San Francisco-based tea blending company T-We Tea's revenue grew 300% after switching to Vend's cloud-based iPad point of sale system from Square Register.

The company attributes most of that growth to Vend's advanced reporting features. "I wasn't really understanding the back end of my business so it was struggling a lot," says Christopher Coccagna, founder of T-We Tea.

Coccagna expects 40% growth this year for T-We Tea, which launched in 2012 and started using Vend about a year ago.

"With Vend it was a much more integrated business solution as far as inventory tracking, on the back end there was a lot more intelligent usability," Coccagna says. Vend back-end reporting "doesn't focus on just what you sold, but on exact items and what they cost you…which helps me make better decisions about where to focus my efforts."

For example, T-We Tea sells both blended tea, with names like Grumpy Dinosaur and Scandalous ManFriend, and accessories like teapots. Vend helped Coccagna see that even though sales were increasing because people were buying accessories, those items had a lower margin than selling the tea, which is made in house, he says.

Vend also integrates into the businesses accounting system Xero, says Coccagna. Square announced integration with Xero in March, nearly a year after T-We Tea switched to Vend.

Many vendors are trying to win business away from Square by adding features for merchants. Last year, Dram Apothecary switched to Groupon's Breadcrumb POS from Square to get features like tabs for bar patrons. But Square has also been steadily adding features and winning merchants (such as the restaurant Souvla in San Francisco) away from its rivals.

T-We Tea operates out of a retail location in Crocker Galleria in San Francisco, and the company also travels to artisan shows and craft fairs around the country, including the Renegade Craft Fair in Los Angeles.

Coccagna says T-We has had no problem using Vend's iPad point of sale during the show. While Vend supports an offline mode, Coccagna usually just enables the data to use the mobile device.

"We're allowing merchants to take advantage of the tools that big box retailers have," says Anton Commissaris, president of Vend U.S. "These tools are now available at a very low cost because of cloud-based systems."

Because Vend integrates with many accounting providers and has strong inventory management, merchants with three locations can save 40 to 80 hours a week in productivity, says Commissaris.

Vend is a software as a service (SaaS) company that integrates payments, meaning that merchants can use their existing processor with the platform. Vend also has various partnerships with companies like Merchant Warehouse and PayPal for merchants who do not want to bring in a separate processing relationship. Across 140 countries, Vend provides services for more than 10,000 stores. 

"The core difference in us and a payments company like Square…if you come at the market from a payment perspective it's highly regulated and much more difficult to go into other countries," says Commissaris.

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