Square launches click-and-collect

Now Square merchants can offer a buy online (or mobile) and pick up in store feature. The payment platform has officially launched Pickup, a click-and-collect option, helping small- and mid-sized retailers better compete with the growing number of national chains now offering click-and-collect.

Pickup works with the Square Market online shopping portal launched in June 2013 that allows retailers to set up e-commerce portals. Market facilitates commerce by processing payments and handling shipping, but according to Gigaom, the number of Square Reader and Stand customers using the service was small.

Hence, the launch of Pickup.

The new pickup feature on Square Market integrates with Square Register. Sellers can fill orders both in stores and online. The pickup feature is available to all sellers at an 8 percent processing fee per order, although Square is offering a lower 2.75 percent introductory fee through July 1.

Square had tested the program in San Francisco and cites results from merchants including local eatery Souvla. The restaurant links to Square Market from their homepage and offers pickup. "We opened Souvla only three weeks ago and Square's pickup has been an invaluable addition to our business. Countless regulars already order from our website on their phone or desktop. They can skip the line and have their order ready when they walk in the door," said Charles Bililies, Souvla.

In February, Uniqlo offered Square's pickup tool to shoppers allowing them to pre-order Valentine's Day gifts and pickup orders in store, while Bay Area Whole Foods Market stores used the platform to allow pre-ordering of sandwiches with Square's pickup tool.

Square has also upgraded its system to accommodate offline payment processing and inventory tracking.

Square processes payments swiped offline when a connection is reestablished, keeping a consistent experience for the buyer and seller.

Inventory tracking is one of the most requested features by merchants, according to Square, and now sellers can track inventory online and in store. Sellers manage their inventory in their Web dashboard, including setting up stock alerts when items are running low.

Square is part of a growing group of mobile payment processors, and these moves help make it more than a POS. But can Square compete for long?

The technology company has been rumored to be in acquisition talks with several large tech companies, including Google and eBay's PayPal. And while a spokesman denied the rumors, the company, which allows small businesses to accept credit card payments on mobile devices, has been burning through cash. Square lost $100 million last year and may need to sell itself.

For more:
-See this Square announcement
-See this Gigaom story

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40% of retailers say back-office technology hampering omnichannel efforts
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