This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Shopify is often hailed as one of the leading point-of-sale (POS) systems for small businesses—and for good reason. The POS app is free for Shopify ecommerce subscribers, easy to use, and full of rich features, and it makes omnichannel selling—a necessity in today’s competitive retail market—simple.
This article will guide you on how to set up Shopify POS in 10 steps. When done, you will be ready to use all the features that Shopify has to offer and take your business to the next level.
Step 1: Sign Up for Shopify POS
To begin using Shopify’s POS, the first thing you will want to do is sign up for Shopify. With Shopify’s structure, you have to purchase one of the company’s three main ecommerce plans: Basic, Shopify, or Advanced. Shopify has a free 14-day trial, so you can test the software before purchasing.
Shopify is primarily an ecommerce website builder. However, as the software has become more popular, the company has expanded its services, adding a brick-and-mortar POS platform to every one of its ecommerce plans.
If you do not need a full ecommerce plan to accompany your POS system, check out our evaluation of the best retail POS systems for an option that would better suit your needs.
Once you choose a Shopify plan, you will have the option to upgrade your POS to the Pro plan, which runs $89/month. The different POS plans are:
- Shopify POS Lite (included): This tier is offered in all Shopify ecommerce plans and provides all the basic features—including accepting payments, running transactions, inventory tracking, omnichannel selling, staff management, reporting, and customer management.
- Shopify POS Pro ($89/month): This is the paid Shopify POS plan that you can add to any Shopify ecommerce plan. It has all the features from POS Lite, plus custom reporting, advanced checkout features, additional staff management, and granular inventory management capabilities.
Without the help of professional programmers, Shopify POS integrates only with Shopify online stores.
Once you have signed up for your Shopify plan and decided whether to upgrade your POS option, you will then need to download the Shopify POS app. While Shopify POS’s back-office and management features are all desktop-based, the selling interface is only on an app. This is great because it allows for sales on the go and gives you tons of mobility; however, it does mean you will need to invest in a tablet to conduct sales in your store.
Step 2: Choose Your Hardware
Once you have successfully signed up for your Shopify account, choose hardware on which you can run it. As we discussed, Shopify POS is an app compatible with iOS devices, so you will need to supply your own tablet and pair it with a scanner and card reader.
You can opt for a third-party barcode scanner and card reader; however, Shopify also has hardware options you can use. This includes the following:
Shopify has other auxiliary hardware accessories like cash drawers and gift card sleeves so you can get everything you need for your POS system in one place. Shop additional Shopify POS accessories here. If you’re using Shopify POS for a temporary event or seasonally, you can also rent hardware through Shopify’s Fello partnership.
Step 3: Access Your Shopify POS Dashboard
Now that you are signed up for your account and have a device to run it on, it’s time to start setting up your Shopify POS account from the inside. Log in on any web browser, and from there, you can configure all of your overhead settings, view reports, and handle your inventory.
Step 4: Set Up Your Sales Channels & Locations
Once you are logged in to your Shopify POS account, the first thing you want to do is set up your sales channels. With Shopify, you can seamlessly integrate your products with an array of platforms—including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Google, eBay, and Walmart. With the Buy Button feature, you can even add a shopping button to your personal blog or website. From there, Shopify POS will track sales and inventory across all of your locations and run reports for all of your storefronts.
To add sales channels to your POS account so you can start tracking their sales and performance, head to the home screen of your Shopify account and scroll over to “Sales Channels” on your sidebar menu. To start, you will only have your online store listed. To add more, hit the “plus” button, as pictured below, and a menu will come up. You can then select and add the sales channels of your choice.
Once your sales channels are added, Shopify will prompt you through the login process to get everything synced. Then, sales, inventory changes, and customer information across all of your sales channels will appear on your Shopify account so you can manage them all from one place.
Step 5: Add Your Inventory
With your sales channels integrated into your POS system, it is time to add your inventory. Note, it is important that you add your sales channels before your inventory as you are able to assign inventory to specific locations or channels when adding products. Shopify makes it easy to add inventory—all you need to do is head over to your account and select the “Products” option from the sidebar menu.
