Square For Retail Review (2022)

Pros

  • Flat-rate pricing
  • Multilocation inventory management
  • Purchase order management
  • eCommerce integration
  • Advanced employee management

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Account stability issues

Table of Contents

  • What Is Square For Retail?
  • Square For Retail Pricing
  • Square For Retail Features
  • Payment Processing With Square For Retail
  • Square For Retail Reviews
  • Final Verdict Of Square For Retail
  • Square For Retail FAQs

What Is Square For Retail?

Square For Retail is a point of sale system specifically for retail stores with more advanced reporting and inventory features than the free app. It has a free version of its service and additional tiers for larger businesses.

Square For Retail Pricing

Rating: Good

Square For Retail Plans Price When To Use
Free Plan $0/month (2.6% + $0.10 processing fees) You have a retail store with basic inventory and reporting needs
Pro Plan $60/month (2.5% + $0.10 processing fees) You have a small to mid-sized retail establishment with advanced back-end needs
Premium Plan Custom pricing (2.5% + $0.10 processing fees) You sell more than $250,000 a year

Square for Retail’s pricing structure for thePlus app is simple: $60 per month per location. There is no extra cost for additional registers at the same location. Square charges 2.5% + $0.10 per sale for Retail Plus customers. Merchants who process $250,000 per year may qualify for custom pricing.

Square also offers a Square for Retail Free plan, which has fewer features and in-person processing at2.6% + $0.10. The free version of Square for Retail does not include Team Plus (advanced employee management), though you can add it to your account for a fee of $35/month or use Square’s free Team Management plan.

Square charges a different online sales rate: 2.9% + $0.30 on the free online store plan. If you want to know more about how much Square charges, or get more detailed info on Square in general, read our full Square review.

There are no commitments or long-term contracts required. Square for Retail Plus offers users the company’s standard 30-day free trial, but you should note that payment processing fees still apply.

Square POS Extra Costs & Fees

Square For Retail Extra Costs Price
Square Loyalty $45/month
Square gift cards $0.80 each for physical cards
Email marketing $15/month
Square Payroll $35/month + $5/month per employee
Online Store $0-$72/month

Square For Retail Features

Rating: Good

Square For Retail Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards Add-on
Customer Loyalty Add-on
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Square for Retail POS features depend on whether you’re on the “Free” plan or the “Plus” plan.

Square Retail Plus Features

The free version of the app has many of the same features as the paid plan, but it has some limitations. For example, on the free plan, you can issue refunds, but not exchanges. The following features are only available on the Square for Retail Plus plan.

  • Manage item costs
  • Print item labels
  • Issue exchanges
  • Manage staff
  • Set different permissions for different users
  • Transfer inventory to a different location
  • Create and send purchase orders
  • Manage vendors
  • Manage pending restocks
  • Advanced reporting (COGS reports, vendor sales reports, inventory by category reports, labor vs. sales reports)

Square For Retail Review (1)

Significantly, you can upgrade or downgrade your Square for Retail plan without losing any data. That makes it easy to switch back to the free plan if you decide you don’t need the paid plan’s extra features.

For a detailed breakdown of which features come with each plan, Square’s website has a useful page where you can compare Square for Retail Free, Square for Retail Plus, and Square Point of Sale.

Here’s some more information on Square for Retail’s notable features:

Square For Retail Inventory

In the free version of the Square for Retail app, you get the basic inventory features, including the ability to add, import, receive, and search inventory, but you cannot transfer stock to different locations or print item labels. Square for Retail inventory tools include:

  • Add and manage items with descriptions and variants
  • Product matrix
  • Low stock and out of stock alerts
  • Receive inventory
  • Transfer inventory to a different location (Plus only)
  • Search inventory across locations
  • In-depth inventory reporting, including COGS and projected profits (Plus only)
  • Unlimited SKUs
  • Barcode and custom label printing (Plus only)
  • CSV import and bulk editing
  • Unit cost in item listings (Plus only)

Square For Retail Vendor & Purchase Order Management

Square for Retail’s vendor management and purchase order management features are available on the Plus version only. These functions are an extension of Square for Retail’s inventory management, but it seems these are the features merchants are most interested in, so I want to call them out:

