Shopify is set to make its contactless payments hardware, Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader, available to Canadian merchants.
The Tap & Chip reader was officially launched last April, though only to Shopify merchants in the United States. Shopify making the reader available in Canada is part of the e-commerce giant’s plan to bring contactless payments hardware to retail stores that are beginning to re-open amid COVID-19.
“We’ve been working hard to roll out a bunch of things quicker than usual.”
The hardware device allows businesses to offer ‘tap’ payment options like credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. The device has also been updated to support contactless Interac Flash.
Shopify has made a number of announcements about Canadian product launches of late, many of which led up to the release of its financial results for Q1 2020. Over the past few weeks, the Ottawa-based company launched a consumer-facing mobile assistant shopping app, globally launched its email marketing tool, Shopify Email, and revealed a “fully rebuilt and reimagined” Shopify POS system.
In April, Shopify also finally brought its small business loan fund, Shopify Capital, to Canada, after adding $200 million to the fund to help businesses affected by COVID-19.
Arpan Podduturi, director of product and retail at Shopify, told BetaKit that COVID-19 has accelerated a number of Shopify’s product launches.
“We’ve been working on [the Tap & Chip Card Reader] for a long time, and same with the all-new point-of-sale, but we felt like we really wanted to accelerate it given COVID,” he said. “We felt like it’s our obligation as partners with our merchants to give them all the technology that we can as quickly as possible.”
“We’ve been working hard to roll out a bunch of things quicker than usual. The retail kit is one of those accelerated launches,” he added.
Podduturi also stated that Shopify’s strategy has always been a multi-channel approach, but the current pandemic made multi-channel more of a necessity for businesses.
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In the first quarter of 2020, ending March 31, Shopify tracked a 47 percent year-over-year increase in total revenue, despite COVID-19 lockdowns hitting in mid-March. Shopify’s Q1 results also highlighted the strain COVID-19 has put on small and medium-sized businesses, tracking a shifting trend of consumers spending online versus in-store.
Between March 13 and April 24, the e-commerce company saw a 71 percent decline in gross merchandise volume (GMV) through its point-of-sale (POS) channel as most of Shopify’s retail merchants suspended in-store operations. According to Shopify, its merchants managed to replace 94 percent of lost POS GMV with online sales during that same period.
Launching its new POS system earlier this month to more easily connect online and brick-and-mortar, Shopify noted that between March 13 and April 24 it saw an increase in retail store merchants adapting to social-distance selling. Twenty-six of Shopify’s brick-and-mortar merchants are now offering local delivery or buy-online-pickup-in-store compared to two percent at the end of February.
Shopify has been on a multi-year mission to expand its brick-and-mortar retail presence. The latest POS and Canadian offerings follow a spotlight on a number of Shopify’s POS and payments platform services during Unite 2018, where the company also revealed new services for brick-and-mortar merchants.
“We don’t think the brick-and-mortar stores are going away, we think that they’re just really changing, and so the trends of local pickup and delivery, of being able to find items quickly around you, and save on shipping, these are things that we think are going to be around for a very long time,” Podduturi told BetaKit. “Stores are going to have to sort of reboot and reformat for the new retail reality and Shopify point-of-sale is really the best tool that allows them to do that because it integrates deeply into Shopify.”
Available to Canadian retailers using Shopify POS, the Tap & Chip reader is fully integrated with Shopify Payments, so merchants can also track and manage online and in-store financials.
Shopify is also set to offer its Tap & Chip reader as part of the City of Toronto’s recent initiative to help independent businesses build and optimize online stores for free.
As a founding partner of Digital Main Street and City of Toronto’s ShopHERE program, Shopify is set to help build and launch 3,000 online stores over the next three months. The company will also provide training for business owners and volunteers who are building the stores.
Image courtesy Shopify