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- Date Established
- San Francisco, CA
GoPago became an idea in CEO Leo Rocco’s mind way back in 2007 when he missed Barry Bond’s record-breaking home run while standing in line at a concession stand. The experience made such an impression on Rocco that he set out to create a merchant point of sale solution that would allow customers to order and pay ahead of time with their mobile devices. Rocco states that, “There’s a big idea of evolving the paradigm of ‘Software as a Service’ to ‘Solution as a Service.’ The solution includes hardware, software, 4G data connectivity and best in class customer service; that’s our package and I believe that’s where the commerce industry needs to go.”
Rocco’s vision seems to be right on track. In April 2012, five years after the missed baseball record, the GoPago LIVE service was released in San Francisco after a round of beta testing. GoPago takes an innovative approach to point of sale that includes a full suite of services. First there’s GoPago LIVE which is a monthly subscription that includes cloud based POS software, a full POS hardware setup (including a custom Android tablet made exclusively for GoPago), an online merchant management dashboard, secure data hosting, and Verizon 4G LTE connectivity. Like Square, GoPago also offers a free consumer-end Mobile Storefront app that allows customers to use their Android or iPhone to access a directory of GoPago merchants in their area. Customers can use the directory to view menus, order, and pay–all ahead of time. Once a customer uses the Mobile Storefront to place an order via their smart phone, all he has to do is stroll into the shop, flash his digital receipt and head back out the door.
Right now GoPago is still expanding and their free customer-end mobile application is only available in San Francisco, Berkeley, New York, Dallas, Mountain View, San Jose and the Stanford Campus. If the GoPago app isn’t available in your city yet, expect it to show up soon because, aside from offering an innovative service, the company has some serious financial backing–GoPago’s primary investor is JPMorgan Chase. Things get a little complicated here because GoPago appears to be in an investment love triangle with Chase. Chase is also a significant investor in Square, which is a top dog in the mobile POS world and one of GoPago’s biggest competitors. Square and GoPago do have a lot in common: both are based in San Francisco, both charge a flat fee for credit cards, and both offer a mobile app with a merchant directory for consumers.
GoPago is different from Square in that it offers merchants a full package that includes software, hardware and a 4G wireless connection for a monthly fee. Also, GoPago is more selective about their merchant account application process (Square accepts anyone with a SS number) and they charge a slightly higher processing fee (Square charges 2.75%, GoPago charges 2.85%). GoPago also has a more fully developed Mobile Storefront ordering application than Square, though the game moves so fast that this could change at any point. Finally, Square and GoPago have slightly different target markets. Square is better suited to retail environments, while GoPago is more conducive to the restaurant and service industry, though both have the capability for crossover.
Square and other POS competitors would be smart to keep an eye on GoPago. GoPago LIVE has only been on the market for a year and the company already has a staff of 70. This is no small feat for a startup. GoPago has already received accolades for it’s service too–in October 2012 GoPago was recognized as one of San Francisco’s most innovative companies by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and it also received an innovation award at the 21st Annual Ebbies Award Gala in 2012. Even celebrities are jumping on the promotional bandwagon. Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants offered his 200,000 fans a free $10 lunch from any of the local restaurants in the GoPago community.
GoPago continues to roll out new features and upgrade its services. Just recently GoPago announced the release of mPOS, an Android based application that allows merchants to use GoPago as an option for mobile transactions and line-busting. Rapid development doesn’t come without challenges and GoPago certainly is not exempt from issues. GoPago is missing a few key features that other major POS systems have covered. In addition, a quick run through extensive reviews and comments on the Google Play store and Yelp show a range of reactions from “this is the best thing ever” to “my phone can’t even open the application.” The mobile ordering revolution is clearly the direction that point of sale is heading, and like any new innovation it can take a while to perfect. GoPago also faces the challenge of promoting a merchant directory to consumers in a handful of cities. To be highly effective, GoPago needs to establish a network of merchants in major cities across the country.
Table of Contents
- Web-Based or Locally-Installed:
- Specific Industry:
- Specific Size of Business:
- Ease of Use:
- Hardware and Software Requirements:
- Product Features:
- Integrations and Add-Ons:
- Compatible Credit Card Processors:
- Customer Service and Technical Support:
- Negative Reviews and Complaints:
- Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
- Final Verdict:
GoPago has a single price point for their GoPago LIVE point of sale system: it’s $99/month and requires a 24 month commitment for new merchants. The subscription includes the following:
- Cloud-based POS software and all upgrades.
- POS Hardware: tablet, stand, cash box, printer, credit card reader.
- POS Hardware insurance with next business day replacement.
- Web Portal access for managing your GoPago LIVE POS.
- Secure data hosting / PCI Compliance.
- Verizon 4G LTE connectivity.
- 24×7 live customer service.
- Integrated rewards program.
