ShopKeep POS Review 2019: Features, Cost, Alternatives

Maddie Shepherd

Contributing Writer at Fundera
Maddie Shepherd is a former Fundera senior staff writer and current freelance writer. Maddie has an extensive knowledge of business credit cards, accounting tools, and merchant services, but specializes in small business financing advice. Maddie has a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Latin American cultures from Barnard College.
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As you search for the right point of sale system for your small business, one name you will probably come across is ShopKeep POS. That’s because ShopKeep is a favorite amongst small business owners, with over 25,000 customers across the country and 289 million transactions processed annually. Furthermore, ShopKeep reviews from small business customers are some of the best out there. Generally speaking, ShopKeep’s customers are happy ones, and they like sharing the success they’ve had with their POS systems.

Of course, it would be naive of you to sign up for ShopKeep solely because other small business owners have had success with it. Every business is different, which means a POS system that works for some may not work for others. That’s where we come in. We’re going to break down all that ShopKeep has to offer to help you determine if this is a suitable POS option for your small business.

Read on for the ultimate ShopKeep POS review to help you learn all the ins and outs of this option.

The Fundamentals of ShopKeep POS

Let’s lay some groundwork for understanding how ShopKeep works. ShopKeep is a POS provider, meaning it supplies the hardware and software needed to run transactions. The system is both locally installed and can run on the cloud. This means your information is stored on your POS device (either an iPad or Clover tablet) and can sync with the cloud whenever there is internet connection. ShopKeep can also operate offline in the event of an internet outage, ensuring minimal levels of disruption.

In terms of the types of businesses ShopKeep can support, the answer is many. While it’s true that ShopKeep is most popular amongst food service businesses, on its website ShopKeep also offers solutions for retail-based businesses like clothing stores. Of course, if you do operate a food service business, ShopKeep has a variety of tailored solutions for the following business types: Full-service restaurants, quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, food trucks, and bars.

Two other important considerations with ShopKeep are that it provides in-house payment processing and merchant cash advances. In-house payment processing means that you can use ShopKeep to process all of your credit card transactions. If you use ShopKeep for merchant cash advances, ShopKeep will provide you with a percentage of your daily credit card sales upfront for an additional fee.

Now that you understand the basics of everything ShopKeep provides, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what it’s like to work with a ShopKeep POS system. Depending on which ShopKeep POS system you end up opting for, you’ll be able to access a broad range of capabilities, including creating financial reports, managing inventory, and overseeing employee activity.

ShopKeep POS Capabilities

Here’s is a comprehensive list of everything you’ll get when you use a ShopKeep POS system:

Payment Processing

The most important thing your POS system can do is process payments. With ShopKeep, you have the option of keeping your payment processing in-house with ShopKeep Payments. This service allows you to accept most types of credit cards and swipe, dip, and contactless methods of payment. You’ll also be able to acquire your card reader from ShopKeep via their hardware store.

The price for ShopKeep payments is quote-based. Generally, the higher your business’s transaction volume, the lower your credit card processing rate. If you’d prefer not to change your service, ShopKeep works with most third-party payment processors.

ShopKeep Software

ShopKeep only offers one version of its POS software, but that software is comprehensive enough to handle most of the needs of a retail or food service business. Here is a list of all the features that come with ShopKeep POS software:

  • Payments
    • Partial payments
    • Open tabs
    • Split payments
    • Tip recommendations
    • Perform refunds
    • Apply discounts
    • Print, text, or email receipts
  • Employee management
    • Time clock
    • Job-based permissions
    • Scheduling
    • Cost of labor analysis
  • Inventory management
    • Import unlimited SKUs
    • Unlimited product variants
    • Unlimited modifiers
    • Upload product catalogues via CSV file
    • Group products by category
    • Customize tax rates
    • Print barcodes
  • Customer relationship management
    • Save customer information
    • Rewards program
    • Gift card program
    • Manage social media channels
  • Reporting suite
    • View sales activity in real-time
    • Shift summaries
    • Inventory value report
    • Transaction history
    • Marketing analysis
    • View data on the go with ShopKeep’s Pocket App
  • Multi-store management

