Square Register’s Push For Mid-Size Merchants

What's Next In Payments®
3:46 PM EDT December 18th, 2012

Bigger is not always better.

In the wake of Square’s megadeal with Starbucks this past August, it’s easy to assume that the mobile payments company’s best bet is to look for more partnerships with giant retailers.

According to a recent TechCrunch review, that may not be where Square’s biggest opportunity lies.

Instead, TechCrunch highlights the Square Register’s appeal to small and medium-sized merchants and regional chains as a way for Square to “command a meaningful part of payments for the regional merchant,” and gives a largely glowing review of Square Review’s functionality.

Square Register was reconfigured in March to support more merchant types, and includes useful features such as the ability to customize permissions for employees, the ability to wirelessly print receipts or open cash drawers, and ability to access sales reports. What’s especially useful for local chains is the ability to manage multiple stores at once while maintaining some flexibility (such as menu options) over each individual outlet.

The TechCrunch report cites a Washington, D.C. Italian ice cream chain called Pitango Gelato, the Cartel Coffee Lab chain in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, and Café Grumpy in New York City as three small merchant chains that are big time fans of Square Register. The owner of Pitango Gelato, Noah Dan, characterized it as “better than any other solution on the market.”

Square Register is hugely important because of the uncertainly that comes with the swipe-and-dongle micro-merchant business model, as it’s legitimate to question whether SMBs bring in the type of transaction volume needed to make Square’s original foray into mobile payments thrive. VeriFone pulled out of the mobile payments war last week, citing “razor-thin margins” and a “fundamentally unprofitable” business, and opting to focus on its Register-like PAYware Mobile Enterprise service instead.

While SMBs and regional chains may not bring in the sort of eye-popping transaction volumes that a Starbucks would, their numbers can certainly add up. That’s not to say that Square shouldn’t target more major partnerships, but rather that other avenues are available to them as well.

To read the full TechCrunch review, click here

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