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4 Best POS Systems For Salon Compared By Epos Now

Danielle Collard
1 Dec 2022

When choosing a POS system for your salon, there are many factors to consider. You need something that will allow you the space and flexibility to manage bookings as they come in, perhaps while attending to customers, creating a system that suits your salon business.

You'll want a system your whole staff can get on with, with inventory tracking, employee management, and many other features. But knowing which of the many point of sale (POS) systems out there will suit your business isn't as easy as you might hope.

The best way we've found when working with new salons is by asking them what their top three requirements were before getting started, then making sure the POS system we put together can help them function as a business.

So what makes the best salon POS system?

What are POS systems?

A POS system is a collection of business-oriented hardware and software that can help salon businesses with all of their operations. The salon and spa industry heavily involves many of the features that POS systems often help with, including extensive inventory management, the need for booking systems, online booking, payment processing, marketing, and more.

Basic POS hardware

Businesses of all kinds often rely on point of sale to simplify the business's running. A basic point of sale system might contain the following:

  • A terminal screen at a checkout area.
  • Credit card processing machine beside the terminal screen.
  • Receipt printer.
  • Cash drawer.

Salons and spas can serve customers at a checkout area using this setup, with the terminal automatically documenting payments, generating reports, and fully capable of integrating with the card processor for quick and smooth sales.

Companies using POS systems like Epos Now's can log in to POS software on separate devices like laptops to view and work on Back Office processes such as employee management, customer data, inventory, and product information. 

This allows the terminal to be available whenever customers need to make purchases. It also means that a salon is not limited to the salon POS hardware, as business data can be accessed anywhere.

Other salon POS system hardware

  • Portable POS devices.
  • Barcode label printer.
  • Swipe card reader with staff cards and customer cards.
  • Barcode scanners, either handheld or countertop.
  • Customer display pole.
  • Display screens.

Most POS providers will ensure they have a variety of sales hardware to ensure users can have the setup they want.

For instance, salons that make a lot of beauty sales might be making as many sales as a retailer and could need a countertop barcode scanner to speed up transaction speed. 

On the other hand, a quiet salon spa might only have a few products that need scanning, for which a handheld scanner (or even a few dozen "hotkeys" on the checkout screen without a scanner) would be enough.

Portable POS devices can free the business from the counter, allowing staff to roam the site taking their point of sale with them, which suits larger businesses with different treatment areas very well.

The best salon POS systems create options for the businesses that use them. Hardware is certainly a part of that, but it's more likely to be the software that makes the difference between the providers.

Knowing what you want to use your system for before purchase becomes clear when you realize that a POS system from one provider may not have the functionality that a different provider offers.

Epos Now send out monthly software updates and look to make new partnerships at every opportunity to ensure businesses have the best chance to create the perfect bespoke setup to suit any enterprise:

  • Streamline your sales setup to shave time during transactions and satisfy customers
  • Manage inventory through barcodes, categories or previous lists, with flexible stock control technology
  • Choose from hundreds of dedicated apps with business tools for every part of trade
  • Receive business advice whenever you need it to get the most out of your system with an expert support team

Find out more

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What makes a good salon POS system?

POS providers sell to every business you can imagine: from high-class restaurants to supermarkets, to garages, to busy hair salons. These providers must offer the flexibility for these very different businesses to incorporate their business functions into the system.

In the case of a salon POS system, one of the key functions a POS system will need to have is a booking system. It might be that your salon already has a booking system that you want to integrate into your POS. The integration is important as the POS will have your customer data, including their transaction history, but you'll want to take the bookings themselves on your original software.

Beyond customer management and appointment scheduling, inventory management will be something many salon or spa business owners will want to stay on top of. Spa owners have many ingredients used in the service, even if they aren't sold directly to customers. Knowing you have a means of quickly checking you have everything you need for the day or week of trade can save you time, money, and reputation.

Parts of business salon POS systems can help with

While an Epos Now till cannot help you cut hair, polish nails, or complete a skin regime when it comes to business, there aren't many things it can't do. Even so, you'll need to have a plan for your system before you purchase and implement it. So here's an outline of other business processes your POS can help with beyond booking and inventory management:

  • Transactions. Speeding up your sales process, a POS can help improve and simplify the customer service your salon provides. Whether putting together a basket with a scanner or a streamlined hotkey layout or with a card machine integration, a good POS should come with the latest transaction software.
  • Product management. Part of a quick transaction process is having all your products and services readily available on your till. The product management side of a POS might involve a spreadsheet integration or a quick method of uploading your products, with cost price, profit calculation, ingredients, allergen information, and more.
  • Staff management and payroll. Your salon might have dozens of beauticians with workstations, different hours, different services, and even their customers. But you'll need to know when they're working. Your point of sale should simplify the process, with software to monitor when staff arrives and leave. If needed, it should be able to calculate payroll automatically, saving salon and spa owners a great deal of time.
  • Reporting. When it comes to making good business decisions and recognizing the strengths and flaws of the business, your salon POS software can help you know the ins and outs of your operation better than anything else. Point of sale generates reports on every employee, customer, product, and sale to show you the profitable aspects of your enterprise, which you can use to make the best choices to help the business move forward.
  • Accountancy and tax. Not only does a good system generate reports, but it should also translate your sales data into the necessary format to quickly and easily complete your taxes. In some cases, the POS provider might provide in-house software to offer these functions or offer it through a third-party integration with popular accountancy programs like Xero or Quickbooks.
  • Customer management and marketing. Though booking may be essential for your salon, beauty salons face a lot of competition, making customer retention and marketing an important part of your enterprise. So a point of sale that can export customer data and help you market your business has a good deal of value. Integration with Mailchimp can speed up or even automate your mailing process, allowing you to complete marketing tasks while focusing on the day-to-day work of running a salon.

