sq

The New Square Market is (Update: NOT) the Best Way to Sell Merch Online

Update

Since publishing this, we’ve had a serious issue and no longer recommend Square Market. Read more in this updated blog post.

Few should be unfamiliar with Square, the little credit card reader that plugs into any smartphone’s headphone jack and allows you to take payments with their free app and a flat 2.75% charge. Since it launched, it’s not only spawned competing devices from Paypal and Intuit, but it’s become so widely accepted that I don’t think I’ve seen a merch booth at a show without one.

Recently, the company has launched the Square Market where anyone with a Square account can set up an online store very quickly and easily and begin taking orders in literally minutes. You set the price and shipping cost, and just as always Square only takes a 2.75% cut for the transaction fee. With no monthly maintenance fees, this is the absolute most cost-effective way for a band that handles their own fulfillment to sell their own merch. In fact, I’ve already referred potential tunelab clients to them, because the online store we offer goes through Paypal, who charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

Even better, their system automatically syncs inventory levels with your mobile reader, so you can setup your store online, better manage sales and inventory on the road, and make life much easier on your manager or accountant.

The only real drawback is that there is no mechanism for selling digital download products. You could in theory by offering something with free shipping and then manually emailing download links to your customer, but that could get very labor-intensive and of course there would be no instant download.

The digital stores we make for bands do include the ability to list physical merch products that link to an external store like Square, so it is fairly easy to integrate. And if you can’t handle your own fulfillment, tunelab does offer that as well at competitive rates — contact us for details. If you’d like to see a Square Market page in action, we’re using it to sell CDs for a client.

Update

Since publishing this, we’ve had a serious issue and no longer recommend Square Market. Read more in this updated blog post.