What is Vend POS? Vend point of sale (POS) system is the world's first cloud-based POS, which explains why it continues to be so well coveted in the retail EPOS software market. Servicing 20,000 retailers, Vend are clearly successful in their approach. They have a heap of awards, including a bronze Stevie Award for 'Most Valuable Corporate Response 2020’ in the American Business Awards.
Our Vend POS review looks at the features, pricing and benefits of this popular New Zealand-based POS provider.
As you evaluate point of sale systems for your business, you want to look for a POS solution that goes far beyond just recording sales. With over a decade of POS provider experience, continuous product development to futureproof your business, and a helpful open API to boot, Vend may just be that solution. As well as being an EPOS provider, they also offer an MPOS option: the Vend Register iPad app, when used with Zettle.
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Vend POS works on iPad, Mac or PC, but not on Android. It works with a wide range of point-of-sale hardware, and is easy to set up—all you need is a web browser.
There’s a good range of Vend POS integrations, as the system seamlessly connects with other useful business tools, including Xero for accounting, Deputy for employee scheduling, and Timely for appointment booking. In addition, VendHQ POS has partnerships with payment providers including PayPal, Worldpay, Moneris, Tyro and Smartpay.
Who is Vend POS for?
You likely know Vend as a flexible retail POS provider with impressive inventory management. While you're not wrong, there's much more to Vend as we'll explore in this review.
For a start, their POS offering will likely suit most retail SMB owners, but they have POS systems specifically built and designed for the following retail sectors:
Electronics & Computer POS, Fashion Boutique POS, Fitness & Supplements POS, Health & Beauty POS, Homeware & Gifts POS, Sport & Outdoor POS and Not-for-profit.
Vend POS: Plans and pricing
Vend POS pricing is structured similarly to other POS systems. There are three price plans, with annual payments working out cheaper than the billed monthly equivalents. To start, we recommend evaluating Vend via its 14-day free trial, downloadable from its website. There is no minimum commitment, so it’s possible to cancel any time.
Vend POS Lite
The Vend Lite plan, starting at $99 per month, delivers a competitive POS platform for small-to-medium sized businesses who are inventory-oriented, as opposed to service-focused businesses. It is worth noting that this plan is limited to a $20k monthly turnover, and if this amount is exceeded three times in a 12 month period, businesses will need to move to Pro or Enterprise plans instead.
Vend POS Pro
With no monthly turnover limit, Vend Pro enables you to add more locations at $129 per month (billed annually) or $159 per month (billed monthly). Pro provides API access to enable you to take advantage of other features, including an online e-commerce setup. It also offers advanced reporting options. Both the Pro plan and Lite plan allow you to add more registers at $49 per month.
Regarding add-ons, only Xero, QuickBooks or MYOB (for accounting) can be integrated with Vend on the Lite plan. To integrate other third-party software including ecommerce, you’ll need to upgrade to Pro.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Vend Lite||Vend Pro||Vend Enterprise|
|Monthly cost||$99||$129 for annual payment - $159 for monthly payment||Custom, contact Vend directly|
|Monthly turnover limit||$20,000||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Additional costs||Yes for hardware, such as $49 for extra registers and extra cost for Premium phone support||Yes for hardware, such as $49 for extra registers and extra cost for Premium phone support||Yes for hardware, such as $49 for extra registers and extra cost for Premium phone support|
Vend POS Enterprise
As expected, the Vend Enterprise plan enables users to take advantage of premium API access, dedicated account management and customized onboarding. If you're an enterprise level business owner, you'll need to contact Vend directly for custom pricing. Also note that as a larger business, you may need to fork out more for premium support from Vend, which includes:
One advantage of Vend POS is that it can work for seasonal retailers too. Vend offers an “On-Ice” service for US$5 a month, where you retain all your store data until you’re ready to use your account again. If you prefer to download the data yourself, or if you want to permanently cancel your account, you can even export your sales history, product list, customer list, and any other reports you might need.
Vend POS: Features
VendHQ POS has a comprehensive feature set, including their famed Vend multi-channel inventory management software, customer loyalty management and strong POS reporting functions for competitive insight.
One of our favourite things about Vend POS in particular, is it gives your business the option of adding unlimited items into the product catalogue. You can also add limitless staff accounts to the system, no matter your subscription.
It’s clear that Vend has been designed to be intuitive for anyone to use, considering both accessibility and modernity in design. Let's dig into the some of those rich features and see how they can benefit your retail business.
Vend Payment Processing
Vend POS system works with leading payment providers, with no additional processing fees: whether that's debit, credit, store/gift voucher credit, or the latest NFC contactless payment systems like Apple Pay.
Vend Inventory Management and Stock Management
Users can manage stores, sales channels, products and customers all from one place with Vend POS. It's easy to add more as your business grows, too.
A big advantage of Vend is its ability to track and organize complex inventories, even if your business has multiple trading sites. If you have a product list in a .CSV file (perhaps exported from MS Excel), it’s simple to import this into the system. Otherwise, you can manually add detailed product information into the library, and this is displayed in the POS interface or found through search.
You can really get into the granular detail of your inventory too, noting down size, colour and name. You might even like to "bundle products together to form new products like gift baskets" as Vend suggest on their website.
Of course being Vend, you can rightfully expect notifications to provide a warning when your stock levels are low, and other inventory tools to automate stock replenishment. This empowers retailers with multiple stores to coordinate and organize their stock efficiently.
