Business News Daily receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure

The Best POS Systems for Grocery Stores

Updated Jan 06, 2024
Best POS for Overall Value
  • Expiration date tracking
  • Accept EBT payments
  • Automate inventory
  • Expiration date tracking
  • Accept EBT payments
  • Automate inventory
Best POS for Convenience Stores
  • Multilocation inventory management
  • Generate bar codes
  • Place purchase orders
  • Multilocation inventory management
  • Generate bar codes
  • Place purchase orders
Best POS for Independent Groceries
Square POS
Square company logo
  • No monthly fees
  • Free magstripe reader
  • Daily stock alerts
  • No monthly fees
  • Free magstripe reader
  • Daily stock alerts
Best POS for Ease of Use
Epos Now
eposnow company logo
  • Manage product variants
  • Waterproof touchscreen terminal
  • bar code management
  • Manage product variants
  • Waterproof touchscreen terminal
  • bar code management
Best POS for Payment Processing
Helcim POS
Helcim company logo
  • Low transaction fees
  • No monthly fees or contracts
  • No PCI, setup or cancellation fees
  • Low transaction fees
  • No monthly fees or contracts
  • No PCI, setup or cancellation fees

Table of Contents

Open row

Maybe your grocery store’s excellent produce powers your top-notch reputation or maybe your friendly sales associates draw people to your storefront. In either case, you need to streamline the customer experience as much as possible to retain shoppers and attract new ones. You also need to manage your inventory so that customers can always get what they need from your business.

With the best point-of-sale (POS) systems for grocery stores, your business can accept numerous types of payments, including electronic benefit transfer (EBT), and never run out of stock again. Many top-notch grocery POS systems also include key hardware, such as bar code scanners, and offer free monthly software subscriptions.

To help you find the right POS system for your grocery store, we looked back over our years of POS reviews. Below, we’ve detailed the five platforms that best meet grocers’ key needs.

Compare Our Best Picks

BND Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2024
Clover POS
Lightspeed
Square POS
Epos Now
Helcim POS
Rating8.9/109.4/109.3/109.2/108.8/10
Best use case

Overall value

Convenience stores

Independent groceries

Ease of use

Payment processing

Starting price

$14.95 per month

$69 per month

No monthly fees

$39 per month

No monthly fees

Inventory management

Track perishable item expration dates; sell items online; automate inventory

Manage inventory across channels, locations and variants; place purchase orders; generate barcodes

Daily stock alerts; product variants; multi-location management; purchase orders

Manage inventory across channels, locations and variations; manage barcodes

Manage inventory across channels, locations, and variants; get low stock alerts

Payment options

Card, mobile wallet, peer-to-peer services, cash, check, keyed-in payments, EBT

Card, mobile wallet, cash

Card, mobile wallet, keyed-in payments, cash

Card, mobile wallet, card-not-present, cash

Card, digital wallet, ACH

Hardware features

Touchscreen POS;handheld POS; cash drawer; weight scale; barcode scanner

One register included; additional hardware such as USB scanners for additional cost

Free magstripe reader; additional hardware including contactless readers and terminals for additional cost

Cash drawer, receipt printer, water-resistant touchscreen POS terminal included

No hardware included; smart terminal and card reader for additional cost

Review Link
Scroll Table

Clover POS: Best POS for Overall Value

  • With Clover’s retail packages, you pay comparatively affordable prices for POS software and hardware.
  • Clover is the only grocery store POS we reviewed that accepts EBT payments natively rather than through third-party integrations.
  • You can only use Clover’s own POS hardware, which could pose challenges if you’ve already been using another vendor’s card readers or terminals.
Editor's Rating: 8.9/10
Visit Site

With Clover’s three retail business pricing packages, you get immense value out of your grocery store POS system. Depending on your plan, you might get touchscreen terminals, handheld points of sale, weight scales, bar code scanners or all four. We were highly impressed that these devices come with Clover’s plans instead of being available only as add-ons that cost extra. This is a major reason why we’ve named Clover the top grocery store POS for overall value.

