Square is one of the best-known solutions in the world for small business eCommerce, mobile selling, and backend business management. Not only does the company offer one of the best-value POS systems on the market today, but it also comes with a range of other tools to help merchants make their fortunes.
For instance, if you run a specific kind of business, Square can give you a software solution that's been tailor-made to suit your needs.
Two of the key verticals that Square focuses on today are restaurants and retail.
Square for retail is the solution that we'll be looking at in today's review.
Let's get started.
What is Square for Retail?
Square for Retail is Square's highly-focused approach to offering simple sales solutions for today's retail companies. The solution works in conjunction with payment processing systems and POS hardware to help your business manage day-to-day transactions.
This POS solution is specially created for today's modern retailers – no matter their size or industry. Along with all the features you'd expect from Square, the retail POS also comes with access to other features intended to help you run your business more efficiently, including employee, inventory and customer management software.
Square for retail is unique in the current POS space because it tailors specifically to brick-and-mortar retailers. Although you can make digital sales too, the main focus of this solution is to help today's companies run a more effective store in the real world.
- Point of sale support
- Online sales support
- Inventory management tools
- Custom reporting
- Dedicated hardware
- Range of ways to accept payments
- Employee management tools
- Customer relationship management tools
Square for Retail Review: Pricing
Before you can invest in your new POS solution, you're going to need to know that you can afford it. Fortunately, Square has a reputation for offering state-of-the-art technology at an affordable rate. The Square small business retail app comes at an affordable monthly fee that makes managing your company simple. Although most credit card processing tools are relatively affordable today, few point of sale app options come with the same wide selection of card transaction tools and back office features as Square.
For instance, the Square for Retail pricing structure is pretty impressive. You'll pay $60 per month for each register you need, as well as an average transaction cost of 2.5% plus $0.10 for every payment received.
Square's fee strategy provides bonus savings to merchants that manage an average ticket size of about $40. If you're a slightly smaller retailer, then it might take a while before you start to see the benefits of this solution. However, if you're a bigger company, then taking credit card payments through Square will quickly pay off, whether you're accepting swipe payments, magstripe, or other card transactions.
If you need an additional POS within the same location at your store, then you'll only have to pay $20 each – which helps to keep costs a little lower.
One particularly beneficial thing about Square for Retail's pricing, is that you can get a free trial before you commit to anything. You'll have a full thirty days to check out the software for yourself and see how it runs before you start paying. Of course, the same free trial doesn't apply to any hardware you want to use, but it's a great way to make sure that you're confident with your investment.
If you want any additional services built into your Square for Retail package, then you may need to pay a little extra there too. For instance:
- Card on file costs 3.5% + $0.15 – this is the fee for storing a customer's card details on file (with their permission), so you they don't have to enter their details again.
- eCommerce costs 2.9% plus + $0.30 for every transaction – this allows you to provide your customers with the option to buy products and services online.
- Invoices cost 2.9% plus $0.30 for every transaction: This allows you to send professional invoices to your clients.
On the plus side, no matter what you agree to pricing-wise from Square for retail, it's worth noting that there are no long-term contracts to tie you in to your choices. That's great news for small business owners who can't always afford to be tied into a specific credit card processing option. Although you obviously won't get your money back for any hardware you choose to buy, such as a Square register, or iPad, you'll be able to stop using the Square solution for real-time payment processing ay any moment.
If you need some hardware to go alongside your POS software, then here are some of the prices that you can expect to pay. For instance:
- Square for retail bundle: $634 for a chip and contactless card reader, Square Stand, printer, printer-driven cash drawer, and 25 rolls of receipt paper. You can throw in an iPad for an extra $329 too.
- Receipt printer: $299 for a full printer that comes with access to a connection for the rest of your POS system. You'll be able to link this to your card reader via ethernet cable or USB.
- Square Stand and contactless chip reader: $169 for both. This allows you to use your tablet as your Square POS and take payments using contactless devices and standard debit or credit cards.
- Barcode scanner:$119 for a scanner that you can use to keep track of your inventory through custom barcodes that you'll be able to design in your Square for retail POS.
- Cash drawer: There's an assortment of options available here, including the Star Micronics for $109 and the APG for $219.
Square for Retail Pros and Cons
- Advanced custom reporting
- Multi-location inventory management
- Fantastic customer relationship management
- Various add-ons and integrations
- Employee management options
- Competitive pricing
- Range of hardware options
- Limited customer support
- Some issues with account holds
Square for Retail Review: Payment Processing
Now that we've covered how much Square for Retail costs, let's take a look at what you can accomplish with this credit card payment processing solution.
When you sign into the app for the first time, you'll be prompted to do a range of things, including building out your unique inventory catalog, entering employee catalog and customizing your receipts. Once you've added all your information, you can check out the full depth of your Square features.
Since probably the most essential thing a POS solution can do is process payments, it's worth taking a look at these capabilities first.
