What is Square? How to Start Selling with Square

What is Square? How to Start Selling with Square
Learn about the history of Square along with the range of products and services available. Find out how to get started for free with Square.
Jun 24, 2021 — 8 min read
What is Square? How to Start Selling with Square

Square is a comprehensive system of hardware and software tools designed to help run and grow businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s a powerful point of sale platform combined with a range of hardware and software to streamline services – making your life easier as a business owner. Square allows you to implement secure payment systems that work both in-person and remotely as well as introducing a catalogue of useful tools to make managing day-to-day tasks simple.

With Square, businesses of any size can effectively manage sales, reservations, bookings, payments, staffing levels, customer engagement and more through a fully integrated system.

Square is not one singular product; it is an ecosystem of customisable software and hardware. It can be used across a range of industries including retail, hospitality, health and beauty, home repair and professional services. It can also benefit businesses who want to streamline their services and offer customers a secure and easy way to order and pay.

History of Square

Square, Inc. was founded in 2009 in St Louis, Missouri, U.S. by Jack Dorsey and his friend, Jim McKelvey. If you’re wondering ‘how did Square start’, it started with an idea. Dorsey and McKelvey had the ambition to create a technology merging both mobile payments and merchant services such as POS into one simple service. In under ten years, Square was being used by millions of businesses around the world. Fromt business loans to receiving payments from their customers.

As the business grew, Square started to become recognisable and received seven rounds of private funding before its decision to go public in 2015. When Square had its IPO, it started to trade at as little as USD $9 per share, before spiking up to USD $264 a share in April 2021. Square has also acquired other companies throughout its journey, including food delivery company caviar in 2014 and web service Weebly in 2018. Caviar was however sold to DoorDash in 2019.
Square’s two primary products are the Cash App (allowing users to send money through a mobile app) and Square POS (allowing vendors to process payments from customers via a phone).

Square products and services

Square works by bringing together advanced payment software with a wide range of tools and applications. These are all designed to help any business run smoothly, whether it’s online, in person or a combination of the two. Each element of Square’s package can be added as a stand-alone tool or integrated with other aspects of the system for a comprehensive business management package – meaning you can find a bespoke Square package that works perfectly for you.

The system can be tailored to meet the specific needs of virtually any business, including those operating remotely and mobile businesses. With Square, businesses can discover new ways to reach their existing audience and expand their customer base. This includes solutions and tools to facilitate operations in a post-lockdown recovery phase, such as click and collect, online ordering and delivery, selling gift cards and accepting remote or contactless payments.

Square’s ecosystem is fully adaptable to meet the requirements of any business, large or small. It can also save staff valuable time by automating tasks and improve opportunities for customer engagement.

Point of sale software to run your business

Square Point of Sale software is a bespoke POS system that is both affordable and easy to set up and use. Businesses can use the POS system to manage sales, payments, inventory, records and more, in one place.

The POS system can be fully customised to serve the needs of the business, such as speeding up check-out and connecting to existing software and apps. Customer profiles are created automatically, generating unique opportunities to offer a personalised service in a landscape where this is more important than ever before.

Square Retail POS software is designed specifically to meet the challenges of operating a retail business of any shape or size. The software system offers a range of benefits to retailers, including new ways to sell both in-store and online.

Square software for retailers can streamline inventory management and staff management while also providing customers with a secure payment system that accepts almost any form of payment quickly and easily. Auto-created customer profiles open opportunities for building customer relationships and encouraging repeat business.

Square Restaurant POS software is an all-in-one system for food and beverage companies that facilitates a more efficient and more personal service for every single customer.

The fast and flexible restaurant ePOS system manages more than just payments. Restaurant managers can use Square for a range of needs, including:


Square Appointments can help any type of business to optimise the booking system and make the booking process faster and more convenient for customers. With Square Appointments, customers can make reservations online at any time of day or night, with only the available options shown to prevent double-bookings.

Customers are sent automated reminders of their booking and staff levels can be managed according to the number of reservations made. Business inventory can be easily synced to sell online as well as in person, without creating additional admin tasks for employees.

Hardware products for in-person selling

Square Reader is a compact yet powerful card reader that takes payments from customers in person using chip and PIN, contactless or mobile payment services such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. The many benefits of Square Reader include:


Square Terminal is an all-in-one intuitive card machine and payment system that facilitates all payment, billing, invoicing and management requirements for any business.

Using Square Terminal, business owners can accept in-person payments in whatever way the customer prefers to pay, making sales super easy.

Digital and printed receipts can be provided quickly and easily if required, with enhanced data security built in as standard. Money reaches the merchant account as soon as the next working day with instant transfers and the fees per transaction are transparent and affordable, with no additional monthly charges.

