by Stephanie Watson
Published on 9 January 2013
It costs money to buy cash registers, software, hardware. My friend who runs two small espresso spots gets frustrated because he wants to know how sales are going when he's out and about. Training his clerks to use the cash register software takes time.
Cash register systems, have kept up with computers but have been slow to adopt the cloud. Small retailers still invest in computers, servers and hardware to take money and separate tools to handle inventory and reports.
ShopKeep uses the cloud-based iPad as POS for reporting and inventory. The emphasis is on ease of use for sales people and managers. You don't even have to be in the shop to check on sales.
Small businesses like ShopKeep because it's easy to learn for both the salesperson and the owner. It's a two-part system, the Register and the Back Office The Register handles the sales and time clock. Back Office generates reports and handles inventory. You can also access data about how sales are going from any smart phone. If you have more than one store, you can check reports for all of them from one dashboard, a benefit of a cloud-based system.
The POS tools let you easily add items, create discounts and keep track of taxes. You can take credit, debit, cash or checks and use your own bank. With its intuitive interface, users report that there is almost no learning curve for employees. You decide who has access to which parts of the information. It even lets you email receipts to customers. It uses a hybrid technology so users aren't slowed down if their Internet connection has problems. The Register app is installed locally on each iPad so it isn't subject to interruptions from server crashes or slowdowns from bandwidth size. It acts like a regular register, printing receipts and opening the cash drawer.
All management functions reside in the cloud-based Back Office. You don't have to be in the individual store to use it. If you have more than one location, you can get real-time reports on all of them from anywhere. Use it to track sales as they occur, even out of the shop on your smart phone. It has a robust inventory management. Graphed reports show you how your business is doing. You'll never have to worry about another back-up since it's cloud-based.
ShopKeep uses the iPad for everything. Check out customers easily with either cash or credit cards.
It's simple to see how sales are going. Check charts for to figure out how individual items are doing, or check overall sales by the hour or date.
Your smart phone keeps you up-to-date from anywhere.
Inventory is simplified: add items, get a notice to reorder, receive orders.
Generate reports on every aspect of business from best sellers to returns.
Ease of use is it's huge selling point. It can be set up in minutes and figured out just as fast. The register does all POS actions effectively and it is a cloud-based hybrid that is not dependent on your Internet connection. The Back Office gives you up-to-the-minute information from anywhere.
The drawbacks are minor. It has trouble reading gift cards. It doesn't do accounts receivable/payable though you can export easily to QuickBooks. It is limited in how it can check out items that need to be weighed. However, don't let these limitations deter you from considering ShopKeep as these features are slated to be added in the very near future.
ShopKeep gets raves for its support. You receive free email, web chat and phone help with a subscription. It also offers a knowledge base, blog and regular webinars.
Best of all, the software is regularly updated with additional features based on feedback from their over 3,000 merchants.
Monthly subscriptions are based on the number of registers. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial that requires no credit card.
If you are a small retailer or quick serve restaurant owner who wants an easy-to-use, affordable POS and tracking system for your business, ShopKeep is definitely worth a look.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 4/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 4/5