Vend POS Review
I discovered Vend POS approximately 18 months ago while researching add-ons for Xero. Something about it’s clean and simple design appealed to me and before I knew it, I was “learning the ropes” and helping others get started. Vend POS was one of the first (if not THE first) Point-Of-Sale systems to be completely “in the cloud”, starting as Web only and then later providing a fully featured App for iPad. It’s also capable of running offline (let’s face it, Internet in Australia is still not always reliable!) and then uploading transactions once the connection returns. In more recent times, Vend have also added the ability to create an online (ecommerce) store to sell the same goods online that you sell in your bricks and mortar shop(s).
Is dead easy if you have an Advisor (like me – Edit: I am no longer a Vend Advisor) or Partner do it for you but is still easy for those that like to go it alone. Basically you need to use an email address and create a password plus store name. The store name forms the first part of the store URL, like cuttingedgeit.vendhq.com. You can do an obligation free trial if you’d like to get a feel for it, or simply jump straight in and pick a plan (pricing is based on number of products, number of customers and/or number of users).
Immediately upon submitting your details, the new store loads using the name you chose. You then immediately receive a discount offer (this might be country dependent), followed by the “Getting Started” screen. The kind folks at Vend then present you with a list of tasks (and some other resources) you can use to set things up and start your Vend experience. The set up process is quite quick and painless, no in depth knowledge required. It will help of course to know a bit about the payment types you’ll be accepting and your local taxes (in Australia for example, you’ll need to set up GST). Products can be imported from a simple CSV file (an example is provided).
Once you have a bunch of products entered and your Quick Keys set up, using Vend is straight forward. Using a web browser (best support seems to come from WebKit based browsers like Google Chrome or Apple Safari) or the iPad App you can access the Sell screen and start selling. Connecting to Star Micronics and Epson network receipt printers/cash drawers is a breeze via an iPad (or you can connect using standard drivers on your Mac or PC). You can also add hand/counter top barcode scanners to make life easier.
It all works well and quite smoothly once you’re all set up. Staff will only need a small amount of training and all in all it’s simple up front, with plenty of “power under the hood”. Vend are constantly looking at their product and improving it and being a cloud product this means you don’t have to keep “upgrading” to get the latest changes.
In summary, Vend will obviously not be right for everyone as there are certain retail segments that will need a more complex approach. Overall, for your typical retail situation it should work fine and thanks to a good “Notes” system, it’s possible to “flex” Vend and repurpose to some degree if needed.