The Evolution Of POS
My recent attendance at RSPA RetailNOW 2009 drove home in my mind a trend I’ve been noticing in the POS (point of sale) industry for a while now. Card processors see huge opportunities with POS VARs and ISVs (independent software vendors). One of the biggest talking points at the show was an announcement by United Bank Card (UBC) related to an alliance with Casio. The gist is a program whereby UBC is giving away cash registers for free with integrated payment processing. The announcement wasn’t made at ETA (Electronic Transaction Association), currently the largest processing show, a few months prior. The news dropped at RSPA. A VAR audience. While the crowd reaction at RetailNOW was mixed, the announcement shows that UBC has firmly set its sights on POS VARs.
UBC wasn’t the only processing company to show interest in VARs. We’re all used to seeing ECRs (electronic cash registers), all-in-ones, and receipt printers at POS-focused events like RetailNOW. But this year, one in every 10 booths was a processing company. It’s clear that other card processing companies now see huge opportunities in this channel. Most are looking to leverage one of your most powerful assets — your trusted advisor status with merchants. ISOs (independent sales organizations) and MLS (merchant level salespeople) often don’t have such relationships. As the POS VAR, you are trusted with the merchant’s network. You install, troubleshoot, and maintain the backbone of a merchant’s business, its POS system. With such power comes the ability to recommend and easily bundle integrated card processing. Processing companies are very aware of this.
And so, as more and more card processing companies target POS VARs, announcements like UBC’s at RetailNOW might become more commonplace. If UBC shook up the industry with its announcement, imagine similar announcements coming from multiple companies.
While the future might be unclear, one thing’s certain. The POS industry will continue, as it has for years, to evolve and change. As a POS VAR, you’ll continue to provide more value and higher quality service than any other organization targeting your customers. You might have to evolve a bit with the industry, but by providing the value you do, you can ensure you’ll be around to see the “next big thing” for years to come.