There are unique challenges involved when running a physical store side-by-side with an eCommerce website. It can be difficult to synchronize inventory across online and offline sales, and inconvenient to manage separate payment systems for a brick-and-mortar store and an online store — but if you have the right eCommerce platform, POS (Point of Sale) setup, and a payment provider that supports both, it can be easy.

Retailers who sell both online and in person can streamline their business by using a POS system that connects with their eCommerce platform. 3dcart is a great example, as the platform includes a POS module that automatically synchronizes customers and inventory across both offline and online channels. 3dcart POS includes all the necessary features for smoothing your operations between brick-and-mortar and online retail, and recently we've upgraded it for compatibility with Stripe Terminal, a programmable point-of-sale product aimed at eCommerce businesses and software platforms that want to accept in-store payments. 


What is Stripe Terminal?

Stripe Terminal, developed by the global online payments platform Stripe, extends Stripe’s infrastructure to the physical world. With API and hardware partnerships, Stripe Terminal enables brick-and-mortar businesses to accept credit cards including chip cards, and contactless mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Stripe Terminal card readers are pre-certified and PCI-compliant, ensuring ease of use for your business and safety for your customers' payment data. Other innovations include cloud-based hardware management, a detailed reporting dashboard, and JavaScript and mobile SDKs for high levels of customization.

Currently, Stripe Terminal is only available in the United States, including Puerto Rico. Stripe does have plans to expand the Terminal for usage in other countries, and if you're a merchant using Stripe outside the US, you can request an invite to test Stripe Terminal at your location. The invite request also signs you up to receive more information once Stripe Terminal is available in your country.


How Stripe Terminal Compares to Square

A common question is how exactly Stripe Terminal is different from Square, which also has mobile card readers as well as POS software. According to John Collison, co-founder and president of Stripe, Stripe is focused on different types of retailers than Square. He explains Stripe Terminal as specifically for businesses that began predominately with eCommerce and seek to expand into brick-and-mortar locations later. This mirrors Stripe's own history of starting handling online payments before expanding into POS technology. Of course, if you're looking for a new POS solution for your business, Stripe Terminal can be a great choice for you regardless of how your business began.

Stripe Terminal is also a bit more technical than Square, since Stripe's goal is to provide a much more customizable solution for businesses that want to create a fully original POS interface. This doesn't mean it's difficult to use Stripe Terminal for your business, however — for example, 3dcart's integration with Stripe Terminal already handles the technical aspects so you can jump right into using a streamlined payment provider for both your brick-and-mortar and online sales.


A Convenient, Unified Dashboard for All Stripe Hardware and Payments

If you're a current Stripe user, you're already familiar with the Stripe Dashboard, the rich and informative administrator interface accessible by logging into your Stripe account. The Stripe Dashboard displays information and analytics on all your customers and sales in an intuitive interface so you can view all the important data as needed.

With the introduction of Stripe Terminal, the Stripe Dashboard has grown to cover your offline sales and to put additional pertinent information at your fingertips.

The Stripe Dashboard works well to ease the concerns of merchants who worry about the potential difficulties of selling on both online and offline channels. You'll have all the information you need to ensure your store runs smoothly, even when things get complicated by multiple card readers or locations.


Stripe Terminal for 3dcart POS

3dcart POS is a built-in Point of Sale module that can fully synchronize with your 3dcart store, available for iPads running iOS 8 or higher. It only takes a few minutes to start using 3dcart POS by installing it on your iPad and connecting it to your online store. You can test out the app without a store by selecting Demo Mode, which is handy if you're still choosing an eCommerce platform.

With 3dcart POS, you can sell products from your brick-and-mortar store (or pop-up stall, convention table, or other vendor location) and synchronize your inventory counts to reflect both your online and offline sales. This means no manual adjustment of stock counts, and less opportunity for error. You can also create customer records on your online store for new face-to-face customers — and if one of your online customers walks in to shop from your location, you can even attach their POS order to their existing customer account.

Our recent upgrade to 3dcart POS enabled connection with Stripe Terminal, specifically their BBPOS Chipper™ 2X BT card reader option. This compact card reader works by connecting to a mobile device via Bluetooth Low Energy, and accepts swipe and chip cards as well as contactless digital payments. Plus, end-to-end encryption prevents your customers' card information from being exposed to malicious third parties — rather than sending raw credit card numbers to your terminal, the card reader transfers the information via an encrypted token instead.


How Much Does Stripe Terminal Cost?

Stripe Terminal follows the same pay-as-you-go fee structure as Stripe's online payment processing: each successful card transaction carries a small cost. The rate for Stripe Terminal is 2.7% + 5¢ per transaction. You'll also need to purchase at least one card reader — the 3dcart-compatible BBPOS Chipper™ 2X BT costs $59.

Remember, Stripe Terminal is aimed more at businesses already selling online and seeking to expand into brick-and-mortar sales. You'll have the best luck if you use an integrated POS system rather than developing your own (although Stripe does provide you the tools to do so). 3dcart, besides including a robust POS system, is a complete platform perfect for businesses of any size with a wide range of plans to fit any budget. You'll have access to tons of powerful eCommerce features, including a mobile-ready responsive website, compatibility with Stripe online payments (and over 160 other payment processors to increase your options), complete built-in SEO, and much more.

We're glad to be able to offer you a simple way to use an advanced in-person payment system like Stripe Terminal, the perfect complement to 3dcart POS.