Square Opens Own Storefront

by Raymond Pucci 0

 Square now has a physical store—just like its own client merchants. As the following article reports, the mobile POS company has opened a brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan.

Square, the mobile payments processor run by the Twitter co-founder, unveiled its first physical store Thursday to offer hands-on support for merchants using its technology and to showcase some of their wares. To most passers-by, the cozy space looks like any other boutique store in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, with eclectic merchandise for sale like handmade jewelry, candles and bags. The difference is the iconic white Square design outside the store and the point-of-sale hardware products on display inside.

“We’re walking distance from hundreds of Square sellers,” said Jesse Dorogusker, the company’s hardware lead. “We want to develop the idea that you can merge sales, support, merchant showcase, and a retail store. That scales with more brick-and-mortar locations, or pop-ups, or something more mobile over time.”

Dorogusker isn’t expecting the store to be a big driver of hardware products, which are already on sale at retailers like Best Buy. Rather, the goal is to improve the customer experience, boost sales for Square’s merchants and introduce shoppers to the Square brand.

Square started by selling smartphone plug-ins that let food-truck vendors and other small businesses accept credit cards. The company has since attracted larger merchants by offering a suite of services and software that make running a business easier. Those more profitable services, including loans, food delivery and inventory-management software, have boosted the company’s financial performance and its stock.

Less than 5 percent of Square’s revenue comes from hardware, which includes a variety of credit-card readers and a stand that turns an iPad into a point-of-sale terminal. Square sells its hardware cheaply, or gives it away, to attract merchants onto its platform, where it profits from selling software services.

What the Genius Bar does for Apple, maybe this store concept will do for Square. At a minimum, it gives Square a physical presence where it can demonstrate its products and concepts in person. Seeing up close how customers react and interface with a product can be valuable compared with just getting online opinions. Square has been branching out into financial services as well so this store can be more than just a product display and tech advice center.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group

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