Buck Mason creates a powerful unified commerce retail platform with Stripe Terminal

Buck Mason is a California-based clothing brand focused on producing vintage-inspired men’s and women’s wear that’s elevated for modern consumers. Since launching as an e-commerce site 10 years ago from a Venice Beach garage, Buck Mason has developed a brick-and-mortar footprint that now numbers 30 stores.

Products used

North America


Buck Mason co-founders Sasha Koehn and Erik Allen Ford started the company with a simple goal: recreate classic American clothing like T-shirts, jeans, and Oxford shirts by focusing on the highest-quality fabrics and craftsmanship.

The pair began selling their reimagined classics online in 2013, but quickly saw the chance to open a retail store in their Venice Beach neighbourhood. Rather than opening a generic clothing store, Sasha and Erik envisioned a Buck Mason store as a comfortable hangout space, with art on the walls, fine furniture, drinks, and music.

Behind the scenes of this growing operation, CTO Nick Merwin was building a custom retail technology platform to handle online and in-person transactions. There were no off-the-shelf products that could integrate the e-commerce shopfront with the POS he was building, and he preferred developing his own solutions that could be customised to Buck Mason’s unique needs.

By 2018, Buck Mason had grown to five stores, and was still processing transactions on Merwin’s home-grown solution: an off-the-shelf magnetic card reader that fed customers’ credit card information into Buck Mason’s browser-based POS, which itself was integrated with the company’s retail management backend. But times were changing.

PCI compliance requirements were becoming stricter about handing credit card information in a browser window, and contactless payments were becoming more popular. Buck Mason needed a new in-store payment solution, but it had to be developer-friendly. Any new system would have to support Buck Mason’s custom POS, be easy to integrate with the backend, and provide powerful functionality to support the continued development of new retail management features.


Buck Mason saw that Stripe Terminal, which had just been launched at the time, could be an immediate solution to its in-store needs – as well as a flexible platform that allowed for continued refinement and customisation of their POS and backend system.

Merwin was already familiar with Stripe technology, having used Stripe’s original payments API in an early version of the store’s e-commerce site back in 2013. He was impressed by Stripe’s extensive API documentation and support for developers. “It was clear that Stripe’s developer ergonomics were way better,” said Merwin.

The theme carried over into Terminal, which offered the key advantage of allowing customers to use their own POS while providing full PCI compliance and end-to-end encryption for transactions. The technology also offered contactless payments and supported Buck Mason’s browser-based architecture, allowing retail associates to use tablets, laptops, or phones to process orders – helping Buck Mason deliver a flexible customer experience.

“Our sales associates are moving around the stores a lot,” said Koehn. “They’re meeting customers where they are and checking them out right there.”

Terminal also supported Buck Mason’s goal of making its POS as powerful as possible while still providing a quick, efficient checkout experience. With Terminal, Buck Mason could continue to refine its POS to support multiple actions directly from the browser interface, including new purchases, returns, exchanges, and line items to ship from different fulfilment locations. “Our goal has always been for our in-store software to get out of the way of the customer interaction as much as possible,” said Merwin. “We want to require the least amount of clicks to do anything.”

Stripe’s API also made it easy to integrate Terminal with Buck Mason’s tech stack, which includes the company’s custom retail management backend as well as separate checkout for online orders. This seamless integration has allowed Merwin’s team to develop new functionality to accommodate a unified commerce experience, such as splitting payments and refunding or charging the difference on returns and exchanges.

For example, if a customer purchases a pair of jeans online, then visits a Buck Mason store to return those jeans and purchase a T-shirt, they’d need to be refunded the price difference. Buck Mason’s system would recognise the in-store transaction processed through Terminal, associate it with the customer’s original purchase, and refund the portion of the original payment made online.


A scalable technology solution for double-digit revenue growth

Stripe has been an integral part of Buck Mason’s retail expansion, helping the company add 25 stores since 2018 to reach 30 total locations around the country. In-store retail sales now account for 50% of total revenue, which has grown at a high double-digit annual rate for the past 10 years.

Enabling the rapid development of new sales and service models

Stripe’s developer-friendly API has helped Buck Mason refine its unified commerce strategy. For example, when lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic were hurting retail stores, the integration of Terminal with the company’s POS and retail management platform allowed Buck Mason to quickly launch online ordering with in-store pickup. The system was up and running in two weeks, rather than a process that could have taken three to six months without the flexibility of Terminal, according to Merwin. “That ended up allowing us to not close a single store,” said Merwin.

Another new service powered by Terminal’s integration is the ability to fulfil online orders from store inventory when items are out of stock in the Buck Mason warehouse. Koehn estimates that 15% of online orders are fulfilled from store inventory. “The retail term is ‘selling the last can of peas,’” said Koehn. “We are able to use our retail stores as fulfilment centres, and Stripe is a key player in that process because it’s part of our POS.”

Expanded POS functionality for a better customer experience

Additional Terminal features – including a single API, flexible payments acceptance, and card readers pre-certified for PCI compliance – have freed up developer time to support Buck Mason’s extensive improvements to its POS functionality since 2018. Today, Terminal supports contactless payments and on-screen reviews for multiple actions within a checkout, including the ability to add alterations to clothing, purchase digital or physical gift cards, handle returns and exchanges from multiple previous orders, and specify items to ship from a warehouse or from other stores. That’s a long way from the basic functionality of a magnetic card reader.

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