Is it me, or does it feel like things are moving really fast? For those which are not regulars visitors to our blog, we are raving fans of cloud POS, mainly because it offers a low entry cost and flexible platform for retailers.
Over the weekend, while watching the news, I came across Square (https://squareup.com) which is an electronic payment service. I have no doubt in making the statement that this will be a “game changer”.
Square was setup by the successful entrepreneur, Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) and funded by eminent angel investors such as Marissa Mayer, Kevin Rose, Biz Stone, Dennis Crowley, Shawn Fanning, Ed Cramer, and Esther Dyson. In the A, B and C Series it was funded by well-known VCs such as Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital and from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Square allows business users (USA only) to accept credit cards through their mobile phones, either by swiping the card on the Square device or by manually entering the details on their phone.
So what are the functions of Square?
- Card Reader – this is where the name ‘Square’ originates, the merchant has a small plastic square which is plugged into the audio jack on an iPhone, iPad and Android based mobile devices. This allows the business user to swipe the credit card.
- Square Card Reader – is an app which allows the business user to take payments, it can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store and Google Play Store.
- Pay with Square – is an app which allows customers to setup tabs and pay with their names plus receive electronic receipts.
- Square Register – is available for the iPad, which provides a POS credit card management system.
Why do I think a UK version of Square will be successful? For start up or small retailers in the UK, it is an excruciating process of form filing and agonizing bank delays (sometimes up to 3 months). While with Square, you can be live, trading and taking money within minutes. The existing system used in the USA does not use chip and Pin security however I am sure a UK and Europe version using this type of security would be easy to develop.
The application of Square is wider than purely retail, however with the signing of Starbucks (plus a $25m investment and their CEO joining the board of Square), it clearly indicates one vertical where Square will gain immediate traction. In the UK, there is a growing trend of “pop-up shops”. Square would provide these retailers with an immediate payment service and a very basic cloud POS with minimal expense.
Going beyond the benefits of being mobile and flexible with low entry costs, we expect to see much more functionality which will allow retailers to develop closer relationships with their customers – such as loyalty programmes and promotional activities driven by consumer behaviour.
Lets us know what you think? Is Square, cool or just square?