Square Goes Brick-And-Mortar In New York

Square, the mobile payments processor run by Jack Dorsey, opened its first physical, brick-and-mortar store to offer hands-on support for merchants, as well as showcase some of its hardware products.

Bloomberg Technology reports that the store — located in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood — boasts the iconic white Square design outside tand point-of-sale hardware products on display inside. The store also offers a support desk where sellers can make appointments with Square employees to get help with its software.

"We’re [within] walking distance [of] hundreds of Square sellers," said Jesse Dorogusker, the company’s hardware lead. "We want to develop the idea that you can merge sales, support, merchant showcase and a retail store. That scales with more brick-and-mortar locations, or pop-ups, or something more mobile over time."

There isn’t much expectation that the store will be a big driver of hardware products, which are already on sale at national retailers like Best Buy. Instead, the goal is to improve the customer experience, boost sales for Square’s merchants and introduce shoppers to the Square brand.

Square, which started by selling smartphone plug-ins so food truck vendors and other small businesses could accept credit cards, has since attracted larger merchants with a suite of services and software that make it easier to run a business. Less than 5 percent of Square’s revenue now comes from hardware.

Its more profitable services, including loans, food delivery and inventory management software, have boosted the company’s financial performance and its stock. In fact, last month, Square posted second quarter results that topped expectations.

By opening a physical store, Square is trying a new marketing strategy and setting itself apart from competitors like ShopKeep, Clover by First Data Corp. and PayPal Here.

"Every time you put up a store, it’s a like a giant billboard," said Brendan Witcher, an analyst at Forrester Research. "It’s very hard to differentiate online. The physical space is where you can create a unique experience."



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