Point Of Sale systems, often referred to as POS systems, allow businesses to run credit card transactions. One of the most popular POS systems for small- to mid-sized businesses is Shopkeep, which offers a robust system that allows organizations to manage a variety of sales and business related tasks in addition to processing credit cards for sales.

To help you determine if this setup is right for your business, this review will cover how the system works and what its features are. Additionally, the review will go over the pros and cons of Shopkeep and where areas of opportunity exist for the platform.

How It Works

Shopkeep is a robust POS service that offers a number of features and additional functionality beyond simply running cards. When you sign up with Shopkeep, you are able to install the POS app on an iPad and connect it to equipment, like a scanner and receipt printer. Once the app is installed, you have the ability to manage a number of tasks, including sales, your inventory and employee timekeeping.

The service is $69 a month for the fist register, and each register after that is an additional $39 per month. It is important to note that this monthly charge does not cover transaction fees. You do not have to go through Shopkeep’s credit card processing service, but they do offer one. For transaction pricing, you’ll need to call them to get an estimate.

Shopkeep is a month to month service, and there are no contracts required. They may offer discounts for paying a year in advance, but you aren’t required to commit to a contract to use the service. A free 14-day trial is available.

Features

– Gift cards

You are able to offer customized and reloadable gift cards with the Shopkeep system. There is a small fee for purchasing the cards themselves, which runs between around $.60 and $.80 per card, and you have to pay an addition fee of $29 per month on top of your normal subscription fee. Once you subscribe to the gift card service, you’ll have access to a system that allows you to sell, reload and track the balances of cards.

– Custom receipts

Gift cards aren’t the only thing that you can make unique to your business. You also have the ability to customize your receipts. Along with being able to put in your address and business name on receipts, you’re also able to include things like your website and social media addresses. Logos and special messages can be incorporated, and you also have the ability to email receipts to customers.

– EMV functionality

Europay, MasterCard and Visa, known as EMV, is a type of POS system that allows the use of cards with chips in them. Standard credit cards have a magnetic strip on them that holds data about the card and its user. Chip cards have a chip in them, hence the name, and they create a unique transaction code every time that a purchase is made. Most transactions also require the customer to enter their PIN. This is supposed to make it far more difficult for dishonest individuals to create copies of these cards or to make fraudulent purchases.

While there’s no obligation for your business to use an EMV system, many credit card companies, including Visa, MasterCard and Discover, have stated that fraudulent charges may be your responsibility if you’re not using an EMV system. In addition to providing support for chip card transactions, Shopkeep also sells EMV capable card readers.

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– Sales portal

The Shopkeep POS system acts as an all-in-one sales portal. In addition to allowing you to accept credit cards and cash, the system also accepts checks, gift cards and combinations of different types of payments.

– Inventory management

Through the Shopkeep app, you can also manage your inventory. Along with being able to put in each item manually, you have the ability to upload inventory items in batches via CVS files. Once items are in your inventory, employees can look them up through the register by name or by scanning a barcode.

You can also set up the system to alert you of when certain inventory items are running low, and you can even arrange for restocking orders to be made automatically when inventory falls below a particular level.

What’s especially beneficial to restaurants is that you can set up the inventory system so that reorders also occur based on certain combinations of products getting low. For example, if bread, cheese, meat patties and lettuce are all required to make a burger, reorder will occur when you do not have enough ingredients to make a certain number of burgers.

Currently, the POS will only accept 10,000 unique inventory items. Additionally, the register can only display 270 items. Any items not listed on the register can be found through a search or by scanning a barcode.

– Reporting

Business reports can be very important for tracking basic things like seeing how many sales were made during a particular day or shift or verifying that employees were on time and completed their shift. However, Shopkeep also allows you to track things like how many sales each employee made and when the busiest times of the day are. It also tracks which products are selling best and which are most profitable.

You can also access this data at all times through the Shopkeep Pocket app for iPhone. With the phone app, even if you’re not at your shop, you have the ability to see what’s going on at your business.

– Integration

Shopkeep also allows its system to connect to and work with MailChimp, QuickBooks and Appcard. Integrating with MailChimp makes it easier to send out promotional emails to your customers, and you can easily collect emails by offering email receipts, which are available with the Shopkeep register app.

Integration with Appcard lets you offer loyalty cards to customers so that they more they spend or come in, the more freebies, discounts or rewards they get. This can help keep people returning to your business and increase the amount they spend while there. Appcard is not free, and pricing starts at $69 per month.

– Staff management

In addition to tracking when employees clock in and out, staff management features allow you to track the volume of sales employees are making as well as helping you to manage payroll. The system lets you set user access levels, so employees don’t have access to areas of the register that managers and supervisors do.

