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Is Square Right for Your Ecommerce Business?

As an ecommerce business owner, having the right software on your side is paramount. Not only do you need a site that looks great and delivers a fantastic customer experience, but you also need the capacity to handle the backend like a pro.

Whether it’s accounting software, invoicing tools, or payroll and scheduling solutions, your tech options go on and on. While most people think of payment processing when they think of Square, the company has grown exponentially and now offers a robust suite of powerful tools that make running your business easier and can streamline your tech needs tremendously.

Need to accept mobile payments? Check. Need a brick-and-mortar POS system, too? Check. Need to set up an online store on the fly? Square has you covered.

Let’s take a look at some of the capabilities that make Square work so well for ecommerce businesses.

Square provides an integrated set of tools for running your business.

What Makes it Different?

Many tools attempt to be one-size-fits-all for small business owners, but that's challenging when you're attempting to cater to many different niches in the business world. Though we agree not many can pull it off, Square has successfully built an extensive toolset that covers a lot of bases for the ecommerce business owner.

Regardless of which tools top the go-to list in your business, it’s critical that they all work well together – and this is where Square stands out. Square accomplishes seamless integration between commerce, accounting, invoicing, reporting, as well as analytics.

Setup is Super Simple

Thanks to Square’s partnerships with popular ecomm tools and hosting platforms, building your online store and accepting your first payments is a breeze. If you’re just getting started, you have three options for setting up shop.

  1. You can use a simple hosting platform like GoDaddy, Weebly, or Wix to create your store and connect to your Square account. The software easily integrates with cart applications like WooCart and Magento.

  2. You can build (or have built) a custom site or use a non-supported web platform and still utilize your Square account to process payments. This can be accomplished in three fairly simple steps once you open a developer account. For the coding-capable, this entails creating a new Square API application from an application dashboard, adding Square’s payment form to your site to collect credit card information, and setting up Square’s API to charge the card.

  3. You can setup a free online store through Square itself. This is an easy way to supplement an already-existing brick-and-mortar store with online sales or to start from scratch in ecommerce with minimal fuss. This option is also among the most economical ways to get started with ecommerce, as the only fees you’ll pay are the standard transaction fees. Building an online store with Square includes customizable themes and a drag-and-drop visual editor for creating your store, and you’ll end up with a mobile-ready storefront at a personalized URL without paying hosting fees.

Square allows you to build a complete online store from scratch.

Where it All Began: Accepting Payments

Square has been pursuing its mission of empowerment for small business for years, and it all began with the Square reader that allows you to accept credit card payments using a mobile device. Since then, the company has continued to add features and build on that payment-processing capacity to make life easier for the small business owner.

When it comes to the payment process, reducing any possible friction for the customer is the name of the game in online sales. As you’ll see, Square has mastered that game.

Get Your Money Fast
When you take a payment with Square, the money hits your bank account in 1-2 days making it easier to use your profits to quickly invest back in your business. That 1-2-day timeframe is standard with Square without paying additional fees. It’s possible to get your money even faster in one of two ways for an additional 1% fee.

  • Instant deposits allow you to see your balance and transfer your money with one tap.
  • Scheduled deposits allow you to set a deposit schedule ahead of time, at the end of each work day for instance, and not have to think about it again.

Simplify Payments with Saved Cards
Another way Square makes life easier is by allowing you to store customers’ payment details. Credit card details can be saved for future purchases, allowing you to simplify the payment process for regular customers. When you use this feature, Square gives your customers control of their information by allowing them to unlink their card via the automatic email receipt that they’ll receive each time a payment is processed.

Versatile Payment Options for Shoppers
With Square you’ll be able to accept all major cards, including credit, corporate, debit, prepaid, rewards, and some international. At the point of sale, if you take payments in person, you’ll have the option to use manual entry, card swipe, chip, or tap a contactless card.

For further convenience, Square has ensured that you can take payments nearly anywhere by offering offline-mode, as well as a Virtual Terminal which turns any computer into a payment processor.

Square gives your online shoppers lots of payment options.

