Square, the mobile-payments company, is changing how much retailers can do with an iPad. While its platform has always relied on the tablet, its latest point-of-sale (POS) system pushes the envelope, letting you control almost every aspect of your business from a mobile device.
The hardware itself isn’t changing. Square’s svelte POS terminal and Apple Pay-ready card reader are still available for use together or separately. The company sells the tandem as a bundle for $169, and has several more traditional kits (money drawers and physical receipt printers!) available, as well.
But digitally, things are amping up. Square for Retail has some powerful inventory features such as stock notifications when you’re running low on a particular item. There’s even a method to create one-click re-orders from vendors.
You can also link several terminals together, and Square for Retail can span through multiple locations for tighter, more accurate inventory control. A new reporting feature also tells you exactly how each item you sell affects your bottom line with cost and margin data, and all data points can be accessed anywhere via your seller portal.
There are now reports for sales traffic, which helps you with scheduling employees. Those working for you can also clock in and out at the terminal, and you can give them granular permissions to edit or view data and transactions as you see fit.
In addition, Square changed the interface a bit to help speed up transactions. Now, employees can either scan a barcode or search for an item rather than peck at screen icons. This move is meant to help businesses scale, as Square for Retail can now handle a nearly infinite amount of items.
Loyal customers will find shopping much easier, too. Retailers can now create customer profiles with saved payment methods; the next time someone drops in for their customary morning coffee, they can just wave at your barista and grab a cup for self-serve drip. No lines required.
If you’d like to add notes to a customer’s profile, that’s likewise available. A profile is created with every credit or debit card transaction, and the system tracks purchase history. If metadata is more your speed, Square now creates groups for loyal, casual and lapsed customers. You can create custom groups if needed, which gives you the power to gather data such as how many return visits you get from your Monday morning crowd, or when customers generally visit your store.
It’s all being offered up for $60 per month, per register. Payment processing is still a flat 2.75 percent, and you can get next-day deposits from Square. If you went with a basic POS setup and Square for Retail, It would cost you $890 in the first year, and $750 each year thereafter (for one terminal).
Competing systems such as Clover sell their POS terminals for $1,000 or more and demand a lease with a payment processor. Square has no leasing or contracts, and offers a 30-day Square for Retail trial – plus, users get new features as they become available.