Shopify POS Review
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- Date Established
- Modern UI
- Good for eCommerce
- Gift cards
- Accepts multiple payment options
- Numerous integrations
- Lack of offline mode
- Overly complicated pricing plans
Currently, as one of the most popular online sales platforms around, Shopify has been a major player in the eCommerce industry since 2005 (see our review of Shopify for eCommerce). Though the company owed its initial success to online sales, in 2013, business founders Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake decided to branch out into the world of brick-and-mortar retail.
Offering a reasonable pricing structure, intuitive design, and a thorough customer support system, Shopify POS has taken the small business world by storm. This app is easy to navigate, easy to set up, and easy to integrate with your Shopify online store. It is, however, created specifically for retail, and there is some room for improvement in terms of overall functionality. As is the case with most cutting-edge companies, Shopify is continuously updating its product, addressing any holes in its system quickly and effectively. It has done well to address some of its flaws in the past year, most notably revamping its inventory capabilities to now support multi-location management.
As retailers around the globe grapple with COVID-19, Shopify POS has added a lot of thoughtful new features for retailers with the latest 2020 release of Shopify POS and with the new Shopify POS Pro add-on. The new POS options, such as online ordering for curbside pickup and QR code shopping, are impressive both in terms of their forward-thinking automation and in their aptness for the current moment, as socially-distanced shopping doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
If eCommerce is going to be a significant part of your retail business — and in our new reality, it more than likely will be — 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.
Don’t have time to read an entire review? Take a look at our top-rated point of sale solutions for a few quick recommendations. Every option we present here offers excellent customer support, detailed user interfaces, and easy-to-use software, all for a reasonable price.
Table of Contents
Shopify’s pricing structure is a little unique in that each plan comes with different credit card rates, features, and add-ons, and subscriptions cover every size of business from small retail operations to enterprise-level retailers. Most brick-and-mortar stores will pay $79/month or more if you want advanced features or a lower credit card processing rate.
Overall, I’d say Shopify is a good value, especially for businesses that sell online as well as in-store, and the “Lite” plan is an excellent deal for micro-businesses that only need a mobile POS and payment processing. But if you want to take advantage of Shopify’s more advanced features for brick-and-mortar stores, such as customizable employee permissions and advanced inventory features, you’ll be paying at least $118/month — which may be a little steep for very small businesses. All the different pricing tiers can also get a bit over-complicated, especially since the new “Shopify POS Pro” add-on is needed to access certain features.
Here are the different plans you can choose from:
- No online store
- Mobile POS (doesn’t support POS hardware, such as cash registers and receipt printers)
- Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate of 2.7% + $0.00
- Must use Shopify Payments as the gateway
- Unlimited products
- Unlimited devices
- 24/7 support
- Facebook and Messenger sales channels
- Embeddable Buy Button for your blog or website
Basic Shopify Plan
- Online store
- Mobile POS (requires Shopify POS Pro add-on to connect POS hardware)
- Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate of 2.7% + $0.00
- Shopify Payments online credit card rate of 2.9% + $0.30
- Additional fee for external payment gateway of 2.0%
- Two staff accounts
- Up to four locations
- Unlimited products
- Unlimited devices
- 24/7 support
- Print shipping labels
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Manual order creation
- Discount codes
- Free SSL certificate
- Up to 64% shipping discount from DHL Express, UPS, or USP
- Facebook, Messenger, Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and Buy Button sales
- Online store
- Mobile and in-store payments — can connect cash register, receipt printer, barcode scanner, etc.
- Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate of 2.5% + $0.00
- Shopify Payments online credit card rate of 2.6% + $0.30
- Additional fee for external payment gateway of 1.0%
- Five staff accounts
- Up to five locations
- All features of the Basic plan, plus:
- Gift cards
- Professional reports
- USPS Priority Mail Cubic Pricing
- Up to 72% shipping discount
Advanced Shopify Plan
- Online store
- Mobile and in-store payments
- Shopify Payments in-person credit card rate of 2.4% + $0.00
- Shopify Payments online credit card rate of 2.4% + $0.30
- Additional fee for external payment gateway of 0.5%
- 15 staff accounts
- All features of Shopify Plan, plus:
- Advanced report builder
- Third-party calculated shipping rates
- Up to 74% shipping discount
Shopify POS Pro (Add-On)
- $89/month/location — free until October 31, 2020
- Add-on paid on top of your Shopify plan fees (formerly branded as “Shopify for Retail”)
- Unlimited registers (per location)
- Unlimited staff
- Employee roles, permissions, and sales tracking
- Cash tracking
- Daily sales reports
- Custom printed receipts
- Save/retrieve carts
- Stock adjustments
- Omnichannel selling features
- Smart inventory features
- Included in all Shopify Plus plans
- Shopify Plus is the Enterprise solution for large-scale businesses. For more information about this plan, you will need to contact Shopify.
