The company announced on Tuesday its chip and chip payment terminal, which will allow retailers to accept debit and credit card transactions north of the border, a decision that comes just a week after have unveiled a new point-of-sale software system.
In an exclusive interview with the Financial Post, Shopify retail manager Ian Black said that the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing traditional retailers to be more flexible and are turning to technology to make it happen. arrive.
“Sophisticated retailers use technology that blends the offline and online worlds and builds direct relationships with consumers across all of these channels,” said Black.
“Retail for the next 12 or 24 months will continue to be a difficult environment to operate, and the flexibility and resilience of merging your offline and online businesses is an incredibly powerful set of tools for retailers. “
Shopify was born as an e-commerce company, but they have had a physical store since 2013, when the company first introduced a store kit including a cash drawer, receipt printer, reader cards and the software to be created. everything is working.
However, to hear Black say it, this system was just a prologue to the more powerful software platform the company launched last week. He said the old software was really just designed for small traders going to a farmer’s market or doing a local event.
“This is the first time that Shopify has built a point-of-sale system specifically for retail stores,” he said. “So it has a set of advanced features for people management, inventory management and tracking, and reporting on your business. These are advanced features that Shopify POS has never had before. “
But if this latest version of the software is new, the underlying vision has been running for some time.
At Shopifolk, the idea of ”omnichannel commerce” is something of an obsession; the dream is that innovative merchants have a unique and strong brand relationship with consumers through physical retail, online sales through the company’s website, plus perhaps additional sales at Amazon.com or via advertisements in Instagram stories.
In omnichannel thinking, the physical retail store can be primarily a showroom or event space to strengthen the brand relationship with customers, which will lead to more sales online or through other channels .
The value of merchants straddling the worlds of e-commerce and physical retail was underlined last week when Shopify released its first quarter results. The company revealed that over a six-week period from mid-March to the end of April, retailers using its omnichannel services lost 71% of store sales due to the closings of COVID-19. However, Shopify found that these same merchants were able to replace 94% of lost store sales with ecommerce orders.
“We knew this is how modern commerce works, but even we were surprised to see the ingenuity and adaptability of the Shopify platform,” said Black.
Black said that when the stores open, he hopes the point-of-sale software will allow merchants to do sidewalk transactions and contactless sales and give stores the flexibility to straddle online and physical.
One of the main selling points of the Shopify smart card reader is that it integrates seamlessly with Shopify software to provide a single, unified view of merchant activity.
Shopify announced its card reader almost a year ago at the company’s annual Unite partner conference; in the past six months, the device was only available to merchants in the United States.
This follows the normal scheme of Shopify; the United States remains the company’s largest market, with new products being introduced first. The company started its Shopify Capital loan program in the United States before expanding it, and the all-new Shopify Fulfillment network currently only exists south of the border.
For us, the survival and success of Canadian retailers is deeply personal
But Black said the company is trying to deliver the goods to Canadian merchants as quickly as possible, and for much of the past year, the company has been doing certification work to integrate its device into the payment infrastructure of the Canada. The Canadian version of the Shopify card reader is launched in partnership with Interac.
“For us, the survival and success of Canadian retailers is deeply personal. We want to walk into a store in our neighborhood or buy from a store we know is Canadian, and we are proud to have supported them. “
Shopify said they would donate 3,000 devices to Toronto retailers, in partnership with the City of Toronto and Digital Mainstreet, an organization that helps Toronto businesses connect online.
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