Why Square's Deal With Whole Foods Is Bigger Than You Think
Updated from 10:45 a.m. to include comments from Whole Foods CEO in the tenth paragraph.
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If you thought mobile payments were going away, think again. They're about to get bigger.
San Francisco-based mobile payments company Square has signed a deal with Whole Foods Markets
Whole Foods has approximately 350 stores around the country, and a press release issued Tuesday didn't say how many stores would be part of the initial deal. It did mention that several Whole Foods locations will act as "lab stores," allowing for more testing to improve the customer experience, and respond and react to the changing needs of shoppers' habits.
Venues inside Whole Foods, such as sandwich counters, juice and coffee bars, pizzerias, and beer and wine bars, will allow customers to skip the usual checkout lines for those goods, and thus reduce wait time for customers, as well as potentially increase sales for Whole Foods.
Shares of Whole Foods were higher in Tuesday trading, gaining 0.95% to $55.48 ahead of first-quarter earnings.
"Together with Square, we'll deliver options to expedite checkouts, and we look forward to developing new concepts to further simplify and improve grocery shopping," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, in the press release. "Square's forward-thinking vision and technology makes them an ideal partner to create a convenient, responsive experience for our customers."
Square Stand, which was unveiled last year , is already used in seven Whole Foods Market stores around the country, including stores in Austin, Texas, New York City, Florida and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Square CEO Jack Dorsey noted that both companies are focused on creating an amazing shopping experience, and this deal focuses on that. Both companies share similar values, which makes the deal between the two companies all that more likely. "With Square, Whole Foods Market will enable commerce in more parts of their stores with easy, accessible tools that showcase the best of what's achievable in the service of retailers and customers," Dorsey said in the release.
This is Square's second major deal with a retailer, following the 2012 deal to bring Square's services to the more than 7,000 U.S. locations of Starbucks
"We're looking at new ways to offer seamless technology that will respond to customers' needs and still provide the friendly expertise and service our customers expect," Robb said in emailed comments.