Here comes the ‘business in a box’

squarebiabSquare, the “service that enables anyone to accept credit cards anywhere” has just launched what they’ve labelled as a “Business in a Box” which they say will simplify setting up point of sale for small companies. With a couple of Square readers, iPad stand and a cash drawer you have all you need to get up and running with your retail business.

App approach

By creating an ecosystem, Square is able to offer a platform for innovation much like the iPhone did. Rather than a silo’d system, the Business in a Box simplicity and openness allows a merchant to pick and choose apps that are complementary. Those apps can include accounting, analytics, inventory and other lightweight ways to integrate a business.

This idea is a spur to innovation and a severe challenge to the status quo.

That easy?

Quite apart from creating a turnkey solution and cutting out hefty merchant fees by banks, this poses a more interesting question in general.

Is it possible to literally create an entire business model from only a couple of clicks and a few boxes in the post?

And if this is the case, then what future is there for larger and frankly bloated off-the-shelf packages which need hefty effort to configure and tweak. If all you need is a wi-fi or cell data connection, why would you need to compete on expensive infrastructure?

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Categories: Innovation, Retail

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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3 Comments on “Here comes the ‘business in a box’”

  1. February 24, 2013 at 4:39 am #

    This is definitely a pattern for how to disrupt. Just as Apple created the app as a way to augment the smart phone, Square has the credit card reader to augment the basic business setup. Just as Apple expanded from that early platform, I expect to see Square do the same.

  2. February 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    This is happening in a big way. On a recent trip to Seattle, most of the small retailers I visited had this setup: from small restaurants to breweries, it was pervasive and they loved it. Their remarks: “it’s so easy” and “it just makes sense.” As a customer, it was a pleasure to use, it was easy to sign (with my finger!) and I liked getting emailed receipts.

    • February 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      Reminds me of another platform for disruption…the iPhone (as Theo notes). This shows you don’t have to create the next bright shiny object to disrupt but instead can rethink something that’s been around a while but turn it into a platform.

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