Top 3 Most Popular POS Software Solutions: Comparison of TouchBistro, Square and Vend

TouchBistro: Top POS Software

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Point-of-sale or POS software solutions go beyond processing payments. They are now tools to gain customer insights and manage inventory with real-time precision. Some solutions are so advanced they also help you manage and schedule staff and resources.

There are plenty of benefits to using POS software, among which:

  1. It simplifies accounting.
  2. It avoids manual errors.
  3. It provides deeper insights into your business. 

These aren’t just sales pitches, but factors that drive the popularity of POS in retail. A 451 Research study, in fact, forecasts that globally installed mPOS devices will reach a 32% CAGR in 2019, an astounding 54 million units from this year’s 13 million units.

So, while you’re in the lookout for the best POS system for your business, you need to consider these top POS features:

  1. Payment and billing
  2. Reporting and analytics
  3. Customization
  4. Integration and mobile optimization
  5. Customer support
  6. Miscellaneous tools

As always, it’s best to start exploring the top products in any software category and use them as benchmark down the road in your purchase journey.

In this guide, we compared the top 3 most popular POS software solutions. We matched one of the leading POS solutions, TouchBistro, with two other popular apps: Square and Vend. We reviewed these solutions around the top POS features mentioned above to help you decide which one suits your business best.

Introduction to TouchBistro

TouchBistro is the popular iPad-based POS system for food service business of any size and type. It fits the processes of restaurants, cafes and nightclubs, as well as food trucks, fast casual and bakeries. It gives you a tableside POS, where waiters can present the menu on an iPad and customers simply click their choices. The remote POS process is linked to the system, which automatically processes checkout and payment. This feature cuts customer queue and waiting time and prevent manual errors in bill-outs. It also accepts gift cards and loyalty deals.

We highly recommend this POS for fast-growing small business and large chains alike. It goes beyond POS, providing an end-to-end solution to managing your food service company, including staff management, menu management and inventory management. The  POS system also generates insights to grow your business: transactional reports, such as, payment and refund summaries, total credit card transactions, daily/weekly/monthly sales and shift schedule.

It is also EMV-compliant, meaning, your business is protected from credit card back charges and fraud liabilities. While the U.S. government doesn’t mandate merchants to shift to EMV, they can however be held liable for fraudulent card transactions if they’re using non-EMV readers.

TouchBistro also provides versatile user permissions and customization features. You can configure the app to your preference, including hiding/surfacing menu item, assigning multiple ticket printers and managing permissions. You can see its myriad benefits firsthand when you sign up for a TouchBistro free trial here.

Introduction to Square

Square is a payment processor that is free for small business. It is available on the AppStore and Google Play. It is ideal for coffee shops, small vendors and stores with small transaction volume. However, the app is not suitable for large transactions.

The vendor earns from transaction fees. Charges for swipes, taps and keyed-in transactions range from 2.75% to 3.5% plus 15 cents.

It accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Amex and also online and phone-in charges but with  higher fees. The good news is, it doesn’t charge cost-plus or interchange plus fee; instead it charges a flat fee for all merchants.

Likewise, customers can tip and sign from the POS device. It also helps you go paperless by letting you track invoices online or send receipts via email or SMS.

Aside from payment features, Square generates feedback and analytics that give you a good feel of your business growth or lack of.

Introduction to Vend

Vend is our third app in this Top 3 Most Popular POS Software Solutions list. It is a full-service POS for retail and can scale to growing businesses. It is build for iPad but it is compatible with a wide range operating systems across desktop and mobile devices. If you’re a small business you can use its free but limited app.

Among others, the POS app helps you monitor transactions from float to register close. It also help monitor inventory from supply to sale, making it easy to spot refunds, returns, thefts and discrepancies.

Furthermore, Vend has CRM tools, allowing you to organize your customer base. Likewise, it features a real-time dashboard that provides you visibility on key metrics. The app integrates with Xero and Shopify.

Comparison of POS Features

1. Payments

This feature is a major factor in determining our top 3 most popular POS software solutions. The more options a POS system gives you the better. For instance, TouchBistro doesn’t only integrate with popular payment gateways like PayPal, Square, Xero and Apple; it also accepts gift cards and loyalty deals. This, on top of cash, credit card and debit card processing. Moreover, TouchBistro is EMV-compliant and able to read chip cards, giving you added security against fraudulent transactions.

