Choosing a point-of-sale (POS) system is one of the first and most impactful decisions that Aspiring Shopkeepers and Savvy Starters make. If you’re debating over Square versus Shopify for your brick-and-mortar store, this post should help you make an informed decision.
The Two Most Popular POS Systems for Indie Retailers: Square Versus Shopify
Your POS software and hardware are how you collect payment for the goods you offer in your store, and in some cases, they’re also the tech supporting your e-commerce website.
Most indie retailers in the Savvy Shopkeeper community use Square or Shopify as their point-of-sale systems. There are others, such as Lightspeed and Clover, but Square and Shopify are consistently the top two systems in our community.
And while I’ve shared about whether Shopify could work for your retail business, I haven’t previously compared these two systems.
There is No Perfect System
To be clear, I’m not here to tell you which platform is best for you and your business. There are simply too many nuances in both your business and each of these systems for me to really say which is best for you.
And honestly, there is NO perfect system. No matter which system you choose, there are still going to be features that aren’t available or just don’t work as well as we’d like. So get past trying to find the “perfect” system for your business. You may have to find workarounds, add apps, or do without a feature that you really want.
Free Resource: The Square Versus Shopify for Brick and Mortar Stores Decision Tree
However, I can help you with the decision process by providing you with information on some of the basic differences—and why an indie retailer might head in one direction over another.
So I created a Decision Tree to help you!
A decision tree is a visual map of the possible outcomes of a series of related choices. Put another way, a decision tree is a type of flowchart that shows a clear pathway to a decision.
Once you download the decision tree, the first question you’ll answer is:
Do you have a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce-only business?
The next step question is:
If you only have B&M store at this time, do you plan on launching or adding e-commerce to your business model in the future?
If you only have e-commerce at this time, do you plan on opening a brick-and-mortar store in the future?
And it goes from there! It’s super easy to understand and it’s all in one helpful image.
The Main Differences Between Square and Shopify
If you get to the point in the decision tree where you have to compare Square versus Shopify, you’ll see a list of some of the features in these systems that brick-and-mortar store owners should seriously consider.
These deciding factors include:
- Inventory management and reporting
- Website/e-commerce capabilities
- Physical gift cards
These all have red asterisks next to them so you can easily spot them on the decision tree. And in these four categories lie the biggest differences between Square and Shopify.
For example, Shopify is more advanced on the websites and e-commerce side, while Square’s strength lies in its physical POS hardware.
Yet many retail business owners need both software AND hardware to be strengths, not one or the other! Can we say omnichannel retail?!
Whatever System You Choose, Make the Most of It
No matter which path you choose, make the most of your system! Don’t let it hinder you, your business, or your growth.
And if you’re a Master Shopkeepers member and you’re finding a roadblock with your system, ask in the MSK group! You never know what other group member might have had the same issue but found a solution for. Remember, you are not alone in this!
Click the button below to download a PDF file of the Square versus Shopify Decision Tree. Once you click on the button it will download immediately. If you’re on a mobile phone and it doesn’t download, try downloading from a computer.
Want to talk to a Shopify Rep to get your Point-of-Sale questions answered? Listen to Episode 170!
*Please note that some of the links are affiliate links or codes, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I make recommendations because I feel they are helpful and useful to shopkeepers, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links or codes. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
- Shopkeeper Shoutout: Alex, owner of Island Life Artisan Gifts on Bainbridge Island, WA! Visit them on Instagram and on the web.
- Ep. 54: Is Shopify Right For Your Retail Business?
- Ep. 78: What Is Omnichannel Retail and How to Achieve It
- Get started with Square’s free plan
- Try Shopify for 3 months for $1/month
- [01:58] The Two Most Popular POS Systems for Indie Retailers: Square Versus Shopify
- [04:49] There is No Perfect System
- [05:51] Free Resource: The Square Versus Shopify for Brick and Mortar Stores Decision Tree
- [08:25] The Main Differences Between Square and Shopify
- [10:42] Whatever System You Choose, Make the Most of It