Square adds employee management features to POS app in Australia

Square has added new features to its point of sale application in Australia to help businesses manage employees and oversee multiple branches from within one account.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Micro, small, and medium-sized businesses that use Square's point of sale (POS) application in Australia will now have access to new features including employee sales tracking, location management, and customised permissioning.

Using Square's free POS app, merchants can accept Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit or debit card payments, as well as payments from digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. Merchants are charged 1.9 percent per transaction before the funds are deposited into their bank account of choice.

In September, the payments tech company launched its Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) contactless payments reader, a wireless update on its previous credit and debit card reader that plugged directly into the headphone jack of Android and iOS devices, before Apple unveiled its jackless iPhone 7 and 7+ range.

The app's new employee and location management features cost AU$3 a month and allow merchants to generate revenue-per-labour-hour reports so they can identify their most efficient employees; import item libraries from existing locations so they can start selling in their new store immediately; and customise permission levels so they can give different employees access to different POS app features depending on their employment status and seniority.

In addition, employee passcodes and timecards allow merchants to remotely keep track of who processed each transaction and the number of hours employees have worked. Sales reports can also now be filtered by employee, device, and location.

The new features are part of Square's strategy to become a more robust platform for micro and small businesses.

"While payments remains our core business focus, small business owners need more tools and features as their business grows to help them manage their operations more effectively," Square's Australian country manager Ben Pfisterer told ZDNet.

The company sources ideas for new features directly from its customers.

"Square has always worked closely with businesses to gain direct insights into what features or products would make the most positive impact to their operations," Pfisterer said.

He said the company wants to be a champion for micro and small businesses that are "significantly underserved".

"A recent survey of our customer base found that over 80 percent weren't using existing terminals because they found that the device didn't meet their needs, it wasn't mobile enough, and it didn't fit their aesthetic environment," Pfisterer told ZDNet. "Also, the contract was too restrictive, they didn't want to be locked in for three years or have monthly fees."

Pfisterer said the feedback Square has received from Australian customers has been "humbling".

"The design feedback has been incredible from small businesses trying to build a brand and show that they're offering their customers new things," he said. "To bring out a device which is light, beautiful, and brand new, they get a sense of pride and inclusion ... businesses think we're actually looking out for them and giving them a fair go."

While Pfisterer was not able to reveal the exact number of customers the company has in Australia, he said it was in the thousands.

Square, which was co-founded by Twitter's Jack Dorsey, was already operating in the US for seven years and had launched in the UK and Japan before it opened up its Australian operations in Melbourne this year.

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