Tablets signal turning point for small-business POS solutions

Tablets signal turning point for small-business POS solutions

Summary: Brooklyn small-business owner Jason Richelson designed his own point of sale system using the Apple iPad. His solution, now used by more than 2,000 small retailers, is one in a growing array of tablet POS options.


Who better to design a point-of-sale (POS) system for small businesses than a small-business owner frustrated with his POS technology options?

That's the back story for ShopKeep, a cloud-based POS solution from the SMB market that uses the Apple iPad as its point of entry. The company's founder and CEO, Jason Richelson, originally designed the system to run his $7 million Brooklyn-based wine and food store, The Green Grape after he couldn't find one that would run the sorts of reports he needed. The system he designed, ShopKeep POS, is now used by more than 2,000 small retailers, Richelson said.

The simplicity of the ShopKeep POS solution along with its promise of 24x7 customer support is helping track retailers from dress boutiques to coffee shops to chocolatiers, he said.  

The solution offers basic cash register and inventory functions and can be bought online for prices starting at $49 per month per register. (You can try it for free for up to 30 days.) While ShopKeep POS isn't relegating its outreach to any particular vertical market, it is adding features specific to restaurants, such as the ability to print orders from an iPad directly to the kitchen, Richelson said.

A deal with PayPal enables ShopKeep POS users to handle cashless mobile payments for a flat rate of 2.7 percent on those transactions. 

ShopKeep is one in a growing array of POS options that center on tablet computers in general and the Apple iPad in particular. The company is backed by $3 million in venture capital, including $2.2 million in Series A funding it raised earlier this year. 

"Tablets are going to replace cash registers and POS systems in the next three to five years," Richelson said. Here's more on what he thinks:

Of course, he is biased, but ShopKeep POS is far from the only iPad-based POS system aimed at SMBs.

Other companies that also deserve the small-business owner's attention include Revel Systems, which just debuted a solution targeted at food trucks; Square, with its iPad-specific Square Register solution; and LightSpeed, which has extended its systems for Macintosh computers over to the iPad platform.



Topic: SMBs

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  • Great usage scenario for a tablet

    One of the first usage scenarios I think of tablets is POS and similar systems. POS vendors have traditionally provided limited functionality at excessive prices that justifies even "expensive" devices such as the iPad being used to replace it.
  • Good Tablet Use

    The input device could be anything. I used a touch screen for retail POS in the mid 90's.

    "such as the ability to print orders from an iPad directly to the kitchen"

    WOW!! That's amazing. You mean ShopKeep and/or Apple invented the ability for an electronic device to cause a printer in the kitchen to print out an order? That is so 80's. Retro even.

    Come on. If the guy needed better reporting, he should have just looked at 1 or 2 more POS than he was already dealing with. Good for him that he started a seemingly successful company.
  • A couple of other options for non-cloud apps

    I have been researching POS apps for the Sausalito Yacht Club. We currently use an old (when I say old, I mean DOS era) system that is difficult to use and expensive to maintain. Training the small staff and constantly changing volunteers is a serious problem. Two iPad apps look really promising so far. The first is called Ring It Up which provides POS functions and manages inventory. We're looking at this for our small store (logoed shirts, hats, jackets, etc. for members and guests). The other app is called Ambur and it's a POS system optimized for bars and restaurants.

    The interesting thing about both apps is that they use the iPad as the "server" - in other words, you don't need any other computer, or even Internet access (except for credit card processing), the iPad is the only computer required. The Ambur app even supports multiple iPhones or iPod Touch devices for taking orders at the table, and multiple printers to print drink orders at the bar and food orders in the kitchen.
    • Tablet POS

      Check out our video on our tablet POS,

      and then view our website, and try us out! - 661-259-2185 -
    • Ring it up vs Cashier

      Ring it up doesn't even use a reader? You should use Cashier Live!
      Melissa Arias
  • Yet Another Crippleware POS

    The is no more "Point" in Point of Sale. All sales transactions have now become distributed anywhere, anytime and any device transactions.

    What has kept POS crippled in the past is the fact that POS vendors are like cockroaches that do business in the dark. Even the corrupt RSPA supports lies of ommission refusing to provide anybody information about what the POS products will or will not do --unless you pay one of their sleazy "dealers" only to discover the product is crippleware that does not support standards amnd cannot generally be used or integrated with any other software.

    The guy who claims he "developed' ShopKeep apparently said it himself when he justly complained about not being able to use the typical POS software to run the type of reports he wanted however ShopKeep as described is simply more crippleware.

    What so-called POS actually needs is transparency about the products actual features and what it can and cannot actually do. Secondly and perhaps most importantly contemporary software operations require the provision of APIs and in some cases SDKs to enable the user who paid ofr the software to hire or use 3rd party software integrated with his or her business operations which is the only way to profitably and effificiently operate a business using software.
  • What a rip-off

    2.7% to paypal for electronic transfers
    I get by with
  • Can't Do That!!!

    This story and the supposed product is obviously a fabrication. You cannot do anything with an iPad except media consumption. /sarcasm

    I do not know whether this is a good POS or not, but I do know that everywhere I look small business guys are using their iOS devices (iPhone/iPod touch/iPad) to transact business instead of a traditional cash register. Yes, these mobile devices are changing the way and the locations that businesses can get paid. I'm seeing shop keeps come out from behind the counter (and places where the counter has disappeared entirely) to actually be with customers. It is a tremendous thing to see.
  • Great POS system the big guys should learn from these entrepreneurs!

    ShopKeep is incredibly easy to install and use. For the price nothing beats it for ease of use and functionality. Anyone who does thinks real world paypal transactions for 2.7% is high needs to get a real store and try to get approved to run credit cards in the the real world. You will soon find out what a ripoff all the monthly fees are, paper and sliding scale depending on the cards used. So get some real world experience before you knock something.
  • Or...

    POS Lavu iPad point of sale for restaurants does have an API and does encourage developers to build on top.
  • Expensive

    For a small business $49 per month per register is kinda overpriced, given you don't own the POS app. You're merely leasing it. On top of this, there's also the credit card processing fees.
  • Best Pos System

    These tablet based pos systems are by far the best pos systems yet. POS has been ditched by many retailers over the years, it has been too expensive. cumbersome and difficult to both set-up and maintain. Offering little back. It's a known fast that most have simply opted for a simple cash register. Thew new wave of pos platforms that have simplified pos using simple devices has taken the small business market by storm
    We are developing such a platform that works on any device -works in real time and allows consumers to pay and place orders with their own devices.
    It's great see so much positive feedback for this type of software.

    Martin Webb