Square is an all-in-one credit card payment processor that provides its users with a full suite of sales and business management tools in every free Square account. This includes one true gem for small business owners: A free Square online store!
Best of all, a Square online store is remarkably simple to set up. This guide will show you how to get yours up and running in eight simple steps. But before we dive into those details, make sure that you sign up for a free Square account so that you can follow along:
All set? Let’s get started:
Launch Your Free Square Online Store in 8 Simple Steps
Step 1: Set Up Your Free Square Payments Account
The first step in setting up your online store is to sign up for a free Square account. This step takes about five minutes. The only information Square needs that you might need to look up is your bank’s routing number and your account number. But you can open a Square account without this information, then provide it later when you’re ready to start selling. Square uses this to deposit your payments when you start making sales. Create your account, then continue to step 2:
Step 2: Set Up Your Store’s Web Address
Once your account is set up you can log into your Square dashboard. From there, click on Online Store.
Once in the online store screen, go to Settings:
Once in the Settings Screen, under Store URL, you can change the name of your store, which is how it will list under Square’s site. Square automatically gives our store, Horse Junkie Store, this web address (also called a domain): https://squareup.com/store/Horsejunkiestore
But the automatic Square URL is a lot for a customer to remember and type in. For easier marketing, we recommend buying your own store domain. You can easily do this by clicking on Purchase New Domain right from this screen. When you do, Square automatically connects you to Google Domains, where you can purchase your domain for around $12/yr.:
In this box, you can search available domains that match your store name. We recommend choosing a .com for businesses, but other extensions like .net and .info are available too:
After your store URL is set up, we’ll stay in the settings screen to finish up a few key details.
Step 3: Set Up Your Delivery Options and Shipping Charges
If you are going to ship or deliver orders, then you likely need to charge fees for shipping or delivery. You’ll set up these charges in Settings screen under Shipping Settings:
If the price of the items you sell online includes a markup to cover shipping or delivery, you can just select Free Shipping. Hint! Customers tend to like free shipping.
But if you want to add a shipping/delivery charge, you have two choices: Flat-Rate and Per-Item. A Flat-Rate shipping charge adds the charge to every order, no matter the total value. The Per-Item shipping charge adds an additional shipping fee when that item is ordered. You enter that amount when you set up your products, which we cover later in Step 6.
For now, let’s set up shipping charges to be added to every order. For this, select Flat Charge and enter the amount (in our case $5.95) that you want to add to every order, like this:
Under this, you also can state your Ship Within days, which covers time you need to prepare and pack orders. This way, customers will know it takes your stated number of days (in our case 3) before their order leaves your location:
If you offer In-Store Pickup, you can set up those details in the same screen, below your Shipping Settings:
Above, you also can elect to automatically accept orders, or not, as they’re placed. This gives you the option to review an order before it’s approved to process and ship. This might be needed if you make custom goods or have stock issues. Otherwise, automatic approval is the easiest choice.
Next, we’ll finish up our setting screen tasks with two final bits of store information.
Step 4: Set Up Your Return Policy & Business Hours
In the Settings Screen, you can elect to display a Return Policy with a brief description of your terms. This appears on product pages, the checkout screen, and on printed order receipts:
Last, in your Settings Screen, you need to enter your Business Hours. This can be your customer service hours if you are just selling online:
So your main store settings are complete. Now it’s time to move on to the fun stuff in our next two steps: Designing your site and entering products.
Step 5: Set Up Your Store Design, Logo, Header & Footer Images
Square makes it very easy to set up your design. First, you’ll need to click on Edit Store from your online store dashboard:
Next, you need to select a theme, or design, for your store by clicking Change Theme:
The next screen gives you four store themes to choose from. We used Atlas for this guide:
You can try different themes as you design your site and change to a new theme anytime after your site is launched. The only real difference between the themes setup-wise is the size of the header and featured images. Here are Square’s recommended image sizes for each of their four themes:
If you already have good images to use in your Square online store, you can resize them online for free using Canva. If you don’t have images to use, check out the completely free stock photography on Pexels. If you want to take pictures of your own, we have a guide that shows you how to capture great product photography with your cell phone camera here.
