The first education session hasn’t commenced and the show floor hasn’t opened at RetailNOW 2014 in Orlando, but I have some early observations from the channel’s leading retail IT conference:
- The three-letter acronym most discussed at RetailNOW conferences for the past decade was POS, but this year there’s lots of discussion about EMV. Nobody really knows what the future holds with EMV, but many executives I talked with see it as an opportunity for solution providers. I’m glad we published “A VAR & ISV’s Guide To EMV” in the August issue of BSM which details the issues and opportunities around EMV.
- I attend channel conferences in many verticals, and it’s interesting that everyone agrees most VARs are, at best, mediocre marketers. Here at RetailNOW, some have noted that well-funded tablet POS providers, such as Clover by First Data, are stealing mindshare and market share from resellers in part due to their professional marketing. Many feel that even if a reseller has a solution that’s a better fit, the customer still wants the solution they’ve already fallen in love with online.
- I continue to hear rumors that when the exhibit hall opens Tuesday, attendees will be exposed to several solutions offered as-a-Service. I had one executive tell me that at RetailNOW 2016 we will see as-a-Service as an option for every major solution offering. That would be fantastic.
- BSM Editor In Chief Mike Monocello wrote back in March that the end of Microsoft’s support for Windows XP would be a boon to retail VARs, not just IT managed services providers. Several VARs I talked with said XP has provided a significant financial boost to their companies in 2014.
- RSPA members are eager to see who will be elected to the Board of Directors Monday morning, especially among vendors. Twelve vendor candidates – many of them well-known in our industry – are vying for only three open seats. The candidates include current board member Chris Duffy of Star Micronics, Lora Coggins of Toshiba, Michel Cote of Posera-HDX, Lisa Falzone of Revel, Mark Fraker of BlueStar, Bob Grabowski of Honeywell Scanning and Mobility, Henry Helgeson of Merchant Warehouse, Kevin Kogler of Microbiz, Chick Prince of NCC, Peter Storer of Alvero, Doug Wallace of YESpay, and Chris Walsh of POWERVAR. That’s a superstar lineup. I hope the nine who are not elected choose to deepen their involvement in the association in other ways.
RetailNOW 2014, hosted by the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), was conducted Aug. 3-6 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, FL. For more information on the event, go to www.BSMinfo.com/solution/InsideRSPA.