Square Inc: Taking a Look at Some Well-Rounded Products

What do you need to run a business? Some startup money, adequate space, cool technology, a reliable staff – but let’s go back to the cool technology part.

We all know what an iPad is capable of – it can become your own personal movie theater, your own drum set, and it can also double as your own personal cash register.

Square Inc. is a mobile payments company that is behind the iPhone credit card reader. Square was founded in 2009 and along with the card reader, also offers hardware and software like the Square Market and Square Wallet.

The Square Market is an online storefront specifically for small businesses. Using it, you can embed a link on your website or blog to sell your products. Simple, easy and effective for people trying to grow their business.

This past summer Square developed an app and created a stand to turn an iPad into a full-functioning cash register, stand and all.

Traditional cash registers are usually passed over in favor of POS (point of sale) systems because they are smarter and more functional. Setting up a POS system for a business can cost thousands of dollars – and now that the Square Register has been out on the market for a few months, how does it stack up?

Square Register: price and functionality

Let’s break it down:

Square Register stand: $299

Apple iPad: roughly $500

Just those two elements alone get you to about $800. That doesn’t include any miscellaneous accessories you’ll need, like a way to print receipts and of course, a cash box.

Ah, cash – forgot about that. One of the biggest drawbacks of the Square Register is that no matter how minimalist and modern it looks, it would potentially still have to sit on top of a cash box – not so minimalist and modern.

If you did need to use a cash drawer, print kitchen tickets in a restaurant or simply print receipts, the app is compatible with that sort of equipment.

But is the initial upfront cost plus the cost of extra equipment and accessories worth it? It might be when you consider the data tracking.

Data tracking capabilities

What the Square Register is offering isn’t just a cool, slick way to use your iPad – it’s a way to track data in real time.

  1. Sales history. See recent history that shows what time and which items were purchased and paid for.
  2. 2.       Deposit history. Use whichever spreadsheet program you prefer to see exact dates and transactions of payment.
  3. 3.       Payment history.  Get your hands dirty with data that shows detailed graphs with everything from item details to mobile staff summaries to different transactions.

You can also email or print out daily reports and summaries.

If the register seems like too much, small businesses owners can always stick with smartphone apps and the Square iPhone card reader.

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