The ultimate guide to EPOS systems for Irish retailers [2021]

With more options becoming readily available, how can Irish retailers know which EPOS solution is the best fit for their business? Having over a decade of experience in the Irish market we have put together the ultimate guide to Irish EPOS systems.

AirPOS
AirPOS
16 min read

At AirPOS we are in the unique position of serving both the Irish market and UK market simultaneously. For a decade we have been supporting retailers across Ireland, simplifying their sales processes and also expanding their sales channels instore and online.

We understand that both these markets are very different with fewer options available to those businesses operating in the South of Ireland, so we decided to put together a straightforward guide to all the EPOS solutions available to Southern Irish retailers wanting to get started with an EPOS system, so you can find the best fit for your business.

What are the two types of POS providers in Ireland?

Cloud-based POS (EPOS) Systems

What they are, what you get, benefits and drawbacks.
With POS systems, there are two different types of system you can choose from. Cloud-based (or EPOS), like AirPOS, is a more modern and simple way to build your till system.

All your data is stored securely in the cloud and since you are using cloud-based software you can expect simple updates and easy integrations with payments, accounting and ecommerce. With a cloud-based solution, you can build one powerful selling machine.

One of the largest benefits of cloud-based POS is mobility. You can power your entire business directly from your tablet device allowing you to make sales on the move or create a cleaner sales area in-store. This also opens your business up to a wealth of opportunities to expand and serve customers more creatively, like at fairs or festivals.

When it comes to reporting there is no easier way to have visibility of your business than with a cloud-based solution. With modern accounting integrations, you can access real-time data anytime allowing you to create enhanced sales reports that allow you to plan strategically.

On top of this you will have all the traditional features you’d expect from a POS such as stock control and sales management however these will be more effective when combined with the added benefits you get with a cloud-based system.

Cloud-based-EPOS

Traditional/legacy POS or Till systems

What are they, what you get, benefits and drawbacks.

Traditional POS systems or legacy till systems are still very common in Ireland. These systems will usually have a large upfront cost due to the price of the hardware, the software has to be updated by an engineer and there is usually an installation fee.

Some still argue that these systems are more robust and therefore will last longer, but that’s where they are wrong.

Legacy systems do offer some of the same functionality that you would get with a Cloud-based POS but are nowhere near as flexible.

You can make sales and manage transactions however you will have none of the additional features that will enable you to operate more effectively, like integrated payments, accounting or ecommerce.

Traditional POS systems generally operate using modules, i.e if you want to integrate customer loyalty or accounting for example you will have to pay additional fees per features and it may even require some custom development. This is seen as a way to create a completely custom solution, pay for what you need but can often lead to a much higher monthly cost.

With cloud-based software all updates and releases will be automatic but as legacy systems are static you will be responsible for updating your system and making the necessary changes.

As well as this you are much more at risk of security issues due to lack of maintenance. With cloud-based systems, there are teams dedicated to keeping software updated with the most recent protection software. Your cloud based system will always be encrypted keeping your data protected.

Finally with a traditional system you are giving up mobility. Your system will be fixed and reliant on wifi or wired internet. You may think that you would never need mobility, maybe you own a single bar and have used the same system for decades, however we have seen customers switch to a cloud based solution allowing them open pop up bars at festivals or event nights.

Traditional-till-system--1

What are the most important POS features for retail businesses?

Whether you prefer to use a legacy system or a modern EPOS solution there are features that all retailers need. The most important features to have on your POS system are:

  • Inventory management
  • Business Reports
  • Accounting integrations
  • Ecommerce integrations
  • Customer Accounts
  • Loyalty schemes
  • Integration with POS hardware

As a retailer, you might not be ready to sell online yet, but it’s something to consider as the ecommerce market is booming and there is such a great opportunity for growth. We suggest looking for POS providers that can offer these features out of the box without having to charge you for each additional add on.

Cost of POS systems Ireland

*all pricing is accurate as of 2021

Irish-Epos-table-

Clover/ First Data

User score: 2.8/5

Clover is a US-based ePOS company-owned now by First Data Corporation. They offer both software and hardware as part of their POS solution and state that they are targeted at both the retail and hospitality industry. Clover offers a huge number of solutions in their range including Clover mini, Clover mobile and Clover station as well as Clover payments.

Clover claims to be a retail-based POS solution however much of their functionality and feature updates are in aid of hospitality-based businesses making. Also if their customer reviews are anything to go by they are completely unsuitable for retail-based businesses particularly on a small scale.

Clover-POS

Clover Pricing

In terms of pricing it can be difficult to decipher the final cost of a Clover POS system due to the number of options they offer and the lack of information on their site. Clover also is an all or nothing provider, if you want to use their software you will also need to use Clover hardware and Clover for payments.

