Things we like: 

  • Easy to use
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Easy to integrate
  • Stress-free scalability
  • Offers a wide range of features
  • Stress-free Smooth eCommerce and multi-outlet inventory synchronisation

Things we don’t like: 

  • Vend is made for retailers, exclusively
  • The loyalty programme and eCommerce features require a Pro or above subscription
  • Mixed customer service reviews
  • Its Shopify syndication isn’t perfect for high volume stores

Vend first launched in 2010, making it a pioneer of mobile and cloud-based POS software. Since then, the platform has continued to expand its offering – making it still one of the most comprehensive and easy to use POS solutions on the market.

However, it should be noted upfront that Vend is exclusively designed for retailers. So, if you own a service or hybrid business, then Vend won’t be the POS system for you.

Having explored all that Vend has to offer retailers, we give it an overall score of 9/10. It has almost everything you’d expect, and need, from a point of sale platform – and it comes at an affordable price.

Are you considering Vend for your retail business? Then read on for our detailed review…

Overview

One of the first movers in cloud-based POS software, Vend continues to be an affordable, but effective, sales solution

Vend is a cloud-based POS software and retail management platform designed for retailers of all sizes. Established in 2010, Vend was one of the first providers to offer a cloud-based POS solution.

Since then, Vend has gained some serious fans. It has grown to support over 20,000 retailers, including well-known brands like Disney, Sennheiser and Ecco. It’s also recommended by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira). So, when Vend claims that retailers love their platform, they mean it.

As a cloud-based platform, Vend can be used to manage your shop from anywhere in the world; whether that’s in-store, online or from your phone on the beach! What’s more, as it’s on the cloud, Vend’s software is continually updated to add features and support for additional devices.

Vend’s core functionality is their flexible point of sale feature. Their solution runs on your existing hardware, supporting iPads, PCs, Macs and any device with a web browser. It also includes wide support for retail hardware, such as cash drawers, receipt printers and barcode scanners.

In addition to their POS functionality, you’ll find support for inventory management, customer loyalty schemes, eCommerce and much more – all at an affordable price, whether you’re a small retail business or a larger chain.

With all these features, you’ll need customer support to help you get the most from Vend. It’s clear they take this seriously – Vend boasts four Stevie Awards and has over 200 customer success experts based in Auckland, Toronto, London and Melbourne.

Pricing Options

Vend offers businesses three pricing tiers, based on average monthly turnover

Vend POS software has three subscription options: Lite, Pro and Enterprise. All plans include 24/7 Phone & Online Support.

  • The Lite tier includes basic features, such as access to the point of sale, real-time inventory management and basic reporting.
  • The Pro tier includes all the features from the Lite tier, plus detailed reporting, promotions, gift cards, eCommerce, loyalty schemes and multi-outlet support.
  • The Enterprise tier is available on request and includes a dedicated account manager and an onboarding process to help you migrate to Vend.

So which of these pricing structures is most suited to your retail business? Let’s break them down in detail…

Plan
Price*
Outlets and Registers
Lite
£49 p/month
(or £59 billed monthly)
1 outlet
Less than £15k turnover per month
Additional registers for £39 p/month
1+ Register
Pro
£69 p/month
(or £89 billed monthly)
1+ outlet
1+ Register
Additional registers for £39 p/month
Unlimited turnover
Enterprice
On Request
6+ outlets
1+ Register
Additional registers on request
Unlimited turnover

*Prices do not include hardware costs and payment fees.

Of course, sometimes a business will enjoy unprecedented success by exceeding average monthly turnover – and isn’t it great when you do?! With Vend, a store can smash its targets three months over a 12 month period, before having to upgrade to a Pro subscription.

Sounds good, but it’s worth trying before you buy – often Vend runs free full feature trials, so check for current promotions on their website before you put down your first payment.

Cloud-Based or Locally Installed?

This POS system operates entirely from a secure cloud infrastructure – so you can have multiple outlets, with mobile access from anywhere in the world

Vend is entirely cloud-based. All data is stored in the cloud, then accessed by a web browser or iPad application.

Plus, if your internet goes offline, the application will continue to work temporarily from a cache. Once the internet connection is recovered, Vend will automatically sync sales and inventory changes.

Which Business Are Best Suited To Vend POS?

Vend is a POS system dedicated to retail businesses

In their words, Vend is “built for inventory-based retailers”. And this is true for retailers of any size; with support for unlimited inventory, unlimited revenue and an unlimited number of stores. With 20,000+ other retail customers – including household names such as Disney, Sennheiser and Ecco, as already mentioned – you can be assured that Vend will scale with your ambitions.

