Square Register for iPad offers full point-of-sale system for merchants

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014


Square on Monday unveiled Register, a new application and service that allows merchants to turn an iPad into a full-fledged point-of-sale system for conducting transactions.



Paired with the existing free credit card reader that plugs into an iPad's headphone jack, the new Square Register application allows vendors to input a custom product inventory. Items available for sale can be identified by names, photos and prices, and popular items can even be added to a "favorites" list.



As with the previous Square application for transactions, the company takes 2.75 percent of sales. The service accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. The system also supports manual input of cash transactions.



Merchants can also store customer names and photos in the system, allowing salespeople to more easily get to know regular customers on a first-name basis. With Square Register, vendors can create their own custom loyalty program to keep customers coming back.



The system also gives customers the ability to quickly and easily provide a tip, while vendors can personalize receipts and offer them to customers either on paper, via text message or e-mail.



Square Register also keeps track of sales, and offers detailed analytics that are synced and stored in the cloud. Merchants can log in to Square's website from anywhere to see their transaction details in real time.







And employee permissions are also available to restrict access to specific features, settings or sensitive information that might be contained in sales reports.



Square Register (iTunes link) is a free application available for iPad on the App Store. The company's card reader hardware is also free.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    1) 2.75%? Yet another reason why I think Apple will want to spearhead an NFC-based system through their iTS. Square's Card Case is somewhat in the vain I hope Apple goes.



    2) It's great that they shows the square for their reader. It's good idea for a simple handheld unit that might not get used often, but when you have a register system you are expanding to a higher usage scenario that could be used by a lot more people. That 3.5mm jack can only take so much force. At this point I think Square should offer a new system that would limit the potential force applied to the jack. There are plenty of CC readers for the iPad that are more sturdy:




    * They chose a square because they couldn't use an acorn.
  • Reply 2 of 60
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,894member
    Before anyone pops up to say it's available for Android too, this isn't the regular Square Reader and app that's been there for months. Register is exclusively for the iPad for now.
  • Reply 3 of 60
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,637member
    just an other company collecting data on your shopping habit. Not only does you CC company know, this company is playing middle man between the merchant and the CC company, so you you have EUA with them on what information about you that can share.
  • Reply 4 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    1) 2.75%? Yet another reason why I think Apple will want to spearhead an NFC-based system through their iTS. Square's Card Case is somewhat in the vain I hope Apple goes.



    2) It's great that they shows the square for their reader. It's good idea for a simple handheld unit that might not get used often, but when you have a register system you are expanding to a higher usage scenario that could be used by a lot more people. That 3.5mm jack can only take so much force. At this point I think Square should offer a new system that would limit the potential force applied to the jack. There are plenty of CC readers for the iPad that are more sturdy:




    * They chose a square because they couldn't use an acorn.



    Not bad for a first cut at a POST system .
  • Reply 5 of 60
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    Deleted. More proof required to substantiate accusation. Mods.





    You do realize that there is always a merchant bank gateway with credit card purchases.



    Generally a small/medium sized retailer has both an online and a brick and mortar swipe machine. In both cases the info goes to a merchant gateway account and then upon approval of the charge, the merchant account moves the funds to the retailer's commercial bank account. There are several merchant gateway banks to choose from but you must have one. In this case Square is providing the service.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,485member
    iPads have not worked out particularly well at a restaurant in my home town. They have a poslavu.com iPad POS system and servers carry iPads to take orders that automatically get transmitted to the kitchen. It's good in theory but in reality the system hiccups occasionally which can be irritating to customers trying to give their order. And when a customer orders water they want water; they don't want the server to instead start doing data entry into their iPad to tell the kitchen water is needed.
  • Reply 7 of 60
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    iPads have not worked out particularly well at a restaurant in my home town. They have a poslavu.com iPad POS system and servers carry iPads to take orders that automatically get transmitted to the kitchen. It's good in theory but in reality the system hiccups just enough to be irritating to customers. When it hiccups while taking the order the customer and server just stare at each other waiting for it to work. And when a customer orders water they want water; they don't want the server to instead start doing data entry into their iPad to tell the kitchen water is needed.



