What is the Square Point of Sale App?

November 08, 2018

Square’s point-of-sale app has quickly become one of the industry’s leading options for merchants in the retail environment. It’s remarkably easy to use, has a powerful set of features and presents an affordable yet transparent pricing structure for discerning clients. If you’re looking for something to get you going out of the box, without too much delay or confusion, it’s definitely something that you should check out.

The Short of it

Price
$0 Per month
2.5% - 3.5% + 10c Per Transaction

Better pricing can be negotiated for larger businesses.

Available On
IOS
Android
Suitable for
  • Businesses only wanting to pay as you go. No monthly fees.
  • Companies wanting no startup fees. Only pay for your hardware.
  • Small businesses that want more than a standard POS software. Includes, analytics, payroll and more.

Mobility

Square Mobility
Square’s success is rooted in its mobility, as it presents an advanced processing solution for tablets, with an impressive customer experience. For those who are less mobile, Square can also act as a countertop POS system and in both cases, its cost is one of its biggest draws.

If you’re looking for a system that has no monthly minimum, no charge for any statements and no monthly fee, then Square is a viable option. If you’re new to your business and don’t have an established processing history, it can seem like a dream come true.

Processing costs start at 2.75% as a flat rate for in-store transactions, while online transactions are 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction, rising to 3.5% plus $.15 per transaction for keyed-in sales.

Upgrade Availability

That said, those who are looking for more functionality and want a system that can grow with their business can consider Square’s new and advanced POS system that is iPad-based. Just remember to progress carefully in your early days and make sure that your POS system closely matches your needs and overall budget, so that you don’t extend yourself too quickly.

Back Office Features

Square has a variety of back-office features within its free point-of-sale system, not easily matched by any other mobile processing set up. Certainly, it’s possible to get even more advanced features in other available systems, but remember that there is no monthly fee here and consequently, it’s difficult to top the value.

Square Payments

Square Payments
At the core of the offering is Square Payments, which is the fundamental processor and is feature-packed. There is just one flat rate payable, regardless of the industry, the transaction size or the type of card.

You can integrate the app with a variety of different shopping cart software companies online, or you can just stick with Square and get a free online store at the beginning. They also supply a robust API solution if you want to customise your own.

Square also has a built-in facility to send invoices, whether one-off or recurring and you can attach images, PO’s, contracts and other files when you do.

You can also get a free virtual terminal that can be used as a browser-based tool whenever it is connected through a web browser. This will allow you to enter credit card details manually and the terminal allows you to store the data in encrypted form, so you can recharge your customers with the existing data when needed. Obviously, you will need to retain permission from the customer when you do so, but everything is PCI compliant whenever you keep their card on file.

You’ll want to know when you can get access to your funds, of course, and in general, Square deposits them into your bank account within two business days, dependent on when the transaction came through. If you need your money even more quickly than that, you can give Square 1% of the amount being transferred and opt to get an instantaneous deposit.

The good news is that Square has now become fully integrated in Australia and you should be able to use all supported payment methods and pricing tables right away.

Specific Apps

Getting down to detail, Square has four different point-of-sale apps, to appeal to merchants in different industry sectors.

Square Point-Of-Sale

Square Point Of Sale
For example, Square Point-Of-Sale is where the bread-and-butter is, but you can configure this app to match your needs in the workplace. For example, you can add a discount or a tip if you’re in the restaurant business, you can handle split payments and even record check or cash transactions. You can print a receipt to give to the customer or a ticket to give to your kitchen staff to place the order, or you can print out a paper receipt to gather a tip manually from the customer.

This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as Point-Of-Sale flexibility is concerned, and you can customise your receipts, email them to a remote client, calculate discounts on a percentage basis, issue a partial refund and so much more.

Square Appointments

Square Appointments is now a fully-fledged POS app and can help you manage your busy day-to-day schedule. This only works on the iOS platform at the moment but may soon be found on your Android device. You can use it to sync with Google Calendar, or allow people to book an appointment with you through the integrated scheduler. The app will send reminders and allow you to maintain a customer database, complete with detailed notes to jog your memory.

If you want to use this for teams, pricing begins at $50 per month and rises depending on how many employees are involved.

Square for Retail

Square for Retail is intended for businesses that operate with a large inventory. Currently only available on iPad, this POS has the capability to scan and print barcodes, produce cost-of-goods-sold reports, handle purchase orders, transfer inventory and so much more.

The solution costs $60 per month per location, with additional registers possible at $20 per month each.