Your robust Clover hardware package also comes with key grocery software needs. Through Clover, you can automate your inventory, sell items online and track your perishable items’ expiration dates. You can also accept EBT payments with Clover and we like that this functionality is native to the platform. With all other POS providers we reviewed, EBT payment is only available through third-party integrations, if at all. We were also ecstatic that Clover offers a uniquely long 90-day free trial, a long enough time to see how well the platform adapts to your grocery store.

Lightspeed: Best POS for Convenience Stores

  • Lightspeed makes it easy to manage your inventory across product variants, channels and locations.
  • Lightspeed subscriptions include a cash register, making it easier for your convenience store to minimize costly credit card processing fees.
  • Lightspeed is known to be among the higher-cost grocery store POS options. In particular, adding more hardware to your monthly subscription can quickly balloon your costs.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
Visit Site

With a base pricing plan of $69 per month that includes one cash register, Lightspeed is a great POS system for one-location convenience stores. Although you’ll pay extra to buy the additional hardware needed for expansion, we found Lightspeed’s multilocation inventory management tools to be highly user-friendly. We like that managing multiple sales channels and products through Lightspeed was a breeze too. You can build upon your in-person operations easily with online sales through this advanced POS system.

For convenience stores, we especially like that Lightspeed comes with one cash register. This way, if your store operates on thin margins, you can be cash-only, avoid credit card transaction fees and still manage inventory. If your store does accept cards, Lightspeed’s integrated payments make these transactions easy to process. Plus, you get 24/7 customer support, personal onboarding and dedicated account management so that your small team faces a minimal learning curve. Lightspeed makes convenience store operations truly convenient.

Square POS: Best POS for Independent Groceries

Square POS
Square company logo
  • With Square, there are no monthly subscription costs and the one-time hardware fees and ongoing fees per transaction are transparent and straightforward.
  • You get a free magstripe reader with Square and the platform will give you daily stock alerts.
  • Square charges four different transaction rates depending on the transaction type, so your credit card processing costs may be higher than with other POS vendors.
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10

Although Square is among the best POS systems for all types of grocery stores, it’s especially well-suited for independent groceries. Since Square lacks monthly subscription fees and offers free magstripe readers, you can instantly get started from any device. Additional hardware is low-cost and easy to set up and the fees you’ll pay per transaction are clear. Between its affordability and extensive features, if your independent grocery is on a tight budget, Square POS might be your best bet.

Among Square’s most compelling grocery POS features is its daily stock alerts. When we tested the software we found it easy to know which inventory items to order in which quantities. We found it easy to generate purchase orders for these items through Square as well. For in-stock items, creating product variants was a breeze too. We also like that, through a third-party integration with TotilPay, Square accepts EBT payments. For reasonably priced, powerful POS technology for independent groceries, Square is a reliable choice.

Epos Now: Best POS for Ease of Use

Epos Now
eposnow company logo
  • Epos Now’s software is intuitive to implement, navigate and use.
  • You can use Epos Now’s POS hardware or your existing machinery. Epos Now is also compatible with all third-party payment processors.
  • Epos Now is known to require long-term contracts. This commitment can be unnecessarily binding if you wind up unhappy with the platform.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

Epos Now is our top pick for POS system ease of use, both for grocery stores and all types of retail businesses. Time and again when we’ve tested Epos Now, we’ve been impressed with how logically arranged all the platform’s tools are within its interface. We’ve also found all the software and hardware easy to set up whether we used only Epos Now’s technologies or incorporated third-party solutions. You can use your own terminals and credit card processing solutions with Epos Now or switch to theirs ― you’ll be happy either way.

Epos Now is also rich in features that grocery stores in particular will find useful. For starters, you can use Epos Now to manage your inventory across sales channels, locations and product variations. You can also manage bar codes through the software and accept card, mobile wallet and card-not-present payments through Epos Now’s water-resistant POS terminal. Plus, via an integration with the platform Dejavoo, you can offer EBT payments to accommodate all potential customers. With Epos Now, everything gets easier for both your business and your shoppers.

