Levelling The Playing Field For All Businesses: An Interview With Square
Digital payments company Square has recently launched two new products, Square Loyalty and Square Marketing, to help level the playing field for businesses of all types and sizes following a difficult 18 months.
Finance Monthly speaks to Saumil Mehta, General Manager of POS at Square, about the company’s new products, increased demand for omnichannel selling post-pandemic, and Square’s goals for the coming years.
In terms of supporting businesses, what would you say are the best features of Square Loyalty and Square Marketing?
Both Square Loyalty and Square Marketing have multiple features that are beneficial in the day-to-day running of a seller’s business, as well as the longer term.
Square Marketing simplifies how businesses engage with their customers as it fully integrates with the point-of-sale system as well as all other tools already being used by the business. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to standalone marketing tools is that businesses have to try and engage with their customers from various sources. With Square Marketing, businesses can streamline their communication by integrating with their point-of-sale, online store, invoicing system, appointments software and everything else. In the past, elaborate and effective email campaigns have often taken months to plan and have therefore mainly only been achievable for businesses with more resources and manpower. Square Marketing helps to change this by enabling sellers to create effective campaigns in less time; this means businesses with large marketing teams – and those without – can now reap the benefits.
Square Loyalty gives businesses the chance to really personalise the customer experience by allowing SMEs to stay on top of the changing needs of consumers, which evolved rapidly over the course of the pandemic. Deloitte research shows customers are looking for a more personalised experience when they shop for products or services - they want their needs anticipated, with offers and product suggestions tailored to their tastes. Square Loyalty lets businesses reward customers wherever they choose, whether that’s in-store or online, encouraging repeat customers through the implementation of a loyalty program built into the point-of-sale.
One of Square Loyalty’s key features is that it enables omnichannel selling. Would you say that there’s now a greater need for businesses to adopt omnichannel selling than there was pre-pandemic?
There is undoubtedly a higher demand for omnichannel selling since the start of the pandemic. Our recent UK research report, The Future of Retail uncovered that 97% of consumers now make monthly retail purchases online and 73% have bought products directly from social media in the past few months. These insights demonstrate that omnichannel selling is here to stay even now that in-person shopping restrictions have been lifted. Not only this, but eCommerce is also becoming an essential offering for businesses, who, without it, fail to tap into a significant portion of their customer base. Square Loyalty helps businesses accommodate this trend by providing an integrated solution to enable omnichannel outreach and sales.
Customers like the ease and convenience that comes with online shopping, but many still value in-person shopping in physical stores. Our same report shows that consumers missed various aspects of shopping in person during lockdown such as browsing through the stores for products (54%) and trying products in store (34%). This is where the benefits of an omnichannel offering come in for customers – they don’t have to choose either/or, but rather have multiple, integrated options open to them at their favourite businesses. For example, they may purchase an item online and then collect it from a physical store of their choosing. Ultimately, omnichannel is about meeting customers where they are and – if done successfully - creates loyal customers.
With the pandemic still ongoing, it’s likely the demand for omnichannel will only increase as consumers continue to adapt to the ‘new normal’ that involves balancing both everyday activities – like shopping – with existing restrictions and health & safety measures.
What would Square like to achieve over the next 5 - 10 years?
Whether in five years or 10, our mission will remain putting our sellers at the heart of everything we do through our purpose of economic empowerment. As technology advances and consumer demands change, our products will evolve along with them to ensure business owners have what they need to easily create the ideal user experience for their customers.
Tools like Square Marketing and Square Loyalty are critical in helping shape this trend, by allowing business owners of all sizes and sectors to tap into the changing needs and demands of consumers. Such tech is also crucial to not just building growth, but also supporting the resilience needed to thrive during unforeseen challenges.