The prices listed above do not include state sales tax. Shopify offers a 10% discount for those on an annual plan and a 20% discount for those on a biannual plan.
Shopify currently offers a very generous 90-day free trial period. No credit card is required for the trial. You don’t need to sign a contract at any point, and there are no cancellation fees. In addition to the free trial, Shopify Pro is also free through October 31, 2020, and gift cards are temporarily available to sell on all Shopify subscription plans during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
Shopify is cloud-based and 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 device 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. Also, you can’t access the POS at all if you lose your connection before you get the chance to log in to the app. And 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. Also, note that on Android devices, you will not have any offline functionality. This remains an unfortunate weak spot in a product that has otherwise made big improvements in the past couple of years.
This app was created specifically for retail and has not been expanded for use in the foodservice world. If you are a restaurant or bar owner looking for a more appropriate POS system, take a look at our restaurant POS reviews. With that said, some small quick-service restaurants that only need a mobile POS to accept credit cards — such as coffee carts or food trucks — may find the $9/month Lite plan to be perfectly capable of meeting their needs. There is no tipping feature as of yet, but Shopify says this function is “coming soon.”
Specific Size Of Business
Shopify POS is optimally designed for small to medium-sized retail businesses, though it is reaching out more and more to larger organizations (thus the Shopify Plus option). Shopify’s affordability and the ease in which you can set up your eCommerce operation make it appealing to smaller retailers. However, larger businesses may still find some of the features lacking in its more advanced packages.
Hardware & Operating System Requirements
If you are using the POS system solely for your brick-and-mortar store, all you will need is an iPad or Android tablet. You can also run Shopify POS from an iPhone or Android smartphone. Technically, you can set up your online store with your mobile device as well so long as you have an internet connection and a web browser. Without a computer, however, you can’t import bulk inventory to your online store or even export reports (though you can still view key analytics and import items individually). So while you can run your POS from a mobile device, it’s probably best to use your laptop for some back-end setup and admin functions.
As for payment hardware, Shopify provides one free card reader but any additional ones must be purchased. The Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader can accept contactless, chip, or swipe payments. You can also upgrade to a contactless Tap & Chip Reader (pictured below with optional iPhone case) for $49.
If you need other hardware, such as cash drawers, printers, and barcode scanners, Shopify offers a bundle to go with the POS app. Although the options on the site are somewhat limited, Shopify is pretty good at adapting to existing hardware. You can find more information about the hardware bundles on Shopify’s website.
Ease Of Use
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. You can easily walk yourself through the system and get up and running to accept all forms of payment in a matter of minutes. From there, it’s a snap to add customers and import inventory. Customization can also be done relatively quickly, and, probably within the first day of use, you can have a POS tailor-made to your specifications.
Shopify has also recently made even more improvements in its ease of use with the rollout of its brand-new version of Shopify POS, released in May 2020. The new version introduces a bevy of new features and a new default dark mode. The most compelling new feature in terms of ease of use is probably the customizable “smart grid” view, which puts your most-used apps, discounts, and products at your fingertips, helping to speed up checkouts.
Shopify POS is also designed to work hand in hand with its eCommerce platform. If you already have a Shopify store, your inventory will automatically sync with the POS. You can then decide whether you want to be able to sell all your products the same way or separate them into store-only or online-only purchases. If you don’t have a Shopify store, you must add your inventory to the back end, either item by item (I would suggest doing this if you only have a few products) or via CSV import. Both methods are easy, but the former is a bit more time-consuming than the latter. You have the option to add photos and categorize your products by variants, such as color, size, material, style, and so forth. You can include all the details you want, including tags for internet searches. Adding new products is easy, and tax rates are set automatically based on your location.
There is one other important way that this POS software excels in the arena of user-friendliness: the Shopify mobile app, which is available on the App Store and the Google Play store. The app allows you to manage your store directly from your mobile device and can handle everything from adding items and uploading photos to altering prices and contacting customers via phone or email. Viewing the new Shopify POS version on both my iPhone and iPad, I can say that there are few if any differences between the two versions. It’s a very refreshing distinction for a mobile POS, as mobile versions of POS systems are typically missing some features available in the iPad version. With that said, there are a few features absent from the Android version (compared to the iOS version), such as offline functionality.