ShopKeep Hardware

ShopKeep can run on both iPad and Clover hardware devices. While you don’t need to purchase your POS hardware through Shopkeep, the ShopKeep hardware store does offer a range of options, including several bundles for different types of businesses. The pricing on bundles is quote-based. Here are your options:

Retail Kit

  • Cash drawer
  • iPad enclosure
  • Barcode scanner
  • Receipt printer
  • Credit card reader (EMV and NFC)
  • Label printer

Restaurant Kit

  • Cash drawer
  • iPad enclosure
  • Kitchen printer
  • Receipt printer
  • Credit card reader (EMV and NFC)
  • Ethernet cable

Quick-Service Hardware Kit

  • Cash drawer
  • iPad enclosure
  • Receipt printer
  • Credit card reader (EMV and NFC)

Handheld Register Kit

  • Handheld iPad Mini enclosure
  • Portable credit card reader

Android POS Hardware Kit

  • Clover Mini (Android device with built-in credit card reader and receipt printer)
  • Two rolls of printer paper
  • Power adapter block
  • Power adapter cable
  • Ethernet cable
  • USB cable
  • Screwdriver
  • Clover Mini feature guide

Clover Station Kit

  • Clover Station (Android device with built-in credit card reader and receipt printer)
  • Two rolls of printer paper
  • Connectivity hub
  • Power brick and power cord
  • Ethernet cable
  • Screwdriver

Note that with all iPad kits you will have to purchase your iPad separately. ShopKeep also allows you to build your own custom hardware kit, and sells a variety of individual hardware pieces, including enclosures, printers, cash drawers, barcode scanners, label printers, and gift card packages.

 shopkeep pos

ShopKeep Integrations

On top of what ShopKeep offers in terms of hardware and software, it also integrates with several third-party services that allow you to extend the functionality of your POS. Among the products you can integrate with ShopKeep are:

ShopKeep Customer Service

ShopKeep offers 24/7 customer service via phone, email, and live chat. The ShopKeep website also features a Support Center with a robust level of documentation on how to use all the different ShopKeep products.

ShopKeep Pricing

When you try to pin down a price for ShopKeep POS services, it’s tough to get a direct answer.

ShopKeep recently changed from being a fixed-rate service to a quote-based service, meaning the price you will pay for your ShopKeep system may vary from merchant to merchant. This is obviously less than ideal, as most merchants would prefer some transparency when shopping for a POS. What we can say is that ShopKeep offers pay-as-you-go, month-to-month pricing, meaning you can cancel at any time if you are unhappy and not face early termination fees.

What you will pay for your hardware, software, and payment processing is something you will have to negotiate with your ShopKeep sales representative. Generally, the bigger your business, the more leverage you have. On the review website G2 Crowd, ShopKeep is ranked in the 31st percentile in terms of POS system cost, making it a fairly low-cost option.

ShopKeep POS Reviews

Here is how ShopKeep ranks on the major user review websites:

Generally, ShopKeep reviews are positive. Customers who give ShopKeep high marks like to talk about the system’s long list of capabilities and hardware options, as well as its helpful customer service and user-friendly interface. 

For the most part, ShopKeep’s negative reviews speak of a breakdown of communication or a one-off bad experience. And with every negative review, there’s a response from the ShopKeep team attempting to resolve the issue the customer faces, which is about as promising as a negative review can get.

 ShopKeep POS Pros

Having combed through the details on all that ShopKeep POS systems have to offer, we need to take a step back in order to consider what these details actually mean for your business.

Here are some of the advantages to using ShopKeep POS for your business’s day-to-day financial needs:

Well-Reviewed

A POS system needs to offer the whole package—including intuitive design, lots of helpful features, and top-notch customer service—in order to win at the customer reviews game. The fact that ShopKeep is well reviewed on so many different websites should give small business owners peace of mind. 

Lots of Hardware to Choose From

With so many POS hardware options at your fingertips, you have the ability to mix and match in order to create the perfect POS setup for your business’s payment processing needs. Alternatively, you can opt to buy your ShopKeep POS hardware in one of their recommended bundles based on what type of business you run. Whether you’re working in a store, a sit-down restaurant, or a quick-service restaurant, the ShopKeep starter kits can provide you with an easy solution to your business’s POS system needs.