Square Register is a powerful tool combining a till system with integrated payments and POS technology. The hardware consists of two screens – one for employees and one for customers. The wide employee monitor provides all the relevant information on an easy to use touchscreen while the second monitor lets customers see exactly what they are purchasing and enter their PIN securely through the screen. Square Register is powered by the free Square POS app, which provides everything a business needs to generate and monitor transactions through a fully integrated, customer-facing solution.

Online products/tools for online selling

Square Online Store software allows businesses to expand their ecommerce offering at little cost and discover new ways to reach customers. This includes fast and simple integration with social media channels including advertising on Facebook, Instagram and more with links to the store’s online checkout. Businesses can broaden their customer base effectively by offering services such as click and collect, local delivery, online ordering and payments and social media selling.

All the ecommerce tools from Square include features for cross-product and cross-platform integration to facilitate sales from almost anywhere, reaching customers in the places they are most likely to be. Risk management and payment security come as standard, with Square taking compliance responsibilities on board so businesses don’t have to. The system can be synced with all other Square software to help manage inventory where sales are being made both in person and across multiple online platforms.

Square Marketing is another useful tool to help businesses with all their email marketing strategies. This easy-to-use device can create tailored email marketing campaigns, while sending and tracking emails in only a matter of minutes. Campaigns can be automated, and all email designs are very easily built using pre-designed customisable templates. All campaigns can be handled through a dashboard, and ‘target’ groups can be created so that new, regular and old customers are easily identifiable at the outset. Businesses can also upload existing email lists if they already have them.
Using Square Marketing, companies can also track how effective their campaigns really are on their dashboard, with relevant analytics available such as how many sales have been made, how many people have received emails sent and how many have opened them.

Add on software products to help run your business

Offering gift cards helps expand a customer base by allowing satisfied customers to encourage their friends and family to get on board with the brand. Square eGift cards means customers can purchase a gift card online at any time of day or night or purchase a physical gift card in-store or online to be sent in the post. Gift cards sales reports are included in data collection through the Square dashboard, enabling tracking of sales and planning for future revenue streams.

Invoicing software from Square lets business owners quickly send invoices and digital estimates from anywhere, in seconds. All invoices, payments and estimates are tracked and monitored on the system to deliver a seamless customer experience. Once an invoice has been sent, customers can access it online and pay from anywhere, at any time day or night, using a one-click service via credit or debit card or mobile payments. Cards can be saved on file for future auto-billing to streamline services and cash flow is managed through powerful reporting tools.

Square Virtual Terminal allows business owners to accept payment from anywhere, turning their computer into a secure payment card terminal. This software is ideal for any business that regularly needs to take payments over the phone or uses any form of remote billing, such as invoicing, pre-payments or deposits. Transactions can be split among multiple customers and multiple payment types, including gift cards, credit or debit cards, mobile payments, cash and cheques.
Team management software from Square is fully integrated into the POS software and ensures effective team management across all types of business. Real-time reports allow managers to see which times of the day, week and year are the busiest and keep track of how many hours each member of staff is putting in. Schedules can be posted online and adjusted from anywhere instantly and staff can register the start and end of their shift through the Square POS App or at the register.

Business loans that work with your cash flow

Square Loans is our new capital lending program, crafted to make it easy for eligible businesses to quickly get the cash required to achieve their dreams of growth.

All you have to do is become a Square customer, and we’ll tell you if you’re eligible for a loan. If you are, we’ll then give you a tailored offer (a precise figure that you can borrow) based on the sales that you process using Square. Pick your loan size, apply in a few clicks online and repay the funds as a percentage of your Square sales.

There’s no complex paperwork required, and you can even get your cash on the next business day after making your application.
Using Square Loans, companies have been able to purchase critical stock in order to keep the money flowing through their doors during harsh economic times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since launching this product in the United States, we’ve transacted over USD $8 million in financing to nearly half a million small businesses.
Getting a small business loan has never been so easy.

Get started free with Square

Getting started with Square is quick and easy. The up-front costs are minimal or even non-existent, depending on the bespoke package chosen. There are multiple resources available to meet the specific needs of all types of business both large and small, for online or in-person sales. The Square sales team is available to answer any questions and can advise on the best products for any particular business.

Create a free account in minutes to get started accepting payments securely using Square software. Once established, each aspect of Square software or hardware can be integrated with an existing system or with more products from the Square catalogue. This results in an easy to use and intuitive online system that can help manage almost every aspect of running a business – freeing up more of your time to concentrate on making your business great.


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