Our rating(4.1/5)
Square ecommerce starts at £0 per month – even with online ordering and POS integration.
Square Online is powered by Weebly, but managed in one account alongside your other Square sales channels. The service is very user-friendly and transparent, in style with the typical simplicity of other Square services.
  • Highs: Free plan available. No contract. Simple transaction fees. Pick-up and delivery features. Syncs with in-person payments. Instagram integration.
  • Lows: Only weekday customer support. Limitations on free plan call for upgrade to paid plan.
  • Best for: Square users who want an easy way to build an online store, integrated with delivery, pick-up and POS sales.

What is Square Online?

Square – or Squareup, as some like to call it – offers an ecommerce platform called Square Online (previously Square Online Store). It can be used on its own or in conjunction with other services like Square Reader, Square Invoices app and/or Square Point of Sale.

The ecommerce platform is run by Weebly, but accessed through the Square Dashboard in a web browser. You do not need to create a separate Weebly account because Square is automatically connected with the website builder so you can start setting up a web store straight away.

The payment system is Square’s own, which automatically works after signing up with Square.

Your website will be able to accept payments by Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express and Square gift cards, with the option to activate Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal.

Accepted payments

VisaMastercardMaestroAmerican ExpressApple PayGoogle PayPayPal

Products can be added to your store from the Square POS system, or you can manually add items to sell online. There are plenty of user-friendly features for customising the website.

The service is ideal for a variety businesses such as retail shops that ship products, professional services with an appointments or booking system, and food businesses offering takeaway or pickup options.

Pricing and payouts

Square really wants to make pricing simple and transparent, so there is no contractual commitment on any of their services, and you pay two fixed-rate transaction fees per online payment depending on whether it’s paid with a European or non-European card.

You can create an account and not pay a penny, and still set up an online store on the Free plan, in which case, you only pay a 1.9% rate per transaction for European cards and 2.9% for non-European cards.

Of course, it is limited what features you get on the Free plan, so there’s a choice of three paid plans: Professional, Performance and Premium. They are all slightly cheaper if you pay for 12 months upfront, in which case you cannot claim a refund if you decide to stop using Square Online during that year. Otherwise, it works out as £3-£6 more per month if paying monthly.

Subscriptions Costs
Free plan £0/mo
Professional plan £108 (£9/mo) billed annually
£12/mo billed monthly
Performance plan £228 (£19/mo) billed annually
£22/mo billed monthly
Premium plan £648 (£54/mo) billed annually
£60/mo billed monthly
Subscriptions Costs
Free plan £0/mo
Professional plan £108 (£9/mo) billed annually
£12/mo billed monthly
Performance plan £228 (£19/mo) billed annually
£22/mo billed monthly
Premium plan £648 (£54/mo) billed annually
£60/mo billed monthly

The card fees are the same on the Free, Professional and Performance plans. On the Premium plan, you get a lower transaction fee: 1.75% per online payment with a European card, but still 2.9% for non-European cards. If you enable PayPal transactions, those payments will be charged through PayPal, not Square.

Online orders for delivery using your own courier system cost 50p on top of the transaction fee. You might wonder why there is a delivery fee when Square does not deliver orders for you, but that is because delivery orders involve extra features like text alerts for customers. Pickup orders, where customers collect their food order on your premises, do not have a special order fee.

Transactions Charges
Transaction fee (Free, Professional, Performance) 1.9% (European cards)
2.9%
(non-European cards)
Transaction fee (Premium) 1.75% (European cards)
2.9% (non-European cards)
Pickup orders Free (+ transaction fee)
In-house delivery orders 50p each (+ transaction fee)
PayPal fee 1.9%-3.4% + 20p
Instant Transfers (optional) 1% added to transaction fee
Refunds Free
Chargebacks Free (conditions apply)
Transactions Charges
Transaction fee (Free, Professional, Performance) 1.9% (European cards)
2.9% (non-European cards)
Transaction fee (Premium) 1.75% (European cards)
2.9% (non-European cards)
Pickup orders Free (+ transaction fee)
In-house delivery orders 50p each (+ transaction fee)
PayPal fee 1.9%-3.4% + 20p
Instant Transfers (optional) 1% added to transaction fee
Refunds Free
Chargebacks Free (conditions apply)

All transactions are settled directly in your bank account within 1-2 working days. If you want to receive payments within 2 hours, you can switch on Instant Transfers for an extra 1% on top of the card fee.

Refunds are free to process, but they take 9-14 working days to reach your customer’s account, and you must have the full amount in the “Square balance” (money currently being processed to your bank account) to avoid further delays.

