Shopify POS

Everything you need to know about Shopify POS

Everything you need to know about Shopify POS

Seb Harris

8 minute read24 Nov 2022

The highstreet isn’t dead. Even in our world of e-commerce dominance, physical retail still has key (albeit, perhaps, shifting) roles to play in the success of many businesses. For brands already operating online with Shopify and selling in brick and mortar locations, Shopify POS is the must-have app & hardware combination.

Here we’ll explain what Shopify POS is, how it works, and answer its top 10 frequently asked questions. Whether you’ve never heard of Shopify POS or you need specific information about how many stores you can power with the app, read on to learn everything you need to know!

What is Shopify POS?

Shopify POS is Shopify’s point-of-sale software. It’s a way to sell your products in a physical retail store, alongside your online store, whilst keeping both in perfect sync with each other.

The Shopify POS app runs on any mobile device and automatically syncs to your Shopify store. From the app you can do everything you could ever need in a physical retail store - take payments, print receipts, give refunds, exchange items, check stock levels, etc. - whilst not disrupting your online store in any way.

Even when using Shopify POS you still have only a single Shopify backend. The admin remains the key nerve centre of your entire operation, and the POS simply becomes an additional sales channel extension.

Your product inventory is automatically updated between your online and physical stores, meaning everything you sell via the POS app will be updated in your main Shopify admin to prevent any confusion over stock levels.

All payments taken via the POS app are also automatically reported to the Shopify admin, and there you receive detailed breakdowns of your online and physical performance. 

You can run the POS app in numerous physical stores, depending on your Shopify subscription level (more on this below), and each physical location can keep in contact with each other regarding stock levels, sales, refunds, exchanges and so on. 

Why should you use Shopify POS?

During the peak of Covid lockdowns speculation began over whether physical shopping would ever return. Now that lockdowns have (largely) disappeared throughout the world, it’s clear that people are returning to shops. Whilst the e-commerce age is here to stay and the highstreet will never return to its heyday, customers value physical stores and brands should make use of this wherever possible.

We believe the best brands in 2022 see their retail locations as more than just a physical store to sell products. Retail stores are places to build communities within your customer base. They’re places to meet and interact, where customers can get a full sensory experience of your brand, attend events, meet like-minded people and truly establish a connection with a brand.

If you can find a balance between this physical space and your online e-commerce store, you will find a lot of opportunities for success and growth. The Shopify POS app is the perfect tool for finding this balance.

Getting started with Shopify POS

To use Shopify POS, you first need a Shopify subscription. It doesn't matter which level, even Shopify Lite users can use the POS app. However the higher your Shopify subscription level, the more features you will have access to.

The first thing to do to get started is create a new sales channel in your Shopify backend. You’ll see the option for Shopify POS within the admin. It’s super easy to set up, just follow the on-screen instructions.

Next download the app onto your chosen mobile device. This can be anything from your phone to your tablet, but not a laptop or desktop. Once you have the app and you’ve logged in, everything from your Shopify store will be automatically synced.

Connect the payment terminal and you’re away. Ready to sell your first product live and direct from your physical retail store!

Shopify POS: Frequently Asked Questions

We already have numerous clients working with Shopify’s POS system, so naturally we get a lot of questions from other brands and agencies that are curious about how it works. Here we’ve put together the 10 most frequently asked questions about Shopify POS.

1. How many stores can you connect to the POS?

This depends on your Shopify subscription. As mentioned above, your online store is the nerve centre for your entire operation so whichever level it’s at determines the level of your POS capabilities.

  • Basic Shopify: 4 connections
  • Shopify: 5 connections
  • Advanced Shopify: 8 connections
  • Shopify Plus: 50 connections

Remember: your online store will always take one of the connection spots. So if you’re an Advanced Shopify user, you can connect with your online store and 7 further physical stores via the POS app.

2. How many SKUs can you add?

Technically, this is infinite. However there is a catch.

Shopify can process an infinite number of products, however each product is limited to a maximum of 100 variants. If you were to hit 50,000 different products (highly unlikely, we know) then you’re limited to uploading 1000 products per day.

But you could technically continue adding these forever to an infinite number of products.

3. Can you have multi-location inventory?

In a word, yes. You can have multiple POS stores dotted around all over the place, all synced to the same central inventory.

What’s more, you can have stores in multiple locations (cities, countries, continents) that can all communicate with each other via the POS app for stock enquiries, shipping arrangements, payments etc.

Another neat trick with the inventory is the admin will trust the POS app and the physical store above the online system. So if you sell out of a specific item online but there are still items in your physical store, customers can purchase in-store via the Shopify POS app without any hiccups.

This avoids any awkward encounters when items are in your store but customers are unable to purchase them because the system doesn’t recognise there being any available stock.

4. How can you leverage the POS for marketing purposes?

Shopify POS is a complete on-the-go sales system. You might use it in your physical store most of the time, but it isn’t tied down to any single location. That means you can take it to any pop-up store, market or convention you’re invited to, and sell products seamlessly via Shopify whilst marketing your brand and business. 

Even better: if someone visits your pop-up store but cannot purchase immediately, you can build a cart for them on the app, take down their email address and email the cart to them for them to pay at a later date. Once the payment is made you can arrange shipping via Shopify POS and the product will be delivered to your new customer.

