The RSPA's Path Of Growth
(Las Vegas) — There was something for every POS (point of sale) VAR at the recent RSPA (Retail Solutions Providers Association) RetailNOW 2008 event. Of course, those looking for the latest in POS technology solutions had only to attend the exhibit hall. A more difficult challenge faced those interested in the education sessions. Whereas some industry events are composed of a couple keynote speakers and exhibition space, the RSPA loaded the week of RetailNOW with educational sessions on topics ranging from PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance to sales and marketing tips. In total, attendees had their pick of more than 30 educational sessions throughout the week.
In addition, the RSPA worked closely with its vendor members to provide private areas for vendor-dealer meetings, which took place over the course of the event. Many VARs took advantage not only of hearing about the latest products and growth goals of vendor partners, but also meeting directly with the presidents and VPs of these companies to create an invaluable personal connection.
Of course, the exhibit hall, educations sessions, and vendor meetings are common knowledge to those who attended. Now for what most dealer attendees are unaware of. Behind the scenes, the RSPA staff and board of directors were working tirelessly with top executives from many POS vendors to make future events, and the organization as a whole, even better. What began as an informal 'crack of dawn' discussion a couple years ago at Inspire 2007 has blossomed into a very active and integrated vendor component to the RSPA. Indeed, just in the few months since the last Inspire event, I could see at RetailNOW how the number of active vendor members who champion the RSPA has grown. Currently, there are numerous RSPA committees aimed at improving the organization, which are chaired and populated by leading POS vendors. These are top executives — busy people leading multimillion dollar companies — and yet they believe strongly enough in the organization to dedicate a considerable amount of time and resources to make it even better; to make the POS channel stronger.
During a 7 a.m. RetailNOW meeting with these vendors, there was much discussion over all the existing member benefits. Like me, the vendors are wondering why there are still POS VARs who haven't joined the RSPA. Today, many of these vendors are actively recruiting their reseller partners and helping spread the message that joining the RSPA is a wise investment. Here are some of the biggest advantages of membership that POS VARs shouldn't want to miss out on.
First, let's look at the legal support the RSPA has put in place. As a member, you gain access to attorney Robert Goldberg of Schoenberg, Finkel, Newman & Rosenberg, LLC. Goldberg and the RSPA have combined to populate the members-only section of GoRSPA.org with legal documents you can use for your own business. For instance, there is a long list of PCI (Payment Card Industry)-related materials that include research, presentations, and document templates such as waivers and legal letters to customers who do not wish to become compliant. Also, in response to requests from members, there are recently added document templates such as a purchase agreement, remote access agreement, software support agreement, and terms and conditions. Perhaps more importantly, members also can receive unlimited free telephone consultations with Goldberg, saving an average of $400 an hour! How much is free legal support worth to you?
Another member benefit is shipping discounts with FedEx, UPS, and Yellow Transportation. By simply forwarding the existing account number for any of those shippers to the RSPA offices, members are enrolled in the program and receive discounts up to 65%. Last year, RSPA members enrolled in the UPS program saved over $400,000, averaging $2,000 per enrolled member! Not a bad return for taking the time to send an account number via e-mail.
Those are just two of the benefits the RSPA currently offers. There also are Office Max discounts, education services, discounts on RSPA conferences, and the intangible benefits of networking with peers and top vendor executives. While membership dues vary depending on the revenue size of your company, the average RSPA member pays only $500 a year. With such a low cost and such cost savings available, I'm not sure why every POS VAR isn't currently a member. Honestly, I'm surprised the RSPA hasn't had to fight back non-POS VARs wanting to join.