Square inventory management software is hosted within the larger Square POS system. Square POS is free to use, and can be accessed through and browser, or downloaded as an app on iOS or Android devices.
Learn how to inventory using Square in 10 easy steps:
Step 1: Create a Square Account
The first thing you need to do to use Square Inventory is create a free Square account. You may use our Square startup guide, and then follow along below to start organizing your inventory using Square.
However, if you already have a Square account, you can log in from the homepage. Simply click the “My Account” text at the top right of the page, or hover over it to get the submenu.
Step 2: Click on the “Items” Tab on Your Main Dashboard
Upon login, you’ll be taken to your main dashboard with a vertical list of text tabs on the left. Click on the “Items” tab.
Step 3: Hit the “Create an Item” Button
Once the page loads, hit the “Create an Item” button. If you want to create multiple inventory items for your POS system, you can import the items using an XLS or CSV file. We’ll cover that at the end of this article.
Step 4: Edit Image, Name & Category
To edit your inventory item image or color, you can hit the square “Edit” box and “Add Image.” You can also select a color for your product to help visually categorize it in your dashboard (i.e., all cleaning services are purple). Once you’re finished, click “Done.”
Once you’re finished with that, enter your item name into the “Name” field and then pick its category. For example, if you have a bakery, you might have different categories for “cakes,” “cupcakes,” and “cookies.”
If you already have a category created, simply click on the “Category” field and select it from the drop-down list. If not, you can click on the field and enter a new category name.
You’ll also input a product description and select which locations sell those products or services.
Step 5: Set Custom Options
You can also add custom options at this stage, which allows for product variations.
If you need to use these settings, click “Add options.” Here, you’ll create internal and customer-facing option set names, which helps you categorize and organize product variants.
Once you’ve updated your options settings, click “Next” to review your settings.
If your settings look good, click “Create # variations.” If not, hit the back arrow and make any necessary adjustments.
Step 6: Edit Variations
Beneath options, you’ll find “Variations.” Here, you set SKU numbers, pricing, and low stock alerts.
Enter the SKU, pricing structure (per unit, per hour, per pound, etc.), and the numerical price.
You can also get more granular with your variation information. Click “Edit variation details” on the upper right of the Variations section. From there, you can adjust any of the main settings, add pricing overrides, adjust low stock alerts and automated stock actions, and set custom attributes.
Step 7: Add Your Current Quantity on Hand
After specifying the variation name, SKU, and unit and price, you can proceed to adding the quantity of products on hand for this variant. Go to the “Manage stock” tab and click on the “Stock Action” field, which will give you different stock adjustment options from a drop-down list.
- Stock received: Allows you to indicate additional stocks received from suppliers
- Inventory recount: Used to adjust the number of products after physical count
- Damage/Theft/Loss: Used to specify the number of products lost for reasons other than sales
- Restock Return: Adds back the number of products returned by customers to your stock count
If you select “Stock Received” or “Restock Return,” the amount you specify will be added to the current stock amount. On the other hand, any amount specified after selecting “Damage,” “Theft,” or “Loss” will be deducted from the current stock amount of the particular variant.
Selecting “Inventory Recount” will show you the current stock amount, which you can then manually update by specifying the correct stock count. Choosing the appropriate stock action is important for reports that determine the efficiency of your inventory management strategy.
Step 8: Enable Square Inventory Tracking and Low Stock Alerts
If you want to track ongoing inventory numbers for specific products, turning on the “Tracking” toggle allows you to do so. You’ll be able to set the initial number of inventory items to start, which will then decrease as sales are made (of course, you can always add inventory when you receive them from your suppliers). You can choose to receive alerts once inventory hits a specific level.
You’ll need to turn the “Tracking” toggle under “Locations and stock” on to enable low stock alerts. Once that’s on, you can toggle on the “Low stock alerts” and set your threshold.
Step 9: Review & Save Your Square Inventory Items
Once you have filled everything out, do a final review to make sure everything is set as you’d like it to be. If your inventory item is good to go, then just hit the “Save” button at the top right corner of your screen, and your item is complete.
After creating your inventory items, you can easily select them on your POS from the item library to add them to a sale or to add them quickly to your invoices.
To access your newly created items, download the Square app on your mobile device and log in. You’ll see a hamburger menu (an icon with three horizontal lines) in the upper left corner. Tap on that icon and then select “Items.”
Here, you can view all items, categories, modifiers, discounts, options, and units.
You can also add Square inventory items from the app (tap “Create Item” to start the process), but it’s easier on a desktop or laptop.
Step 10: Enable All Sales Channels
When you’re ready to start selling your products, you’ll need to make them available for sale. This might be in person or online—or both.
The quickest way to do that is to navigate to the menu on the left and click “Online Checkout.”
Next, you can follow the steps to select the item and create a link to share where customers can make a purchase. This is also one way you can accept credit card payments with Square.
If you’re ready to grow your multichannel business, you may consider upgrading to one of Square’s other products so that you can create an online store or expand your in-person sales.
- Square for Retail Plus: For $60 per month, you get all the features of Square POS as well as advanced barcode, receiving, vendor management, purchase orders, and inventory reporting features.
- Square Online: You can build a free online store with the compatible Weebly site builder, and Square will also process online payments (for a fee).
Tip: Import Inventory Items From a CSV file
If you have multiple inventory items that you want to add or update, it’s quicker and easier to import the items using an XLS or CSV file. To do so, go back to the items tab on the left-hand menu. Look for the “Actions ^” button on the upper right of your “Items” dashboard. Hover over that and then select “Import Library.”
After clicking “Import,” you are given two options:
Choose “Modify Item Library” if you want to add new items to your inventory or update details for existing items (e.g., an item’s price or image). This won’t delete any items from your item library.
Choose “Replace Item Library” if you want to get rid of your existing items and put the new items in their place. Note that this will delete your old entries.
Select the option relevant to you and click “Next.”
Now it’s time to upload your XLS or CSV file. You can drag and drop or click to select and then click “Upload.”
Square will take you through steps to review, edit, and approve the information. If everything looks good, click “Confirm” in the upper right. If not, fix it, and then click “Confirm.”
Reporting With Square Inventory Management
There are a few inventory reports that come with every Square account. To access your reports, you’ll need to go to the left-hand navigation bar and click “Reporting.”
Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
The COGS report tells you how much it costs you to make an item, which helps inform your pricing strategy. It costs money to manufacture and sell each product. So when you calculate COGS, you include direct expenses for any materials used in production and labor, excluding indirect costs like fulfillment or marketing.
Available with Square for Retail, the Vendor Sales report tells you which vendors supplied products sold during a specified period. This report helps you see which vendors have products that are most and least popular with your customers. You may want to reassess vendors with consistently low-performing products while exploring the product catalogs from vendors with high-performing items.
Also available for Square for Retail subscribers, the Projected Profit report uses data from the past 70 days to estimate the potential profitability for your store in the future. You can break down projections based on store location, product, and inventory category, among other parameters.
Whether you’re using the main dashboard in Square to import an extensive list of products, or you’re simply editing a variable or two, it’s an easy process. As customers complete orders with you, your store’s stock immediately adjusts, ensuring you know what you have on hand anytime and anywhere. Visit Square to create a free account and keep your inventory organized.
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- Is Square the best software for you? Read our full Square POS review or guide to the best POS systems to find out.