If you run a physical (brick and mortar) retail store, then there are few tools more important than your point of sale system. This combination of hardware and software will ensure that you can take payments from customers instantly while updating your inventory too.
Square is one of the best-known mobile point of sale systems in the industry.
Simple and effective, the Square POS gives you more control over your business back-end, with payment processing, employee management, and inventory support.
So, is it the right tool to boost your company's growth?
Let's find out.
Square POS Features
The Square POS system is a combination of hardware, and a proprietary app that can be used on your mobile device (smartphone or tablet), or another specialist endpoint.
Unlike other electronic POS system, Square sets itself apart from its competitors by abandoning all monthly pricing plans. You only pay for your processing fees per transaction – which can save you quite a bit of money in the long term.
👉 Additionally, for such an affordable POS, Square also comes packed with amazing features, including:
- Real-time analytics
- Square dashboard for administrative tasks
- Inventory management
- Customer feedback and custom profiles
- Purchase histories and saved cards
- Easy-to-use invoicing
- Quick deposits into your bank account
- Fraud prevention and data security
- Variety of hardware options
Let's dive a little deeper.
Square Point of Sale Pros 👍
- No monthly fees and reasonable processing costs
- Support for a range of hardware and OS options
- Operates in offline mode
- Wide range of rich features
- Options to upgrade and scale
- Easy functionality
- Fantastic customer management
- In-depth inventory management
Square Point of Sale Cons 👎
- Limited customer support
- Possibilities of account freezing and suspension
Square POS Hardware Options
You have a variety of options when it comes to using the Square POS system.
Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may decide to purchase a comprehensive hardware solution, like the Square Register. On the other hand, if you're just looking for something simple, the Square terminal might be right up your alley.
👉 Here's what's available right now:
- The Square Register: A complete system for payment management, POS software, and hardware (including receipt printing and other tools). Currently, however, the Register doesn't support Bluetooth, browser access, or additional apps.
- The Square Stand: Use your iPad as your point of sale with simple plug-in hardware. You get a stand, contactless and chip card reader, and a dock for your Square Reader system.
- The Square POS terminal: Here, you can accept all kinds of payments, print receipts, and more, without adding your phone or tablet. It's an easy all-in-one device for payments and receipt.
💡 The Square POS system accepts all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express), which means that you should be able to process payments easily. The Square reader, which comes as part of most packages, can also take payments from Google and Apple Pay.
Square payment systems also come with the option to include state-of-the-art hardware too.
Options range from receipt printers and tablet stands to card readers, cash drawers, barcode scanners, and Square bundle kits.
Point of Sale App
While the Square POS hardware is helpful, the software is where the magic really happens.
The free Square Point of Sale app is the tool that gives you full control over your POS system. With intuitive payment, inventory, and order processing, you can run your entire business through an iPad or smartphone.
Even more impressive?
Because Square knows that different kinds of businesses operate in unique ways, there are different kinds of apps depending on your industry.
👉 These include:
- Square for Retail
- Square Appointments
- Square POS system
- Square for Restaurants
The POS from Square is more than just a basic tool. It's one of the most comprehensive options in the market, which is surprising given its price. You can manage open orders and tipping in cafes or restaurants, letting your customers open a tab with you. There's also inventory management so you can track stock levels and differentiate between product types.
When it comes to invoicing, you can send or schedule invoices directly from your Square POS, print a receipt, or send one straight to your customer's email. Speaking of your customers, there's even the option to create dedicated profiles so you can connect with each client on a deeper level.
👉 Some of the most impressive features include:
- Ticket and receipt printing
- Customizable kitchen display compatibility
- Signature and tip on receipt
- Gift receipts
- Employee management
- Customer loyalty
- Discounts and vouchers
- Tips and open orders
- Item and inventory tracking
- Offline card payment processing
Payments and Payment Processing
We could talk about the Square POS app for days.
Instead, let's look at some of the features that you care about most.
First of all, Square ensures that you won't have to use any other payment processor or tool to manage your business finances. You can accept credit cards, debit cards, cash, gift cards, and checks, all through your chosen hardware, and Square POS app.
