The best iPad POS
iPad POS systems are modern, easy to use and affordable - but which one is right for your small business? Our guide to iPad POS, including a comparison of top providers, is here to help
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iPad POS (point of sale) systems are becoming hugely popular among small businesses – not least because they’re versatile, modern, easy to use, and cheaper than traditional POS options – which can cost thousands of pounds.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, iPad POS systems have really come into their own. With hospitality businesses having to maintain social distancing measures, table service has become the standard way to reduce movement and limit the spread of the virus.
Thanks to iPad POS software and hardware, an iPad can be turned into a mobile card reader, enabling staff to take orders and payments at tables.
But what exactly is iPad POS, how can it benefit your business, and what’s the best iPad POS software for retail ventures, hospitality operations and other small businesses?
Click the navigation links above or simply read on for all you need to know about iPad POS systems…
What is an iPad POS system?
As you might guess, iPad POS is a system that uses an iPad as its central hub, instead of a computer (as in the case of traditional POS systems).
In short, this system consists of a POS software app that’s downloaded onto an iPad, plus connected hardware such as card machines and cash drawers.
This means that iPad POS systems are mobile, maneuverable and versatile, offering you greater flexibility and your customers more convenience as you’re able to come to them to take payments.
Another key difference is that, with traditional POS systems, the data you collect is stored on the computer that processes the payments. By contrast, when iPad POS is in use, data is instead stored on the cloud – meaning you can check on your business from any internet-connected device, and the data’s safe from hardware failures (such as the iPad breaking).
Does my business need an iPad POS system?
Integrating an iPad POS system into your business comes with a number of benefits (which we explore below), including access to functions and features that would be unavailable with traditional POS equipment.
But, in deciding whether or not to invest in iPad POS, it’s worth asking yourself the following questions:
- Would your business benefit from a POS system with the versatility of an iPad or iPhone? (enabling your staff to take payments away from the till, for example.)
- Would you prefer not to have to rely on constant internet connection?
- Are you looking for a low cost POS system with no upfront fees and smaller monthly costs?
- Would you benefit from the security and huge storage capabilities of a cloud-based system?
- Could your small business benefit from an iPad POS’s easy integration of software, rewards, loyalty programs and gift cards?
- Is your business growing – and do you intend to grow in the future?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then it is worth investigating iPad POS systems for your small business.
The best iPad POS software for small businesses in the UK
The past few years have seen improvements to iPad POS technology, which has in turn led to a surge in the number of suppliers operating within the sector – though the tech is still relatively new.
This is good news for you, as it means there are now plenty of software options to choose from.
Some specialise in hospitality, while others are perfect for retail – what’s important is that you choose a provider that suits your requirements directly.
To kickstart your search, we’ve highlighted three examples of iPad POS software that’s well-designed, easy to use and adaptable.
All the providers here can offer both the software and hardware (such as card readers, cash drawers, and iPad stands – learn more about the hardware you might need below) necessary to kit out your business with full iPad POS operations.
|EPOS Now||Small businesses and start-ups||£25+/month|
Now "Zettle by PayPal"
|Shopkeep||Retail businesses||Quotes available|
Best for hospitality businesses
Epos Now at a glance
- Over 30,000 businesses use Epos Now
- The company has a five-star Trustpilot rating
- The software is user friendly, and requires just 15 minutes of staff training
- All major cards and payment methods are accepted
- A live demo of the software is available
- A 30-day free trial is available
- There’s an option to buy with a single upfront fee
The UK’s largest EPOS provider, Epos Now is a great all-rounder for all sorts of start-ups. The provider processes over £2bn in transactions every year – with a new customer signing up every 30 minutes, according to the company.
In fact, in 2017 we named Jacyn Heavens, founder of Epos Now, as one of our Young Guns – the UK’s top business owners under 35. Not to mention that shopping guru and government advisor Mary Portas once dubbed Epos Now “the best system in the country” – praise worth listening to!
What can EPOS Now iPad POS software do?
Epos Now’s iPad POS software comes with a variety of useful features, including:ReportingEpos Now’s iPad POS software provides a customisable dashboard from which you can access real-time product, sales and employee information from anywhere, on any device.
You can also create dedicated dashboards in order to better monitor separate KPIs.
Epos Now aims to give you complete control over your stock levels, meaning you don’t have to waste time on stock takes.Using the inventory control in this software, you can keep an eye on stock levels, discounts, faulty items and bestsellers, as well as automatically raising purchase orders and stock transfers (if you have other locations).