Helcim POS: Best POS for Payment Processing

Helcim POS
Helcim company logo
  • Helcim charges substantially lower transaction fees than other POS systems and credit card processors, saving you money on card and digital wallet payments.
  • There are no monthly fees or contracts required to use Helcim, nor are there any surprise fees.
  • Helcim doesn’t include hardware with its POS software and services. You must use your own mobile devices, tablets and laptops or buy Helcim’s smart terminal or card reader.
Editor's Rating: 8.8/10

Helcim is our top grocery store POS for payment processing since, for starters, you’ll pay competitively low rates per transaction. There’s no monthly subscription fee with Helcim either ― your grocery store is only responsible for the average 1.94 percent plus 8 cents per in-person transaction. We like that Helcim’s transaction fees are similarly competitive if your grocery store expands into online sales ― 2.51 percent plus 25 cents per transaction. Consistently, we’ve found during testing that Helcim lowers the cost of doing business as a grocery store expands.

As we’ve tested Helcim over the years, we’ve been especially happy that the company has never reneged on its complete lack of extra fees. Beyond not charging monthly, Helcim entirely lacks cancellation, user, setup, deposit or Payment Card Industry (PCI) fees. We also like Helcim’s grocery-friendly POS features, including multilocation inventory management and low-stock alerts. Plus, you can use Helcim from your existing smartphones, computers and tablets. We’ve found Helcim to be one of the lowest-cost, lowest-hassle POS and payment solutions available.

Costs of POS Systems for Grocery Stores

Three of our five top picks for grocery store POS systems charge monthly subscription fees. The starting prices for these services range from $14.95 to $69 per month, although some POS vendors only offer pricing via customized quotes. These prices don’t account for any additional POS hardware your operations will require, although many pricing packages include the most important devices. Additionally, as your grocery store grows to require more POS features such as customer loyalty programs, you may need to upgrade to higher-priced plans.

Two of our top grocery POS vendors don’t charge monthly fees, instead earning their revenue from transaction fees. All payment processing services charge these fees and POS systems often double as payment processors. These fees typically comprise two parts: a percentage of the transaction’s dollar value and a flat additional fee. The percentage typically ranges from 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent, with the additional fee rarely exceeding 30 cents. It’s somewhat common for small groceries, especially convenience stores, to offload these costs to customers.

Unlike many other types of business tools, such as the best accounting software, implementing a POS system also requires the use of hardware. Some POS software platforms are entirely operable from your existing devices while others require standalone POS terminals or bar code scanners. You may need to pay extra for these hardware tools, although some POS providers will include them with your subscription.

A full POS hardware setup may cost you between $200 and $1,600. That said, most grocery store POS systems don’t require setup or user license fees. This ultimately lowers POS systems’ implementation costs compared to other business systems.

Bottom LineBottom line
Following initial hardware setup costs, your POS system may cost nothing each month or it may cost up to several hundred dollars per month, depending on the level of service you require. Even with free services, however, you’ll pay a fee for each transaction your grocery store conducts. These fees can add up to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per month

Features of POS Systems for Grocery Stores

The more features that come with your grocery store POS system, the better you can serve your customers. Feature-rich platforms also maximize your back-office efficiency, making operations easier for your whole team. Here are the key POS grocery features to look for as you compare options.

Customer loyalty programs

Though not strictly necessary to run a grocery store, customer loyalty programs can keep your shoppers coming back for more. Some grocery store POS systems include technology for running these programs.

If you’re drawn to customer loyalty programs, look for POS features through which you can customize rewards to your shoppers’ buying patterns and preferences. This bespoke reward structure is especially powerful for customer retention.

Customer support

When your POS system fails to work properly, your grocery store might become unable to accept payments other than cash. With robust, highly accessible customer support from your POS vendor, you can connect with an expert to solve any problems quickly. Look for extensive support hours and communication channels as you pursue POS systems so that you’re always equipped to tackle challenges head-on.

