Payments, Podcasts

Square’s David Rusenko on the relaunch of Online Store

  • About a year ago, Square acquired website builder, Weebly.
  • Founder David Rusenko now runs Square's ecommerce efforts and has relaunched Online Store.
Square’s David Rusenko on the relaunch of Online Store

David Rusenko sold his website builder, Weebly, to Square around a year ago. With the acquisition complete and the platform now integrated, David and Square are back with the relaunch of the Square Online Store. Good for ecommerce and good for retailers that want to bridge the online/offline world with an integrated offering, Square Online Store exemplifies Square’s evolving ecosystem.

David joins us to talk about the revamped Online Store, Square’s broader ecommerce strategy, and how clients are using it to expand their businesses online and offline.

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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

From Weebly to Square, Online Store and ecommerce

I head up ecommerce at Square. I started a company called Weebly, writing the first line of code in early 2006. Weebly was acquired by Square about a year ago and I joined the Square family.

We relaunched Square Online Store and completely built and integrated Weebly technology into the offering. We see a lot of people struggling managing all their customer channels, like in person, online, or through Instagram. We really relaunched this solution to help merchants sell across all the channels, keeping everything in sync, reducing complexity, and giving people their time back. Really making sure that no one misses a sale.

We launched Square Online Store in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Does Online Store tap into a new audience for Square?

Historically, Square’s bread and butter has been in in person payments and just amazing hardware. We’ve all experienced interacting with the hardware in person and what a great experience it is. For a certain set of people, they want to expand their business online, pretty effortlessly expand into new channels and to track all of that, which can be pretty complex.

There are more people now starting their businesses online. Square Online Store is perfect for them to start online and to expand into the entire Square ecosystem. Square offers a pretty powerful ecosystem with capital and loans, payroll, marketing, and appointments. Or maybe a merchant starts online and then sells in person, like at a flea market — that’s something you can do with one integrated ecosystem.

Weebly and Square’s ecommerce strategy

We’ve been hard at work over the past year since we joined Square. We have very similar visions that will continue to bring both platforms closer together over time. The first big step was relaunching Square Online Store. Our main principle is that we want to be thoughtful about how we do this and not rush anything or disrupt workflows. You should see Weebly online heritage grow strength at Square and Square’s ecosystem adding strength to Weebly. Both should get better over time.

The target audience for Online Store

There is a wide variety of people who use Online Store. One really good example is around retail. A business owner with a boutique also sells online. Oftentimes, they may be selling on marketplaces and Instagram. Maybe they attract attention through Pinterest.

But none of these systems are connected. The embodiment of this problem is a browser window with 10 different tabs open. It’s a huge hassle to manage, to keep inventory up to date. How do you fulfill orders, allow for in store pickup or reconcile. I’m excited how we can start solving these problems with Online Store.

We have a seller with a small boutique in a small town in Tennessee. She had just launched on Square Online Store. When I was speaking with her a couple of weeks ago, her phone rings in the boutique. It was a prospective buyer who was browsing her online store. As the buyer moved through checkout, she received a message that one of the items in her cart was now unavailable. It turns out that the store owner sells unique dresses, keeping one or maybe two of each item in stock. What had happened was that someone was shopping in person in her store and bought the same item the person was browsing online.

Because the systems were in sync, it removed the item from the online buyer, making sure not to oversell. That’s one example of how cool making the systems fully in synch can be. It avoids a whole category of headaches and enables you to do things like have gift cards that you can redeem in multiple channels and let people buy online and pickup in store.

Restaurants face similar problems, but they look different. When you step into a restaurant, you’ll probably see a tablet farm. It’s a complete mess because they’re accepting orders from eight different places. With Square Online Store and some of the other POS solutions Square offers, you can take an online order and have it show up in the POS. You can accept that order, and when you do, it shoots off a message to the customer. Right when you click that button, it will also print a ticket in the kitchen so they can begin preparing the order.

These are two examples of the power of what you can do when you bring everything together and integrate them.

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