Shopify brings POS to Canada, offers offline-only option

Ottawa-based Shopify Inc. is bringing its point-of-sales (POS) hardware and service to its native country of Canada after a successful launch in the U.S. and is also making a bricks and mortar-only Shopify service available, it announced today.

Shopify began as an e-commerce retailer, managing the backend inventory systems of online shops for nearly 100,000 merchants today. It expanded its business in August of last year by launching a payments processing service and POS system, allowing customers to ditch third-party payment providers and use the same inventory management system for both e-commerce sales and in-store sales. Now Canadians can buy the hardware needed for the Shopify POS. New customers to Shopify now also have the option to start with just the POS and not an e-commerce store.

The hardware available includes a card reader (supplied by Boston-based Roam Data Inc.) that is compatible with a Shopify iOS app on the iPhone and iPad. It can be used to take credit card payments from Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Plus, those payments can be accepted at new, recently negotiated lower rates, according to Adam McNamara, vice-president of product at Shopify.

“They’re the best rates you can get on the market right now,” he says. “You get these just for signing up with Shopify, no strings attached.”

The rates on credit card transactions are 2.7 per cent for the basic plan, 2.4 per cent for professional plan, and 2.15 per cent for the unlimited plan. But Shopify isn’t looking to compete with other mobile POS providers such as Jack Dorsey’s new-to-Canada Square or Vancouver-based Payfirma, McNamara says.

“Those companies are predominantly payment companies,” he says. “What we’re trying to do is help merchants start, build and run a businesses, and that takes a lot more than just payments.”

Shopify's credit card dongle on an iPad mini, with an iPad stand.
Shopify’s credit card dongle on an iPad mini, with an iPad stand.

Shopify is a fast growing company and set to expand its offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, McNamara said, speaking at a Toronto-based pop-up store where Shopify is hosting a week of events and workshops. In fact the Ottawa team is moving to a new headquarters building next month and the Toronto team is also on the prowl for a larger office space after its acquisition of Jet Cooper last year. There are thousands of users of Shopify’s POS in the U.S. including San Francisco-based clothing e-tailor Taylor Stitch and online shoe-seller Nice Kicks.

The POS-only plan costs $49 per month and is “incredibly important” for Shopify, he says. “If merchants want to get started and aren’t ready to sell online yet, Shopify is a great place to start.”

Shopify will also sell you other POS items like a receipt printer.
Shopify will also sell you other POS items like a receipt printer.

Both the credit card swiping-dongle and the iOS app are free to Shopify users. Other retail set-up packages are available starting at $179 for a basic setup, up to $499 for the complete setup of a receipt printer, cash drawer, and iPad stand.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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