Q&A | September 19, 2013

ScanSource's Constantine Talks About Mobility, Retail," As A Service"

By Jim Roddy, president, Business Solutions magazine

BSM-Mobile Cloud POS

Business Solutions president Jim Roddy recently spoke to Paul Constantine, president of POS and barcoding for the U.S. and Canada at ScanSource, about topics including mobility and retail and As a service.

Roddy: Can you explain to resellers what you see as the opportunity for VARs when it comes to wireless and mobile and point of sale in retail?

Constantine:  First, I would say to add wireless expertise to your competencies as a VAR. It’s something that retail VARs typically haven't participated in — but it can really help a retail VAR provide infrastructure to the retailer that can adapt to the new mobile retail workspace.

We can address topics such as system design, PCI compliance, and BYOD, and help you — and your end user — figure out your way through that. A lot of the new trends in retail — where retailers are really wanting to provide a better experience for their customers — are driven around mobile and mobile POS. To be able to do mobile POS, you have to have a rock solid wireless infrastructure.

Adding wireless is the first opportunity to expand your solution set, which you can provide to end users. We can help you put together the right mobile solution to help you enable your customer to really give their customers an “Apple store experience” of mobile POS, line busting, the ability to process more transactions in a given period, process more customers in a given period, and speed things through, which is what every retailer wants to be able to do.

Roddy: The opportunity is really the pull from the retailers who are saying, “I'm looking for a really good experience, I'm looking to move people through faster.” This isn't just simply, “Hey, I need you to replace something.” This is really changing the experience, so they can get more customers in the door and retain them.

Constantine:  Right, and the beauty of this is it gives the reseller something to prospect with around their end user community, both existing customers and potential new customers. It's a great way to get your foot in the door with existing customers, as far as upgrading their systems, or with new customers. If you are the partner that can bring them into the new model of selling point of sale and providing that experience to their customer, then they see you as a trusted advisor, which redefines your relationship with your customer.

Roddy: Can you talk about some of the success stories that you're seeing in the ScanSource channel? Are they increasing profits because of mobility?

Constantine: We've seen lots of examples of customers who have gotten inquiries from their end users about moving towards this mobile POS experience, whether it's to handle expanded traffic during seasonally high times, or just redefining their overall store experience. We've seen this — at least right now — is more of a reactionary opportunity than a proactive opportunity. I can think of several examples that are very similar, that their end user wants to implement, for one reason or another, the “Apple store experience.”

We've been able to help them, whether it's through payment processing, connections and relationships, encryption services — or whether it's through helping them build a mobile experience. We’re big believers in rugged mobility, and we at least try to encourage our customers to lead with a rugged mobile device but sometimes end users just want consumer devices.

Another area where we can really add value — and where we have, in the past — is if the end users have already made up their minds that they want to go with an iDevice or a consumer-grade device. We can help that reseller put together the peripheral bundle that will give that consumer device some level of ruggedness, integrated scanning, integrated mag stripe, and then be able to handle the payment-processing piece.

Of course, the software piece is critically important, too, but every day that goes by, the ISV community that we work with is developing better and better solutions. Then there are also options to do the mobile solution piece, as a stand aside solution to the point of sale solution that already exists today. We can work with a partner to help coach them through that as well.

Roddy: What is your take on the “as a Service” model and do you have any advice for resellers?  What action should they take related to this trend?

Constantine:  I would say stay tuned. We've made a lot of progress in helping our partner community finance hardware, software, and services as a monthly payment. There's a holy grail out there of  the "as a Service:" model, and there are a lot of obstacles to getting to that holy grail, but what I would encourage our partners to do is don't wait for the perfect solution.

George Patton once said a good plan, implemented with vigor today, is better than a perfect plan implemented sometime next week. There's a lot of ways that we can help you, if you have end users that are asking for hardware, software, and services wrapped up in a monthly payment.

Don't dismiss untraditional solutions, because we, through working with a lot of partners, have been able to take some traditional solutions and put a twist on them, which make it seem to the end user like it is more of an "as a Service" model payment solution. Call us. Give us a chance. What we have today may not exactly fit your needs, but it's a whole heck of a lot better than saying no and walking away.

To hear the interview in its entirety, follow this link.

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