  • Link Vendors To Products In Item Catalog: This is a new feature but a helpful one, and it’s a good complement to the unit cost function.
  • Purchase Order Creation: You can create purchase orders from the Square dashboard. However, at this time, Retail cannot auto-populate purchase orders based on low or empty stock, which is a sore point. Instead, merchants have to select each item on the purchase order manually.
  • Purchase Order Management: You can receive purchase orders from the dashboard or within the Square Retail app and check the status (whether something is partially received, still waiting, etc.). When you receive items, you can also mark any taxes and fees for accurate cost-of-goods (COG) reporting.

Most of the inventory management and PO tools are concentrated in the dashboard rather than the app, which is a source of frustration for merchants who want to use their iPads for more than just accepting payments. Square is trying to remedy this, though. You can now receive purchase orders and products from the Square Retail app (this was not possible in the first version of the app).

Square For Retail Back-End Features

Square has a long list of back-end features, but these are the highlights:

  • Team Plus (Plus Only): Team Plus is Square’s advanced employee management suite, which you can use to track employee hours, set user permissions, create custom employee roles, and much more. Employee timecards can sync with Square Payroll or another payroll provider. Team Plus is included in Square for Retail Plus, but not on Square for Retail Free. You can use the basic Square Team Management on the Square Retail Free plan if all you need is an employee time clock and very basic scheduling and reporting.
  • Free Online Store: Square’s free online store is really basic, but it works. It’s simple to set up, plus you can integrate with other third-party shopping carts (though not all reporting features work seamlessly). Square even allows you to accept orders online to pick up in-store, which is worth looking at. If you want more features for your online store, Square also has paid online store plans.
  • Square Online Checkout: This is a newer feature that gives customers different ways to pay online. Customers can check out using a link you text them, a button embedded into your existing website, a link on your social media profile, or a QR code they scan with their phone’s camera. This feature works great for socially-distanced shopping during COVID-19. For example, even if your physical storefront is closed, you can display QR codes in your shop window that customers can use to purchase items online. Square Online Checkout is included with all Square accounts, including Square for Retail Free and Square for Retail Plus. Merchants are charged the standard online processing rate of 2.9% + $0.30.
  • Square Virtual Terminal: With Square’s Virtual Terminal, you can accept payments through any web browser by manually keying in credit card information. Just like all other keyed-in transactions taken through Square, using the virtual terminal will cost 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction and take one to two business days to process.
  • Add Inventory:A recent update now allows you to add inventory directly through the app. Hit “Add Stock” in the dashboard and search or scan the product you’re adding.
  • Item View:You can manage inventory across multiple locations from your Square dashboard. (You can also control employee permissions in the same way.)
  • Client Messages:Customers can make an appointment and leave information in the form of a comment or note, saving employees a few steps.
  • Invoicing: You can send invoices through the Square dashboard and pay 2.9% + $0.30. Invoices are customizable, and you can even keep customers’ cards on file.
  • Refund To Gift Card: It’s not quite the same as a store credit, but Square will finally let you refund a transaction to a gift card, giving you a more effective way to handle exchanges and store credit. It’s not perfect by any means, but at least it’s something.
  • Cash Management: Track the starting and ending balances of drawers, pay-ins and pay-outs, and more.
  • Decimal Quantities:Another initial hole with Square’s Retail POS has been fixed with an update, as you now have decimal quantity support.
  • Advanced Reports (Plus Only): The Square Retail reporting suite lets you view the costs of goods sold and track projected profits. You can also see your inventory history, monitor employee sales, and track inventory by vendor or category.
  • Favorites: This feature allows you to create a list of popular items, or items you want to keep close on hand, that you can access from the app interface — no need to search for individual products.
  • Customer Directory: The directory itself isn’t new, but with the Retail app, you can add notes to it, which is not available in the Square Point of Sale app. Both the free and paid versions of Square for Retail include customer management.
  • Custom Tips & Discounts: These aren’t Retail-exclusive features, but I want to point out that the app supports tipping. I’ve encountered some merchants who sell a combination of services and retail goods that have expressed interest in the app. Unfortunately, many of them are frustrated by the inventory management tools, which don’t seem adequately adapted for a hybrid business. But this does exist if you need it.

