Q&A | November 5, 2013

ScanSource's Dixon Urges VARs To "Own The Entire Space"

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

BSM-Retail Fronts2

When Jameson Publishing and Business Solutions magazine President Jim Roddy interviewed Greg Dixon, CTO of ScanSource, at the 2013 ScanSource Partner Conference in Austin, TX, part of the discussion revolved around a Business Solutions magazine cover from Dec. 2012. The cover and associated article illustrated the importance of becoming a “total solutions provider” by declaring — on a gravestone — “the POS VAR is dead.” The article’s main point was that, for a retail-focused VAR to be successful in the future, selling only POS solutions was a poor business strategy. Rather, it’s important to sell technology adjacent to POS that retailers need to be successful, increase profits, decrease loss, etc.

 “That magazine cover caused a little stir around our business, as I remember,” says Dixon. “I walked around waving it at people saying, ‘See, I told you.’” According to Dixon, ScanSource urges its customers to sell adjacent technologies. “Own the vertical — from the front of the store to the back of the store and edge to edge. Own it all,” he says. “Honestly, to have data collection and point of sale under the same management structure as security makes a lot of sense to me.” Dixon adds that most retailers would prefer one point of contact for all their business technology.

Dixon describes “smart retail solutions providers” as not only providing traditional POS solutions, but also related technologies. For example, he says POS and mobility both often require a wireless network. “If I were selling a mobile solution I would hate for it to depend on someone else’s wireless network,” he comments.

A total solutions provider also would look beyond the front counter of the store.  Playing the role of a VAR, he explains “I am also going to own the backroom, and I am going to know exactly what is in the store. I am going to make sure that empty shelves are not an option anymore.” Dixon continues by saying he would add security cameras and video surveillance management, explaining ROI to the retail customer and citing how the technology can help with slip-and-fall claims, loss prevention, and managing traffic patterns. He said it would be wise to embrace mobile wallet technology, and help the retailer advance the customer relationship — finding a way to give customers coupons on their mobile phones when they walk in the door and knowing the offers are for things they want to buy. 

While Dixon admits that retail VARs don’t have to be all things to all people, his message is clear: To own the retail space, VARs must sell wider and deeper than simply the POS.

 

Dixon spoke to Jameson Publishing and Business Solutions magazine President Jim Roddy in an exclusive Executive-To-Executive interview conducted at the 2013 ScanSource Partner Conference in Austin, TX. You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here.

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