What is Square?
Square is a payment processing company that offers a full suite of services for businesses to accept payments both online and in person. Some key features of Square include:
- Credit card processing capabilities that allow businesses to accept payments online, in mobile apps, and in person.
- Point of sale software that works with Square hardware to turn devices like iPads into cash registers.
- Invoicing and other business management services.
- An online store builder that lets merchants create an online shop quickly.
With Square’s online store builder, business owners can create a free online store and start selling online in minutes. Square handles the payment processing, so you don’t need to integrate a third-party payment gateway.
Benefits of using Square Online Store
There are several benefits to using Square’s online store builder rather than other ecommerce platforms:
- Seamless integration with Square’s payment processing and point of sale systems.
- No transaction fees for payments processed through Square.
- A free online store option available.
- Easy-to-use store builder with professional themes.
- Ability to sync online and in-person inventory.
- Built-in marketing and coupon capabilities.
Essentially, Square offers a one-stop shop for taking a business online, accepting payments, tracking sales and inventory, generating invoices, and more. Using Square’s online store builder allows you to have an online presence that fully integrates with your other Square services.
Step 1: Sign Up for a Square Account
To use Square’s online store builder, you first need a Square account. Signing up is free and can be done online at squareup.com or through the Square Point of Sale app for iOS and Android devices.
Here are the steps to sign up:
- Go to squareup.com and click on the “Start Selling” button.
- Enter your business name and type.
- Add your business address and contact information.
- Link a bank account to facilitate payments.
- Indicate whether you plan to sell online, in person, or both.
- Review and accept Square’s terms of service.
Once your account is created, Square will mail you a free card reader that connects to your smartphone or tablet to accept in-person payments.
Step 2: Set Up Your Online Store
With a Square account created, you can now build your online store. Here’s how to get started:
- From your Square dashboard, click “Online Store” in the left menu.
- Choose one of Square’s professional website templates.
- Use Square’s store editor to customize the design, including colors, fonts, and layout.
- Add pages like About, Contact, etc.
- Upload your logo and brand assets like images and videos.
- Add your products/services and set prices.
- Select shipping and tax settings.
- Enable online payments through Square.
- Publish your live online store.
Square has 100+ templates to choose from for industries like food and drink, retail, health and beauty, arts, and more. You can change just about any element of the template design quickly and easily.
Step 3: Configure Shipping, Taxes, and Payments
With your online store live, you need to configure a few key settings related to getting customers their orders and accepting payments.
Square offers automated shipping rates from USPS and ShipStation. You can set up free USPS shipping rates, or integrate with ShipStation for discounted USPS rates and other carrier options.
To enable automated shipping:
- Go to the Orders section of your Square dashboard.
- Click “Settings” and go to the Shipping settings.
- Select your shipping origin address.
- Choose your box sizes and packing options.
- Enable free USPS rates or connect your ShipStation account.
Now when customers purchase items, they will be shown live calculated shipping rates automatically during checkout.
Square automatically calculates sales tax for orders based on the buyer’s location.
To configure taxes:
- Go to Settings > Taxes in your Square dashboard.
- Enter your business’s tax address.
- Select an automatic tax calculation option:
- U.S. taxes only
- U.S. and Canada taxes
- U.S., Canada, and Europe taxes
- Save your settings.
Square will then handle calculating, collecting, and remitting sales tax for any online orders.
Since your online store is synced with your Square account, any payments made online are automatically processed through Square. You don’t need to integrate any third-party payment gateways.
Square payments are secure, allowing customers to pay with their preferred method. Square accepts payments from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
Square charges a transaction fee of 2.6% + 10¢ for online payments. There are no additional gateway fees, statement fees, or hidden costs.
Step 4: Add Your Inventory
A great benefit of using Square for your online store is that you can sync your online and in-person inventory.
Any items added to your Square dashboard’s inventory can also be made available for sale online.
To add inventory:
- From your Inventory tab, click “Add Item.”
- Enter the product name, description, image, etc.
- Set your price, quantity, and variations (like size/color options).
- Check “Sell Online” to enable for your online store.
- Click “Add” to save the product.
As inventory is updated through online or offline sales, Square keeps everything synced. You’ll never sell an item online that’s out of stock in your physical store.
Step 5: Market and Promote Your Online Store
With your Square online store created and ready to accept orders, it’s time to get the word out! Here are some tips for marketing your new online store:
- Claim your business listing on Google, Yelp, and other directories. Make sure to link to your site.
- Run promotions and email campaigns offering discounts or free shipping for first-time customers.
- Share your site on social channels like Facebook and Instagram. Run social ad campaigns to boost reach.
- Use Square’s built-in tools like coupons and gift cards to encourage sales.
- Send follow-up emails to customers thanking them for purchases and offering loyalty discounts.
- Add high-quality photos, videos, and product descriptions to make your items shine online.
- Blog about your products and expertise to boost SEO and drive traffic.
Square provides an online store dashboard with analytics so you can see your traffic sources, top products, conversions, and other metrics to optimize your marketing.
Advanced Features to Enhance Your Online Store
Once your Square online store is up and running, you can explore some of Square’s advanced features to further customize and optimize your site:
- Detailed product options: Add options like size, color, material, images, etc. to enrich product listings.
- Custom fields: Collect additional customer information at checkout like special instructions.
- Discount codes: Create codes for percentage discounts or dollar amounts off to drive sales.
- Blog: Square offers full CMS capabilities to add and manage a blog right on your site.
- SEO tools: Optimize page titles, metadata, URLs, and more to improve search visibility.
- Abandoned cart recovery: Send automated emails to re-engage customers who didn’t complete a purchase.
As you can see, Square provides a robust set of ecommerce features to create a customized online store that meets your business needs.
How Much Does Square Online Store Cost?
One of the best aspects of Square’s online store is that you can launch a basic store completely free. Free stores include:
- Square’s standard online store templates
- Unlimited products
- Basic real-time shipping rates
- Online payment processing
- Analytics and reports
Square also offers advanced online store plans with additional features like gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, and more. Paid online store plans start at $26/month.
With the free option, you can get an online store up and running at no cost to start test marketing and selling your products online.
|Standard templates, unlimited products, basic shipping, credit card processing, analytics
|Custom code, gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, advanced reporting
|Real-time carrier shipping, inventory sync, additional staff accounts, advanced discounts
Setting up an online store with Square provides a quick, cost-effective way for small businesses to get started selling online. Key advantages include seamless omnichannel management, easy customization, built-in payment processing, and robust ecommerce features.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can launch a Square online store tailored to your business in very little time. The free plan lets you test things out at no cost. Then, you can always scale up to a paid plan later as your business grows.
With Square handling your payments, inventory, shipping, marketing, and more, you can focus on creating great products and delivering excellent customer service – online and off.