At TechnologyAdvice, we assess a wide range of factors before selecting our top choices for a given category. To make our selections, we rely on our extensive research, product information, vendor websites, competitor research and first-hand experience. We then consider what makes a solution best for customer-specific needs. 

By defining business needs, we can determine the essential features organizations in various sectors require, and select platforms that will cover all bases. Reputable providers known for their ease of use and customer satisfaction are added to our compilation list for further analysis. We then evaluate each solution on the list based on the features they offer, considering the platform’s usability, integration capabilities, customization options, mobile access, and any other relevant functionalities. 

Price plans, hidden fees, customer reviews, and customer support are also assessed in the selection process. TechnologyAdvice writers will often take advantage of free trials and demos to get a first-hand user experience of available software. Finally, we curate a comprehensive list based on the previously stated factors, ensuring readers have the necessary tools to make an informed decision.

We rely on an internal algorithm to calculate star ratings, which are based on many factors.  

My research focused on your top-of-mind concerns like price, core features, user experience, and security. Each category also includes my expert score, which contributes to its overall score.

​​As the market changes, we reevaluate our choices so you always receive the best insight for your purchasing decision.

User reviews from third-party software platforms like Capterra and G2 accounted for a small portion of the software’s overall score. I focused on software that received at least 3.5 out of 5 stars on these sites. Because users have real-world experience with each platform, they played a significant role in narrowing down my list of top products to compare.

Standard point-of-sale (POS) software often doesn’t have all the features grocery stores need. The best grocery store POS systems, among other things, keep good track of inventory, allow online grocery sales, can integrate scales and scanners, and are simple to use. Here are some of the best point-of-sale (POS) choices that offer these features and more.

  • Square: Best for small businesses
  • Clover: Best for flexibility
  • IT Retail: Best for customization
  • Lightspeed: Best for inventory management
  • Revel: Best for multi-location businesses 

Not finding the right solution for your business? Check out our guide to the Best Point-of-Sale (POS) Software for 2024 or our guide to the Best Restaurant POS Systems for more options.

Square logo. Clover logo. IT Retail logo. Lightspeed logo. Revel logo.
Best for Small businesses Flexibility Customization Inventory management Multi-location businesses
Star Rating 3.9/5 3.9/5 4.2/5 3.9/5 4.2/5
Pros Free baseline POS, no monthly fees, daily stock reports No-fee online ordering for restaurant plans, competitive rates, range of hardware options, 30-day trial Custom-tailored system, age restriction tools, inventory management, Quickbooks integration Advanced inventory management, 24/7 support, flexible payment processing, built-in e-commerce and loyalty program Supports multiple payment processors, integrated digital displays, expiration date tracking, iPad-based
Cons Locked into Square’s payment processing, not cost-effective for high-volume Charges termination fees, no free hardware Higher pricing, lack of transparency for larger businesses No free plans, high monthly fee, charges termination fee, may require annual contract Does not scan IDs, difficult to track item sales to customers
Key Features Inventory and fulfillment tools, reports, free online store, Afterpay integration, staff mgmt. tools Advanced inventory mgmt., versatile payment solutions, offline payments, efficient returns process, e-commerce integration PCI compliance, diverse payment acceptance, advanced reporting, shrinkage mgmt., grocery platform integration, real-time inventory mgmt. Customizable checkout, built-in product catalogs, accounting integration, in-house ecommerce platform, granular reporting and analytics, marketing tools iPad-based interface, cloud-based management, comprehensive inventory mgmt., employee mgmt. tools, customer relationship mgmt., advanced reporting and analytics
Pricing Free plan available; In-person: 2.6% + $0.10; Online: 2.9% + $0.30; Plus: $60/month Starts at $14.95/month; In-person: 2.3% + $0.10; Online: 3.5% + $0.10 Flex: $199/month; Freedom Standard: $1,499 upfront; Freedom Premium: $1,999 upfront Lean: $89/month; Standard: $149/month; Advanced: $269/month Starting at $99/month; contact Revel for a customized quote
Learn More Visit Square Visit Clover Visit IT Retail Visit Lightspeed Retail Visit Revel

Square for Retail: Best for small businesses


Pros

  • Free baseline POS
  • No monthly fees
  • Daily stock reports
  • Lot and expiration date tracking available via a third-party app

Cons

  • Locked into Square’s payment processing
  • Not cost-effective for high-volume transactions
Square logo.