Is Square For Retail User Friendly?

As with all things Square, simplicity is the name of the game once again with Square For Retail. The interface will be familiar for anyone that has any experience with Square. There are limited customization options but the front and back ends are clean and intuitive and learning how to work the system should be a quick and easy process for new employees. You can also be up and running and ready to sell in a matter of minutes.

Customer Service & Support

Rating: Excellent

Square For Retail Support Availability
Phone Support
Email Support
Support Tickets
Live Chat
Dedicated Support Representative
Knowledge Base or Help Center
Videos & Tutorials
Company Blog
Social Media

Square offers a few options when it comes to customer support. Users can check out the customer support page to start their troubleshooting process. Then you just need to decide which avenue to pursue to get support.

  • Phone Support:Phone support is available to Square’s existing customers Monday through Friday, 6 AM to 6 PM PST. To call, you must request a customer code and go through a troubleshooting process. It isn’t a great system, but it works, and you can talk to a live person. (The exception is the case of account terminations.)
  • Email Support:Square’s email support is a ticket-based system where you fill out some information about your problem and then wait for someone from Square to email you. Square’s website says representatives will try to contact you within 24 hours.
  • Knowledgebase: Square’s extensive knowledgebase should help you with any common questions or problems. It is an industry-leading solution in terms of the breadth of articles and topics. However, Square is still developing support articles for the Retail app, so there are many more resources regarding Square Point of Sale.
  • Community Forum: Square offers a community page where users can troubleshoot and discuss Square. Unlike many other online communities, this one is quite active, both for merchants and Square support reps (and even product managers). If the knowledgebase doesn’t cover the issue and the problem isn’t pressing, this is your best chance at an answer.
  • Social Media:You can follow Square on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Along with posting blogs and product updates, Square also uses Facebook and Twitter to help customers in lieu of instant messaging on Square’s main website.
  • Blog: Square maintains an active blog called Town Square. It’s also a terrific way to learn how to use Square’s features better or learn more about running a business. The monthly recaps are an easy way to catch up on new features.
  • System Status:Users can go towww.issquareup.com to check Square’s status. The page is updated every few minutes and lists any incident reports.

Because support channels for Square for Retail aren’t separated from the rest of Square’s general support, you should expect the same sort of overall experience. Square seems to provide pretty good customer service — except in cases of account terminations. But I don’t think there’s any way to guide merchants through the account termination process to their satisfaction, either.

Payment Processing With Square For Retail

Square for Retail is only compatible with Square Payments for credit card processing. Square for Retail Plus’s in-person processing rate is 2.5% + $0.10, while customers on the free plan get the standard 2.6% + $0.10 rate. These rates are excellent for low-volume and small tickets, but larger retailers can likely get a better deal using a merchant account that offers interchange-plus pricing. However, if you’re new to processing and want to get set up quickly with minimal fuss, Square is the obvious choice.

It’s important to note that Square is a third-party payment processor, meaning merchants do not get their own merchant account, and account stability can be an issue. Withheld funds and even sudden account termination are not uncommon with third-party processors, including Square. It helps if you run a low-risk business (e.g., not a vape shop), and your ticket size doesn’t vary too much.

Contract Length & Early Termination Fees

Rating: Excellent

Square For Retail allows you to sign up for its services on a month-to-month basis and does not charge any early termination fees so there is very little obligation to worry about. There is also a 30-day free trial to test out any of its features.

Square For Retail Integrations & Add-Ons

Rating: Excellent

A lot of services and add-ons work with Square. Let’s start with a few of Square’s optional monthly services that integrate with Retail:

  • Payroll: With Square Payroll, it’s easy for merchants to transfer the timekeeping provided for free with the Retail app. Payroll is now available in all 50 states. This add-on is $29/month, plus $5 per employee paid that month.