On-the-Go Flexibility

As an ecommerce business, flexibility is key. If you occasionally travel to trade shows, do pop up shops, or host on-site events, square makes it super easy to accept payments from anywhere.

At the time of sign up, Square sends you one of its free Square readers. The reader works with both iOS and Android, and simply plugs into a headphone jack or a Lightning port (you’ll need an adaptor in that case). You’ll download the Square app onto your phone or tablet, attach the reader, and take secure payments by swiping. You also have the option to purchase a separate Square reader for contactless payments and chips. You can accept customer signatures right on your mobile device and send receipts via email or text.

Hardware as Well as Software

Also have a brick and mortar location? Square can help you achieve the ideal POS system and will deliver the hardware you need to simplify payment processing. We’ve covered Square’s POS setup elsewhere in detail, but we’ll give you the quick rundown here:

Once you sign up for Square, you set up your register on your new dashboard and download the Square app on the device on which you’ll be taking payments. The dashboard allows you to easily add items with images, set prices (including sales and discounts), apply sales tax, and customize item options.

The dashboard also allows you to see real-time transaction data and make informed decisions based on the number of sales made by item, date, or location.

The Dashboard is where you'll set up your items and see valuable transaction data.

When you sign up, you’ll also have the option to add hardware to complete your on-location register if needed, such as a printer for receipts and a cash drawer.

Square’s POS comes with some valuable free features. Square Feedback lets you communicate with customers individually. Square Marketing lets you send promotional emails and notifications on coming events. And Square Gift Cards lets you customize your own cards. Keep in mind that Square’s POS integrates with other critical tools, such as your tax reporting software, which creates yet another short-cut for you.

Built-In Invoicing Tools

One reason to love Square is its ability to simplify money management, and what business owner doesn’t need that? With their invoicing tools, for instance, you’ll be able to send and track custom invoices in just seconds. Invoicing a customer is as easy as entering an email and the invoice amount.

You can check the status of invoices online and quickly send reminders when needed. Your customers will be able to pay online if they like and will have the option to securely store their payment information to save time.

Square Syncs with Your Other Software

We mentioned Square’s ability to sync with sales-tax software above, but Square doesn’t stop there. For everything from inventory to employee management, Square gives you the capacity to sync seamlessly. And for more specialized software, such as restaurant management or ticketing and events management, Square syncs with those, too.

Manage Payroll and Scheduling

Square can also saves you time with its powerful scheduling and IRS-compliant payroll tools. It’ll ease your administrative burden when it comes to managing employees with features that give employees access to request time off and view paystubs, for instance. Employees can conveniently clock in or out right from the POS app. And you’ll be able to pay employees or contractors online with just a few clicks.

Square offers an extensive library of support documentation online.

Square’s Pricing, Testimonials, and Support

It shouldn’t surprise you by now that Square’s pricing structure is set up to be simple and convenient. They charge no monthly fee and have relatively low processing rates with no surprises.

On top of that, the company explains on its website that for businesses with more than $250K in credit card sales and an average ticket size over $15, they'll review your financial statement with you and create a custom pricing package.

With the wide variety of benefits and tools Square offers to ecommerce business owners, the reviews have been positive. PC Magazine gives it high marks for its simple fee structure, its POS features, as well as easy integration capabilities.

Merchant Maverick points out in their review that you have a lot of options getting support from Square if you have a problem, including social media messaging. They do point out limitations with phone support – one being that it’s available from 6am to 6pm Pacific Time, which may not be ideal for some, and the other being the fact that it’s unavailable for those who have had their accounts terminated. Not perfect.

But Merchant Maverick also points out that Square’s online knowledge base is extensive, comprehensive, and quite user-friendly. Merchant Maverick states that, “this is, in my opinion, the gold standard for merchant services support pages,” and we would agree. There's also a Seller Community available for support.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully we've shown you another side of Square beyond just payment processing. This powerful platform has dozens of low-cost, high-performance tools that cater to busy ecommerce business owners. If you're on the hunt for a suite of tools that will make your day-to-day tasks easier than ever, Square may be the perfect fit for you.

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