Our Rating: 3.9/5

Inventory and fulfillment: Smart stock forecasts, inventory tool to scan and search items, barcode label printer. 

Reports: The dashboard offers cost of goods sold, sell-through, sales, and vendor sales reports. 

Free online store: Highlight top-selling items, new products, discounts, or deals on your site. The site also integrates with Instagram, Facebook, and Google product listings.

Afterpay integration: For both in-person and online sales, every Square POS has an Afterpay connector built in.

Staff management tools: Offers quick training, role assignments with secure passcodes, accurate time tracking, and streamlined shift scheduling and publishing through the Square Register and Team App.

Free: Basic retail POS app, online store, basic inventory for unlimited items

  • In-person payment processing: 2.6% + 10 cents
  • Online payment processing: 2.9% + 30 cents

Plus ($60 per month): Free plan features plus advanced inventory, advanced reports, and team management

  • In-person payment processing: 2.5% + 10 cents
  • Online payment processing: 2.9% + 30 cents

Premium (Custom-quoted): Plus Plan plus payroll, loyalty, marketing, and account management

  • Contact Square for a customized quote based on your specific business requirements

Square’s no monthly subscription fee, coupled with a free magstripe reader, presents a low barrier to entry, allowing grocers to kickstart their operations with minimal upfront investment.

Lightspeed and Square are the only two vendors on the list offering free plans, propelling both to the top of the list for pricing. 

In addition, the platform’s transparent transaction fees and cost-effective additional hardware further enhance its appeal to budget-conscious store owners. What truly sets Square apart, however, is its daily stock alerts and ease of generating purchase orders, simplifying inventory management—a crucial aspect of grocery retail. The ability to accept electronic benefits transfer (EBT) payments through TotilPay integration also means the company is dedicated to inclusivity and meeting diverse customer needs. 

Its basic plan is richly equipped with essential features. It is easy to set up and offers free e-commerce tools to create online grocery stores. 

It does lose points because it doesn’t include grocery-specific features like ID scans for alcohol and tobacco purchases. Another sticking point for some business owners could be having to use Square’s built-in payment processing. However, Square offers a solid option for small groceries and start-ups to get payments rolling without excessive fees and setup. 

The latest updates include a simplified process for assigning permissions to newly created team members. Businesses can now choose from three permission levels—Standard, Enhanced, and Full—during the initial setup, making it easier to define access based on team roles, from cashiers to co-owners. Additionally, the Square Online Checkout has been rebranded to Square Payment Links. This update also brings new features like itemized subscriptions, customizable tipping options, and the ability to add custom fields to payment links, providing businesses with more flexibility and control over their online transactions. 

Clover: Best for flexibility


Pros

  • No-fee online ordering for restaurant plans
  • Competitive payment processing rates
  • Range of hardware options
  • 30-day free trial

Cons

  • Resolutions to issues can take several calls/lack of proactive measures from the Clover support team, according to some users
  • Charges termination fees
  • No free hardware
Clover logo.

Our Rating: 3.9/5

Real-time inventory management: Clover allows for detailed tracking of products, including variants and attributes.

Versatile payment solutions: Accepts a wide range of payment methods, including credit, debit, gift cards, NFC, and mobile payments, with automatic tax rate application to simplify transactions.

Offline payments: Offers the ability to accept payments without WiFi.

Efficient returns process: Clover’s system is designed for rapid refund processing and accommodates orders paid through multiple payment methods.

E-commerce integration: Easily launch an online store through integration with BigCommerce, sync your inventory and sales data across physical and online stores, and increase visibility with Google via Pointy.

