Point-of-sale company Square has opened its first physical store, a weekend-only space in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Appointments, however, can be made for anyone interested on weekdays, the company said in a blog post.
Dubbed “Square Showroom,” the space features demos and customer support of the company’s technology, including trouble-shooting and training, according to the post.
The company’s customers, which include many small and medium-sized businesses, can also leverage the space to feature their own products, the company said. That showcase will rotate monthly.
By virtue of its credit card readers and other business platforms and services, Square is already a major enabler of brick-and-mortar retail, allowing smaller businesses, including micro-businesses like flea-market vendors, to take advantage of mobile commerce. Square credits retail stores for some 20% of its transaction volume last year. Now the company itself is turning to a physical space to further sales of its hardware and software business solutions.
"As we’ve grown from our original reader and POS software to an ecosystem of tools that help you run your business, we felt it was important to offer you the opportunity to experience these products firsthand before deciding which tools will work best for your business," the company said in a blog post.
Square and similar systems are becoming go-to platforms for small merchants, and it's kind of surprising that retail locations accounted for just 20% of Square's transactions last year, and not a much higher percentage. However, 20% was enough for Square to unveil a collection of specialized retailer tools earlier this year, dubbed Square Retail. That suite features a point-of-sale app, with a search-based interface for faster checkout and barcode scanning to quickly build a cart; a smart customer directory that tracks sales by customer and automatically builds shopper profiles sorted into groups based on sales habits; employee management tools; and a solution for real-time inventory management across multiple store locations, as well as management of purchase orders, vendors and cost of goods sold and margin reporting.
With more equipment and more features comes a need for more understanding, and Square is taking a pop-up approach for now. This brick-and-mortar effort aims to bolster the company's customer service and the company is analyzing the results and feedback from vendors to decide whether to expand the concept, according to The Verge.