What is Square and how does it work? – Forbes Advisor
Square combines its payment processing features with a full suite of sales and business management tools to create a powerful platform that sells anything, anywhere. Here’s an overview of everything you get with your free Square Account, plus paid upgrades and additional features you can add as needs grow.
Square’s mobile app-based point-of-sale software handles all types of in-person sales, including mobile sales, retail and in-store sales, and mobile service payments. The POS app is linked to all your product data, inventory, sales and payments, customer data, team tracking and more in your centralized Square database, so you can easily do business anywhere using one or more devices.
Mobile sales and payments:
The Square POS app works on iOS and Android phones and tablets. Pair it with a card reader to physically process credit cards or use the keypad to manually enter card information. You can text and email receipts from the POS mobile app, and add a Bluetooth printer to offer printed receipts.
In-store sales and payments:
You can use mobile point-of-sale devices for in-store sales or use Square’s simplified iPad point-of-sale stands or all-in-one registers at your checkout. You can also use Square’s mobile and counter tools together and offer fast mobile checkout on the sales floor to shorten your checkout lines.
Apart from display differences due to screen size, Square’s POS app features and functionality are identical on both phone and tablet screens.
Optional POS upgrades
Square offers enhanced versions of its free point-of-sale app to better meet the needs of retail stores and restaurant businesses and to compete with specialized point-of-sale systems. Square for Retail caters to large multi-store retailers while Square for Restaurants seamlessly connects back-end and front-end operations for bars, cafes and restaurants. Both start at $60 per month, not including ledgers or other hardware.
Square centralizes all your business activity in your dashboard. No matter where you make sales, accept payments, enter product and customer information, or add staff and team details, you can access, track, and manage it all in your dashboard. It’s also home to popular Square features, including Invoices, Online Store, and Virtual Terminal.
Virtual Terminal is integrated into the Square Dashboard and lets you process and record all types of payments from a desktop or laptop computer. These include manually entered card payments, stored card payments, gift card payments, subscriptions with recurring payments, and cash and check purchases. You can also physically process cards with a card reader connected to your computer or laptop using the virtual terminal.
Once the charge is complete, you can print or email receipts to customers, and Virtual Terminal sales match your other Square sales data.
Square’s new payment link feature is also part of the virtual terminal. With it, you can send quick payment links to customers via SMS.
Square Invoices helps you get paid faster by giving your customers a choice of convenient online payment options, including credit card, ACH check, and e-wallet payments. You can create invoices, select payment options, and send invoices to customers from your Square Dashboard and POS app by activating the free Square Invoices feature.
Square online store
Square provides every user with a free and comprehensive online store called Square Online. Accessible from the Square dashboard, setup only takes a few minutes and you can quickly populate your online store with products from your database. Inventory levels, product details, sales, and customer data sync seamlessly between your online store and other Square data to help manage cross-channel sales.
You can also connect your Square account to other major small business e-commerce platforms if you already have a website or online store. Most let you use Square to process payments, and a few, like Weebly, fully integrate with your Square POS and Dashboard data.
Optional Square Online Store Upgrades
Square’s integrated online store offers three enhanced plans for $12, $26, and $79 per month, each with additional sales and marketing features. You also get lower payment processing fees at the top tier.
Square Appointments is a free feature that lets you book and manage all types of service appointments using the Square Appointments app with Square POS. The free version supports in-store and online reservations, automated SMS and email reminders, recurring appointments, and more. Square Appointments fully integrates with Square POS data, card readers, and registers for seamless payment processing and sales tracking.
Optional Square Appointments Upgrades
Two upgrade options, priced at $29 and $69 per month, expand Square Appointments to support multiple locations, prepaid appointments, large teams, automated confirmations, commission tiers, and even more.
Advanced add-on features
In addition to the upgrades detailed above, Square offers add-on features to meet the needs of growing businesses. Once activated, add-ons integrate seamlessly with your Square system to give you a streamlined, all-in-one marketing and business management solution.
Square Payroll is a full-service payroll solution starting at $40 per month, plus $5 per additional employee. It tracks employee and contractor payroll and payments, including timekeeping, tips and commissions, payroll cycles, employee payments, tax returns, W-2 and 1099 forms, and more. . There is also a simplified contractor-only option for $5 per month per contractor.
Square Marketing harnesses your customer data with automated SMS and email campaigns integrated with your Square customer management system. Email and text messaging functionality may be added separately and incur different charges.
Email marketing is based on the number of contacts in your database:
- $15 per month for up to 500 contacts
- $25 per month for 501 to 1,000 contacts
- $35 per month for 1,001-2,000 contacts
- See more Square Email Marketing pricing tiers
SMS marketing has a monthly fee of $10, plus usage costs based on the number of SMS sent per month. Usage costs range from $10 for up to 250 messages sent per month to $125 for 25,000 messages sent per month. Special rates are available for high volume text messaging Needs.
Give customers a reason to come back with Square Loyalty. This premium feature adds loyalty point tracking to Square POS and Square Online Store. On the customer side, Square Loyalty works through the Cash app and lets you set reward tiers, such as points based on visits, amounts spent, or item purchases. Incentives and rewards are up to you and customers can redeem them online or in-store via Cash App.
Square Loyalty fees are based on qualified loyalty visits per month:
- $45 per month for up to 500 repeat customer visits
- $75 per month for 501 to 1,500 repeat customer visits
- $105 per month for 1,501 to 10,000 repeat customer visits
- Custom pricing for high volume users
Qualified visits include when a customer enrolls in the program, makes a purchase with earned points, or redeems points.
Tools for selling, tracking, reloading, and redeeming gift cards are all included with all of Square’s point-of-sale and online selling tools. Online e-gift cards are free, the only cost is the usual payment processing fees at the time of purchase. Physical gift cards personalized with your logo or message can be purchased from Square starting at $0.80 each for a pack of 75 cards, with discounts for volume purchases of 1,000 or more.