Jeweler Deb Strecansky of Sky Designs recently spoke to us about the great success she’s experienced in her business since she started using the Square Reader (or, “the Square”). Her enthusiasm, business smarts, and great designs are the perfect combination, so when she discovered the Square, it was a great fit. In Deb’s words, “I really do love my Square!”
So, what in the world is the Square Reader?
Square launched in 2009 but has become widely available in the past two years, allowing users to process customers’ credit cards anywhere—right before their eyes—no computer or phone lines needed. It allows transactions to happen in any location as long as the user has access to Wi-Fi, a smart phone, and the appropriate app. The app is a management tool, allowing you to track and manage your transactions and Square usage, keep records, even email or text receipts to customers. For entrepreneurs on the go, these little devices are becoming ubiquitous. If you haven’t seen them, this is what they look like:
Deb said, “The Square totally changed my business. Before, I had to keep my books and reports manually. Now I can look up my taxes by month. Before the Square, I sold through PayPal at home and online, but at trunk shows I was only able to accept cash or check. Now, I can take credit cards in person, wherever I am (as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection for my phone). I am not constrained by payment options with my customers anymore. In the past, if a customer had, say, $40 in cash, he or she would not be able to purchase jewelry for $60.” At that point, Deb would lose the sale. But not anymore.
Yes, there are credit card fees with the Square, but they are minimal compared to the profit Deb makes on the new sales it facilitates. The charges for using the Square, according to www.squareup.com run about 2.75% on each transaction. Deb still accepts cash and checks, but being able to process a credit card anywhere has completely opened up her sales possibilities.
I asked Deb how long she has been using the Square, and how has it affected her numbers. She says that, due to the convenience of the Square, she has literally doubled her sales. Why has it been such a success? She answered with a few short but convincing stories.
One day, Deb bumped into an acquaintance in the grocery store. Her friend asked, “Where did you get your earrings?” Deb told her that she made them, and that she has a website, which her friend immediately remembered. So, her friend said, “Let’s have coffee! I want to buy a couple of things that are on your website.”
Deb’s customer engaged with her because she could see the product in use. A smart business woman, Deb was prepared enough to bring inventory to her customer and process the payment on her Square, over coffee. There were neither shipping fees nor wait time for the customer. Plus, Deb cultivated the personal sales relationship, face to face. Because the customer carried a credit card which could be processed—as is most often the case nowadays—that resulted in an instant sale for Deb.
Here’s another example: Late last year, Deb was enrolled in a class at Rio Grande and was lodging at a local hotel with a restaurant. Wanting company at dinner, Deb accepted an invitation from a group to join them at their table. “Are you here for the veterinary convention?” They asked, “No,” Deb explained, “I’m here for a metalsmithing class . . . ” They asked if she’d created the jewelry she was wearing and then they asked for her business card.
The rest is history. The next day, Deb presented her jewelry to them, which they then purchased for friends and family. Again, there were no shipping charges for the customer or for Deb. The transaction was made in person, with the benefit of the customer meeting the artist, an added value in the sale. In Deb’s words, “People love to meet the jewelry maker!”
All of this happened because Deb was willing to wear her work, connect with strangers who were potential customers, and stay mobile with both the Square and transportable inventory. In other words, she was ready to do business on the spot.
Deb left me with some parting wisdom. “Having your own business is not nearly enough. You have to be on all the time.” She has her other bases covered as well, selling her jewelry at Loggerheads and Palmettoes, both in the beautiful resort town of Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Have questions about the Square Reader? The best way to learn more is to visit www.squareup.com, where you’ll find everything you want to know about the app, the reader, the timing of deposits, and charges for transactions. We’re not trying to sell you on the idea of this new technology, because we know that your sales personality is unique; however, if Deb’s story strikes a chord with you, you may wish to explore it. Maybe it will help you increase your sales too! Where could you use it? At shows? In the grocery store, like Deb did? Would it allow you to reach more customers? If you’ve had experience with this device or other cool technology, leave us a comment to tell us your story!