In our ShopKeep POS review, we’re going to determine if it’s truly one of the #1 rated iPad POS system as touted on their website. We’ll provide an overview of features and take a look at pricing, hardware requirements, pros vs. cons, business types and provide a final verdict.
If you’re a shopkeeper and own a restaurant or retail store, you know how important it is to keep accurate records of your sales and inventory data. If you’re still using old technology or a cash register instead of a POS, you’re missing out on a lot of the features and benefits that modern software solutions have to offer. While an iPad POS might not be for everyone, especially if you’re not familiar with Apple products, there are some advantages to using mobile POS over the traditional point of sale systems. We’ll discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of using an app like ShopKeep below.
To be competitive and to provide exceptional service to your customers, you also need a shop POS that is going to fast, reliable, secure, and user-friendly. The old-school systems that cost an arm and a leg are a thing of the past. These days you can find many reasonably inexpensive POS solutions like ShopKeep that provides the power and features you need to improve restaurant management or your retail operations. So what sets the ShopKeep POS system apart from its competitors? Let’s take a look.
Works for restaurants and retail
Easy to program
Clean and intuitive user-interface design
Robust, real-time back-office data
Handheld/Mobile orders and payments
Offline credit card processing
Consistently improving software
No contract commitments for POS
Some online complaints about hardware issues
Customer service has been characterized by long wait times
Online chat and email is preferred support method
Lacks features of more robust restaurant software
Overview of ShopKeep POS
What is ShopKeep? Founded in 2008, ShopKeep POS is a point of sale solution that works on the Apple iPad; its headquarters are located in New York. Its POS system is utilized by over 25,000 small business in the USA and Canada, and it’s mostly used in retail shops, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, cafes, franchises, and quick-service establishments.
In a world where innovation is key to success, ShopKeep has been innovatively designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) not only succeed but also thrive. This point-of-sale system features a tablet-based user interface as the main interface, allowing companies to handle sales with exceptional ease and minimum technical investments. With just a tablet, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have access to a competent point of sale system that has all the functionality they would need.
Another vital attribute of this system is the focus it pays to the needs of SMEs. The POS has been carefully designed with a clean easy to understand user interface. It is, therefore, effortless to get up to speed with how to use the system safely, securely, effectively, and efficiently. SMEs such as retail stores, restaurants, bars, and franchises with multiple-locations or more will benefit immensely from mobile POS features, especially with the ability to take orders and payments tableside with their handheld POS hardware.
iPad solutions that provide service to multiple locations can be a challenge to find, especially that do it well, and ShopKeep gives you the ability to link all your sites together to manage inventory and view sales reporting from a single back office login. ShopKeep has three different UIs; the iPad-based user interfaces for sales, a web-based back-office user interface, and the ShopKeep Pocket App, which is an iOS and Android app that provides real time-back office information.
If you’re looking to replace your old POS or get a new one and curious the system is worth it, continue reading our review, or click the button to get started with Shopkeep now…
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ShopKeep operates on a pay-as-you-go system and there are no fixed contracts. Additionally, the system providers moved away from the fixed-pricing model to a quote model if you need more than one register. Previously, the price of this POS started at $69 per month, but now on their website you’ll find that ShopKeep costs $99 per month for 1 register. The price was increased to include a number of add-on features so you don’t have to pay for them individually.
Register – The register feature is comprehensive for most businesses and shopkeepers. For instance, its capabilities range from ringing up items, modifying the items, splitting the check, taking payments, adding discounts at the item or order level, and returns and refunds. Setting up the register is done through the Back Office UI.
Inventory Management – Its inventory management feature allows businesses to manage all their products. The software supports an unlimited number of items. As for organizing the items/products, the items can be categorized according to their category, supplier, or department. The inventory management feature can track product quantities, set reorder points, and much more. This feature allows you to manage your inventory compressively and helps with reducing food costs if you manage a restaurant.
Employee Management – The software has inbuilt time-tracking software that allows businesses to track employee times. It can also be used for staff scheduling purposes.
Customer Management – This feature is a marketing feature that allows businesses to collect customers’ contact information. You can use the information gathered to create an email list or run a customer loyalty program.
