Shopventory VS Square For Retail: Which Is Right For Me?
Let’s get right into things. Today we’re looking at Shopventory vs. Square for Retail. Why? Because if you need more inventory support than the basic Square Point of Sale app offers, they are your two best bets.
But which option is best for your business? In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into comparing Shoventory and Square so that you can know the key differences and advantages of each. We’ll cover features, pricing, usability, and customer support, so you can confidently decide which is right for your business.
|Shopventory||Square for Retail|
|Ease Of Use:||Good||Good|
|Reviews & Complaints:||Good||Good|
|Best For:||Businesses that need inventory tracking add-on for Square, Shopify, Clover, or PayPal Here POS; especially lower-volume (<$10K/month) businesses and multi-register businesses||Businesses that need POS with inventory tracking and employee management; especially, higher-volume (>$20K/month) and single-register businesses|
Table of Contents
Shopventory VS Square For Retail
When comparing Shopventory vs. Square for Retail, you’ll see a lot of similarities, but also some crucial differences. While Shopventory is a monthly service that integrates with your Square account, Square for Retail is a full-fledged POS with inventory features included.
For more information, I encourage you to check out our full Shopventory and Square for Retail reviews. Otherwise, read on for our Shopventory vs. Square for Retail comparison and see how they stack up in the great battle for inventory management!
Shopventory is a paid inventory add-on for Square POS, though you can also use it with Clover, Shopify, PayPal Here, or WooCommerce. Its feature list includes such things as bundling, COGS reporting, vendor and purchase order management, and spreadsheet bulk uploads. However, not all features are included in the base “Starter” package, which is $39/month billed annually or $49/month billed monthly. To benefit from Shopventory’s advanced inventory features, you’ll need the Standard package, which will set you back $79/month billed annually or $99/month billed monthly.
Because Shopventory charges per location rather than per register, it can be a good choice for retailers who want to use multiple registers at the same location. Since you’re using it with the regular Square POS, you can also use any type of device you want, including smartphones, Android tablets, laptops, etc.
Shopventory users who integrate with Square POS will receive Square’s standard 2.6% + $0.10 processing rate. If you have a lower-volume business that processes less than $10K to $20K/month, you won’t see significant cost savings compared to the lower 2.5% + $0.10 rate available with Square for Retail.
- Good integrations
- Includes an inventory bundling feature
- Competitive pricing
- No limit to the number of registers/devices per location
- Works on Android and iOS
- Strong features
- Requires an annual commitment
- No employee management
- No discount on Square processing
Square For Retail
Square for Retail is a fully-featured POS geared toward retailers and is a separate offering from the free version of Square POS. It runs exclusively on the iPad and, unlike regular Square, charges a monthly fee of $60/month/location and then $20/month for additional registers at each location. However, it does qualify you for a reduced processing rate of 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction, which, for higher-volume businesses, could completely pay for the cost of the Square for Retail subscription. And additional registers are a very reasonable $20/month. Square for Retail also includes employee management (the “Team Management” feature), which is $35/month/location if you’re using regular Square.
Notably, the free Square POS integrates with Shopventory, but Square for Retail does not.
So it’s important to consider not just how Square for Retail compares with Shopventory, but also how it compares to regular Square Point of Sale. As for the latter, Square for Retail replaces most of the in-app inventory management with its own web browser, but it does keep the inventory lists automatically synced and generates reports. You don’t get everything that the standard Point of Sale app offers either, such as the items grid. The Retail app is more of a pared-down version of the POS app but with more beefed up inventory and reporting.
- Monthly billing
- Includes 0.1% processing discount
- Includes employee management
- Additional registers just $20/month/register
- Starts at $60/month
- No bundling and somewhat limited inventory features overall
- Only works on an iPad, and you get charged for each device
- Some features of regular (free) Square are absent
|Features||Shopventory||Square for Retail|
|Inventory Transfers Between Locations:||✓||✓|
|Barcode & Label Printing:||✓||✓|
|Purchase Order & Vendor Management:||✓||✓|
Shopventory fills an important gap for merchants who need intermediate inventory capabilities. As a supplement to POS software, Shopventory is not nearly as advanced as a more sophisticated inventory software, such as Stitch Labs, but it has more and better inventory features than Square for Retail. Square for Retail, by contrast, includes basic inventory features — and more inventory features than you get with Square Point of Sale — but is lacking in areas such as bundling and COGS reporting.
For simplicity’s sake, I am going to focus on three core aspects of inventory management and see how they stack up: inventory tracking, reporting, and purchase order/vendor management.