The same thing with Square, it accepts payments from Android and iOS devices. Moreover, it accepts online and phone-in transactions but for a higher fee. The only drawback is Square still uses magstripe reader, which the U.S. government is trying to phase out because it’s vulnerable to fraud. You can however transition to an EMV device, which the app provides as an add-on. LIkewise, Square only accepts local currencies, so that’s a minus if you have branches outside the U.S. Both TouchBistro and Square allow digital receipts for a more convenient transaction.

Meantime, Vend also accepts various payment modes like TouchBistro and Square. Moreover, it supports NFC and Apple Pay, partial payment, account payment and layaway. All three vendors support NFC and Apple Pay and split bills.

2. Reporting

TouchBistro has a more robust reporting tools compared to Vend and Square. You get thirty  various daily sales reports, and the POS lets you generate reports for accounting, staff schedule and inventory, too. More so, TouchBistro’s reporting allows you to see the big picture of the business’ health with revenue summaries, sales demographics and returning customer rate.

Meanwhile, Square also has powerful reporting and analytics. It uses real-time data and able to digest customer insights including the nitty-gritty on their spending. You can also track insights from the mobile-friendly Square Dashboard.

Like TouchBistro, Vend allows for daily, weekly and monthly reports, including for inventory levels, best-selling items and employee data. It also helps you track cash from float to register close.

3. Customization

TouchBistro, Square and Vend all have great customization tools. For instance in TouchBistro, you configure menu management, floorplan, security control, cashier workflows, taxation and payments, among others. Likewise, it lets you tweak menu display and design by adding/removing items or categories, editing item descriptions and configuring color codes, images and lists.

Square, for one, has an ecommerce API that lets you embed the POS in your web store or app. And Vend has menu buttons that can be customized to match payment type. Overall, you have a wide range of customization tools that let you match these POS systems with your unique workflows and requirements.

4. Miscellaneous

A great POS system goes beyond payment. On this note, we like the extra features incorporated in TouchBistro and Vend and, to some extent, Square. TouchBistro features real-time inventory, so it’s easy to avoid overstocks and stockouts. Likewise, it features staff management tools for clock-in/clock-out, hourly wage calculations and staff schedule.

Vend also features inventory tools that will help you monitor items from supply to sale. It’s easy to spot refunds, returns, thefts and discrepancies. As for Square, it can tag and track item transfers, but that seems limiting.

TouchBistro and Vend, meantime, have CRM features like customer profiles can be exported to your marketing system. Details such as contact information, transactions and loyalty engagement are captured to help you profile customers.

All three solutions provide offline access during internet outages. Once you are reconnected, auto sync kicks in to ensure you’re using centralized and the latest data.

For unique features, Vend offers shipping with flat rates for ecommerce businesses. On the other hand, Square has a library of suppliers to help you sell at once.

Comparison of Integration and Mobile Optimization

All three POS systems offer integration with key business systems, namely, payment gateways, CRM, sales and accounting. TouchBistro integrates with a range of payment gateways, such as, PayPal, Square, Xero and Apple. It also offers a suite of vertical POS for quick service, restaurant, food truck, bar, food chain, coffee shop, stadium and pizza food retail.

Square, on the other hand, offers an ecommerce API that allows you to embed it in your checkout page or app. It also integrates with TouchBistro and Zen POS, lending to existing TouchBistro and Zen POS users more flexibility.

Meantime, Vend has mobile-friendly online store designs, which level up your mobile ecommerce site. The templates feature product catalog, customer lists and online inventory. Vend also integrates with accounting software such as QuickBooks and Xero for invoicing, accounts reconciliation and data on cost-of-goods-sold.

Comparison of Pricing Packages

TouchBistro is offered by quote for a customized pricing that matches your needs. It has individual and enterprise plans based on the number of user licenses.

Meanwhile, Square is free but charges for swipes, taps and keyed-in transactions range from 2.75% to 3.5% plus 15 cents.  It also accepts online and phone-in charges but for higher fees.

As for Vend, it offers three fixed plans starting at $59 per month. The premium plan is at $169 per month. Likewise, Vend offers a free app but for up to ten active products only.

Comparison of Customer Support

Customer support is critical to POS users where delays can result in loss of customers. A vendor that can provide 24/7 phone and email support like TouchBistro, hence, is highly recommended. The vendor also features a robust knowledge base with step-by-step guides, video tutorials and live chat.

Square, meanwhile, is reputed to be highly responsive to customer queries. In fact, it enjoys an A-plus rating from Better Business Bureau (BBB). It has had complaints related to frozen accounts and payments, but those were under suspicion of fraud. The vendor provides phone support on weekdays during business hours, as well as email, social media and online support.

Like TouchBistro, Vend also offers 24/7 support but only for its higher priced plans.

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