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Loyverse is probably one of the most impressive free POS systems on the market. It offers all the essential features you need to operate a business, and it won’t cost you a penny (unless you opt for one of the paid features). It is a great option for retail, restaurant and service-oriented businesses just starting out — you get the tools you need while paying barely any overhead. Having said that, there are scalability issues. So overall, you may find it helpful to use as your business gets going, but be prepared to upgrade when the time is right.
Loyverse is an amalgamation of the words “loyalty” and “universe.” The loyalty part refers to the fact that Loyverse comes with a built-in loyalty program. The universe part is likely a reference to the fact that Loyverse aims to be a global product — it’s available in over 25 languages and used in over 200 countries.
The Loyverse POS software is designed to function on both iOS and Android devices. The software is also cloud-based, meaning it is stored on Loyverse’s servers and transferred to your POS device via the cloud. Loyverse is designed to be used by all types of small businesses. The company advertises solutions for food-service businesses like restaurants and cafes, retail businesses like boutiques and convenience stores and service businesses like salons and carwashes. It also has multi-location functionality, meaning you can oversee multiple locations from a single account.
Loyverse’s feature set isn’t the most robust. But there is still a good deal of functionality here.
Your payment processing options are limited. U.S. merchants must choose between SumUp or Worldpay. Both services will allow you to accept all major credit cards, as well as magstripe, EMV and NFC payment methods. SumUp charges a straightforward 2.65% on all magstripe, chip card and contactless payments made using the SumUp credit card reader (virtual terminal transactions cost 2.95% plus 15 cents).
Worldpay charges a 2.9% plus 30 cents fee per transaction but offers higher volume merchants a lower rate of 2.7% plus 30 cents per transaction. Worldpay also requires a multi-year contract, while SumUp will let you pay month-to-month and cancel at any time.
Loyverse POS works on iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets. You can also purchase a variety of compatible receipt printers, barcode scanners, terminal stands, cash drawers and label printers through the Loyverse hardware marketplace. Plus, Loyverse sells a 15-inch enclosed Android POS terminal called the Bematech SB1015AW. Pricing on all hardware is quote-based.
Loyverse combines features for restaurants, retail and service-based businesses into its software. Here are some of them:
Apply discounts to specific items.
Accept payments offline.
Track cash movement to reduce mistakes and staff manipulation.
Send receipts via text and email.
Loyverse offers both free and paid inventory management features. Here are the features that come standard with your system:
Import thousands of items via a CSV file.
Receive daily notifications on low stock.
Track stock of products and their components over time.
To get Loyverse’s full range of inventory management features, you’ll need to spring for the Advanced Inventory feature, which costs an additional $25 per month per store, or $250 per store if you pay annually.
Place purchase orders, export records to suppliers, track stock receipts and manage vendor relationships.
Transfer stock between different locations.
Increase and decrease stocks levels for received items, damages, loss and inventory counts.
Reconcile the expected and actual inventory for all or selected items, see the amount of inventory loss or surplus inventory and keep documents for each inventory.
Make products out of ingredients and track stock for products and ingredients.
Track all items that underwent changes and filter the history by period, stores, employees or by reason of stock changes, including sales and refunds.
Print labels with an item’s name, SKU, price and barcode.
Create inventory valuation reports to get an understanding of the total cost of the inventory and potential profits from their sale.
Similar to inventory management, Loyverse offers free and paid employee management tools. However, there is really only one free tool: a time clock that tracks the hours your employees work. For additional employee-management features, you’ll have to pay $5 per month per employee or $50 per year per employee. For your money, here is what you can do:
Manage employee access to sensitive information and functions.
Give each employee access to the POS app by PIN or password.
Track each employee’s sales performance and hours worked to understand employee efficiency.
Identify any cash discrepancy at the end of the shift and track employees’ inaccuracies or manipulations.
Loyverse offers a separate app for running reports and viewing analytics called Loyverse Dashboard. This app is also free and allows you to do the following:
Analyze store growth as you view revenue, average sale and profit.
Track sales growth across days, weeks, months or years.
See which items are performing well, average or underperforming.
View sales by category of item.
View stock levels and apply filters to inform you when items are running low or are sold out.
Export sales data to spreadsheets.
Loyverse’s loyalty program is its flagship feature. With this free tool, customers can opt into your business’s loyalty program when they make a purchase. Their information is then saved in your customer database, which features the customer’s contact information and purchase history. Customers who are part of your loyalty program will be able to earn points when they spend money at your business that can be redeemed for future purchases.