You will be taken to your inventory list where you can view all the products you have in stock. In the top right corner of your list, you will see three options. You can 1) import products in bulk (“Import”); 2) export your current products into an excel list (“Export”); or 3) add products individually with the “Add Products” option.
If you need to import in bulk, select the “Import” button and then download the CSV template where you add your products and all the relevant information in a format that Shopify will be able to read. If instead you want to add products individually, select the “Add Products” button, which will take you to a form where you can add tons of product information, including:
- Product title and descriptions
- Product images
- Price and cost
- SKU and barcode information
- Assign which sales channels your product will be available on
- Shipping and customs information
- Product tags
- Options (color, size, etc.)—you don’t have to create individual product pages for every product variant
Once you have added all your products into your system, you can start scanning items at checkout (and your POS will recognize them) and utilize all of Shopify’s inventory management tools.
Excellent inventory management is one of the top criteria for retail POS systems. Read more about our top POS inventory management systems.
Shopify’s inventory management tools include the following:
- Demand forecasting: Shopify analyzes the performance of your products to help you anticipate demand and better stock your shelves.
- Transfers: Request transfers from other locations and facilitate a transfer through your POS system.
- Low stock alerts: Avoid stockouts by receiving low stock alerts when a product is running low based on sell-through and order times, so you never actually run out.
- Sale item suggestions: Based on sell-through time and holding costs, get suggestions about what items should move to a discounted price.
- Inventory analysis: Decide which products are worth reordering and which are taking up valuable storage space based on stock performance.
- Stock levels: Monitor your stock levels live across all your locations and watch as levels update with every sale.
- Inventory counts: Use a barcode scanner to perform inventory counts and compare your projected and actual quantities.
- Receive inventory: Use your barcode scanner to count inventory shipments to check that they match your purchase orders.
- Purchase orders: With the Stocky app, create and manage your purchase orders and watch as they seamlessly integrate into your POS system.
- Detailed inventory reports: Find an array of inventory reports in the Analytics section of your Shopify account that will help you make better product decisions.
To learn more about Shopify’s POS features, read our in-depth Shopify POS review.
Step 6: Import Customers
With your inventory uploaded and ready to go, it’s time to start adding your customers. With Shopify, you can keep a detailed customer database full of client information and run customer reports, so you can understand your shoppers better. Whether you have a list of clients you need to input or not, Shopify has a solution for you.
The first thing that you will want to do is head over to the “Customers” option on your home screen sidebar. From there, you will come to a page where you have options for adding customers. You can either “Import Customers” in bulk or “Add Customers” individually.
For the bulk upload option, you will click the “import customers” button, which will lead you to a page where you can download a CSV file. This file is where you can input bulk customer information in a format Shopify can read and then create customer profiles in mass.
If you need to add customers individually, select the “Add Customer” button, and you will come to a customer form that you can fill out. With these customer forms, you can include detailed information—including contact information, notes, marketing material preferences, tags, and tax information.
You can also add new customers to your customer database from your POS app, right on the checkout page, without ever having to leave a transaction.
Once you have input your customers and their information, each one will have its own profile where you can see transactions, contact information, marketing preferences, and any notes other associates may have included. Also, in the Analytics section of your Shopify account, you can view a plethora of customer reports that will help you better understand and target your customers. Reports include:
- Customers over time
- First-time vs returning customer sales
- Customers by location
- Returning customers
- One-time customers
- At-risk customers
- Loyalty customers
Step 7: Set Staff Permissions & Profiles
Another great feature that you should set up and use on your Shopify POS account is staff profiles. With this feature, you can create a profile for each of your staff members where you can set access permissions, create employee pins, track individual performances, and create “manager approval actions” for things like adding discounts and editing taxes.