In May 2020, Shopify released a brand-new version of Shopify POS, along with the new Shopify POS Pro add-on, which adds advanced inventory features as well as new social-distancing selling features for brick-and-mortar retail stores. Keep reading to learn about Shopify POS’s core features as well as the details of the new Shopify POS and POS Pro features. You can also find a comprehensive list of Shopify’s POS’s features by visiting Shopify’s website.
As follows are Shopify POS’s most noteworthy features, broken down into several key categories.
- Accept Two Or More Payment Options: Shopify POS allows you to split tenders and accept more than one type of payment in a single transaction. This is a fairly handy feature, created especially to deal with the inevitable customer who wants to pay partly with cash or divide their payment between two credit cards.
- Gift Cards: You can create gift cards that are redeemable in-store or online. These cards can be emailed out to requesting customers or simply printed on your receipt printer. Usually, gift cards are only available on “Shopify” and higher plans, i.e., not on the Lite or Basic plans. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, though, Shopify has temporarily extended gift card functionality to all Shopify plans.
- Custom Payment Options: The ability to generate custom payment options (personal checks, gold coins, IOUs, etc.) is one of Shopify POS’s most interesting features. You can also give customers the option to make a partial payment on their purchases and/or allow for deposits or layaway.
- Refunds & Store Credit: Shopify POS makes it possible to give out store credit in situations where you don’t wish to refund money to the payment method that the customer originally used.
- Multiple Sales Channels: Sell online through Shopify or sell from your website. With the “Buy Button” feature, you can embed a link that will allow customers to purchase your products through your site (WordPress, Tumblr, Wix, etc.) quickly and easily. You can also sell on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay.
- Custom Sales: Custom line items can be added at any time and priced however you wish. This is a perfect way to integrate specials or seasonal items into your usual stock.
- Discounts: Shopify POS lets you offer discounts at checkout, either by percentage or dollar amount. These discounts can be used on one item only or applied to the customer’s entire order.
- Portable Registers: Because Shopify POS lives on your iPad or smartphone, it’s easy to bring the device over to your customer and accept new orders anywhere. There is really “no need for a checkout counter” — quite a revolutionary concept for a brick-and-mortar store.
- Custom Receipts: You can fully customize both your digital and printed receipts and include important details, such as store hours and policies, special promotions, and the URL of your online store. Note that custom-printed receipts are only available with Shopify POS Pro.
- Automatic Tax Calculations: Shopify POS automatically calculates sales tax based on the location of your store. You can also set up custom taxes for specific products or orders, if necessary.
- Shipping Addresses: It’s possible to store a customer’s address and contact details. This allows you the option to ship orders later on.
Store Management Features
- Integration With Accounting Software: Shopify POS can integrate with accounting software, such as QuickBooks and Xero. This is a huge time saver and more efficient than entering things by hand.
- Order Histories: You can get a good overview of your store’s operations by viewing all past orders (whether made in-store or online). Order histories may be filtered by customer, product, or date.
- Multiple Staff Accounts: The more advanced Shopify POS plans permit you to create multiple staff accounts, each protected by a unique, secure pin code. All register activity (and every order) is tracked by these accounts, allowing you to monitor cash register adjustments carefully and follow changes in staff throughout the day.
- Customer Profiles: You can automatically create detailed customer profiles every time a new order is placed. These profiles let you learn about the shopping habits of your customers and track their buying patterns. Contact info about each customer, as well as their unique order history, is readily available, and this information fully syncs with Shopify.
- Reporting: Shopify POS provides several analytical tools, including dashboards that track sales, orders, and traffic patterns. Product reports let you see which items are selling and which are stagnating on your shelves. You can also scrutinize each sale and filter by staff members, location, timeframe, or customers. All reports are exportable and can be converted into spreadsheets or sent off to a bookkeeper.
- Timeline: Shopify comes with a unique tool that allows employees to communicate and monitor store issues all from within the POS itself.
Product Management Features
- Product Organization: Shopify puts no limit on the number or type of items you can sell with this POS system, and products can be organized in almost any way (by category, type, season, sale, etc.). You can even create collections and sort merchandise by the vendor, price, and inventory level. Even more importantly, you can offer multiple sizes, materials, and color options for your products, each with its own price, weight, SKU number, and so forth.
