Earlier this week, Shopify officially launched a new retail kit in the US, finally bringing to market its Tap & Chip Reader, as well as a Dock for the reader, and retail Stand for iPads.
Shopify originally announced the Tap & Chip Reader in early 2018 at its partner and developer conference in Toronto. At the time the company stated that the Reader was originally anticipated to be available starting the fall of 2018, with plans to expand into other markets in 2019.
“One of the overall messages we’re trying to push is that Shopify is getting serious about hardware.”
A spokesperson for Shopify told BetaKit that after evaluating its go-to-market approach Shopify realized it made more sense for its merchant retailers to release the Reader in a kit, along with the Dock and Stand, “allow[ing] them to offer their best checkout experience.”
In its most recent announcement, the ecommerce giant stated that the retail kit is only available in the US for now and did not reference when it may be coming to Canada.
The Tap & Chip Reader allows brick-and-mortar retailers to do payments quickly and securely, through payment-enabled phones or inserting debit and credit cards. The Reader, which is PCI and EMV certified, supports Google Pay and Apple Pay as well as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Payments processed will sync with a merchant’s back-end operations, including inventory, orders, and fulfillment. The Dock is designed to hold and charge the Tap & Chip Reader, and can be used for a more traditional countertop checkout or be detached. The Stand for iPads is for similar use, but stays permanently on a counter; tablets can still be easily undocked from the Stand as well.
Over the past few years, Shopify has been expanding its retail offerings to become more than just an ecommerce platform. It has been making strategic announcements to increase its presence in the retail market, including this retail hardware, as well as hiring a new director of retail, to help expand its presence in that area.
“With years of experience building point-of-sale (POS) tools for brands that want to extend their online success to offline sales, this is just the latest way we’re helping merchants make commerce better,” Shopify said about the launch of the hardware kit.
Satish Kanwar, VP of product at Shopify, told BetaKit earlier this year, “The series of big product investments that [Shopify] made are really targeted around people that have expanded into, or are starting with, brick and mortar spaces.”
Shopify first launched a chip and swipe POS card reader in 2017. At the time, product manager at Shopify, David Seal, hinted to the company’s plans to become more like Google and Apple.
“One of the overall messages we’re trying to push is that Shopify is getting serious about hardware,” Seal said. “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.”
When Kanwar spoke to BetaKit earlier this year he hinted that Shopify has more retail-focused products and solutions for payment and POS “in the works” to help Shopify pursue its goal of becoming that one-stop-shop for ecommerce and retail.