Along with features that can apply to all business types, Loyverse POS also has a few retail-specific features. They include the ability to scan barcodes with your phone’s camera via the Loyverse app and add an unlimited number of product variants to your catalog.
Loyverse also offers a few restaurant-specific features:
Open, edit and close tickets.
Apply unlimited modifiers to an order.
Organize menus by category and update menus by time.
Note whether customers are dining in, taking their order out or requesting delivery.
Integrations and add-ons
Loyverse does not integrate with any third-party software. However, it does offer two additional free apps that can extend the functionality of your POS.
1. Loyverse KDS
Loyverse KDS (Kitchen Display System) is an app available for iOS and Android that connects with your POS system to display orders to your kitchen staff. Each ticket contains the ingredients needed, preparation instructions, modifiers and any comments added by the server. Tickets are also color-coded to denote priority and users can arrange for the KDS to make a noise every time a new order comes in.
2. Loyverse CDS
Loyverse CDS (Customer Display System) is an iOS and Android app that provides a user-facing interface where customers can review their orders before payment. The interface displays the products ordered, modifiers, taxes, discounts, loyalty points earned and any other pertinent information. There is also an option for the customer to enter their email to receive an e-receipt.
Loyverse provides 24/7 customer support via phone and live chat. The website also has a community forum where you can talk to other business owners about how to get the most out of your POS system. Additional guidance can be found in the Help Center or on the Loyverse blog.
Pros of Loyverse
Loyverse is free software that features paid add-ons for inventory and employee management. If you choose to use the free version of the software, you will still have to pay for payment processing and POS hardware. Subscriptions are month-to-month and can be canceled at any time for no additional fee.
As far as free POS systems go, Loyverse offers quite a lot. Its main competition in the free POS space is Square POS. Square offers integrated payment processing, but with Loyverse you get a free loyalty program, restaurant- and retail-specific tools and free apps for kitchen and customer displays. That’s a lot of free software compared to Square POS.
A lot of POS providers don’t offer retail and restaurant features in the same software. They usually make two different software and charge customers to use each one. Loyverse is one of the few POS providers that built a free product that can be leveraged by merchants across the business landscape. Admittedly, combining features from two different types of businesses into one software can be a bit confusing, but we appreciate that Loyverse is trying to help as many business owners as possible with its service.
Cons of Loyverse
The Loyverse software offers a little bit of everything, but probably not enough of any one specific thing to help a growth-minded business. The retail and restaurant functions come up fairly short compared to some of the other paid services Loyverse is competing against. Even the standard inventory and employee-management functions are lacking, making it almost necessary to spring for the advanced versions of these features. Furthermore, Loyverse does not integrate with any third-party software, meaning what you see is what you get.
We shouldn’t expect a nonprofit enterprise to offer in-house payment processing, but the third-party options you get aren’t great. Sure, SumUp offers a reasonable payment processing rate, but you are limited to only one kind of credit card terminal — the SumUp Reader. Worldpay offers a lot of different payment processing options, but its rates aren’t exactly small business-friendly. It would be a nice improvement if Loyverse could offer more payment processing options to U.S.-based businesses.
Here is how Loyverse customers rank the software on popular review websites:
G2 Crowd: 5 out of 5 stars.
Capterra: 5 out of 5 stars.
Software Advice: 5 out of 5 stars.
iOS Store: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Google Play Store: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
It’s not a stretch to say that customers who use Loyverse POS adore it. Most think it offers the most bang for their buck of any POS system on the market. Specific aspects of the software celebrated by customers include its ease of use, compatibility with iOS and Android devices, customizability for restaurant and retail businesses and helpful support staff.
Square POS is really the only other free POS software in the same class as Loyverse. You might choose Square over Loyverse if you want access to Square’s extremely popular POS hardware as well as integrated payment processing. Square also provides new users with a free mobile card reader and can be integrated with a wide variety of third-party software via the Square app marketplace.
Lightspeed is not free but offers more industry-specific features for restaurants and retail businesses. Lightspeed Retail costs $99 and includes integrated payment processing (2.6% plus 10 cents), inventory, employee and customer relationship management tools, plus omnichannel functionality and a robust reporting suite. You can also get a loyalty program for an additional $59 per month.
For food-service businesses, Lightspeed Restaurant costs $69 per month and comes with all the restaurant POS features you’ll need: menu management, floor plan management and the ability to oversee multiple stores from a single POS. Lightspeed also sells hardware bundles specifically for retail businesses and restaurants.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.