With both Shopventory and Square for Retail, merchants get the ability to count inventory and have each sale deducted from total stock numbers. Both offer location management as well. You’ll be working with Square’s standard item listings, which means you can include all of the following: product name, photo, SKU/barcode, item description, and item variants with the option to set different price points.
Shopventory’s main inventory features include: bundling (including bundle variants), low-stock alerts, automatic restocks on refunds, multi-user access, inventory transfers between locations, inventory history, inventory reconciliation tools, and barcode/label printing. Note that many of these features are absent from the base plan.
As for Square’s inventory tracking features, you’ll get low-stock alerts, employee management, inventory transfers between locations, inventory history, barcode/label printing, and a vendor library. Note the lack of bundling features here and all that this entails: no bundles, no raw ingredient tracking, and no partial ingredient tracking. This is one of the biggest limitations of Square’s inventory. However, if you’re dealing with hundreds and hundreds of items, you might prefer the search-and-scan based user interface that the app offers.
First of all, Square’s reporting tools, overall, are pretty robust. Shopventory’s reports exist mostly as an extension of Square’s, not a replacement for them. This makes sense, given that Shopventory is an extension of Square and not a standalone app. In addition to some identical reports, Shopventory offers several reports that Square doesn’t — and a couple that Square for Retail doesn’t, either.
The inventory reports that Square for Retail offers are somewhat lacking. There is a cost of goods (COGS) reporting feature, but editing the item costs isn’t easy, and the information isn’t available at key points in the Retail app experience. However, you can also keep a record of additional costs associated with a purchase (such as shipping or handling fees) that are added to your COGS tracking. That’s helpful. On the other hand, Shopventory’s COGS reporting is a bit more advanced. Accessing pricing information seems a bit easier than with Square for Retail. Shopventory also tracks the lot costs in addition to default costs. For advanced users, Shopventory has a cost averaging feature. You can even back-fill lot costs using the default cost feature.
Square for Retail also has a profitability report and an inventory by category report that lists the value of the items, projected profit, and profit margins in each category. This last report is more a combination of several other reports, but it’s nice to see. A unique report Shopventory offers is the dead inventory report. You can print off a list of every item that hasn’t sold recently and specify just how “recently” you want — whether it’s a week, a month, six months, etc. This kind of analysis is pretty handy because “slow” for one business isn’t slow for another.
Purchase Order & Vendor Management
Since the upgrades to inventory and reporting tools are relatively small in Square for Retail, it’s nice to see that the additions in this category are pretty big game-changers. With the Retail app, it’s now possible to create purchase orders from within the Square dashboard and send them via email. You can also receive inventory from within the Square for Retail app.
In all honesty, Square for Retail and Shopventory are well-matched in this category. There are a few differences — for one, with Shopventory, you can only receive inventory through the web dashboard, not the app. But I think that, overall, their feature sets are pretty similar.
Buckle up because this section is going to be a doozy! The TL;DR version is that Square for Retail is generally cheaper unless you are a very low-volume processor or want to use multiple devices. Keep reading if you want to learn about how I came to this conclusion.
Square for Retail’s pricing is simple at the outset: Square for Retail costs $60/month per location, for one register. No tiered packages, no add-ons, and no extra fees for priority phone support. But for each additional register, it’s just $20/month per location. So if you have two locations with one register each, the cost would be $120/month, but if you have two registers at the same location, the cost would be $80/month. Another aspect of Square for Retail’s pricing is that you get a 0.1% discount on payment processing through Square: 2.5% + $0.10 vs. Square’s regular rate of 2.6% + $0.10.
Square for Retail also provides employee management for an unlimited number of employees at each location. With the standard Square plan, that cost is $35 per location per month.
Shopventory’s pricing plan is focused not on the number of devices, the number of users, or even the number of transactions. Pricing is based just on the number of locations. Starter plans start at a reasonable $39/month if you pay annually or $49/month if you pay monthly. However, the Starter plan is very limited, and most businesses will need the Standard plan, which is $79/month billed annually and $99/month billed monthly. If you want access to purchase orders, vendor management, barcode scanning, or bundling features, you’ll need to get the Standard plan. Additionally, the higher-tier plans throw in a few other perks (free QuickBooks syncing, which is otherwise $30/month; access to beta features; and phone support).
