Square launches inventory management tool for retailers

The digital payments firm unveiled new inventory management features for Square for Retail, the company’s integrated point-of-sale system designed for merchants.

  • Easy Item Create: With product barcode scans, merchants can build catalogs to prepare merchandise for sale across any channel.
  • Quick Inventory Counting: Sellers can keep track of inventory by scanning barcodes that provide information on how much stock is left for each product.
  • Smart-Stock Alerts: This feature uses machine learning to predict when a product will run out of stock, alerting sellers and helping them automatically reorder.

Ecommerce stole the limelight in 2020, but in-store retail is expected to make a comeback in 2021. Merchants focused more on ecommerce as the pandemic pushed consumers online: US ecommerce sales grew 33.6% year-over-year (YoY) to reach $799.18 billion in 2020, per eMarketer forecasts from Insider Intelligence. Now, with the pandemic abating thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, it’s getting safer to shop in-store again, and appetite for brick-and-mortar retail is on the upswing: 62% of US consumers said they plan to shop in-store at least once per week this spring, according to a March 2021 survey by The Harris Poll. Therefore, retailers might now want solutions that help them better manage their in-store processes.

Square’s new offering can appeal to merchants gearing up for post-pandemic omnichannel retail. Earlier in the pandemic, Square introduced tools like Online Checkout and on-demand delivery that helped retailers transition their businesses online and cater to changing consumer shopping habits. But the launch of its new seller features indicates Square is refocusing its strategy on in-store retail, which is expected to bounce back: Non-ecommerce sales are projected to grow 2.2% YoY in 2021 after dipping 0.2% annually the year before, per eMarketer forecasts from Insider Intelligence. Square’s new features can help it attract more sellers, especially larger sellers that have more inventory and sales to keep track of. Bringing in these types of merchants opens up higher revenue opportunities for Square—in Q4, growth was primarily driven by larger sellers, which made up 60% of its gross payment volume mix in the period—up from 56% the year before.