Small Business Technology Trends To Watch In 2014
By John Berkley, Senior Vice President of Product, Mercury Payment Systems
Advanced POS technologies and services are driving small business owners to adopt more integrated POS solutions. The ISVs and resellers that build these services and support merchants need to think strategically about how to prepare merchants to select and optimize these technologies.
John Berkley, senior vice president of product at Mercury Payment Systems, one of the leaders in bringing payments technologies to main street merchants, spoke to us about POS changes to keep an eye on this year.
How is technology driving trends in payments for restaurant and retail markets?
What we’re seeing is a trend to incorporate payment technologies as part of the customer service experience. For example, allowing consumers to order online and pick-up in store, or scan QR codes at the table to place orders is very popular because it improves the customer experience. Basically, any technology that enables staff to focus on providing better service is in high demand right now.
We’re also seeing a trend of adding ta blet POS systems as either primary or secondary solutions. Restaurants typically have high employee turnover, so the easy-to-use functionality of tablets is very appealing. Owners don’t have to spend a lot of time training their staff, and are attracted to the low cost and ease of installation.
How can solution providers help generate more recurring revenue for their resellers?
Over the past two years, we’ve seen resellers shift their focus from the revenue generated from bundled hardware commissions to recurring revenue from payments technology installed at the POS like gift cards, rewards programs, and integrated loyalty software. Solution providers can help support this shift by offering products that include these and other value-added services. Bundling value-adds together — such as mobile, rewards, and gift — is more appealing to merchants than one-off solutions. Merchants are not IT experts, and they don’t have the time or expertise to manage and maintain multiple platforms.
How can VARs bundle security services into their offerings to build more recurring revenue?
A lot of bad things came out of the Target breach, but one positive is that local businesses are now talking about security solutions. Recent breaches have taught merchants that PCI compliance is important, as is end-to-end encryption on POS hardware and software.
VARs have a huge opportunity to use security concerns to educate their merchants about how to protect customer data with PCI compliance. Security can serve as a POS upgrade trigger to ensure merchants use encrypted hardware and software systems that meet security best practices. They can also upsell the merchant on PCI compliance assistance, providing merchants with better support to manage the PCI compliance process, and creating a recurring revenue stream for themselves.
Additionally, cloud-based POS systems are becoming more the norm. Merchants want dealers to remove the risk of data storage, and dealers are finding that adding data hosting and storage to their line is very profitable.
Is it better to take a wait and see approach to new technology like mobile and EMV?
It’s simple; focus on creating good customer experiences. Technology can help enable that, but don’t adopt technology for technology’s sake. It’s not about the payments; it’s about creating good commerce experiences. What merchants are concerned about is increasing average ticket sizes, creating more loyal customers, getting more people in the door, and moving people through their lines quicker. If you focus on the experience and not the payment, the technology solutions that fit those needs become a much shorter list to manage.