A Square catalog lets a seller keep a record of a complete collection of data about product offerings and business processes involved in running the business. In a Square catalog, the collection includes products for sale or services for hire. It also includes related information such as variations, options, categories, discounts, and taxes of a product or service. It can even include pricing rules that trigger automatic price adjustment under certain conditions.
The Catalog API lets you programmatically manage a seller's Square catalog. You can use the Catalog API to create, view, update, or delete catalog entries and have them ready and available for constructing or updating the seller's inventories using the Inventory API, or for creating or completing customer orders using the Orders API.
The Square Catalog API is flexible. You can call the API to manage objects in a Square catalog individually or you can process a batch of objects in a single API call. Batch operations through bulk endpoints help reduce the number of API calls required for catalog management. To deal with large result sets, the Catalog API lets you handle them page by page to help reduce server load.
Without the Catalog API, you would have to use the Item Editor (from the Seller Dashboard) to create and manage a Square catalog one item at a time. In addition, the API enables seamless integration of the Square catalog with other Square or third-party services.
Newly created and updated catalog entries using the Catalog API are immediately visible in the Seller Dashboard and Square Point of Sale across all seller locations.
Catalog and inventory are different services. A catalog keeps a record of products for sale or service for hire, along with the supporting data, whereas an inventory keeps a record of merchandise quantities (stock) at a given location. Use the Catalog API to manage a catalog and use the Inventory API to manage an inventory.