Monthly fees

  • $14.95: Retail Starter, Personal Services Starter, Professional Services (Starter and Standard), Home & Field Services plans.
  • $49.95: Retail Standard, Personal Services (Standard and Advanced), Professional Services Advanced.
  • $54.95: Quick-Service Dining (Starter and Standard).
  • $64.90: Retail Advanced.
  • $69.90: Quick-Service Dining Advanced.
  • $84.95: Full-Service Dining Starter.
  • $99.90: Full-Service Dining Standard.
  • $114.85: Full-Service Dining Advanced.

In-person transactions

  • 2.3% + 10¢: Standard for most plans (varies by hardware).
  • 2.6% + 10¢: For Retail Starter, Personal Services Starter, Professional Services Standard, and Home & Field Services (Standard and Advanced plans).
  • 3.5% + 10¢: For all online or keyed-in transactions.

Hardware costs

  • Clover Go (chip, swipe, contactless reader): $49
  • Clover Flex (mobile POS with printer): $35/month
  • Clover Mini POS: $45/month
  • Clover Station Duo: $135/month

At its heart, Clover makes things easy and flexible for you. If you’re using a mobile card reader, there’s a free plan waiting for you, along with help any time of the day or night through phone and email. So, as a grocery store owner, Clover lets you hook it up to your online store or start taking orders online without extra fees. Just remember, Clover might ask for a three-year commitment to get sale pricing, and there could be fees if you part ways early, though sometimes they’ll let that slide according to users of the platform.

What really makes Clover stand out is its fair monthly prices and low costs for processing payments, offering the lowest transaction fees for standard plans on our list. Yes, buying their hardware might seem expensive at first, but what you save later can make up for it. Plus, Clover is very transparent about its costs, though you might need to chat with their team to get the full picture and figure out exactly what your business needs.

Compared to Lightspeed, for example, Clover offers grocery store owners the advantages of ease, flexibility, and affordability. 

It also has access to over 300 different software apps. This, along with all the must-have features for managing customers, staff, bills, online orders, and more, puts Clover at the top of the list for businesses aiming to get the best bang for their buck. With a POS system that’s easy to use, sleek hardware that does the job, and an app market full of options, Clover is built to grow with you, marking it as a prime pick for getting great value from your grocery store POS system. 

Clover has recently announced a significant update to its platform, enhancing the experience for developers with an upgraded Clover Web Dashboard now accessible through the sandbox Developer Dashboard. This improvement allows developers to create US test merchant accounts in the sandbox environment, offering them a preview of the Merchant Dashboard as it appears in the production setting. This initiative is designed to streamline the development process by ensuring that developers can work with test merchants in a way that closely mimics the live environment.

IT Retail: Best for customization


Pros

  • Ability to build a custom-tailored POS system
  • Age restriction tools for purchases
  • Inventory tools include low stock report
  • Label printing functions
  • Quickbooks integration

Cons

  • Higher pricing compared to competitors
  • Lack of pricing transparency for larger business purchases
IT Retail logo.

Our Rating: 4.2/5

Integration with leading online grocery platforms: IT Retail seamlessly connects with top online ordering and delivery services, such as Instacart, expanding the store’s reach and convenience for customers.

Shrinkage management: Features designed to reduce shrinkage help store owners monitor for potential employee theft and pricing errors, protecting profit margins.

PCI compliance assurance: The system adheres to PCI compliance standards for all transactions, providing a secure checkout environment that protects customer data.

Diverse payment acceptance: Supports a wide array of payment methods, including the latest in EMV chips, NFC for contactless payments, and traditional options like EBT.

Customer loyalty programs: IT Retail offers tools to create and manage loyalty programs, encouraging repeat business by rewarding customers for their purchases.

Advanced reporting for customer insights: The POS system includes reporting capabilities that provide valuable insights into shopping trends and customer behavior, enabling stores to make informed decisions.

Remote management capabilities: Owners can manage their store, analyze sales data, and oversee employees remotely, providing flexibility and control over store operations from anywhere with an internet connection.