Employee management

As with any retail business, your grocery store hires retail associates who need to clock in and out daily. Some POS systems include employee management tools for overseeing this need. The result is better employee oversight alongside improved sales operations.

Hardware devices

Most of the best POS systems for grocery stores include some amount of hardware. Depending on your vendor and pricing package, your POS system might include a touchscreen checkout terminal, bar code scanner and card reader. Other top-notch grocery POS systems require no hardware and power your sales entirely from your mobile devices, computers or tablets.

Inventory management

Your grocery store likely sells hundreds of items; if you run a supermarket, you might need to manage thousands of stock-keeping units. POS inventory management tools make this seemingly overwhelming task easy. If anything, the modern grocery store simply can’t operate without them.

Look for the ability to manage stock across sales channels, store locations and product variations. Low stock alerts are key too so that you never run out of the items your customers need. It’s a nice bonus if your POS system can track your items’ perishable dates to ensure you’re selling the stock that needs to go first.

Online ordering

Thanks to the advent of grocery delivery services, your grocery store may need to offer online sales to stay competitive. Look for POS systems that give your grocery store the infrastructure it needs to expand into online sales. Tools for managing online inventory and accepting internet payments can build most of the foundation for your online expansion.

Payment processing

Grocery stores need to accept cash, credit and debit cards, digital wallet payments and EBT. Most of the best POS systems for grocery stores natively accept the first three of these payments. Some platforms natively accept EBT too, although more often, third-party integrations allow for EBT payments instead. In any case, compare POS systems’ transaction fees as you look at options. Lower fees can save you thousands of dollars on payment processing per month.

Sales tracking and reporting

Independent grocery and convenience stores have a major competitor no matter where they set up: supermarket chains. Keeping your business in the black amid this competition requires careful financial analysis that sales tracking and reporting make much easier. Look for POS reporting tools among potential POS vendors so you can, for example, see your bestsellers and slow movers and make corresponding purchase orders.

Third-party integrations

Through key POS system integrations, such as accounting software connections, you guarantee that all your sales get recorded in your books as well. Integrating your POS system with certain third-party platforms also opens the option for EBT payments, making your grocery store accessible to a wider customer base. A grocery store POS system isn’t quite complete without connections to your company’s other key tools.

Did You Know?Did you know
Many POS systems integrate with the best credit card processors to power your transactions through the technology you’re currently using. Other POS systems require that you use their built-in payment processing technology.

Choosing a POS System for Grocery Stores

Ready to take what you’ve learned so far and finally choose a POS system for your business? Here are the steps to follow.

1. List out your grocery store’s individual POS needs.

Every grocery store has different needs. Write out everything you need from a POS system, including features specific to grocery stores, such as EBT payment processing. You wouldn’t go grocery shopping without a shopping list, so why would you shop for POS vendors without a checklist?

2. Consider your grocery store’s other key factors.

The right POS for your grocery store may vary based on your store’s size, sales channels and average transaction volume. Smaller, in-person-only stores might prefer POS systems that offer fundamental POS services and hardware at low prices. Larger operations might require POS systems with low transaction fees that keep costs down as sales volume increases. All POS stores might benefit from supplementary features, such as employee management but think of these tools as nice-to-haves, not requirements.

3. Research and compare vendors.

Doing your own independent research is critical. You can start with our reviews above to understand what’s out there. Take the time to browse your potential POS vendors’ pricing tables ― these will tell you everything you do and don’t get for your dollar. After this step, continue to consider only POS vendors that offer everything you’re seeking in your system.

4. Browse customer reviews.

It’s one thing to take POS vendors’ online materials at face value. It’s another thing entirely to read about the experiences of actual business owners who have used the product. Visit Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau website to browse all your potential vendors’ POS reviews. Although a negative review can reflect a highly specific experience you might never go through, all feedback is worth considering.

