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Vend Review: Best All-In-One POS System for Small Business

Vend Review: Best All-In-One POS System for Small Business
Credit: Vend

Our 2017 research and analysis of POS systems leads us to again recommend Vend as the best all-in-one POS system for small businesses.  We  chose Vend from a pool of the dozens of POS systems we considered. To read our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of POS systems, visit our best picks page here.

Best pricing

Vend is packed with features at a price that's very friendly to small businesses. While many POS-system providers offer cheap plans, they are either not cloud-based or offer very limited capabilities unless you choose more expensive plans. Vend's cloud-based POS systems come with one free register and start at $59 per month for all the available capabilities. The only exception is e-commerce integration, which is only available on the $85-per-month and higher plans.

For businesses that are just getting off the ground, Vend is one of the few POS system providers that have a free plan. With this plan, you can test drive Vend at a single location for up to 1,000 customers. This plan is also limited to 10 active products and does not come with email or phone support.

If you're an already-established business, Vend could also save you money on equipment if you're switching services. The company says its software is designed to work with existing credit card readers, printers, scanners and other POS hardware, so you don't have to invest in new equipment after making the switch.

Editor's Note: Looking for information on POS systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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One thing small businesses love about Vend is its simple, intuitive interface. It doesn't require much training to understand how the software works, and because Vend is cloud-based, you can easily use it on a Mac, a Windows PC or an iPad. You can also connect Vend with other POS equipment like barcode scanners, printers, cash drawers and credit card readers. As mentioned above, the software is compatible with hardware available in the market, so you don't need any technical skills to make sure everything plays nicely together.

When it comes to the software, of the several we tested and considered, Vend's is one of the easiest to use. We liked the navigation system, which uses a simple menu bar at the top of the screen that lets you easily identify all the different areas of the software.  

A guided tour is also available when you first sign in. This allowed us to easily find our way around the system instead of exploring blindly. If you get stuck on a specific function, each section in the dashboard also gives quick access to help resources and tutorial videos, which we thought was a nice touch.

We also liked that setup is a breeze. Vend lets you upload data using CSV lists (created on Excel or Google Docs), so there's no need to manually enter information into the software. Data can include product lists, price books, SKUs, customer information and more. If you don't have a CSV file available, you can also manually add barcoded products using a USB or Bluetooth barcode scanner. And if you have a Shopify online store, the Shopify add-on (more about add-ons below) comes with a one-step import feature to quickly transfer data.

As an all-in-one POS system, Vend is jam-packed with features to help small businesses grow. In addition to processing transactions, Vend provides a bevy of tools to boost sales, manage your business and more.

Credit card processing. Vend lets you accept credit cards using both a traditional credit reader and a mobile credit card processor. It works with most merchant account providers and credit card processing vendors, including PayPal and Shopify.

Inventory management. Vend's inventory-management tools let you automate all types of tasks, such as product counts, low-stock alerts and reordering when your stock reaches a preset threshold. This saves you from having to manually and constantly check inventory yourself.

Product management. Vend aims to make it easy to manage products right inside the software. You can do simple things like add, update and remove products, as well as input stock and tax information. It also features a host of customization options to accommodate different product variations, such as sizes, colors and more. One feature we like in particular is that Vend lets you create default pricing options based on different criteria — for instance, preset discounts based on special promotions, locations and types of customer — which saves you time while minimizing errors and lost sales opportunities.

Marketing tools. Boost sales by turning first-time buyers into repeat customers. Marketing tools include a loyalty program to reward customers for their business and a customer relationship management (CRM) feature. The loyalty program automatically adds each customer at checkout, so they can easily earn and redeem discounts and special rewards. It also comes with reporting tools so you can see key data like who your best customers are, which helps you better target them for future campaigns. Vend's CRM tool, on the other hand, lets you automatically create and organize customer lists that include a myriad of data — such as contact information, purchase histories, payment histories, account balances and more — that you can also use for more effective marketing campaigns.

Real-time reporting. An analytics program is key to seeing how your store is doing and making wiser business decisions. Vend comes with real-time reporting to give you actionable insights into your business's performance. You can generate reports based on preset metrics or create customized reports based on the information you need. Data points include your most profitable products, best customers, top salespeople, problem areas, sales trends and more. You can also set goals for your sales team, and Vend additionally lets each sales rep create and track his or her own targets.

Third-party integrations. One of the features that makes an all-in-one POS system truly complete is that it integrates with apps and tools your business already uses. This capability can save you tons of time by automatically syncing your data across apps so you don't have to manually import it or, worse, enter it yourself. For example, Vend can connect to accounting software Xero and QuickBooks to automatically import sales data into your books, reconcile daily sales with bank accounts, create custom invoices and more. Other integrations include inventory-management systems, email-marketing tools, mobile ordering, e-commerce solutions, credit card processing services and appointment-scheduling apps.

One of the reasons Vend stands out as the best all-in-one POS system is its customer support. Unlike its competitors, Vend offers 24-7 live customer support, so you can easily speak to a real person whenever you need help. You can reach Vend support anytime by phone, email, help desk, social media and live chat right on the Vend website.

Even better, Vend has a 95 percent customer satisfaction rate, and the company publishes customer feedback on its website. Vend had one of the friendliest customer support representatives we came across during our research. When we called the company as a small business owner considering a POS system, the representative we spoke with was warm, friendly and eager to answer our many questions and hypothetical situations. We didn't feel at all rushed or that the rep was pushing the sale, which is a huge plus in our book.

In addition to live support, Vend also has several other resources to find the help you need:

  • Help center. Search this knowledgebase of frequently asked questions, how-to articles, getting-started guides, tips on using Vend and troubleshooting for the software. This section also includes video tutorials and live training webinars.
  • Vend U. Vend University gives retailers access to blog posts, expert advice, training, community forums, events and other resources to help users grow a successful business.
  • One-on-one coaching. Part of the Vend+ support program, one of Vend's customer success managers can create a custom training program specifically made to fit the unique needs of your business.
  • Setup. If you want to get started ASAP, the Vend team can set up your POS system for you via the Vend+ program.
  • On-site assistance. Vend has a global network of partners, training professionals and suppliers. So if Vend can't come to you, there is likely a local Vend expert who can personally help you.

Although we liked Vend as the best all-in-one POS system, there are two major limitations that could be deal breakers for your business: Vend's e-commerce capabilities and its Vend+ program.

E-commerce. Vend has its own e-commerce solution called Vend Ecommerce. It lets you create your own online store that syncs with your in-store POS sales, inventory and other data. However, this feature isn't available on the base plan. You'll need to get the $85-per-month or higher plan to use Vend Ecommerce. An alternative is to use Shopify for your online store, which Vend easily integrates with using any of the plans. This feature has mixed reviews, however; some business owners say they were able to set it up without a hitch, though others (including those we spoke with) said they had some trouble getting it to work.

Vend+. Vend's one-on-one coaching and setup services aren't free. To take advantage of these features, you'll need to purchase Vend+ and pay an additional $19 per month on top of the monthly subscription. However, Vend+ does come with priority support, educational resources and other support to help you get the most out of the Vend POS system.

Ready to choose a POS system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor’s Note: Looking for information on POS systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.