Not content to simply exist as a mobile payments platform, Square is expanding into the world of ecommerce with a new online marketplace for local businesses to display their wares.
It's called Square Market, and it lets any Square-using small businesses across the country open and operate an online storefront for free, making it easier for people all across the country to buy their products.
“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,” said Ajit Varma, Square’s Director of Discovery. “Square Market makes local businesses accessible to customers down the block and across the country.”
For Square, the pitch is all about simplicity for the local business. "No need to waste money on expensive website development, complicated fees, or complex inventory management," they say.
Any business that wants to join Square Market can set up shop for free, and post photos, descriptions, and contact info on their own person Square Market page. Those pages also include a map and social links (to share the market on Facebook, Twitter, and such).
Product pages not only contain photos of products and detailed descriptions, but also social links that allow users to share their purchases on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
On the business end, Square takes 2.75% from every online sale. That's it - there are no other fees. Merchants attach a shipping cost to each item they sell and Square handles the payments.
It's been a big year for Square - both in terms of new products and expansion. They put their Square card readers in a bunch of new locations, they made improvements to the point-of-sale system with a new card-reading iPad stand, and they expanded to Japan - their first expansion outside of North America.