Accept Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.9/5)
Vend is a good POS solution available at a reasonable price. Its impressive list of features makes it an attractive EPOS system for small retail business owners
Key Advantage: Superb mobile sales capabilities
Key Disadvantage: Lack of native payment processing capabilities
Advantages: rich inventory functions; user-friendly interface; multi-outlet functionality; loyalty program; eCommerce integration; superb mobile sales capabilities; responsive 24/7 customer support
Disadvantages: uses third party payment processors only; does not work on Android devices; no e-mail promotion capabilities; limited features provided in cheaper plan
Throughout this review, we will discuss everything you need to know about Vend so you can make an informed decision as to whether it meets the requirements of your business. So let's dive in!
Vend is a cloud-based, electronic point of sale (EPOS) software platform geared towards retailers of all sizes. It offers a monthly or annual subscription plan, which includes the software license, automatic updates, and 24/7 phone support. Note, however, that Vend offers a 14-day trial period so you get enough time to wet your feet and assess the application before committing.
This Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform comes with a robust inventory management system, integrations into leading accounting packages, offers a multi-channel sales approach with both online and in-store functionalities, and provides a versatile retail management solution. It is designed for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and iPad and the system can work on various combinations thereof. For instance, you can use Vend on a desktop and also have it running on an iPhone or an iPad for mobile use.
Here’s an overview of Vend’s pricing details and key capabilities:
1. Vend Lite - targeted towards single location retail businesses. This is the most affordable package, coming in at £49 per month paid in advance on an annual subscription. Alternatively, you can pay £59 monthly if you are looking for greater flexibility.
- Single location only
- Basic reporting and analytics
- Unlimited products
- No gift cards
- Max 15k monthly turnover
2. Vend Pro - targeted towards larger businesses with a turnover of greater than £15k monthly, Vend Pro costs £69 per month on the annual plan or £89 per month monthly. Vend Pro offers more advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, and a broader range of 3rd party integrations.
- Ability to add additional locations
- No limit on monthly turnover
- Promotions and Gift Cards
- Integrations into Big Commerce and other e-commerce platforms
3. Vend Enterprise - If you're managing large stores in numerous locations, you'll want to discuss Vend Enterprise with us. It's a tailor-made package designed around your specific requirements.
For example, you will be able to operate and manage six or more retail outlets and enjoy an unlimited turnover- that's in addition to everything offered in the pro plan - and a dedicated accounts manager to smooth your POS journey.
Hardware and Payments Integration
Although there is no native payment processing capability, you can select from leading UK payment processors and card reader providers.
Vend integrates with the following providers for a straightforward customer checkout experience:
Once integrated with a payment processor, Vend works with the card reader to automatically processes payments. This means there’s no need to manually enter an amount on the card reader and then confirm in the app that the payment did occur.
An economical way to get started is to go for a mobile card reader with no monthly fees except for a per-transaction fee paid to the card reader provider, for example iZettle. The downside is that you can only use Vend on an iPad with these providers.
As for conventional card readers, Payment Express and Paymentsense allow Windows or Mac integration, but there’s a contract and monthly fees involved. You may also manually record non-integrated payments using any standalone card reader.
Vend doesn’t manufacture cash drawers, barcode scanners, or label printers, but the company sells hardware bundles containing these retail necessities. You can find a wide selection here.
Vend has an extensive list of features, mostly geared around product profiles and stock management. If you are looking for a system that can effectively manage product specifications, supply data, sales records, and stock levels, you’ll find that Vend ticks all the right boxes. While many of its features are standard in retail EPOS, Vend have implemented them particularly well with a slick, intuitive, and easy to use interface that will feel very familiar to iPad users. The following are some of Vend’s most notable features:Inventory Management
Arguably the best selling point of Vend is its ability to track and organise stock levels in the system. You can easily add, remove, and edit products in the inventory. You can even add photos of products and keep track of any special taxes or costs for certain items. Prices can be set based on customer type or location, or by creating promotional discounts.
