Shopify POS review

A POS system from an e-commerce giant

Shopify POS hardware
Image Credit: Shopify

Our Verdict

Shopify POS is an excellent choice for small businesses already using its e-commerce platform, but larger organizations will likely be better served by a more high-end service better suited to their needs.

For

  • Wide range of plans
  • Excellent customer service
  • Third-party app store
  • Syncs with Shopify’s e-commerce platform

Against

  • Limited offline mode
  • Advanced features require higher tier plan

Ontario-based Shopify may be best known for its e-commerce platform, but the firm also offers a Point of Sale (POS) system that can easily integrate with its other products.

The company’s founders first entered the e-commerce market after unsuccessfully trying to launch their own online store back in 2004. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that Shopify announced the launch of Shopify Payments along with its iPad-based POS system.

Since then, the e-commerce giant has improved its POS system and even gone as far as designing its own hardware for the first time in 2017, in the form of a chip and swipe card reader.

So let’s dive into Shopify’s POS system and see how it stacks up against the competition.

Pricing

Shopify's wide range of plans (Image Credit: Shopify)

Pricing

Shopify POS charges a monthly fee along with rates that depend on your usage. The company does offer a wide range of plans that can fit the needs of both small businesses that are just starting out as well as more established organizations.

The Lite Plan costs $9 a month and does not include an online store. This plan also requires that customers use Shopify Payments as a gateway with an in-person credit card rate of 2.7%. Shopify’s Lite Plan supports unlimited products and devices, and for businesses that need additional help, customer support is available 24/7.

The Basic Shopify Plan costs $29 a month and includes an online store. Just as with the Lite Plan, you will still need to use Shopify Payments as a gateway. The in-person credit card rate of 2.7% still applies but since you can also have an online store, Shopify Payments charges an online credit card rate of 2.9% plus $0.30 for each transaction. With Basic, you also have access to Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter sales channels and can set up two staff accounts.

The Shopify Plan costs $79 a month but the transaction charges are slightly reduced. The Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate decreases to 2.5% while the online credit card rate drops to 2.6% plus $0.30 for each transaction. With this plan, you can add five staff accounts and you also get access to professional reports and abandoned cart recovery.

The Advanced Shopify Plan costs $299 a month and has an in-person credit card rate of 2.4% with an online credit card rate of 2.4% plus $0.30 per transaction. With this plan, though, you’re not limited to Shopify Payments; but the company will charge you an additional fee for using an external payment gateway of 0.5%. In terms of add-ons, the Advanced Shopify Plan allows you to accept gift cards, and gives you access to its advanced report builder with third-party calculated shipping rates. This plan is a good fit for larger businesses since you can add up to 15 staff accounts.

Finally Shopify’s enterprise solution for large-scale businesses is called Shopify Plus, but to find out the prices for this plan, you’ll have to contact the company directly.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period with no credit card required for all of its plans. Customers are not required to sign a contract and there are no cancellation fees.

Retail hardware

Shopify's POS software running on an iPad next to the company's Tap, Chip & Swipe reader (Image Credit: Shopify)

Setup

Just as Square does, Shopify POS also includes a free Chip & Swipe reader that supports all major credit cards.

Tap, Chip & Swipe reader

Shopify's latest Tap, Chip & Swipe reader (Image Credit: Shopify)

However, if you also want to accept contactless tap transactions in the form of Android Pay and Apple Pay, then you’ll need the company’s Tap, Chip & Swipe reader which retails for $89 (though refurbished units are currently available on its site for $69 if you’re looking to save a bit of cash).

Tap, chip swipe stand

Tap, Chip & Swipe stand (Image Credit: Shopify)

While the Chip & Swipe reader includes its own stand, a Tap, Chip & Swipe stand is available for an additional $39 to give the card reader a more professional look at your store’s checkout.

Shopify sets itself apart from other POS systems such as Lightspeed that can only be used on iOS devices. The company’s software works on both Android and iOS devices, though it recommends that brick-and-mortar stores use iPads, while merchants that sell their goods at fairs and other events can use its card readers with either an Android smartphone or iPhone.

Setting up Shopify POS is an easy process that likely won’t require customers to contact the company for assistance. However, customers that currently use the company’s e-commerce platform will have an even easier time with the initial setup process. This is because users that already have a Shopify store online will have all of their inventory automatically synced with the POS system. Those that don’t have a Shopify store will have to add inventory to the back-end either item by item, or by using a CSV import.

Users can also manage their stores directly from a mobile device using the Shopify mobile app. The app lets business owners work on their stores on the go by allowing them to add items, upload photos, alter prices and even contact customers over the phone or by email.

Shopify's POS software

Shopify's POS software running on a tablet (Image Credit: Shopify)

Features

Shopify POS is a fully-fledged POS system with a wide range of features that will appeal to both small and large businesses. We’re going to stick to highlighting some of the service’s most useful features, but you can find the full list on the company’s site.

When it comes to payments, Shopify POS allows businesses to accept two or more payment options, which can be quite useful when dealing with customers that want to pay part of their bill in cash, or divide their payment between two credit cards. Gift cards are also supported but as we said above, you will need the Advanced Shopify plan to make use of this feature.

The option to give users store credit as opposed to a traditional refund is also quite handy, as well as the ability to sell online through Shopify or from your own website. The “Buy Button” feature allows businesses to embed a link so that customers can purchase products through WordPress, Tumblr, Wix, as well as sell via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Shopify POS even helps simplify the tax process by automatically calculating sales tax based on the location of your store. Custom receipts allow businesses to customize both their email and printed receipts to include additional details such as store hours, promotions and the business website.

In terms of integrations, Shopify POS can be integrated with accounting software such as QuickBooks and Xero. The company also has its own app store where you can find apps for marketing, reporting, and other tools that can be useful for your business. However, some of these apps cost extra (you can also create your own using Shopify’s API). 

Competition

Customers that are already using Shopify’s e-commerce platform will find that its integrations with Shopify POS make it difficult to consider using a competitor’s POS system. However, if you’re not already a Shopify customer, then it could be worth looking at some other alternatives.

If you and your staff are comfortable using Apple’s software and hardware, then Lightspeed may be worth checking out. The company offers three distinct products that are tailored to the kind of business you’re running. Lightspeed Retail is designed for small businesses that just need one register and basic reporting features, Lightspeed eCom is the cheapest product designed for online retailers, and Lightspeed Restaurants is for businesses in the food service industry.

Square POS could also be another option to look into for businesses that just want to accept occasional card payments. However, users have complained about having their accounts locked when the company believes that fraud may be occurring due to a period of highly increased sales. 

In-store

A business owner using Shopify POS to complete a transaction (Image Credit: Shopify)

Final verdict

If you’re already a customer of Shopify’s e-commerce platform, then using its POS offering for your retail store is almost a no-brainer. The fact that it syncs seamlessly with the e-commerce offering helps Shopify POS stand out in the growing Point of Sale software market.

However, even if you aren’t using the company’s e-commerce platform, its POS system still offers capable inventory management and reporting with a clean and simple user interface. Shopify POS is easy to set up and teaching your employees how to enter sales is a painless process as well. Larger businesses may be better off looking at more high-end services, such as NCR Silver, that are better equipped to deal with their needs. 

All in all, Shopify POS is an excellent solution for small businesses and online retailers that want to occasionally sell to customers in-person. Businesses in search of an easy-to-use POS system that runs on iOS should look no further than Shopify’s POS offering.