Reporting – As a shopkeeper, the software has ample reporting capabilities. The sales data reported include sale per hour, gross and net sales figure, the average sales value, the number of transactions, the best and worst performing products, the sales by customer, and sales by discount reporting. Aside from viewing the reports on your device, you can print the reports if you need to. The reporting feature also has a Tax Rate Feature. Using the Tax Groups feature, you can set different tax rates for different products. However, you can set a default tax rate for all products.
Multi-locations – ShopKeep has a multi-location reporting feature. Using the ShopKeep’s web-based reporting platform, you can view all your inventory data and sales reporting for multiple stores. This feature allows you to analyze the performance of different stores individually or all the stores combined.
Restaurant and Bar Features
Build Your Menu Easily – Add new menu items, modifiers, and customize your register button layout.
Simplify Your Inventory – Manage inventory down to ingredient-level with alerts for low stock.
Offer More Ways to Pay – Accept all payment types, including Apple Pay and EMV chip and pin cards.
Online Visibility – Help customers find you with online visibility on 100+ websites.
Increase Profit Margins – Make smart decisions based sales data (like best sellers).
Bring Regulars Back – Integrated loyalty and gift card programs.
Customer Relationship Management – Track top customers and sent emails with promos/special events.
Tableside Service – Take and send orders to the kitchen right from the table.
Increase Server Tips – Customizable suggested tip amounts on tickets.
Sync Orders Across Terminals – Keep all your checks in sync across all registers at the same time.
Remote Management – Manage operations from any device, including the ShopKeep pocket app.
Offline Processing – Never miss a sale again with offline credit card payments.
Refunds and Returns – Perform returns efficiently without any issues or even without a receipt.
Deposit/Down Payments – Customers can leave a security deposit or partial payment.
Discounts – Customize your discounts and quickly secure and track applied discounts.
Time Clock – Employees clock in and out and track their hours in the back office.
Permissions – Assign user permissions for added control of the register.
Automated Inventory Management – No matter how larger your inventory.
Employee Management – Track hours and sales performance.
Loyalty Program – Reward your loyal customers.
Matrix Inventory – Sell and track inventory on multiple variation types of items.
Track Top Sellers – Track top selling items, categories, and departments.
Email Marketing – Build a customer email list and launch email marketing campaigns.
eCommerce – Accept sales online with your own eComm store.
Gift Cards – ShopKeep offers integrated gift cards.
Cloud-Based or Locally Installed?
ShopKeep POS is a hybrid system. Businesses run the app software locally from their iPads with the capacity and capability of handling a myriad of tasks, including payment processing. When there is an internet connection, the data syncs with a cloud-based database, so you have access to all your data online.
ShopKeep offers an offline mode where you can accept credit cards if your internet goes down. However, that feature only works if you’re using the Clover devices with ShopKeep payments. If you’re using another device to accept credit cards, then you can use an iPad with cellular data or configure your network with a failover router for internet continuity.
Industries Served & Business Size
ShopKeep has been designed to meet the needs of small to medium-sized businesses, especially in those in the retail and restaurant industries. For instance, cafeterias, wine stores, bakeries, gifts shops, kiosks, food trucks, coffee shops, ice cream shop, toy stores, and other similar businesses. Some full-service restaurants can also use this system and can adequately meet most of their needs.
Here’s a list of business types mentioned on ShopKeep’s website that are perfect for the platform:
Ease of Use
As mentioned above, ShopKeep has a clean, modern, and, importantly, intuitive design that is easy to get to grips with and a joy to use. The design is above par in terms of aesthetics, the navigation is easy to use, and the animation quality and sound effects make for splendid user experience.
ShopKeep’s Back Office is intuitive and easy to get started. When you log in for the first time, you’re greeted with a guide to help you with the setup process of the POS. The quick startup guide gives you an overview of features and the ability to set up your store details that will display on the receipts. After that, you get a summary on how to add your inventory to the system by importing in a CSV format or item-by-item. You’ll also learn how to add various buttons to the POS screen.
Once you get the basics configured, you’ll discover how simple the software is to navigate the various menu options and features. All the reporting features including employee management, and inventory management is handled with the online back office. Some settings and managerial functions can be accessed from the app on the tablet.
Since ShopKeep is an iPad-based POS, the main hardware you will need to purchase is an iPad (it can be an iPad or an iPad mini). Businesses can also use certain Clover devices. As for software requirements, the iPad should be run on iOS 9.3.5 or higher.
