Local businesses have a new way to sell online: Square Market, from the creators of the Square mobile credit card reader, is an online marketplace designed to let local businesses sell their goods and services across the country.
Square Market enables local stores to sell everything from unique gifts to clothing, housewares, baked goods and more. By providing merchants with their own customizable storefront, businesses can launch their own online store using Square Market's e-commerce platform.
Using Square Market, local businesses can also expand their reach beyond their own neighborhoods with the following features: social media integration, which helps businesses share items for sale via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest; optimization for mobile phones, tablets and desktops; and unique business pages with photos, hours, location, reward programs and first-visit specials to attract in-person visits.
Ajit Varma, director of Square Market, talked with BusinessNewsDaily about the new marketplace and Square's mobile payment solutions.
BusinessNewsDaily: What kind of businesses can sell at Square Market?
Ajit Varma: Anyone can sell on Square Market. Square Market features sellers from across the country — there are musicians, artists, jewelers, florists, retail stores and more. Here are a few great businesses to check out on Square Market:
Austin, Texas: Son of a Sailor (jewelry)
Brooklyn, N.Y.: Whimsy & Spice (baked goods)
Chicago: Heritage Bicycles (bicycles)
Cleveland: Lil Burritos (baby clothing and decor)
Las Vegas: Bolt Lighting (light fixtures)
New York: Borbay (art)
Portland, Ore.: Hammer + Vine (potted plants)
San Francisco: Joshu+Vela (clothing and accessories)
Steamboat Springs, Colo.: Blue Sky Pottery (kitchenware)
BND: Why should businesses set up their stores using the Square Market platform?
AV: Square Market enables businesses to showcase their products in a beautiful way, which helps them attract new customers and sell more of their goods and services. We're very focused on simplifying commerce, so we've kept the same low, flat rate for online sales (2.75 percent) as we have for in-person swiped sales with the Square Card Reader. And, as always with Square, there are no contracts or additional fees. Businesses can use Square to sell products both online and in-person and keep track of all of their sales in one, easy-to-use dashboard that helps them make informed decisions about their business.
BND: Do businesses need any technical skills to set up a store at the marketplace?
AV: Square is focused on simplifying commerce by making it as easy and intuitive as possible for businesses to get started and grow. Anyone can sign up for Square Market and start selling in minutes. We've made it easy to upload images of your products and to list items for sale from your computer at work or at home.
BND: How can businesses sign up for Square Market?
AV: Customers who are new to Square can easily create a Square account and set up their store to start selling within minutes. Existing Square customers can flip a switch to begin selling online, and their in-person and online sales will automatically sync for their record keeping. Anyone can visit www.squareup.com/market to get started.
BND: You are also the creators of the Square Card Reader, Square Register and Square Wallet. What benefits do these mobile payment systems have over traditional point-of-sale systems?
AV: Square's goal is to make commerce easy for everyone. The free Square Card Reader and Square Register apps make it easier than ever for anyone to get started and grow in business, without expensive hardware, equipment or fees. Square works on the tools people already own and provides businesses with meaningful, actionable data to help them better run and grow their business.
BND: Other than processing payments, how else can mobile payment systems help businesses grow?
AV: Mobile payment systems can provide business owners with free insightful data and analytics that help them better run their businesses. In addition, with Square Wallet, customers can discover new, nearby businesses and earn rewards for their loyalty. Sellers can offer specials to first-time visitors to help attract new customers.
BND: Are customers generally open to using mobile payments? How can business owners address customers' reluctance to using Square?
AV: Historically, accepting credit cards as a business owner has been an arduous and opaque process, with a lot of contracts and complex pricing structures. We've really focused on putting the customer first and simplifying the experience. Customers can sign up for Square in two minutes and begin taking payments immediately, whether they're selling online or in-person, or making one sale or a thousand.
BND: Are small business owners slow to adopt mobile payments, such as Square?
AV: Customers are often surprised by how easy mobile payment processing is. Square, for instance, works on devices people already own, so business owners don't need to invest in an expensive point-of-sale system; they can just use their phone or iPad and start taking payments. There are some great examples of businesses choosing Square to run their business and grow. Bob's Donuts in San Francisco, for instance, was cash-only for decades, and they've been using Square to sell their donuts in-store — and now, they sell their T-shirts with Square Market online. We love seeing growth stories like this from local businesses across the country.