Square has been a game-changer for many businesses. Its primary benefit is the facilitation of easy and seamless transactions, particularly for small businesses, through its mobile payment processing system. This system includes a point of sale (POS) system and hardware options, such as card readers and stands, that enable businesses to accept credit cards anywhere, anytime. Square’s simplified fee structure also removes the complexity of transaction fees that are often associated with traditional merchant services.
Furthermore, the Square Dashboard provides real-time sales data, allowing businesses to track their performance and make informed decisions. The platform also integrates with a variety of other software solutions, from inventory management to customer relationship management, making it a versatile tool in the toolbox of any business.
For all of these reasons and more, we often recommend Square to many businesses starting up in the online sales space, whether it be for a full e-commerce set up and needing a payment processor to handle their sales or preorders or for a storefront looking for way to manage their in-person orders.
However, the one main area where Square falls short is their website builder: Square Online.
Looking At Square Online
Square Online is advertised as a one-stop solution for creating an online presence, allowing them to create a website, sell e-commerce products, and manage payments seamlessly. Its integration with Square and quick set-up process have proven highly appealing, particularly to small and medium-sized enterprises seeking a simplified approach to launching their online stores.
Despite its popularity, it’s crucial for businesses to understand that Square Online, much like any platform, comes with its set of limitations. The platform’s restrictions in areas such as customization, pricing, reporting, add-on services, and customer support may not fulfill every business’s unique needs. For those seeking more extensive functionality and flexibility, there are extended solutions that are available alongside Square that could potentially offer a more balanced suite of services. But first, lets take a look at what you could be missing out on.
Very Limited Customization
A compelling online presence depends heavily on website design and customization capabilities. Unfortunately, Square Online’s customization options are relatively limited. The platform operates within the constraints of its pre-designed templates, which can make your website look generic or too similar to other businesses using the same platform.
Square Online lacks extensive customization options, making it challenging for businesses to create a truly unique online identity. Unlike many other open source platforms, which offer endless possibilities for website customization through thousands of themes and plugins, Square Online’s limited options might restrict businesses from conveying their brand’s personality and differentiating themselves from competitors, not to mention features to expand their marketing reach.
When exploring the potential of Square Online for your business, the platform’s pricing model warrants further investigation. This model is built around a tiered system, with each tier offering progressively more advanced features for a corresponding increase in cost.
The Basic plan, which is free, allows for unlimited products and an integrated shopping cart. However, it also comes with various limitations, such as Square Online branding on your site, and it levies a transaction fee on each sale. These costs, while appearing small on individual transactions, can quickly add up and eat into your profit margins over time.
Moving up the pricing ladder, the Professional plan offers a custom domain and removes Square Online branding, which can significantly enhance the professional look of your site. However, this comes at a recurring monthly cost. Here, it’s vital to consider whether these enhancements justify the monthly expense, particularly for small businesses where budget considerations are often paramount.
Higher tiers like the Performance and Premium plans offer additional features such as abandoned cart recovery, shipping discounts, and lower transaction rates. While these features can enhance your eCommerce operations, the costs of these plans can become substantial over time. For businesses operating on slim margins or those just breaking into eCommerce, these costs can present significant challenges.
It’s also worth noting that while Square Online offers a comprehensive solution for eCommerce, businesses that require a simple informational website without the need for selling products might find themselves paying for features they don’t need. This lack of pricing flexibility could potentially result in unnecessary expenses.
In conclusion, Square Online’s pricing model, while seemingly straightforward, can quickly become costly when considering the total cost of ownership. Businesses need to be mindful of how these costs align with their specific needs, budget, and long-term growth strategy.
Analytics and reporting play an integral role in making informed decisions for a business’s growth strategy. Unfortunately, Square Online’s reporting features are somewhat basic, providing just an overview of sales and customer data.
Square does not provide extensive insight into website performance or user behavior, which could be crucial for enhancing user experience or optimizing your marketing efforts. Platforms like WordPress, when integrated with tools like Google Analytics, can provide comprehensive reporting and metrics, including user demographics, behavior, acquisition channels, and more, facilitating data-driven decision making.
Costly Add-On Services
While Square Online offers a range of add-on services, such as email marketing, SEO tools, and more, these come at an additional cost. The platform’s pricing model could quickly become expensive for businesses that require these features for their online operations.
Limited Customer Support
When it comes to managing an online presence for your business, reliable and responsive customer support can make all the difference. Here is where one of the key limitations of Square Online surfaces.
While Square Online does offer customer support, its large user base can sometimes lead to long wait times for resolution. In an era where businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on their digital platforms, having to wait for crucial issues to be resolved can have a negative impact on business operations and customer satisfaction. This delay is a byproduct of Square’s service scale and the sheer number of clients they serve.
Furthermore, Square Online’s customer support often lacks personalization. The platform’s support team is designed to assist a wide range of users, each with unique issues. As a result, the support provided may often feel impersonal or may not fully address the nuances of specific concerns. This one-size-fits-all approach can leave businesses feeling underserved and may result in sub-optimal solutions.
Another consideration is the scope of support. Square Online primarily assists with issues directly related to their platform. If you encounter challenges related to other digital areas, such as third-party integrations, you might be left without much assistance.
In a nutshell, while Square Online does provide customer support, the quality, timeliness, and personalization of this support can be limited. For businesses that rely heavily on their website for operations and sales, these limitations could potentially pose significant challenges.
Square + 1981 Digital
While Square Online may offer simplicity and ease of use, businesses seeking customization to match their branding, advanced reporting, cost-effectiveness, and personalized support may find the platform’s limitations considerable.
To bypass the limitations of Square Online and harness the full power of your business’s digital presence, 1981 Digital has developed a unique proprietary solution that connects Square’s powerful transaction processing with the flexible, feature-rich environment of WordPress. By leveraging this innovative approach, businesses can enjoy the best of both platforms without the constraints. With 1981 Digital, you gain access to extensive features, detailed reporting, our personalized customer support, all custom-tailored to meet your specific business needs.
Don’t let platform limitations hold your business back. Contact 1981 Digital today and step into a digital solution designed with your business’s growth and success in mind.