The Best Trade Show POS Systems

Last updated on February 28, 2020

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Brianna Blaney

Brianna Blaney

Brianna Blaney, a Senior Writer at, began her career in Boston as a tech writer for a digital signage organization. She later progressed to IT support for various software platforms in San Francisco. She wore many hats and was not afraid to jump into the field of POS systems.
Brianna Blaney

Latest posts by Brianna Blaney (see all)

trade show posAt trade shows, there is always a massive exchange of data in a short amount of time. It’s the type of business congregation that requires every detail to be documented.

It’s also one of the most cost-effective ways to network, so the opportunity should never be wasted. In fact, the cost of a face-to-face meeting with a prospect at a tradeshow is $142. The cost of a face-to-face meeting at a prospect’s office is $259.

That means it’s important to go to an event prepared. This includes all the right tools necessary to engage and sell people on-the-spot. In a fast-paced environment, like a trade show, the window is small to engross someone in your brand. That’s why you must work smarter, not harder.

When equipping your business with a trade show POS system, consider some of the following features:

  • The ability to demonstrate your product features through mobile media.
  • Cloud-based technology that can function online and offline.
  • Deep analytics and reporting for real-time decision making.
  • Centralized purchasing to redistribute stock at different trade shows.
  • Flexible hardware that can have you selling in minutes.
  • Transaction transparency through customer-facing displays.
  • A custom interface that allows you to easily transact through popular buttons and avenues.
  • Synced data and a seamless workflow.

Every detail depends on the needs of your brand. When it comes to trade shows, however, there are certain features that should be a standard.

The Best Trade Show POS Systems

Plans start at
$99 per month for
1 register
Tapped, inserted,
or swiped rate:
2.6% + 10¢

Manually keyed-in
rate: 2.6% + 30¢
Put through mobile
transactions while
customers wait in line
Plans start at
$99 per month for
1 register
(that’s the annual rate)
Integrated payments with banks that offer competitive rates
Will function with an iPad in minutes. Flexible hardware packages
Plans start at $29/month (hardware is a separate cost)
Rates start as low as 2.4% + 0¢ on all credit card transactions
Automated data sync allows you to personalize your pitch on the trade show floor

1. Lightspeed Retail – The POS System That Meets you Mobily

One of the most important aspects of trade show tech is the ability to use it in any location. Lightspeed Retail is a POS system that is designed to function while on-the-go. If you choose this POS system for your trade show needs, enjoy benefits like:

Integrated Payments

Whether you are on the sales floor or cruising through the trade show, Lightspeed Retail allows a business to take any payment method (including bills and coins). Not only does this give flexibility to your customers, it reduces wait times and leaves more opportunity to increase sales. Trade shows only last for so long and the window to make new customers is small.

The POS software is also EMV compatible which means customers with smartphones can simply tap their card to pay. All credit card data transmitted is always PCI compliant and kept safe and secure. You can also easily process refunds without needing the customer card again. This sign of good faith helps to increase consumer satisfaction and retention.

Cloud Mobility

A critical facet of trade show technology is the ability to take it wherever you go. This is particularly effective if you can bring your POS to shoppers waiting in line. Every trade show typically has one or two areas where people are standing—unengaged. The Lightspeed POS software gives you the tools to take advantage of idle time and make more sales.

The Lightspeed system is a top trade show POS platform because it enables you to show and tell with your brand in real-time. Walk with customers as you demonstrate your product with hi-resolution media, layouts, and descriptions. When you are ready to make a sale, every transaction is immediate and 100% secure.

A mobile POS system also allows you to facilitate employee training. New staff can be brought up to speed quickly and efficiently. The user interface is simple to understand and easy to learn.

Deep Analytics

92% of tradeshow attendees come to see and learn about your new products and services. Some of the most important consumer data collected is pulled from a trade show event. With today’s technology, there are countless ways to quantify human behavior and consumer interactions. A robust trade show POS system like Lightspeed is equipped with a multitude of tools to report on data like:

  • Attendance
  • Conversions
  • Inventory levels
  • Customer data
  • Employee tracking
  • Real-time data
  • Remote reporting


Lightspeed Retail is designed to help you discover insights, like your best-selling items and most loyal customers. It becomes much easier to meet market demand when you have key analytics in your back pocket. Forecasting becomes an efficient process for sales and future product development is streamlined.

One of the best features about Lightspeed is that the system is designed to be used while active. You can walk with your customers or wait in line with them, either way, the software still gives you the chance to discuss your business. When you can show, rather than tell people about the value your brand adds, they are more apt to pay attention. Even in a busy environment like a trade show. This is how you personalize the experience.

2. Vend – The POS Software for a Customized Experience

The Vend POS software is perfect for tradeshows because the brand focuses on streamlining processes. This speeds up everything, including transactions. Vend allows users to deeply customize and organize their register to best suit business needs. Some of the benefits to the system include:

Customer Facing Display

88% of exhibitors participate in trade shows to raise awareness of their brand. The more transparent your business, the greater the consumer trust. Allow customers into your world with Vend Display. This can be paired with the Vend Register iPad app to streamline your customer database and spur business growth.

