How Technology is helping Canadian businesses

Small Business Canada

Thomas Templeton, General Manager of Hardware at Square

Apple’s Thomas Templeton joined Square and is now working on an important crypto project for Square. He, along with his team, invented an iconic POS system called Square Register and is helping businesses manage their buying during this COVID-19 situation from a safe distance.

Thomas leads hardware product development at Square, including design, cross-functional engineering, manufacturing, and operations. Previously he led the hardware product and program management teams for the past 9 years. Prior to Square, Thomas was an engineer in the Special Projects Group at Apple.

You and your team invented a new, ultra-smart POS system called Square Register which lets businesses manage all kinds of buying from a COVID-safe distance. What was the inspiration behind the invent and what are you hoping to accomplish through it?

Square Register is our most sophisticated, top-of-the-line point of sale solution that offers the power, efficiency, and features that larger, more complex businesses need. It’s also perfect for our times because it offers two dedicated displays — one for the seller and one for the buyer — that can be set up as far as 2 meters apart, offering safer, more distanced payment for in-person purchases. 

We built Square Register based on years of insight from working with sellers about what they need on their countertop as their business grows. With the launch of Square Register in Canada, this will be the first time we’re delivering a product in the country that really incorporates everything we’re known for in one place: beautiful hardware, powerful software, and a fully integrated omnichannel commerce solution for businesses. 

We’ve been testing Square Register with some really well-known Canadian businesses over the Summer months — from retail stores to ice cream and tattoo parlors to restaurants, as well as with McMahon Stadium, home of the Calgary Stampeders football team, and the Scotiabank Saddledome, home to the Calgary Flames hockey team. It’s been amazing to see how Square Register is a fit for such a wide range of Canadian businesses.

What are your thoughts on the Fall in-person buying trends? Can you share the key findings from the Canadian survey results about Fall in-person buying trends and regional breakouts?

Sure. Square recently surveyed Canadians across the country and we found that, right now, over 70% feel more comfortable with distanced, cashless payments when it comes to in-person purchases — which makes a lot of sense seeing all we’ve gone through, globally, with the pandemic. 

We also found that 80% of Canadians say supporting local businesses is more important to them now than before the pandemic, with 72% agreeing they’re excited to start shopping in person this Fall.

Those sentiments are consistent across the country, with Quebecers reporting the highest allegiance to local sellers, at 83%. 

We’ve also found that 71% of Canadians are already, or plan to, spend more locally as Canada recovers from the pandemic — about a quarter of those surveyed estimated they’d spend about $1,750 with local sellers over the next six to twelve months. Canadians expected to spend the most additional money locally were found in Atlantic Canada ($2,492), Alberta ($2,372), and BC ($1,964), while buyers in Quebec and Ontario anticipate their additional local spending over the next six to 12 months at $1,695 and $1,418, respectively. 

That’s why we’re excited to introduce Square Register in Canada to help business owners of all sizes accept in-person purchases more easily, in a safer, more socially distanced way, while offering them an integrated, omnichannel commerce solution, as they continue to rebuild and pivot to navigate the impacts of the global pandemic.

How technology is helping Canadian businesses deal with the fact that more than 70% of Canadians say they prefer to pay cashless and in as socially distanced as possible when they are buying in person.

The pandemic has presented Canadians — including businesses owners — with many challenges since 2020 and definitely accelerated the demand for new, more flexible omnichannel commerce solutions. In order to continue to be a company that sellers trust to help them grow their businesses, solutions providers like Square need to keep growing and evolving with their customers and that means pushing the envelope on solutions that meet people’s needs. Right now, that means cashless and safer ways to buy and sell, as we’re doing in Canada with Square Register. Beyond the pandemic, Square Register has also been a product that Canadian businesses have been asking for since we launched it in the US, so we’re really excited to give bigger and more complex Canadian businesses better options to sell in person. 

Business owners who’ve used Square in Canada so far tell us that they were surprised by how easy it is to use and that they’ve been getting great feedback from their employees who prefer the ease of the dedicated displays for payments and appreciate the ability to accept cashless, socially-distanced payments.

They’ve also told us that they really appreciate Square Register’s ability to integrate their various commerce channels, such as their in-person, brick-and-mortar locations, with their online stores, as you can manage it all in one place.

What’s unique about Square Register in Canada; and how its Canadian tech team played a major role in inventing Square Register’s POS technology?

Canada is an important market for Square. As a company, we’re obsessed with making our technology seamless and easy to use for business owners right out of the box, so, knowing it would serve larger, more complex businesses, it was important to have the right ecosystem of products in place that could integrate well with Square Register ahead of launches, such as Square Online, Square for Restaurants, Square for Retail, Square Appointments, Loyalty and others. It was also incredibly important to engineer features just for Canada – including Interac debit payment capabilities and refunds, French and English options, provincial and federal tax integration, and more. We now have all those elements in place and we’re excited to launch in Canada for our sellers. 

Canada has incredibly talented engineers. In fact, our engineering team in Canada, based in Toronto, made really significant contributions to Square Register thanks to their game-changing work on the processor chip, made in-house, that is embedded in the heart of Square Register, its embedded firmware, the payment software stack running on it, and the point of sale software. 

On a final note, what advice would you give to small business owners as they welcome buyers back this Fall?

I would say that small business owners — but really those with businesses of any size — should be looking for tech solutions that address the evolving needs of their customers. They should also always be looking for ways to help them save time so they can focus on what’s really important for them. That means finding an ecosystem of business tools that work together seamlessly, which is what we’re focused on doing at Square. I think those things will ensure businesses can continue to grow and thrive for years to come.

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