If you sign up for Square for Retail, then you'll need to use Square as your payment processor.
This gives you access to a robust and straightforward payment processing system. However, it also means that there's a risk that you might experience delays in payments from time to time.
Square operates as an aggregator, which means that they use one large merchant account to cover all of their clients. The result of this structure is that account holds, terminations, and other issues are sometimes a problem. For instance, if you take too many credit card payments in a small number of business days, then Square might think that something is going wrong with your system. The same is true if you start suddenly taking NFC payments on your Square register, or your customer directory suddenly changes.
The measures that Square takes to protect it's retail app from fraud means that the lack of an excessive monthly fee comes with the constant risk that something might go wrong with your back office processing when Square suddenly shuts you down.
If you can comply with the Square Retail rules and terms of service, then you'll benefit from a powerful and immersive payment processing system. Square for Retail can accept all major credit cards, as well as processing chip, magstripe and contactless payments too.
Your POS will come with access to:
- Advanced checkout features
- Return and exchange management
- Stock management from your POS
- Customer profiles
- Virtual terminal
Your virtual terminal allows you to accept payments through a web browser for a slightly increased processing fee, and it also ensures that you'll be able to send invoices to your clients. Additionally, if you're keen to get the money you earn from your retail company fast, Square offers instant payments for an extra 1% fee too. If you're looking for a way to get the money from your point of sale app into your bank account within a minimal number of business days, then Square has you covered.
Square for Retail Review: Inventory and Customer Management
One of the things that makes Square for Retail so compelling is that it's not just a basic environment for processing payments and transactions.
You can also use Square to make the most of the relationships that you build with your customers and target audience. One of the best ways to boost your chances of long-term sales and success is to get more control over your inventory and manage your customer relationships. From storing relevant contact information on your iPad, to making sure that you have your customer directory at hand whenever someone is making a purchase, this retail app is great for the competitive small business.
Inventory management on Square for Retail is a piece of cake. From inside of your iPad app, you'll be able to organize your stock by category, generate and print unique barcode labels, transfer and track stock across multiple locations, and more. There's so much more to this small business application than barcode scanning, and credit card processing.
You can also create purchase orders, and send them to vendors, track your purchase order statuses, receive notifications when your stock is running low, and so on. You'll also have access to an unlimited SKU count, and the option to customize your catalog with product variants too.
With a complete overview of your inventory, it's also easier to track the value of the stock you have available:
On the other hand, Square for retail also comes with access to Customer Relationship Management tools within your POS app too. These tools allow you to create customer profiles automatically when people are making payments. Plus, you can track your customer's purchasing history, automate customer segments, and more.
Your options available for connecting with customers and building deeper relationships increase when you buy Square Marketing for an extra $15 per month. This feature will allow you to design custom marketing emails, create funnel campaigns, and track the impact of your efforts on a POS dashboard. Access to a complete range of contact information in your customer directory makes your Square point of sale app more compelling.
For small business owners that want to go beyond credit card processing, android and apple payments, and barcode scanning, this real-time solution is an excellent way to make more money. Not only can you track the cost of goods from your mobile app, but you can use your iPad or mobile app to improve your connection with customers. You'll even be able to see whether a popular item is in low stock status, so you can order more as quickly as possible, and potentially reduce your risk of losing customers too.
One particularly exciting feature available from Square for Retail is the option to sign your customers up for a digital loyalty program. You need to pay an extra $45 a month for this, but it provides customers with the option to opt-in to a loyalty plan at checkout and earns points for each purchase they make. This is a great way to encourage repeat customers.
Square for Retail Review: Employee Management and Reporting
Customers and inventory aren't the only things you'll need to manage as a retail business owner. You'll also want to keep track of your employees too. That's why Square's retail solution takes the back office to the next level. Beyond a range of options for swipe payments, NFC, barcode scanning and more, Square takes credit card processing and payments to the next level.
Square for Retail comes with access to a host of employee management features, which provide you with the opportunity to track employee hours and performance using things like the built-in time clock. There's also the opportunity to set up custom permissions for your POS app based on location or seniority.
For an additional cost of $34 per month, you can also add the extra feature of Square Payroll into the mix. This simple but effective software helps you to run payroll management by integrating the number of hours your team members worked into a reporting system. From there, you'll be able to distribute payments to employees via direct deposit or check.
Square even does the hard work of calculating tax and withholdings on your business's behalf too, which makes it easier to keep your tax on track.
Speaking of keeping things on track, there are plenty of reports available to give you a better overview of your company's performance too. Square for Retail offers detailed reporting for things like:
- The cost of your goods and how much you're selling according to category, timeframe or location.
- Projected profits, and how much you're likely to make on your current stock or inventory.
- Gross sales: How your business is doing during specific data ranges, times of day, and in certain locations.
- Sales by category: How items in certain categories are selling.