As you are running a transaction for a customer, the Vend Display will show them exactly what is being processed. Much like a grocery store, they have access to all the information that the cashier does. It also helps you capture consumer data as they wait. The information is then integrated and stored within the Vend POS system. This makes sales forecasting and targeted marketing a lot easier when the time comes.

Custom Features

Set up your interface and customize the register to reflect your business. The Vend “Quick Keys” feature lets a brand to create custom buttons for your most popular products. These templates are easy to save and can be used in any store or trade show.

Additionally, you can quickly add products to a sale by typing in keywords or using your barcode scanner. Customers can be easily located by contact data like their name or phone number. If you need to add notes on line items or sales, these will show on customer receipts. The same goes for discounts. They can be customized in real-time at the register on an individual basis.

Flexible Hardware

The type of POS equipment you choose to carry with you at a trade show should be light and flexible. Vend doesn’t require any additional hardware to use. It works quickly and efficiently with an iPad. You can run your entire business from that one mobile device. The Vend iPad POS software works with a wide range of hardware including:

  • Barcode scanners
  • Receipt printers
  • Cash drawers
  • Your own equipment

The idea is that you can set up your entire store with Vend in just a few simple steps. Employees are easy to train on any iPad. You can be selling at a trade show in minutes. If you don’t have hardware at all, Ven offers a few different bundles and packages that are sure to meet the needs of any business.

The idea behind Vend is that they simplify the POS process. The system is built to be flexible and versatile. They are ready to assist with guides, live help, and email support. They also have Vend Expert partners that are always available for integration services.

3. Shopify – The POS Platform for a Custom Trade Show Experience

Shopify knows trade shows. They have written many blogs about it. That is why they have specifically designed a POS system to elevate the trade show experience. It’s about maximizing your time and optimizing sales opportunities. That’s why their POS software has strong features like:

Automatic Sync

In a recent study, only 34% of attendees said they were very satisfied with their experience at exhibitions they visited. Knowing consumers is important. This is how you generate a memorable experience.

Shopify allows you to monitor data from both online and offline activity. This enables a sales agent or employee to have immediate and up-to-date customer information right in front of them. They can personalize a sale on the spot. If the customer is new, they can start a profile and enter the data during the transaction. The information will sync as soon as you are connected again.

Cash Flow

You may have a need to track the daily cash flow from your trade show. Typically, your sales figures will be much higher than normal at these events. It’s important to study the metrics and retain as much consumer data as possible.

The Shopify register feature makes it easier to monitor all cash register adjustments and staff changes throughout the event.  Keep track of totals from every payment type accepted. Control your float right from the point of sale.

Employee Management

When staffing trade shows, you may have employees with different levels of authority and permission. The Shopify POS software allows a business to create multiple staff accounts, each with its own secure pin code. This allows staff to quickly switch between the register during a busy trade show.

All orders and register activity during the event are recorded under the name and account of the specific staff member. This helps to not only track sales and history, but also employee performance. These metrics improve operations and drive employee morale through incentive programs.

Shopify is the type of platform designed for a high volume of activity. It actively syncs data in real-time to create a more custom trade show experience. If you are looking for greater insight to make better business decisions, Shopify may be the right choice for your next event.

The Key Advantages of a Trade Show POS System:

The hardware and software you choose for a point-of-sale system at a trade show can ultimately define your success. It’s about a few key features:

  • Mobility
  • Speed
  • Efficiency
  • Intelligence


If you choose a POS system that starts with those factors, you are off to a good start. Consider these benefits:

Continued Mobility

This is the most important feature when seeking the best POS system for a trade show. The ability to work both online and offline is key. You should also be able to carry the POS system wherever you go. Some of the best sales are done away from the booth, when you can catch people in idle moments. The easier it is to carry your brand messaging with you, the more people you will be able to reach at each show.

Payment Flexibility

There is no time for people to fiddle with their wallet. If they are ready to pay for your product, the trade show POS system should be able to accept whatever they give you.

The more flexible the payment system, the more sales you make. It’s that simple. People pay in all different ways and the worst thing you can do is turn down a sale over payment type.

Custom Features

Transactions at trade shows need to be fast. There are hundreds of booths vying for consumers’ attention. Thus, the more you can customize your register and interface, the faster everything will go. A good trade show POS platform will allow you to pick and choose the buttons you use the most. This streamlines the entire sales process and allows you to make more sales at events.

The Bottom Line

The trade show experience must be as seamless as possible. It can be a confusing and long day for most attendees. The more brands exhibiting, the harder it will be to drive brand awareness. This is where understanding business intelligence can put you above the competition.

Using a point-of-sale system you can customize for the trade show experience means you have a greater opportunity to engage. Mobility and deeper insight allow you to connect with more people in a highly relevant way. When you can create a positive brand experience for attendees, your success will carry far past the show.

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