Shopify has its roots in eCommerce but has developed a well rounded retail point of sale application. This review will focus on the Shopify POS app for retailers and will only mention eCommerce features when relevant to retail. The Shopify POS app provides retailers with all they need to manage their retail store and strong eCommerce capabilities to extend their business beyond the store. Shopify makes it easy for their customers to quickly ring up sales on an iPad whether they are at the store or on the go. Items can be quickly added or customized by employees or management. Through their management app and online interface, Shopify provides the management tools to ensure smooth operations and growth of the business. Shopify POS is geared towards retailers that also want to sell online. Some missing features include employee management, lack of support for ethernet printers and lack of reporting from the Shopify POS app. For retailers not interested in eCommerce, a different POS might be a better choice.
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WHO IS SHOPIFY A GOOD FIT FOR?
Shopify charges a monthly fee based on the type of plan. All plans include 24/7 Customer Care and access to both eCommerce and retail point of sale app! Annual plans and prices for multiple iPads are not listed on the site.
* Discounts may be offered for multiple registers
Shopify has a clean and easy to use check out interface which is the first screen that appears after launching the app. The screenshot below has a very simple store with a few items. It’s easy to add new items by selecting the item on the screen or scanning the barcode. There is also a handy quick sale button that can be used to ring up items not yet in inventory. Shopify POS has strong support for matrix inventory each product can have variants, making it easier to manage the inventory. Each variant can have a unique barcode, price, inventory level, etc.
Shopify’s built in customer tracking lets the staff attach orders to existing customers or create new ones on the fly. Shopify can store the customer name, company name, email, phone, address and other important information. Once a customer is created, based on their preference, Shopify lets you reach them via email or SMS.
After the items have been added, named discounts can be applied quickly. Shopify gives the business owner quite a few options when creating discounts. For example, it can be specified whether the discount applies on the subtotal or the total. Discounts can also be configured to only apply to orders belonging to certain customers.
A few other features that add to the checkout experience are the ability to add a shipping charge and address to the order, attach multiple pictures for each item, easy refunding and e-receipts via email and SMS.
The order screen and checkout process could use a few improvements. We found it slow to browse through items by category since the category list has to be brought up before adding each item. Also, only sixteen items are visible on the check out screen at one time. Both are non-issues for retailers using a barcode scanner.
Shopify has a suite of management tools available through iOS, Android and web applications. The web application is the most comprehensive so we’ll cover that first and mention which features are accessible via the iOS and Android apps.
As expected, Shopify has great inventory management tools. It’s easy to track stock levels for each item and their variants and get alerted when stock is running low. Vendors and suppliers can also be added to Shopify so purchase orders can be managed directly from Shopify.
Customer tracking tools in the web app nicely complement the customer information collection on Shopify POS. Customers can be exported based on filters (New, Returning, etc.) or exported in whole.
Shopify offers powerful reporting that lets business onwers analyze their business and grow profits. Some of the more popular reports allow the business onwer to see sales by location, product or sales channel (retail, eCommerce site, Amazon, etc.). Multi-location stores really benefit from this reporting as it allows them to compare sales of different products across their locations. All the reports are highly customizable so the business owner can customize them to highlight the data points that matter most to them. With a click of a button, reports can be exported to CSV files.
Shopify’s Dashboards add a visual layer to the reporting which is especially helping when looking for trends. For any time period, most reports can be graphed, including total sales, repeat customer rate, average order value and much more. All these metrics help the business owner make better decisions about what they are selling.
Shopify’s App Store is a great tool to add functionality to the app. There are dozens of apps and there’s always an app that offers the functionality needed. A lot of the apps on the store have free and/or tiered versions. Most apps offer a free trial so their usefulness can be determined before any money is spent.
The Shopify iPad management app (iOS and Android) has a lot of the capabilities of the web app. Most business owners will find themselves comfortable managing their business on the go using their iPad or Android tablet.
Shopify POS can run independently if there is an issue with the internet connection with the exception of not being able to process credit cards. For businesses with unreliable internet connections, we recommend LTE enabled iPads.
We are fans of Shopify’s management suite. The features offered are particularly appealing for retailers with multiple locations and an eCommerce store.
Shopify has partnered with a few popular brands for hardware.
For receipt printing, the Star TSP650 bluetooth printer is supported. We like the mobility of bluetooth printers but they are just not reliable enough for busy shops. An ethernet alternate would be nice addition.
Shopify has three options for card readers, one that connects to the headphone jack and the other two are bluetooth. Both the bluetooth readers are capable of swipe, chip and NFC (Apple and Google Pay) transactions.
Shopify sells APG cash drawers on their hardware site but most any drawer that works with Star printers will be compatible.
Shopify offers a lot of support when inputting inventory and setting up the system. Their online interface easily lets business owners add new items along with a complete description and picture. The upload feature allows uploading of inventory from a CSV file. eBay sellers can seamlessly transfer inventory from their eBay store. The iPad app automatically checks for changes to inventory each time the app is launched and automatically downloads all changes.
Shopify does have a listing of Shopify Experts that will help, for a fee, with the setup process. Experts can help with setting up retail and eCommerce stores.
Shopify offers 24/7 Customer Care via phone, email, chat and Twitter! We really like that they display the current wait times for chat and email on their support site. The average wait time for chat hovers around 14 minutes which is longer than most companies. For urgent issues, Shopify’s Customer Care Team can always be reached by phone.
Shopify’s core strength is eCommerce yet their point of sale solution is a good option for retailers, especially ones that have an eCommerce site. Though it doesn’t have all the features that some other systems do, Shopify does a good job of providing features that most retailers need. If you’re currently using Shopify’s eCommerce platform then their point of sale solution is a great option for your retail store. Other retailers and food service businesses will be better off going with a different system.