Shopify, the platform that powers more than 80,000 online storefronts, has been working for the last six months to bring its software to physical stores. A new $100 million round of funding announced on Thursday should help its new point-of-sale software compete with products from Square, Paypal, and Groupon.
"The future of retail is a combination of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores," says Chief Platform Officer Harley Finkelstein about why Shopify is pursuing offline storefronts. "It's not online and offline, it's just retail." Shopify launched a point of sale system for offline transactions in August. The company is using its own payment system to power the new offline transactions, but Finkelstein says the company views payments as a way to make commerce easier rather than a business in itself. "This industry shouldn't exist," he says of stand-alone payments solutions like PayPal. "If you want to sell something, it should just be intuitive."
Rather, the startup hopes to facilitate continuity between online and offline sales. Its biggest immediate advantage offline could be that it has already signed up so many stores online. "All of their inventory, descriptions, and prices are already there," Finkelstein says.