- Inventory Management: Shopify revamped its inventory management recently, turning what was a weak spot in its offering into a legitimate strength. You can group products in several ways, either by type, season, sale, etc. There is no limit to the number of items you can sell. It’s possible to manage inventory with Shopify and keep a close eye on stock counts. That way, you can “automatically stop selling products when inventory runs out.” Shopify also offers numerous apps through its store to help out with specific needs. It’s simple to track your best sellers and keep tabs on what items are the most cost-effective in your arsenal as well. This can help you forecast profits and set up promotions down the road.
- Barcode Support: Each product can be assigned an existing barcode (or fitted with a new one). This makes it much quicker to process customer orders, as items can be quickly scanned with a wireless barcode scanner.
New Shopify POS Features
As follows are some of the latest new Shopify POS features that accompany Shopify’s sleek new interface. Many of these features smartly reflect the needs of retailers during the COVID-19 crisis, such as curbside pickup, local delivery, and others.
- Multichannel Sales Management: Manage offline and online sales in one central hub that includes an omnichannel search of all your products.
- Real-Time Multichannel Inventory Management: The new version makes it easier for merchants to view inventory performance across locations and transfer inventory online or to different locations as needed.
- New Shipping & Delivery Options: Shopify merchants have new shipping and delivery options, including local delivery and curbside pickup as well as a ship-to-customer option, so you don’t lose a sale due to lack of in-store inventory, with shipping rates calculated automatically at checkout.
- Smart Grid: Your most-used apps and other functions are now front and center to help you speed through checkouts.
- Improved App Integration: Apps integrate even easier now, with integration options ranging from appointment shopping to door-counting apps that help you limit foot-traffic.
- Improved Analytics: More detailed information regarding store performance is now available in the “Analytics” screen.
Shopify POS Pro Features
The optional Shopify POS Pro add-on (free through October 31, 2020) adds even more features for retail stores, including, most notably, features that help brick-and-mortar retailers offer online sales options.
- Staff Roles: With Shopify POS Pro, you can create different employee roles with unique permissions, and choose from preset roles, such as the default “Associate,” “Full Permissions,” and “Limited Permissions.” These roles let you determine what each staff member can see and do on the POS. The business owner or employee with full permissions can view and manage staff permissions right from the POS app. For example, below are the permissions of the “Associate” role, as viewed from the iPhone version of the Shopify POS Pro:
Omnichannel Selling Features
- Email Carts: This feature lets customers browse online and buy in-store, and it even emails customers after their visit to your store with item suggestions.
- Product Detail QR Codes: Use QR codes in your store that customers can scan with their phone to learn more about your products and buy them from your website — rather than ask sales staff for help.
- Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store: Manage and track all pick up orders placed online and notify customers when they’re ready.
- Omnichannel Returns & Exchanges: Customers can exchange purchases made online or at one of your retail stores, at any of your business locations.
Smart Inventory Features
New smart inventory features make it easy to identify and prioritize your top-selling products as well as discount or bundle your slow-moving products. Other new-and-improved inventory features include:
- Inventory counts
- Purchase orders
- Inventory receiving
- Demand forecasts
- Inventory analysis
- Sale item suggestions
- Low stock reports
- Detailed inventory reports
Overall, Shopify POS has a strong, thoughtful, and near-complete feature set. Perhaps the system’s only significant weakness (and the only reason it didn’t earn an “Excellent” rating in this category) is that it doesn’t have much in the way of an offline mode. If your internet goes out and you’re already logged into the app, you can still perform a few functions (using the iPad or iPhone version only), such as accept payments by cash and custom payment methods. However, you can’t accept credit card payments, sync orders with inventory, create new products, or import products offline. Unless you have a backup connection in the event that your internet goes out, this is far from ideal.
Integrations & Add-Ons
This is another big plus, as Shopify has a great app store with literally thousands of apps. There you will find everything from accounting tools to apps for marketing, reporting, and so forth. For example, a search for a popular term such as “local delivery” delivers 196 different results.
You can also create an app using Shopify’s API. Keep in mind that some of the apps cost extra (which can add up), but you won’t be lacking in options. You can also find a lot of free apps in the Shopify app store that let you do various things, such as add a no-contact delivery option to your online store or integrate a free loyalty program with your POS system.
Compatible Credit Card Processors
Shopify’s POS system comes already integrated with Shopify Payments, the company’s in-house merchant services processor. Choosing an external gateway when using Shopify POS is only possible on Basic Shopify Plan or above. Shopify incentivizes you to use its processor, which we often view as a red flag. However, it’s nice that you do at least have the option to go another way and there don’t seem to be too many complaints about Shopify Payments. Plus, its rates are competitive.
