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Monday, February 9, 2015

Technology Review: Shopify’s POS System

It’s the dream of almost everyone to own their own business, to be their own boss, to reach new levels of income, to work in a field that they are passionate about.

Many have ventured into this world and many have failed. Starting a business is lots of work, long hours and sleepless nights. And the overhead? That can be a nightmare.

The cost of getting licensed, leasing a storefront, setting up the utilities, contracting with suppliers, finding the right sources for advertising, hiring an accountant and purchasing store equipment is enough to intimidate the faint of heart. But what about those last two things?

Purchasing equipment and hiring an accountant just got easier with Shopify’s POS technology. is a website that allows you to create an ecommerce website easily and professionally even if you don’t know anything about html code. But what if you only want a brick and mortar store and you’re not ready to take your business online?

Then Shopify has a solution for you that can save you the cost of purchasing a cash register and maybe even hiring an accountant. It’s a point of sale software application that loads onto your iPad 2, 3, 4 or the iPad Air that functions much like a cash register. It’s a cash register with benefits. You can also use an iPad Mini, but this version won’t fit into the Apple Windfall iPad stand. You will also need a wireless internet connection for this app to work because it constantly syncs with your Shopify online account.

Shopify’s POS allows you to accept credit card payments with a Shopify credit card reader that plugs into your iPad and integrates with the POS software or you can integrate your own external credit card terminal into the POS system. If you use Shopify’s merchant account with a free card reader, you pay between 2.7%, 2.4% and 2.15% for all transactions that are in-person swiped depending upon the package you purchase. If you enter the credit card number manually, then the transaction fee is 3%.

To get started, you must initiate a 14-day free trial of Shopify. Even if you don’t want an online store, the administration part of your account will manage all of your store’s data. If you already have an online store, then your products will be automatically downloaded to the Shopify POS app when you first log into the app. You can get the Shopify POS app from the iTunes App store for free. If you don’t have an ecommerce website store, then the POS app lets you enter and manage your entire inventory with no limits on product number.

As items are sold, the POS app automatically updates your inventory and syncs with your online account and your mobile app if you have one. Quickbooks can be integrated into the POS app so sales and other financial information is kept automatically for you. One cool thing about the POS app is that you can check out customers wherever they are in your store or outside the store. Just pick up your iPad and walk with it wherever you need to go. Try doing that with a traditional cash register.

The Shopify POS software application system certainly has the appearance of state of the art professionalism and heightened technology. When it’s time for the customer to check out their purchases, simply enter the product items into the app or use your handy Apple certified wireless barcode scanner that’s “paired” to your iPad and then let the app do the work. Taxes and other fees are automatically calculated based on your location and a total is presented to you on the screen.

Of course, in order to use your barcode scanner, first you would have to create and print barcodes from a thermal barcode printer and attach them to all of your products. The Dymo barcode printer and Socket Mobile barcode scanner are pieces of hardware that can be purchased in the Hardware link on the Shopify website. There are two types of barcode scanners.

The 1D model runs approximately $219 and will work up to 100 meters (328 feet) away and the 2D model is priced at $399. What’s the difference between a 1D and a 2D? The 1 dimensional barcode scanner reads the row of vertical lines that are basically codes for data. The 2 dimensional barcode scanner reads an entire database of information that might only look like a small dot. An entire Excel spreadsheet can be encoded into one 2D barcode.

The barcode printer costs $99. These pieces are optional but will speed up your customers check out process once installed. What Shopify considers necessary hardware is bundled into a nice kit that costs $649. The kit includes an Apple Windfall iPad stand, a Shopify credit card reader, a lockable metal cash drawer, and a Star Micronics Bluetooth wireless receipt printer.

The price packages for a Shopify ecommerce store are $29, $79 and $179 depending upon the features and benefits that you choose. If you only want the POS system for your store, then add $20 to each of those package prices. If you want both, then add $40 to each of those package prices. Those prices include unlimited products, unlimited staff and unlimited registers.

Getting setup for Shopify’s POS system may be a little bit more complicated than simply plunking down a cash register on the counter, but the convenience and ease of use once it’s all setup will definitely save you time and headaches later. Maybe you’ll even get to sleep every once in a while.


Megan Sienna said...

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Nancy Maisie said...

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