If you already have a list of products in a CSV file, the entire inventory can be imported to/exported from the system. Any product can have its own Loyalty earning which nullifies the default spend-to-earning ratio. This is quite handy if there’s a specific product that you want to push.
Here are other inventory-specific features of Vend:
Central Product Catalog: You can sync products across all sales channels, saving precious time that you'd otherwise use in manually entering data.
Barcodes and Labels: You can import existing barcodes or create new ones for easier stock management. Both processes are pretty straightforward so within minutes you can add items to sales, purchase orders, and do a stock-take.
Duplicate Products: You can immediately duplicate items and their variants. This is useful if you are selling a new product which differs slightly from another product that you are already selling.
Inventory Counts: You can decide whether you want to complete a partial or full inventory count. More importantly, you can do multiple counts simultaneously, which is great for speeding up what's normally a tedious and time-consuming process.
Stock Transfers: The system allows you to quickly transfer products from one location to another. You can also check stock levels across all stores so you'll never run short in supply.
As with most EPOS systems, you can save customer information and attach corresponding sales to them. This will allow you to award loyalty points and give away gift cards that the customer can use for payments. This feature is great in terms of delivering smart, targeted marketing. It will also increase your payment options and help avoid issuing refunds by offering store credit instead.
Discounts and Promotions:
These can be applied to specific items, customer groups, date ranges, or you can opt to apply promo codes at checkout. You can specify whether the discount or promo runs in-store or in your online store, or if it only applies when a customer spends over a certain amount.
Float and Cash Management:
When opening your register for the day, enter the float amount so you can compare with the end-of-day cash total. Throughout the day you may need to add or remove cash from the register. Just make sure you record whenever you take out cash that counts towards expenses. Simply put, the system works like a conventional cash register. It provides a full overview of payments including pay-ins/pay-outs, and discrepancies in the cash up report at the end of each day.
Sales, Petty Cash and Refunds:
The transaction functions of Vend are very impressive. There’s even an option to edit details of a sale after it occurred. Exchanges and refunds can be executed from the app, and you can edit or lay away sales for later. You choose how your staff can void transactions: delete the products on the list, or void to be recorded in the sales report but not counted as part of sales totals.
Just like most cloud-based POS, you can send receipts via email, either immediately after transactions or later if the sale is associated to a customer record with an email address. Receipts can also be customised to include your logo, a coupon code, your website URL, product care instructions, etc.
Vend makes it simple and easy to create your own reports. This will allow you to quickly analyze store metrics so you get a better understanding of how your products, staff, and store are generally performing. The system even allows you to come up with sales reports that are specific to your products, suppliers, brands, tags, etc. This is handy if you want to identify trends.
Staff and Store Management:
Vend can handle multiple stores and staff accounts, allowing you to check sales and staff performance anywhere in your business. It comes with the tools you need to set daily, weekly or monthly sales targets for each of your staff. Once the system has compiled the data, you will be able to see at a glance how your entire staff is performing.
Now that you know some of the finest features, let’s delve deeper into Vend’s intrinsic capabilities and functionalities…
Ease of Use: Excellent
Every category in Vend is linked to the appropriate page on the dashboard for easy configuration. The system will walk you through the basic processes like adding products and customers, customising the register quick keys, setting up taxes, among other things. It is an excellent way to get to know the system, though it’s all straightforward, especially when you consider how intuitive the software is.
Even when you get into some of the POS’ more peripheral functions such as the loyalty program and inventory management, for instance, Vend is remarkably easy to use. There is a 10-minute demo video that provides a brief overview of the features, but if you have experience with POS systems, you won’t need it to understand the basic functions. POS functions will look familiar to seasoned shop owners and workers, but are equally user-friendly for everyone.
Adding inventory was a snap and creating tags to sort products more efficiently was just as simple. If you import your product inventory via CSV file, you can get going and start accepting payments in a matter of minutes.