- Employee sales: View sales volume by an employee to help you identify top performers and manage staff easily.
- Discounts: Track how your promotions are performing.
You can also track your labor costs and compare them to the sales you're making to ensure that you're arranging your staffing correctly.
Square for Retail Review: Ease of Use
An intuitive and feature-rich point of sale system is all well and good.
However, you need to feel comfortable using Square for Retail if you're going to get the most out of it. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to get used to things like credit card processing, iPad management, EMV and NFC payments, and so on. You need a tool that's going to simplify card transactions, and credit card processing for every day you're running your business.
The good news is that setting up Square for Retail – or any Square account for that matter is pretty straightforward. You can find plenty of guidance online to help you walk through the process without any issues, although the chances are that you won't need them. The only thing to keep in mind is that you should be careful about setting up your account. If Square struggles to verify your identity because of a typo, you won't be able to create your account.
Once you've set up your profile, you'll be able to access the web-based dashboard for Square for Retail. It looks the same to any other Square POS, so if you've used this tool before, then you won't have any problems. On the dashboard, you'll need to create a device code for any registers you're using and establish your physical and online store.
The good news is that Square for Retail provides all the prompts you need along the way, so you're not going to get too confused about what you need to do next. The system also walks you through things like linking your business bank account to the system and building your item catalog.
There's also the option to set up your online store with a smart website builder too. If you take this option, you'll be able to automatically sync all your in-store and online order inventory details.
There's also the opportunity to implement in-store pickup, so customers can order what they want online and then come and collect it in person. All they need to do is swipe their credit card when they arrive in store so you can see exactly what they've ordered online.
Square for Retail: Add-ons and Extras
Another thing that makes Square for Retail so easy and immersive to use, is the fact that it comes with various add-ons to upgrade your experience. For instance, we mentioned the availability of things like Square Payroll so you can track your payments for employees above. Payroll is available in 32 states, and it's always rolling out to new locations.
Other options for add-ons include Square's exceptional marketing solutions. With Square Marketing, you can integrate your point-of-sale strategies with Facebook and Instagram campaigns, or you can schedule emails to connect with customers and encourage them to come back to your store. It's a great way to improve your chances of repeat sales in today's competitive marketplace.
You don't have to be a designer or marketing expert to get started either; Square marketing provides plenty of templates to get you going. Once you choose the style that appeals to you, there's the option to customize your campaigns with a few fundamental changes.
Aside from the Square Loyalty feature, which also gives you another way to connect with your audience and build your opportunities for future long-term purchases, you can also add Gift Cards to your Square for Retail experience.
Gift cards, like your marketing campaigns, come with access to templates to help speed up the process of creating immersive designs. You can customise the appearance of any gift card you create to match your brand colors.
Clearly, there's a lot more to this point of sale app than credit card processing and card transactions. If you want to turn your iPad into one of the most immersive systems for consumer management and selling, then Square for retail can give you all of the back-end support you need. There's even the option to upgrade your experience with hardware like the Square Register.
Square for Retail: Security and Customer Service
One of the things that make Square for Retail, and Square, in general, more appealing to today's companies, is the fact that it's so reliable and secure. The solution comes with the ability to accept payments from virtually anything, including chip cards, magstripe, and Google or Apple Pay too. What's more, you get fast deposits into your bank account within 48 hours or less.
More importantly, Square for retail, like all Square POS products, also comes with access to Square Secure. The Square Secure feature is the range of safety elements that Square puts in place to protect your business from fraud and other joint problems. You get access to 24/7 fraud protection, dispute management, and more, all as part of your Square for Retail subscription.
The only issue with Square's commitment to offering such a secure experience is that it's easy for companies to be locked out of their account for perfectly innocent actions, like taking more sales than typical one day. If this happens, then you're going to need some support from customer service.
Customer service options for Square users include things like:
- Phone support: Available Monday to Friday between 6 am and 6 pm PST: You'll need to request a customer code and go through a troubleshooting process before you get through to a live human being.
- Email support: This is a ticket-based system which requires you to provide basic information about your problem then wait for a response from Square. You'll usually get an answer to your issue within 24-hours.
- Social media: If you follow Square on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you might be able to connect with the Square team through instant messaging. However, this solution isn't always as reliable as it should be.
If you can't get hold of the Square team for any reason, then you can also take the DIY approach to solving your problem and see whether you can find an answer to your issue on Square's knowledgebase. The help center is very extensive, so it should have all the information you need to answer most basic questions. There's also a Square community page where you can troubleshoot issues by discussing your concerns with other Square merchants.
Is Square for Retail Right for You?
If you're running a mid-sized to massive retail business that has multiple locations, or you're a big-box retailer, then Square for Retail could be the ideal way to transform your POS system and take your transactions to the next level. Ultimately, Square for retail probably isn't the right solution for smaller companies that need basic features. If you're just getting started, you'll be able to find more value in the Square POS.