I have a simple retail store with about 100 items. I have both an online web store and very small physical store.
I would like to setup a very simple kiosk for customers to self checkout. I am envisioning a simple tablet where they choose their items and check-out, almost exactly like the online experience--except they would choose an option that says "I am carrying this item out with me."
In the spirit of keeping it extremely simple, I don't need bar code scanning, card readers, cash drawers, scales, receipt printers, etc.
Any suggestions about the best way to go about this? Apps? POS Configuration? Just use my web store?
Ryder here, from the Social Care Team at Shopify. Thanks for posting! I'm glad to hear that you're considering ways to optimize this process for your business. Setting up a kiosk for self-checkout is also a great way to improve customer comfort levels. You could say it's even The Future of Checkout!
While we don't yet have this feature capability within our Point of Sale (POS) app, I can understand how efficient this would make things for your business as well as many others. If you're interested, I'd be happy to submit a feature request for this on your behalf. In the meantime, let's look at what options you currently have!
Creating a mobile app
Previously, creating a mobile app was expensive, as you had to hire an Expert developer to develop one for you. While that option still exists, maintenance of the app can prove to become complicated as only the developer will be able to look into any issues to fix. Now, we have a number of third-party mobile app-building apps that you can utilize. I suggest browsing through a few, checking out ratings and reviews, and testing them out during the offered free trial periods to determine whether either of these options best suits your business needs. You can then lock your tablet on this specific app. This is also a great way to encourage customer retention, for those loyal customers of yours shopping from home. Keep in mind, if customer accounts are required, your customers may forget to log out after checking out.
If creating a mobile app for your shop isn't an option, perhaps searching for external services might be worth considering. While I don't have experience with this brand personally, and therefore cannot attest to their quality of service, MenuPad is a service that businesses can utilize to integrate a self-checkout with their POS system. Whichever service you take into consideration, I recommend always reading reviews and testing out the product before making a commitment.
Using your browser
You can also simply leave your shop's online store active in the tablet, setting it up as your startup page. Similarly with using your own mobile app, you'll be able to lock your tablet to your browser app. Of course, there may be some challenges that arise with this route, such as other tabs or pages being opened and browsed or customers forgetting to log out of their accounts before the next.
I hope this helps! Do any of these options seem opportune for your business? If you'd like me to submit the POS self-checkout feature request for you, or if you have any other questions, please let me know.
Thank you very much for the timely and comprehensive reply. Terrific that Shopify contributes directly to the community forums. To respond to specific recommendations:
Mobile App - We basically don't any internal technical capability to build apps, although these app builders may make that less necessary. From my quick review of the app builders, none of them seems to have this kiosk capability. They essentially replicate the web experience, so I am not sure how much building an app would help address our needs? I will look into this a bit more.
External Services - It looks like these primarily integrate into an existing POS system. We do not have a POS system--which is exactly what we are trying to address here.
Browser - This maybe the most simple and straightforward approach. The only very minor functionality I wish we had was a way for the customer to choose "Carry Out", similar to the Local Pickup and Local Delivery options. If this existed, the order would automatically be marked as fulfilled. In the current system, if they use the web as a kiosk, and choose Local Pickup during checkout, but actually take the merchandise with them, we would duplicate the order by also preparing the item for local pickup. (Hopefully that makes sense?).
I would appreciate it if you could request this "Carry Out" as an enhancement.
Otherwise, I don't think any of these options specifically meets our very simple needs.
It's my pleasure to see how I can help support our merchants! Thanks for your thought-out responses for each option. I'll be passing along your self-checkout feature request on my end here, and would be happy to elaborate further on each point to see if we can find a suitable fit for the meantime.
While I'm not too sure whether MenuPad specifically integrates with Shopify's Point of Sale (POS) System, I recommend checking with them or any other external kiosk services to see if they integrate with our POS system. This way you don't have to go searching for one or paying for an external POS system. You can find the requirements for our POS app in the Getting started with Shopify POS guide and install the app for Apple devices here or for Android devices here. Let me know if you have any questions regarding our app!
I believe these app builders are meant to simplify the process for merchants, so you shouldn't need too much design experience. Often app developers will also offer support guides on their websites that are handy to reference, so that may be worth checking out if you haven't already! You're correct - this would be similar to having a web-experience; the only difference here is that you'd be able to lock your tablet to this app, so that customers won't be able to browse anything else.
Although you can still lock your tablet on a browser, you may not be able to lock the browser to your shop's website - and thus may have people browsing the internet instead of shopping. While there isn't a way natively to automatically fulfill only in-store orders, I suggest checking out the following apps and speak with the app developers to see if their apps might be a suitable automated fulfillment solution for you:
As for the local pick-up option - whether this is done through a browser or mobile app - this does require staff to verify the inventory before a "ready for pick-up" notification is sent to the customer; however, the order can also simply be marked as picked up. If you have an employee attending to the kiosk stations who has a staff account with permissions to the Orders, they could theoretically mark those orders as picked up. Here's how it would look:
Ship or Pick up/Pick up location:
Customer enters payment information to complete checkout:
Customer receives confirmation email advising they'll be notified when order is ready for pickup:
Order populates in Admin with options "Mark as picked up" and "Ready for pickup"
If you select "Mark as picked up", your customer won't receive another "ready for pick up" email. Instead, if they click 'View your order' they'll see that their order has been picked up:
Now, if the language in the confirmation order is of concern, you can adjust this in your Settings > Notifications > Order confirmation:
For example, if you're offering in-store pick up as well as self-checkout, you could adjust this line to state "If you're picking up, you'll receive an email when your order is ready for pickup. If you're shopping in-store, you won't need to expect an email. We hope you enjoyed our self-checkout experience!"
I hope this helps to clarify! With this information, do you think one of these options may now be potentially suitable for your business needs? Please let me know if there's anything else I can clear up.
Again, thank you for the detailed and thoughtful reply.
I think the browser route is going to be our best option--the other two options don't really help address the shortcomings I noted.
In the browser option that you walk through, my understanding and your explanation of the local pickup option is clear. Unfortunately, this is not how we want to operate the store/kiosk. Our kiosk will be unmanned (hence kiosk--if it was manned we would use the POS). In this unmanned scenario, if the customer carries out the merchandise with them, the flow will be confusing and possibly duplicative. We will not have a good way (short of off-line, hand-written clip board in the store), to note that they took the merchandise. Do you understand what I am explaining here?
If so, we would very much like to request an enhancement that would add an option to "carry out" merchandise which is distinct from "local pickup".