By adding data analytics to its Square Register platform, Square Inc. says it is giving merchants of all sizes the kind of tools that larger retailers use to increase sales.

Square Analytics will operate as a free service within the Square Register app, the San Francisco-based payments technology provider stated in an Aug. 21 press release.

The analytics tool provides sales data that can show what items and product categories are most popular among shoppers, Square said. In addition, the data can show the busiest time of the day and an overall view of customer spending.

Square Analytics provides a portal that reports how a seller's business is performing in real time, and how the business is performing compared to others in the industry. It updates sales hourly, daily and monthly. These insights can help sellers determine whether they should extend their hours or pad their inventory to avoid a missed sale, Square said.

The data also helps merchants view the ratio between new and returning customers, as well as customer visit frequency and average spending.

The analytics tool continues a trend from Square to boost its non-payment services through Square Register, including an appointment-scheduling service, interactive receipts and small-business financing.

Square also announced this week that it would sell EMV-chip card readers that connect to Square Stand, its iPad-based point of sale hardware.

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