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Square Adds Inventory, Omnichannel Management To SMB App Marketplace

With the intention of bringing enterprise tools to small biz, the POS provider is expanding its offerings beyond transactions.

Small biz marketing and payments management platform Square has been striking a series of partnerships with developers to further enhance its point-of-sale system with a variety of offerings in its nine-month-old App Marketplace.

In the past week, the App Marketplace has added Whisk, a recipe management platform the helps restaurants track the cost and inventory of ingredients, and Shopventory, which shows retailers what items need to be more heavily (or less, if that’s the case) stocked.

Square’s App Marketplace currently has 21 downloadable apps that are integrated into the company’s software suite. Other recent additions include DIY website maker Weebly and Bigcommerce, which aims to help brick-and-mortar shops combat showrooming by allowing them to set up a series of online payment and e-commerce links.

“Sellers of all sizes deserve access to tools that make running a business simpler and more efficient,” said a Square rep. “That’s what Square’s App Marketplace is all about.”

The San Francisco-based POS services company’s pitch continues to be aimed at small-to-medium-sized businesses who want access to the kinds of marketing cloud-based payment, accounting, and inventory management technologies that tend to be reserved for larger enterprises.

The Square Register in action. The POS system is at the center of a range of SMB services.
The Square Register in action. The POS system is at the center of a range of SMB services.

On top of that, the apps are intended to make Square’s main POS products more attractive to local retailers by offering other helpful tools that can “enhance the customer experience,” since, in theory, at least, merchants will be freed up to concentrate on serving consumers’ needs more directly.

Whisk, for example, claims to be able to identify the “ideal usage” of each ingredient and the profit margin based on actual sales of every menu item. Whisk also connects to the USDA database to generate nutritional data for each menu item and flag items with allergens.

“With that level of information, Square sellers can make informed decisions that boost their bottom line, grow their business, and help them succeed in their segment or market” said Jeff Schacher, founder and chief product officer of Whisk’s developer, PeachWorks, in a statement.

As local retailers adopt “omnichannel” marketing and management identities, Square is racing against a range of other tech companies to be the one platform that ties disparate services all together.

In talking with Square executives, the company has highlighted the increasing expectation among SMBs that all their tech systems need to talk to each other. SMBs can’t afford engineers to manage all the plugins and protocols that larger businesses can. Square ultimately wants to position itself as the smaller alternative to companies like Salesforce and Google, as those two and others are looking more closely supplying marketing software to what is still a largely untapped local landscape.

The feeling is that if a business runs Square POS, business financing, and other products, it’ll be more apt to stay loyal when the wider tech providers start knocking on SMBs’ doors.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.