To make inventory management extra efficient, you can also use third-party integrations like Fobi for inventory insights. Using such reporting functions helps show your best selling products, so you can forecast trends, make informed buying/upselling decisions and keep your stores stocked with products that sell.
Vend also has an app, Scanner by Vend, which allows you to effortlessly complete (full or partial) stocktakes anywhere. It works as a great go-to for customer questions, as you can also use it to look up stock prices, availability, descriptions and more.
If you're in the fitness industry and sell supplements, this could be extremely helpful for allergy sufferers who need to know product ingredients instantly.
Vend AI and free add-ons
Vend POS has some unique sales management software tools, to help you manage your stores. For example, the Vend POS Scanner app we touched upon, which uses the device's camera to scan product barcodes, is a neat add-on.
This free POS app improves visibility into your inventory, and enables you to use any mobile iOS device as barcode scanner.
Dott is Vend's much-talked-about AI reporting tool. Dott cleverly analyzes your store’s activity in real time – sales, products, inventory, and even customer behavior - and makes suggestions for actions you can take. When you see a green dot on your dashboard, Dott has a tip for you!
Homebase is a free team management app that integrates with Vend POS. On the Homebase free plan, you can manage employee timesheets, employee scheduling, hiring and employee messaging all in one easy POS view.
Vend works with the big three ecommerce integrations: Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce. If you're new to ecommerce and looking for a customizable, but code-free ecommerce platform to help digitize your sales offering, these are excellent options.
Using these integrations you can sync online sales with in-store sales, send products to customer faster and track orders with ease.
Vend POS: Interface and ease of use
Vend POS provides a user-friendly and intuitive interface. It’s simple to create a custom interface using ‘Quick Keys’ to access your most popular products faster. Both the POS functions and the checkout interface look familiar to experienced retail workers. Employees are likely to need minimal training. The Vend POS software works seamlessly with existing or new hardware.
Like other point of sale systems, if you have a simple store setup (such as an iPad), then you can easily set up your POS system without any specialist support. Simple retail workflows typically involve launching or installing your POS software (which just takes a few clicks) and entering your business details.
Vend POS: Support
Social media support
We'd challenge anyone to say Vend doesn't offer enough support. With high quality, free video training content available to any of Vend's 7.5K Youtube subscribers or general Youtube onlookers. Collectively, the channel has an impressive 1,705,360 views suggesting the training material is not only helpful, it's actually engaging enough you'll want to watch it! The same certainly can't be said for all POS companies.
Vend maintains active Facebook, Twitter (you can tweet @VendHelp for support queries), and LinkedIn accounts, along with a well-maintained Vend POS blog. The company has its own YouTube channel with videos featuring tutorials and quick tips.
Aside from this, there are also more support materials on the website. Webinars, detailed POS guides, e-books, articles and free inventory and sales templates. You name it—Vend has it it one form or another.
The Vend website help center has a searchable bar. Here you can also read How-To articles, getting started guides and FAQs. The Setup Checklist is a useful resource for those who are first installing Vend.
Industry support guides
Something we quite liked is that Vend has guides for every industry it caters to, explaining how their product can specifically help your business grow. You can find these by navigating to the homepage footer of the website, selecting your business type under Business Types and downloading the relevant report.
Traditional support methods: Phone, Email, Live Chat
There’s round-the-clock support on all paid subscription plans, with technical assistance just a phone call away. Vend also offer a Live Chat option on its website, although it is a chatbot and I did experience delays.
Our only Vend support criticism is that, depending on the degree of support your business needs you may end up paying extra. Vend offer something called Premium Support which we cover in the Pricing section of this review. Although you get much closer account management and guidance for your buck, this is separate spend you'll need to budget for.
Vend POS: the competition
Vend's subscription rates are competitive, but they aren't the lowest.
For example, the Hike POS Essential plan comes in at $59, with an additional register charged at $39. The Lightspeed entry level plan starts at $69, with an additional register costing $29 per month. These are both less expensive than Vend’s $99 Lite plan, with each additional register at $49.
Lightspeed point of sale (POS) review
Lightspeed offers POS systems tailored for retail and restaurant outlets
When selecting a POS system for your retail business, think about how your business operates. If you give discounts, keep in mind that only simple discounts can be applied to specific items and transactions in Vend’s Lite plan.
If you offer promotions, advanced discount tools are only included on the more expensive Pro plan. This goes for gift cards too, which can be issued and accepted on a Pro subscription. With Hike POS, gift receipts and discounts are both provided in the basic Essential plan.
Vend POS: Final verdict
Vend point of sale system is undoubtedly one of the best retail POS solutions on the market—and if you're considering Vend for your business, you can have great faith that it will continue to be. Why?
Well, Vend—also known as Vend by Lightspeed—was acquired by another highly rated retail POS giant, Lightspeed POS, in March 2021, suggesting the brand is only going to improve on service quality and software offering alongside global expansion. Lightspeed previously also acquired popular POS provider ShopKeep who create cloud-based iPad POS systems for SMB owners.
Vend have an excellent reputation in the industry for exceeding expectations. Simply look at their accolade collection, including being a gold 2015 Stevie winner of Customer Service Department of the Year at the American Business Awards. They were again recognised in 2020 and received the bronze Stevie Award for Most Valuable Corporate response.
If your budget is tight, there are less expensive retail POS systems on the market. Vend POS may not offer some of the features that the other solutions provide; it’s a flexible POS system for small retailers. Although the entry level plan is limited, it’s good for retailers with large inventories, who want all-round value.