As Square and other ecommerce competitors amp up their online offerings for merchants, Shopify’s going in another direction and revamping its offline tools.
Starting today, merchants that want to branch out into a bricks-and-clicks model can buy a suite of new Shopify hardware tools: a tap and chip reader, dock and retail stand. Prices for the individual tools start at $39, and the whole kit costs $229. Other than paying for the hardware, Shopify merchants won’t see any extra charges to their plans.
“We have 820,000 merchants and when those merchants have tested out the market and see if it’s working online, they start thinking about offline,” said Craig Miller, chief product officer, Shopify. “They love that they can use the same solution online that they’ve been using for years to transition to do offline as well.”
It isn’t Shopify’s first foray into hardware for brick and mortar, but it’s an upgrade to some of the company’s previous products. For example, the new tap and chip reader enables contactless payments, and its small size means store associates can carry them around.
“Now that Apple Pay and Google Pay are starting to become so ubiquitous, we decided that the time is right for [this product],” Miller said.
Lively, a direct-to-consumer lingerie and intimates company, is one of the beta partners for the release of the new products. Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Lively’s founder, said the integration of her company’s online and offline business through a single point of sale and platform lets the company be more nimble with new products. For example, earlier this year, Lively started selling a stripe mesh bralette in three colors in stores and found that the green version was “flying off the shelves.” So, Lively increased its inventory count when it released the same product online.
“It’s crazy to think about but there’s some really large companies out there where their retail and online company are almost treated as separate business because their systems don’t talk to each other,” Grant said. “The biggest, most important part is I can see my business holistically.”
Other beta partners include Assembly, Nalata Nalata, The Hundreds, Modernica and Tokyobike. Shopify’s new retail kit arrives about a month after Square announced its improved Square Online Store and the new Square for retail, two different offerings to help merchants facilitate an easier bricks-and-clicks model.