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Best Convenience Store POS Systems

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Convenience stores make up roughly a third of all retail outlets in the U.S. and have increasingly complex needs. One of the best ways for convenience store merchants to stay ahead of the curve is to invest in a powerful convenience store POS system. Having a strong convenience store POS system can make running transactions a cinch while automating many of your more time-consuming back-office obligations. Harbortouch, Square for Retail and ShopKeep are all up to the task thanks to their impressive combination of POS hardware and software.

Our first recommendation is Harbortouch POS. Harbortouch makes POS systems for a wide variety of business types, including convenience store POS systems. The best thing about Harbortouch is its hardware offerings. If you sign up for Harbortouch Elite, you’ll get a 15-inch touch-screen terminal with a powerful processor designed to handle a high volume of transactions.

You’ll also get a cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode printer and scanner, a customer-facing display and access cards for up to 10 employees. Harbortouch also provides additional hardware items that convenience store merchants may find useful, including a digital scale (for weighing produce) and ATM installation and management. What’s more, all Harbortouch hardware comes with a lifetime warranty.

In terms of payment processing, Harbortouch provides a card reader that can accept magstripe, chip card and contactless forms of payment. Note that if you want to use Harbortouch as your POS system, you also have to use Harbortouch as your payment processor. Payment processing fees with Harbortouch are quote-based. Harbortouch says it will offer new clients a “rate review” to ensure they receive the best rates available.

With Harbortouch Elite you’ll get to pick between four different POS software options. Convenience store merchants will most likely want to use the retail version of the software, which comes with the following:

Inventory management

  • Unlimited product variants.

Employee management

Checkout

  • Resell interface (consignment).

Customer relationship management

Brand management

  • Manage social media accounts.

Reporting suite

Remote access to POS via Lighthouse

The software isn’t the most advanced, although it does come with important convenience store features like a time clock and the ability to place purchase orders. There is also 24/7 customer support.

What’s more attractive about Harbortouch is the price: Customers can acquire all the Harbortouch Elite hardware and the retail software for a monthly fee of $49. That’s a lot cheaper than having to pay a lump sum for all your POS hardware. Note though that Harbortouch requires merchants to sign a three-year contract to use its POS systems.

Overall, Harbortouch is a good option for the convenience store merchant who is looking for a variety of different hardware products and an affordable rate.

Whereas Harbortouch is a great option if you’re looking for low-cost and hardware options, Square for Retail is for the merchant who wants powerful and easy-to-use software for their convenience store POS system.

Square’s ubiquity in the POS market is partially because it makes products that are extremely user-friendly, and Square for Retail is no exception. Getting started is as simple as downloading the Square for Retail app to your iOS device, linking your business bank account and uploading your inventory catalog and employee roster. Once your information is in place, you’ll have access to the following functions:

Inventory management

  • Generate and print barcode labels.

  • Organize stock by category.

  • Transfer stock across locations.

  • Unlimited product variants.

Checkout

Employee management

  • Commission reconciliation.

Customer relationship management

Reporting suite

You’ll need an iPad to run the Square for Retail app, as the software is not yet compatible with the Square Register. Square does sell a variety of POS hardware products to fill out your system.

From the Square hardware store, you can purchase a card reader that can accept magstripe, chip card and contactless forms of payment ($49), an iPad stand ($199), a cash drawer (starting at $129) and a receipt printer ($299). Square also sells a variety of hardware bundles, starting at $535.

Aside from your hardware costs, you’ll also have to pay a monthly Square fee to use the retail version of the software. Certain features, such as Square Payroll, Marketing and Loyalty, will also cost an additional monthly fee.

When you use Square for your POS, you’ll also have to use Square’s payment processing. However, when you sign up for Square for Retail, you’ll get a generous payment processing rate of 2.5% + $0.10 on all in-person transactions. Square for Retail also comes with a 30-day free trial.

All in all, Square is a great option for convenience store owners who want powerful software that can streamline a myriad of essential functions.

Our last recommendation is ShopKeep POS, which offers the best of both worlds when it comes to hardware and software. ShopKeep offers three versions of its POS software — Basic, Essential and Advanced — so the features you receive with its system will vary slightly based on which plan you choose.

That said, however, even the Basic plan gives you access to impressive retail software (including automatic integration with ShopKeep Payments for in-house payment processing). Here is everything ShopKeep comes with:

Payments

  • Print, text or email receipts.

Employee management

Inventory management

  • Unlimited product variants.

  • Upload product catalogs via CSV file.

  • Group products by category.

Customer relationship management

  • Save customer information.

  • Rewards program (requires Advanced plan).

  • Gift card program (requires Essential plan).

  • Manage social media channels (requires Advanced plan).

Reporting suite

  • View sales activity in real-time.

  • View data on the go with ShopKeep’s Pocket App.

Multi-store management

  • Each location will require separate register licenses.

ShopKeep’s software can be paired with six different hardware bundles. The one that will most likely be of interest to convenience store merchants is the retail package. This kit comes with a cash drawer, iPad enclosure, barcode scanner, barcode printer, receipt printer and credit card reader that can take magstripe, chip card and contactless forms of payment.

Although you can purchase this hardware bundle from ShopKeep (pricing is quote-based), you also have the option to buy your hardware from third-party sellers or use devices that you already own.

In terms of software costs, ShopKeep charges $49 per month for the Basic plan, $79 for the Essential plan and $179 for the Advanced plan — all billed annually. If you choose month-to-month billing, the plans are more expensive.

Finally, ShopKeep includes in-house payment processing with ShopKeep Payments. If you choose to use ShopKeep payments (which you don’t have to) you have two options for credit card processing fees: flat-rate or interchange-plus.

For flat-rate pricing, you’ll pay 2.5% + $0.10 for in-person, card-present payments. With interchange-plus pricing, on the other hand, you’ll receive a customized plan unique to your business.

Overall, with integrated payment processing, inventory-focused POS software and flexible hardware options, ShopKeep is certainly a convenience store POS system worth considering.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of WealthyUpdates.

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