Square has done a few things that set the company apart, and poised to be the Big Data leader in payments. Here's why:
1. Hiring. Square has hired top talent from places such as Google for analytics and Apple for experience design. Major talent investment in User Experience expertise and Analytics prowess set Square apart in the payments field. They design the product to capture better data, and the data improves each release of the product. Art and Data are balanced nicely at Square.
2. Product. The company has built a product that both merchants and consumers love to use. Design is how something is used, and how something does its work. This is a well-designed product, as many types of merchants love to use it. By using the tablet/smartphone platform, the product is designed to capture data more efficiently than any point of sale terminal ever created.
3. Distribution. The Square deal with Starbucks is about more than just mobile payments. This deal is about a new dawn of Big Data exchange between merchant and transaction provider. Ask any merchant how painful it is to make small changes to the register display or discount offerings. Ask about their experiences implementing the most elementary loyalty programmes with their POS vendors, payment processors, and clearing houses. Most merchants will likely recount one nightmare after another. Watch what Starbuck and Square do with virtual currency, those little points you get for buying something, and you'll see the future transactions.
Square is disrupting a very big space - payments. This could eventually rival Apple as the largest implementation of the (ART+DATA) Principle in the marketplace.
Roger Wood is managing director and Dave Feinleib partner of (ART+DATA) Institute.
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