Vend’s POS app is user-friendly overall. We tested it on the iPad and there were no glitches whatsoever while using it with a stable Internet connection. A huge plus is the ability to access the dashboard directly in the app, something which is not a given in tablet EPOS. A minor downside to the in-app dashboard is that it’s a tad slow to load when compared to the app-native checkout features.
So on the whole, the day-to-day POS features were awesome and if ever you’ll encounter issues, they are likely related to admin features and help pages.
Online and Offline Use: Good
As a cloud-based POS platform, all your data is stored online instead of a local computer or server. This allows you to access it anytime, anywhere through the app or a web browser, since data is backed up in the cloud and automatically updated.
As with other cloud-based POS systems, the core features of Vend are available even if you find yourself offline. This enables you to keep your business operational through such eventualities. However, any card reader used with Vend will require an Internet connection in order to process a card sale.
eCommerce Integration: Excellent
Vend knows how crucial ecommerce is for the survival of retailers. Its main ecommerce solution is the Vend POS + Shopify integration. This syncs product inventory in Vend with the online stock in Shopify, but inventory must be exclusively managed in Vend. You also need to subscribe to the Pro Plan to qualify for the integration.
If you prefer an online store on a more enterprise level ecommerce platform such as BigCommerce, Magento, or WooCommerce, you can use an ecommerce connector to link these platforms to Vend.
Vend’s eCommerce integration offers multiple benefits including:
- Quick and simple installation and configuration
- Bidirectional product synchronisation
- Customer information and sales order sync from eCommerce to Vend
- Upload inventory and download orders. Automated inventory upload includes price, product description, SKU, stock and other attributes
Reports and Analytics: Good
Some of Vend’s reports and analytics features were already discussed in the preceding section. In general, they provide a wealth of information on products, sales, revenue, and staff performance. You can set sales targets against actual sales and see at a glance the best-selling products and who your top-performing staff members are. You can also determine average items per sale, track the average transaction value, monitor discounts given, and calculate the percentage of sales with recorded customer info.
Simply put, the analytics cover the most essential aspects that retailers are interested in. If more is required, Vend can be integrated with Xero. End-of-day reports are easily created upon closing the till using the app. The reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel and then printed as needed.
Customer Service and Support: Excellent
Vend offers round the clock customer support on all paid subscription plans, with technical assistance just a phone call away. There’s also a live chat option on its website, along with a comprehensive help section complete with articles and a searchable database of answers to common questions. The database consists of video tutorials, the aforementioned FAQ, and the option to suggest new features or submit support tickets.
In addition, Vend’s website features a wide range of online training tools and business resources. You’ll find loads of useful information, from trend reports and retail guides to articles and webinars. And if you need extra help, Vend offers professional services like one-on-one training. Vend also maintains active Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, along with a blog. The company even has its own YouTube channel with videos featuring tutorials, promotional bits, quick tips, and long-form webinars.
Overall, we find that the customer service is easy to deal with, and they respond to queries within 24 hours. Suffice to say, Vend invested a lot of resources into customer support, so it is not surprising that they’ve won awards for this.
Vend POS is extremely versatile and its benefits would undoubtedly add value to many UK retailers. Although there is no theoretical limit to the number of stores that you can register with your business, the product is best suited to small and medium sized businesses with 1 to 20 outlets. The cloud-based platform means none of the set-up headaches that have dogged on-premise installations of the past, and the fact that the system is easy to learn makes it a must-try for retailers looking for a new POS.
There aren’t many glitches in the software, and in the few facets where Vend lags, you’ll find integrations for those. In terms of features, Vend’s Lite plan has some limitations particularly around reporting, promotions, gift cards, among other things, so the Pro plan is better if you’re after more advanced functionalities.
If you don’t need lots of add-ons, the subscription cost will make Vend an appealing option. So, is Vend the best choice for retailers? It is definitely up there among the more modern and more comprehensive EPOS systems. One thing is for sure though, it is perfect for small retail businesses, which may not need to use in-depth reports and inventory analysis.