How To Choose The Right Retail EPOS System – EPOS Buying Guide 2021

With so many POS systems on the market, how can you, the retailer find the one that is right for their business? Learn more about the questions you should be asking your POS provider and what features are specific to your industry.

With a million and one options on the market, how can you as a retail business owner know which retail Electronic Point of Sale System (also known as an EPOS system) is right for you and your business?

Choosing a Retail EPOS System that isn’t the right fit for your business can be a costly mistake.

In the following article, we take a look at the importance of choosing the right retail EPOS system for your business and how to choose a solution that can scale as your business grows.

What is an EPOS system?

Put simply an Electronic Point of Sale System or EPOS System is a combination of EPOS software and EPOS hardware. EPOS software is stored on the cloud and can be installed on several hardware devices, including, but not limited to tablets (iPad and Android) and mobile devices.

EPOS software will act as your till interface, enabling you to zoom customers through checkout manage inventory and provide in-depth reporting on one system.

EPOS Software is much like your push-button system, however, it has the advantage of being more secure, mobile, and offers advanced reports and integrations that make running a business much easier.

Check out our guide on everything you need to know about EPOS.

Why is POS Software important?

EPOS software is becoming increasingly popular throughout all industries and for good reason.

EPOS software gives more flexibility with hardware, better reporting, and better usability than the traditional point of sale systems.
It can also be installed on multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and traditional windows systems, meaning you can even upgrade your current system to run it.

It’s a great solution that can work for traditional brick and mortar type stores, for businesses on the move, or omnichannel businesses selling online and in-store.

With EPOS software being a good investment for your business it makes sense to take some time when choosing your POS provider as their software will be responsible for processing sales and monitoring the progress of your business.

When weighing up options, retailers need to be asking the right questions and be thoroughly informed before making their final decision.
EPOS software tends to be multi-device and multi-location so it’s crucial to choose a system that can expand with your business.

We ask potential customers to ask these questions when shopping for an EPOS system:

  1. What support does your company offer? Phone/email/24 hours? What is the cost?
  2. What payment providers do you integrate with?
  3. What integrations do you have? Do the integrations cost extra?
  4. Can I sell online? Do you have an eCommerce integration?
  5. Do you also supply POS hardware? If so, what are the costs?
  6. Can I speak to one of your current customers? Where can I see reviews?
  7. Do you offer an integrated loyalty program?
  8. Do you offer customer accounts?
  9. How long does it take to set up your system and train staff?
  10. What are your contract terms? Fixed-term/Monthly?

How do You Choose an EPOS System?

Let’s take a look at some of the important things to consider when choosing the right retail EPOS system. We take a look at the following factors:

  • Business Type/Industry
  • Budget & Setup Fees
  • Integrations
  • Hardware

Business Type/Industry

Although POS software may seem like an all in one solution, there can be specific requirements for different sectors. The most common EPOS systems are for retail & hospitality/restaurants. There are other solutions for niche industries, but these are the most common.

EPOS System for Retail

If you own a retail shop you should have an EPOS System and more importantly one that can effectively manage the day to day running of your business.
Traditional push-button tills are still popular, but using one means your business is missing crucial opportunities to simplify selling and provide customers with the highest quality service.

With an EPOS system retailers can avail of a speedy sales process, easy inventory management, advanced reporting and custom loyalty schemes. All of which is designed to make your life easier and improve sales.

In summary key Features for retail EPOS systems:

  • Easy Inventory Management
  • Advanced Reporting
  • Customer Accounts & Loyalty Schemes
  • Integrated ecommerce
  • Great FREE Customer Support (not all brands offer this for free)
  • Accounting Integrations (saves loads of time when doing accounts)

Some of the most popular retail EPOS Systems for UK & Irish businesses include:

EPOS Systems for Hospitality/Restaurants

The hospitality industry can be incredibly stressful for small business owners. During busy times there can be a great deal to manage and track, therefore it is important that you have the right EPOS System in place to make things easier for you and your staff.

When searching for an EPOS system for a restaurant, bar or cafe, you will want to check whether it is possible to split tickets and importantly keep open tickets, allowing customers to make orders on a tab/account. If you run a restaurant you’ll want to have kitchen printing integrations, and table service options also.

Having detailed reporting is also super important, as a business owner in this industry you will want to be able to predict busy times to help with managing staffs hours efficiently. Finally having easy inventory management is essential, removing any chance of low stock and therefore the possibility to lose sales.