Square Restaurant

Square Restaurant
If you’re in the restaurant business, you are well catered for by Square with their dedicated app for your industry. While you can use the aforementioned Point-Of-Sale app for smaller operations, this dedicated app would be perfect for a full-service platform.

This app has a different user interface to the others and is also available with hands-on support. You can customise the interface to your heart’s content and even change the colour and size of the buttons if you want to. If you find that you work in a restaurant with a particularly subdued ambience, you can even switch Square over to “light” mode instead.

If you want help to walk you through your set up, Square can put you in touch with a consultant who will help you do so for a fee of $60, so you can hit the floor running on your opening night. This may be a good idea due to the complexity of the system, but you can also choose to get round-the-clock email or phone support with technical questions.

With this Restaurant app, you can customise your floor plan, deal with different venues, split tickets or handle tips, from manual to automatic. You can deal with employee scheduling and management and can configure the app to produce a multitude of different reports for your back-office work.

You’ll pay $60 per month, per location for the POS, with the option to get additional registers for $40 each.

Square Store

If you want to sell your own “stuff” online, you should really consider using the e-commerce/online ordering capability in Square Store. This will enable you to set up your own hosting plan if you want to, by using a plug-and-play-type configuration and when you’ve finished, you will find that everything integrates seamlessly with Square Point-Of-Sale. If you don’t need a website at this point but tend to use other SAAS providers like WooCommerce, then you can integrate Square with a few clicks or taps, so you can process payments right away.

Other Square Features

Data Handling

Don’t overlook Square when it comes to handling data, as it can maintain a robust customer database to help you market and grow your business. You’ll be able to save all the contact information and card data, but can also track how customers behave, whether they are new or repeat and how often they visit. Square will provide you with charts that display this activity over a certain time period, and you can further customise it so you can send messages to these individual groups as part of your email marketing strategy.

Dashboard

Going even further, generate real-time reports down to the hour if needed as part of the online Dashboard. Once again, there are a wide variety of different report categories that can analyse sales by payment method, item or employee and you can export most of these reports through a CSV function.

Multi-location

If you have more than one facility and want to bring everything under the same umbrella from the point of view of management and reporting, Square has you covered as well. You can manage all your locations from one single account quite easily.

Marketing

How about throwing some marketing tools into the equation? For example, Square has got a gift card option that allows you to pre-design your cards using a template or your own creative efforts. Online cards can be issued for as little as $2 per card plus the credit card processing fee. There is no redemption charge and all the cards can be reloaded.

Payroll

You can import time cards from your POS app into Square’s payroll processing capability. This will enable you to calculate how much you owe employees, including complex overtime calculations, and deal with taxes as well. In turn, your employees can use the POS app to clock in and out. This solution costs $29 per month plus a small charge per employee and will take care of all withholdings, payments and tax filings directly.

Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement tools allow you to gather feedback from your customers, so you can work on improving your business on a consistent basis. You can gather this feedback in one place rather than having to scour social media to see what people are saying, and you can even ask for this feedback when you issue receipts from the app. Then, you can use the second part of the Customer Engagement suite, email marketing. This allows you to send offers and newsletters to your subscribers via your database.

Event Rentals

The options keep coming with Event Rentals. This app is aimed squarely at some of the market leaders like Eventbrite and allows you to sell tickets or entry to events through your online store and then cross-integrate with other solutions.

Hardware Options

If you’re looking for hardware, Square can provide you with a number of different options, including printers, cash drawers, different card readers and tablet stands, together with an independent POS device. You can finance any of these items of hardware that cost more than a certain amount, should you need to.

For example, you can get a point-of-sale terminal stand and contactless chip card reader for around $170 and use this combination instead of any other checkout system you may conceive. This gives you advanced functionality and you can connect it wirelessly to your tablet or smartphone.

Why Square Is Right for You

It’s time that you moved beyond the traditional payment processors like PayPal and introduced a fully integrated solution that is feature-rich and has advanced POS software included. Square is definitely something that you should consider with this in mind and when you join the Square family, you’ll be able to keep an eye on new features being rolled out on a consistent basis. Square is not just for handling transactions but is very adept when it comes to employee management, inventory, marketing and customer relations as well.

In Summary

If you are like the majority of small businesses and process anywhere up to $200,000 of sales per year in card or cash sales, Square is perfect for you. Remember, it comes with no fixed monthly fee to process credit cards, while the point-of-sale software is also included.
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