There’s no denying that new technologies are driving vast change in both the point-of-sale (POS) and payments industries, creating confusion as well as opportunity for value added resellers (VARs). On the POS front, we continue to hear about two major trends in our conversations and discussions with both POS partners and their VAR resellers – tablet based POS and future-proof payment solutions.
As of December 2012, there were over 52.4 million tablet owners in the U.S. alone. And, while much has been written about consumer use of tablets, this growing segment of ‘portable computers’ is also driving change in traditional POS. Innovative developers have turned these smart devices (phones and tablets) into powerful POS systems that offer much, if not all, of the features traditionally limited to costly, legacy systems. And, in addition to cost savings and the ‘cool factor’ of deploying tablets instead of big cash registers, smart devices also provide a new portability not previously offered with legacy systems directly supporting an omni-channel retail experience. Whether on Android or iOS or both, tablet based POS systems are becoming a new reality for VARs, providing expanded opportunity for new business.
LevelUp, Google, ISIS, PayPal, and Lemon – just a few of the names currently in the news regarding mobile payments and digital wallets. While these payment technologies grow in adoption and usage, a myriad of new applications flood the marketplace each week – payments, loyalty, coupons, and even commerce. POS developers are challenged with assessing which technologies will be needed by their customers (a complete guessing game right now) and investing time and resources in integrating each ‘needed’ technology. For VARs, the challenges are more broad, reliant on their POS partner to integrate the ‘right’ options and then hoping and praying that they don’t have to facilitate time intensive hardware swaps or software downloads to accommodate for a new payment technology, wallet or mobile commerce application.
For POS developers and their VARs there is a pressing need for a single, future-proof solution - a technology that accepts any payment type – traditional mag strip, contactless (NFC, QR) and even EMV, from any digital wallet, all with integrated opportunities for acquisition (coupons/offers) and retention (loyalty/rewards). It’s as much about the ability to offer merchants a flexible, ‘go as you grow’ platform as it is the need to deliver a single solution that meets the needs of today and tomorrow.