Epos Now’s ‘Back Office’ is a modern form of POS software – offering a variety of features and functions, split into two sections: Setup and Management.In Setup, you can make changes to various features in order to match any business requirements you may have, including tax rate, discount and location.In Management, you can make the day-to-day changes that are important for any business – such as prices, staff and product categories
To learn more about Epos Now, read our full review here.
iZettle (now rebranded to Zettle by PayPal)
Best for hospitality
Quick note: iZettle has recently rebranded to Zettle by PayPal. The product offering remains the same. So, for the time being, we will continue to refer to the brand by its well-established brand name “iZettle”.
iZettle iPad POS at a glance
- iZettle has a four-star Trustpilot rating
- A free version is available for the budget-conscious
- iZettle accepts all major cards, plus contactless and mobile payments
- The software can be set up in just five minutes
- A 14-day free trial is available
With plenty of handy functions built into the software, and others available to be integrated, iZettle presents almost everything you need for POS – meaning you don’t have to complicate processes by purchasing or installing external tools.
And with a pro plan designed specifically for hospitality businesses – which includes capabilities like table management and bill splitting – your pub, bar, cafe or restaurant might well benefit from this comprehensive iPad POS system.
What can iZettle iPad POS software do?
Among other handy capabilities, iZettle’s iPad POS software enables…
With iZettle’s software you can build an intuitive product library, designed to help you and your staff find particular products quickly, and sell them without keeping your customers waiting.
The library is so easy to use that iZettle says no staff training is required.
Using an iZettle sales dashboard, you’ll be able to view in-depth sales reports – including what was sold and when, which member of staff made each sale, what your top-selling products are, when your busiest times are, how your stock’s looking and more.
The iZettle app can be integrated with accounting apps, such as Xero, to keep your bookkeeping process cohesive.
Best for retail business
Shopkeep iPad POS at a glance
- Over 25,000 businesses use Shopkeep
- Shopkeep processes over 289 million transactions annually
- The company has a five-star Trustpilot rating
- Award-winning 24/7 customer support is available for merchants
- A free demo is available
Unlike the other providers on this list, Shopkeep specialises specifically in iPad POS – and with its software sitting as the number one iPad POS app available on the App Store, this unique focus is clearly paying off.
An excellent option for retailers, this New York-based provider offers a dazzling range of features and functions which aim to streamline the sales and inventory processes integral to your business.
What can Shopkeep iPad POS software do?
Among its many capabilities, Shopkeep’s special features include:
Shopkeep comes with a smartphone app – available on iOS and Android – named Shopkeep Pocket, which provides an easy way to keep an eye on your business when you’re away from it.
Shopkeep Pocket provides a comprehensive view of sales, returns, discounts, tips and more across all your locations (if you have more than one). It also sends real-time notifications about staff shifts in your shop or eatery, and how much money’s in the cash drawer.
Additional software integrations
Shopkeep is able to integrate with a range of software that can enhance the way you run your business, and what you can offer to customers.Such software includes ecommerce solutions, online directory listing, email marketing, a customer loyalty programme, accounting, and gift cards.
Through Shopkeep’s cloud-based BackOffice programme, you can track your staff’s work hours and performance, use CRM tools to keep customers coming back, print labels for your products, customise paper and email receipts, and update your payment information and billing plan.
How much does Shopkeep iPad POS software cost?
Rather than offering one-size-fits-all plans, Shopkeep’s prices vary depending on each business’ needs and preferences.You can obtain a free custom quote by getting in touch with the company and speaking to one of its point of sale specialists about pricing.
If you’re looking for even more iPad POS options – and custom quotes – to help you decide which supplier is right for you, the best thing to do is speak directly to suppliers – Startups can help you with this process.
Simply complete our quick,easy form, and you’ll receive tailored quotes from iPad POS suppliers who can provide what your business needs.This process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your business both time and money.
iPad POS FAQs
iPad POS system hardware add-ons
Of course, your iPad POS software should be complemented by the appropriate hardware, making it possible for you to take payments, keep cash, print receipts and more.We’ve listed the main pieces of hardware worth considering below – please note, the cost rating system is relative: iPads will cost upwards of £300, while credit card readers, such as iZettle’s, cost around £60.
Looking to get a full till system and spread the cost? Check out our guide to EPOS till systems and till rentals.iPad EPOS’ benefitsiPad POS can offer a range of benefits to your business, including access to functions and features that would be unavailable with traditional point of sale equipment.
