Will Square Stand Revolutionize Checkouts at High-Volume Brick-and-Mortar Merchants?



The new Square Stand gives you iPad functionality in a sleek cash register–like setup

In the race among mobile payment companies to replace the traditional cash register with an iPad-centric system, Square seemingly has come out on top. On July 8, the company debuted the Square Stand—the first point-of-sale system to feature a stationary mount for an iPad that integrates a credit card reader and USB ports, allowing retailers to instantly sync up cash wrap accessories such as receipt printers, cash drawers, and bar-code scanners with an iPad. Square, which was founded by Twitter cocreator Jack Dorsey, has been upping its game in the category since day one. The small company debuted in 2010 with a simple iPad-attachable card reader that was mobile and user-friendly, but seemed tailor-made for home business owners, not busy retail outposts. Since then, the company has introduced a series of progressively sophisticated iterations on the same theme. The Square Stand is the first specifically designed for high-volume brick-and-mortar merchants.

What can the Stand do for me?

With its spare, snow-white design, the Square Stand is certainly more sleek-looking than clunky registers of yore, making your countertop more attractive and less crowded. “Local business owners take as a given that they need an ugly, slow, expensive, and complicated point-of-sale system cluttering their counter,” Jack Dorsey said in a statement that comes with the device.

The Stand’s functionality promises to be more nimble as well. First, the unit works with hardware you already own, eliminating the need to purchase a new cash drawer, printer, bar-code scanner, and more. After plugging everything in to the Stand, you simply download and run the system’s free proprietary sales app, Square Register, which allows you to accept payments, track sales, and access real-time analytics. The integrated credit card reader is built into the Stand to maintain a cash wrap–style base in your store. This is not a walking-around POS system; it stays put, thanks to a tabletop-mounting tool kit that comes with the device. The app, stand, and outside hardware act as a single system controlled by Square Register.

How can I get it up and running?

Getting going is as easy as plugging everything in. After installation, you lock your iPad into the Stand, which allows it to tilt and rotate during any sale—you can even spin it around to show customers something on the screen. (Only iPads 2 and 3 are compatible with the stand right now, though a version for iPads with Lightning connectors will be available later this year.) Finally, connect your cash drawer, bar-code scanner, and any other hardware into the Square Stand’s USB accessory hub. There’s no real training required to operate the system; the app offers step-by-step directions to get you going. The company promises that retailers will be able to process sales within minutes of setting up their sales stations.