Payroll solutions for retail – Comparing the 7 best retail payroll software & services

In the dynamic world of retail, managing payroll can be a particularly challenging task, given the sector’s characteristic fluctuating work hours, seasonal employment patterns, and varied contract types. Thankfully, a range of retail payroll software and services are available to streamline these complexities, ensuring accurate and efficient payroll management.


Video: Answering your common questions about payroll prices and costs

This article explores seven leading payroll solutions tailored for the retail sector, helping UK businesses find the perfect fit for their needs.

Best payroll systems for retail – Software & services

Feature/SolutionSage PayrollQuickBooks PayrollXero PayrollBrightPayADP PayrollMoorepayZellis HCM Cloud
Target Business SizeSMEsSmall businessesSMEsAll sizesAll sizesSMEsLarge organisations
IntegrationHR systemsQuickBooks AccountingXero AccountingVarious HR and accounting softwarePOS systems, HR systemsHMRC, pension providersComprehensive HR solutions
User-Friendly InterfaceYesYesYesYesVariesYesVaries
Compliance with UK Tax LawsYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Support for Various Employment TypesYesLimitedYesYesYesYesYes
Automatic Enrolment for PensionsYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Customer SupportRobustGoodGoodStrongExtensiveDedicatedExtensive
Notable FeaturesFlexible, comprehensiveEasy integration, mobile appSeamless financial management, self-serviceSecurity, unlimited employeesAdvanced analytics, robustReal-time information submission, scalabilityComplex payroll handling, all-encompassing solution
Ideal ForBusinesses seeking comprehensive features and flexibilityThose looking for ease of use and financial software integrationBusinesses requiring comprehensive, cloud-based financial and payroll managementBusinesses valuing security, support, and flexibilityLarger retail chains needing scalable and reliable serviceRetailers prioritizing compliance, ease of use, and scalabilityLarge organisations seeking comprehensive HR and payroll solutions
Retail payroll software and services compared

1. Sage Payroll

Sage Payroll stands out for its comprehensive feature set, designed to accommodate the intricate needs of retail businesses.

It offers flexibility in handling various employment types and work patterns, integrates seamlessly with existing HR systems, and ensures compliance with UK tax laws.

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Its user-friendly interface and robust support make it a favourite among small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


Number of EmployeesMonthly Price (£)
Sage Business Cloud Payroll costs

Further information

Read our Sage Payroll review or visit the website.

2. QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks Payroll is renowned for its ease of use and integration with QuickBooks’ wider accounting software.

This solution is ideal for small retail businesses looking for an efficient way to manage payroll alongside their financials.

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With features like automatic tax calculations, digital payslips, and a mobile app, QuickBooks Payroll simplifies payroll processes and enhances accessibility.


QuickBooks Payroll is available as an add-on for all plans except the basic Self-Employed option. The payroll feature starts “From £2 per month”, though QuickBooks has not publicly disclosed the detailed pricing structure for this service.

Further information

Read our QuickBooks Payroll review or visit the website.

3. Xero Payroll

Xero‘s payroll solution is praised for its seamless integration with Xero’s accounting platform, providing a unified system for financial and payroll management.

It offers features such as automatic tax updates, employee self-service portals, and detailed reporting, making it a strong contender for businesses seeking a comprehensive, cloud-based solution.


PlanStandard Monthly CostDiscounted Cost (First 6 Months)Included PayrollCost After Free PeriodAdditional Employee Cost
Starter£15£7.502 Months Free£5/month for up to 5£1/month
Standard£30£152 Months Free£5/month for up to 5£1/month
Premium£42£212 Months Free£5/month for up to 5£1/month
Ultimate£55£27.50Up to 10 Included£1/month per extra£1/month
Xero payroll costs

Further information

Read our Xero Payroll review or visit the website.

4. BrightPay

BrightPay is a versatile payroll software that caters to the needs of both small and large retail businesses.

It offers flexibility in payroll processing, comprehensive reporting, and supports automatic enrolment for pensions.

Its strong emphasis on security and customer support, alongside the ability to manage payroll for unlimited employees, makes it an excellent choice for growing businesses.


Number of EmployeesCost Per Tax Year (£)
Up to 379
Up to 10139
Up to 25209
BrightPay payroll costs for retail

Note: All prices are per tax year and exclude VAT.

Further information

Read our BrightPay review or visit the website.

5. ADP Payroll

ADP Payroll is a global leader in payroll services, known for its scalable solutions that cater to businesses of all sizes.

Its retail-focused features include time and attendance tracking, integration with POS systems, and comprehensive analytics.

ADP’s extensive experience and advanced technology make it suitable for larger retail chains seeking a robust and reliable payroll service.


Offers tailored plans and pay-as-you-go one-off payroll processing options. See our guide to ADP payroll prices.

Further information

Read our ADP Payroll review or visit the website.

6. Moorepay

Moorepay is a UK-based payroll and HR solutions provider with a strong focus on the needs of small to medium-sized businesses, including those in the retail sector.