For peripheral hardware, ShopKeep provides a range of peripherals such as receipt printer, barcode labels, card swipe iPad stand, barcode scanner, barcode scanner charging cradle, and much more. However, you do not have to purchase your peripherals from ShopKeep. You have to make sure the peripherals you are buying are compatible with iPads and are the make and models that ShopKeep supports.
ShopKeep Hardware Kit
ShopKeep does offer some complete hardware bundles to get you started quickly. They offer kits for retail, restaurants, quick-service, and even offer a handheld register kit to accept payments anywhere. Most of the ShopKeep starter kits are in the $800-$1,500 range, so their prices aren’t crazy. If you’re not an iPad fan, you can also use all-in-one Android POS hardware from Clover like The Mini or The Station. If you have specific hardware requirements, you’ll need to have a custom quote created.
Our advice is to always purchase your hardware from the POS company or vendor you’re working with, so you get equipment that is certified to work with the software. Otherwise, you risk putting together a Frankenstein system that may never work quite right – this will also help your vendor support the setup since the company that created the software provides it. Just because you have an old receipt printer you found in the storage room, doesn’t mean it will be compatible or that you should use it. Get new equipment, or you’ll regret it later.
Shop Keep has add-ons you can integrate into your POS. They include:
MailChimp – Instead of creating their own in-house email services, ShopKeep has partnered with MailChimp to provide high-quality email services.
BigCommerce – This add-on allows users to integrate with BigCommerce and create an online store.
Online Ordering – This add-on allows businesses to create websites for customers to make orders.
QuickBooks Online – This add-on allows businesses to integrate their POS with accounting services provider, QuickBooks.
ShopKeep Loyalty – This AppCard powered add-on allows businesses to run a loyalty program with ease. This point-based reward program allows stores to offer in-store discounts.
Compatible Credit Card Companies
ShopKeep has its own credit card processor called ShopKeep Payments. They customize the rates based on payment volumes and the average ticket prices that a business handles. They do not advertise their processing rates on the ShopKeep website, so you’ll need to get a quote directly from a sales rep.
You can still use many other payment processors if have a contract with other credit card processing services providers, including Global Payments, First Data, Elavon, TSYS, Heartland, and many other leading payment processing companies. However, you will have to pay a gateway access fee to link with the external payment processors, which is not uncommon in the processing and POS world.
Customer Service and Support
It should be noted that the company has consistently won The Stevie Awards for sales and customer service for the past several years, which is a big deal in the industry. Reviews of ShopKeep across various sites like on Trustpilot are mixed, with some loving their support and others not so much. However, you’re going to find that with nearly every software on the market. My advice is to ask the essential questions upfront before purchasing any system to make sure it does what you want, so you’re not blindsided after you start using it.
To support their clients, ShopKeep runs a 24/7 support system available via email, text, web inquiry, and live chat. Importantly, their support services are included in the monthly fee. The company has also produced an enormous amount of content on their website to help guide their customers in the form of tutorial articles and video tutorials.
For the most part, ShopKeep is a reasonably robust POS solution for many small business types. It offers ample features and reporting that most small business will want to have in their POS system. It is very accessible; you do not have to purchase high-end and expensive equipment to run your point of sale. If you manage a more advanced retail operation or need specific features for high volume restaurants or bars, ShopKeep is probably not the best solution. If you’re looking for a more robust iPad POS solution for a restaurant or bar, we recommend checking out TouchBistro POS.
That said, you should note that just like many POS solutions, the ShopKeep system is still a work in progress. For instance, the company has been working with Clover to bring this system to Android-powered devices. Additionally, its makers are looking to add new features to make it as complete as possible, while still retaining the user-friendly interface it has garnered acclaim for in the industry. As such, you can rest assured that the system will get better moving forward.
ShopKeep works with so many different industry types; it’s nearly impossible to say if it’s the best iPad POS solution on the market for your business. I strongly recommend you complete the form to get a free trial and speak to a sales rep to make sure it does everything you need before purchasing ShopKeep.
Jason Feemster is a POS specialist and the President of Point of Sale USA (https://www.posusa.com). Jason has been in the point of sale business and in information technology for over 20 years. His website and articles have been featured or quoted in many industry publications including Inc.com, Business.com, Point of Sale News, Restaurant Business Online, Channelinsider.com, and VSR Magazine. Connect with Jason Feemster on LinkedIn.
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