What is the Shopify Point of Sale App?

November 18, 2018

How much easier would your day-to-day business operations become if you could accept credit and debit cards anywhere? Using the Shopify point of sale (POS) app, this dream has become a reality for business owners worldwide. As Shopify provides it, the app integrates effortlessly with online stores. For each transaction you make in person, your online inventory will experience an instant update. Because the product is so seamless, it’s used by hundreds-of-thousands of business owners worldwide.

If you’re browsing through different POS apps and Shopify is on your radar, it might help to learn more about it. Once you understand how the app works, you may find that it’s the right fit for your in-person business transactions.

What does the Shopify Point of Sale App do?

As the name suggests, the Shopify point of sale app is an app you can download to start taking payments from customers and clients. It works with Android and Apple devices. For those who use tablets, it provides an excellent means of enhancing their customers’ experience.


Getting started with the app is simple. After downloading it from Google Play or the Apple app store, all you need to do is add products and start selling them. You can use the app in a physical location, or you have the option of taking your device with you to trade shows, markets, or even the customer’s home. Essentially, the portability allows you to remain incredibly flexible during your day-to-day business operations.

Using the app, you can accept two different payment methods and gift cards. If you’re running promotions, you can add discounts. Should you find yourself in a position where you need to issue a refund, you can do that too. Tax calculations, store management, and inventory management are all automatic, providing you populate your products with the right data before sales occur. Finally, you can also customize your receipts.

How much does it cost?

As one of the most versatile POS apps on the market, Shopify’s offering comes with different cost tiers. You can start with a free trial. Afterwards, the app will allow you to move through the following tiers:




Plus 1.75% + 30¢ per credit card transaction




Plus 1.75% + 30¢ per credit card transaction




Plus 1.6% + 30¢ per credit card transaction




Plus 1.4% + 30¢ per credit card transaction

How can you use the Shopify Point of Sale App?

Here’s where you get to enjoy the seamless nature of Shopify’s point of sale app. Although you don’t need an online store to download and use it, owning a Shopify online account will make adding products easier, as they’ll automatically upload to the app rather than you having to add them individually. Some store owners may find this easier, as managing your stock is easier through a website than when using an app alone.

If you do own or have an online store, you can accept payments online as usual. One of the biggest draws for small business owners, however, is the ability to use an app on their tablet or smartphone. Again, you can do this with an Apple or an Android device. For the sake of an enhanced customer experience, you may want to opt for a tablet.

Choosing a tablet versus a phone is a particularly advantageous route if you don’t want to use external hardware. You can use the app this way by adding your customers’ items to a cart, just like when they’re shopping online. This also gives you the option of removing items and adding discounts. By using a tablet rather than a phone, you ensure that what you’re doing remains comfortably visible for your customer. Additionally, it enhances their experience in terms of accessibility. Tablets provide a larger font and clearer resolution, which in turn makes it more accessible.


Another benefit of using your tablet is that you can create a professional point of sales experience, ahead of purchasing hardware. This is especially advantageous if you’re a small business that’s just starting to delve into selling in person. The app looks strikingly different to selling via a website, which means you’re not just encouraging customers to make onsite purchases in a physical location. It also adopts a visually clear format that they’ll feel comfortable with using. If POS proves successful, investing in hardware is something you can consider later on.

Of course, you can make your life and your customer’s life easier if you choose to add hardware to the mix. In other words, if you invest in a card reader, they’ll walk away feeling as though they’re shopping in-store rather than just via a tablet. Maintaining the tablet is still useful because you can include your branding and other features that enhance your customer’s experience.

What hardware is available?

If you are going to invest in a card reader, it’s worth understanding more about the types of hardware available to use with the app. Using the same device as Paypal, Shopify has a card reader that delivers the same customer experience you’ll find in most retail stores. In addition to offering chip and pin services, you can provide contactless services as well. As a last resort, swipe is also available.

The Shopify card reader is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to benefit from the app’s seamless experience while using other devices, it’s easier to buy them from Shopify’s range than it is to integrate the app with your own POS items. For an extra layer of security, you can buy a stand that allows your customers to conceal their pin while using the chip and pin feature. The Bluetooth receipt printer allows you to carry your tablet almost anywhere (providing it’s within range of the printer itself). As an alternative, you can offer email receipts to your customers.

Shopify also provides two types of cash drawer, with one being a budget option and the other costing upward of $300. However, they’ll work automatically with each transaction, which arguably makes you look more professional. Barcode scanners and printers are also available, which could make your sales run smoother when you’re experiencing a high volume of customers.

If you’d rather not purchase everything separately, Shopify does sell an all-in-one device. One version comes without a barcode scanner, while the other includes it. Again, whether you choose to buy a scanner will probably depend on how many sales you’re expecting. If you’re managing a smaller business where you’re not anticipating lines, you may find that relying on your tablet is just as easy.

What can you integrate it with?

For small business owners, one of the best perks of using the Shopify point of sale app is having the option to integrate it with their online store. As you’ve already read, owning an online store may make it easier for you to add products to the app. Once they're online, all you need to do is link the store with the app and everything will appear on the tablet you’re using for sales automatically. As most tablets provide excellent resolution, this is an excellent way to present your goods at tradeshows and markets when encouraging customers to make a sale.

One of the biggest perks of integrating your Shopify POS with your online store is that the inventory updates in real time. So if you only have 3 x Product A to sell and someone makes an in-store purchase, you don’t need to worry about accidentally selling more online.

But, what if you don’t want to integrate your online store with your offline one? If you hold the two stocks separately or use a service such as dropshipping, this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Fortunately, Shopify does state that you don’t have to use the POS to sell the same products instore as you do online. Theoretically, this means you don’t have to integrate if you don’t want to.

In Summary

The Shopify point of sales app acts as an excellent opportunity to explore using POS when you haven’t done so before. Downloading it is easy and you can use it with or without an online store. Both the free trial and the Lite option give you the chance to see whether it works well for you, with no financial risks. With the option to create a POS experience from the comfort of your tablet, you can move through the app’s tiers as your business grows. 

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