Square unveils online marketplace for local businesses

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Digital and mobile payment firm Square has launched Square Market, a platform that creates virtual stores for businesses in the United States. The online marketplace allows local firms to sell their items anywhere in the country.

The service is different from Square Directory, which helps people locate stores that accept the Square Card Reader. It is also distinct from Amazon and other major online retailers in the sense that it is exclusively for local businesses who sell quality products. This is because the reach of local businesses is often limited to nearby communities.

Thanks to Square Market, vendors can now open an online store with photos and a profile for free. It also offers complex inventory management. However, the company takes a 2.75 per cent cut based on the price of each product sold.

Buyers and merchants can also share the items they have found in Square Market through Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. It also takes advantage of Twitter’s Cards API, meaning the product’s photo and description will be visible within a Tweet.

Square Market will also handle part of the transaction process. For example, sellers can look at all the purchase details and select how a product will be delivered via its dashboard.

However, once a deal is processed, it is up to the vendor to ship the product and take care of all fulfilment requests.

Overall, this online market is expected to boost the payment volume handled by Square. At present, the company handles US$15 billion payments each year, excluding the amount from major investor Starbucks.

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