Blog | February 4, 2014

Amazon Adds Confusion To The Retail POS Landscape

By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

Amazon.com

If you didn’t think you had enough competition or the POS landscape was confusing enough, Amazon recently announced its entrance into the point of sale game. Yes, Amazon. This news made its way throughout the RSPA INSPIRE conference today, with many wondering what Amazon’s solution would look like and how it would or could alter the retail landscape. Any time a company the size of Amazon makes a move, all retailers watch. However, retail resellers and vendors haven’t had a concern or stake until now.

As our sister publication, Integrated Solutions for Retailers (ISR), reported today, “Amazon is looking into building Kindle-based checkout systems for brick-and-mortar retailers, and it could even begin to offer merchants various other services, such as website development and data analysis. Sources with knowledge of the company’s plans told the Wall Street Journal [WSJ] that these Kindle checkout systems could be hitting retailers’ check-out counters as soon as this summer. However, this is still a work in progress, and one that Amazon could still decide to put on a back burner, revise, or even scrap, these sources say.”

Amazon obviously has a lot of resources, so a summer launch, while surprising, is believable. Unfortunately, a summer launch doesn’t give the channel much time to counter, much less understand, what Amazon is offering.

The ISR article also states that “Amazon gleaned the technology that would make this checkout system possible through its recent acquisition of Gopago — a startup that offers consumers a mobile app so they can pay for goods before picking them up in-store. This startup also provides retailers with POS systems. According to Tech Crunch, Amazon was primarily interested in Gopago’s technology.” Some wondered what was behind the Gopago acquisition, and now we know.

Finally, and perhaps reassuringly, the WSJ expects Amazon to set its sights on small retailers since larger retailers expect more robust POS systems and already have costly investments in IT. Still, if you’re someone who’s been keeping an eye on all the start-ups creating solutions for tiers four and five, Amazon has to be on your radar now.

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