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What is Shopify POS: Is this the solution to all your POS integration problems?

In this article:

  • What is Shopify POS?
  • Unifying online & brick-and-mortar retail
  • What are the benefits of Shopify POS?
  • Comics Etc case study
  • What can Shopify POS do?
  • Shopify POS hardware
  • Downsides of Shopify POS?
  • Should you go with Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed?
  • When to make the move to Shopify POS?

As a business owner, you face many challenges when it comes to sourcing the best quality resources and software. If you’re selling online, you will need an eCommerce solution that does everything you want it to do, at the right price. But if you’re selling in person and you want to integrate your POS with your eCommerce store, what do you do?

At Lamb Agency we have been working with POS systems and eCommerce providers for many years, and we have to say, Shopify POS is some of the best software solutions around for retailers. We want to take the time to explain some of the key benefits of Shopify POS and go through the reasons why we love it.

What is Shopify POS?

Shopify POS is an integrated POS solution that includes both a hardware and software component. When you have Shopify POS, you can sell in store, online, and on the go and it makes tracking every purchase that much easier.

Shopify hardware is powered by a Shopify Point of Sale app, helping you sell anywhere and accept any payment. Plus, seamless integration makes it easy to sell your products and accept payments on any device while automatically updating your inventory, orders, and customer data.

With Shopify POS you can manage every aspect of the business — from products to orders to customers — selling online, in retail stores, and on the go.

Unifying online & brick-and-mortar retail

We think techcrunch.com has summarised Shopify POS well here:

“This is the second in Shopify’s one-two punch to bring its eCommerce solution up to the next level. The first was the introduction of Shopify Payments, which saw the company take on payment processing on its own, without the need for secondary partners. Merchants can still use other payment gateways, but Shopify now offers its own solution by default for new sign-ups, and has very competitive pricing, especially once you get on to higher-valued subscription tiers. Now that it has both payment processing and in-store POS, Shopify can own the entire process end-to-end for businesses looking to cash in on bricks-and-clicks trends in retail. More and more, shop owners are looking at online as complementary to their business, and designing stores around showrooming to supplement their virtual sales initiatives.” 

What are the benefits of Shopify POS?

Intuitive and user friendly design

Shopify POS outdoes itself when it comes to design. It’s tough to envision spots that could trip anyone up when navigating the system. Once you’ve opened the app, you can pretty much walk yourself through the basic front- and back-end features.

Usability is Shopify’s hallmark, and for merchants who don’t have the time or the know-how to spend on training, this should be an appealing system.

Stress less

With an intuitive interface and excellent customer service, you will stress less when using Shopify POS. Integration is often a significant point of complication when doing eCommerce solutions, however Shopify POS syncs instantly with Shopify eCommerce – saving you time and stress!

Reduction in costs

With a reduction in integration costs as a result of its use with the Shopify eCommerce solution, Shopify POS is a cost-effective software solution.

Handy Shopify mobile app

There is one other important way that this POS software excels in the arena of user-friendliness: the Shopify mobile app. The app allows you to manage your store directly from a mobile device and can handle everything from adding items and uploading photos to altering prices and contacting customers via phone or email.

Comics Etc case study: Shopify POS in practice

https://www.comicsetc.com.au/

Shopify POS supplier: https://www.pos99.com.au/shopify

For more than 25 years, Comics Etc has been Queensland’s leading Comic Book retailer. With an unrivalled selection of new release comics, trade paperbacks, statues, collectables and more. Comics Etc is Brisbane’s premiere pop culture specialty retailer. Boasting Australia’s largest range of in-stock trade paperbacks, affordable shipping, and a commitment to customer service, Comics Etc makes ordering online a breeze.

The previous bulky PO system required a manual and double handling of inventory management. Fulfilment was often troublesome too.

Here’s what the client had to say about the new Shopify POS system implemented by our team at Lamb:

“The system implemented has cut down on workload dramatically, saving us hours (and in some cases days) a week on steps that were now automated. They also helped us set up and use Shopify POS in conjunction with our site giving us real-time sales data across multiple platforms with no extra work required. If something sells out in the store, Bam! It is instantly sold out online! The interface for the POS and the back end of the site are really simple to use yet has all the functionality and reports you could ever need. We will never go back to another POS. This one has everything we could need.” 

It’s worth mentioning that in Australia merchants will need to source an external card reader and process transactions separately to the App . This can be done through your bank or by setting up an account with a payment processor. A terminal can then be bought or rented from them.

In Australia Payment Terminal types include:

Further information on external card readers can be found in the Shopify Help Center here: https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/sell-in-person/hardware/card-readers/external-card-terminals

What can Shopify POS do?

Now that we’ve piqued your interest in Shopify POS, you’re probably wondering what exactly it can do?

Take payments quickly and easily:

  • Track and manage inventory across sales channels.
  • Accept any form of payment including custom payment types, partial payments, split tenders, and gift cards.
  • With Shopify POS, you can offer store credit instead of refunding the payment method used.
  • Track credit or debit card payments made using the external card terminal you already own.

