Mythbusting Point-of-Sale: Square at Money 20/20

“There’s been a lot of transformation in commerce in the last 20 years”, Mary Kay Bowman, Head of Payments, Square, said on the Ringside stage at Money 20/20 EU, Amsterdam, this morning.

The topic of the day at the Ringside stage on the final day of Money 20/20 EU was POS disruption – how consumers are paying, and how they’re going to pay in the future.

Chairing the stage, Kevin Emery, UL, preceded Bowman’s presentation with an audience poll, which revealed that the Money 20/20 audience believed that POS devices would no longer exist in 5-10 years’ time.



“Point of sale is no longer a valid term for our industry,” Emery said before introducing Bowman to the stage.

“There are new customer experiences, new business types that never would have been conceived of, a plethora of new payment methods and so many payments technologies to support those models,” Bowman began.

“We’re going to shatter a lot of conventional knowledge.”

In a presentation entitled ‘Sales Anywhere: Why the point of sale is no longer a POS’, Bowman set out to tell the story of Square’s “mission of economic empowerment”, and turn common assumptions of what smaller retailers require in their payment solutions on their head.

“Small businesses today are on a journey”, Bowman said.

“They need to be faster, scrappier and smarter than their larger competitors – it’s an uphill battle.”

Bowman highlighted the need for the increasingly specialized array of smaller retailers to understand their USP and the unique needs of their customers, and the need for their payment solutions to reflect that.

“They’re probably never going to have more selection than amazon or a bigger footprint than M&S from a retail perspective- they have to think about what makes them special and how to best serve their customers.”

But smaller retailers, Bowman pointed out, do have some advantages over their larger competitors.

“They are able to be agile and serve their customers how they need to – we can help them to close their sale in the way they need to.”

Bowman presented a series of ‘myths’ surrounding SMEs and their payments, such as that SMEs largely deal in cash – increasingly, these businesses rely on card payments to remain flexible enough for their customers – and that SMEs are either face to face or online.



Each myth was backed with a unique case study, presenting a small business that Square has helped to thrive by providing them with retail solutions unique to them.

“Myth no.1 – SMEs largely deal in cash.”

“The point of sale is no longer the POS”, Bowman said. Rather, the point is to understand the uniqueness of each individual business, that their payment solution is central to the success of their business and that merging the two is key to allowing small businesses to thrive.

“They need ideas that impact their customers to stay in competition with larger businesses,” Bowman concluded.


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