Square Inc. released a software development kit to enable merchants and developers to use Square for their payments processing in apps.
Announced Wednesday, the SDK marks a first for Square and creates a single platform for transactions made by Square merchants that also sell in stores. The SDK is available for iOS and Android devices. The in-app capability rounds out Square’s processing channel, with the San Francisco-based company having provided in-store payment acceptance from the start and adding an e-commerce application programming interface code in 2016.
For Square merchants, this mean they can have unified backend reporting of their transactions, Square says.
“With the introduction of in-app mobile payments to the Square platform, developers now have a complete, omnichannel payments solution for all their payment needs,” Carl Perry, Square developer lead, said in a statement.
Many merchants are migrating to a so-called omnichannel payments approach, which consolidates all shopper transactions into one platform, regardless of how the purchase was made. In a 2018 National Retail Federation survey, 21% of merchants said enabling omnichannel commerce, such as purchase-in-aisle and buy-online-pickup-in-store, was a priority. Only 5% said payments and checkout was a priority last year.
And as online sales increase—in the 2018 third quarter it accounted for 9.8% of all retail sales, up from 9% a year prior, the Census Bureau says—pressure is on for payments companies to help merchants.
“Square understands that to capitalize on this growth, a more comprehensive set of digital-commerce capabilities is required,” says Jordan McKee, research director at New York City-based 451 Research. “According to 451 Research’s Global Unified Commerce Forecast, online sales are growing globally at nearly seven [times] the rate of in-store.”
Square, as it moves beyond services for micromerchants, the market where it started, has had to add more sophisticated payments products as it deals with more sophisticated omnichannel merchants, McKee says. “It’s likely that these merchants are requesting Square be able to facilitate their transactions across all sales channels, including in-app.”
Nesting in-store, online, and now app purchases made via Square will benefit merchants through more comprehensive reporting, providing greater visibility into customer activities across sales channels, McKee says.