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Designed by merchants for merchants, ShopKeep is a Cloud-based, iPad Point of Sale app that is available in the US, Canada and UK. From retailers to restaurants, bars and even franchises, the software accommodates a variety of business models, with specific features to suit each.
First launched in 2008, ShopKeep is now used by over 25,000 merchants. It’s widely regarded as intuitive to use, well supported and affordable.
Here’s an insight into what it is, what it offers and the features it contains…
• Suited to a variety of business models (restaurants, retailers, cafes, bars etc)
• Extensive inventory management tools
• Comprehensive reporting
• Employee management
• Offline ability
• Proprietary or open source hardware compatible
• Targeted at small business, but able to accommodate larger ones
ShopKeep offers a number of POS options designed specifically to suit businesses of varying types. Often the features within it are similar but are nuanced to cater to either retail stores, quick-service restaurants, full-service restaurants, or bars and nightclubs.
The business simply selects the POS software that would suit their business type best, downloads the software and configures it to their needs.
In this post we will talk about the common features across all verticals.
ShopKeep differs slightly from other Cloud-based POS models in that you can’t simply download a free app and get up and running. Instead, users need to work out which version of the software suits their business best, make contact with the company to work out pricing and go from there.
The app is suited to iPads (iPad Air 2 or newer) and more recently specific Android devices. It is supported by BackOffice which is browser accessible using PC, laptop, tablet etc to undertake more complex business management tasks.
ShopKeep also offers a mobile app known as ShopKeep Pocket App, which runs on iOS and Android smart phones. This app allows business owners can check-in, receive automatic alerts and keep track of their operation on-the-go wherever they are.
In addition to software, ShopKeep also offers hardware bundles including card readers (US only), receipt printers and cash drawers. Effectively this means a business can get all their POS equipment and software in one place.
ShopKeep accommodates both open source and proprietary hardware options. In a nutshell this means merchants can use their own compatible hardware or hardware offered as a bundle and individually by ShopKeep.
Primarily, ShopKeep is designed as a mobile POS option for iPads (Air 2 or later, running iOS 9.3.5 or higher). In May 2018, however, they announced limited Android compatibility with First Data’s Clover devices, which they can supply as part of a POS Bundle.'
ShopKeep also offers merchants the ability to directly buy:
• Credit card readers – suited to swipe, dip, or tap and connected via Ethernet, Bluetooth, and iPad-connected readers.
• Printers – including receipt printers, label printers, kitchen printers, etc.
• Barcode scanners – to quickly add items to the register at checkout.
• Cash drawers – the cash drawer connection methods available are not listed but are likely to be wireless or Bluetooth and are touted as “space-efficient cash drawers that ring with every sale”.
• Labels – ShopKeep offers label printers for barcode labels which can be printed right from your BackOffice.
ShopKeep offers a full suite of payment options and features, ranging from the ability to take varying payment types to enabling down payments, laybys, tipping and discounts.
A major feature of ShopKeep is that it offers a business the choice of who they wish to work with when it comes to payment providers. One of these is its own platform ShopKeep Payments.
ShopKeep Payments accepts credit, debit, cash, check, EMV chip cards, and mobile payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay from day one.
Meanwhile, if a merchant already has a preferred payment provider, ShopKeep will willingly work with them too.
Should the internet drop out, ShopKeep Payments still keeps running, allowing business to set up offline credit payments to run credit card transactions during rare cases of brief internet connection loss.
Returns can be issued from current or previous shifts with or without a receipt present.
Whether it’s for layaway or to just place an item on hold, ShopKeep offers the option for customers to leave a security deposit or partial payment towards items instead of paying all at once.
A range of discounts can be offered, including sales discounts, seniors’ discounts and employee discounts.
The usage of these can also be tracked, while approval requirement can be applied, if necessary.
ShopKeep also offers the ability to sell items at custom or market-price when required, courtesy of the open priced items option, or alternatively by weight/volume using the unit priced items option.
In a move that caters to the hospitality sector, ShopKeep offers merchants and restauranteurs the ability to easily divide a bill so it can be paid by different parties in different ways.
Again, this one mainly applies to hospitality, but merchants can save an order as an open check that can be updated, added to, and then closed out when it comes time to pay.
Recommended tip amounts can be customised, which ShopKeep notes is a proven way to increase the tip size.
The system allows merchants to readily offer and accept giftcards using ShopKeep’s integrated gift cards feature. These can then be tracked in reports as liabilities and redemptions.
ShopKeep offers all the usual checkout features courtesy of a register that’s elegantly designed and simple to use.
Receipts can be printed or emailed directly to the customer. They can also be customized to include business information, social networks, and promotional messages.
Users can set tax rates according to the region or customize tax rates as needed with a few quick taps.
As part of the POS, ShopKeep offers a platform called BackOffice. This is where the nuts and bolts of the business operation occurs. BackOffice is an internet-accessed dashboard that allows business owners or managers to log in from anywhere to manage staff, view reports and keep abreast of what’s happening.