    In all fairness going from a written system that is now typed from a handheld device will experience hiccups, but I also think that is a flashy use for POST. It's much better to use a centralized register or kiosk system for most cases. If you look at the typical touchscreen POST system they are very expensive in comparison and use a resistive touchscreen, and that's just the HW and doesn't include configuring your items or prices.
  • Reply 8 of 60
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,694member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    And when a customer orders water they want water; they don't want the server to instead start doing data entry into their iPad to tell the kitchen water is needed.



    Age old problem with computers that one is. While you CAN order water that way, why would you? The computer in this case (and many others) merely complicates a simple request. Not really the fault of the computer, but rather of the restaurant staff/management.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,485member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    In all fairness going from a written system that is now typed from a handheld device will experience hiccups, but I also think that is a flashy use for POST. It's much better to use a centralized register or kiosk system for most cases. If you look at the typical touchscreen POST system they are very expensive in comparison and use a resistive touchscreen, and that's just the HW and doesn't include configuring your items or prices.



    True. I think the problem is doing data entry in front of the customer. The customer never notices the hiccup when it occurs out-of-sight while the server does data entry in the kitchen.
  • Reply 10 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    iPads have not worked out particularly well at a restaurant in my home town. They have a poslavu.com iPad POS system and servers carry iPads to take orders that automatically get transmitted to the kitchen. It's good in theory but in reality the system hiccups occasionally which can be irritating to customers trying to give their order. And when a customer orders water they want water; they don't want the server to instead start doing data entry into their iPad to tell the kitchen water is needed.



    Part of any good "automated" system is providing for what you do when the "automation" is not available or not working properly.



    From your description, it sounds like the major problem is in order entry or the transmission of orders to the kitchen,



    If so, there are several levels of alternate means of taking the order and getting it to the kitchen -- ultimately devolving to the server writing the order on paper and walking it to the kitchen.



    Having procedures in place and training the employees how and when to use them (including practicing) -- allows the customer to be served (paramount) and any issues to be resolved later, in a less-stressful environment.
  • Reply 11 of 60
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,485member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    Part of any good "automated" system is providing for what you do when the "automation" is not available or not working properly.



    From your description, it sounds like the major problem is in order entry or the transmission of orders to the kitchen,



    If so, there are several levels of alternate means of taking the order and getting it to the kitchen -- ultimately devolving to the server writing the order on paper and walking it to the kitchen.



    Having procedures in place and training the employees how and when to use them (including practicing) -- allows the customer to be served (paramount) and any issues to be resolved later, in a less-stressful environment.



    Yes. You nailed it. In a few visits to the restaurant that has servers carry iPads I've had experience with 'network trouble' and the server asking me to wait to take my order for a moment while they "got things going" on the machine.
  • Reply 12 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    Yes. You nailed it.



    Yeah...



    There is a "classic" story about this:



    Sometime in the 1970s, Consolidated Edison of New York "automated" the bill-paying system at their local branch offices -- using a CRT Terminal that was online to a remote computer.



    Seams that one branch had an "automation" failure on a particularly busy day. The clerks could not enter payments made by the customers standing in line...



    The lines grew, and the tempers shortened -- after an hour or so there was a riot -- police called -- branch closed -- customers pissed.



    ConEd was not able to receive payment for services rendered -- pretty basic stuff here



  • Reply 13 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    Yes. You nailed it. In a few visits to the restaurant that has servers carry iPads I've had experience with 'network trouble' and the server asking me to wait to take my order for a moment while they "got things going" on the machine.



    Good Lord! I 'm surprised they didn't ask you to leave and come in again



    1) The order entry should be separate from the 'network'.



    2) If the Order Entry app isn't working, then there are several note-taking apps (type and draw) that could be used.



    3) There is always paper!



    Making the customer wait for the computer -- sends the message of which the restaurant thinks is most important!