Sending invoices is simple with custom templates, and Square even provides support for data protection and security too. Unfortunately, the fraud detection tool can make your life a bit complicated by leading to account freezes for no reason – but we'll come back to that later.
For now, let's take a look at how Square handles payment processing.
👉 Features include:
- Deposits straight to your bank or PayPal account in one business day
- Save customer cards on file for repeat purchases (without harming PCI compliance)
- Link up to third-party integrations for more in-depth invoices. Apps like Xero and Intuit Quickbooks which are highly acknowledged can synchronize well with Square.
- Use your virtual terminal on the Square POS system to enter credit card payments from any internet-connected device.
- Offline payments ensure that you can manage your business even when you don't have a connection.
- Installment payments allow you to set your users up for recurring payments – perhaps for long-term payment plans or membership fees
Additionally, because your payment processing dashboard is entirely customizable, it's easier to get complete control over your business back-end. You can remove any widgets from your home screen, which might not be relevant to you and add new apps and integrations for more in-depth support.
Customer Experience & Inventory Management
These days, choosing the best POS system isn't just about processing payments fast.
Reliable hardware and software is crucial. However, you also want to make sure that you're giving your customers an amazing experience so that you can turn them into repeat purchasers.
Unlike most POS options, Square assists with that, through the Square Directory.
With a comprehensive management tool for customer profiles, you can save important information about each client, track their purchasing history and contact information, and even securely save credit card details.
As well as being able to send custom receipts with every card transaction, you can also request feedback from your customers, by asking them to review their purchase via a digital receipt. This is particularly helpful when it comes to building your brand's reputation.
To boost your chances of a good review, Square also provides comprehensive Inventory Management, so you can ensure that you always have the products available that your customers are looking for. If you upgrade to the Square for Retail app that we mentioned above, you do get a lot more features in your Inventory Management service. However, you will also need to pay a little more for the privilege.
👉 Features of the basic inventory management tool include:
- Item categories/variations
- Item modifications add-ons
- Pictures and descriptions
- Inventory count
- Tax rate management
- Bulk inventory export/import
- Online and in-store inventory sync
- Adjust stock levels
Analytics and Payment Tracking
Another particularly impressive aspect of the Square POS system?
It comes with analytics built-in.
Square POS system tracks your sales, breaking them down into visual graphs and images so that you can tell which of your products are driving your revenue. You can monitor your purchase histories, examine the experiences of new customers, and more.
If you want to figure out whether you're performing better this week than you did the week before, you can set up an analytics overview based on time. You can also design summary reports that you send to stakeholders and managers automatically via email.
👉 Through real-time analytics and sales reporting, Square POS gives you more power to make informed decisions about your company's future. You can:
- Check analytics anywhere at any time
- See how your sales stack up over time
- Track sales with the Square dashboard
- Learn more about your customers
We've already mentioned that the Square POS app comes in different flavors depending on your industry. The Square for Retail, Square for Restaurants, and Square Appointments apps each come with their own special features and pricing requirements to consider.
On top of that, there are also other add-ons to add more functionality to your POS.
👉 For instance, you can add:
- Employee management for $5 per user per month – This covers clock in/out features, employee-specific access restrictions, timecard reports, and more.
- Square Marketing for $15 per month – Basic marketing tools like email marketing campaigns sent through your POS.
- Square Loyalty for $25 per month – Create your own loyalty program with digital punch cards and tiered rewards.
- Gift cards for 80 cents each (physical) – Track your gift cards, redemptions, and refunds through your POS. Digital cards cost 2.9% per transaction, plus 30 cents.
- Square Payroll for $29 per month and $5 per employee: Make the most of your payroll strategy and keep your team members happy.
Square POS Ease of Use
With so many features, Square must be a pain to use, right?
Not in our opinion.
The Square POS system is a simple and straightforward solution for many kinds of businesses. Whether you're a small business owner running a restaurant or a store, there are very few limits to what you can do with the right Square set-up. All you need to do is decide what kind of POS you want to create.
