Square Launches Online Marketplace for Local Micro-Merchants (June 26, 2013)
June 26, 2013
Square Inc. hopes to give a boost to micro-merchants that have traditionally sold items face to face as they move into e-commerce through its new Square Market, which the San Francisco company unveiled this week. Targeting local merchants selling items online for the first time, Square Market provides an easy path for small businesses to open a storefront within Square Market with product photos and a business profile, according to Square. Merchants pay 2.75 percent per transaction, the same rate Square charges for its basic smartphone card reader. Sellers handle their own shipping and fulfillment.
Square is counting on social media to drive traffic for its Square Market merchants. Merchants and customers may tag items in Square Market stores via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Square faces intensifying competition from PayPal, Intuit and numerous other mPOS providers, all of which are stepping up the pursuit of small businesses expanding their mobile and Internet sales. Javelin Strategy and Research recently said the broader mPOS push could result in $1.1 trillion in additional card payments, in large part from merchants that previously accepted only cash.
Square Market could help expand Square’s transaction volume, according to Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst with Aite Group. “There is a big opportunity in making online selling very easy for the two-thirds of small businesses that do not currently sell online,” he tells Paybefore. Square has its work cut out for it competing with giants like eBay and Amazon with robust small-business online marketplaces, he notes. “For Square, the bigger opportunity is to bring new merchants to online selling that aren’t yet there, and to do it in a way that is incredibly simple, easy and integrated with their in-person selling tools.”