Shopify's new POS feature aims to convert showroomers into online shoppers

It's called Buy Online for Shopify POS, and it allows businesses to offer an online purchase option to shoppers who've come to a brick-and-mortar store to try out products in-person.


Shopify is rolling out a new feature that it says will help retailers curb the negative side effects of the showrooming trend and increase online sales.

Ed Bott

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It's called Buy Online for Shopify POS, and it allows businesses to offer an online purchase option to shoppers who've come to a brick-and-mortar store to try out products in-person.

In a real world scenario, a Shopify merchant using this feature would help a customer build an online cart while they shop in-store, and then email it to the customer so they can decide whether to buy online later. For businesses with a commission-based pay structure, the Buy Online feature credits the appropriate staff member for each sale.

"Consider it the equivalent of a real-life abandoned cart," Shopify wrote in a blog post. "When you send an email to a customer using Buy Online for Shopify POS, a draft order is created in Shopify. You can use draft orders to re-engage your customers with targeted promotions or an email marketing campaign using the customer info you've collected. These tailored emails and offers can reignite that customer's desire to buy from your brand."

More broadly, the Buy Online feature is the latest new product from Shopify that aims to help businesses bridge the in-person and online commerce divide. Last month, the Canadian commerce company launched Shopcodes, a snappy name for QR codes that merchants can place on their products or marketing materials.

When scanned by consumers, the codes will bring up screens with more information about an item or even a buy button. Shopify touted a bevy of use cases for the codes, including pop-up shops with limited inventory space, packaging inserts, posters, and other offline marketing materials, and alongside merchandise in a physical storefront window.

For Shopify, the product rollouts and platform updates are also an effort to maintain the company's substantial grip on the ecommerce software market. Shopify reported better-than-expected third quarter financial results on Monday, and claims to have signed up another record batch of new merchants for its service.

But the positive results were tainted by a report released in October by short-seller Andrew Left of Citron Research, who suggested that Shopify's business was a "good ol' get-rich-quick scheme" similar to Herbalife. In a harsh rebuke, Shopify CEO Tobias Lutke said Left was a "short-selling troll" making "preposterous claims," but Shopify's shares still came under pressure, falling more than 10 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange the day Left's report was published.


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