Square’s Online Store Opens up to Large Sellers With New Developer Tools

Square's Online Store
Square's Online Store: Seamless integration with Square Point of Sale helps keep in-person and online business in sync.

Square’s efforts to attract large sellers to its platform are gaining traction based on its latest quarterly earnings report. The company says that its mid-market sellers grew by 43 percent annually, twice its total Gross Payment Volume (GPV) growth. To further that momentum, Square is launching a developer API giving these merchants access to not only its Online Store for the first time but the ability to build plugins off-platform.

Tapping into the Online Store

With the new Snippets API, developers can create third-party applications to help drive traffic to their site, improve site conversions or even establish loyalty programs. It’s one of the most requested features by Square customers. Now they can bring the marketing features available in the Square Online Store right onto their own digital properties.

An evolution of its Square Market, the Online Store gives merchants a place to host their own e-commerce store. And with the integration of Weebly, businesses can leverage marketing tools to promote themselves. But that is all under the Square domain. This is great for small- and medium-sized businesses who don’t have time to set up their own digital shop. However, large merchants want to have everything on their own domain so the Snippets API allows that.

“Our developer platform plays a critical role in Square’s growth upmarket and serving larger sellers, which is one of Square’s fastest-growing seller segments,” says Matthew O’Connor, the company’s partner and developer platform lead. “The larger the merchant, the greater the need for customization – enabling more developers to build diverse solutions on top of our platform will become an increasingly important part of serving those unique and varied needs.”

Branding takes on more importance as a business grows, and no more so than when it comes to making a transaction. If you’re making a purchase and the experience shows you different services before you checkout, that may create confusion. Square wants to bring its omnichannel payments experience that merchants enjoy in its Online Store to third-party apps.

The launch of the Snippets API is another element of Square’s developer platform, a strategic part of its push upmarket. As I noted in 2019, asking large merchants to swap out their infrastructure in favor of Square is next to impossible, let alone quite an expensive feat. What Square prefers is to solve problems in a specific domain before then proving to sellers that it should be entrusted to help more in their business. Though lacking in specifics, the company’s head of e-commerce David Rusenko says Square Online Store is growing with the number of active sellers doubling every quarter since the start of 2020. With the program’s success, now Square gives it to developers.

Two additional developer tools

Besides the Snippets API, Square is also announcing the general availability of its Web Payments SDK and Loyalty API. The former allows developers to build a customizable online payment experience on any e-commerce site and accepts multiple forms of payment methods, including ACH bank payments. While the SDK is helpful for any merchant, the acceptance of ACH payments is especially significant for large businesses.

As for the loyalty API, Square’s sellers can establish their own loyalty programs off-platform. The goal is to allow developers to have a tool to easily set something up on their own website without needing to spend countless hours and resources trying to reinvent the wheel. You get the Square experience on your own property.

Square declined to state how many developers are using its platform. Its head of partner management Gabriella Hernandez says that since 2018, the “number of 90-day active developers building solutions for sellers on Square’s platform has grown more than 30 percent annually.”

“As we continue to increase the velocity of new API launches and enable developers to extend more of the Square ecosystem, we expect the number of developers building on our platform to continue to grow, as well as the robustness of the integrations they build,” O’Connor asserts.

Both the Snippets API and Web Payments SDK are available now, though ACH payment acceptance is only available in beta in the U.S. The Loyalty API is available now in the U.S.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."