Square Inc. is getting into the photography business as yet another way to add auxiliary services beyond payments designed to attract and retain merchants.
The new service, dubbed Square Photo Studio, enables merchants, or sellers in Square’s lingo, to ship products to a Square studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., where they are photographed by a robotic camera with human assistance, Bloomberg News reported. Sellers can provide instructions on camera angles, according to a Square online posting. Square says it then makes the resulting high-resolution images available to the seller for posting in online stores, on Web sites, online marketplaces, the Pinterest and Instagram social networks, and in emails.
Pricing is $9.95 per product for three photos, plus $8 for return shipping. An interactive, 360-degree shot costs $29.95. Products can weigh no more than 20 pounds, with a maximum of 84 inches in combined length and girth. Square says anyone, not just its sellers, can use the service.
San Francisco-based Square is betting that many smart-phone-toting sellers are discovering that taking good pictures of inanimate objects that stimulate product sales is harder than they first believe. “It’s no secret that e-commerce stores with professional photographs just perform better,” a Square spokesperson tells Digital Transactions News by email. “Photography is an absolutely essential component to selling online, whether on your online store or on other channels like Amazon, Etsy, and Instagram. Better product photos ultimately mean more sales for our sellers—when they win, so do we.” The spokesperson claims Square’s pricing is just one-tenth the cost of similar services from professional photographers.
The photo service joins the other point-of-sale, business-management software, payroll, financing, loyalty, and other products and services Square has rolled out in the decade since it first offered a card-accepting dongle for mobile phones.