In the rapidly expanding world of POS providers, how are you supposed to differentiate from a Vend, Square, Shopkeep, Lightspeed, or Bindo? Today, we’ll get you started with the Vend POS review. Founded in New Zealand in 2010, Vend grew from $1 million to $10 million in just two short years. Lots of speculation has been made as to the source of Vend’s sudden rise (see Vend CEO Vaughan Rowsell’s super awesome hidden weapon), but we think the answer’s much simpler. Whether it’s because of an awesome mustache or a great awesome cloud-based POS software, Vend is certainly worth reviewing, so let’s get started on this Vend POS review.
Who Should Use Vend?
Vend is a great option to most every type of business, except for service and hospitality. There are no table management mechanisms included and you can’t modify an item (for example say, if your customer wants their steak medium-rare instead of well-done). Otherwise, Vend POS is a great option to retailers and is uniquely diverse in its customer size. With general affordability for smaller businesses coupled with the cost-saving benefits of the cloud, Vend POS is very useful for small-medium sized businesses. Vend POS even has a few customers that possess a couple hundred stores. So what’s the bottom-line of this Vend POS review? Vend POS is a versatile option for many different retailer types.
Pricing & Fees
In addition to cheaper rates when you sign up for yearly payment plans, Vend POS offers a free 30-day trial as part of the service subscription. Note, these trials limit product listing to 200 items, and all sales data is erased at the end of the week. Here is a list of Vend POS’s subscription options that we have included in this Vend POS review:
- For Very Small Businesses:
- Cost: Free
- Includes: Maximum of 1 store, 1 register, 10 products, 1,000 customers, 1 user account, and only Vend POS user forum support
- For Small Businesses:
- Cost: $39/month or, if billed annually, $35/month
- Includes: Maximum of 1 store, 1 register, 100 products, 1,000 customers, 1 user account, only e-mail support from Vend POS
- For Medium Businesses:
- Cost: $69/month or, if billed annually, $59/month
- Includes: 1 store, 1 register (a maximum of 1 more may be added at $29/month or $25/month if billed annually), 1,000 products, 1,000 customers, 10 user accounts, only e-mail support
- For Large Businesses:
- Cost: $99/month or, if billed annually, $85/month
- Includes: Multiple stores, 1 register (max of 5 total, additional charges same as above), 10,000 products, 10,000 customers, 20 user accounts, only e-mail support
- For Very Large Businesses:
- Cost: $199/month or, if billed annually, $169/month
- Includes: Multiple stores, 1 register (max of 50 total, additional charges same as above), 50,000 products, 50,000 customers, 100 user accounts, only e-mail support.
Note: For medium, large, and very large options, premium support (including personal set-up assistance, continual training, and phone support 20 hours a day, six days a week) is available at $39/month
Because Vend POS offers only the POS management software, an upside is that you don’t have to fork out an excessive amount money on buying specific hardware for their own particular POS software. This is a huge bonus that we have found in this Vend POS review.
Credit Card Processors
Vend POS’s compatibility with your existing credit card processor is one of its key strengths. As long as the processor authorizes .net as a consumer payment gateway option (which nearly all processors do), integration is super easy. If you’re feeling a bit lazy and don’t want to integrate Vend POS into your processor, that’s fine too- you can simply complete the sale manually into Vend POS after successfully completing a credit card transaction. We were surprised to find how simple it can be during this Vend POS review.
This Vend POS review has found that the Vend software has a ton of cool features, so let’s break ‘em down to really make this Vend POS review easier to understand:
- Cloud-based POS software
- Vend POS’s cloud-based software ensures always up-to-date inventory management reports. Vend POS, however, differentiates themselves with the use of HTML5 compatible web browsers (or iPad apps if you’re going tablet). Although be wary, the reliance on HTML5 is apt to produce latency within the POS system itself.
- What this means: as long as you’re online, the web app will remain in constant communication with Vend POS servers. If you lose power, the HTML5 cache runs things locally until your connection comes back. You don’t miss a sale!
- Downsides to using Vend POS offline: (1) you won’t be able to add a new customer or attribute a sale to a certain customer; (2) you can’t take credit card payments (if Vend POS is integrated with your processor); (3) you can neither close the register nor switch users.
- Loyalty Program
- Vend POS’s Loyalty Program is really simple. Instead of generating a point system, customer rewards are distributed on a dollar by dollar basis. In other words, the retailer specifies how much money a customer must spend to earn one dollar in Loyalty rewards. In this way, customers need not accrue a minimum amount of points to redeem their benefits, rather each dollar can be used at the next purchase if so desired.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Vend POS software allows you to either both import a list of customers from a CSV file or add them in the PS interface as you go. Whether you want to filter by email, address, phone number, Facebook account, or Twitter ID, it’s all there. How does help you get this information? The Loyalty Program. Because not all customers want to hand out their contact information, the Loyalty Program has an option to send an automatic e-mail to new customers with a personal link to their own Customer Portal. At the Customer Portal, contact info can be exchanged for bonus loyalty dollars. This removes a lot of the invasiveness of generating customer data, all you need ask for is their email and the customer will fill in the rest at their leisure.