And, if you need help taking product shots, resizing photos for website use, or even need a logo designed for your store, try the talented and budget-friendly freelancers on Fiverr.
Once you choose your theme and have images sized to fit your theme, you can upload your logo and feature image in the Store Editor screen. Square walks you through every step with onscreen instructions:
First, upload your logo, following the image sizes listed above. In the Atlas theme, you also have the option to type in your store name in place of a logo. Click on the T to do that:
Then upload your feature image which becomes the store’s main header:
Next, scroll to the bottom of your screen. Here, you can upload two footer images to appear by your footer information, which is automatically inserted from your store settings. Convenient!
And that’s all there is to it!
Now it’s time to get into the meat of our Square online store: Add some items to sell.
Step 6: Add Items for Sale on Your Square Online Store
Like everything else, Square makes item entry a breeze. Plus, with Square, you enter and track all of your items in one central item library. From there, you can choose to sell some or all of your items in your Square online store.
You can add items to your Square store two ways:
- From your existing Square item library
- Add new items right in your store editor screen
Best of all, however you enter your items for sale, they all end up in your main Square product listing library. How’s that for convenience?
Note: In this guide, we’re not going into the details of how to add different types of items to Square. They have a great step-by-step video tutorial that covers everything you need to know here.
1. Add Products from Your Square Item Library
To add items to your online store that already exist in your Square library, go into your Store Editor. Below your header image, you’ll see that Square automatically creates your first section in your store. Here, you can choose whether you want to list Events, Goods or Services, or Donations in this section:
We’re going to list goods. So after we click on Goods above, this appears:
When we click on Add or Import Items, this screen appears:
Here, we can choose to Create New Item or Import from Library. Create New Item lets us add an entirely new item to our Square library and to our online store all at once. Import from Library lets us add an item to the online store that already exists in the Square item library, but isn’t in the online store yet.
First, we’ll see how to Import an Item. Click on Import from Library to see this screen:
Here you can toggle items on and off to add to your online store. It’s that easy! Just toggle an item on and it’s added to your online store.
2. Add New Items Directly To Your Square Online Store
To Create New Items directly in your Square store, simply select the Create New Item option from the Add Items screen. You’ll see this:
Here you can create an entirely new item in your Square item library and add it to your online store all at once.
Learn how to enter all types of salable items, plus manage specifics like per-item shipping costs, colors/sizes, and more, in Square’s video tutorials here.
Once you’ve entered a selection of products into your Square online store, you can add, sort, and rearrange your online store sections however you like.
Managing Your Square Online Store Sections
As we mentioned earlier, Square is a very simple, one-page online store. So all of your items list on one page, but you can sort them into as many sections as you please. Plus you can arrange sections, which appear as rows on the page, any way you wish.
To add a new section, simply click Add Section at the top of your Store Editor:
You’ll see a new section appear on your page like this:
You can populate sections with items for sale as we discussed above. You can add up to 100 items to each section on your Square online store, plus have as many sections as you wish.
Once sections are created, you can move sections higher and lower in your online store. To do this, hover your mouse arrow over any section and click on the up/down arrows:
You’ll see this pop-up window. Here you can click-and-drag the rows to rearrange your sections any way you like:
Now you have your store settings, store design, and products for sale all in place. There’s just one little tidbit left to complete before you launch your new Square online store.
Step 7: Connect Your Social Media Accounts
If you use some or all of the major social media sites to market your business or organization, you can connect your accounts so they display in the footer section of your Square online store.
And don’t forget! Social media is a great, low-budget way to market your new online store. See how to create a variety of free marketing campaigns on Facebook here, and budget-friendly ways to advertise on Facebook here. Plus, find helpful tips and advice from social media marketing pros here.
