Vend's marketing is enticing - stress-free shop owners, using iPads, easy to use software. But what actually is it?
To use Vend, you need an iPad, access to the Internet and some time to set things up. There's a free, 30-day trial so you can try it before committing to a monthly fee.
Vend in a nutshell
For a small business with fewer than 100 products and just one register, Vend delivers a point of sale system that runs from an iPad for $39 per month.
It runs via a web browser, so you can use whatever computer you have at hand, whether it be a laptop or tablet, to run it.
In hip tech marketing speak, Vend is "cloud" software - someone else handles the servers and technical aspects, and there's a backup of your data online.
The Set Up
In order to get the most from Vend, you need to spend some time setting things up.
You start by creating an account at the Vend website. You then set up sales tax rules - a simple task with the GST and then add products to your store.
The product set up process lets you add images of the products and set the initial stock levels and the ability to trigger reordering when stock levels reach particular thresholds.
Vend can use Xero as your accounting software and Shopify for your online shop, so that your sales and stock control software work together.
You can also create customised dashboards so that cashiers can tap on the name of a product to add it to a customer's order.
The proof of a Point of Sale system comes in the shopping.
In or experience, completing transactions with Vend was easy. Once we logged into the app on our iPad we were able to start taking sales in just a few moments.
It's important to note that in order to launch and log into Vend that you need an Internet connection.
However, from that point, you don’t have to be connected - although while you're offline stock levels and sales won't be updated until you reconnect to the Internet as all your sales and product data is kept in Vend's server.
Cashiers can be granted permission to offer customer discounts although these are limited to percentage discounts and not fixed amounts.
Transactions can also be parked in case customers start a sale but then need to stop to check something before completing the transaction. Cashiers can also put notes on sales.
Once a sale is complete, customers can opt to receive their receipt by email. There's also support for Point of Sale printers from Epson and Star.
For small business with just one register, one cashier and fewer than 10 products, Vend is free.
For $39 per month, the number of products you can have lifts to 100 and you also get priority support.
There are options for $69, $99 and $199 per month. The dearest option supports multiple outlets, up to 50 registers, 50,000 products and 100 users.