But service and other business should look elsewhere; you won’t find features such as table management here.

Hardware Integration

Are you a PC or Mac user? Either way, Vend is easy to integrate

Vend offers several packages with all the hardware required to run a retail outlet. They offer various bundles which work with your existing Mac, PC or iPad:

  • Mac Bundle – includes a Mac-compatible printer, cash drawer and scanner
  • PC Bundle – includes a PC-compatible printer, cash drawer and scanner
  • iPad Bundle – includes an iPad stand, printer, cash drawer and optional accessories.

Vend also works with a wide range of standard POS hardware and might be compatible with what you already have. To check compatibility, see their list here.

Operating System Requirements

As long as you’re running on a – relatively – modern operating system, you shouldn’t encounter any tech issues with Vend
  • On Windows, Vend requires Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 or Microsoft Surface Pro. They recommend Google Chrome 49+ as your web browser.
  • On Mac, Vend requires Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra. Both Google Chrome 49+ & Safari 10+ are supported as your web browser.
  • On an iPad, you must use iOS 11 or above. Instead of a web browser, you can use the Vend Register iPad app. Importantly, Vend on iPad does not support USB receipt printers – you must use a supported LAN or Bluetooth printer.

Ease of Setup

Thanks to intuitive software – and a number of helpful ‘how to’ tutorials – Vend is simple to set up for new businesses. For the slightly trickier task of onboarding existing stores, Vend offers dedicated support staff worldwide

The complexity of setting up Vend depends upon whether your business is new or already established. For a new business:

  1. Take a trial of Vend and establish if it is a fit for your needs
  2. Create a go-live plan working with Vend support. They will advise on what hardware you’ll need and what subscription plan is right for your process
  3. Add products individually (their detailed guides walk you through this process step-by-step)
  4. Install the POS in your retail outlets and begin training, using free instructional videos.

For an established retail business with a large inventory or multiple outlets, you will need to create an export of your inventory and your customer database that Vend can import. This requires data processing and transformation, which can be quite complicated for advanced multi-variant inventories.

But help is at hand. To assist with this, Vend offer paid onboarding services either through their support team or through thousands of Vend experts located worldwide.

And if you need further reassurance, you can take some from Sennheiser who praised the speed of setup and efficiencies of using Vend as a master inventory system.

Ease Of Daily Use

Vend’s easy payment experience, quick syncing online and effective, real-time inventory management capabilities result in stress-free daily use

In your shop, their cloud-based POS is fast, intuitive and works on iPads, Mac or PC. Installation takes a few minutes without the need for tech support or complicated training, then staff can login with permission restricted user accounts. Their POS software works great for your customers too, with an easy payment experience, digital receipts and support for a wide range of payment methods.

If you sell products online, Vend connects to leading eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento or BigCommerce. Just set and forget – Vend keeps everything in sync and orders fulfilled.

Shopify users should note that Vend can have issues when handling large amounts of inventory changes, as Shopify imposes a rate limit on how many changes can be made automatically in a short time period. Sadly, this is an issue for all retailers using external solutions to manage Shopify inventory. 

In the back-office, you’ll find flexible reporting features in the ‘Retail Dashboard’. This has the  ability to build custom reports and filter data by virtually any criteria, including sales by a staff member, by location or even by product across all your outlets.

Inventory management is also simple, provided your inventory is organised appropriately, with variants with unique SKUs. Once configured, Vend automatically manages your inventory across multiple locations and channels in real-time, keeping orders and inventory amounts in sync.

Features

Vend’s wide range of features are designed to provide everything you need to run a retail store

Point of Sale Features

  • Flexible software that works on iPad, Mac or PC and syncs to the cloud
  • Works offline
  • Support for discounting on a line-item or whole order basis
  • Support for custom receipts with your logo, printed or emailed
  • Returns, refund, shop credit and gift cards all supported
  • Manage cash with tools to reduce errors and theft
  • Staff have individual user accounts with fixed permissions
  • Support for most standard POS hardware.

eCommerce Features

Note: these features are not available on the ‘Lite’ plan, they require the ‘Pro’ plan or above

  • Works with Shopify, WooCommerce and more, keeping your inventory and sales in sync
  • All products are managed within Vend – no need to manually add products to your eCommerce
  • Customers are synced between online and offline orders
  • Reporting on online and offline transactions within the same dashboard.

