Match or Mismatch?

Square hopes to grow some of its new products into $100 million businesses. We ask Square merchants about the prospects.

Match or Mismatch?
[Illustrations by Burnt Toast Creative]

1. Square Order

The merchant: Chava Coffee Co. A coffee roaster in Rockwall, Texas
The pitch: Customers prepay on their phones to expedite in-store pickup, allowing for quicker service and more orders during rush hours. Square takes 8% of Order payments rather than its usual 2.75%.
The take: “We kicked around the idea,” says Bret Williams, a Chava partner. “But would I pay 8%? No way. There may be a small increase if people realize they don’t have to wait as long, but I don’t think it would cover that hike in percentage.”
The verdict: Mismatch


2. Square Market

The merchant:Capital Eyewear. Boutique sunglasses studio in Los Angeles.
The pitch: E-commerce marketplace for Square merchants, integrating their inventory and providing a clean web presence. Square takes its usual 2.75% transaction fee.
The take: “It’s a very easy platform to use, but we don’t sell much through it,” admits owner Steven Kilzer. “I think Jack [Dorsey] bought three pairs through Market, and he’s probably our biggest customer we had come through there.”
The verdict: Mixed

3. Square Capital

The merchant: Just Baked. A cupcake and bakery business with 19 locations in Michigan and Ohio.
The pitch: Small businesses that need a quick cash infusion can receive a no-hassle loan based on their sales history. Payments, plus 10% interest, are automatically taken out of future transactions so the loan can be paid off over time.
The take: “It’s revolutionary for businesses like mine that need just a little money,” says founder Pam Turkin. “We needed a freezer and some other equipment. It was timely, easy to use, and you can pay back at your leisure that ebbs and flows with your business. I’d do it again in a minute.”
The verdict: Match

4. Square Feedback

The merchant: Trade Men’s Wares. A men’s goods retailer in Oklahoma City
The pitch: Merchants pay a flat $10 per month to survey customers via email receipts.
The take: “We’re a pretty local business, so people are willing to call or drop in if they have an issue.
And now, more and more people are using Yelp,” says co-owner Lukus Collins.
The verdict: Mismatch


5. Open Tickets

The merchant: Boba Guys. Bubble-milk-tea café with two locations in San Francisco.
The pitch: An order-management system that uses tablets to help restaurateurs track, fulfill, and close out orders with the tap of a finger.
The take: “The future is a digital order sent seamlessly back to the kitchen,” says cofounder Andrew Chau. “A few weeks ago we had a peak drink hour of 200 drinks. We could only do that with the new display system.”
The verdict: Match


About the author

Austin Carr writes about design and technology for Fast Company magazine.


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