Need a point of sale (POS)? Let’s help you pick between two of the heavy hitters by comparing ShopKeep vs. Vend.

Choosing the right point of sale system is one of the biggest decisions a small business owner can make. Therefore it pays to get all of the facts before committing to anything. However, it can be tough to get the inside track on a POS without becoming a customer or sitting through a sales demo.

If you aren’t ready to commit to either of those things, this article will help. We’ll cover the ins and outs of both systems so you can make an informed decision.

ShopKeep vs. Vend: A High-Level Overview

It would be disingenuous of us not to say that ShopKeep and Vend have some fundamental qualities in common with one another. At a basic level, both are modern point of sale systems. Each covers all of the common bases like inventory management, reporting and analytics, employee management, the ability to accept payments via a “register,” and marketing tools.

But that’s where the comparisons end.

Target Markets

Probably the biggest difference between Vend and ShopKeep is in our respective target markets. Vend exclusively serves retail merchants, while ShopKeep is used by retail, quick-service restaurants, and full-service restaurants and bars.

This difference allows ShopKeep to serve a greater number of merchants than Vend, but there’s an interesting wrinkle to it. Not only can we work with both coffee shops and book stores, but we can work for businesses that are a hybrid of both. This probably seems pretty obvious and like something that most POS systems should be able to do, but this is an area where Vend falls short. They simply lack the features that a foodservice business needs.

SEE ALSO: Retail 101: How to Set Up a Retail Business For Success

POS Hardware

Another area of difference is the type of hardware that ShopKeep and Vend run on. Vend runs on iPad, Mac, and PC. This great for their customers, because it gives them the freedom to run their POS on the hardware of their choice.

Similarly, ShopKeep runs on multiple types of devices:

  • ShopKeep Register App – Our main POS application that’s used by cashiers and managers runs on iPads and Android tablets.
  • ShopKeep BackOffice – Our business management application that complements our POS applications runs on any device with a web browser, like your Mac or PC computers.
  • ShopKeep Pocket – Our mobile app that allows you to access critical business data, as well as manage the security of your registers, runs on iPhones and Android phones.

While both Vend and ShopKeep run on multiple device types and operating systems, we take a different approach. Vend makes their application available across devices without considering what it is about each device that makes it unique.

ShopKeep, on the other hand, has developed applications that are specifically designed for each device. For example, our Register application uses the touchscreen of an iPad or Android tablet to inform it’s functionality. Similarly, ShopKeep Pocket delivers the type of information and content that makes sense for a merchant who is on the go, and it packages that content in a way that makes the most sense for a smartphone.

With the advent of the iPad Pro, we’ve noticed that more and more business owners are using iPads as their primary computing devices. As a result, we recently released a major update to ShopKeep that brings more of the business management functionality found in BackOffice into the Register app. A big example of this is that basic inventory management tasks are now possible right from the Register app.

ShopKeep vs Vend customer marketing

Customer Marketing and Customer Acquisition

POS systems are undoubtedly helpful for managing businesses but some, like ShopKeep, can also help you grow your business. This is an area where ShopKeep has several major advantages over Vend.

Email Marketing
Despite being one of the oldest digital marketing tactics, email marketing is still one of the most effective. Everyone has an email address and it’s a reliable way to communicate with your customers. Most POS systems give you the ability to collect email address right from the POS itself. This typically happens when customers choose to receive an email receipt. However, you might also want to ask customer or shoppers if they want to subscribe to your email newsletter. From there you can add them manually.

The above is all very standard. It’s what your POS system allows you to do with the email addresses that helps you unlock their value. It’s an area where ShopKeep shines. Our system integrates with MailChimp, one of the premier email marketing platforms for small add growing businesses. As you collect email addresses with your POS, they’re automatically synced to MailChimp, where you can use them in email marketing campaigns. Plus, you benefit from all of the great email marketing tools that MailChimp provides like design tools as well as campaign performance reports and analytics.

Vend, on the other hand, only gives you the ability to manually export email addresses and then import them into your email marketing program of choice (also possible with ShopKeep). The challenge with this approach is that it’s entirely manual. You need to remember to export and import email addresses on a regular basis. When you’re running a business, it’s easy to forget things. A solution like ShopKeep offers eliminate the need to “remember.”

Customer Acquisition
Local search engine optimization (SEO) and customer reviews are two of the main ways that small businesses can reach new customers. This is primarily due to the fact that potential customers tend to search on Google for local businesses. They also scan review aggregators like Yelp and Google to both find businesses and evaluate their quality.

ShopKeep Spotlight Powered By Yext is a first-of-its-kind tool for taking advantage of this behavior. The tool helps you improve your local SEO by giving you the ability to create, update, and manage your business listings across 100+ sites like Google, Foursquare, Yelp, and the Yellow Pages.

By ensuring that your listings are accurate and up-to-date, you’re giving Google a clear picture of your business’ critical information like:

  • Address
  • Hours of operation
  • Website
  • Contact information like phone number
  • Your menu if applicable
  • Photographs of your business

Not only does consistency of information help your business rank higher in local searches, but it also ensures that potential customers know where you, how to reach you, and when they can do so.

The reviews management component of ShopKeep Spotlight allows you to monitor incoming reviews so you can respond accordingly. This gives you a vital tool for staying on top of your online reputation so that you can manage it more effectively.

Inventory Management Tools

As we mentioned earlier in the post, ShopKeep works for both retail and foodservice businesses, while Vend only works for retail. This has major implications when it comes to inventory management tools.

Outside of standard inventory management functionality like tracking inventory by the product, department, category, or supplier, ShopKeep also lets you use a tool called Raw Goods. This feature allows you to manage inventory at the ingredient level.

With Raw Goods, if you run a coffee shop or serve coffee at your bookstore, you can track your coffee beans to get a highly accurate look at your inventory. The same principle applies to other foods you want to track by ingredient like deli sandwiches, burgers, etc.

With Vend, none of this is possible. So, if you sell food and beverages, or plan to, ShopKeep is going to give you the capabilities you need to run your business effectively.

SEE ALSO: Insider Secret: How to Control Inventory in a Small Business

Summing It Up

At the end of the day, ShopKeep and Vend do have some commonalities. However, it only takes a few minutes and a deeper look at both platforms reveals that ShopKeep offers significant advantages for most small business owners. If you’re serious about operating efficiently and scaling your revenue to new heights, there’s no better choice than ShopKeep. To learn more about our modern POS system, check out our website or give us a call at 800-820-9814.

Ryan Gilmore is a writer at ShopKeep.

Ryan Gilmore

As Inbound Content Marketing Manager at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Ryan Gilmore uses his extensive experience in small business technology to create educational content that helps merchants run and grow their businesses more effectively.