Can Square Create a Better Marketplace for Small Retailers?
Square, the mobile payment company, is looking to be involved in every retail transaction it can. Towards that end, the company is setting up a free online marketplace for local shops where consumers across the nation can shop and make purchases using a Square account.
"We’re focused on making easy-to-use tools for merchants that create an incredible experience for their customers — no matter where they are. Creating an online marketplace is our next step in making commerce easy for everyone," Ajit Varma, Square’s director of discovery, said in a statement. "Square Market makes local businesses accessible to customers down the block and across the country."
The company, which is known across the U.S. for its Square Reader, enables sellers to set up a free online shop complete with product photos and a business profile. Retailers can list their inventory and Square takes its usual 2.75 percent cut for every item sold.
"A lot of people think of Square as a payments company, but Square is focused on selling. It wants to help small businesses sell online as well as in stores," Rick Oglesby, senior analyst with Aite Group, told the Los Angeles Times. "They are much more interested in being a comprehensive marketplace and selling solution than a payments company. They want to be a business in a box."
Standard & Strange, an American-made men’s clothing retailer, is one of the mom & pop businesses that have already joined the Square Marketplace.
"We’re small and it would have been really tough to make a go at ecommerce on our own," said owner Neil Berrett. "Running an online store is like having a whole other business. Square makes it easy with a simple solution, and we are featured along with other great brands."
Ultimately, the success of Square’s Marketplace will depend on its ability to attract merchants. While the free service is a natural for small merchants, Square spokesperson Katie Baynes told RetailWire, "We process transactions for everyone, from the individual, to brick and mortar chains, to Starbucks. We anticipate that Square Market will be a wonderful marketplace for businesses of all sizes as well."
- Square Market
- Local businesses can now sell online with Square Market – Square
- Square leaps beyond payments to commerce with online marketplace – Los Angeles Times (tiered sub.)
What do you think of the Square Marketplace? Will the Square payment system give Marketplace enough of a competitive edge against the likes of Amazon and eBay?