Last week I described some of Square’s functions and services as CRM-like. I asked how far would Square go to build out its small business marketing portfolio? Today the company announced Square Appointments.
Though not “marketing” per se, it continues the build-out of Square’s commerce platform and more comprehensive suite of SMB-centric services.
If the business doesn’t have a website Square will provide a booking page/site. Pricing is based on headcount: free for 30 days, $30 per month for sole proprietors, $50 for two to five employees and $90 for anything above that.
While low-cost credit card acceptance has quickly become something of a “commodity,” Square’s more compete set of services makes it a more attractive option for SMBs than say PayPal, which is only about payments.
Online scheduling will also create or reinforce customer loyalty.
I’ve spoken numerous times in the past about how “operational” companies such as Square can disrupt more traditional SMB marketing services providers. A company buying digital media ads could easily and quickly be displaced if “back office” support providers decide to expand their services into marketing — provided they’re competent. (Demandforce [now part of Intuit] is the poster child for this.)
That’s not to say that Square will inevitably get into SMB marketing services. But it argues those companies more deeply integrated at the “operational” layer are probably going to develop stronger, more lasting relationships with SMBs than pure marketing services providers.