Cloud City Coffee are Smooth Square Operators

This was a groovy experience!

I went in to order a coffee and snack, but little did I know how smooth this transaction would go!

First, I placed my order.
Second, he took and swiped my card.
Third, he turned around the iPad and I was prompted to sign the screen and leave a tip (preset numbers at the bottom of the screen).
Next, I was asked if I wanted my receipt printed, email or ignore it completely.

I was so impressed that I wanted to get back in line and try it again, but to avoid complete ‘mobile dorkiness’. I asked if I could simply take a picture for my blog.

Smooth Checkout

This technology, if you haven’t seen it is Sqaure. This is a Square Register and it claims to be the simplest way to accept credit card payments, and has all the features you need to create an elegant experience at your counter. I was definitely impressed.

When you sign up as a business owner, you get a free card reader, one simple rate for all credit cards, custom inventory and fast checkout. As a retailer this system will also help you create a loyalty program to keep your new and existing customers coming back. Deeper into the app, the retailer will discover insightful analytics, employee permissions, easy tipping features, smart receipts, and integration with your cash drawer.

Square Screenshot

Now that I have seen Square on an iPhone at craft shows and on a iPad at a busy coffee shop, my mind is busy with the possibilities. I sure would love to see more places using this technology.

The sector that keeps coming to my mind is non-profits or those seeking donations. How easy would it be to buy tickets to a show or exhibit and then at the bottom (where the tipping portion was for retail) have it be donation to the museum or a particular cause the show is related to? I personally, found it so easy to just tap the $1 button to add a tip to my transaction total and know that I would likely do the same for a donation, but in a higher denomination.

I have yet to have a bad experience with these devices and would love to hear more about your thoughts on…

  • Where you would like to see this technology? Non-profit, pizza parlor, grocery store, etc.?
  • What the drawbacks could be ? Employee/customer iOS adoption?
  • Why aren’t more business owners using this technology? Cost of device?
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7 comments on “Cloud City Coffee are Smooth Square Operators

  1. bizzyschorr
    April 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I’ve only gotten to use Square once and I had a similarly starry eyed reaction! I’m planning on setting up the consumer app for it. I would guess most companies aren’t on the bandwagon because they already have equipment in place and don’t want to plop down the money for a tablet. Also, Square’s transaction cut of 2.57% is pretty steep compared to the usual 1.5%-2.5%. I would love to see square used everywhere! But I think it could be especially useful for folks like self published authors, performers, and non-profits or fundraisers. The fundraiser is particularly interesting. you can set up in no time and take credit cards at your high school car wash!

  2. rachaeldillboyer
    April 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    I do wonder what the cost comparison is with a traditional register and credit card reader vs. an iPad with Square? But the user interface and general satisfaction is worth a lot! I’m more likely to be a repeat customer if I know that checkout will be easy and quick. I actually avoid going to Safeway because the one on my way to work has a really impatient beep if I don’t swipe my card within about 2 seconds, or if I want to pay in cash, it keep beeping until the chashier initiates the transaction. If a company plans on being mobile in any way (food fairs, farmer markets, street fairs, kiosks, food carts), this seems like such a great option. And based on what you say, Amy, and depending on the cost-benefit analysis, this could be a great option all the way around.

  3. JV
    April 29, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Last month I was at this bar on Capitol Hill called Montana (on Olive and Summit – the old “Buck”) enjoying a delicious Moscow Mule, and when it came time to pay, the woman came around with her iPhone, equipped with a square reader. It was the first time I had used one, and I must say, I agree with your review! It was a great experience, and the group I was with got out of the crowded little bar pretty quick, after she left the reader with us and we took turns swiping our cards. Looking forward to seeing this technology implemented more…

    • Amy B.
      April 30, 2012 at 8:18 am #

      Oh! I love the idea of being able to run the card for your individual total at a group event. It is so frustrating to go with a group to a restaurant and see that they have a 2 card max or that their policy is to not split large checks. I understand it can get to be a hassle, but leaving the Square device for the customers to split their check is an amazing idea.

  4. Kelly McIvor
    May 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Sounds like a great user experience! I’ve not had the (apparent) pleasure. I wonder what the set-up process is like for the merchant. Most will already have a credit card payment processor and an associated merchant account. Does Square require a switch to a new merchant account or is there a separate account created? Anyone know?

    • Amy B.
      May 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      The site says they have transparent pricing, which includes:
      -2.75% per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and AMEX.
      -Free app, free Square Card Reader and free shipping.
      -No merchant account, monthly fees or set-up costs.
      -Manually-entered cards cost 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.

  5. Karl Eckler
    May 2, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    Square is pretty full of awesomesauce! I don’t have a square account, but from what I could gather from the time I used it (I took door proceeds for a friend’s rock show) you set up an account with Square and they run daily direct deposits to the bank account you designate.

    I’m guessing that this (and the free app and hardware) is the reason that the rate is so high. Still, it’s about the same as Amex, and a far better deal than Paypal.

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