Expanding Its Services, Square Launches Email Marketing With A Twist
Company offers pre-segmented lists and closed loop offline tracking.
Today Square is launching “Square Marketing.” The simplest way to describe it is: email marketing with associated CRM capabilities. However that basic description ignores several interesting and differentiated aspects of the offering.
As with other similar products, there are email templates and a dashboard. However business owners using a Square POS system will also find that the company has pre-segmented customers — based on their purchase histories and frequency — into three categories: loyal, casual or lapsed.
This enables businesses to quickly target audiences with customized or different messages and promotions based on actual (offline) purchase behavior. The company said in its blog post that companies testing the product saw “redemption rates 2x the industry average” and that translated directly into over $1 million in sales during the beta period.
Most interesting and noteworthy perhaps is the fact that Square’s POS enables offline sales tracking. It matches email opens to in-store redemptions. So business owners have a totally closed loop.
Email marketers generally have visibility into online sales. However, absent a coupon, most have little or no insight into whether promotions translated into offline sales.
Another interesting angle here is that the system doesn’t rely on business owners collecting email addresses. Customer lists are created automatically in the background from purchase activity through the Square POS.
Many people continue to think of Square as a “payments company” or the company that created “that credit card dongle for the iPhone.” However Square has been steadily expanding its suite of services for small businesses. In addition to the core of payment processing and POS services, they include appointments, analytics, financing and now marketing.
The company sees itself as a “commerce enabler” for small businesses. Accordingly, I’ve been expecting and waiting for the company to get into marketing services for some time. It’s a logical extension of the company’s mission. And unlike many providers of small business marketing services, Square has built a brand and a significant, installed base of merchant users.
The company told me that it now qualifies, according to the value and volume of payments processed, as the 13th largest retailer in the US.
My guess is that “Square Marketing” is a new category that will see the launch of other marketing tools and services for small businesses in the not-too-distant future. The company is launching with email marketing because it’s something that most small businesses understand and use today and Square can differentiate with pre-organized customer segments and closed loop tracking.