In a bid to expand its services for retailers, Square has released a suite of inventory management tools for Square for Retail, the platform announced on Thursday. The features include Easy Item Create, Quick Inventory Counting and Smart-Stock Alerts.
According to the announcement, Quick Inventory Counting tracks sellers' stock counts using barcode scanning, and Easy Item Create lets merchants add to their product catalog and prepare items for sale via various channels. The Smart Alerts tool uses machine learning to pinpoint when an item may run out and automatically prompts merchants to reorder it.
Per a survey conducted by Square and Wakefield Research, 74% of retail respondents said they plan to use real-time inventory technology this year.
Though inventory has always been a challenge for retailers large and small, the COVID-19 pandemic has been acutely disruptive to retailers' inventories, leaving retailers with either too much merchandise or not enough. For companies like Nordstrom, Stitch Fix, TJX and Ross, inventory woes have hurt the bottom line.
The launch of Square's inventory management features follows the rollout of multiple other tools aimed at supporting merchants. Over the past few years, the platform released an all-in-one portable payments tool, updated its Square Online Store and Square for Retail products, and launched Square for Retail on Square Register, which integrated its software, hardware and payments solutions technology.
Square noted that these features are meant to help sellers streamline their inventory management, especially now that e-commerce sales are even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. For retailers that have one location that sells online, two-thirds of their revenue comes from online sales, Square's survey found.
"Last year was a challenging one for retailers. We're looking forward to providing sellers with access to the tools they need to prepare for reopenings and the year ahead," Roshan Jhunja, general manager of Square for Retail, said in a statement. "We're also excited to help sellers continue to automate difficult, but necessary tasks like inventory management, and get back to doing what they love — running their business."