ShopKeep POS Cons

All that being said, ShopKeep, just like any other POS system option out there, has drawbacks. And no matter how great any option might seem, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re familiar with all of the inevitable downsides before you commit to any one POS system.

Are any of the following disadvantages to ShopKeep POS complete deal breakers for your business?

Quote-Based Pricing

Generally, we prefer a service that is up front about what it costs to use their service. This way, you can be assured that you’re not getting ripped off when you sign up. The fact that ShopKeep offers quote-based pricing for all of its services certainly gives us pause. We recommend asking around to see what other small business owners paid for their ShopKeep system. This way, when you are working out a price you will have an idea of what you should be paying.

Only One Software Option

Should you decide on ShopKeep as your business’s POS system, you won’t have any software options to choose from—you’ll just automatically be provided with the one version of the ShopKeep POS software that exists.

Other POS systems will allow you to choose from tiers of plans for their software. That structure allows businesses to find the POS software that provides the perfect balance of power and affordability. Plus, if a POS software offers more capabilities than your business even needs, why would you pay for the whole package? Unlike ShopKeep, many of its competitors understand this logic and offer tiered software plans—but ShopKeep does not address this pain point.

All in all, if you’re looking for a POS system that will allow you choices when it comes to software, then ShopKeep POS probably isn’t the right move.

shopkeep pos

Your Top Alternatives to ShopKeep POS Systems

If you’re not quite convinced by ShopKeep POS, then the next move for you is to start shopping for alternatives. Even if you like what ShopKeep POS is offering, it’s smart to get an idea of what its competitors look like, if only to better understand the marketplace. 

Here are two alternative POS systems to consider:

Square POS

Your first top alternative to ShopKeep POS is Square POS systems. Although most Square hardware also requires additional technology, the Square Register doesn’t require a smartphone, tablet, or iPad. In fact, the Register is their first fully integrated point of sale system—and it will cost you less than most point of sale packages out there.

The Square Register comes fully equipped with no additional costs for software for a grand total of $999. You’ll also get a fairly generous payment processing rate of 2.5% plus $0.10 for each transaction you run through the Square Register. And even with this more affordable pricing, the Square Register allows you to access similar, if not better, capabilities. The free version of its POS software allows provides sales reporting, and customer and inventory management tools. There are also two paid versions of Square POS software with more industry specific features—Square for Restaurants and Square for Retail

If your business doesn’t have a smart device at its disposal, or even if it does, and you’d prefer to access a fully integrated POS system option, the Square Register could be a better fit for your business.

Clover POS

Another top POS option for you to consider is Clover. Just like ShopKeep and Square, Clover offers ample POS hardware options to choose from (some of which even work with ShopKeep software). Like the Square Register, the hardware options with Clover are also fully capable, meaning you won’t need to purchase additional hardware.

On top of that, Clover offers three different POS software options: Payments Plus, Register Lite, and Register. These three plans allow you to choose the perfect balance of cost and capability for your business. With the Payments Plus software plan, you’ll pay no additional cost for your software, and you’ll still be able to access sophisticated capabilities like setting employee permissions and shifts and enabling customer engagement marketing.

Altogether, if you’re looking for flexibility from your business’s POS system, then Clover might just be the best fit for you.

Is ShopKeep POS Right for Your Business?

Depending on what you want from a POS system, ShopKeep POS could very well be the right option for you. If you rely heavily on other business owners’ opinions and experiences, then the highly positive ShopKeep Reviews should steer you toward opting for this system. However, if your looking for POS software that is highly specific to your business, you may want to look elsewhere. Plus, ShopKeep’s quote-based pricing can make for a lot of uncertainty in your shopping experience, especially if you’re the type of business owner who values transparency. 

Just like any other POS system out there, ShopKeep POS comes with upsides and downsides, so be sure to carefully consider all your options before committing. 

Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone. They haven’t been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the companies mentioned above. Learn more about our editorial process and how we make money here.

Maddie Shepherd

Contributing Writer at Fundera
Maddie Shepherd is a former Fundera senior staff writer and current freelance writer. Maddie has an extensive knowledge of business credit cards, accounting tools, and merchant services, but specializes in small business financing advice. Maddie has a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Latin American cultures from Barnard College.

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