Shopify Launches Point-Of-Sale System To Unify Online And Brick-And-Mortar Retail

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Ottawa-based Shopify, the online storefront provider that helps around 65,000 retailers reach their customers on the web, including Tesla, Crossfit and others, today announced a new retail point-of-sale solution that uses iPads for its terminals. The POS solution will enable existing Shopify users to unify their online shops with their physical locations, sharing information on inventory, sales and more seamlessly between both.

This is the second in Shopify’s one-two punch to bring its ecommerce solution up to the next level. The first was the introduction of Shopify Payments, which saw the company take on payment processing on its own, without the need for secondary partners. Merchants can still use other payment gateways, but Shopify now offers its own solution by default for new sign-ups, and has very competitive pricing, especially once you get on to higher-valued subscription tiers.

Now that it has both payment processing and in-store POS, Shopify can own the entire process end-to-end for businesses looking to cash in on bricks-and-clicks trends in retail. More and more, shop owners are looking at online as complimentary to their business, and designing stores around showrooming to supplement their virtual sales initiatives.

“We’re already doing the online thing and this seems like a natural extension,” said Shopify VP of Product Adam McNamara in an interview. “We talked to a lot of our customers, and around 30 percent of them run a physical retail store as well. We looked at this and started talking to these people, and found that most of them had some sort of in-store point-of-sale system that integrates with Shopify, or had nothing at all. But overwhelmingly, what people needed was something that allowed them to run their physical store, and run their online store, and allowed them to accept payments, and we thought ‘Well, we can do all these things.’”

The advantage is clear, and Shopify will have a clear one over and above other competing solutions like Revel since it has a presence with so many online retailers already, and can offer an extremely simple iPad based solution on a subscription basis, complete with online setup support in the form of tutorial videos, as well as in-person technical help, though McNamara thinks most won’t require that.

Shopify has been doing what it does and doing it well for many years now, but the company is really aiming to shake things up with these two bold new launches. It wades into spaces ripe with competition, but does so with a value prospect that’s clear: one retail solution for all a retailer’s needs. That’s going to be hard to turn down, based on the reduction of complexity alone.