Depending on the Shopify plan you choose, the advertised in-person rates with Shopify Payments go between 2.4% and 2.7%. As I mentioned above, Shopify POS comes with a free Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader that fits into the headphone jack of your iPad; additional swipers can be purchased on the website if you choose to use more than one iPad. You also have the option of purchasing a Shopify Card Reader that can accept contactless, chip, or swipe payments.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Shopify offers free 24/7 tech support via live chat, email, and phone. Customer service is generally prompt and knowledgeable, and it isn’t too difficult to reach a live person. The email support service is not quite so fast but still responded to my questions within 24 hours. The live chat support is friendly and helpful, and in my experience, an actual live chat operator was available (as opposed to many other sites that just prompt you to leave a message).
I also love the fact that Shopify lets you know what your current wait time is going to be.
If you want to figure things out for yourself before contacting tech support, Shopify has a great knowledgebase that contains well-written instructions to guide you through most questions and issues. Most of these instructions are supplemented with screenshots, which is always a plus. Shopify University also offers quite a few forums to browse through. While most of these forums pertain to eCommerce, there are some for POS users too. There is an incredible amount of information offered on Shopify’s website, ranging from an encyclopedia of terms to success stories and even a few podcasts if you’re so inclined. It’s unlikely you’ll find all of it relevant, but there’s no such thing as too much information.
For those wanting to stalk Shopify on a social media level, the company has active Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Snapchat accounts.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Reviews for Shopify POS are generally positive, but there are a few recurring themes from people unhappy with the product:
- Bugs: Many customers complain about bugs and errors disrupting their experience.
- Extra Or Hidden Costs: Some customers didn’t like having to pay extra for staff accounts, staff sales tracking, and hardware integrations. These are pretty standard POS features that should be automatically included (at least in the higher subscription levels). There were a few individuals who also complained that purchasing some necessary add-ons made the product significantly less cost-effective.
- Offline Functionality: A few customers complained about Shopify POS’s inability to process credit cards during an outage.
- Analytics Features Lacking: A few reviews mentioned that the standard reports that come with the app are pretty basic, and even if you’re going with an advanced package, they aren’t quite up to what competitors offer. However, new analytics features have been added with the latest update and Pro add-on.
- Customization Difficulty: A few less-than-tech-savvy reviewers struggled with the complexity of customizing the POS system and found it difficult to get support in this area.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
The most recent positive reviews available online all mention the same things: that Shopify POS makes running businesses simpler and keeps people better organized. One user noted that “everything syncs beautifully and the credit card rates are the lowest we have seen.” Without fail, Shopify subscribers are thrilled to be able to integrate their online stores with this versatile POS system. Here are the common praises:
- Simplicity: Most people raved about how easy Shopify POS is to set up and that training is a snap. It also receives high marks for its overall usability and its design.
- App Options: Customers appreciate the variety (and sheer number) of apps that integrate with Shopify POS, even though some of them come at an added cost.
- Inventory Management: A common refrain among customers was how easy it was to import inventory and how well Shopify POS can handle a wide variety of products.
- Customer Service: The majority of reviews appreciated the customer service team’s overall friendliness and the speed in which they were able to address and fix problems.
The fact of the matter is, if you love Shopify for its eCommerce platform, you should at least consider the POS as well. Before some of its recent changes, Shopify POS only made sense if you were locked into it for eCommerce, but now I would say Shopify POS is on par with its competitors even if you don’t have an eCommerce platform. Shopify checks all the boxes in a POS system with capable inventory management and reporting and an extremely simple and clean interface. You do have to go hunting for some of its integrations, but you won’t be hurting for options. Shopify’s pricing scheme can get a little complicated, but once you figure out which tier and add-on(s) you need, you’ll likely find that Shopify POS provides a good value for all the functionality it provides. Shopify’s offline mode still needs some work and is one of the few areas where the POS lags, but on the whole, there’s a lot to like, especially with the rollout of its latest version.
Shopify is playing its part in addressing the massive changes taking place in the retail sector, offering retailers months of free service as well as increasingly necessary options, such as curbside pickup and gift cards free of charge during the crisis. Even if your retail biz hasn’t really ventured into eCommerce before, an eCommerce-enabled POS such as Shopify can make it easy to add some online sales options. The future of retail will inevitably be some hybrid of in-person and online sales, and a versatile POS such as Shopify can help you sell in either channel or, ideally, both.
If you own a small or medium-sized retail business and you are looking for software that is intuitive and inexpensive, look no further. Shopify has created a POS system that can handle multiple sales channels, with a free chip card reader, competitive flat-rate payment processing, and many additional integrations. Frankly, it would be difficult to go too wrong with this software.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.