Square isn’t always ahead of the pack
Square has ditched it’s Wallet application that was available on iOS and Android, favouring a new Order app in its place.
The Square Order app allows customers to place orders in advance at coffee shops, cafés, and other Square-enabled merchants before picking them up in store. It’s a different approach to the failed Square Wallet payment app that made use of PayPal-like ‘check in’ systems of letting customers shop via an app, allowing store staff to authorise a payment without taking a card from a customer.
As it turns out, the technology that Square hoped would be a far simpler offering turned out to be widely unpopular, and just didn’t take off with merchants or consumers.
That’s why Order exists. It’s there to create a payment product that’s appealing to small businesses and consumers, pitching the idea of reducing queue times and allowing customers to waltz in and grab their orders with ease.
“Square Wallet provided a very magical experience but didn’t have a lot of the utility value,” Square’s Ajit Varma said in a recent interview with Re/Code. “We want to make it really clear to people looking for Square in the App Store that Order is where we see the future.”
Apparently, it only took two meetings for Square to decide that it would no longer be supporting the Wallet application, due in part from a lack of drive of the software from Starbucks – its biggest retail partner.
However, Square has allowed previous Wallet users to continue using the service, showing continued support for the application – but nobody new can download the application now.
There is one caveat with Order and its service: Square are charging eight per cent on transactions. That’s seriously steep margins, but the company argues that it’ll be extremely effective at bringing new business in to merchants. Still, it’s hard to see why any company would want such a hefty cut into any of its sales. Alternatively, it might mean that Square Order has higher prices than picking up in store, partly to combat the large cut, partly to pay for the sheer convenience.
Square Order isn’t just a simple payments app though, merchants can use it to advertise products and help run loyalty programmes, helping mobile commerce grow.
And, it would seem that consumers actually want such a service, with early beta tests showing that orders occur more frequently than they previously did thanks to the Order app.
But is it enough to save Square and it’s $5 billion valuation?