In summary key features for hospitality EPOS systems:

  • Table Management & Layouts (restaurants and bars that serve food)
  • Kitchen Printing Functionality
  • Split Bills
  • Delivery & Pick up
  • Contactless & Integrated Payments
  • Inventory Management
  • Advanced Reporting

Some of the most popular hospitality EPOS Systems for UK & Irish businesses include:

  • Goodtill
  • Lightspeed
  • AirPOS (for small cafes and bars only)
  • EPOS Now

EPOS Systems for Vape Shops

Vape shops are a niche industry however with 7.1% of the UK identifying as “vapers” a 12.5% increase from the year before, this habit is fast becoming more than a passing trend.

When choosing a Point of Sale provider for a vape shop, business owners must ensure they are choosing a business who not only can facilitate their needs but also can offer the right integration options.

Some are surprised to discover that some major businesses will have certain restrictions for vape providers limiting options for their business set up.

In summary key Features for Vape Shop EPOS systems:

  • Easy Inventory Management
  • Advanced Reporting
  • Customer Accounts & Loyalty Schemes
  • Integrated ecommerce
  • Great FREE Customer Support (not all brands offer this for free)
  • Accounting Integrations (saves loads of time when doing accounts)

Some of the most popular retail EPOS Systems for UK & Irish businesses include:

  • AirPOS
  • Vend
  • Lightspeed

AirPOS: EPOS for Vape shops

Budget & Setup Fees

The cost of EPOS Systems can vary greatly depending on what setup you need. In this section, we take a look at what a retailer would need to get started with a new EPOS system including EPOS software and hardware.

We use AirPOS Pro features as a baseline for what retailers should expect from their system and make a comparable pricing table based on the features provided with it.

Features AirPOS PRO Epos Now Vend Lightspeed iZettle
Unlimited Users and Products
1 POS Device License
Support 9am-Midnight 7 days a week FREE 9am-6pm £25/mo 24 hours, 7 days a week
24 hours, 7 days a week FREE 9am-5pm, weekdays FREE
Access to Cloud-Based Back Office
Access to Customer Accounts
Access to Loyalty Free £25/mo Free Free Not Available
Access to Reporting Features
Inventory Management
No Contract (upgrade, downgrade or cancel any time)
Shopify eCommerce Coming soon… £35/mo £56/mo
Xero Integration Free £25/mo Free Free Free
Total Annual Cost £480 £1,130 £828 £3,060 £348
Monthly Breakdown £40 £120 £69 £255 £29

As you can see pricing can vary greatly between EPOS providers. AirPOS offers one of the most affordable systems on the market and with our free hardware deal, it’s hard to be beaten on price and features.

If you’re a small retailer, then AirPOS is going to be one of the best solutions for you. If you’re a larger firm, you may want to look into using Vend or Lightspeed if you have some additional integrations that you need for your business. Note that AirPOS does work well for larger firms and can scale easily with your business.

When looking at pricing make sure you get all the information you need before making a purchase decision including, some providers will hook you in with what seems like low costs but keep you locked in with long contracts and then increase pricing with extensions:

  • Integration Costs
  • Monthly Fees
  • Hardware Prices
  • Support Costs
  • Contract Length


Integrations can make running your business easier, quicker, and they can save you lots of headaches down the line. We recommend the following integrations when choosing an EPOS System:


This is probably one of the best integrations any EPOS system can offer. It will speed up your accounting processes and sync sales data between your EPOS system and accounting software. This will prevent issues with manual entry and calculations and simplify your life. Your accountant will thank you for it too.


Adding integrated payments makes sales quicker as you can take payments directly on your devices and it’s processed automatically. Make sure your EPOS system can accept all major payment providers and allows for contactless payments.


Having integrated ecommerce with your point of sale system is a game-changer in 2021. As we’ve seen with the current pandemic, having an online store can save your business. Making sure your EPOS system and ecommerce store connect is super important.

It will save headaches with inventory management, accounting and more. Not only that it allow you to future proof your business and give your customers easier access to buying from you without sacrificing any visibility across your stock, it’s a win-win.

Customer Accounts & Loyalty Schemes

Having customer accounts and loyalty schemes can be a game-changer for small retailers. Customer accounts allow you to offer flexible payment plans for your customers. This is particularly useful for larger ticket items so customers can spread the cost of payments over a period of time.

Having customer accounts also allows you to track user data, spending & purchasing habits, and can provide you with a lot of insights into your customers. This can help you improve your marketing efforts to increase sales.

Loyalty schemes reward customers and it encourage them to come back to your store for more rewards. Offer customers with loyalty points for purchasing and it can help increase your bottom line in the long run. Also, it’s much easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones.

