Most people associate Square with helping small and medium-sized businesses process credit cards, but the company is hoping its new hardware will let it start helping larger businesses with their own payment systems.
Today, the San Francisco-based financial services firm debuted Square Register, a point-of-sale system that integrates hardware, software and payment technology into a single device. In other words, Square has made its own cashless register, though those who want to accept cash can still do that.
According to Square CEO Jack Dorsey, the idea was to create a system that’s more attractive to larger businesses, which the company defines as those with product revenue of more than $125,000 a year.
“Today represents a milestone for us in our own growth and to make sure we’re growing with our customers as well,” Dorsey said.
At a media preview in New York, Dorsey and head of hardware product development Jesse Dorogusker demonstrated the device, which includes dual displays—one for the buyer and one for the seller—along with five USB ports. There’s also a spot for an ethernet cable for when Wi-Fi isn’t available. The devices will sell for $999, and sellers will be charged 2.5 percent per payment along with a 10-cent fee per transaction.
“The world is still packed full of giant grey and beige towers that are between the buyer and the seller, and it’s terrible,” Dorogusker said.
While Square often touts its high-tech transactions, it’s going retro with how it promotes them. A new campaign for Square Register features neon signs, a reference to those that once appeared, or sometimes still do appear, in shop windows.
“If you look at a lot of small businesses, a lot of them use that for ‘open for business’ and/or their business name,” Square chief marketing officer Kevin Burke told Adweek, noting that the company will be buying 100 percent digital media for the first stage of a longer campaign. “And that really was the inspiration for it.”
While the company has in the past focused on horizontal growth, Square Register gives it a way to focus on specific industries such as retail, restaurants and hospitality. Ben & Jerry’s was among the first to sign on. Cafe Grumpy and Goa Taco are also now Register users.
Asked if Square Register is a sign that the company is moving away from SMBs, Dorsey said those will remain a part of the growth plan. However, he said, Square made the decision a while ago to never solely focus on small businesses, because many of them might one day grow to five, 15 or more locations.
There could also be a data play with the new hardware. Dorsey said the company’s Customer Marketing program will give customer data from the registers to sellers on an opt-in basis without that information being sold to third parties. That could help businesses better understand which customers are the most loyal and which ones might be worth emailing if they haven’t visited in a while.
“We can’t be a business that says, ‘Oh, you’re too big for us now. We’re not philosophically going to serve anyone above X,'” Dorsey said. “So we wanted to make sure we were building something that actually scaled, and while we were building this with a larger seller in mind, we do imagine that individual businesses of a sole proprietor of even just three employees will also make use of it.”