    P.S. is the sb in "jd_in_sb" for San Bernardino?



  • Reply 14 of 60
    echosonicechosonic Posts: 452member
    I don't understand why this is a story. The CC Terminal App has been allowing me to use my phone (and now iPad) for POS transactions since 2008.
  • Reply 15 of 60
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by echosonic View Post


    I don't understand why this is a story. The CC Terminal App has been allowing me to use my phone (and now iPad) for POS transactions since 2008.



    Does your system require a Merchant Account?



    Does your PoS system give you analytics of your purchases?



    Does it allow you to set up your inventoried items for free?



    Can customers purchase without swiping a card?
  • Reply 16 of 60
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,485member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    P.S. is the sb in "jd_in_sb" for San Bernardino?



    SB stands for Santa Barbara. Being a geek I was thrilled to see a restaurant use networked iPads to take my order, even if it didn't go smoothly.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by echosonic View Post


    I don't understand why this is a story. The CC Terminal App has been allowing me to use my phone (and now iPad) for POS transactions since 2008.



    Square is cheaper on transaction costs and has a smaller cheaper card reader.



    The real news will come when either the iPad/iPhone supports NFC payments, or someone develops a chip+pin tool.



    FYI, technically someone could develop a cheap chip+pin reader for the iPad right now using the camera kit adapter and a USB smart card reader, but that's rather clumsy.



    The US is again behind the times with credit/debit card upgrades. So magstripe-only readers are only useful in the US, and can't be used in some countries due to policies in place by the card companies and banks that require using the PayPass for items under 25$ or chip-only for anything above.
  • Reply 18 of 60
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,301member
    This is a half-baked solution. A business will not get rid of their register, which actually holds a cash drawer, in favor of a wi-fi enabled iPad and a flimsily attached Square device. If they want to get serious, they are going to have to step up and develop some practical hardware that the business owners can use for more than just credit card transactions. Also, an iPad costs a lot more than the average freestanding cash register.
  • Reply 19 of 60
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    This is a half-baked solution. A business will not get rid of their register, which actually holds a cash drawer, in favor of a wi-fi enabled iPad and a flimsily attached Square device. If they want to get serious, they are going to have to step up and develop some practical hardware that the business owners can use for more than just credit card transactions.



    SS Square is baked well. They've got great integration but it's not for everyone. Small business benefits from Square because many want to setup shop but payment processing usually requires a Merchant Account (around 10-15 dollars a month). Square doesn't require that in lieu of higher swipe fees.



    Square is building our their own Card Case system where a card swipe isn't even necessary for those with Smartphones.



    Ideal solutions for a set amount of transactions a month or a highly technical set of patrons (coffee shops around colleges or tech centers) that would use their smartphones.
  • Reply 20 of 60
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,520member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by echosonic View Post


    I don't understand why this is a story. The CC Terminal App has been allowing me to use my phone (and now iPad) for POS transactions since 2008.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Does your system require a Merchant Account?



    Does your PoS system give you analytics of your purchases?



    Does it allow you to set up your inventoried items for free?



    Can customers purchase without swiping a card?



    Actually the new register system has some good features and some limitations. Here are some of the limitations:
    1. There is no central or automated way to setup several iPads -- the inventory items must be manually set up on each iPad.

    2. There is no way to enter a credit, coupon or loyalty discount

    3. There is no way to enter any discount amount or percentage

    4. There is no way to accept a check and annotate information

    5. There is no way to handle multiple "menus" -- Daily, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    6. There is no easy way to enter notes or annotations.

    7. There is no ability to enter twofers or threefers...

    8. There is no mix or match for twofers or threefers...

    9. There is no way to handle combos

    10. There is no way to handle specials

    11. There is no way to gather/enter customer personal information

    12. There is no ability to build a customer profile/history

    13. There is no way to quickly retrieve customer info -- e.g. call in: phone number

    14. There is no inventory management

    15. There needs to be a back-room Mac app that does inventory, customer, pricing, setup, analytics...



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