Square expands into digital retail with online marketplace


Square is expanding its digital payments platform into the retail segment with the launch of Square Market, an online marketplace challenging sites like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay and Etsy.

Square Market enables small businesses and artisans to sell their products online without the expense of designing and maintaining their own dedicated sites. Sellers create a profile, upload product photos and descriptions, and determine pricing and shipping costs. Merchants can also integrate their sites with social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to alert shoppers to special offers.

"Creating an online marketplace is our next step in making commerce easy for everyone," Square Director of Discovery Ajit Varma said. "Square Market makes local businesses accessible to customers down the block and across the country."

While Square Market vendor sites are free, Square will claim a 2.75 percent cut of each item sold. Amazon charges 99 cents per item listed, or a flat $39.99 a month for power sellers. eBay listings range from free to 30 cents per item, depending on the type of product and how many are listed. Etsy implements a fee of 20 cents per listing, although fees only go into effect when an item is sold or has been listed on its platform for four months or longer.

Square's signature Card Reader solution enables merchants to swipe credit and debit cards through a small dongle plugged into devices running Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. The firm bills U.S. merchants a flat fee of 2.75 percent on all transactions.

Square has since rolled out a series of complementary applications and services and now processes more than $15 billion in annual payments, serving more than 4 million North American businesses and individuals. Those figures exclude transactions completed by coffeehouse chain Starbucks, which began allowing consumers to pay for purchases via the Square Wallet app late last year.

For more:
- read this Verge article
- read this CNet article

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