Comprehensive inventory management: The system includes tools for tracking inventory in real-time, including capabilities for managing lot numbers and expiration dates, ensuring compliance with safety standards, and reducing waste.

Monthly Plans

IT Retail Flex: $199/month

  • Includes Touch PC, thermal receipt printer, barcode laser scanner, cash drawer, pin pad, customer display, software, 24/7 support with limited training, and a lifetime warranty.

IT Retail Freedom Standard: $1,499 upfront

  • Builds on the Flex plan with a 2-year hardware warranty, a free pin pad and stand. This plan has no long-term contracts.

IT Retail Freedom Premium: $1,999 upfront

  • Upgrades the Freedom Standard plan with an improved customer display and is tailored for multi-lane grocery stores.

Custom Build Pricing

  • Two Lane with Ecommerce Solution: $2,998 upfront, then $99/month for software, $250/month for the payment gateway, and $39/month for support.

Extra Equipment 

  • Dot-matrix customer display: $159
  • Ingenico Lane 7000 pin pad: $849
  • Mobile label printer: $749

Additional Costs

  • One-time installation: Custom-quoted; self-installation may be an option for small grocers.
  • Monthly support: Starts at $39/month.
  • Processing fees: Custom-quoted as part of the IT Retail processing agreement.

Ecommerce Costs

  • Setup: $149
  • Payment Gateway: $250/month

IT Retail delivers features uniquely tailored to the intricacies of grocery sales. Unlike Clover, IT Retail offers comprehensive tools for managing complex inventory, including expiration date tracking and bottle deposits, features less common in general retail-focused systems.

Compared to Revel, IT Retail offers a more grocery-centric set of features, such as performance tracking for cashiers and seamless handling of age-restricted purchases. These features ensure compliance and efficiency that Revel’s broader approach might not fully address. Against Lightspeed, IT Retail stands out as a grocery store POS system with its in-depth inventory and employee productivity tools, providing a level of detail and control over operations that Lightspeed’s app integration-focused platform might not match for grocery-specific needs.

IT Retail’s integration with leading online grocery platforms like Instacart also offers an edge. Despite higher pricing and less transparent costs for larger businesses, IT Retail’s specialized functionality for grocery stores, from loyalty programs to compliance with FDA regulations, justifies its position as a top choice.

Lightspeed Retail: Best for inventory management


Pros

  • Advanced inventory management
  • Comprehensive reporting and analytics
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Flexible payment processing options
  • Built-in ecommerce and loyalty program

Cons

  • Monthly fee for third-party merchant account
  • High monthly software fee
Lightspeed logo.

Our Rating: 3.9/5

Real-time inventory management: Supports multi-variant products, composite products, and automated special orders. Additionally, it facilitates seamless stock transfers between locations and efficient supplier returns.

Customizable checkout: Allows for personalization of the checkout screen with frequently used products and functions.

Built-in product catalogs: Enables direct shopping and ordering from suppliers through the POS interface.

Accounting software integration: Facilitates seamless bookkeeping directly from the dashboard.

In-house ecommerce platform: Included in Standard and Advanced plans, enabling online sales integration.

Granular reporting and analytics: Delivers deep insights into sales, inventory, and customer trends.

Marketing tools: Features automated marketing capabilities, including customer review collection and SMS promotions.

Lean plan: $69/month

Standard plan: $119/month

Advanced plan: $199/month

Enterprise: Custom

We picked Lightspeed Retail POS as the best option for grocery stores mainly because of its top-notch inventory management and strong customer support. This is crucial for grocery stores that have a lot of different items to monitor. You can even order directly from suppliers through the system, which is a big plus.

Lightspeed also stands out for helping new users get started with a free one-on-one session to learn all the ins and outs of their grocery store POS system. Plus, customer service is available any time of the day or night if you run into trouble. This kind of help can make a big difference, especially if you’re new to using such an advanced system.