- The major benefits of iPad POS are that it is…
- Environmentally friendly
- Easy to use
- Up to date
Typically, you’ll pay for your iPad POS system via a rental contract, and payments are often fixed and low cost. Plus, there’ll likely be no minimum contract term – meaning you don’t have to commit to years of payments.In terms of upfront costs, these tend to be small, often just consisting of a software fee plus any hardware you might need.
Furthermore, some suppliers also offer a ‘rent to buy’ contract so you can spread the cost over a longer duration, eventually coming to own the system after you’ve paid it off.
Not to mention the fact that you won’t be forking out for repairs and maintenance on a regular basis, with modern iPad POS systems being somewhat more hardy than older POS tills.
Even when you do require a repair call-out, it’ll be much cheaper – as iPad POS system maintenance is simpler and faster for suppliers to carry out.
To find out more about how much a POS system might cost you, take a look at our guide to how much POS systems cost.
iPad POS allows you to send receipts via email instead of printing them off (which also means you don’t have to buy a receipt printer, paper and ink). Not only does this reduce your environmental footprint, it also provides a way to collect customer email addresses for your email marketing.
If you’re worrying about what shoppers think of email receipts, don’t – according to The New York Times, customers think paper receipts are wasteful and inconvenient.
Not only this, but if your business has wait staff, they can use an iPad to record orders instead of wasteful paper notebooks.
Easy to use
iPads are versatile, and having one as the hub of your POS operations – instead of a beefy computer – means you can offer all sorts of flexibility to your customers, as well as boost onsite efficiency:
- An iPad can be taken to the customer to take payments on the spot
- An iPad can hold a catalogue or inventory of your products, which you and your customers can use to browse or check availability
- The availability of apps on iPads makes it easier for you to integrate powerful apps with your POS software
As well as all this, it’s likely that you and your staff will already have experience of using a tablet of some kind, making training to use the software simple and quick.
Up to date
There’s no denying that iPad POS makes you appear rather tech-savvy to your customers – after all, it looks a lot sleeker than a tabletop computer.
And because the software is cloud-based, it can benefit from regular updates – pushed out by the supplier – which are installed automatically, ensuring you’ve always got the latest version at your fingertips.
The benefits of iPad POS for different business type
Alongside the staples – like sales reporting, inventory management and staff tracking – iPad POS can come with a range of features that will benefit different types of businesses, for example:
- Quickly customise existing products for particular orders, like adding an extra shot of coffee, a flavoured syrup, toppings and more
- Manage loyalty schemes
- Use an iPad to take orders at each table, and send orders directly from the table to the kitchen
- Track tables and manage reservations
- Quickly deploy new menus or rotate through existing ones – for example lunch and dinner menus
- Take payment at each table, and easily split bills
Bars and pubs:
- Implement time-sensitive special offers, such as happy hour two-for-one drinks
- Open bar tabs
- Go to customers to take their orders and payment instead of leaving them to wait in a queue
- Automated Challenge 21
- Enable customers to place orders for items they like in different sizes and colours etc by setting up order points
- Have special offers and sales automatically come into effect on a certain date
- Capture customer data for future promotions and insights
- Sell online too, with omni-channel ecommerce payment support
Order at Table Software for iPad POS
The popularity of Order at Table (OAT) software has sky-rocketed since the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitality venues have had to find ways to reduce movement and contact, and having technology that allows customers to order what they want to eat from their own device at the table is certainly a great way to do it.
Most OAT works through QR barcode technology, meaning customers scan the barcode with their phone, and are then sent to a screen where they can access your digital menu and select the items they wish to order. Your iPad POS software provider may already offer this service or there's the option to integrate third-party OAT software with your existing system.
If you'd like to know more about the costs and benefits of OAT software, why not speak to our partners? They'll be able to:
- Advise you on the best OAT option for your business
- Send you zero-obligation quotes to compare
- Make sure you get the best price for your investment
Just provide a few basic details about your business and the right providers for your needs will be in touch.
Compare iPad POS software
Evidently, an iPad POS system is an excellent choice for small businesses who are looking for an improvement on the efficiency and functionality that their current system offers.
The information on this page should help you to understand what value an iPad POS system may have for your business – but, if you think you might find better value with a different type of POS system, however, you should take a look at our overview of UK EPOS systems.
We’ve also covered three excellent iPad POS providers – Epos Now, iZettle and Shopkeep – but if you’re looking for even more options, detail, and custom quotes to help you decide which supplier is right for you, the best thing to do is speak directly to suppliers – Startups can help you with this process.
Simply complete our quick and easy form, and you’ll receive tailored quotes from iPad POS suppliers who can provide what your business needs.This comparison process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your business both time and money. Good luck!