EPOS Hardware

Choosing the right hardware for your business can be tricky. Thankfully we’ve put together a handy guide on how to choose retail POS hardware for you.

To summarise it, we suggest that you get the following setup if you’re a retailer:

  • Touch Screen/Tablet Device (Tablet device if you’re selling on the go)
  • Tablet Holder/Screen Stand
  • Automatic Cash Drawer
  • Bluetooth Receipt Printer
  • Wireless Credit Card Reader
  • Barcode Scanner

These are the essential items that can make running your business easier.

In terms of pricing, expect to pay between £500-2000 for a full setup.

Again don’t be tricked into purchasing a “deal” somewhere without checking the length of contracts, terms to get the specific deal, do you need to use their payment processor (this could mean higher fees) and the cost of the software to run the system.

At AitPOS we have a free hardware deal with an annual subscription to our AirPOS Pro package, it’s perfect for retailers who want to upgrade to an EPOS system, or for those who are just starting out with their business. There are no fixed-term contracts or hidden costs, it’s £480 + VAT, just add a tablet device to get started.

Questions you must ask POS Providers

We want you to make the right decision for your business, that’s why we’ve created this guide.

Even if you don’t choose AirPOS for your EPOS System, we highly recommend that you ask the following questions to any EPOS provider to make sure that you don’t get stuck using the wrong system that just doesn’t work for you.

  • What level of support do you offer?
  • How is my customer data stored?
  • Is your EPOS software multi-location and multi-device?
  • What are your integration options?
  • Are there any ongoing fees that I can be aware of?
  • What features do you offer that will specifically help my business?

We have created a full guide that covers these questions in more detail explaining what you should expect in response.

Give it a quick read, it can save you lots of time, money and headaches in the future.

See the full article here

EPOS system

Why choose AirPOS?

As mentioned there are a million and one options for you as a small retailer when choosing an EPOS system. With a growing number of EPOS features and add-ons, it can be difficult to know which provider will best serve your needs.

AirPOS prides itself on its transparency, offering a no-contract EPOS solution with no hidden fees. AirPOS EPOS software incorporates a highly comprehensive EPOS with features such as loyalty and customer accounts which are specifically tailored to meet the needs of you, the retailer.

AirPOS offers experienced, dedicated customer support completely free of charge and we even offer free assisted setups to help you get started easily.

Why not book a demo with us and we can work together to help you find the best EPOS system for your needs.

Book Your Free Demo Today to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use EPOS software?

Any physical business that takes payments can benefit from POS software.

Increase sales efficiency

POS software can speed up your checkout process, you can find products quicker, or simply scan them in when integrated with the right hardware. You can also take payments quicker with integrations such as contactless payments. Reducing the time at the till enhances your customer experience making it much more likely that they’ll come back in the future.

Prevent human error

Reduce the errors of manually adding up sales. These errors may be small but they can add up over time and your business could be losing out on potential revenue. A POS system might cost you a little each month but will help ensure your sales figures are accurate which is important for tax, compliance and overall, growing your business.

Reduce theft

Unfortunately, some business losses are due to theft from their own employees. A POS system can add a layer of accountability to track and evaluate transactions. The ability to assign employee logins and permissions to restrict access to certain areas of your backend will ensure sales, discounts and refunds can be tracked to a specific employee.

Analyse & Grow your business

Do you know what your best-selling product is? What time of day is best for sales? Who your best salesperson is? Reporting and analysis tools are built right into POS software, so you can make more educated business decisions to help you grow.

What are the benefits of EPOS Software?


Using cloud-based POS software gives you the flexibility and mobility to take payments on the go, if you have a mobile business, or attend events, it’s a great tool for enabling sales.

24/7 access

Access your POS software anywhere, anytime even when you aren’t physically in store. Simply log in to your account and you can see real-time sales figures, run reports, and even add new products or customers.

Simple, and intuitive

With POS Software you can decide on the layout and structure of your products, making it quick and easy to find products and make sales. It takes only a matter of minutes to get someone trained and ready to use your system.

Sell Offline

AirPOS works online and offline so you never miss a sale even if you lose an internet connection. Your data will automatically sync back to the cloud the next time you connect to wifi.


AirPOS pricing is clear and simple, with no hidden costs. You pay a low monthly fee of £29.95 instead per device, with no contracts or minimum commitments.

Increased Security

Your data is safely stored in the cloud so you won’t be affected by theft or accidents to physical hardware. All data servers have 24/7 security and several layers of encryption.

Business Integrations

Cloud-based software makes it a lot easier to integrate and connect with other software applications, our most popular integrations are with PayPal, Xero accounting and iZettle.

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