Now you know what the right POS system can do, let's look at some specific examples to see which one makes the best POS system for salon companies.

POS systems compared

Having outlined what the best salon software and hardware might look like, how close to these ideals can the available providers get, and how much does a salon POS system cost to obtain?

Square salon POS system

Square POS is a good option for salons because it's generally quite easy to use. It also has features that can help with transactions, product management, staff management, and reporting. This makes it an all-in-one system that can take care of most of the needs of a salon business.

The Apple-inspired Square design might also blend in well with many salon spaces, with its trademark minimalism and clinical white colour.

Booking with Square

As well as being a great all-around POS system, Square is also perfect for those in the beauty industry who want to start taking online bookings. Square's online booking system is simple to use and can be customized to match the look of your salon's website. It's also integrated with other parts of Square, such as its product management and reporting features, so that you can keep track of your bookings and sales data all in one place.

However, there are a few downsides to using Square for salon bookings. First, it can be a little more expensive than some of the other options available. Second, it doesn't yet offer an option for automated SMS or email confirmations and reminders, which can help keep customers informed about their appointments, as writing them yourself can take quite a lot of time.

Square also does not allow customers to book appointments more than two weeks in advance. This can be a problem for salons that offer services such as hair extensions, which require multiple visits.

Square inventory and product management

The Square POS inventory system is a decent way for salons to keep track of the products they sell, with features that allow you to add, edit, and delete products and manage stock levels. The Square POS inventory system is functional for those in the beauty industry but is not as sophisticated as some other provider options that larger salons, in particular, could prefer.

There are a few downsides to using Square's inventory system. For example, tracking which products are selling best can be difficult and need to be reordered. Additionally, keeping inventory levels can be tricky if you have more than one location. This can be especially challenging if you're using Square's online booking system as well, as you'll need to enter inventory levels for each location separately.

Day-to-day Square experience

Square started as a payment processing company and quickly gained renown for its small, practical devices. Payment processing charges are currently a flat 2.75% processing fee on all payments processed through the system. This can add up quickly for businesses that process a large number of payments, and Square customers are limited in their options which may mean losing out.

The Square register is not always reliable and can sometimes crash or freeze, and one of the main criticisms of Square seems to be the lack of customer support availability. Overall, a Square register is a good option for small salons looking for an affordable and easy-to-use inventory management system.

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Clover salon POS system

Clover POS systems are a well-known brand and offer competitive systems known for their dependable hardware, though customers do not have the software-only options that other providers like Epos Now have.

Clover's salon POS systems have some benefits that could sway some salons, such as a smooth online booking option they could use to automate appointment scheduling. However, they are known to end up being a little more expensive than some of their competitors, despite comparatively few extras[1].

Like Square, they have their own in-house payment processing software. The Clover mindset of being the "all in one solution" means that when Clover does not have a feature you're looking for, you may find it difficult to incorporate a 3rd party provider into your POS system.

One advantage of Clover is the 30-day trial they offer to help potential users decide if the system is right for them. This is not something all providers allow, and it might be worth trying before purchasing with Clover to know if they offer everything you need.

Clover systems have a reputation for good reporting, and their AppStore has many options for users. Some are free, while some are paid, which has led to some criticism that Clover is more expensive than initially expected.

Vend salon POS system

If you're a larger salon looking for a POS for management software that will help with an extensive inventory, Vend is worth considering. Vend offers a method of automating some of your inventory in a way some other salon POS systems don't. The Vend inventory can be updated using a free barcode scanning app that will work through your mobile, also saving on a hardware purchase, you might otherwise need.

Vend also works well across multiple locations, synchronizing reports, sales, and inventory seamlessly across their cloud system. They have 24/7 support for their customers, with this considered one of their strengths.

However, once again, Vend can be a little pricier than some salons might be hoping for. They are compatible with a wide range of hardware, including Macbooks, PC, and iPads, so you can run the software on a device you already own. But the monthly fees for a Vend system can cause potential customers to hesitate.

Unlike many other providers, Vend does not offer payment processing, which also means having a deal with another provider to process payments.

Epos Now salon POS system

Salon POS systems from Epos Now provide all the options needed to create a setup to suit the needs of any salon, all at affordable prices.

