Square launches ecommerce and point of sale APIs to offer sellers omni-channel experience

- January 18, 2017 3 MIN READ

A few months after launching its contactless reader, Square is continuing its roll out of new products in Australia, today launching its Build with Square suite of payment APIs locally to enhance its omni-channel offering.

The Square API for ecommerce allows sellers to use Square to process online payments on their websites with a few lines of code, with the Square Dashboard then showing sales processed both in store and online. For those not quite at the level of having developed a custom website themselves, Square has also announced integrations with website builders including BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Wix.

Square’s point of sale API, meanwhile, acknowledges that its own POS solution may not be the best for every business and so in turn allows any iOS or Android POS platform to enable customised payment processing with Square.

Ben Pfisterer, Australian country manager for Square, said the launch of the payment APIs “vastly increases the capability of the Square platform and enables deeper partnerships with third party solutions”.

“It’s more common than ever for businesses of any size to sell their products or services online and in-person, so having a fully integrated omni-channel system gives them a powerful advantage,” he said.

Build with Square was first launched in the US early last year, around the same time Square launched its original card reader in Australia.

While he said questions about ecommerce processing were “pretty consistent” over the last year, Pfisterer said the company has been taking a strategic approach to its roll out in Australia, looking to identify what the most sought-after products and services are.

“We’re very aware of where we’re at with our business, and in Australia we’re relatively new. We saw the Square reader as the first capability we needed, and around that time the US was starting to deploy ecommerce processing as well, so we did look at the range of products available, but the second most in demand was contactless, so we put our attentions to putting that in market,” Pfisterer explained.

“Now with that in market, this was the next one we wanted to get out there. But it was also a question of timing for us; we were aware that we don’t want to saturate the market with too diverse a range of products.”

With Australia the first country outside of North America to be given access to Square’s payment APIs, Square’s developer lead Carl Perry said that the Australian launch is an important step as the company looks to create a “more international” platform for developers in 2017.

The look to developers is an interesting one; there are a number of big names in the market, from the likes of Braintree to Stripe through to homegrown players eWay and Pin Payments in Australia.

However Pfisterer said Square does not necessarily see itself as competing against these other services. Rather, he said, Square is focused on providing small businesses with a complete platform offering for all their payment services.

While he said the company will look to take market share from others in the online payment processing space, Pfisterer expects adoption of the tool will follow a similar trend to the adoption of Square’s card readers in Australia in that users new to the technology will come to it; a survey conducted by Square last year found 80 percent of its sellers weren’t using existing card terminals before coming to Square.

“We know we’re being used by a different segment in the market, so we’re not just out there to offer ecommerce processing functionality, we’re offering a holistic end-to-end solution that applies to different businesses.”

Integration of Square’s APIs is free, with online payments accepted using the ecommerce API are charged at a flat rate of 2.2 percent per Visa, Mastercard, or American Express transaction. Card payments accepted via the point of sale API are charged at 1.9 percent per transaction.

Image: Ben Pfisterer. Source: Supplied.