Yes, Lightspeed might cost a bit more, and you have to agree to a yearly plan to get the best deal. The benefits—like handling lots of product variations and getting alerts when stock is low—make it worth it for busy grocery stores. Even though it doesn’t offer a free plan and requires an annual commitment, the level of service and features you get, particularly for keeping track of inventory, makes Lightspeed a standout choice for grocery stores that are ready to expand and streamline how they do things.

Lightspeed has rolled out a series of updates in February 2024 alone to enhance user experience and streamline operations for its R-Series platform. 

Notably, the system now features pin login improvements, reducing the frequency of unnecessary PIN prompts and providing clear explanations when PINs are required, thereby minimizing interruptions during work. Another significant enhancement is the ability to add serial numbers to vendor returns, improving the tracking of serial numbers and facilitating better inventory management. Additionally, Lightspeed has updated its API functionality for layaways and special orders, optimizing inventory management and preventing overselling by integrating these features into internal systems.

For Lightspeed Payments merchants using WisePOS E, there is now the option to enable tipping directly on the payment terminal, offering more flexibility in how tipping options are presented to customers. On the e-commerce side, Lightspeed eCom (C-Series) has introduced DMARC authentication options to comply with new regulations, ensuring that domain owners can verify their authority to send emails. eCom stores are also now compliant with Google Consent Mode, ensuring that stores with a cookie banner are in line with the latest requirements for online consent management.

For the latest updates to Lightspeed, check out the company’s official product updates page. 

Revel: Best for multi-location businesses


Pros

  • Supports multiple payment processors
  • Includes tools for integrated digital displays for delis and meat counters
  • Expiration date tracking is available via YellowDog integration
  • iPad-based hardware is more accessible than purpose-built grocery hardware

Cons

  • Does not scan IDs
  • Can be difficult to track an item sold to a particular customer
Revel logo.

Our Rating: 4.2/5

iPad-based interface: Utilizes iPads to provide a modern, user-friendly interface with touchscreen capabilities.

Cloud-based management: You can access the system and real-time data from anywhere.

Comprehensive inventory management: Includes features for tracking stock levels, managing multiple warehouses, and creating purchase orders, streamlining inventory control.

Employee management tools: Offers functionalities to create employee profiles, manage shifts, track hours, and handle payroll, simplifying staff administration.

Customer relationship management: Provides capabilities to store customer data, track purchases, run marketing campaigns, and manage loyalty programs.

Advanced reporting and analytics: Generates detailed reports on various aspects of the business, such as sales and inventory.

Starting at $99/month

Contact Revel for a customized quote. 

Revel’s edge in the grocery store POS system market is its platform, which is designed specifically for high-volume, multi-location businesses, setting it apart from competitors. Unlike other systems that may cater more to single-location operations or offer a broad, one-size-fits-all solution, Revel provides a deeply customizable experience tailored to the unique needs of well-established grocery chains. It integrates with multiple payment processors, offering significant flexibility not always available with other POS solutions. 

In contrast, systems like Lightspeed Retail, Square For Retail, and Clover POS cater more broadly, with Lightspeed focusing on specialty stores and co-ops, Square as a free option suitable for a range of retail settings, and Clover being user-friendly for employee training.

Revel’s comprehensive inventory management capabilities allow for detailed tracking and management of a wide range of grocery items, ensuring efficient stock control and reduced wastage. The system’s employee management tools streamline scheduling, payroll, and shift management, contributing to smoother store operations. The inclusion of customer relationship management (CRM) features enables personalized marketing campaigns and loyalty programs. The platform’s scalability is another key reason for our choice. 

Revel’s focus on comprehensive inventory and employee management, along with its array of features for customer engagement and retention, makes it particularly suited for grocery stores looking for scalable growth and operational efficiency. Its mandatory three-year contract and lack of a free trial are considerations for businesses seeking flexibility, but its suite of advanced features and dedicated support position Revel as a top choice for those willing to invest in a long-term, comprehensive POS solution.

