‘Offline retail is all the way back’: Shopify launches new point-of-sale system in bid to kickstart growth

New Shopify POS system

Shopify has unveiled new point-of-sale hardware aimed at boosting its brick-and-mortar business as its stock continues to slide amid an ongoing e-commerce slump.

The Ottawa-based firm said Tuesday its new product, dubbed POS Go, is now available for pre-order for U.S. merchants and will spread to other countries in the coming months.

The move appears to be another indication Shopify is looking to fortify its connection to traditional in-store retailers as the online shopping boom that propelled the company to record revenues earlier in the pandemic has cooled off.

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POS Go is a mobile unit equipped with a built-in barcode scanner that lets merchants check out items anywhere in the store. Debit and credit cards can be swiped, tapped or inserted into the device.

In addition, the system provides retailers with detailed production information as well as data on customers and their past purchases. Merchants can also access up-to-the minute sales and inventory figures and other analytics across all Shopify channels via the WiFi-connected machine, which is similar to technology from competitors such as Square and Lightspeed Commerce.

‘Nimble’ technology

“Retail is evolving quickly and merchants need flexible solutions to help them succeed,” Shopify vice-president of product Arpan Podduturi said in a statement. 

“More than ever, brick-and-mortar retailers need technology that keeps them nimble.”

The new offering is Shopify’s latest bid to regain market momentum after a rough 10 months that have seen its stock take a major hit amid a broad tech selloff. 

The company’s shares were trading at $38.24 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon, down more than 75 per cent on the year and nearly 83 per cent from their peak of $222.87 (adjusted for a recent 10-to-one stock split) last November.

Meanwhile, the company reported a net loss of US$1.2 billion for the second quarter ending June 30, compared with a profit of nearly $880 million a year earlier, and warned it was expecting further losses. 

That report came a day after Shopify announced it was laying off 10 per cent of its workforce, or roughly 1,000 employees – a move the company said it was forced to make after misjudging the projected growth of the e-commerce market. 

Three weeks ago, Shopify announced it was shaking up its C-suite in an apparent effort to right the ship. 

The firm said chief financial officer Amy Shapero, who’s held the job for five years, would step down after the company’s third-quarter earnings are released in late October and will be replaced by longtime investment banker Jeff Hoffmeister.

Shopify also promoted Kaz Nejatian from vice-president of product to chief operating officer and elevated well-known former Ottawa entrepreneur Luc Levesque from VP of international growth to chief growth officer.

POS business growing

Now, the firm appears to be banking on a revamped point-of-sale system to help it further re-establish its footing. Shopify introduced its first point-of-sale product in 2013 and last upgraded the technology in 2020. 

It’s a clear effort to capitalize on a growing segment of the firm’s overall business. Shopify says sales from merchants using its point-of-sale technology rose nearly 60 per cent in the first half of 2022. 

“Offline retail is all the way back and we’re investing heavily in hardware that’s fit for the fastest-growing, most innovative retailers in the world,” Podduturi said.

Shopify has also been looking for other ways to expand its revenue streams. 

Last month, it launched a new product called Shopify Collabs aimed at helping connect social media content creators with merchants using the company’s platform. The firm previously established partnerships with Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and Pinterest to make it easier for its merchants to generate sales through those social media channels.

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