Since the very beginning, online shops have been treated as a virtual extension of the real world, or as a smaller, less refined business for self-started entrepreneurs. It’s about to change. It seems that tables have turned. Most top ecommerce, who started online, set up brick-and-mortar stores to serve their customers. Look, for example, at Amazon.

In effect, offline and online sales are converging, and with that their inventories, databases, marketing strategies come together so that e-commerce and retail can be united. Clients, what isn’t that surprising, has come to expect that. They want a unified experience. And the strategy that is supposed to cater to that is called omnichannel.

In view of that, Shopify has prepared a system to execute such a strategy. It is called Shopify POS and as a merchant you can use it. We will explain what it is and how to get started with it.

What is Shopify POS?

Shopify Point of Sale, short for POS, corresponds nicely with an omnichannel strategy and other modern POS solutions that are much more than payment management systems. They also help with sales and marketing for both sales channels – an e-shop and physical location. By integrating with mobile devices and the cloud, they make note of every sale and keep inventory and customer data in check. 

Benefits of modern POS

Modern POS solutions offer a range of benefits. First and foremost, they make it easy to accept payments of various kinds (even cash), barcode scanning, using gift cards and promo codes set up online, sending receipt via email or phone number, cost returns, and much more. A streamlined customer service is just a start.

There are more things to come. New POS systems give us a wholesome view into customer’s buying behavior. Thanks to that, we can observe a complete customer journey – regardless of the medium. And that creates a better means of understanding our target persona that is beyond psychographic and demographic data. We learn about their behavior, preferences, etc. It’s a huge potential for marketing.

For that reason, Shopify POS becomes a bridge that connects two worlds, offline and online, and allows us to build from that.

Shopify POS comes in two versions Lite or Pro

Shopify offers its POS system in two versions: basic one Lite and advanced – POS Pro. The basic version is available for all merchants, regardless of the plan they are on. Yet, it contains transaction fees. And you need to gear up with suitable equipment. POS Pro is free only for Shopify PRO. It’s $89 per location for the rest of merchants. Which should you choose, Lite or Pro?

Feature comparison of Shopify POS Lite versus POS Pro

Shopify Lite has its limits. It doesn’t have as strong feature set as its more advanced equivalent. Let’s see what it means. Shopify advertises the features below.

  • credit card, mobile & cash payments
  • split payments
  • bar code scanners through phone camera
  • sending emails and text messages with receipts
  • promo codes and gift cards acceptance
  • creating and updating client profiles
  • client information available
  • rapports
  • Shopify customer service support
  • daily sales rapports*
  • inventory management*
  • shopping cart save*
  • in-store order pickup*
  • in-store order exchange*

*exclusive for Shopify POS Pro

A comparison between two versions available at Shopify Point of Sale site.

How to use Shopify POS

Shopify describes many a situation in which a POS system was used to a business’ advantage. One such a case is a lingerie brand who right after becoming an internet success, opened a brick-and-mortar store. With experiential retail in mind, they make in-store client appointments where a client can experience the brand before buying.

What do you need to do to start with Shopify POS? It requires a special kind of hardware that syncs with the system and configure a POS app.

What equipment do you need to get started with Shopify POS?

  • mobile devices with iOS 11.04 (and up) or Android 5.0 (or up), it can be a tablet or mobile phone, the device itself doesn’t matter
  • receipt printer that is compatible with Shopify POS, the receipts can also be sent through email or text message
  • credit card reader or a terminal that connects with Shopify POS system (list)
  • bar code reader 1D or 2D, your mobile device can also be used as a reader if it has a camera

You can get the gear in Canada and the US without any difficulty, for us in Europe and other part of the world, the equipment is sold at conferences and Shopify events.

6 steps to setting up Shopify POS

The equipment isn’t a mystery to us anymore. But we still don’t know how to set up Shopify POS. We put together a six-step guide that will help you through the process. Let’s jump straight into it.

  1. Download Shopify POS app – app is available for iOS and Android, because those are the two operational systems that are compatible with the app
  2. Configure settings – add a shop localization, set up taxes, add employees
  3. Update product availability to Point of Sale – if you have products in your store, choose the ones you want to sell on location, if not, add them and set their availability
  4. Add bar codes for a bar code reader
  5. Set up payment methods – you can admit coupons, credit cards, payment split, etc.
  6. Test a few orders  – see if everything works fine, then you’re done

Are you going to connect in-store with online purchases?

Online shops are becoming an entry point for a lot of brands. Only when they are successful, should they think about setting up a physical store or a pop-up one, and growing their brand. Think Amazon. But it’s exciting to see that online and offline stores merge into one thanks to technological advancements.