Many of the articles appearing on this blog are promoted via various social media channels. The one medium which has been yielding some very insightful responses has been LinkedIn, specifically in our Business Solutions' VAR & MSP group. In response to my recent "The Death Of POS VARs" article, Morgan Moran, Director of Customer Experience at Kheelan Business Technologies, wrote:
"Mike, Thanks for continuing to stir this pot :)
I too was at RSPA RetailNow and I heard the term "Retail IT" being thrown around a lot. My take-away was not so much about needing to change my title or company tag line, as it was needing to adopt a different mind set.There seems to be a lot of "Chicken Little" type of behavior in the retail world specifically among the POS VARs and Dealers. The introduction of eWallets and mobile POS devices have a lot of people who were used to getting big margins on hardware in a panic.
In my experience, many of the "old timers" in the retail POS industry, fear this change. They see tablets and other mobile devices as the enemy and want to know how they are going to account for their missing hardware margins.
To me, this is where embracing the idea of being a "Retail IT Whatever" comes in to play. I can either sit around and complain about my eroding POS hardware margins, or I can embrace the change and adapt my service offerings to better position our company in today's marketplace.
Thanks for the reminder!"
Some people have commented on that article telling me that POS VARs still have a place in the technology ecosystem. As if in the article I was stating that retail IT providers would be going away. But, Mark gets it! To remain relevant -- and stay in business -- in the future, solutions providers in the retail world will be required to offer solutions and services beyond just a POS terminal. Those who don't offer such solutions will go away. Those who do, will survive.
At RSPA RetailNOW, this message was presented time and time again by speakers. Having spent the week at ScanSource's annual partner conference, I'm happy to report that ScanSource's speakers were spreading the same message. The problem is that (typically) the better brighter solutions providers attend conferences like RetailNOW, and the ScanSource event was attended by their top performing partners. In short, people who might not need to hear the message that times are a changin'.
If you were at either of these events, or are reading this article, consider yourself not only forewarned that your business might need to change, but that your competition might be unaware of its impending doom. Now is the time to be arming yourself with information and a next-generation business model to ensure that as things do shift, you're in the best possible position to capitalize.