Chargebacks are also free, and that even covers support to help deal with customer disputes in the event of one.

Features

Some features are available on all plans including the free one. This includes:

Products with product options: Fill your online store with an unlimited number of products, whether imported from your in-store selection in your Square POS system or created specifically for website visitors. Since you can track stock levels, you are able to display “only a few left” and “out of stock” badges automatically as well as an “on sale” badge.

Image: Mobile Transaction

This is only a snapshot of editing options for products.

You can add variants of products, organise categories, make items visible or invisible, and use other inventory management functions.

Image library: A cool library of free images provided by Unsplash is integrated in the web editor. Anyone who’s tried creating a professional website will know how hard it can be to find quality photos to align with branding – this makes it so much easier.

Shopping cart function: Any multi-product online store needs a shopping cart so visitors can keep browsing after adding an item – and go to the checkout to pay when ready. Square knows this is important, so it is included on all plans.

Customisable shipping rates: Choose between a flat-fee shopping cost, free shipping above a certain transaction amount, or shipping fee based on weight, number of items ordered or the transaction total. A real-time shipping rate calculator is not yet available in the UK.

Image: Square

Square ecommerce online order for pickup

The Square online store editor doesn’t overwhelm users with too many features.

Coupon codes: Coupon codes (e.g. a top banner with the message “enter STUDENT10 at checkout for 10% student discount”) are great for encouraging impulse purchases while the customer is browsing the website.

Gift cards: This is not a given in free payment systems, but merchants can accept and sell Square offers gift cards online.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Square Online Store image search

Add images directly from the image search accessed from the website editor.

Contact forms and pop-ups: All reputable websites are contactable in some way or another, and Square Store enables this via contact forms. It is also possible to display a pop-up to enable customers to be added to a mailing list, verify visitor age, offer a coupon or make an announcement.

SEO options: Add keywords to images, meta titles and meta descriptions to products, among other things. Just because it’s a free ecommerce builder doesn’t mean you can’t compete on Google.

Instagram, Facebook and Messenger integration: Let’s face it – you can’t avoid social media if you sell online! And Square lets you connect and sell from Instagram (‘Shopping on Instagram’) on all plans. You can also connect Square with Facebook or add a Messenger chat on your website. You can only connect Pinterest with your site if you have a custom domain, and custom domains are only available on paid plans.

Apart from this, there are some considerable differences between Free, Professional and Performance that can make it worthwhile upgrading to a paid plan:

Feature Free Professional Performance
Custom domain
Remove Square ads
Search field
Basic site statistics
Advanced site statistics
Accept PayPal
Product reviews
Shipping labels
Abandoned cart emails
Free Professional Performance
Custom domain
Remove Square ads
Search field
Basic site statistics
Advanced site statistics
Accept PayPal
Product reviews
Shipping labels
Abandoned cart emails

The only difference between Performance and Premium plans is the 0.15% drop in the transaction fee for European cards: instead of paying 1.9%, Premium users pay just 1.75% per successful payment via the online store. Needless to say, the extra monthly cost of Premium is only valuable if your card turnover justifies it.

Image: Square

Square Online Store website examples

Square online store examples.

Website templates

The first time you start a Square Store design, it asks you to choose a website template. Pick carefully, because once you’ve proceeded with one, you can’t really go back and switch to another one. This is not necessarily a problem, as Square Store allows you to change every section of the web page from the editor mode.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Square Store design templates

Square Online design templates during the initial setup process.

The editor is very intuitive, with a simple side menu for navigation between parts of the page. In the top lefthand corner, there’s a dropdown for switching between pages.

A lot of things can be customised, such as button style, banner design, text layout and colour schemes. This is all good for someone with limited confidence in creating a website, but more advanced web designers and seasoned ecommerce businesses would probably find the options a bit limited.

Need a complex POS system with online store? Consider Vend with Shopify

Online ordering

In this COVID age, perhaps the most valuable feature for food and drink businesses is the online ordering page. On both the free and paid Square Online plans, you can create a web page that customers can order food from, either for delivery or pickup.

You can even print a QR code for the ordering page to display on your premises for customers to scan with their phones (self-serve ordering). This will then open up your menu on their phone, allowing the customer to order and pay in their phone browser, after which the order is sent to your kitchen or POS system for you to handle. This is great for contact-free transactions in a restaurant, café or bar, and allows staff to serve more people in less time.

Square Online ordering page

The Square online ordering page are for online orders or touch-free, in-house orders via QR code.