The best way to see Shopify POS is a system that turns your e-commerce store into a billboard for your retail store, whilst turning your retail store into a billboard for your e-commerce store. One can market the other because you’re totally free to sell anywhere, at any time and have the flexibility to mix and match online and physical as and when it suits.

5. What are some of the benefits of Shopify POS Pro?

Shopify POS Pro is the advanced version of Shopify POS. 90% of all features are available in Shopify POS Lite, however Pro has added advantages that may be essential to your business.

In Shopify POS pro:

  • You can do product exchanges within the POS app.
  • You have access to Stocky, the advanced inventory management tool that makes life much easier for brands that are running 10+ stores worldwide.
  • You gain unlimited Shopify POS staff accounts.
  • You get the Saved Carts feature. If a customer comes to your retail checkout and runs back into the store because they forgot an item or need to switch a size, you can save their cart and serve the next customer. When the first customer returns, pull up their saved cart and you don’t need to start again with scanning every item. Very cool.
  • You receive extended warranty on certain POS hardware.
  • You can ship orders to customers from the physical store via the POS app.

6. What payment methods can you accept with POS?

Essentially every payment method. There are some caveats. You can accept:

  • Cash
  • Debit and credit cards (including Maestro & V-Pay, important for the Benelux region! Although you should note that only tapping and pinning are possible with the standard Shopify card terminal. For swiping you need a 3rd party terminal)
  • Gift cards
  • Split payments

Third party card readers can be integrated with the Shopify POS system very easily. With these there are additional options if you need to accept swiping or further payment methods.

7. Can you use 3rd party card readers?

Already answered above: yes, you can.

The standard Shopify POS card reader is the Wise Pad 3 and connects to Shopify Payments automatically. If you don’t want to use Shopify Payments, you can use another payment gateway via a 3rd party reader.

If you do this, receipts, inventory, reports and so on are all still completed via the POS app. The card reader handles the physical payment and nothing else.

8. How do returns work with POS?

Like everything else, returns are very easy.

A QR code is printed on all POS receipts. Scan this to find the order on the system. If the customer doesn’t have it, you can look up the order number or the customer’s name to find the order.

Within the app, hit return and follow the necessary options. You’ll need to enter how many items are being returned, where you want to restock them, whether to return the value via a gift card or in cash/electronically.

With this all completed you’re ready to return.

9. Can you customise receipts?

Yes, you can. There are more advanced options on Shopify POS Pro, however all receipts are customisable.

In Pro you can add logos, store opening times and specific Terms and Conditions. However in Shopify POS Lite, you’re still able to add a brand name and other basic customisation features.

10. How do you set up discounts in the POS app?

Whilst the majority of discounts take place within the central Shopify admin, discounts are possible via POS. You can discount either a single item, an entire cart, or something in between.

You can discount via a percentage, or via a flat rate amount. Just enter the required information into the POS app. 

What are the advantages of Shopify POS?

With the FAQs answered, let’s recap. Shopify POS is a powerful tool for selling on-the-go across physical locations, whilst maintaining tight synchronisation with your central Shopify admin. Here’s our key advantages of the POS system:

  1. Automatic sync: you don’t have to set up anything. Download the app, log in and your stores are synced automatically.
  2. Selling on-the-go: you can take the POS hardware with you anywhere you might go to sell your products, so you’re not tied down to one location.
  3. Multiple locations, one inventory: every takes place through a single nerve centre, making it easy to keep track of your entire business.
  4. Easy to use: everything is explained on-screen and there’s very little technical knowledge required. If you can download an app, you can use Shopify POS.
  5. Little investment required: POS is included in all Shopify subscription plans. You need to buy the card reader, then you can use your phone if you wish or buy a mobile device for your store. That’s it. 

Who’s leading the way with Shopify POS?

Here’s a list of our clients finding the balance between online and offline retail with a Shopify store and Shopify POS. Each use their physical store to sell products whilst also bringing people together and building a loyal customer base that feels connected to the brand on a much deeper level.

Feedback from our clients

Each of our clients using Shopify POS love the app. They find it seamless to set up and easy to use. Below are three remarks they’ve made about areas they think could be improved, but none see these as reasons not to integrate a Shopify store with Shopify POS:

  • The inventory management works great, however it can become difficult when you have 10+ stores. Moving inventory from location to location is a bit of a headache, but the Stocky feature available on Shopify POS pro alleviates most of the advanced difficulties.
  • 3rd party Payment Service Providers can be integrated with Shopify POS however they’re not available out of the box. If you’re not using Shopify Payments, you need to set up your PSP but once you’re up and running everything is smooth.
  • Unlimited locations would be nice. Shopify Plus users have up to 50 (49 retail stores plus the online store), however for the giants this isn’t enough. We’re sure that Shopify are working on this because they want the biggest international names using their POS system. However for now there is no workaround. If you need more than 49 retail locations then (for now) Shopify POS can only serve some of your stores.

Get in touch

We’re ready to help any brand that wants to integrate Shopify POS with their Shopify store. Or if you want to move to Shopify because you want to make use of the excellent POS system, let us know and we can advise the best way to do this.

As ever if you have any questions, our team is always available for a free consultation. Get in touch anytime and let’s talk!

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