Shopify POS Review: Pros, Cons, Alternatives

For e-commerce businesses that want to sell online and in person, Shopify POS is a top choice.
May 20, 2022

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Shopify POS

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

Shopify POS (point-of-sale software) syncs directly with the Shopify e-commerce platform and is one of the best point-of-sale systems for businesses that want to sell their products or services in person as well as online.

Unlike some competitors, however, Shopify does not offer free POS software, and the platform is retail-focused, so other industries will likely want to consider alternative options.

Deciding factors

Software cost

Starts at $9 per month.

Hardware cost

Starts at $49 to tap, dip and swipe with an iPhone or iPad device.

Payment processing cost

Varies based on your Shopify plan. Rates for Basic plan:

  • In-person payments: 2.7% per transaction.

  • Online payments: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

Additional transaction fee applies if you don’t use Shopify Payments for your payment processor.

Contract length

No contract required. Plans are paid month to month.

Live support

Customer support is available 24/7 through email, live chat and phone callback services.

Ease of use

Shopify POS is user-friendly, with a modern and intuitive interface. You can set up your system quickly, and sync your point-of-sale with your online store.

How does Shopify POS work?

With the Shopify POS app, you can sell your products or services in person — take orders from customers, accept payments and sync transactions across sales channels. To get started with Shopify POS, however, you must purchase a Shopify e-commerce subscription.

Even if you don’t want to sell online, you’ll use your Shopify e-commerce account to manage important details of your point-of-sale system, such as your customers, inventory and other administrative information.

Shopify Retail POS

Shopify
Shop Now

on Shopify's website

Once you have a Shopify plan, you can download the Shopify POS app — available for both iOS and Android devices. Using the app, you’ll be able to log in and start customizing your system.

If you're selling in person, you can purchase Shopify POS hardware, and you’ll be ready to start taking customer orders.

Shopify POS features

Shopify offers two versions of its point-of-sale software: Shopify POS Lite and Shopify POS Pro. POS Lite comes standard with every Shopify monthly plan except Shopify Lite, and POS Pro offers additional features to boost business efficiency and functionality.

Shopify POS Lite

The company’s basic POS includes the following features:

  • Inventory tracking across locations and sales channels.

  • Unlimited product inventory with collections, variants, and multi-location inventory.

  • Login PINs for individual staff members.

  • Discount and promo codes for online and in-person transactions.

  • QR codes that can be attached to certain products for checkout.

  • The option to email customers with items they liked to encourage purchases.

  • Customer profiles with order history and contact information.

  • Order notes for special requests on purchases.

  • Automatic tax calculations.

  • Custom receipts by email and SMS.

  • Return processing with automatic inventory updates.

  • Reporting that includes cash tracking, basic inventory reports and finance reports.

  • Compatibility with Shopify’s card readers and accessories.

  • Shopify Payments integration.

Shopify POS Pro

In addition to the features with POS Lite, Shopify’s POS Pro includes:

  • Order management for local pickup, local delivery and in-store exchanges.

  • Cart retrieval for e-commerce checkout.

  • Custom printed receipts.

  • Purchase order creation.

  • Inventory forecasting based on sales and inventory analysis.

  • Product transfers between locations with inventory tracking.

  • Low stock alerts.

  • Sale item suggestions based on performance.

  • Inventory matching and receiving count with barcode scanning.

  • Detailed inventory reporting.

  • Daily sales reports on sales, products and staff performance.

  • Sales tracking by staff members.

  • Unlimited non-admin staff access to POS.

  • Staff roles and permissions.

  • Manager approval settings for actions like discounting.

How much does Shopify POS cost?

Software, hardware and payment processing will all play a role in the total cost of Shopify POS.

POS pricing

Shopify POS Lite is included with all of the monthly plans except Shopify Lite, which means there’s no additional cost to use this version of the POS. However, POS Pro is an additional $89 per month unless you select the Shopify Pro plan, which includes POS Pro.

Software pricing

To use Shopify POS, you must subscribe to a monthly Shopify e-commerce plan.

Shopify Lite*

Basic Shopify

Shopify

Advanced Shopify

Shopify Plus

Monthly cost

$9.

$29.

$79.

$299.

Starting at $2,000 per month or quote-based for businesses with high volume sales.

Monthly cost of Shopify POS Lite

$0.

$0.

$0.

$0.

N/A.

Monthly cost of Shopify POS Pro

$89 per location.

$89 per location.

$89 per location.

$89 per location.

$0.

*Shopify Lite includes standard features for point-of-sale, but does not offer access to the online store sales channel. Unlike the other subscriptions, you can't use this plan to build a Shopify e-commerce store — instead, Shopify Lite allows you to embed a buy button on your existing website or blog.