Taking all of this information into account, how do Shopventory and Square for Retail compare as far as pricing? To give you a general picture, if your average ticket size is $25 and you process $20,000 a month, you’ll save about $20/month in processing costs with Square for Retail vs. regular Square. Notably, this is the about the same price difference between Square for Retail and Shopventory’s basic $39/month Starter plan. If your monthly processing volume is more like $10,000, you’ll save a more modest $10/month, which would not pay for the cost of any Shopventory plan. For the processing savings to completely pay for Square for Retail, you’d have to process upwards of $60,000/month.
Assuming you use Shopventory as a Square add-on (and not as an add-on to Clover, PayPal Here, or Shopify) and use a single register, the only way Shopventory comes out to be slightly cheaper than Square for Retail is if you choose the limited Starter plan, pay annually, and process less than $20,000 per month. If you opt to pay monthly, you’ll have to process less than $10,000/month to save with Shopventory — and that’s just on the basic Starter plan. Low-volume businesses that use three or more registers might also save with Shopventory, even on the $79/month Standard plan (billed annually). However, if you have that many registers, you’re likely processing more than $20K/month, in which case Square for Retail provides the better value.
For most businesses with a single register that want all the Shopventory features that come with the Standard plan, Shopventory will be more expensive than Square for Retail any way you slice it. That’s especially true if you need employee management, which, as mentioned, comes free with Square for Retail.
Keep in mind that you still need hardware and devices to run the Square app, and an iPad is the most full-featured option. But you could theoretically use cheaper Android tablets or smartphones if you use Shopventory instead of Square for Retail. With Shopventory, you have more affordable hardware options and no charge for using multiple devices at the same location.
Additionally, there’s also the possibility that you might use Shopventory not with Square but with a different POS and payment processing system such as Clover. Depending on your Clover vendor, you may be able to find a better payment processing price than Square for Retail’s 2.5% + $0.10. However, you’ll also have to pay the monthly Clover software fees, which will likely be comparable to Square for Retail’s fees. PayPal Here is the only other free POS that integrates with Shopventory. While merchants whose average ticket size is less than $50 could save with PayPal Here processing (a flat 2.7%) compared to Square for Retail’s, the POS is far more basic.
Ease Of Use
Both Shopventory and Square for Retail are web-based, and the apps are well designed. I’ve found that Shopventory and Square dashboards are both fairly intuitive and easy to use, so they’re evenly matched in that regard.
Customer Service & Support
Apart from a small team on the Square Seller Community (a forum for online merchants), Square for Retail doesn’t have any exclusive support channels that are separate from regular Square support. So you should expect business as usual in this regard. There’s email and live phone support as well as a very comprehensive self-service knowledgebase. And the Seller Community is honestly a great resource as well.
Regarding Shopventory’s support, phone support is only available for higher-tiered plans, but the chat option is great, and the knowledgebase is extremely helpful as well. (I know. I’ve tested both.) The chat option isn’t quite live chat because it might take a little time to get someone to answer your question, but once you get one of the reps to respond, it is a live conversation. I shouldn’t have to say this about any customer support, but sadly I do: I like that you get to talk to a helpful person who isn’t going to shoehorn you into a script.
It’s worth noting that you’ll still have to deal with Square for payment- and account-related issues if you use Shopventory with Square. But for inventory-related issues, you can deal with Shopventory instead.
Reviews & Complaints
Some of the complaints about Square for Retail we’ve seen include:
- Problems With Cost Of Goods Recording & Reporting: This is a big one, and it manifests in a lot of ways. Currently, the only way to update costs is to upload a spreadsheet. The app itself doesn’t allow you to edit individual item costs manually, and Square’s current reports don’t list item costs on everything. Merchants who were expecting to get COGS reporting at long last haven’t been thrilled, though Square does say it’s on the list of improvements to make, so we may see some enhancements.
- Lack Of Features: Previously, with an upgrade to Retail, you lost access to Square POS’s offline mode and the open tickets capability, and some reviews complained about this. According to Square’s website, this is no longer the case. However, with Square for Retail, you do lose the items grid that Square POS has.
There’s a lot less user chatter about Shopventory overall (which makes sense with a smaller customer base). I think users who integrate with PayPal or Clover will probably be more dissatisfied than Square users, honestly. I think some merchants will dislike the same sort of shortcomings you find in Square for Retail. It’s missing features, such as the ability to view inventory levels while creating a purchase order, or the ability to edit purchase orders. Overall, the comments I see from merchants are positive.
Square gets a lot of love overall for its payment processing. Signup is quick and easy, rates are fair and affordable, and the hardware is good and reasonably priced. But the Retail app seems to be less popular generally. In theory, it fills a niche that businesses with a high quantity of inventory have been needing. I know a lot of merchants were excited at the prospect when it launched, but I haven’t seen as much talk about it since then.
