The 21st Century has posed new challenges for brick and mortar businesses, particularly commercial businesses like retailers and restaurants. Retailers, such as mom-and-pop shops, face an uphill battle against online shopping. Restaurants are known for balancing on a knife’s edge of profitability, often surviving on razor-thin margins.
These conditions lead many in-person sellers to look for cost-cutting measures wherever possible to keep their businesses alive and profitable. However, there are significant overhead costs that can weigh on these businesses, such as the hardware and software associated with running a brick and mortar business. The most central hardware they rely on is the Point of Sale (PoS) system. Point of Sale software allows businesses to efficiently and safely process sales in their business. However, the price of these systems can vary dramatically based on the features and scale of the systems.
Fortunately, there is a range of free or freemium Point of Sale (PoS) products available to these businesses. For small businesses in particular, free PoS systems can help keep their business running with minimal overhead costs. However, not all free Point of Sale products are created equal, so it’s important for businesses to pick a system that will help instead of hinder their sales process.
Choosing the Right Free Point of Sale Software
Retailers, restaurants, and other in-person businesses use their Point of Sale system as much as, if not more than, any other system on a daily basis. While a free system can be financially appealing, there are other considerations that businesses should account for.
A big differentiator between free PoS systems is what use case they’re tailored for. Many products focus on serving the needs of either restaurants or retailers, with specific features like floorplans, menu options, or inventory management. Some products go the extra mile to serve both needs, but may lack the specialization of a more niche PoS.
There are also tradeoffs that come with using a free system. Many are offered on a freemium model, meaning that some advanced features are paywalled. Others cap the free version at a certain volume of transactions or products. They also are less likely to have robust customer support, or even support at all.
Buyers should also consider if, when, or why they might want to upgrade to a paid version of a free PoS in the future. This is an ideal arrangement if a business just needs a system to get off the ground or to get by in a pinch, but plans to scale up in volume or complexity in the future. If this is the case, paying attention to how the business’s needs will likely evolve in the future can help buyers future proof their PoS selection in the short term.
Comparing the Leading Free PoS Products
To help businesses evaluate their options, TrustRadius has compiled a list of the leading free Point of Sale systems available. This also includes other relevant information, such as any limitations on the free versions of the products, what paid versions offer, and any pertinent pricing data.
Industry-Specific Free Point of Sale Software
|Limitations of Free Version
|U.S. customers only
|No floorplan; No inventory management; No customer management
|N/A, open-source product
|Advanced Payment Features; Inventory Features; Vendor Support
|Floorplans; Inventory Management; Multiple Terminals; Customer Support
Industry-Agnostic Free Point of Sale Software
|Limitations of Free Version
|1 branch only1 user1000 lifetime products1000 transactions/month; No Credit Card Payments
|No employee management; Limited inventory management
|No touch screen POS
|1 register only; Windows OS only
|Multiple Users; Offline Use; Unlimited Products; Unlimited Transactions
|Employee Management; Advanced Inventory; 24/7 Support
|Industry-specific features; Accounting Integrations
|Unlimited Connected Registers
|$30/month per branch
|$10/month per store
eHopper is a retail-focused POS, with a free version available only for transactions in the U.S. However, the free version of eHopper does not include customer support. For $59.99 to $99.99 per month, users get advanced payment and inventory features, as well as support from the vendor.
Floreant offers free POS software for restaurants, but the free version doesn’t include floorplans, inventory, or customer management, and is limited to one terminal. For a base fee of $19.99 per month, users get customer support for the software and can manage multiple terminals, set up custom floorplans, and handle payments and inventory in one place. (Other add-ons are available for additional fees.)
Imonggo’s POS software can be used by any type of business for free, with a single location and single user for up to 1,000 transactions per month. The free version accommodates up to 1,000 products, but cannot process credit card payments and requires an internet connection to access it. For $30 per location per month, Imonggo allows multiple users, unlimited products and transactions, and even offline use.
Loyverse POS can be used for free by restaurants and retail businesses alike. The free version does not allow for employee or inventory management, however. Paid plans ranging from $5 to $25 per month give Loyverse POS users access to employee management features, advanced inventory management capabilities, and round-the-clock customer support.
Harbortouch POS provides free software for use by any type of business, with the limitation that touch screen features are not available in the free version. Paid versions of Harbortouch, ranging from $39-$69, include industry-specific capabilities for restaurants and retailers and can be integrated with the business’ accounting systems.
Aronium’s free POS software serves both retail businesses as well as restaurants. The main limitations of Aronium’s free version are that it is limited to one register, and is only compatible with Windows OS. For $10 per month per store, Aronium users can connect unlimited registers.
Chromis is a free and open source POS for restaurants. Though no paid version (and likewise, no paid support) is available, the developers do accept donations.
Which is Best for You?
In most cases, free Point of Sale products will have more limited features than paid alternatives. However, some businesses can thrive using those more basic feature sets. For those businesses, free PoS products will serve some use cases better than others:
True Open Source: Chromis
Cost-effective Upgrades: Loyverse POS
Want to Know More?
Not all Point of Sale software will serve every business’s needs equally. Once you’ve determined which products you are considering, you can see what verified users think of each option at TrustRadius.
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