If you enable pickups, customers can order your products online, then come and collect them within specific time frames or any time. This is a quite valuable for takeaways and small retailers that need to limit face-to-face services.

Orders for delivery can also be switched on, allowing you to receive online orders that you deliver with your our couriers. Settings allow you to specify limitations such as how many miles away you deliver to, how long it takes to deliver, how many orders can be processed at a time etc. You can even add order status text alerts for your customers.

These food ordering systems can be linked with the menu in Square for Restaurants or Square Point of Sale app. Alternatively, an integration with Deliverect can connect your profile on Uber Eats or Deliveroo to your website.

Payment links to send or embed on website

Instead of building a full website hosted by Square/Weebly, you can make do with a feature called Square Online Checkout. This is great if you have an existing website that just lacks the product section with pay buttons, checkout and payment system.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Square Online Checkout options.

There are two ways to use Online Checkout:

  • Embed products into a website: Copy and paste the code for an item into your website where customers will browse products. The customer clicks the pay button to proceed to an online checkout for the payment.

  • Payment links: Copy and paste the URL of each product into an email, chat message, social media profile or text message and send it to a customer. The recipient clicks the link and pays online.

Each link relates to a specific product or service you’ve added to an overview accessible through the Square Dashboard.

It is also possible to receive donations this way, allowing the payer to determine the transaction total. Payments through Online Checkout cost 2.5% per transaction, with no other fees applicable.

Domain and hosting through Square Online

With any website, there’s a cost associated with hosting the domain (i.e. securely storing the website on a server) and domain ownership (your URL). Typically, hosting costs a monthly fee and domains are paid for annually.

With Square, you can get away with free hosting and a free domain if happy with a URL in a https://business-name.square.site format. All the plans include free SSL security, the padlock on the left of a URL in your browser.

To grow online, however, it is best to have a domain that only contains your own brand and excludes the “square.site” part in the URL.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Square Store domain options

Square hosts the website for free if you’re happy with a URL containing “square”.

Shoppers can be skeptical about online stores that look like they might not be successful, a giveaway being a web address with “square.site” at the end (tech-savvy consumers know this means a free domain).

You can connect an existing URL you own or purchase a new one through the Square Store when setting up the website. This is all very user-friendly so you don’t need to be an expert to make this work.

Finally, the Free plan displays Square branding in the footer of your site that can’t be removed until you upgrade to a paid plan.

Image: Mobile Transaction

The Square logo and “Create a free online store” text is visible in the footer on the Free plan.

Integrations

If you don’t want to be bound by Square’s ecommerce features, fret not: Square Payments integrates with other ecommerce platforms like GoDaddy, Wix and WooCommerce. This may require a technical setup via APIs, so sticking to Square Store is still the easiest option.

Apart from ecommerce platforms, there’s a wide range of partner tools available through the Square account (although you may need to upgrade to a paid plan to allow these integrations). For instance, connect to booking and scheduling systems, point of sale systems (e.g. Vend, TouchBistro and of course Square POS) and accounting tools like Xero and Zoho Books. Whatever business tool you need will probably be covered.

Image: Square

Square Online Store product analytics

Example of product in Square online shop, with analytics dashboard in background.

Customer service

Square generally gets a lot of good customer reviews for its UK service, but there are also some reports on account holds for transactions considered suspect (this is a security measure common among payment providers). Overall, the service is rated noticeably higher than several competitors like Squarespace and Shopify.

If you need to speak to Square, the phone support is available between 9am and 5pm on weekdays only. Since the system is so user-friendly, it should be unlikely you need to contact Square about using the online store. You can email them any time, but expect to only get a reply during work hours.

Alternatively, there is a comprehensive online help section that answers a good amount of queries.

Our verdict

Overall, Square Online is a great choice for merchants new to selling online and just generally don’t feel confident about setting up a web store themselves. If you already sell through Square, it’s easy to import in-store products to the online shopfront, so that can save tons of time. The free online ordering page is a special advantage for food and drink businesses.

There are lots of features already on the free plan such as Instagram integration, pick-up and delivery systems, but we recommend upgrading to at least the Professional plan to use a more respectable domain and get site statistics for improving performance online.

If you’re not quite there yet, the free online store is an excellent, super-simple way to create a stylish website for selling online in no time. If at some point your business needs something more complicated, you can always add integrations or connect Square Payments to another ecommerce platform.

Name of Reviewed Item: Square Online Rating Value: 4 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/square-online-store-website-examples.jpg Review Author:Review Date: