I worked two brief stints behind a cash register. I crashed and burned at both. I found both registers (one was old school and one was new) to be extremely confusing and overwhelming. Every time a customer would ask me to do something slightly out of the ordinary I would have a massive panic attack. This being said, I am very intrigued by the unveiling of Square’s new iPad Register. Square, you might recall, is the payments start-up that collaborated with Starbucks to bring us “easy” iPhone payments. The idea was to download the “Square Wallet” app, in which you connected your various cards, then to choose Starbucks and simply place your iPhone under their scanner. This would essentially eliminate cards and cash from your Starbucks experience. The whole thing never really took off. Though I never tried the Square Wallet for Starbucks, I think it stumbled not because of the app but because Starbucks did not properly inform or teach their employees about it. Customers who wanted to use the app did not feel encouraged or welcomed by the employees.
Nonetheless Square’s Register Hardware/Software seems promising for a number of reasons. The first being ascetics. The register, which is essentially an iPad, would be atleast 1/3 the size of your average register. The cash drawer and the receipt printer are not attached and therefore can be placed below the counter and out of site.
Secondly, I imagine the system being very easy to use. Considering the register would have all the capabilities of an iPad and not just the ability to do basic arithmetic, you should be able to set up the interface however you please. Square claims that the software allows you to keep track of your inventory, and easily implement coupons and loyalty programs. In addition, the Square Stand allows the iPad to swivel, so that the customers can easily see their transaction and or sign for the receipt.
Lastly, though I have never purchased a cash register, I believe the Square Register is reasonably priced. The stand is $300, while the software you pay monthly or per transaction. For the software, you are given the option of $275 a month or $2.75 per transaction. These costs, they claim, are all the credit card fees your business will have to pay.
Of the new register, the CEO Jack Dorsey says,
“We wanted to build not just a great piece of software but also hardware to match…stand would be a refreshing alternative to the ugly, slow, expensive point-of-sales systems that merchants are used to.” (NYTimes)