and software bundle plans.


Shopify POS Pro: $112/month

Unify your in-store and online sales with the all-in-one commerce POS solution, Shopify POS. With so many self-employed retailers and business owners using Shopify, this quality platform offers Shopify POS Pro for their brick-and-mortar stores. The POS Lite system comes with all Shopify plans while the Shopify POS Pro is included with the Shopify Plus plans.

Quality features include the following:

Omnichannel Selling
  • Let your customers redeem percentage, fixed amount, or BOGO discounts on qualifying purchases online or in-store. Discounts are automatically applied at checkout so you can avoid manual calculations
  • Allow customers to browse without being disturbed. Use QR codes in-store to drive customers to your site to learn more about products and purchase online
  • Sell from wherever you have available inventory when in-store inventory is low. Also perfect for showrooms or businesses that offer customizable goods
Shopify Payments
  • Accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Apple Pay, and Google Pay payments with your Shopify card reader.
  • Have a complete view of your finances with orders and payments tracked in one place and fees debited automatically with each transaction.
  • Pay one low rate for all credit cards with fees based on your plan.
  • Basic: 2.7% + 0¢ CAD
  • Shopify: 2.5% + 0¢ CAD
  • Advanced: 2.4% + 0¢ CAD
Staff management
  • Assign unique PINs to staff with Shopify admin accounts
  • Attribute sales to staff members to reward commissions or kudos
  • Specify when your staff would need manager approval for actions like applying discounts or editing taxes
Product management
  • Categorize products by type, season, promotions, and more. Use smart collections to automatically sort products based on supplier, price, and inventory level
  • Use inventory states to track and share the status of your inventory as products are received, transferred, or an order is fulfilled
  • Quickly make small changes to your stock levels for damaged products, marketing giveaways, or leftover stock from promotions
  • Create and allocate inventory to your various online sales channels, warehouses, retail stores, or wherever else you store stock
Reporting analytics
  • See an overview of your entire business at a glance. Shopify’s actionable dashboard of sales, orders, and traffic helps you make the right choices for your business
  • Generate reports to see how much you’ll be paid and when you’ll receive your money from in-store and online sales
  • Review your store’s finances including sales, returns, taxes, payments, and more. Manage multiple tills and reconcile your entire location’s finances for the day in one view
Marketing capabilities
  • Start a Google Ads campaign to raise awareness about your store locations. Eligible Shopify accounts can redeem Google Ads credits when they try Ads for the first time
  • Optimize campaigns for store visits to entice nearby Facebook users to visit your retail locations
  • Capture customer emails at checkout and encourage re-engagement with marketing emails or exclusive promotions
  • Categorize products by type, season, promotions, and more. Use smart collections to automatically sort products based on supplier, price, and inventory level


Their offline mode isn’t as proficient as their online settings. For example, you can’t process credit cards when you’re offline. Also If you want to apply a store-wide discount to a group of products, the process is not made easy. All of your deductions have to be handled manually- this is pretty time-consuming if you have a ton of goods on sale.


Square is a highly compatible and customizable point-of-sale (POS) system for businesses of all kinds and sizes. It enables you to take payments using your iOS or Android devices and can be implemented on the counter or on the go. With invoicing, bookings and payments, virtual terminals, checkout links, online gift cards, dashboard analytics, loyalty rewards program, and team management this software cover all your business’s needs.

The hardware is sleek to look at and quick to operate with stands, terminals, and readers for contactless, chips, and magstripe. Its best features include:

Comprehensive payment processing
  • Accepts all forms of payment such as debit cards, credit cards, Google pay, Apple pay, plastic and digital gift cards
  • Store payment details for your regulars. Charge them with a tap of a button to save time at checkout
  • Send custom invoices straight from your POS system on a mobile device or from your laptop right to your customers’ inboxes
Easy checkout
  • Save some time by uploading and managing multiple items at once from the online Square Dashboard with the bulk import tool
  • Refund specific items from a transaction. The amount being refunded will reflect any applicable taxes and discounts for the selected item(s)
  • Quickly access frequently used items, discounts or categories to keep your line moving and your customers happy
  • Group items together in categories to help you organize your item library and fine-tune your in-app reports
Quality management operations
  • Export your inventory stock levels at any time to a printable spreadsheet
  • Receive a daily email detailing items that are low or out of stock, so you never run out again
  • Discover new insights about your business with Square Analytics and advanced reporting options. Easily export your data to add it to your records
  • Enrol and reward customers directly from your POS with a custom loyalty program that doesn’t require additional software or hardware
  • Track team hours, control access and protect sensitive information on your POS. Identify top performers and use powerful data to optimize labour costs
E-commerce settings
  • Sell online and in your store, with your sales and inventory automatically synced with your POS
  • Send your customers a checkout link through an email or let them purchase at their convenience by posting the link on social media or your website
  • Sell digital gift cards to customers 24/7. Once you set up your free eGift Cards order site, customers will be able to send eGift Cards via email. eGift Cards can be used for in-store and online purchases


A customer complaint has been that it is hard to check the history of credit card payments by client name. If you see a client has a balance due, It is hard to check if they paid by credit card. Another complaint was having to constantly pay the credit card fees.

QuickBooks Syncs With POS Software & Hardware

Finding the right POS system as a small business owner can be tough. If you’re considering the various POS systems discussed above, keep in mind that many of their apps integrate with QuickBooks accounting software for services that cover all of your sales and bookkeeping needs in one place.

With an intuitive dashboard that works on mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and desktops, you’ll never be without the information and services you need to successfully operate a small business- whatever that business may be! Keep your customer data safe and process payments with ease when you sync your chosen sale systems with QuickBooks Online.

Try a free 30-day trial with QuickBooks Online and take advantage of the payment processing today.

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