- Mobile Storefront.
GoPago’s monthly subscription is almost twice as much as other cloud based POS systems, but then again, it also includes all of your hardware and support costs, plus some really great services…so it all comes out in the wash. GoPago gets a little pricier if you have multiple terminals in your business–each additional terminal costs another $99/month. GoPago also has a lot of hefty fees for additional services. If you want a scale connected to your POS it’s going to cost you an extra $34.99/month per terminal, which seems a bit much. Additional peripheral hardware such as barcode scanners and wireless kitchen printers also come with extra fees.
If you’re interested in using GoPago’s new mPOS service on their mobile Android phone, you’re looking at $49/month. The mPOS plan includes a smartphone, credit card reader, and a protective rugged case. The phone connects to WiFi or you can go with the optional 4G plan for an extra $20/month.
Unlike most other cloud based POS systems, GoPago uses a proprietary hardware, which means you can’t just download the POS software demo and test it on your tablet or smartphone. If you would like to test GoPago before committing, you can apply for a pre-sales 30-day trial. The trial requires a $1,000 pre-authorization on a credit card, an initial $99 subscription, and normal credit card processing fees. If you decide that GoPago won’t work for you, you’ll have to ship the hardware back (on your dime) and then all of your subscription fees will be returned to your card.
Web-Based or Locally-Installed:
GoPago is completely cloud based which means that all of your software and shop data is stored in remote servers and wirelessly transmitted to the GoPago hardware via a 4G wireless connection. Cloud based software allows merchants to manage their store, generate reports, and edit the menu from any device with an internet connection–all automatically and in real time.
Right now GoPago states that their service is primarily used by quick-serve restaurants and retail stores. The interface is definitely ideal for small restaurants, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, and cafes. Larger restaurants may find the lack of table layout, reservation and inventory management options to be a problem. Also paying an additional fee for printing wireless chits to the kitchen is a bit of a hassle. GoPago does have the capability for a delivery software add-on, for (you guessed it) an additional monthly fee.
GoPago could also be tailored to small retail businesses without too much trouble. The lack of any inventory tracking features might be more of an issue here than for restaurants.
GoPago doesn’t have any appointment or delivery scheduling features, which means it’s not the best option for businesses in the service industry.
Specific Size of Business:
GoPago may not be ideal for handling multiple locations, though you could easily setup terminals at multiple locations and then import the data into a central management software like Quickbooks. Right now, GoPago doesn’t have any way to share community members (ie. your customers) across multiple locations. These factors make GoPago ideal for small to medium sized businesses at a single location. You can sync multiple terminals within a business or you can operate each separately.
Ease of Use:
As a complete turn-key POS solution that includes hardware, software and credit card processing, GoPago makes it really easy to get setup. The first step is to submit a merchant application to GoPago. Once you’re approved for credit card processing, your GoPago LIVE unit can ship in as little as three days. In the meantime you can login to your backend Merchant Web portal (login is located on the GoPago website) to set up your menu and establish your settings. Once your hardware bundles arrives you simply take the five pieces (cash drawer, tablet, tablet stand, printer, and credit card swipe) and plug them in according to the instructions in the short video that plays as you power on the tablet. GoPago estimate that it will take you less than 15 minutes to setup the hardware, especially if you’ve already built your menu ahead of time. After your hardware is assembled, you’re ready for business.
The GoPago LIVE software is divided into two parts: the front end POS interface that runs on the Android tablet and the back end “Merchant Web Portal” where merchants can manage their shop or restaurant. Both the POS software and the Merchant Portal have a super sleek design that is extremely easy to navigate. The GoPago design is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of eye candy. It’s attractive, bright and supports images. The front end POS is divided into simple categories that breakdown into products which you can assign product modifiers to (i.e. small, medium, large). GoPago has a cool “time of day” feature where you can restrict products or categories to availability within a certain time window such as happy hour or breakfast.
The backend Merchant Portal is essentially your command center where you can create and manage your menu or product list; access reports, and update your settings. GoPago can pull reports for sales based on time (hour, day, week, month or custom dates), data, and order type. It can also compile bank deposit reports; top categories and products; top customers; and lifetime spend and last order by customer. Merchants can choose to have reports emailed to their inbox at varying frequencies (daily, weekly, monthly). The reports are in CSV form, making them compatible with most accounting software.
One thing GoPago can’t do is very well is employee management. There are no advanced employee features such as clocking in and out and payroll assistance. I was also really surprised to find that GoPago has no inventory management features. You can mark an item as in or out of stock, but there are no inventory tracking features whatsoever. Most POS systems that I review have some form of inventory tracking, even if basic. Granted inventory tracking in the restaurant industry is a little more difficult than retail given the fact that menu items are comprised of a lot of different ingredients and inventory items. Still, GoPago will need to introduce an inventory tracking feature in the future in order to stay competitive.