Payment processing costs

Shopify Payments is included with all monthly plans to process online transactions. Shopify charges transparent, flat-rate processing fees for in-person and online payments, and the rates you pay depend on which e-commerce plan you choose.

Although Shopify Payments is included with all subscriptions, you can use a third-party provider, such as Amazon Pay, Authorize.net or Braintree to process payments. Your rates will likely differ if you work with a third-party processor, and you also will have to pay an additional transaction fee for not using Shopify Payments.

Here are the Shopify Payments processing costs based on the different plan options:

Shopify plan

In-person payment processing rate

Online payment processing rate

Additional transaction fee for not using Shopify Payments

Shopify Lite

2.7% per transaction.

2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

2%.

Basic Shopify

2.7% per transaction.

2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

2%.

Shopify

2.5% per transaction.

2.6% + 30 cents per transaction.

1%.

Advanced Shopify

2.4% per transaction.

2.4% + 30 cents per transaction.

0.5%.

Shopify Plus

Variable rates.

Variable rates.

0.15%.

Shopify Retail POS

Shopify
Shop Now

on Shopify's website

Hardware costs

You can use Shopify POS with an existing iOS or Android smartphone or tablet that you already own. You can purchase additional POS hardware, such as card readers, cash drawers and receipt printers on the Shopify website. Here are the prices of some of the standard hardware accessories:

  • Chipper 2X BT Reader for tap, chip and swipe: $49.

  • Barcode scanners: $229 to $329.

  • Label printers: $169 to $499.

  • Receipt printer:s $299 to $369.

  • Cash drawers: $139 to $159.

Pros of Shopify POS

Features for multichannel selling

Shopify POS offers robust features for small-business owners who want to sell both online and in person.

With Shopify POS, you can customize the smart grid interface of your app, check out customers on the go, offer custom discounts and send digital receipts. You can add and categorize an unlimited number of products, track inventory and sync orders across retail locations, online stores and other sales channels. You also can use Shopify POS to create email and social media marketing campaigns, develop a customer loyalty program and generate reports from online and in-person sales.

Integrated, flat-rate payment processing

All Shopify plans include built-in access to Shopify Payments and are compatible with the Shopify POS system. Unlike some credit card processing companies, which have quote-based rates or hidden fees, Shopify Payments offers flat-rate fees that are simple and easy to understand.

These processing rates do not vary based on the type of card that your customer uses, and you also can access lower processing rates with each higher-level e-commerce subscription plan tier.

Easy to use

Shopify POS is user-friendly and approachable for new and experienced business owners alike. It has a modern and intuitive interface and can be set up quickly and easily.

Shopify also offers 24/7 customer service via email, live chat and phone for all plans except for Shopify Lite. You can access a variety of onboarding and support resources on the Shopify website, including informational articles, webinars, a community forum, video tutorials and business courses.

Drawbacks of Shopify POS

More e-commerce focused

Shopify POS relies heavily on its connection with the Shopify e-commerce platform, which is great for multichannel sellers but may not be as appealing for some brick-and-mortar retailers. Businesses that are brick and mortar first might be able to find an alternative point-of-sale option that offers better features at a more affordable price.

Similarly, Shopify POS does not offer many features designed for restaurants or food-service businesses. In comparison, restaurant POS systems like Toast or Clover can provide capabilities such as online ordering, tableside payments, menu and table management and delivery integrations.

Alternatives to Shopify POS

Square POS

Pricing:

Square offers a robust POS for all merchants with a free plan and available upgrades for restaurants, larger retail shops and appointment-based businesses. The free POS includes website hosting, pickup and delivery options, online invoicing and staff management. Paid retail upgrades offer multi-location inventory, exchanges and vendor management, and all options let you work multiple sales channels. Square also offers flat, transparent pricing and a variety of card readers and accessories that work with its POS system.

Square POS

Square
Shop Now

on Square's website

Clover POS

Clover offers POS for e-commerce businesses and in-person shops to let businesses pick the combination they need. POS features vary by monthly plan, with the Essentials plan including payments, order management, inventory control and customer profiles for $14.95 per month. More expensive monthly plans include advanced inventory and reporting capabilities. Processing rates vary with each plan.

Whitney Vandiver, a writer at NerdWallet, contributed reporting to this review.

Methodology

Point-of-sale systems providers ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s point-of-sale systems provider ratings reward companies whose products and services are priced well and work in a variety of payment scenarios, among other criteria. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including cost, system capabilities, contract requirements, customer service and integrations and add-ons. Learn more about how we rate point-of-sale (POS) systems providers.

These ratings are a guide, but services, hardware and pricing can vary widely from business to business and provider to provider. We encourage you to shop around and compare several providers.

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