To connect your social media accounts, in your Store Editor screen, scroll to the footer section of your store and click on Add Social Links:
And that’s all it takes to build your Square online store. Now you’re ready to take it live.
Step 8: Launch Your Store
When all of your setup is complete, and you have a few items loaded into your store for sale, you’re ready to Go for Launch! Scroll to the top of your Store Editor and click Launch:
Your store will be live and ready to accept orders within seconds! You’ll see this in your admin screen once complete:
And that’s it! Your Square online store is live and open for business.
Next, you’ll want to put the word out. We have a great article that shows you how to garner free attention for your store on Facebook here. Or, you can learn how to get a successful email campaign off the ground here.
How is the Square Online Store Free?
Unlike the vast majority of ecommerce platforms, there are no monthly, annual, listing, or user-related fees with the Square online store. It’s a free feature of any Square payment processing account. That means all you’ll ever pay to operate your Square online store are Square’s credit card processing fees, shown below, when you make a sale. That’s it.
What the Free Square Online Store Does
Square’s online store is a simple, one-page ecommerce website that lets you:
- Sell products online
- Book and accept payments for services online
- Sell event tickets online
- Accept donations online
You can sell any or all of the above within one store, and organize them in category rows on your page however you like. Also, there’s no limit to the number of items you can list in your store.
You have a choice of four designs, called, themes, too. Here’s a peek at some looks you can create:
Square’s free online store also lets you offer various delivery methods for your products, including:
- Standard shipping, using per-order and/or per-item shipping charges
- Online delivery for event tickets
- In-store pickup for local sales
Another great plus for small businesses is that anything sold through Square’s online store is tracked right along with all of your other Square-managed sales. That means if you use Square’s mobile swipe reader, receive invoice payments through Square, or sell in-store with Square point-of-sale, it’s all tied neatly together with your online sales, too. This is a real bookkeeping timesaver for busy store owners.
What the Free Square Online Store Doesn’t Do
Being a simple one-page store, Square doesn’t offer many website bells-and-whistles, including:
- No way to create a blog, about us, or other informational pages
- No way to add separate product category or subcategory pages. This means customers have to scroll down the page if you list lots of items
- Shipping rates are limited to free, flat-rate, or per-item charges
- No way to customize your store beyond the four design templates provided
- No SEO (search engine optimization) tools to help you rank better in search engines
- Online sales are limited to U.S. addresses. However, Square can process international payments that you enter into the dashboard manually, say for phone orders. Learn more here.
The free Square online store doesn’t provide a free web domain, or URL, either. You launch your store under Square’s free address, which will look like this:
However, you can purchase your own store domain, starting at about $12/yr., during your Square online store setup. That gives you a website address like this: www.yourstorename.com, which is much easier for customers to remember. Or if you already have your own domain, you can point it to your Square online store. Learn how here.
If it looks like Square’s online store doesn’t offer the features you need, read our article on how to set up a versatile yet inexpensive WordPress online store here.
So, Who is the Free Square Online Store Right For?
There are plenty of businesses and organizations that, for a variety of reasons, just need a simple, low-cost web store to list and sell products, services, tickets, or even accept donations online. Nothing more. If this is you, the free Square online store is the perfect solution.
Remember, Square’s free online store may not match the major ecommerce platforms in every feature, but what it does, it does exceptionally well. Plus, it’s the only online store option that gives you such a powerful set of online and offline business management tools for free.
The Bottom Line
The free Square online store is a terrific solution for online sellers who don’t need every bell-and-whistle that more costly ecommerce platforms provide. Setup is swift, product entry is as simple as it gets, and the finished look is crisp and tidy. Simply put, Square’s online store delivers a lovely selling tool that anyone can learn, build, and launch within a day.
Add to that Square’s industry-leading secure payments solutions and unmatched suite of free business management tools, and the Square online store is an ideal solution for many small businesses and organizations. New online sellers, Square POS retailers looking to sell online, service providers, and nonprofits, all should seriously consider all that Square has to offer.