To get started, navigate to the sidebar of your Shopify POS account and select the “Point of Sale” option from your sales channels. From there, a dropdown menu will appear; select “Staff.” This will take you to a new screen with your complete employee list with an “Add Staff” button on the top right. If you select that button, you will be taken to a staff person form where you can start inputting employee information, permissions, and PIN information.
With the way that Shopify does permissions, each type of staff role (associate, manager, assistant manager, etc.) comes with a set list of features that they are able to use and access. To start, Shopify includes three default roles with set permissions you can choose to assign to your employees: Associate, Limited Permissions, and Full Permissions. These options are great; however, you can create a new role with a custom set of permissions if needed.
To do this, all you need to do is select the “Manage POS Roles” from the new employee form. You will then be taken to a page where you can see your full list of roles and a button to “Create POS Role.” If you select this, you will then be taken to a form where you can set permissions for actions and access including:
- Manager approval (whether this role can offer manager approval)
- Checkout actions (permissions for adding a custom sale discount, applying discounts, shipping to customers, and editing taxes)
- Orders (permissions for managing orders at all locations and returning/exchanging orders)
- Customers (permissions for adding a new customer and editing customer profiles)
- Access to analytics and reports
- Staff management settings
- POS settings access
Now, with your permissions set and applied to employee profiles, how can you ensure that your POS system knows when to apply the limitations and allowances? That’s where assigning employee PINs comes into play. This is essentially designating a 4-digit employee-specific passcode that staff members need to use to access your POS app. Once logged in, they will be in their specific account, equipped with all the permissions you set in their profile.
Step 8: Configure Your Settings
With all the most important information input into your POS system, it’s time to start selecting your checkout settings. You can customize both the functionality and appearance of many of your checkout functions from your account. To begin updating your settings, enter the “Settings” page at the bottom left of your Shopify account. From there, you will enter a page with tons of settings options.
Here, we will take a deeper look at the most important options for your POS setup.
Step 9: Add a Payment Processor
You may have your checkout setting ready, but without a payment processor, no one is going to be running a transaction anytime soon. To start making sales, you will need to add a payment processor to your Shopify account—and Shopify makes it super easy. Simply head over to your settings and select “Payments” from the menu.
You will then be able to adjust your payment settings. By default, Shopify will automatically have you enrolled in its in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments. All you need to do to get it up and running is click the “Complete Account Setup” where you will fill out the rest of your business’s information. Unfortunately, at this time, Shopify does not integrate with any other payment processors.
Shopify Payments accepts all major credit cards and alternate payment methods. In fact, by default, Shopify will automatically be set up to accept PayPal and Amazon Pay—you simply have to complete the setup forms to get them operational. You can also select the “Add payment methods” button at the bottom of the screen to add additional payment methods—such as Affirm, Afterpay, BitPay, and Sezzle.
Step 10: Integrate Marketing Campaigns
You are nearing the end of learning how to set up Shopify POS. The last thing you want to prepare is your marketing campaigns—or the ways that you will continue to reach customers even when they are outside of your store. To do this, return to your Shopify account home screen and then select “Marketing” from your sidebar menu. You will be taken to a page where you can view how your marketing campaigns are performing and whether they are inspiring store visits and sales.
On this same page, you will also notice a “Create Campaign” button in the top right corner. Select that, and you will come to a form where you will first be prompted to select the type of campaign you want to create. You can create SMS, email, online ad, and social post campaigns that your Shopify account will track and analyze.
From there, all you need to do is select the campaign you want to run, and Shopify will take you to different forms where you can customize how they appear and what they say. Many of the campaign options even have templates you can work from, so no specialized knowledge is required to create something great. Once your campaigns are created and ready to go, you can release them at your discretion and track their individual performances to learn what resonates with your customer base.
Shopify is a great POS option for many small businesses, especially those with a Shopify online store. With its rich inventory management tools, user-friendly checkout app, and tons of other great management features, it’s no wonder it is consistently one of our best retail POS systems. With this guide, you are equipped with all the knowledge you need to set up Shopify and continue to reap the rewards of your Shopify account.