Square is making commerce easy in Canada
Written by Swati Mylavarapu, Square
Imagine a service that helps small businesses grow by increasing average sales and making it easier to operate. It is such a basic utility that up to 69 percent of customers actually expect to find it where they shop. And yet, it’s too complicated and expensive to use. In fact, more than 67 percent of small businesses in Canada today miss out on this service because it’s just too hard. This is the world of credit card acceptance, one that most of Canada’s 1.1 million small businesses do not partake in.
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At Square, we know this story all too well. It’s at our core. And it’s what drove us to start our business - to help other small businesses solve this very real problem. In 2009, Square was started by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and chairman of Twitter, and his longtime friend Jim McKelvey, a glass blower from St. Louis. Jim lost a sale on a glass piece because he was unable to accept credit cards, and realized it was far too difficult for a business owner to set up credit card acceptance. As they discussed the problem, Jim and Jack realized that they were talking to each other on pocket-sized computers; couldn’t these devices also process credit cards?
And so Square was created, to help individuals and businesses never miss a sale again. Our mission is simple - to make commerce easy for everyone. And our products stem from this core mission. They help businesses accept credit cards, grow sales, and offer their customers a simple and fun experience at the counter — all from a free app and card reader.
Canadian business deserve the same easy affordable tools as their US counterparts
We brought Square to Canada one year ago because we believe Canadian entrepreneurs deserve the same easy, affordable tools to help run and grow their businesses. We were founded in the US, and Canada was the first country we brought Square to next. We came here first because we are excited by Canadians’ entrepreneurial spirit, the strong economy, and a national ethos that embraces local communities. Canadians love their local businesses and the entrepreneurs who work hard to run them. So do we.
Today, Square customers include tens of thousands in Canada. And we are growing quickly - 3.5 times more new Canadian businesses are signing up for Square today than when we first arrived. Businesses from across the country are joining the movement to make it easier to accept payments. Merchants in major cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, as well as those in small towns such as Apex Hill and White Horse, are powered by Square. And their enterprises span a tremendous range - from beauty and barber shops to home inspection services to independent retailers.
How a payment tool can boost business
Accepting payments no longer has to be difficult and expensive. In fact, it can be the opposite - we’re reimagining how payment acceptance can be a delightful tool that helps a merchant grow his or her business. The offer is simple and powerful. Any individual or business can sign up for Square Register to accept credit cards and run his or her business. The Square Reader and app are completely free. Getting signed up takes just a few minutes. The price is flat and transparent - 2.75 percent. Merchants only pay when they use it - no monthly fees or commitments, and they get a suite of business tools that help track sales activity and identify growth opportunities.
Business owners can run their businesses more seamlessly and focus on how to grow, rather than how to simplify their payments costs. For Winnipeg-based custom suit company EPH Apparel, Square has given them the flexibility to run and expand their rapidly-growing mobile tailoring services. EPH Apparel includes Square in their sales representative kits, giving their sales team the ability to move from city to city to take fittings and customer appointments as needed. “We like how easy to use Square is, we can take on fittings and appointments across Canada with our growing mobile rep stylist team,” explains EPH co-founder Maciek Hunek.
Entrepreneurs who once had to wait to collect fees, and rely on a risky and long invoice process, can take payment on the spot. For Michael Jones, owner of Annihilator Ltd, a pest control service in Winnipeg, using Square has enabled him to accept credit card payment at the point of service. He no longer has to wait for checks in the mail or manage large cash payments. The simplicity and ease of use of the product were also remarkable - compared to 20+ pages of forms and a longer wait just to get signed up with other payment services.
There is a movement afoot for small business in Canada, and it’s just getting started. What’s to come? Our team is constantly exploring how we can continue to make it easier than ever for businesses to get started, run and grow. We want all businesses in Canada to be able to accept credit card payments. In the coming months, Canadian businesses can expect to be able to find Square more easily in retail locations across the country. We envision merchants being able to take many types of payments. So, we’re working on expanding the number of payment types Square offers in Canada. And we aspire to help businesses grow. Merchants can anticipate new, stronger tools in Square Register that empower them to engage with their customers and better manage their sales. We’re one year in and we’re excited for what’s to come in Canada.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.