We recently built an online store using Square Marketplace on SquareUp.com/market for a retail client. In the process of figuring out how to set it up, we found very little information online. Consequently, we had to figure out a lot on our own. Therefore, we thought others might find it useful if we summarized our experience here. That’s how we came up with Square Marketplace Pros and Cons.
When the business owners approached us about building their online store they were an existing client for whom we had built other websites. They had already been using Square to process in-store payments, they wanted to begin selling online, and they specifically wanted to use Square Marketplace.
We should note that we are web developers with experience building online stores for a variety of businesses. Typically we use WordPress, which is exceptionally flexible, robust, and powerful. This was our first Square Marketplace store.
Square Marketplace Pros and Cons
- Setting up an online store using Square Marketplace is inexpensive. You can create your store with no upfront fee, no listing fees, no setup fees. Just a 2.9% + $0.30 fee per online sale.
- The setup is relatively easy.
- The store is visually appealing.
- Outside of the company’s own support center, there are few materials or customer reviews online. Consequently, questions not addressed in Square’s support center means you’re on your own to figure it out.
- Unlike eBay, Amazon, Etsy and other online marketplaces, the Square Market site has no search functionality. If a customer goes to squareup.com/market, they can browse by category (e.g. home, art & design, tech, fashion…) but it is not possible to search for a specific item, brand or business name. This means that it is solely up to the business owner to promote their store.
- While it is possible to organize the items in your store by category, the only way to change the order of items within a category is one by one using a drag-and-drop interface. There’s no way to sort by name, price or popularity. Stranger still, the interface for rearranging items is in the Orders section of the dashboard instead of the Item Library. We discovered this purely by chance, after searching in vain for other methods. (See our related blog post illustrating how to change the order of your items in the online store.)
- While the standard template is visually appealing, there are no customization options. This makes it difficult to carry through your own personal style and branding. It is not possible to change font family or color, background color or image, link color or style, or layout. (In the case of our client, the default layout and styling was very much in keeping with their existing aesthetic, so it worked out well.)
- Online shopping is limited to customers purchasing in the United States for delivery to U.S. addresses only. As a result, customers outside of the U.S. will not see a shopping cart option.
- The options for setting shipping fees are very limited, and there is no option for live shipping calculations.
- Square Marketplace is proprietary. If this company goes out of business or withdraws the service, you lose your store and all the work you put into it. The best you can do is export your product catalog as a CSV file.
If you are interested in learning more about Square Marketplace Pros and Cons, about selling online, about Square Marketplace or other options for setting up an online store, we would love to speak with you. Please call us at (518) 392-0846 or email [email protected].
EDIT: regarding the first item in our list of cons, there is now an online forum for Square users, Square Communities.