5. Sign up for free trials and demos.

The only thing better than others’ experience for evaluating a potential POS system’s fit is your own experience. Free trials and demos are the easiest way to get these experiences for yourself without committing to any spending. Plus, since POS systems are customer-facing, you can easily obtain actual shopper feedback on your software as you try it. Consider this input, as well as your team’s opinions, when making your final POS decision.

TipTip
For POS platforms that don’t charge monthly fees or require you to sign contracts, a free trial may be less necessary. With these platforms, you can just get started with the software and abandon it at any point if you’re dissatisfied. This low-risk structure may make certain POS vendors more appealing to you than others as you make your final decision.

Advantages of POS Systems for Grocery Stores

Here’s why POS systems are so important for grocery stores to implement and maintain.

Power Your Transactions

Without a cash register, bar code scanner or card reader, your grocery store might struggle to start or complete transactions. Many grocery store POS systems include all these tools. The result is a faster, more satisfying checkout experience that lessens the chances of your customers ditching you for competitors.

Offer More Payment Options

Implementing a POS system gives your grocery store the infrastructure it needs to accept increasingly prevalent mobile wallet payments. If you’re currently cash-only, POS systems are a low-hassle solution for starting to accept card payments. Plus, since many POS systems include cash registers, you can easily continue accepting paper money.

Automate Your Inventory

With the best grocery store POS systems, every customer purchase of a product automatically reduces your inventory count for that product by the right amount. This takes the manual work out of tracking your stock counts and knowing when to reorder products. That’s especially true if your POS system sends you low-stock alerts. With the right POS software, you’ll never again face customers upset about an out-of-stock product.

Analyze Your Sales

Although only accounting software can generate all the accounting reports your company needs, your POS software can certainly create sales reports. These data-rich documents clearly show your best-sellers and low movers, empowering you to develop stronger business strategies that benefit your bottom line.

Expand Into New Sales Channels

With some grocery POS systems, you can set up online payments, powering your expansion into the growing field of internet grocery shopping. POS inventory management features also mean that your stock counts will update automatically with every online purchase ― even outside your storefront’s business hours. With a great POS system, you’ll always be all lights on.

POS Systems for Grocery Stores FAQs

Your grocery store should order items and verify correct deliveries upon receiving the items. From there, you should stock your shelves and inventory, and you should conduct regular cycle counts to ensure your inventory data’s accuracy. Reordering and restocking will be necessary any time your products run low.

Technically, these two terms differ in that “POS” is the actual transaction location and interface while “POS system” is the hardware and software powering both. Given the strong overlap between these definitions, however, it’s common to see these terms used interchangeably.

Some experts classify POS systems as either “legacy” or “modern.” In a legacy system, all hardware and software operate entirely on-site with no cloud connections. In modern systems, which can be cloud-based, tablet or mobile systems, your data is stored in an offsite server, with hardware connected to this server. Generally, experts advise that grocery stores and all other businesses use modern POS systems.

Hybrid and legacy POS systems can operate without internet connectivity. Cloud-based systems, though, require an internet connection to ensure proper data syncing and access to POS services and tools. Despite this challenge of cloud-based POS, most experts strongly recommend using it over legacy POS.

Although the answer to this question is technically “yes,” experts universally advise against using Excel for your POS needs. Sure, you can create tables and sheets for inventory counts and transactions but doing so is much more error-prone than automating it through POS systems. It’s also time-consuming and tedious ― great POS systems make managing sales a total breeze.

Max Freedman
Contributing Writer at businessnewsdaily.com
Max Freedman, has spent nearly a decade providing entrepreneurs and business operators with actionable advice they can use to launch and grow their businesses. Max has direct experience helping run a small business, performs hands-on reviews and has real-world experience with the categories he covers, such as accounting software and digital payroll solutions, as well as leading small business lenders and employee retirement providers. Max has written hundreds of articles for Business News Daily on a range of valuable topics, including small business funding, time and attendance, marketing and human resources.
Back to top
Desktop background imageMobile background image
In partnership with BDCBND presents the b. newsletter:

Building Better Businesses

Insights on business strategy and culture, right to your inbox.
Part of the business.com network.