Read more: Complete Guide to POS Analytics

Key components of grocery store POS system

When selecting a POS system for a grocery store, there are several crucial components to consider that ensure the system can handle the unique demands of the grocery industry, including:

  • Advanced inventory management: Essential for tracking a wide range of products, from perishables to household goods. Features should include real-time stock updates, low stock alerts, and automated reordering to prevent shortages.
  • Seamless payment processing: A POS must accommodate various payment methods, including credit/debit cards, mobile payments, EBT, and NFC technology, to offer flexibility and convenience to customers.
  • Integrated vendor management: Simplifies the ordering and restocking process by allowing direct orders to suppliers from within the POS platform, ideally with built-in catalogs and purchase order management.
  • Customer loyalty programs: Tools to create and manage loyalty rewards encourage repeat business by offering points, discounts, or special promotions based on purchase history.
  • Detailed reporting and analytics: Provides insights into sales trends, inventory levels, and customer preferences, enabling data-driven decisions to improve profitability and customer experience.
  • Employee management: Features for scheduling, time tracking, and assigning permissions help streamline staff management and ensure efficient store operations.
  • E-commerce integration: For stores venturing into online sales, the POS should integrate with e-commerce platforms to sync inventory and sales data between online and physical stores.
  • Age verification: This is important for stores selling age-restricted products, as it ensures compliance with legal requirements through prompt ID verification at checkout.
  • Multi-location support: For chains or stores with multiple locations, the POS software should offer centralized management of inventory, sales, and staffing across all sites.
  • Offline mode: Ensures that sales can continue even during internet outages, with transactions processed once connectivity is restored.

Read more: Best POS Hardware for Businesses

Challenges of using grocery store POS systems and how to overcome them

Implementing a POS system in grocery stores comes with challenges, but there are practical ways to tackle them. For instance, managing a wide range of products, including perishables, requires a system with advanced inventory features. Look for one that alerts you about low stock or items nearing their expiration. High customer traffic means you need a fast, reliable POS to keep lines moving. 

Ensuring staff are well-trained and having a support line ready can help keep things smooth. As online shopping grows, integrating in-store and online sales can be tricky. Choose a POS that easily syncs with e-commerce platforms for real-time inventory management.

Payment processing fees can add up, so it’s wise to negotiate better rates or find a competitive provider. Running a loyalty program can also get complex; automating enrollment and rewards distribution through your POS can simplify personalization. Selling age-restricted items? Ensure your system can verify ages and scan IDs to comply with laws. Protecting customer data is critical, so invest in a secure, PCI-compliant POS system.

Staying updated with new payment technologies like NFC might seem daunting, but a flexible, upgradable POS system can adapt to these changes. Finally, training staff on a new system takes time. Opting for a user-friendly interface and utilizing any available onboarding services from your POS provider can ease this transition. By addressing these challenges with strategic solutions, grocery stores can enhance efficiency, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Read more: What are the Types of POS Systems?

How our choices overcome grocery POS challenges

Implementing a POS in grocery stores and addressing challenges like managing a vast product range requires a system with advanced inventory features. Lightspeed Retail and IT Retail, known for their comprehensive inventory management, can alert on low stock or items nearing expiration. For high customer traffic, Revel’s fast and reliable system is suitable. Square for Retail smoothly handles integration with e-commerce. For payment processing, negotiating better rates or choosing competitive providers like Clover POS can be beneficial. 

Secure, PCI-compliant systems are essential, with all mentioned POS systems providing security to protect customer data. Training staff on new systems is made easier with user-friendly interfaces offered by companies like Clover POS.

TechnologyAdvice is able to offer our services for free because some vendors may pay us for web traffic or other sales opportunities. Our mission is to help technology buyers make better purchasing decisions, so we provide you with information for all vendors — even those that don’t pay us.

“Featured Partners: Retail Point-of-Sale (POS) Software

FAQs

Yes, many modern POS systems offer seamless integration between online and physical store sales, allowing real-time inventory management across all channels.

Some POS software can include age verification features and ID scanning to ensure compliance with laws regarding age-restricted sales, but not every solution offers this feature.