Today, Square is releasing a few subtle but solid updates to both its Pay With Square app, which lets consumers make hands-free payments with participating merchants, and Square Register, its point-of-sale system for the iPad. Pay With Square users now get an in-app punchcard feature to collect rewards, as well as a new interface geared toward merchant discovery. Square Register merchants get more robust analytics and customizable options. Collectively, the features further bridge the gap between merchant and customer within the Square ecosystem.
Pay With Square previously offered a lightweight version of rewards, but it required the merchant to go through a fairly involved process of tracking the number of visits a particular customer had made, then scheduling a reward to pop up the next time that person walked into the shop. A fully automated system helps the merchant in two ways: It eliminates the act of having to tailor a specific deal at the point of sale, and it plays on the consumer’s desire to earn VIP-like deals. “Although there are some benefits to being surprised, there are also some benefits in knowing I’m very close to earning a reward,” Rabois says.
Pay With Square is also introducing a parallel feature that allows merchants to offer specials to first-time customers. Square’s most recent update to the app, back in March, placed a heightened focus on merchant discovery, and the new first-time specials feature is an extension of that. Now, when a Pay With Square user searches for “pizza” or “coffee,” merchants offering these deals will be highlighted in search results. “We’re making the experience of discovery fun and delightful, as opposed to a chore,” Rabois says.
Finally, an understated but useful tweak within the Pay With Square app is the change from the previous “Favorites” feature to something called “Your Cards.” “Your Cards” acts much like the old Favorites feature did–it allows you to store merchant cards from your favorite shops, like a customized address book. But it solves one of the most tedious problems with the old Pay With Square: Having to opt-in to authorize individual merchants to open your tab when you walk in. Saving a merchant to your Favorites is similar to adding a card of static information to a catalog. But when you store a merchant’s info in “Your Cards,” that automatically tells Pay With Square those stores are good to open tabs for you.
“It’s our job to make the rest of the stuff that helps you run your business so easy and delightful that it no longer becomes a burden but it actually becomes an asset,” he says.
As for Apple’s new Passbook for iOS6, which lets users store loyalty cards (as well as other paper items such as boarding passes and movie tickets) on their phones, Rabois isn’t too concerned. “Our
merchant cards are highly interactive, so they have functionality around paying
with your name, earning loyalty, and a communications channel to the
merchant,” he says. “Whereas, generally, passes represent
static information. But I think there’ll be a nice synergy between the two.”