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ShopKeep Review: Best POS System for Retail Stores

ShopKeep Review: Best POS System for Retail Stores
Credit: ShopKeep

Our 2017 research and analysis of POS systems leads us to again recommend ShopKeep as the best POS system for retailers.

We chose ShopKeep from the dozens of POS systems we considered. To read our full methodology and see a more comprehensive list of POS systems, visit our best picks page here.

ShopKeep is our pick for the best POS system for retailers because it's an easy-to-use, cloud-based service that offers competitive pricing, doesn't require a lengthy contract, and has tons of features to help you run and grow your retail business.

ShopKeep is a comprehensive iPad POS system for retailers that's packed with big-business features at a small-business price. It has simple pricing, charging a flat fee of $69 per month per register. Whereas many POS systems have tiered, feature-based pricing structures and some charge additional fees for premium customer support, ShopKeep's one-size-fits-all pricing includes all its features and 24/7 phone and email customer support. There are no maintenance or service fees, so you're not surprised when you receive your bill.

We like that ShopKeep gives you the option of month-to-month service, as it allows you to move on if the system doesn't meet your needs without incurring a hefty early termination fee. However, if you're willing to sign a long-term contract, you may receive a discounted rate.

Although the company posts its pricing on its website, you have to search for it. Rather than including it clearly on the pricing page and under the FAQs question about pricing, it's listed on the POS System Guide page, which is confusing and less straightforward than the pricing information other top systems provide.

You can purchase POS hardware from ShopKeep, either bundled or piece by piece. Its basic bundles start around $900 and include a cash drawer, receipt printer, iPad holder and Bluetooth credit card reader. The system works with third-party hardware, so you also have the option of using existing hardware or shopping around for deals to save even more money.

The company provides credit card processing services through ShopKeep Payments and advertises month-to-month contracts with no cancellation fees, but you have to call the company for a quote, as it doesn't post its rates. Alternatively, you can use this POS system with other processors, such as Heartland, TSYS, TransFirst and Global Payments, which can be a good option if you're already under contract or you prefer to continue working with your current processor. However, the company charges a $15 monthly gateway access fee for the privilege.

Editor's note: Looking for information on POS systems? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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Although ShopKeep comes with many features that go beyond processing sales, the system is user friendly, and the company says that this ease of use is what its customers like best about it. You can generate reports and manage your inventory, staff and customers straight from the POS system. Here are some of the features we liked most:

Inventory management. Managing inventory can be a huge headache for a retailer. One of the reasons ShopKeep is our favorite POS system for retailers is its powerful inventory management tools. Here are four inventory features we liked:

  • Bulk product uploading and management: Instead of manually entering and updating products one at a time, you can use a spreadsheet to add or adjust multiple items at once. This can be a significant timesaver if you carry a large number of items in your store.
  • Raw goods tracking: If you sell composite items, the raw goods setting can help you track the inventory items that go into a finished product.
  • Low-inventory alerts and reorder reports: You can set a Reorder Trigger for each item so that when an item falls below the number you set, it appears on the Reorder Report. You can then use this report to help you determine the items and quantities you need to reorder.
  • Customizable register buttons: You can organize your products in the register display in the way that's most intuitive for you and your team to quickly find items when you're ringing up sales. You can create category pages and then drag and drop buttons into place, select button colors, and edit product names as they appear on the buttons.

Customer management. ShopKeep can help you boost sales by giving you insights into customer behavior and helping you nurture your relationships with them. You can capture contact information as you ring up each sale and give customers the option of receiving their receipts via email. Promotions to encourage return visits and links to your social media accounts can be added to emailed receipts. You can also look up customer purchase histories and run a report that shows you your top customers. If you integrate ShopKeep with an email marketing program such as MailChimp, you can use this information to run targeted email marketing campaigns.

Employee management. You can create user profiles for your employees and designate which tasks and data they can access. Hourly sales reports can help you identify your busiest days and times so you can staff accordingly, and your employees can clock in and out with ShopKeep's built-in time clock. You can then run shift reports to monitor employee time and performance, such as which sales associates are making the most sales, and pinpoint specific details, like who processed which transactions on which day and at what time.

Reporting tools. ShopKeep has robust analytics tools that deliver real-time analysis of your sales data to help you make better business decisions. You can see a broad overview of your company's sales or go deep into the details, such as sales data for a specific day and time, product or sales associate. Other reports include sales summaries, daily comparisons, most profitable items and top-selling products.

Offline mode. Internet outages happen occasionally, but this shouldn't stop you from running your business. ShopKeep's offline mode allows you to accept cash sales until you're back online. It saves your transactions locally and then uploads the information once you're reconnected.

Third-party integrations. ShopKeep integrates with QuickBooks Online, automatically sending sales data to your accounting program, which saves you the time of manually entering it. It also integrates with MailChimp, giving you the ability to run email marketing campaigns using the customer contact data you've collected. In case you work with a developer and need custom integrations, an API is available.

ShopKeep provides several customer support channels. Whether you need to reach a live customer service representative, prefer to troubleshoot issues yourself or just want to learn more about getting the most out of this POS system, ShopKeep puts plenty of resources at your disposal.

24/7 support. You can reach ShopKeep anytime by phone, email, text message or the chat in the system's back office. While there are many ways to contact company representatives, some are more responsive than others. We received quick responses from the live chat rep, but this individual was more interested in setting up a sales call with us than answering our questions. When we called the company without first setting an appointment, we spent more than 10 minutes on hold. If you need to talk with customer service, we suggest setting an appointment to save yourself the frustration of waiting on hold.

Support center. ShopKeep's support center features a searchable knowledgebase, getting-started and troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and a video support library with dozens of step-by-step guides and video demos covering getting started, training employees, setting up hardware and using the many different features ShopKeep offers.

Blog. ShopKeep's blog is a terrific resource for business owners, as it features numerous articles to help you stay up to date with ShopKeep's new features and run a smarter business. In the Talking Shop section, you'll find information on the latest features, plus announcements, service changes and other ShopKeep news. In the ShopKeep Small Business Hub section, you can read tips and advice on running a successful small business.

The blog also includes a Small Business 101 guide that walks would-be entrepreneurs through the steps of starting a small business. It discusses topics such as business planning and funding, insurance and permits, finding a location, designing your store layout, hiring staff, and marketing to customers.

ShopKeep is an excellent POS system for retailers, but it does have some limitations. It's designed for single-location stores, so it isn't the best choice for retailers with multiple locations. The system allows you to link multiple accounts together and view multi-location reports, but you can't share inventory between ShopKeep accounts. This may be problematic if, for example, you manage inventory from a central warehouse or frequently transfer stock between locations.

This system only works on iPads, specifically the fifth-generation iPad, iPad Pro or iPad Mini 4; it isn't compatible with older iPad generations. If you prefer an Android or PC POS system, ShopKeep isn't the POS system for you.

Although ShopKeep provides many customer support channels, those we tested weren't as helpful as similar services from other companies we reviewed. For example, the chat agent wanted to schedule a phone appointment for its sales agents rather than answer our questions, and calling the company without first scheduling an appointment resulted in a 10-minute wait.

Ready to choose a POS system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for information on POS systems? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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Additional reporting by Sara Angeles.

Lori Fairbanks

Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as an editor for Creating Keepsakes magazine and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She joined Purch in 2014 as a senior writer for Top Ten Reviews and now writes for Business.com and Business News Daily.