Different topic than usual: Alternatives to Square!
Not to be confused with Squarespace.com (what our website and store runs on)... we're talking about Square from Squareup.com here.
What's the issue with Square? Namely integration. They kicked off the "anyone can accept a credit card" war out there with their ubiquitous dongle. Brilliant. Simple. And awesome. Kudos. But... competition has been heating up. And Square is circling the wagons in portability and integrate-ability.
What do we mean? It means that Square is taking a cue from Apple and has reduced its supportable footprint to specific hardware and specific platforms. Specifically... Apple products. It is dropping support for Android Tablets and reducing the scope of its support for Android devices (phones and whatnot). That's a problem if you live in the Google ecosystem.
Which we do. And it is odd that Square took this approach because, well, Android simply is the hands-down leader, especially with phones. Then again, the designer of the Square dongle came from Apple, so maybe not so surprising, but still...
So we live in the world of Google. We bought a tablet specifically to use as a lightweight "register" of sorts. Square is deprecating this and wants to force us into the world of iPads-only. Fine for turnkey, but not for on-the-road / festival / fair circuit (which is what put Square on the map)."Backoffice" Integration:
Also a major issue. Square only works with Quickbooks. Yes, the market leader BY FAR. But if Square simply opened their APIs, other players could plug right in. No problem. Square is artificially suppressing access to its APIs when it need not do so. We don't understand why... unless, of course, Intuit did a deal with them, which is probably the case. Quickbooks/Intuit is also famously a "lock you in" kind of vendor.So, as far as card readers go, our next alternative experiment will be with PayPal.
They offer more support across Android systems and for backoffice stuff, they integrate with everyone. We'll let you know how that goes.Turnkey solutions
(sit-on-table cash register): Square makes this bitchin' cash register system. Naturally, we understand that they trim down support costs to an iPad-based system. Fine... you have to reduce your support footprint. For "in your hands" we'd love it if they simple continued to support Android Tablets as if they were phones. Not hard. But for a desktop based system we've been looking around and Vend looks really interesting.
Again, if you buy the turn-key solution, an iPad is under the covers (whatever; it's turnkey), but their larger support ecosystem seems to be "anything". Why? Because their software is browser-based, it appears and thus works with most systems. And Vend more comprehensive would work with our eCommerce and accounting software.So, what are we going to do? We don't know yet.
We are going to experiment with PayPal's dongle in the short term, but we are looking for a longer term solution that crosses all the boundaries and interfaces with more vendors. We want to reward open APIs. Vend looks interesting, but... we'll see.
Thanks for listening. We are just sharing some of what is going on behind the scenes here at the bee company. In the end, we didn't have any of these choices 5 years ago. Square busted the market wide open and we thank them for that. But we implore these vendors: Please don't try to lock us in. We don't like cages! :)
Have a nice day! #SquareUp #Square #VendHQ #Vend #Xero #Squarespace #eCommerce #Android #GoogleEcosystem #OpenStandards #SMB