Hardware and Software Requirements:
As I mentioned above, GoPago handles both hardware and software under the monthly subscription fee. In a lot of ways this is a really great service. Some merchants might find it limiting that you have to go through GoPago for all hardware peripherals and there are extra fees for basic functions like barcode scanning, wireless kitchen printing, and weigh scales. You can’t just go out and buy a bluetooth scanner or wireless printer to hook up to the system, although GoPago has stated that they are soon going to include a scanner that reads 8 and 12 digit scanners. Whether the scanner will be included in the bundle is unknown at this point.
Here’s what’s included in the GoPago LIVE hardware bundle:
- GoPago LIVE black Motorola tablet
- Tablet stand
- Credit card swiper
- Cash drawer by M-S Cash Drawers
- 1 roll of printer paper
One other important thing to note is that the Android tablet is limited to the GoPago application. You can’t use it for other functions such as browsing the internet or playing Angry Birds.
If you’re interested in a full breakdown of GoPago features you can visit their website here. I’m going to give you a brief overview of the features that make GoPago unique from other point of sale systems. GoPago’s Mobile Storefront feature is definitely a unique service. GoPago is by no means the first company to offer an app that allows customers to make remote purchases at brick and mortar stores, but it has one of the more fully-developed systems out there because of its user community capabilities. When you initially setup your GoPago menu you can choose which options are available on your automatically created Mobile Storefront. You can include your entire menu or be more selective. You’ll also set your business location which links to the GoPago directory within the Mobile Storefront app. A customer with the GoPago app on their phone will be able to a view a listing of all GoPago restaurants within their current radius. Once they click on your restaurant they can access your menu (complete with full color photos, a “Specials” tab, and clearly marked prices), place an order, indicate whether the order is dine in or take out, and pay without pulling out their wallet using the credit card information that GoPago keeps securely stored within the app. GoPago users earn rewards by making purchases with GoPago businesses.
Once an order is placed in the Mobile Storefront, it shows up on the GoPago live POS interface. You can toggle between in-house orders and mobile orders within the software. When a mobile customer arrives to pick up his order, you can confirm identity by requesting the customer show the digital receipt within the GoPago app. The digital receipt has a confirmation number that matches the number on the in-house printed receipt. GoPago recommends keeping mobile orders organized by always placing a printed copy of the receipt with the order in order to reduce confusion on to-go orders and keep everything running smoothly, especially during a lunch rush. Keep in mind that customers can use the GoPago Mobile Storefront app to rate and comment on your business, similar to Yelp. These comments can’t be deleted or edited, which is something to be aware of.
The GoPago Mobile Storefront does more than just provide customers with a remote ordering option. GoPago has built a “Community” feature that benefits both customers and shop owners. Owners have access to a gallery of GoPago users who have ordered and browsed through their menu. You can filter the Community gallery by time period, who ordered and who browsed. Once you have established the selection of the community that you want to target, you have the option to send a message with a promotional discount (dollar or percentage off). The customer receives the message/discount as a text alert and the discount is automatically stored in the GoPago app until the customer purchases something from your store. This feature has the potential to be an extremely powerful tool for merchants and restaurant owners, especially because they can isolate people who browsed but didn’t purchase. Customers benefit too because they are receiving discounts for products they are actually interested in. I haven’t seen a real-time mobile storefront that is this advanced before and it’s pretty exciting.
Of course, the GoPago Mobile Storefront is only available in select cities right now, which limit it’s clout. It’s also still going through the refinement process, as many user reviews can attest to. The farther that GoPago can extend its reach and build the GoPago user base, the more powerful the Mobile Storefront and Community features will be.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
At this point GoPago doesn’t have any integrations with third-party developers. It does have a mobile delivery add-on that allows customers to place a delivery order that includes all contact information necessary for a restaurant delivery (phone number, address, cross street, etc.). If you want the delivery service option included in your GoPago setup, you’ll need to contact GoPago directly.
Compatible Credit Card Processors:
When you sign a contract with GoPago you’re committing to use their merchant account for payment processing. JPMorgan Chase is one of GoPago’s primary investors, so it should come as no surprise that Chase Paymentech is the processor for all GoPago transactions. You can expect to pay a 2.85% credit card transaction fees for all transactions processed at the POS with a card present. If the POS transaction fee is under $12, you’ll also pay an additional $0.10 fee. GoPago charges a much heftier fee of 5% for all Mobile Storefront transactions, because the mobile app purchases are considered “Card Not Present” transactions, which are more risky for payment processors. GoPago doesn’t offer any transaction fee discounts for higher processing volumes. Their rates are set regardless of business size.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
Every GoPago subscription comes with 24/7 technical support via phone. I think it’s great when companies can offer their merchants 24/7 support, so kudos to GoPago on this point. GoPago has a pretty good rating on GlassDoor.com (a website that allows employees to provide anonymous feedback on the companies they have worked for) and both current and former employees mention that the work culture at GoPago is great and the company has a strong future ahead of it. If a company treats its employees well, it’s usually safe to say that customers will be treated well too.