- Inventory Management
- Inventory Management is easy with Vend POS software. You can add, remove, and edit inventory items, and also include product images. Using the POS interface, you can track stock levels, special taxes, costs, prices, etc. You can even modify prices by location, customer type, or promotional discount. Barcode integration is simple as well; you can import or create your own system.
- Pricebook Versatility
- With Vend POS’s ability to maintain multiple price books, you can further categorize by store location, customer groups, or even time. If you want, for example, to run a promotion for a week, you can copy your default price book, make the price changes, and set the new price book to override the default one. At the end of a week, it will automatically return back to regular pricing.
Ease of Use/User Interface
If you haven’t picked up on it yet during this Vend POS review, Vend POS’s mantra is simplicity. Their user interface is not exempt from this. With everything laid out logically, everything divided into easily understandable subcategories. We have found in this Vend POS review that setup too is simple: once you log in for the first time, there is a setup checklist that walks you through product and customer creation, registering quick keys, and a simple explanation of the Vend POS Dashboard. Bottom line? Vend POS is ridiculously simple to learn and even simpler to use!
Integration & Add-Ons
Vend offers a diverse array of easily integrated third party add-ons for their point of sale system that help make running a business much easier. Here’s a quick list of the most notable add-ons:
- QuickBooks Online
- Inventory management
- Stitch Labs
- Business analytics
- Scheduling and Management
Paypal is also supported with the POS along a variety of other products and services.
When it comes to customer service, we have found in this Vend POS review that Vend POS has come a long way. From offering no phone support whatsoever to offering Premium Support packages, that much is obvious. But no matter how simple Vend POS is to use and how few problems arise, having to pay about $40 a month to talk to someone for the one problem you may have does seem a little pricey- a big negative in this Vend POS review.
In addition to phone and email, however, Vend POS does boast a very comprehensive online database of answers to everyday questions, as well as a vibrant social media platform to publicly interact with them.
Hardware & Software Compatibility
- POS Software
- Since Vend POS is a web app, the strictest POS software requirement is the browser used:
- If using a PC: Google Chrome MUST be used to compatible with the POS Software(Safari is also supported if you are running a Mac)
- POS Hardware
- Vend POS works with pretty much any POS hardware
- POS software functions best on the iPad
- Compatible Receipt Printers
- Vend POS recommends Star or Epson USB receipt printers, but any USB printer would likely work.
- Cash Drawer
- Any cash drawer will work, so long as it has an RJ12 port
- Barcode Scanner
- Any USB or Bluetooth scanner works fine with Vend POS
- Label Printers
- Vend POS recommends Zebra brand
- Card Readers
- Any USB card reader works fine, but if integration with Vend POS is desired, the merchant must, once again, have the authorize.net gateway
- Integrations + Add-Ons
- Vend POS offers a lot of integrations, a full list of which you can find here. To highlight a few:
- Shopify: integrate in-store and online inventory
- PeopleMine: an application that does data analytics on customers and their spending habits
- Swarm: advanced analytics that help store owners understand conversion rates, loyalty, and ultimately identify sales patterns
Final Pro vs. Con List
Here is a list of useful pros and cons regarding Vend POS that we have put together in this Vend POS review:
- Super simple to learn and use
- Innovative use of Loyalty Program to obtain customer info
- Integrates with most any existing hardware
- Very affordable
- Active user forum with lots of searchable info
- Lots of add-ons to customize your business experience
- Data backed up to Vend POS servers
- Customer service is a pricey addition to add into the mix
- No employee management function
- Employees can easily access each other’s account
- Vend POS cannot handle and account for cash
- Vend POS processes sales for items even if they are not in stock
- No complex loyalty program
- Data reporting nigh on nonexistent
- Cannot send inventory request to suppliers from POS interface
All in all, Vend POS offers a great one-stop-shop for lots of retailers. It’s affordable, easy to use and implement, integrates well with existing hardware, and backs up all your data to Vend POS servers. Simplicity is great, but as most business owners know, every business is different. As your business grows, you require more complex features and more freedom to tailor your POS system to the way you run your business. At the end of the day, we have found in this Vend POS review that the POS software doesn’t have the scope of functions that cloud-based POS competitors have, but neither does it have the full offline capability either.