They are a proprietary provider and therefore if you have any existing hardware or decide you want to leave Clover in the future your pieces of kit are useless.

Taking this into consideration we will take a look at Clover’s hardware and software pricing however these can vary from business to business and therefore you would need to contact one of their sales representatives for specific quotes.

Software cost

Clover software offers 2 tiers of software, Payment Plus and Register. Payment plus is solely focused on taking payments, there is no way to track inventory or view any sales information. Payment plus is only compatible with Clover Mini and Clover Flex.

For retailers the only viable package is “Register” which is the only tier with inventory management, reporting, integration options and importantly the only option which actually allows you to access their app store.

Clover Register is the only viable option for shop owners being compatible with all variations of Clover’s hardware and costs around €36 per month + VAT.

It’s important to note that you will more than likely have additional charges on top of these standard software subscriptions due to the individual feature apps.

Yes, you can make sales and manage inventory solely off your “Register” plan however any integrations, detailed reporting or other apps will incur an extra monthly cost. These can range anywhere between €0-€30 per app per month.

Hardware Cost

As a retailer you will need a hardware kit like Clover Station or the small version Clover Mini. These two options are very similar with the Mini (as the name suggests) being a smaller version with the receipt printer built into the device making it ideal for retailers with a small premise or mobile businesses.

Both these options can connect easily to wifi, Bluetooth and 4G and therefore can integrate with appropriate hardware the only real difference being the size and cost.

Clover Station will cost around €1,377 if you make a one-off purchase however there is the option to pay your hardware off in instalments of around €25+/m. This is the same story with a Clover Mini, an outright purchase will cost you around €495 or €32.50/m in instalments.

With Clover, you will also have to pay a hardware set up fee of around €290 and a device maintenance fee of €5.50 per month.

There is the option to lease your hardware which will cost around €29 however interest will be incurred with this option. Also if you choose to lease your hardware and any pieces of your kit are damaged in the process there will be a replacement fee of around €173.

Merchant payments

Finally, if you choose Clover you will also need to use them as your payment provider and therefore open a merchant account.

The price of having a Clover merchant account will vary depending on your annual turnover and your industry. In order to find out exactly how much it will cost you would need to speak to a member of their team.

There are several standard recurring charges with having a clover merchant account which when totaled can at a minimum result in an additional €15 per month between account fees, paper statement costs and account on file fees.
These fees do not take into account card processing costs. It appears for clover payments retailers could be expected to be charged anywhere between 0.2%-3.5% per transaction.

Due to lack of transparency with no actual pricing given on their site, these figures can change frequently however this is as accurate an assessment based on the reports available.

Clover is a good long term solution, but pricing isn’t transparent, has multiple contracts and you’re locked in. If you want something flexible and scalable, this is your choice.

AirPOS

User score: 4.7/5

AirPOS has been operating in the Irish market since its first opening over a decade ago helping a countless number of retailers across the country power their store. As mentioned, AirPOS is specifically targeted at the retail industry, specifically small independent retailers.

Some of the key features available with AirPOS are inventory management, free support, loyalty, reporting and a number of integration options including ecommerce.

AirPOS-EPOS-system-

AirPOS Pricing

AirPOS offers both hardware and software options for retailers.

Software Cost

AirPOS offers two pricing tiers the first being “AirPOS” priced at €36/m. With AirPOS you will be able to add an unlimited amount of products and users and have access to all the features any retailer needs to make sales and track their business effectively.

On this tier retailers will not be met with extra charges for integrations whether for payments or accounting. Retailers can easily connect their AirPOS account with Xero at no extra cost and choose from one of the several payment providers.

Although not something that may not seem crucial initially, AirPOS at all pricing tiers offers free dedicated phone, email and chat support 7 days a week, 9am-midnight. Many providers will hide extra costs in their support which you will only discover when experiencing issues.

The next tier with AirPOS is AirPOS Pro at €46. With AirPOS Pro you will get all the same functionality that you would with AirPOS however you will have greater ability to reward your customers with Loyalty and Customer Accounts.

Loyalty is ideal for any retail business, allowing you to add customer loyalty points to your customers accounts that they can then redeem in store or online. This will ensure they keep coming back for more and allow you to be more creative with your offering.

Customer accounts allow you to create specific accounts for your customers which you can then add credit to. This is ideal to run competitions in store or offer a more flexible experience with the option to buy now and pay later. Customer accounts also opens up new opportunities to track your customers buying history which along with our other reports will allow you to plan more strategically.