GoPago has a variety of help resources , including help videos built into the actual GoPago POS software. See below for a listing of GoPago support options.
- Email – Contact support by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Phone – If you want to contact GoPago by phone you can reach their San Francisco office at 800.595.5199.
- FAQ – GoPago has, hands down, the most extensive FAQ page I have ever encountered. Almost any question you can think of is addressed. It can be a little overwhelming to sift through all the information, but the search bar helps filter through questions to find the answer you’re looking for.
- Blog – The GoPago blog is well-maintained and has engaging articles on GoPago specifically and the industry at large.
- Vimeo – GoPago’s Vimeo page is about 25% video tutorials and 75% testimonials from actual GoPago merchants. Definitely worth checking out to get a feel for who is using GoPago and how it is transforming their business.
- Facebook – The GoPago’s Facebook page is nicely done and very active.
- Twitter – Check out the GoPago Twitter feed.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
GoPago is just starting to be adopted by businesses, so there isn’t a lot of online feedback regarding challenges with the actual POS system yet. The GoPago Mobile Storefront app for customers, on the other hand, does have some feedback from frustrated users. Here’s a summary of the most common issues
- Mobile Storefront Software Issues – While most of the reviews on the Apple App and Google Play stores are positive, a certain percentage of them are also negative. Some commonly mentioned software issues include malfunctioning login pins, server errors with credit card entry, and lost orders (i.e. customer pays for order but the shop doesn’t receive it).
- Missing Features – For a company that has the potential to make a big splash in the POS world, GoPago is oddly missing some key features that many competitors have covered. GoPago can’t track inventory, there is no employee time clock, in-house customers can’t receive text or email receipts, you can’t use wireless printers, and there is no line-item discount feature or itemized receipts.
- Additional Fees/Long Contract – As mentioned above, GoPago charges a lot of extra fees for basic services. For a small business, these fees could start adding up. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the 24-month contract requirement. Most of the other cloud based POS systems I’ve reviewed have a no-contract policy. Of course, I understand that GoPago’s situation is a little different because they offer hardware and a WiFi connection as part of the package, but it still seems like a big commitment for small businesses. What if an owner signs a contract with GoPago and then decides it’s not going to work?
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
I would recommend checking out the GoPago Vimeo page to watch some of the dozens of great testimonial videos from actual GoPago merchants. The GoPago Mobile Storefront app has a strong score on both of the online stores where it’s available for download. The Android version of GoPago’s app has a solid 4 out of 5 star rating based on 205 scores (132 of these scores were 5 star). The app does even better in the Apple store where it has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating based on 319 scores (230 of these were 5 star). Here’s a breakdown of what GoPago has going for it.
- Solid Product – GoPago has the backing of one of the largest banks in the world; it has a sleek, intuitive interface that runs on an easy-to-assemble hardware system, and it has some incredibly powerful networking tools for business owners. GoPago is worth paying attention to.
- Popular Service – While GoPago hasn’t extend it’s reach beyond a few cities, a quick scan through user comments will make it clear that GoPago has created a new product that both businesses and consumers are excited about. “Come to my city!” is a clear comment trend. Consumers benefit from all the rewards and points they can earn and store on their phone and business owners benefit by having unprecedented access to a community of potential customers.
- Innovative – Mobile ordering, cardless purchases, grab-and-go…these are all features that are going to be part of our regular shopping experience in the very near future. It’s a good sign that GoPago is already on board and thinking ahead. In a time where technology is evolving so quickly, it’s critical for business owners to invest in solutions that will work just as well now as five years down the road when technology will have inevitably changed the playing field again.
If I owned a small restaurant, cafe, deli or coffee shop I would consider GoPago to be a serious contender for my business. Small retail businesses could also benefit from GoPago’s services. Of course, right now you can’t take advantage of GoPago’s full range of customer networking options if you don’t live in any of the cities where the GoPago Mobile Storefront app is being promoted (San Francisco, Berkeley, New York, Dallas, Mountain View, San Jose and on the Stanford campus), but that’s bound to change over the next year or two.
Plus, aside from the mobile Community feature, GoPago offers an excellent standalone POS service. The idea that you can pay $99 a month for a service that manages all POS hardware, software, WiFi connection and credit card processing has got to be appealing to a lot of business owners that don’t want to go through the hassle of putting everything together themselves. GoPago offers simplicity above all else and that’s an attractive service.
It will be exciting to see how the GoPago trajectory unfolds. If you’re interested in moving forward with GoPago, I would recommend getting in contact with GoPago staff for a consultation.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.