There are a lot of great solutions for selling products online and there are a lot of great POS (point of sale) systems for selling products in a retail store.
What you won’t find are a lot of great solutions that allow you to do both.
But finally! If you’re looking to launch a product website and sell items where you live, life just got easier.
Shopify has long been a leader in ecommerce platforms, delivering easy to create websites that handle every aspect of your online business. As of last year, they now have a fully integrated POS system that allows you to focus on your business and stop spending all your time dealing with inventory.
The idea is to avoid double-entry. Until now, nearly every system on the market requires you to update your online inventory – a tall order after spending a day on the sales floor. Failure to do so means you might be offering products on your website that are no longer available.
Adam McNamara, Shopify Vice President of Product says “the future of retail isn’t online versus in-store; it’s a seamless combination of both. Shopify has transitioned from simply powering online sales to powering all commerce: online, offline, mobile, and everything in between.”
Imagine a system that instantly updates your website offerings after a sale is made on the floor. That’s Shopify! If you’re not currently in possession of a retail store, you might not fully appreciate the amount of time this will save but trust us, this is time you need for successfully running a retail store.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Shopify before this. It’s not that they didn’t offer a lot of value – I’m just cheap and look to save money where I can. A couple years ago, I setup a retail store for a small boutique owner and we integrated a WordPress site (very easy to setup) with the very popular (and free) woocommerce plugin. Product inventory has been easy to manage.
Shopify, on the other hand, has always required that a website is hosted with them and the monthly pricing can add up fast. There simply wasn’t enough advantages over using Shopify when a free alternative existed.
That same boutique owner bought a separate POS system for her outlet and she’s always complained of the extra work in trying to manage both inventories. With a couple of kids that she needs to attend to every evening, she tells me updating online inventory is her biggest business headache. It doesn’t always get updated and it has led to occasions where someone purchases something that is out of stock. That leads to emails, long delays and unhappy clients – all this in addition to a lot of extra time.
Now that Shopify is leading the way of integrating POS and online inventory, I’m a huge fan. It’s been a long time coming and the price is well worth it.
Let’s consider a new business start-up in need of a POS system (including the new hardware), backups (you don’t want to spend weeks entering in all new inventory and then lose it with a computer crash), a credit-card machine to take payments, a payment gateway to accept credit cards, a bar code scanner and printer, a cash drawer and receipt printer.
All you need is an iPad and you’re ready to take payments the same day. Shopify charges $499 for an iPad swivel stand, credit-card reader, cash drawer and receipt printer. A little less than $340 and you can add the barcode scanner and barcode printer to that.
You can use a free theme offered at Shopify to get your online site going or purchase a beautiful premium theme from ThemeForest for around $50.
Since the owner is starting out and looking to save as much money as possible until income is created, the $29 a month option might make the most sense. (This option allows for only 1GB of file storage so be sure to resize all of your images and make them small)
The POS system costs an additional $49 a month (with the industry standard 2.75% cost per credit card swipe). Compare that with some industry leaders like Vend or Square and you’ll realize that this is a great price.
For less than $1,000 in start-up costs, a new business owner now has all the hardware and software necessary to operate from the shop or sell online, complete with automatic inventory updating, the ability to take credit cards in the store and a lot of freed-up time for doing other things that need to be done. The ongoing monthly fees would be less than $100 for this particular setup.
Shopify is making life easier for individuals looking to sell online while focusing on business in the local community.