The final addition you will get as part of AirPOS Pro is an integration with Shopify which will allow you to connect your ecommerce store to your POS. Selling online is the future of retail and therefore this free integration is a great opportunity to expand your offering without overcomplicating your business or overspending.

Hardware cost

AirPOS offers a hardware deal giving retailers the opportunity to get a complete retail hardware kit free of cost when you open an annual AirPOS Pro account. The price of this deal is €552 which covers your annual subscription for the year. After one year you will only have to pay your monthly subscription and you will then own your hardware.

With AirPOS there are no hidden fees, all integrations and advanced features such as loyalty are included in your subscription. The price advertised is exactly what you pay.

This is a completely unique opportunity to fully equip your business without having to pay a fortune.

With your annual subscription to AirPOS you will get:

  • Compublocks tablet stand
  • Star Cash Drawer
  • Star Receipt printer
  • Newland Barcode scanner

If you have existing hardware or want to upgrade your hardware, AirPOS is compatible with Apple, Android and Windows allowing you to use your preferred devices to run your retail store.

Merchant Payments

AirPOS integrates with a number of major payment providers who are ideally situated to serve small retailers and offer competitive rates.

If using AirPOS, your options for integrated payment providers are,

  • Zettle
  • SumUP
  • WorldPay

With these merchants you could expect rates from as low as 0.8% - 1.8% depending on the provider and how much you turnover on card payments.

Get in touch here to find out more about specific payment rates for your business.

talech/ Evelon

User score: 3.1/5

talech is one of the dominant names in the EPOS industry serving primarily North America, the UK and Ireland since 2012. As expected with its size, Talech POS has a long list of features and functionalities serving customers in retail, hospitality and service industries alike.

Although serving many larger companies, talech does market itself small-medium sized retailers through it’s lower pricing tiers which we will review below.

Talech-POS-

talech pricing

Pricing is one of the areas where talech appears to come out on top if you are to scan any review sites. It offers three different pricing packages aimed at different business types.

Software cost

Their first tier “Starter” is aimed predominantly at cafes and very small retail shops starting at €29.99/m + VAT. Although this appears to be a very reasonable price it’s worth considering that you are limited to an inventory catalogue of 100 items and with only 5 employees. Yes you will be able to make sales and access basic reports this option really isn't suitable for the majority of retailers.

The next pricing tier at €49.99/m is “Standard” and it’s targeted at small to medium sized retailers as well as quick serve restaurants. On this pricing tier you will have an unlimited number of products, employees and devices which is a major step up from the starter tier.

On top of this you will have access to greater insights based on customer buying behaviour, the ability to offer discounts and print barcodes amongst other things. This is a much more suitable solution for any retailer and provides all of the essential features to allow you to run your business effectively.

The final tier offered by talech is “Premium” which costs €69.99/m and serves full service restaurants, multi location retail businesses and service providers such as Spas and Salons. With premium you will get everything that you would on the other tiers however there are extras available that will allow you to better serve your customers. Such additions include gift cards, appointment booking, BOGOF discounts and online ordering.

Although discounts and loyalty schemes are a huge benefit to retail businesses, the additional benefits of talech’s premium tier are better suited to the hospitality industry. Therefore if you're a retailer searching for an EPOS solution with Talech, realistically you will be taking out a Standard license.

With Standard you will still have the ability to create gift cards etc however this will come at an extra €19/m.

Hardware costs

Unlike most of the other irish providers we’ve included talech follows a more “DIY” approach when it comes to hardware. They do not offer any special bundle deals or packages leaving it down to the customer to decide what hardware they need and buy it separately.

Although some may prefer this approach, building their own kit, this can often be more expensive and take more time as you have to source all individual pieces yourself.

This extra step can be frustrating however you can find a list of compatible hardware on talech’s irish site. From this page you can see there is not a huge level of variety and only some items actually include links to buy making it more difficult to piece together your kit.

If searching for a retail hardware package with talech however they do recommend the pieces of kit that are compatible with the software and useful to the industry. The pieces of hardware they recommend for retail are:

  • SafeGuard tablet C-Frame
  • Datecs BluePad-50
  • MMF Val-u Line Cash Drawer
  • Epson TM-T20II receipt printer
  • Socket CHS 7Ci barcode scanner

This does not include the Ipad or android device to run your software on.

Expect to pay approximately €500-800 for a retail POS hardware kit.

Merchant payments

For payments it is difficult to determine the payment providers available to retailers as it is not clearly stated on their site or that of their parent company Evelon. From what is offered through their hardware page it appears the options available are SumUP Air, Ingencio and Datecs expect rates from 1.0 to 4.0% again depending on your business type and size.