Square For Retail Review (2)

  • Marketing Campaigns: Use an email or Facebook campaign to promote your merchandise to customers. Costs start at an additional $15/month. Schedule campaigns and also track effectiveness with information, such as how many of your emails were opened and how many sales can be attributed to the email through a coupon code. You’ll need to commit to maintaining your customer database to get the most out of this feature.
  • Gift Cards: You can order physical gift cards, including templates and custom designs, for a fee. You can also sell eGift cards and just pay the transaction fees. It’s a great option for a lot of businesses. Best of all, there is no additional cost to use gift cards with Square.
  • Square Loyalty: Square offers users the option of adding a customizable loyalty program, starting at $45/month/location. With Square Loyalty, business owners can customize their rewards program to attract and reward customers. Business owners can choose their rewards, such as a 10% discount on the tenth visit, and customers can redeem them by entering their phone numbers. You can also track redemption, participation, and sales rates with this program. Using your customer’s phone number, you can pull up all their information.

Square also offers an extensive list of integrations in the App Marketplace. It doesn’t appear that all of them work seamlessly with the Retail app, so you’ll have to check with Square before committing.

One final thing to note: Square also offers developer APIs to create custom integrations and solutions. You need to make a Square account to access the APIs, but that’s all that’s required.

Square For Retail Reviews

Rating: Excellent

Negative Square For Retail Reviews & Complaints

  • Missing Features: A lot of users have stated that they wished Square offered more features and functions. While Square continues to add updates almost monthly, this is still a common refrain.
  • Square For Retail Cost: Some merchants feel Square for Retail Plus is a bit spendy at $60/month/location, plus transaction fees. While competitive in the POS world, it’s certainly not in keeping with Square’s tradition of offering a lot of features at an outstanding price (usually free).
  • Unattractive User Interface: While I wouldn’t call the interface ugly, it could probably use a makeover, and other merchants seem to agree. There are also a few complaints that the Retail app interface isn’t friendly for very bright light (in the off chance you want to take the iPad mobile). Merchants would love the ability to toggle displays for different lighting conditions.

Positive Square For Retail Reviews

  • Ease Of Use:Many users comment that the Square Retail POS is easy to use and train new employees on. Considering that others have complained about the interface, I’m inclined to think this is more a case of people either loving it or hating it.
  • Customer Support: Quite a few comments noted that Square’s customer service is friendly and helpful. I’ve seen this in action on the Seller Community, and it gets brought up in other public spaces. Remember, there’s no separate customer support for the Retail app versus the rest of Square’s services.
  • Features: Square’s Retail app incorporates some features that merchants have been asking about for ages. Specifically, cost-of-goods reporting and more advanced inventory tracking are tools that Square users have desperately wanted. And despite the lack of some features and the pared-down UI, Retail is a step in the right direction.

Final Verdict Of Square For Retail

Square For Retail Review Summary
Pricing $0-$60/month
Choose If You Need
  • You need advanced inventory and back-end features
  • You want all-in-one, retail-specific POS software
  • You want access to Square's App Marketplace

With the Square POS system for retail, Square has left itself room to grow and improve, and the majority of its many updates have been positive thus far. Very small merchants with little inventory stand to benefit from switching from the standard Square POS, while very large businesses may find the Square for Retail feature-set lacking, even at the “Plus” subscription level. This means the Square Retail system is ideal for merchants who fall in just the right range — a small-but-growing business or a mid-size business with somewhat basic/standard retail needs.

If you like what Square has to offer across the board but simply can’t get by with the free app’s inventory offerings, this is probably your solution. Square continues to make things easy by offering all-in-one solutions, even if they come with higher rates than you could find elsewhere. Also, be sure to check out our complete Square review before you forge ahead. If you’re unsure whether to use the Free vs. Plus version of Square for Retail, take the Plus version out for a free 30-day trial.

Square For Retail FAQs

What is Square for Retail pricing?

Square for Retail offers a free plan. The Plus plan, for $60/month per location, offers expanded inventory and purchase ordering features.

Does Square for Retail have good reviews?

Square for Retail’s online reviews are predominantly positive. Users appreciate how user-friendly the software is and the features that are available at the free level.

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