– Customer tracking

Shopkeep allows you to enter information about your customers. Data about what type of purchases people make can help you send out targeted promotional emails, and the POS system allows you to store email addresses you collect when you send out email receipts.

Pros of Shopkeep

One of the biggest selling points of Shopkeep is that the system is robust enough to take the place of a number of other systems. Along with doing the bare bones, which is enabling you to run credit card transactions, the system also allows you to track employee hours, manage your inventory, offer gift cards and loyalty cards and run a variety of reports. This POS system can also be set up to allow you to run EMV transactions, and it can connect to QuickBooks, MailChimp and Appcard.

– High value for cost

While you’ll be required to pay for the subscription to Shopkeep, which is $69 a month, as well as transaction fees, the additional features may make the service more than worth it to you. You might be able to cobble together a set of free apps and services that allow you to keep track of employee hours, handle sales and manage inventory, but it’s likely that they wouldn’t all work seamlessly together in a single package the way that Shopkeep does.

– Intuitive and simple interface

The ease of use of the system is also a big plus. Employees can look up items in a variety of ways, including by tapping on icons on the screen, doing a search or scanning in a bar code. Returns, exchanges and the purchase of gift cards can all be managed through the POS system, and employees can use it as a time clock as well. This means that you and your staff aren’t having to learn a number of programs or flipping back and forth between several apps throughout the day.

– Works for a variety of business types

Shopkeep is also a great solution for retailers as well as restaurants. With this system, you can send orders to different registers, transfer checks to different employees and leave tips as well. You can also open and close checks on different registers, and you can send orders wirelessly to different locations, such as from the front of the house to the bar or the kitchen. Checks can also be split up or merged as needed.

– No requirement to buy equipment from Shopkeep

Just like Shopkeep doesn’t require you to use its transaction service, you don’t have to purchase equipment from them either. So long as you’re using a compatible iOS device and compatible peripherals, they’ll work with the system. However, Shopkeep does offer a wide range of equipment, including printers, readers and scanners for sale on their site.

– 24/7 support

Support is a huge part of Shopkeep’s success. Along with offer 24/7 email and phone support, they provide forums, instructional guides and video tutorials. They even run a blog with posts designed to help small businesses with wide-ranging topics, including inventory management, working in the cloud and email marketing.

The company also seems to do a good job of listening to their customers. Previous complaints about the limited number of inventory items and the inability to change tax rates were listened to and addressed when updates to the software were made.

Cons of Shopkeep

Most of the drawbacks of Shopkeep relate to the fact that the company is oriented towards smaller businesses. For example, there is a maximum of 10,000 inventory items that can be tracked through the system. Additionally, the system is not designed to work across multiple locations. Finally, the POS is limited to being able to work on Apple products, and the register app only works on iPads.

Using Shopkeep at multiple locations can be done by paying for several registers, but doing so requires additional effort to differentiate between sales at different locations. Further, if you’re using the Shopkeep to keep tabs on inventory, it may be difficult to tell which location needs additional supplies. Payroll, taxes and other metrics can be measured register by register, but not separating by location opens up the potential for confusion.

Another downside of the Shopkeep system, in relation to using more than one register, is that you have to pay an additional $39 per month for each extra register. If you’re getting a lot of use out of every register you’re paying for, this isn’t really an issue. However, if you want the extra register just for rushes or certain times of the year, you may be paying for a register you almost never use.

This is not to say that Shopkeep may never decide to expand the number of items that can be inventoried or that there won’t ever be an easy method for running the system from different locations. The company already has made changes, such as allowing you to change the tax rate and expanding the inventory limit, so these features may be available in future releases of Shopkeep. However, there’s no reason to count on these upgrades either since Shopkeep has been vocal about not feeling the need to cater to larger organizations.

It’s also important to note that while you don’t have to use Shopkeep’s equipment or even buy equipment from them, you’re only able to use their service with Apple devices. If you’ve already got a bunch of Android compatible equipment or aren’t enthusiastic about using iPads to manage your sales, inventory and timekeeping, Shopkeep may not be right for you. Further, if you intend to grow your business substantially or are starting up a larger or multi-location business, you may want to consider another POS system.

Conclusion

Overall, Shopkeep has a lot going for it, especially if you’re a small business owner and are looking to get a lot for a relatively little money. The drawbacks of the system tend to be more about personal preference or business size than problems with the functionality or reliability of the service. Shopkeep offers a free trial, so if you’re looking for a POS system, the service is definitely worth taking a look at.