Epos Now's approach to point of sale often means users will have a choice as to whether to use in-house services or third-party software to achieve the functionality they need. Salons that want to offer an online store, for instance, can choose from renowned platforms like WordPress and Shopify or Epos Now Online. The Epos Now Developers are also open to creating bespoke links between their system and an individual online store.

The company's in-house payment processing services, Epos Now Payments, launched recently and has shown considerable growth using blended payment processing fees that reduce the card payments process into a single report. Users still have the option to use third-party providers, though, so they have the freedom to find the deal that works best for them.

Epos Now hardware

Of the POS hardware listed above, Epos Now offers salons every option to run their business using as much or as little kit as needed. Like Vend, the software can be used on pre-owned devices with affordable software options.

The handheld POS device options Epos might tempt salon owners looking for small but effective POS Now offer, allowing users to run their business on portable hardware they can carry around the salon with them.

But if you opt for a more expansive system, there's no need to worry about setting up or struggling to get the hardware to work as a system. Epos Now's hardware integrations are simple and seamless, with a dedicated "implementation" team to help you set the hardware up and get started, with expansive guides and detailed diagrams explaining each small step.

The card payments setup is particularly quick, given how complex and time-consuming some of the older providers can be when getting started. The hardware connects either by cable or wifi, depending on the purchases you make, and then you can begin focusing on creating your bespoke business setup on the software and focusing on the things that matter.

Epos Now inventory management

When it comes to the software, the user-friendly side of Epos Now really stands out. The best salon POS software you can get the best out of without having to spend much time on it. Epos Now's inventory management demonstrates this.

Take inventory management as an example. The master products feature allows you to incorporate the many different products you'll use on a service or used to make a product you sell and automatically deduct them from your stock when sold. Advanced features like these create management tools you can use to reduce the workload needed to stay on top of business.

An Epos Now system will even email you each morning with a list of products you might be running low on. The product setup allows you to input the lowest level you can have before you'd want to restock, and the system will notify you when more inventory is required.

Inventory management combined with the stock alerts feature means all you'll need to do to have everything you need is place your order. Whether you run a large, hectic salon, or a new, small business, POS software like this saves time you would otherwise have to spend on the drudgery of running a business and lets you focus on customers, staff, and providing the service you love.

Epos Now appointment scheduling

Epos Now's booking systems can incorporate Simple ERB, Caterbook, and Appointedd users with premade integrations. The free system also offers a simple in-house booking system, allowing your team to assign bookings to staff members, add numbers to the group, note the service, and any additional requirements in note form.

The Epos Now Booking app provides a sophisticated way to manage appointments free with the service, which many competitors do not offer. Its in-built history makes setting up repeat appointments for your dedicated customers the simplest of tasks. The Epos Now system can send SMS or email notifications to customers, so you can remind them of appointments and reduce no-show occurrences.

Unlike some of the POS providers, Epos Now works with many leading business software companies to incorporate the systems you already use, despite the capability of their existing system.

Booking programs like Simple ERB and Appointedd allow your customers to make bookings through social media or make online appointments, ensuring your salon can function using all modern communication methods.

The social media booking option can be particularly useful, as managing your salon through social media can help you have additional, productive contact with your customers in a way that feels familiar and casual.

The best salon POS system

Of those we've looked at, every system has its virtues and depending on specific things you're looking for from your POS software and system, you may have to study the market. But with that said, Epos Now stands clear as a provider of the most flexible salon POS systems able to mould around your business and provide all the functions you need.

Salons and spas looking for an all-in-one solution might pay a little more than they'd hope if they need to use additional software from providers that don't have the in-house options. Approaching a POS provider with a clear list of all the functions you need can make the search easier.

If you're looking for payment processing from your provider, you may be able to rule out some of the options quickly, like Vend, which does not offer payment processing services. Businesses with multiple locations or loyalty programs they want to incorporate can mention this to sales reps during this process and can then get clear answers as to whether or not the provider has everything you need.

A key factor for many salons is appointment scheduling, which Epos Now provides a great many options on, while other salon POS systems may limit your choices in this pivotal area of any point of sale system designed for salons.

An Epos Now POS: the best for salon businesses

The best salon POS provides the flexibility to work around the needs of your business. Epos Now work with developers and partners to create business options for every manager. Epos Now offers easy salon management alongside your salon point of sale, accepts payments with a speedy payment processor, integrated loyalty program, and appointment booking to make running a salon feel like a breeze through your hair:

  • Integrate and manage online bookings with in-house or third-party scheduling software.
  • Streamline transactions on software perfectly suited for service-based businesses and fill baskets using scanners or modifiable hotkeys to have your best-selling products and services at your fingertips.
  • Build your customer base with marketing tools and loyalty programs, and email marketing integrations to save time on your customer retention strategies.
  • Automatically generate detailed, downloadable sales reports and get the best business insights on your operation.

To find out more about Epos Now hospitality POS and retail POS, submit your details below and speak to a member of our expert team.

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