Today I was at the farmer's market in Manakin, VA. If you've heard about the weather we've been having here on the east coast of the US, you will know temperatures have reached over 100degF for the past few days. The heat indices have ranged from 105degF up to an amazing 116degF yesterday afternoon. It's unbelievable.
And I was a vendor at the market today. Yikes. Thankfully there is shade in our market site, and a fairly decent breeze (which started to feel like a blast furnace around 11a.m.).
But that's not why I'm writing.
I set up at the market, and immediately made two sales to the market managers of some glass chicken and egg earrings. It was so hot that I was pretty sure those would be my only sales today. During the long lull in business, I decided to play around with my iPad and see if I couldn't get a better handle on my credit card acceptance application, Square.
Some quick backstory: I had a credit-card processing account through my bank, complete with the old imprinter and carbonless charge slips, and the need to telephone each card transaction in at the time of the sale, meticulously typing in looong strings of numbers. I hated it, but it was inexpensive and it worked for the limited amount of credit card transactions I did. Recently, my husband and I purchased iPads. Another artisan friend uses and likes Square on her phone, so I got the 3G version of the iPad so that I could use Square when I was at markets or art shows.
I had received my (free!) Square device (it plugs into the headphone jack on your phone/iPad), signed up for an account and linked it to my business bank account. At my first market, back on July 9, I got to use it for the first time. Of course, I hadn't really read the instructions, figuring like most technology, it would be fairly self-explanatory. It wasn't totally, but it was fairly easy once I figured it out. The sale was completed, and the money, less Square's processing fee, was deposited into my account within a day. So far, so good.
So at the market today, I was prepared to use the Square again, this time being pretty clear on how to use it. I decided to fiddle around on the website to see what else I might need to know to make transactions better. Good thing I took the time to read the FAQ!
I found out that I could use the device and application as a cash register, inputting cash AND credit card transactions. It would even tell me how much change to give back (yay for those of us who don't do math on the fly very well)!
You can make an inventory list, complete with photos, so when a customer makes a purchase of an item, you can attach that inventory entry (with thumbnail photo) to their transaction and email their receipt with a picture of what they bought!
Customers sign their transaction slips by using their finger on the touchscreen and can opt to have a receipt sent via SMS or email. In your account, you can see a list of all the transaction you have processed. So cool!
I haven't even really begun to fully explore all the things I think this application can do. Granted, I've only been using it for about a month, but consider me a happy client of Square. If you are looking for a credit-card processing method, I recommend trying Square.
(These opinions are mine alone, by the way. No affiliation with Square whatsoever, beyond being a happy client of their application.)