Swift checkout process: 

  • Order notes – Keep track of special requests and details by attaching notes to orders.
  • Shipping – Record a customer’s shipping address and contact details for an order, so you can ship orders at a later date.
  • Bring the register to your customer – Take your smartphone or tablet to your customer and accept orders anywhere. No need for a checkout counter!
  • Custom email or printed receipts– Customise your email and printed receipts with your online store URL, store hours, promotions, or store policies.
  • Custom sale – Create custom line items, and set the price to anything you want.
  • Discounts – Set up, use, track and report on discounts.

Straightforward store management:

  • Refunds
  • Order history
  • Accounting integration – Quickbooks / Xero and more

Seamless customer management:

  • Customer profiles
  • Synchronise online/retail customers
  • Direct email marketing

Product/Inventory Management:

  • Use smart collections to automatically sort products based on vendor, price, and inventory level
  • Manage your entire inventory with Shopify, across all your retail locations and channels.
  • Track stock counts, and automatically stop selling products when inventory runs out.
  • Offer different versions of your products, such as multiple sizes, colours, materials, and more. Each variation can have its own price, SKU, weight, and inventory.

Analytics: 

  • Dashboard – An actionable dashboard of your sales, orders, and traffic helps you make the right choices for your business.
  • Product reports – Analyse and gain insight into your store’s growth. See which products are selling — and which ones aren’t.
  • Retail reports – View, analyse and export sales by staff members, location, time period, or customers.

Shopify POS hardware

The hardware component of Shopify POS includes:

  • The ‘Star Micronics mPOP’ all in one receipt printer and cash drawer.
  • The ‘Socket S700’ is used for entering sales and scanning barcodes into Shopify.
  • The ‘2D S740’ socket version can also scan return barcodes and gift cards.
  • You can also connect receipt printers either via network cable to your network/router or by Bluetooth to iPad.

Downsides of Shopify POS?

This wouldn’t be a genuine review piece if we didn’t talk about some of the detractions to using Shopify POS. While there’s some room for improvement in terms of overall functionality, as is the case with most cutting-edge companies, Shopify is constantly updating its product and addressing any holes in its system quickly and effectively.

  • This POS is created specifically for retail.
  • Some inventory features are lacking
  • It has a weak offline mode
  • No low stock alerts

Bottom line? The inventory functionality could still use some beefing up. We would also like to see Shopify add low-stock alerts. Quite a few customers cite annoyance with Shopify in this area and feel that the inventory capabilities are lacking.

It’s important to note that Shopify POS is industry specific and is not at this stage suitable for the food and beverage industry

This POS was created specifically for retail and has not been expanded for use in the food service world. If you are a restaurant or bar owner looking for a more appropriate POS system, take a look at our restaurant POS reviews.

Should you go with Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed?

Shopify is cloud-based and both online stores and inventory are hosted on Shopify’s servers. However, when you log in to the POS app, most of your data is downloaded and stored on the iPad itself so you can still process cash transactions without an internet connection. You cannot, however, process card transactions or access your customer database, meaning you can’t assign a customer to a transaction without creating an entirely new profile.

Some downsides to the app include:

  • You can’t access the POS at all if you lose your connection before you get the chance to log in to the app.
  • If you log out of the app before the connection is restored and the app has a chance to sync back up to the cloud, you will lose all of the transaction/customer data you collected during the outage.
  • On Android devices, you will not have any offline functionality.

Though this level of offline functionality isn’t stellar (compared to Shopify’s competitors), it’s decent enough that you should be able to function pretty well during a standard internet outage.

Hardware & operating system requirements

If you’re using the POS system solely for your brick and mortar store, all you will need is an iPad. Technically, you can set up your online store with an iPad as well, so long as you have an internet connection and a web browser.

Without a computer, however, you can’t import inventory to your online store or even export reports. This makes relying solely on an iPad impractical. Shopify provides one free card reader, but any additional ones must be purchased. The Shopify Card Reader can accept contactless, chip, or swipe payments.

How big is your business?

Shopify POS is optimally designed for small to medium retail business, though it is reaching out more and more to larger organisations (thus the Shopify Plus option). Shopify’s affordability and the ease in which you can set up your eCommerce operation makes it appealing to smaller retailers, but larger businesses may still find some of the features lacking in its more advanced packages.

When to make the move to Shopify POS

If eCommerce is going to be a major part of your business, Shopify is worth a long look. The POS is built to sync with its eCommerce platform and, even as a standalone product, the POS holds its own with some of the top software on the market. It’s a system you can get up and running and figure out in a matter of minutes and has very few flaws, save for a less than stellar offline mode. And, if you’re not needing extremely robust inventory management or reporting, it’s extremely affordable.

Tell us what you think!
If you would like to talk to us about this article, drop us a line on [email protected].