It offers a cloud-based platform that simplifies payroll processing, with automatic updates to ensure compliance with legislation changes, real-time information submission to HMRC, and support for pension auto-enrolment.

Moorepay’s solution is particularly noted for its user-friendly interface, dedicated support, and scalability, making it an attractive choice for retailers looking to streamline their payroll operations without compromising on functionality or compliance.


Service TypeCost ItemEstimated Cost RangeRemarks
SaaS Payroll SoftwareSubscription Fee£50 – £200+ per monthVaries based on the number of employees and features
Set-Up Fee£150 – £300 one-timeInitial set-up
Additional Modules£20 – £50 per monthOptional HR and time-tracking add-ons
Outsourced ServicesPer Employee, Per Month (PEPM)£5 – £8 per employeePrice increases based on services
Additional Services£100 – £300 annuallyCustom reports, end-of-year processing
Implementation Costs£500 – £1,000 one-timeOne-off fee for transitioning
Bundled ServicesCombined Monthly Fee£100 – £500+ per monthIncludes both payroll and HR services
Moorepay payroll prices for retail

Further information

Read our Moorepay review or visit the website.

7. Zellis HCM Cloud

Zellis HCM Cloud offers a cloud-based, comprehensive human capital management solution, including a strong payroll component tailored for the UK market.

Its advanced features support complex retail payroll requirements, such as handling seasonal workers and varying shift patterns, making it a fit for large retail organisations looking for an all-encompassing solution.


Feature/PackageSmall Business (up to 50 employees)Medium Business (51-200 employees)Large Business (201+ employees)
Basic Payroll Subscription£50/month£100/month£200/month
Real-time Reporting Add-on£10-£20/month£20-£40/month£40-£80/month
Employee Self-service Portal£25-£50/month£50-£100/month£100-£200/month
Premium Support£20-£40/month£40-£80/month£80-£160/month
Basic HCM Cloud£200/month£400-£600/month£800-£1,200/month
Customised HCM Modules£50-£100/month£100-£200/month£200-£400/month
Zellis retail payroll pricing (estimated)

Further information

Read our Zellis Payroll review or visit the website.

Features to look for in a retail payroll system

When selecting a payroll solution for the retail sector, there are several critical features and capabilities to consider. These features not only ensure compliance with legal and tax obligations but also facilitate smooth operational workflows, accommodate the unique demands of retail staffing, and enhance overall business efficiency. Here’s what to look out for:

1. Flexibility in payroll processing

Retail businesses often deal with variable work schedules, seasonal peaks, and part-time contracts. A payroll solution must offer the flexibility to accommodate different pay rates, bonuses, commissions, and overtime, ensuring accurate payroll calculations under varying conditions.

2. Integration capabilities

Efficient payroll management requires seamless integration with existing systems such as HR management, time and attendance tracking, and accounting software. This integration minimises manual data entry, reduces errors, and streamlines payroll processes.

3. Compliance with UK tax laws and regulations

Given the complexity of tax laws and employment legislation in the UK, it’s crucial that the payroll solution is up-to-date with the latest regulations, including tax rates, pension auto-enrolment, and statutory pay requirements. Compliance features should automate deductions and contributions, ensuring accuracy and avoiding penalties.

4. Employee self-service portals

Employee access to personal payroll information through self-service portals empowers staff and reduces administrative overhead. Employees can view payslips, submit timesheets, request leave, and update personal details, enhancing transparency and satisfaction.

5. Scalability

As retail businesses grow, their payroll systems must adapt to handle an increasing number of employees and more complex payroll requirements. Scalability ensures that the chosen solution can support business growth without the need for costly and disruptive system changes.

6. Robust security measures

Payroll data includes sensitive personal and financial information. Strong security measures, including encryption, secure data storage, and controlled access, are essential to protect against data breaches and maintain confidentiality.

7. Comprehensive reporting and analytics

Insightful reporting tools and analytics are valuable for strategic planning and decision-making. Payroll solutions should offer detailed reports on payroll expenses, employee attendance, and other metrics to aid in budgeting, compliance, and resource allocation.

8. Customer support and training

Excellent customer support and comprehensive training resources are vital to resolve issues quickly and ensure that staff are proficient in using the payroll system. This support can significantly reduce downtime and enhance the efficiency of payroll management.

FAQ – Retail payroll software and services

What are the key features to look for in a retail payroll solution?

Look for flexibility in payroll processing, integration capabilities, compliance with UK tax laws, employee self-service portals, scalability, robust security measures, comprehensive reporting and analytics, and strong customer support and training.

How can a retail payroll solution improve employee satisfaction?

A retail payroll solution can improve employee satisfaction by providing accurate and timely payments, transparent access to payroll information through self-service portals, and efficient handling of queries and updates.

What integration capabilities should a retail payroll system have?

A retail payroll system should integrate seamlessly with HR management, time and attendance systems, and accounting software to streamline operations and reduce manual data entry.

Are there retail payroll solutions suitable for small businesses?

Yes, there are retail payroll solutions specifically designed for small businesses, offering simplicity, affordability, and the essential features needed to manage payroll effectively.

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