Sarah Harvey, Square UK Lead: Why small businesses need to focus on omnichannel payments

Square was launched in 2009 by Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, who wanted to build a product focusing on small merchants that would enable them to all accept card payments. Square launched in the UK in March, the fifth country where the service is now available, joining existing markets in Canada, Japan, Australia and the US.

PaymentEye spoke to Square’s UK Lead Sarah Harvey about the companies’ new launch, legacy, and why small businesses are the looking to venture their commerce online.

How will the introduction of the Virtual Terminals enhance Square’s overall user experience?

It’s a really useful tool for small businesses who don’t necessarily have a phone or tablet on them at all times. For example, if you have a business where people are calling in orders, and the person they’re talking to on the phone is on their laptop, it means they don’t need to close the call to open the app to be able to enter a payment. With the launch of the Virtual Terminal, we feel that we have built the most complete and all-rounder payments solution for small businesses in the UK. We really listened to our customers and their feedback motivated us to develop it.

What set the UK apart as the next targeted market for Square?

We were exceptionally excited about the small business environment in the UK. There are about 5.5 million small businesses in the UK. According to a recent study by Barclaycard, about 2.2 million of those don’t accept card payments right now. We thought this was a very similar dynamic to what we saw in the US, so we felt that we had a great fit for the market here.

Will we see a move towards great omnichannel payments?

Yes, most larger businesses have moved from brick-and-mortar to an online world. Many smaller businesses are following that trend and evaluating how they can successfully get online.

Where Square is uniquely placed is the ability to offer payments from an omnichannel perspective. You can access our e-commerce API in two ways: if your business has someone who is tech savvy, they can build directly off our API. Or, most small businesses come to us through one of our website builder partners where they can pick Square for the options of payments.

We’ve found that businesses that are looking to move to omnichannel, particularly small businesses, and are really focusing on getting just one form of settlement or one type of reconciliation; it simply makes it easier for them to run their businesses.

Will seamless and fast payments be the main selling point of Square to the UK market?

Absolutely, we believe that there are a couple of things that really distinguish Square. Firstly, the fact that we offer complete solutions no matter what type of business you have means that businesses can use Square to take different forms of payments.

We have a spectrum of businesses using our service; from using our electronic invoice products with the big benefit that they’re getting the money quickly.

The next business day is normally as quick as the money comes in, but you can do all of that reconciliation through the analytics tool, you can see the reconciliation online in one place and track all of your sales easily.

What are the Square features that are beneficial for businesses?

I would say firstly, the POS and its ease of use with regards to the set-up is a major advantage.

Secondly, it’s our analytics tool kit. We have both built reports and custom reports that you can drive. For a business operating in different areas for example, you can examine the analytics and inspect sales depending on location, employee, the most popular selling item and the best times. This is a helpful tool for a small business.

Finally, how will Square stand out compared to the e-commerce competitors in Europe?

It’s really the completeness of our payments solutions that makes us stand out. It’s the fact that we’re able to do all of these different aspects of payments, such as face-to-face, online, paying via the app, as well as the virtual terminal and other forms of card not present payments.

This is particularly important as more and more businesses are moving into worlds where they’re taking on two or three different forms of payments, specifically in retail in the online and offline world, but also in professional services where sometimes they want to take face to face payments but other times they are utilising an invoice of card transactions.

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