July 26, 2017

Shopify Announces Chip & Swipe Payment Reader

“Retail is not the same. Shopify is enabling merchants to do everything, from anywhere.”
– Lynsey Thorton, Shopify Director of User Experience Design at Unite 2017 Conference

Shopify’s newest product announcement by Satish Kanwar, VP of Product, can be described as their certainty of eCommerce and retail becoming one. The Chip & Swipe Reader will boost in-person selling for the eCommerce platform’s over 375,000 partner shopping sites:

“Our product philosophy has always been to provide what most merchants need most of the time, and really rely on our partners and our ecosystem for everything else,” Kanwar explained to Inc. “Over the years of POS growing [since 2013], it became obvious that the credit-card reader was something that everyone needed, all of the time, to get started in retail.” The new device will have no up-front cost, and is available exclusively to users who process transactions through Shopify Payments.

“Looking forward, all small businesses are thinking multi-channel first. If someone is opening a store, whether online or retail, they’re fundamentally thinking about the combined strategy,” Kanwar said. “If I’m opening a retail store, I’m naturally now thinking about how I’m going to be promoting those products online. And if I’m opening an online store, I’m thinking about how I’m going to expand my business over time.”

By contrast, Shopify envisions a future in which “retail” and “ecommerce” aren’t separate endeavors at all reports Inc. “Looking forward, all small businesses are thinking multi-channel first. If someone is opening a store, whether online or retail, they’re fundamentally thinking about the combined strategy,” Kanwar said. “If I’m opening a retail store, I’m naturally now thinking about how I’m going to be promoting those products online. And if I’m opening an online store, I’m thinking about how I’m going to expand my business over time.”

He added, “We most certainly do see, and are excited to invite, businesses that are starting retail-first, because we believe they need an online strategy at the same time. And what Shopify does is give them both out of the box.”

“One of the overall messages we’re trying to push is that Shopify is getting serious about hardware,” said Shopify Prduct Manager David Seal to BetaKit. “We’re bridging the gap from being just a software company to also doing hardware, and we’re very much becoming a technology company. If you look at Google and Apple, who specialize in hardware and software, that’s where we’re headed too.”

Seal told BetaKit that part of the chip and card reader’s value add is that it deeply integrates with a merchant’s Shopify store, and supports over-the-air updates. Most brick-and-mortar merchants have ambitions to sell online eventually, and Shopify’s opportunity is in servicing both segments at a scale that other competitors may not reach. While merchants tend to think first about Square as a payment option, Shopify hopes that this will get more merchants identifying Shopify with payments.

Shopify also sees the device as a way for Shopify Shop owners to easily do business on the go, including pop-stores, city and farmers markets, events, etc.

All in all, it should be a great avenue for retailers and eTailers. Entrepreneurs are continaully looking to maximize every sales channel in today’s ever moving, omni-channel culture. And Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke told the Unite 2017 audience just prior to the product announcement that he’s definitely on it:

The wireless, pocket sized Chip & Swipe Reader will begin shipping in June and can be tried out on a 14-day trial.