We are edging ever closer to an integrated world and for retailers one obvious link to make is between the EPOS system and the bookkeeping.

In this blog we compare the three front runners in Xero / EPOS integration – EPOSNow, Shopify and Vend.  With all these systems a lot depends on the hardware and the level of functionality.  We have based our comparison on the following scenario:  A delicatessen, 4 employees, one register, 700 items of stock, stock management, bar code scanner, Xero integration and support.

EPOSNow

The basic idea with EPOSNow is that you make an upfront purchase of the till, the touch screen, card machine and thereafter you only pay for Xero integration and support if you want them.  In our experience both usually are required/ desirable and as extras  these cost £25/month each.

The hardware and the software is robust but perhaps not the most elegant and the upfront cost of touch screen register, till and card machine is £1,199.

Functionality includes stock management, reporting, and a healthy roster of add-ons.  We like the Xero integration which includes posting payments to the correct bank accounts / cash.  What it will not do is deal with Ecommerce, nor will it keep customer details.

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Vend 

In the Vend model hardware is not included and the product is the software which for our example delicatessen costs £79/month or £708 if you pay annually.  The software works on PC or Mac and there is an iPad app however there is no Android app and they do not recommend to use with an Android tablet.  The cost of getting a till, receipt printer and other hardware is likely to be around £300.

Sales and payment integration with Xero is excellent.  It supports mobile and contactless payments which is great and provides an online store and order management.  Customer support is included as standard.

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Shopify

The Shopify model is also on a subscription basis with our delicatessen would need the £79/month version.  In a twist on the charging, Shopify integrates card payments into the system taking 2.6% of transaction costs.  The software is supported on a browser or iPad/ iPhone and includes the same functionality of Vend for online store and customer database.

We have had more problems with the Xero integration mainly in the area of cash payments but otherwise it works well.  Customer support again is included as standard.

Where Shopify really excels is in its online store.  In fact there is another way to look at the subscription which is to see it as an incredible eCommerce platform that also allows for EPOS with integrations into Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest and other platforms.  When seen this way the cost is extremely good value.

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Summary

Clients tend to go with EPOSNow on price but we have found that with the Xero integration  and customer support which they find is essential, the costs are similar.  In terms of interface and reporting there is no doubt much more work and love have gone into the Shopify and Vend systems.

As for choosing for these two, at the level of our delicatessen there really is not much to split them apart but at the next level if another shop were to be added it starts to look like Vend pulls ahead, giving much more functionality around multiple locations and inventory.