Shopify POS - A hands-on review

Shopify POS is a fully-featured POS system for retail stores. We took Shopify POS for an intense test drive in a real-life environment and summarised the results.

6.2.2022

Sami Mäkelä

Co-Founder, Head of tech

Shopify POS is Shopify’s own, fully-featured point-of-sales (POS) system for retail stores. Also known as the point of purchase, a point-of-sale (POS) is where you checkout customers, take payment, and complete transactions. In addition to the very basic features of any POS system, Shopify POS is able to handle inventory tracking, staff & customer management, reporting and much more. To put it simply - Shopify POS  is an iPad application that allows you to do in-person sales in a physical retail location. 

Together with our long-term client Schoffa, we took Shopify POS for an in-depth test drive. Schoffa sells high quality made-to-measure and ready-to-wear shirts through their flagship store in Helsinki and online at schoffa.com. To battle-test Shopify POS in as realistic scenarios as possible, we prepared a total of 100+ user stories derived from real-life store interactions. Each user story was then simulated by store personnel using Shopify POS in a real store environment during an intensive testing session. 

The final decision is still pending, but both us and the team at Schoffa were really impressed by the power of Shopify POS. In case you are also considering a switch, we’ve put together a hands-on review of Shopify POS based on our experience.

Our favourite features

There are many things to like about Shopify POS, but here are a few of our personal  favourites:

Effortless setup

Setting up the POS system could not get much easier. It took us less than an hour to have a fully functioning system ready for sales.

Overall ease-of-use and simplicity

The overall ease of use and simplicity of the systems are super impressive. We tested all scenarios with users who had zero previous experience with Shopify and we did not need to refer to any external documentation or tutorials – clearly an indicator of a well-designed user interface. 

A well-thought-out feature list 

The Shopify POS application is packed with an impressive number of features. Based on our hands-on experience and the real-life test of 100+ user stories, we can confidently say that Shopify POS will meet the everyday needs of most small to medium sized retailers. 

Seamless integration of customer and order data

Shopify POS is fully integrated with the Shopify online store. In other words, all sales and customer data are synced in real-time and are immediately accessible via the Shopify admin panel.

Gift cards

For such a simple concept, gift cards can cause surprising amounts of pain and worry in a multi-channel retail environment. Most issues are usually caused by poorly designed integrations between physical and digital sales channels, which forces the store staff to use (at least) two different systems when managing gift cards. A process like this is error-prone and slow, leading to bad customer experience and unhappy staff. 

Gift cards need to be seamlessly integrated between physical and digital sales channels to provide the best possible experience for your customer and your point-of-sale staff. Shopify POS does precisely that and makes managing and processing gift cards a breeze.

Things to consider

Although Shopify POS is a very capable POS system, a few topics should be carefully considered in the decision-making process.

Amount of physical stores - Are you running more than eight physical locations?

If you operate more than eight physical locations (the total number of warehouses and physical stores), you're looking at an inevitable upgrade to Shopify Plus, which comes with a significantly higher price tag, starting at 2 000 USD per month. This price comes with many perks, but might be a deal-breaker for some businesses.

Multiple prices - Are the prices in your physical store the same as in your online store?

At the moment, Shopify allows you to have only one regular price and one discounted price for each stock keeping unit (SKU). Therefore, discounts can not be different for physical and online stores..

Complex inventory management - Is "amount in stock" enough?

Shopify allows you to manage inventory in multiple locations and does a beautiful job in doing so. In addition, the inventory management features are very straightforward. That being said, if you are dealing with one of the following scenarios, Shopify POS might not be the best fit for you:

  • Your products have an expiration date

  • You need to manage SKU shelf locations

  • You want to keep using third-party inventory management

Do you need complex reports?

Shopify’s default reports are simple and easy to use, but, in our opinion, lack flexibility. Luckily, several high-rated third-party add-ons allow you to build more complex reports. Some of our favorite add-ons are listed below:

Investments

The total investment for Shopify POS is a combination of hardware costs, fixed monthly fees, and percent-based fees:.

Hardware

The only must-have hardware is an iPad. You can find a list of compatible devices from Shopify’s support pages.

In addition to a tablet, we recommend considering the following additional accessories:

  • A barcode scanner 

  • A label writer 

  • An iPad stand

  • A cash drawer

Depending on the accessories, the total cost of hardware should land between 500 - 2 000 euros per counter.

Fixed fees

Shopify POS is included in all Shopify plans without any additional costs. In other words, if you're already running a Shopify shop, no additional fixed fees will be applied. That being said, there is a Pro version of the Shopify POS system. In our opinion, it's a must-have upgrade for any serious business running a permanent in-person store. The cost of Shopify POS Pro is currently 89 USD per month.

Percent-based fees

Percent-based fees are only applied to Shopify POS transactions if you use Shopify Payments. However, since Shopify Payments is currently unavailable in Finland, you'll need to use a third-party payment processor. In this case, Shopify won't charge any percent-based feed on Shopify POS transactions.

Final words

Shopify praised their POS system as a powerful and modern business software, and based on our hands-on testing we definitely agree. We were very impressed with the feature list, and consider it a competitive option for any small to medium-sized retail businesses using (or planning to use) a Shopify online store for e-commerce.

That being said, we do recommend a hands-on test early on in the decision-making process to make sure that Shopify’s features cover your day-to-day needs. Luckily, organizing a hands-on testing session could not be simpler, since all Shopify plans include a free 14-day trial period.

If you’re looking for a POS system to compliment your online store or vice versa, please contact us - we’re more than happy to help out.