Square: The Next Wave in Mobile Payment

How you can cash in on the cofounder of Twitter’s latest great innovation

Café Grumpy, a renowned New York City coffee roaster with four locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, tends to do things differently. Everything from the frowny-face logo to the $12 cup of coffee to the unique pour-over brewing techniques makes it apparent Café Grumpy is not your ordinary coffeehouse. This do-things-differently approach extends to every aspect of the Grumpy experience, even to their cash registers. In fact, they don’t have any. All you’ll find at the front counters are iPads with an attachment from a company called Square.

If you’ve ever swiped your credit card through a tiny white attachment atop an iPhone or iPad, then you’re familiar with Square, the ­latest endeavor from Twitter cocreator Jack Dorsey. What began as a way to accept payment for services over the phone is rapidly evolving into the next iteration of the cash register. Recently, Square expanded its offering from the basic card reader and payment application that was commonly seen at street fairs to a relatively robust point-of-sale experience called Square Register that’s quickly being adopted by small to medium-size businesses like Café Grumpy. While Square was once limited to credit cards, Square Register includes such essential peripherals as a cash drawer and receipt printer.

How can jewelers take advantage of this latest innovation? There are several aspects of Square that jewelers can get excited about. Square Register is straightforward and simple to use for staff and customers alike. It’s also highly portable, so you can have multiple points of sale throughout the store for no more than the cost of an iPad and a 2.75 percent service charge for most major credit cards. Credit card sales can be handled entirely on the iPad so they can be used throughout your store or even at off-site events. When a retail jeweler partners on an event at another local business, staffers can close sales on the spot with Square. The program even allows you to create reward programs for your better customers.

Courtesy of Square

Owners, especially those with older or limited point-of-sale systems, will love the free analytics options. In addition to traditional sales data, which all can be exported into standard accounting software, Square has focused on offering retailers impressive insights into their best and worst days and times. It can help you get a quick real-time look at how your business is doing. The tools are basic compared with full-blown ­jewelry point-of-sale software, but they are improving rapidly.

Square doesn’t yet give customers the ability to integrate its software into existing point-of-sale systems. And at the moment, the software is geared toward companies like Café Grumpy—i.e., the food-service industry, or businesses with very controlled inventory. But its plans are clearly aimed at all manner of enterprise. Keep an eye on how you might be able to use Square in your store. The experience is fast and easy for customers, and flexible and portable for business owners. Even retailers with more robust point-of-sale systems might find ways to experiment with it. With a little creativity, there are many on- and off-site applications for Square to improve your business throughout and beyond your store.

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