Square Online is an ecommerce platform and website builder that provides an all-in-one online store and payment processing solution. It offers the best free ecommerce platform for small businesses and is ideal for brick-and-mortar retailers that need basic online store functionality.
When to Use Square Online
Square Online is our top pick for best free ecommerce platform, scoring a 4.38 out of 5 based on our evaluation. We have personally found that Square Online is one of the easiest solutions to use, allowing you to create an online store for free in just a few minutes. It gives you the option to create a full-blown website, incorporate checkout pages to an existing website and social media channels, and send direct checkout links to customers—all the while maintaining online and offline sales in sync with its free POS system.
Based on our reviews, we recommend Square Online for:
- Small local businesses needing a free solution: With templates and features built specifically for retail, restaurant, service, event, non-profit, and general-purpose, Square Online is a good option for many business types. Though it is not as robust as paid solutions (such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and Toast), it’s the best free option for small shops like cafes, food trucks, and storefronts. Because of its limited features, Square Online is best for businesses that need a simple online solution that supplements their in-person sales, rather than an online-only business.
- Storefronts offering local delivery: One area where Square stands out is its detailed features and settings for fulfilling orders through local delivery. Set delivery hours, prep times required for individual items, delivery radius and boundaries, minimum order requirements, and more. Customers can place delivery orders online according to your parameters and the information is automatically sent to your Square POS, Kitchen Display System, or Dashboard.
- Sole proprietors such as massage therapists, fitness instructors, makeup artists, hairstylists, and more: Square Online’s checkout function lets you easily accept prepayment for your services or automatically charge for monthly services.
While Square is known for its all-purpose POS system, it also provides several other solutions, such as Square for Retail, Square for Restaurants, and Square Appointments. These are some of our top-recommended industry-specific POS systems. They each have a forever-free plan along with optional upgrades. In this article, we specifically discuss Square Online reviews, its online ecommerce offering for storefronts. For more on Square POS, read our Square POS review.
When to Use an Alternative
- If ecommerce is your business’ backbone and your profit driver is online sales: If that is the case, choose Shopify or BigCommerce because their website builders, sales tools, and inventory management features are more powerful. Square Online has limited inventory management tools and overall basic functionality that a scaling ecommerce business could quickly outgrow.
- Food and beverage retailers: Convenience stores, grocery stores, markets, and liquor stores would be better served with an industry-specific system that can handle more complex inventories such as Revel Systems.
- Businesses that manage complex inventories: Businesses with thousands of SKUs and assembled products, as well as those needing to manage work orders, would be better served by Lightspeed, our top-rated POS for inventory management.
- You need a more customized website: Square Online has limited customization options and if you need a personalized website, then consider choosing from our top picks for website builders. Artists and creatives can be more suited to Squarespace for its top-rated templates.
- Restaurants that need a comprehensive online ordering system: Restaurants needing controlled order flow or on-demand third-party delivery riders will be better served by Tock to Go or one of our other recommended restaurant online ordering software.
Looking for something different? Read our guide to the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses to find a service or software that’s right for your business.
Square Online Overview
|Offers a free plan||The free option is filled with Square ads and branding|
|All-in-one ecommerce and payment processing solution||Multiple languages not supported|
|Easy to set up and use||Limited customization options|
|Includes POS software for in-person sales||Lacks advanced inventory management features|
|Sell on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest||Shipping tools are only available on higher subscription plans|
Square Online Pricing
Square Online has four pricing plans. All tiers include unlimited products (digital goods, physical products, services, and events), hosting bandwidth, and storage. They also come with integrations with Instagram and Square POS, a free SSL certificate, a one-click checkout option, and the ability to accept payments made via Square, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
Square Online Pricing Plans
Processing Fees (per transaction)
2.9% + 30¢
2.9% + 30¢
2.9% + 30¢
2.6% + 30¢
Apple Pay, Google Pay, and integrated payments
One-click checkout options
Marketing tools (product reviews, abandoned cart emails)
All-in-one shipping tools
*Lump sum billing.
Square Online’s free plan already includes all the basic features you need to build your ecommerce website. It is our top pick for best free ecommerce website builder. However, if you want to use your own custom domain and remove Square branding from your website, then upgrading to a Professional plan or higher is needed.
Signing up for Performance gives you more marketing features such as product reviews and abandoned cart recovery and entitles you to priority customer support and discounted postage labels. Premium adds a shipping calculator to your dashboard, on top of every feature included in other plans.
Square Online Features
Square Online’s strongest advantage is its ability to offer an all-one-platform to its users—a user-friendly POS software, an online store with inventory management and ecommerce functionalities, and integrated payment processing with industry-leading omnichannel and contactless payment tools. You can read more about its standout features below.
Square Online is one of our top website builders as it lets you manage your online store, accept payments, and create a website with multiple pages—contact forms, email sign-ups, and more—complete with your logo and branding colors.
The Square dashboard offers video tutorials and step-by-step instructions on building your single-page or multi-page online store. You can choose the features you need such as pickup orders, collecting emails, shipping products, or displaying a contact form. However, you cannot fully edit the layout or add integrations as you can with Shopify. If you are on a free plan, Square branding is also displayed on your website footer.
