Square, Inc. is expanding its reach and jumping on the liquor-delivery bandwagon. In May 2021, Square announced that sellers can now offer the delivery of alcohol via Square Online’s delivery feature, on-demand. Merchants that sell liquor and use Square Online can now give customers the ability to purchase alcohol directly off the store’s website and have the order fulfilled by DoorDash, Inc.
This new feature is expected to attract the attention of breweries, restaurant bars, liquor and convenience stores. For many of these establishments, this offering can provide a profitable revenue stream that is almost passive. Businesses don’t have to worry about overhead costs as they don’t need to worry about establishing a delivery fleet or hiring and training of more staff.
The Benefits Of On-Demand Delivery
The biggest draw of on-demand delivery is that merchants are able to provide alcohol delivery to their clients both simply and inexpensively. Once an order is placed directly on the Square Online ordering page, a delivery person from Square’s delivery partner DoorDash is sent to the business location, collects the order, delivers it to the buyer, and verifies the age of the buyer.
The buyer also has the ability to track their order. Sellers are required to pay a flat fee $1.50 per order to Square as well as a delivery fee to DoorDash. There is no marketplace commission. Restaurants can further rein in costs by passing on a share of their fees to the buyer or provide custom delivery promotions.
David Rusenko, head of eCommerce at Square said:
“We’re excited to offer a new way for restaurants, retailers, and alcohol sellers to get the most out of their current inventory. Whether that’s a restaurant monetizing its wine cellar, a grocery store supplementing their on-premise sales, or a local brewery introducing old favorites to a new crowd, we’re proud to provide our sellers with a new way to make more money.”
Sellers can also take advantage of combining on-demand delivery and products such as Square Marketing and Square Loyalty to fortify existent customer relationships. It can also serve as a means to encourage new customers to convert to repeat customers via promotions. The on-demand alcohol delivery via DoorDash is only available in select states.
What is holding back the on-demand alcohol delivery from becoming fully adopted nationwide are the state and local laws pertaining to the delivery of alcohol. Although some laws were loosened in some states during the start of the pandemic, to prevent restaurants and bars from complete economic collapse, it is still not available nationwide.
Some states such as Iowa, Ohio, and Oklahoma have allowed alcohol delivery to be permanent, while others have passed temporary laws that allowed cocktails to go.
Square encourages merchants to consult with their local and retail permit laws to verify whether or not “off-premises delivery” is allowed. If so, what types of beverages are allowed and under what circumstances.
A Lucrative Opportunity Post-Pandemic
When the pandemic hit and bars and restaurants were shut down, customers shifted alcohol consumption to the privacy of their homes. They also began to enjoy the conveniences that home delivery offered.
Square is tapping into a new revenue stream that is proving to be lucrative as many restaurants have had to shift their businesses to curbside pickup. As alcohol was a frequent request from sellers, Square is now delivering on this demand, making this a feature available in16 states and looking to expand to more.