Stripe moves into brick-and-mortar payments with Terminal

Stripe is expanding beyond online payments with the launch of a new product for in-person payments at brick-and-mortar stores, called Terminal.

The company said Terminal has three main components — there’s hardware, namely card readers built by Stripe partners BBPOS and Verifone, but also SDKs and APIs for customizing checkout experiences, as well as software for managing connected devices.

Stripe’s co-founder and president John Collison discussed the launch at the Code Commerce conference today. Interviewer Jason Del Rey brought up Square, which seems like the obvious point of comparison, and Collison acknowledged there will probably be areas where the companies will compete.

However, he argued that Stripe and Square are largely targeting different customers — where Square built a card reader for businesses like coffee shops and restaurants, Stripe is aimed at more tech-savvy businesses. Its initial Terminal customers include Warby Parker and Glossier, and it’s also being used by software platforms like Mindbody, Zenoti, AtVenu and Universe.

As Collison put it, Stripe is built for companies “who will geek out about APIs with us.” And that applies to Terminal as well, which Collison said is specifically built for online businesses that are moving into brick-and-mortar stores. The goal here is to help them unify their online and offline customer data and experiences.

And while there’s been some debate about whether most web-based, direct-to-consumer businesses are true tech companies, he argued, “All of them value technology and fundamentally, their assets are not the retail distribution they have or anything like that.”

“We will happily work with all manner of companies, but the kinds of customers we get excited about, the kinds of customers we are designing for, are the ones who are moving very quickly,” he added.