Payment Features

  • Accepts credit and debit cards
  • Offers all payment types, like cash, credit, debit, check, gift cards or a custom type
  • Split payments between payment types (half on a card, half on cash)
  • Take partial payments
  • Accept contactless payments and Apple Pay.

Inventory Features

  • One central product catalogue for all your channels
  • Support for variants, such as colours, materials and sizes
  • Barcode and label printing
  • Automatic stock orders with customisable reorder points
  • Custom tax support
  • Stock transfer between locations.

Customer Features

  • Keep accurate customer profiles with customer purchase histories
  • Import customer lists from other platforms
  • Target groups of customers with discounts and marketing emails
  • Offer a loyalty program, on the ‘Pro’ or ‘Enterprise’ plan.

Reporting Features

  • Make custom reports, filtered by location, product, supplier and more
  • See reports on your phone from anywhere in the world
  • Set daily, weekly and monthly sales targets for your staff
  • Export your reports for your accountant or more analysis.

Integrations & Add-Ons

If you’re looking for extra support in your retail business, Vend has a menu of integrations and add-ons, from finances to customer insight and staff scheduling

Accountancy

Balancing the books is a necessary part of running a business – but it’s also the job that many entrepreneurs dislike the most! So Vend helps automate accountancy reporting, saving hours of data collection and processing. It connects to Xero and QuickBooks Online, with spreadsheet exports being available for other platforms.

Once Xero is connected, Vend will automatically update daily sales, account sales, payment totals, and stock orders. This allows retailers and accountants to reconcile deposits in a bank account with sales totals from Vend. You can also match stock orders against bank withdrawals.

For QuickBooks, Vend automatically sends end-of-day register closures to QuickBooks Online.

Customer Data

Great businesses know their customers. And Vend can be used to automatically capture customer data at the point of sale, to create customer profiles. These can be exported to platforms such as MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, GetResponse, iContact, or AWeber.

eCommerce

You don’t need to change your current eCommerce provider, to start using Vend. Vend connects to all leading eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento or BigCommerce.

Payments

Vend connects to iZettle, Stripe, Square and PayPal instantly and can work with your existing payment processors. The POS solution also works with NFC payments, such as Apple Pay. Thanks to its custom payment option, you can also complete sales manually and take a card payments externally with your existing system.

Staff Management

Staff members can be scheduled via add-ons that connect with Deputy and Timely.

Other

For the bravest geeks among us, Vend can be connected with other software via a well-documented API.

Typical Customer Reviews

Vend has overwhelmingly positive reviews (4.5/5) on independent review website Capterra.

James D, a retail shop owner focused on their offline feature and ease of training, saying “[we] love using Vend. Its simplicity allows for quick training of new employees of all technological experience. However, the best feature is the ability to use it during an internet outage. We had this happen a few times where the internet went out.”

Over on Trustpilot, the majority of reviewers credit Vend for its impressive customer service. As Keith M says: “The software is easy to use and the support second to none.”

But, of course, no POS system is perfect; some Vend users highlight issues with data entry and inventory management. For example: Tony D, a retail operations manager, praised Vend for its extensive feature set but criticised the inventory management and limited export functionality. Similarly, Jeff P said his business’s inventory migration had proved to be “nothing but a disaster.”

The bottom line? 

Every POS solution will have its advantages and limitations. At least Vend offers around-the-clock customer service to troubleshoot any issues you may encounter…

Customer Service & Technical Support

Vend offers a wide range of impressive free resources to answer the most common questions, including an online knowledgebase, video tutorials and a training programme called Vend University.

On top of this, phone calls and email support is included with all plans, with priority phone support available for an additional fee. Note, though, that phone calls on non-priority plans must be scheduled due to high volume.

For more advanced help, such as training, data importing and setup assistance, Vend offers paid assistance and has a global network of independent Vend experts.

Verdict and Rating

Vend’s overall rating: 9/10

If you are a retailer with a single outlet, Vend is a feature-rich platform for modern retail. It includes inventory, staff and customer management tools and does not have any limits on products, users or support.

Vend truly excels when you are a brick-and-mortar retailer with multiple outlets or an eCommerce presence. Their reporting, inventory synchronisation and customer management tools reduce the complexity of running multiple channels considerably, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

If you are not a retail business or have service components in your retail business, we’d recommend looking elsewhere. Vend is specialised and focused on retail, with no features for service businesses.

But if you’re a retailer with multiple locations or online ambitions, Vend is a must-have.

You may also be interested in checking out our guide to the best EPOS systems for UK businesses.

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