Originally published on pointofsale.com. 

ShopKeep POS, a cloud based iPad point of sale solution,  today announced the hiring of two executives: Drew Schwartz as Vice President of Product Management and David Herzog as Director of Business Development for the Channel Business.

I spoke with Jason Richelson, Co-Founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS yesterday about the growth of his company.   ShopKeep now boasts over 8,000 active users, up from 3,000 one year ago,  an impressive growth rate.  The company has 81 employees, Richelson told me, and is actively acquiring customers all over the United States and is beginning to get traction in Canada as well, although it supports only one tax rate in the system at the present time. The system is sold directly to end-users, also through the VAR (value added reseller) channel, and credit card processing vendors can make referrals as well.

I asked first what factors Richelson felt contributed to the success of the product; “having been a merchant”  he replied,  he could offer business owners a system that was totally engineered around their needs.  Prior to starting ShopKeep, Richelson and a partner owned wine and grocery stores and other businesses that ran on server based POS systems.   There he experienced numerous frustrations with that form of technology, which led him to design a system that could solve the problems he’d experienced.   Development on the system began in 2008.

ShopKeep raised $2.2 million in 2011 from a group of NY venture capitalists, and another 10 million dolllars from Canaan Partners in New York City in 2012.

Richelson said that the company was planning to expand in a number of niches (vertical markets).  He cited Hospitality as one of those segments, including full service restaurants and bars.  There are fewer (cloud based iPad POS) players in those niches he felt, and it offers significant opportunities.  Any segment where people “pay for something and then leave”, is a potential niche.  ShopKeep claims to be the first cloud based iPad POS system, and mentioned a YouTube video of him demonstrating the system back in 2011.

There’s no question that this is an emerging year for cloud based iPad POS systems.   As this niche begins to mature it shows all the signs of a platform gaining widespread acceptance among early mainstream buyers.   Contributing to the growing sales of iPad systems, and something that poses a threat to traditional POS systems is the low cost of entry.   When equipped with a cash drawer and receipt printer,  iPad based POS systems are right around $1,000 per station to get up and running – about a third the cost of an average PC based system.  When we compare the cost of a multi-user system which includes a server, then iPad based POS is even more cost effective.

Adding support to the concept that point of sale can be run on an iPad is the presence of a major company, NCR, who has its own solution known as NCR Silver.

For those buyers who want the leading edge, but not the bleeding edge of technology, all these factors maybe giving them the security they need to get in the water with iPad cloud based POS.

shopkeep-pos-hardware

ShopKeep offers merchants a package that includes an APG cash drawer, Star Micronics receipt printer, credit card reader and iPad stand (choice of colors) for just $699.   The company has other hardware bundles for Quick Service restaurants that includes a kitchen printer, and also a Retail bundle with bar code reader and printer.  (click on the image for more info).

More about ShopKeep:

The system will work with any credit card processor according to Richelson, and cites that as being important to merchants – they are never locked into any one processor.

The monthly fee for a single user system is just $49 and that includes 7 day a week technical support, and product upgrades.

The system was recently in use at the Telluride Film Festival ;  all payments at the festival in Colorado this year ran on ShopKeep, iPads and the cloud. 100 volunteer cashiers rang up 12,000 sales in four days, with 30 mins of training.

There is the capability for users to import and export their data.

A merchant can use his iPhone or Android phone to view sales data in real time no matter how many stores he has.

I asked Richelson about competition, and the fact that there were “low barriers to entry” for this industry, in that apps are relatively easy to create.  His response was that any potential buyer should try calling the customer care desk of the POS provider they are considering and see how quickly their calls and issues get handled.    ShopKeep is a service company he stressed, and that sets them apart.

Alissa McCue

Alissa McCue

Alissa McCue has over 10 years of marketing and public relations experience working for top brands in retail and technology. As Senior Manager of Public Relations at ShopKeep, the #1-rated iPad Point of Sale System, Alissa is focused on highlighting ShopKeep's major achievements and thought leadership in the POS and technology space for independent businesses.