Sometimes opportunities pop up in the unlikeliest places. Just ask Chris Pace, who ended up with a new business after doing a friend favor — to replace a legacy POS system in the friend’s coffee shop with an iPad-based solution. After researching available options, Pace assembled a solution consisting of iPads, a ShopKeep POS application and APG Vasario™ cash drawers.
“I installed the solution and thought that was the end of the road for me and POS,” Pace recalls. “All of a sudden, I started getting phone calls and referrals from customers at the coffee shop who wanted the same system. In January 2012, I signed on as a ShopKeep VAR.”
And so Congruity Solutions, Gilbert, AZ, became a POS VAR. Pace had launched the business in 2011 as a website developer and consultant to keep busy while in between jobs. Pace, who calls the ShopKeep partnership a happy accident, decided to stick with the vendor since the coffee shop’s POS solution had spurred so much interest — even though it was still in beta when he deployed it.
For ShopKeep, signing Congruity made sense. “Chris understands how hard it is to run a small business,” says Todd Lasher, GM and VP of ShopKeep’s Channel Business. “Chris is passionate about the businesses he works with and has a consistent focus on enabling merchants’ success.”
The coffee shop needed a new POS solution because its legacy, PC-based system had crashed. Interestingly enough, ShopKeep went into business because of a POS crash. Its founder and CEO, Jason Richelson, had previously opened three retail businesses in New York, where he deployed a traditional Windows-based POS system.
While he was on vacation in 2008, the POS servers crashed, effectively closing the businesses and sending Richelson in search of an alternative. He wanted a cloud-based POS solution but found nothing suitable. That’s when he had the idea to start ShopKeep POS, which would focus on flexible, affordable cloud-based technology and mobile components such as Apple’s iPad. ShopKeep also decided to use APG’s standalone cash drawers, which Lasher says deliver “a great user experience.”
Three years later, along came Pace, just doing a friend a favor. Even though Pace got a full-time job after Congruity became a ShopKeep partner, he decided to keep the business going and hired a project manager in 2012.
ShopKeep helped kick-start the business by extending its usual one-month solution trial to six months for Congruity’s initial clients, a program that has since ended. “It gave me an incredible value proposition. If the client chose me and ShopKeep, they’d get it free for the first six months, with support,” Pace says.
Deploying ShopKeep/APG solutions, says Pace, is straightforward. “It takes very little time to install, it’s very easy to support, and is much cheaper for the end user,” he says. “The POS part is pretty simple: It comes down to setting up the application and showing the customer how to use it, which creates a great consultative business opportunity.”
As for the cash drawers, he says, “the fact that the APG hardware is so well crafted and works so well with the ShopKeep system certainly makes it easy to offer my setup services.” Congruity makes no money on hardware, instead selling it at cost to customers. Pace explains his profit comes from credit card residual income that is part of the deal he has with ShopKeep, as well as POS installation and service fees.
Customers like the ShopKeep/APG solutions because of ease of use, affordability and data collection. “The biggest benefit is the data collection,” says Pace. “Most business owners don’t track sales by hour, day or week without a powerful POS solution. ShopKeep can do this, and you can access real-time data from anywhere.”
Congruity benefits from the partnership in multiple ways. In addition to the POS business, Pace says he can steer clients to other services, such as website development. “The major benefit of a ShopKeep installation is the downstream relationship it builds. ShopKeep gets us in the door and allows us to maintain the relationship.”
The 6 Month Reseller Program, which Pace refers to, ended earlier this year. ShopKeep POS continues to pursue new partnerships and new opportunities, and is taking contact information from interested parties as they develop new programs.
About ShopKeep® POS
ShopKeep POS exists to help small businesses run better businesses. Founded and designed by a small business owner, we provide cloud-based point of sale software for managing retail shops and restaurants. ShopKeep allows business owners nationwide to set-up their registers in minutes, accept cash and credit cards with their choice of processor, view real-time sales on their smartphone and easily track inventory and staff. Most importantly, our award winning customer care team is available to help seven days a week. Everything we do is about supporting small businesses. Visit www.shopkeep.com to learn more or follow @ShopKeep for updates.
About APG Cash Drawer, LLC
APG manufactures a broad range of high-quality cash drawers and other related products for thousands of customers throughout the world. During its 35+ year history, APG has built a reputation as the supplier of choice for highly durable and dependable cash drawers. To learn more about APG products, visit APG’s website or call +1 763-571-5000.