You can create and publish your online store with the help of Square’s site builder and immediately start selling on the internet. You can also ship orders to customers, offer local delivery, or provide curbside pickup, all while ensuring that both in-store and online sides of your operations are in sync.
Payment Processing Options
The only drawback with Square Online is that you can only use Square as your payment processor. However, PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay payments are fully supported by Square. Square POS is still one the best multichannel POS systems we have reviewed, so its exclusive integration is still enough for small businesses to process payments.
The integration with Square POS automatically keeps online and in-person purchases and inventory in sync. Square Online’s inventory features are very rudimentary. You can update your stock to reflect the following changes: stock received, inventory recount, restock return, and loss of stock due to damage or theft.
There are no barcode, supplier, or purchasing features, even if you can set up unlimited products with variants. If you need advanced tools such as kitting or bundling items, vendor and purchase management, COGS tracking, or cross-location inventory tracking, we recommend you go with Square for Retail ($60 per month). Read our full Square POS review to learn more about Square’s advanced retail features.
We still consider Square to be the best fit for retailers looking to manage inventory for free and sell in-store, online, via invoice, or through mobile.
Click and Collect and Delivery options
You can set up click and collect options (like curbside pickup), specific pickup hours and order windows, order prep times, customer notifications for when their order is ready, and whether or not shoppers can schedule pickup times. You can also send order-status text alerts to customers with details such as order confirmation, pickup location/time, and shipping carrier.
Interested to learn more about setting this up for your store? Learn how to set up click and collect and curbside pickup.
Square Online’s shipping tools are not as comprehensive as other platforms since it requires you to set up your own shipping rates (which can be flat-rate or based on weight)—unless you upgrade to the Premium edition ($72 per month), which lets you charge the actual prices from mail carriers. US-based merchants can avail of discounts with USPS and DHL.
You can manage the order status for your products in bulk or individually. You can print a shipping label, mark items as “canceled” or “shipped,” and even process refunds. All of these needs to be done manually.
If you would like to process orders automatically, an integration with a shipping platform such as ShipStation can be a solution—it can automatically manage and track online orders for you. If your business gets high-volume orders, you may be better off considering other ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce.
Square Online Checkout
Use checkout links to enable your customers to purchase anything you want to sell online without having to create an ecommerce website. You can send clients a checkout link through email, a QR code, a checkout button on your website page, by posting on social media or your blog, or your Square Marketing campaign. Using the service is free, and you will only need to pay the standard processing fee of 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.
You can connect your item library to your Instagram account to make your posts shoppable and eventually turn your followers into buyers. To start, you will need an Instagram Business account. Square Online also offers integrations with Facebook and Pinterest but doesn’t have native integrations to marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.
Marketing Tools and SEO
Your website is mobile-responsive—which is essential for Google ranking—and SEO headers and descriptions can easily be set up per product. Square Online’s SEO tools are basic but are enough to help your pages get indexed on Google.
You can edit a site page or item’s permalink, title, and page description easily in your page details.
You can generate coupons, accept gift cards online and in-person, and send order-status text alerts to customers. Contact forms can also be used to collect email addresses and survey responses. The only drawback is that common marketing features like abandoned cart emails and product reviews are only available on higher plans.
Square Online Ease of Use
- Intuitive user interface
- Easy set up and guided prompts
- Seller community forum
- Comprehensive help guides
- Developer platform
- Customer support: Email, live chat, and phone support are available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time, and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. Email responses take 24 to 48 hours, as per their website.
Square Online’s dashboard is easy to navigate, intuitive, and straightforward. Once you sign up, you are given a setup guide, easily viewable from your dashboard. The guide outlines the steps you need to launch your store in the form of automated prompts—allowing you to build your store without any technical assistance. You can choose to watch video tutorials before setting up your store (all of which are accessible from the user dashboard) or go straight to building the website using the setup guide.
Building the Square Online website requires no technical knowledge as you are given choices to add or remove from an existing website template, with real-time changes reflecting so you can easily change your choices if needed. In our how-to-guide, we outline the steps on how to set up a Square online store.
Top Square Online Alternatives
Best for: Small businesses with ecommerce as its backbone
Best for: Growing online businesses that need a scalable platform
Best for: Small businesses that have an existing website
Monthly fee starts from: $29
Monthly fee starts from: $29.95
Monthly fee starts from: $15
Square’s top competitor is Shopify, especially when it comes to multichannel retail software. Read our Square vs Shopify comparison to see how they stack up.
What Users Think About Square Online
Users agree with our assessment of Square Online being one of the best ecommerce platforms. At the time of publication, Square Online reviews earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
When reading through user reviews, I noticed these trends:
Users Don’t Like
Easy to use platform
Low cost all-in-one platform (for website, ecommerce sales, and payment processing)
Few payment processing options
Can include a checkout link on social media pages
Customer support is not as helpful when it comes to editing templates
Square Online is an easy-to-use, low cost, all-in-one ecommerce and payment processing solution for businesses, and Square offers some of the best POS systems for small businesses. It is best for those that want to add online ordering to brick-and-mortar stores such as cafes, retail outlets, and professional service shops.
Even on its free plan, Square Online has very few limitations. It’s our top recommendation if you want to create a complete and professional online store without needing to enter a credit card.