Peak Payment Performance: Q&A with Square

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 12 Dec 2019

In 2019, e-commerce companies have a plethora of payment options available at their fingertips – from PayPal to Square and Apple Pay, there are more options than ever to suit a business’ needs and requirements. We sat down with Chris Rich, the Business Success Lead at Square Australia, to discuss the power of payments in the digital retail industry.

Square is an omnichannel payment platform that, since its inception 2009, has become a common platform for omnichannel retailers across the globe. Founded by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and Jim McKelvey, the idea for Square came to fruition after Jim, who also had a side business as an artisanal glassblower, kept losing sales due to people not carrying enough cash on them to purchase his products.

“Jack and Jim decided that there should be an easier way for small businesses to accept card payments, outside of having to visit a bank — after all, everyone was walking around with powerful smartphones in their pockets,” Chris Rich tell Power Retail.

“When Square Reader first came into the market it revolutionised payments, making it possible for anyone anywhere to accept card payments using just a smartphone or tablet device. Since then, we have built an ecosystem of integrated tools to empower businesses and individuals to participate in the economy,” he says.

How have digital payments changed over the last 12 months, and how has Square helped pave the way for a seamless payment process?

“There’s no doubt that Australia’s payments landscape has changed drastically over the past few years. We hit a major milestone in 2017 as cards became more popular than cash for the very first time, and digital payment trends have only surged since,” Rich tells us.

“Now customers are used to getting what they want, when they want it and how they want it. With this in mind, 2019 has been all about the services that provide an incredible customer experience. In January, Square announced the launch of the Square In-App Payments Software Development Kit (SDK), which is basically a product that enables businesses to process payments with Square within their consumer-facing mobile apps.

“The SDK includes a beautifully designed, interactive user experience that guides buyers as they enter their credit card information, preventing errors and providing a smoother checkout experience. The SDK also rounds out Square’s omnichannel payments platform, making Square the only global payments platform with first-party products that provide an end-to-end payments experience across in-person, web, and mobile app transactions.

“By using one platform for payments, businesses minimise the complexity, security, and compliance of managing payments across multiple channels. For retailers, this also means a single, unified system for back-office reporting and the ability to see a holistic view of their customers’ behaviour for easier customer service and loyalty.”

Square App SDK via: Square

In April, Square launched Square Online Store to boost Aussie e-commerce platforms. Could you please provide insights into this initiative, and why it’s important for Australian digital retailers?

“Square Online Store is a product designed to give Australian retailers the tools they need to start or grow their e-commerce business instantly. The new offering that we launched earlier this year was the first product to be fully integrated with Weebly, a powerful platform for building a website since the company was acquired by Square in 2018,” says Rich.

“The great part about this product offering is that businesses have the option of a free starter plan (with no monthly subscription fees), which is great for retailers who want to try selling online before they sign up long-term. You can easily create a professional website that fits your business needs and seamlessly syncs with your existing Square data, like catalogue items and inventory. Square Online Store also enables you to access integrated tools, including shoppable Instagram galleries, shipping and in-store pickup. More than 80 percent of Australians are now shopping online, so it’s now more important than ever for smaller retailers to utilise the affordable tools at their disposal to step up and compete for customers’ attention in this space,” he says.

The Future:

From Buy Now, Pay Later to cryptocurrency, digital payments are the future for retailers everywhere. Where do you see digital payments heading in the next 12 months?

“With cash declining at a rapid rate, there’s no doubt Australia is headed towards a cashless society in the next few years. Digital payments are an easier, faster and more secure way to pay — for businesses and consumers alike — so I think we’ll start to see more and more businesses shun cash altogether. Aside from that, I think there are still more areas where the industry can collaborate to do better, I think peer-to-peer payments and cross-border payments will become a bigger focus for companies over the next few years as commerce becomes even more global,” Rich explains.

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