Products or inventory items can be added and managed individually as basic items or with variants, or alternatively they can imported in bulk via CSV.
ShopKeep notes their system can cater to thousands of SKUs which can be imported in bulk while variants can also be applied.
ShopKeep’s aim is to offer inventory management tools that “speed up your work day, improve your margins, and help you run a tight, profitable ship”.
The software simplifies tracking for top-selling items, categories, and departments.
Merchants can track the quantity of items on hand to know how many are in stock, what to reorder and when.
For food and beverage businesses, components of items, like dishes and drinks, can also be managed in the Raw Goods section. As an example, coffee shops can track how many beans they’ve used, based on the coffee they’ve sold.
Inventory can also be kept tidy, with items assigned items to departments, categories and suppliers.
When it comes to inventory receiving, the software allows merchants to delegate the task to employees if they wish without granting them full access to more sensitive data.
Meanwhile, business operators can monitor inventory on-the-go with ShopKeep's Pocket App (we’ll cover this app more extensively a little later).
ShopKeep offers a suite of features to improve employee management. These include a time clock, which allows staff to clock on at the beginning of a shift, and employee permissions, which allow the business operator to set different access levels for staff members depending on their role and responsibility.
This also allows business operators to maintain control of their register, with some functions able to be set so manager permission is required, such as discounts and refunds.
Customers can be added directly at the register or in BackOffice. Once their details are in the system, they can be easily tagged to a sale and searched via name, email, or phone number.
Merchants can then use customer information to email receipts, track purchase histories, and keep abreast of their most loyal customers.
ShopKeep clearly understands the power of analytics and features a suite of tools for business owners to understand and better manage their operation.
• Analytics dashboard - The Analytics Dashboard provides merchants with a one-stop overview of all sales activity over a specific time frame.
• Inventory value report – This shows an inventory’s total value, quantity on hand, and cost of specific items for selected dates.
• Shifts summary – Shifts summary offers an overview of a shift’s cash flow, including opening/closing drawer amounts, overages, and shortages.
• Transactions Table - Specific transaction details of any historical transaction are available including a downloadable receipt. This data can also be exported to a spreadsheet.
• X & Z Reports – Register activity can be viewed during and after a shift, including opening/closing drawer amounts, and more.
• Sales Reports – Sales reports can be filtered by category, item, discount, location, department, employee, etc.
• Marketing Dashboard - The Marketing Dashboard identifies high-value customers and shows how customers interact with email receipts.
The ShopKeep Pocket App allows merchants to keep an eye on their operation in real time wherever they are.
Available for iOS or Android, it includes:
• Mobile business insights – This allows merchants to see items including detailed register breakdowns and lists of sold items
• Real time notifications – This feature alerts the merchant when shifts are opened and closed, which employee it was, and the amount in the cash drawer.
• Date range comparisons – Date range comparisons allows merchants can compare sales data over a pre-set or custom date range for a similar period to analyze performance.
In addition, all locations of a business can be linked so business operators have a quick, comprehensive picture of what’s going on.
ShopKeep plays nicely with a range of other software including accounting, eCommerce, and CRM tools.
Just some of the software providers and integrations they list include:
• eCommerce - ShopKeep eCommerce is powered by BigCommerce.
• Online directory listings – Merchants can control and manage their online brand to attract more customers with ShopKeep Spotlight, powered by Yext.
• Email marketing – Customer email addresses can be synced with MailChimp, for blanket or targeted email campaigns.
• Integrated accounting - ShopKeep’s POS system integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online to sync sales every night and ensure accurate, error-free accounting.
Previously ShopKeep offered a 14-day trial and starting rate of US$69 per month with additional costs for add-ons.
Recently, that pricing has changed and ShopKeep no longer publishes its costs, but it remains a subscription-based model.
On their website ShopKeep explains they offer customers “several software pricing options and integrations including accounting, marketing, eCommerce and more!”
Hardware is purchased separately, with the price varying depending on what items are required.
ShopKeep offers extensive customer support using a variety of methods, including live chat, online, FAQs, video tutorials and more.
Unlimited 24/7 support by live chat, email, text and web inquiry is included in the monthly price. Vendors can also contact customer support via email, and create cases that customer service personnel can address.
Meanwhile, the website features set-up tips, searchable support topics, best practice guides, troubleshooting, business-focussed blogs, and a lengthy list of FAQs. Video tutorials are also available along with walkthroughs that illustrate common tasks in a step-by-step manner.
ShopKeep has an excellent reputation with vendors as being reliable, simple to use, and easy to set-up.
Their support is also comprehensive, and their starting costs are not prohibitive. However, the lack of clear pricing may be a turn-off for some, while the system is only supported in the US, UK and Canada.
Full features, such as the proprietary payments processing hardware and tax rates are really only available in the US, but in some ways that’s not a bad thing.
Because ShopKeep is not attempting to roll out quickly on the international stage and be all things to all people across all platforms, the service it offers to vendors and the features it provides are well thought out and comprehensive.
As a result, ShopKeep has received numerous awards for its software and it continues to evolve.