New Shopify system takes aim at brick-and-mortar merchants

Elizabeth
Elizabeth Howell
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Shopify has created a new point-of-service app for merchants with physical stores to make sales transactions through a tablet computer.

Adam McNamara is the vice-president of product at Shopify.

The application, called Shopify Point of Sale (POS), is available on iPad exclusively. Vendors can process credit card transactions using a card reader, manage inventory on the fly and keep track of customer sales through analytics.

The technology has been the principal project of the Select Start Studios team since Shopify acquired it in 2012, said Adam McNamara, who used to be S3’s chief product officer and is now Shopify’s vice-president of product development.

“The fruit of that labour is the direct result of that acquisition,” Mr. McNamara said in an OBJ interview.

Around 30 per cent of Shopify’s 65,000 online stores have physical presences. While many of these already had credit card terminals, point of sale systems and inventory management, Mr. McNamara said there was nothing that “tied together all their products and inventory to manage in one place.”

Users pay a subscription fee of $79 a month to access the service. Hardware kits are also available for sale through Shopify for those merchants that lack a credit card reader, a receipt printer and similar items.

All major North American credit cards are accepted as well as several international cards, with merchants paying a flat rate for processing the transactions.

Simultaneously, Shopify is releasing a beta of a new reporting system called Shopify Report, which provides analytics concerning sales. This can tell store owners who their most loyal customers are and how many orders are processed online compared to in store.

Within the next month, Mr. McNamara said, merchants will be able to create their own reports using “any data they capture” through the app.

“You’re getting everything you need to run a business,” he said. “Most retail point-of-sale systems are thousands and thousands to buy them, and then ongoing maintenance costs … the value is irrefutable.”

There are no immediate plans to expand to other platforms. That’s because a poll of users showed that more than 95 per cent would use an iPad for the service, Shopify officials said.

Earlier this month, Shopify announced an independent online payment service for its merchants to take payments from customers directly – a service that competes with international giant PayPal.

The company expects 300 employees in its four Canadian offices by the end of 2013. It has doubled its headcount – including thanks to some acquisitions – annually since it started in 2006.

Organizations: Shopify Point of Sale, North American, PayPal

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  • Rob Saric
    August 28, 2013 - 19:17

    Great article! Excited to see Shopify keep pushing forward.