Goodtill

User score: 4.7/5

Goodtill are relatively new on the scene in the Irish market since recently being acquired by payment provider SumUP. According to their website, Goodtill are both retail and hospitality-focused however most of their features are tailored specifically to restaurants such as table planning and ordering.

In terms of functionality, Goodtill offers all the fundamental features needed in an EPOS system such as inventory management and sales capabilities however they are lacking in the features that would be particularly valuable to retail businesses such as customer loyalty, customer accounts and free ecommerce integrations.

Although some of these are options with Goodtill these are add ons which will come at an additional monthly cost. For example if you want to be able to connect your POS with your Woocommerce or Shopify site you will be charged an additional €11 (ex VAT) per month on top of your POS license.

Goodtill-POS-

Goodtill pricing

Goodtill offers both hardware and software options for retailers.

Software Cost

If searching for software alone you can take out a license with Goodtill starting at €32 a month for all their core features. If you choose to add any additional modules this will be an additional monthly cost as mentioned previously.

Some extensions you may be interested in include:

  • Loyalty- €20/site
  • Ecommerce integration- €11/m
  • Xero integration- €11/m
  • Business analytics- €32/site
  • Advanced promotions- €20/site
  • Advanced stock- €20/site
    all ex VAT

Although these are not all fundamental, many are important features that will allow you to serve customers more effectively and you will have to take these additional prices into consideration when pricing your EPOS system.

Hardware Cost

Goodtill also offers comprehensive hardware bundles including many of the pieces of hardware needed to operate an EPOS system.

For €550 you will get an iPad, tablet stand, cash drawer, receipt printer as well as a 1 year subscription to the software. After one year you will then be billed for your software monthly.

If a retailer you will almost certainly need a barcode scanner in order to speed customers through checkout and keep on track of your inventory. If choosing to take the Goodtill starter bundle you can additionally purchase a socket bluetooth scanner from their hardware store for around €220.

Merchant Payments

The offer of €550 listed above however is only an option if you open a merchant account with SumUP for payments. As part of this bundle you will also be offered an introductory rate of 1.25% on all card transactions for one year.

If you would prefer to use a different payment provider the price of your bundle will increase significantly to €850 for all the same functionality and hardware pieces.

It’s important to note that if you are considering Goodtill for your EPOS solution that their software is only compatible with iPads. For many this is no issue however there are some who either prefer Android or Windows or alternatively have tablets from a previous solution that they would like to use.

Epos Now

User score: 4.5/5

Epos Now is an EPOS provider based in Norwich, UK who have recently entered into the Southern Irish market serving both the hospitality and retail sectors. They offer both EPOS software and hardware solutions boasting of their integration options, support network and an extensive list of features.

EPOS-Now-

Although appearing as a very attractive option with the prices advertised so low, Epos Now have been reported to hide many of their additional fees which when added up actually create a very expensive package.

If visiting their site you will immediately be met with a limited time offer of a complete EPOS solution for around €400 including your software license for the year. Upon further inspection however you will discover that there are additional fees per month such as the cost of support or “protect now”, their version of hardware insurance.

Also it is worth noting that the offering from EPOS now is not a tablet based solution, your hardware kit will be a fixed countertop terminal which although some may prefer, does not give you the same flexibility or benefits that you get with a mobile device. This is not saying that they do not offer iPad EPOS, simply that this is not what is included in their software/hardware package deal.

Finally Epos Now hardware and software is proprietary meaning that if you start a subscription and realise you're unhappy you can not use any pieces of hardware you purchased with any other solution.

AirPOS-vs-Eposnow

For a full rundown of Eposnow’s UK pricing check out our full AirPOS vs Epos Now review. Obviously, this is based on UK pricing and options however much of this data will be similar

Why choose an EPOS system like AirPOS?

When choosing a point of sale system for your business in 2021, there really is no better option than an EPOS system. You will have complete control, integration capabilities, increased visibility and the ability to scale your solution as you grow.

AirPOS-Irish-EPOS-

As mentioned there are several solutions to choose from however if searching for an affordable and powerful solution there is no better option than AirPOS.

We have a decade of experience in the retail EPOS industry which combined with our ideal location in Belfast makes us perfectly suited to help Irish retailers.

We have a dedicated support team working 7 days a week 9am-midnight who understand the Irish markets needs and are ready to solve any issues you may have.

Importantly, AirPOS places a huge amount of value on transparency. All prices can be found easily on our website, with no long term fixed contracts, there are no hidden charges or additional fees.

What you see is what you get.

We also offer free remote demos and free trials meaning you can try out the software for yourself before making any decisions.

If you’d like to chat about your next EPOS solution,schedule a quick call or email us and we’d be more than happy to help.