Square Now Lets Customers Order Ahead And Pick Up Their Purchases

But the processing fee is much higher than its standard swipe charge.

On Tuesday, Square updated its point-of-sale app with more robust features for merchants to manage their inventory, conduct business offline, and let customers order ahead online.

"We're building [Square] Register to be a complete system, so businesses can do everything from the back office part of running a business all the way to the front and having to engage with customers," a spokeswoman told Fast Company.

Square will tack on an 8% processing fee for an order-ahead tool that lets customers pick up purchases. Square hopes such a feature will help small businesses, especially those in the food and beverage space, identify and acquire loyal customers. The company said the fee, much higher than its standard 2.75% swipe charge, is competitive because of the infrastructure involved: a system for merchants to create web pages and accept transactions online. In comparison, pick-up and delivery services that cater to restaurants, such as Seamless, Eat24, and Grubhub, charge vendors between 10% and 20% of an order, according to Square. "A small business traditionally wouldn't be able to do this," the spokeswoman said. "They wouldn't be able to afford or build these tools. We've made it really simple for them."

Another feature called Offline Mode will let venders make transactions without accessing the Internet, saving information from a card swipe until a connection is reestablished. The app has also been refreshed with inventory-tracking capabilities, which has been one of the biggest value-adds of competitor Shopify's point-of-sale register.

"The features speak to our customers and how our customers are growing. As they're growing, they need more functionality, and we want to give them what they need," the spokeswoman said.

Earlier this month, Shopify, which offers a comprehensive set of tools for merchants to establish web stores and manage inventory online and offline, cut its credit card processing fees to take on Square.

[Image: Square]

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