I don’t see a whole lot of chatter around the web about Shopventory. The website has a couple of testimonials, and I’ve seen the Square Seller Community talk about it, too. The discussions I’ve seen tend to focus on Shopventory’s good customer service and its fair pricing.
Shopventory integrates with several POS systems, including Square, PayPal Here, Clover, Shopify, and WooCommerce. You can also pay extra to integrate with QuickBooks. Additionally, Shopventory integrates with Amazon Alexa.
Square for Retail integrates with all of Square’s numerous add-ons, except for Appointments, which is its own POS system. Square for Retail also integrates with many, but not all, of the same apps that Square POS integrates with.
The Key Differences Between Shopventory & Square For Retail
We’ve analyzed the main components of each software. Now let’s break this down into the key differences between Shopventory and Square for Retail.
- Monthly Pricing: Shopventory’s monthly pricing starts at $39/month, though this plan requires you to pay upfront for the whole year and does not include all features. To get all of the core features, you’ll need to pay $79/month (billed annually) or $99/month (billed monthly); Square for Retail’s monthly pricing starts at $60/month but is billed monthly and includes all features.
- Payment Processing Rates: Shopventory with Square POS has a payment processing rate of 2.6% + $0.10. Square for Retail has a reduced payment processing rate of $2.5% + $0.10.
- Device Flexibility: Shopventory is compatible with any device Square POS is compatible with (Androids, iPhones, laptops, etc.). Square for Retail is only compatible with the iPad.
- Number Of Devices: Shopventory allows unlimited devices at the same location. Square charges $20/month for each additional iPad at the same location.
- Advanced Features: Shopventory has more advanced reporting and includes advanced inventory features, such as bundling. Square for Retail’s inventory features are more basic than Shopventory’s, and while they do include some basic COGS reporting, there is no bundling feature.
- Employee Management: Shopventory does not include inventory management; you’ll have to pay $35/month/location to get employee management via Square POS. Square for Retail includes free employee management for unlimited employees.
Which Is Best For My Retail Business Needs?
Some businesses will find that Shopventory meets their inventory needs better, while others will appreciate Square for Retail’s all-in-one system. Read on to learn which one you should choose.
Choose Shopventory If…
- You want advanced inventory features, including bundling and advanced COGS reports, and you are willing to pay a little more for them
- You want to be able to accept payments on devices other than iPads
- You want to use the software on multiple registers at one or more locations
- You don’t need employee management (or are willing to pay $35/month to get it through Square)
- You have a low-volume business that processes less than $20K monthly
- You want to use a POS other than Square, such as Clover, PayPal Here, or Shopify
Choose Square For Retail If…
- You want some inventory features but can live without advanced features, such as bundling
- You have multiple employees and want them to be able to clock in and out using the POS
- You have a higher-volume business (>$20K) that will see significant cost savings from the 0.1% processing discount
- You have a single location with one to two registers
- You don’t want to have to pay in advance for a whole year
- You don’t want to spend $79/month on inventory software (the cost of Shopventory’s full set of inventory features)
Comparing Shopventory & Square: Final Verdict
It’s a little difficult to directly compare Shopventory vs. Square because one is an inventory management add-on, and the other is a full-fledged POS with inventory management. So I can draw apples-to-apples comparisons about some things and say that yes, Shopventory has a few more advanced inventory features. If you can afford the rather steep price tag of $79 to $99/month for the full set of features, it will work great as an add-on to Square Point of Sale.
But Square for Retail is a better value and has more features overall. Square for Retail has a search-optimized UI and free employee management tools that might be deciding factors for some merchants. Square for Retail could make more sense if you have a lot of employees and want easy time-tracking, along with the ability to manage extensive inventories. A Square for Retail subscription also qualifies your business for a reduced payment processing rate. If you process $60K/month, your processing savings will be enough to cover the cost of your Square for Retail subscription completely. And if you process just $20K/month, Square will still save you money over Shopventory.
Although Shopventory could be a better choice for some retailers, particularly low-volume businesses and those that want advanced inventory features that Square doesn’t provide, I think it’s safe to say that Square for Retail provides an overall better value for a larger number of businesses.
Check out our complete reviews for Shopventory and Square for Retail to get a closer look at each. Also, both Square for Retail and Shopventory offer free 30-day trials, so you can test drive both of them (preferably not at the same time) and see which one works better. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your search!