The Square POS hardware is robust and easy to follow, whether you're using a complete system or just your tablet. Additionally, the Square dashboard means that adding items and categories to your POS is a breeze. You can even add bulk items with the CSV import option.
With Square, anyone can start taking payments within a matter of moments.
Just download the Square Point of Sale app and sign into your store to begin.
You'll receive a grid that showcases all the products you've put into your dashboard. From there, you can specify the size, quantity, discounts, and taxes of each item as you sell them. There's also a handy button called “Split” that allows you to split costs between multiple customers, or different forms of payment.
💡 When customers are ready to make a payment, they can either dip or swipe their card depending on your chosen Square hardware. There's also the option to take mobile payments on the Square reader (from both iOS and Android devices) – which sets you up for the future of credit card processing.
Unfortunately, it's not all sunshine and roses.
The Square POS is incredibly aggressive when it comes to fighting back against fraud. That means that even if something small happens in your company – like you have a great sales day, you could risk your account being frozen without reason. Square doesn't even tell you why you've lost your account in some cases.
The Square POS system might be easy to use, but it's also easy to lose your account too.
Square POS Pricing
First of all, you don't need to pay a monthly fee for your payments. However, you will need to provide a small portion of your income to Square for every transaction as a processing fee.
These transaction fees differ depending on what kind of tool you're using.
👉 For instance:
- Square POS with mobile card reader – 2.75%
- Square Register – 2.6% plus 10 cents
- Square Terminal – 2.6% plus 10 cents
- Square for Retail – 2.6% plus 10 cents
- Square for Restaurants – 2.6^% plus 10 cents
- Square Appointments – 2.75%
- Square Appointments for teams – 2.6% plus 10 cents
- Keyed-in card– 3.5% plus 15 cents
- eCommerce sales – 2.9% plus 30 cents
All of those fees are per transaction.
Along with those payments, you'll also need to think about the cost of purchasing your initial hardware for the Square POS system.
👉 The prices of some of the most popular equipment are:
- $999 for the Square Register
- $199 for the Square stand (chip and contactless)
- $399 for the Square Terminal
- $49 for the Square Reader (chip and contactless)
- $10 for the Square reader for Magstripe
- $35 for the Square Reader for Chip
You can also buy extra accessories from the Square shop, like Gift cards for your customers that work automatically with your Square POS system. If you need a tablet to begin running your business with Square, you can purchase one of those too.
So, what if you need to reach out to the Square team for extra help?
Well, there are a few options.
You can tweet the company on social media (@SqSupport) or send an email. There's also phone support available from 6 am to 6 pm PT.
Square often does what it can to give you a high-quality customer service experience. However, it's far from perfect.
The biggest issue?
💡 If your Square account has been terminated because of their strict anti-fraud algorithm, then you'll struggle to get any kind of response from the team. You'll only be able to communicate with the group via email, and it takes days to get an answer.
There's always the option to switch to the Square knowledgebase for help instead. The range of help articles and posts are actually pretty incredible. There's an extensive selection of walkthroughs available, complete with screenshots, and guidance for virtually every feature you can think of.
Additionally, Square has a robust community of merchants that you can turn to for extra assistance as well.
Is Square POS right for You?
Should you be using Square POS?
For the most part, Square offers one of the most intuitive and robust point of sale systems you'll find on the market – for prices that are quite competitive. Although some people complain that the fees are too high, they're actually much better than some of the credit card processing costs you'll see elsewhere.
The Square POS system is quick and user-friendly, with countless add-ons and customization options that you can use to make it your own. Plus, you have a range of choices when it comes to building your business out with hardware.
The biggest problem with Square?
The freeze-outs and account locks that seem to happen almost without reason. If you sell too much one day or something about your payment processing strategy change, then you could risk losing your Square account suddenly. This means that big businesses just don't work well with Square. Instead, the tool might be better suited to smaller retailers, quick service restaurants, coffee shops, pop-up stores and mobile companies.
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