As the saying goes, the only constant is change, and with change comes new opportunities. There are many changes affecting the retail and restaurant point-of-sale (POS) market, and that spells new opportunities for value-added resellers selling POS systems. New technologies and new market trends are forcing retailers and restauranteurs to rethink their POS strategies and start seeking out new POS systems to meet their needs.
According to Hospitality Technology, the biggest influencers affecting restaurants looking for POS system upgrades include support for new e-wallet systems (56 percent) adding mobile POS (47 percent), preparing to support Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) transactions (47 percent), and PCI compliance (45 percent). Any one of these reasons is sufficiently compelling for retailers and restaurants to install a new POS system. In some cases such as EMV and PCI compliance, change is externally enforced by industry standards, but smart business owners are looking to new technologies such as mobile POS to deliver greater returns.
So where are your best sales opportunities when it comes to offering these new POS solutions? Here are some of the latest market forces that are driving POS upgrades:
1. EMV Card Migration – October 2015 is the deadline for U.S. changeover to support of EMV smart cards. The United States is behind the rest of the world in EMV adoption. The smart cards offer greater security and they can be scanned using near-field communications making transactions easier and faster. The real incentive for adoption, however, is that the cost of credit card fraud is now being passed to merchants, so any merchant who fails to support EMV will be liable for fraudulent transactions. However, despite the looming October 1 deadline being enforced by credit card companies, only 14 percent of U.S. merchants are ready to accept EMV cards. This presents a huge opportunity for resellers who can assist with an upgrade.
2. New Payment Platforms – In addition to support for EMV, there are new payment systems being embraced by consumers. PayPal and Google Wallet have already made some inroads with merchants and food service providers who have installed smartphone readers to accommodate new types of payments. Other systems such as Square and Apple Pay are also gaining momentum, leaving merchants scrambling to determine which platforms to embrace and which hardware to add to their POS.
3. Secure Internet Transaction Systems – In the past, retailers maintained closed transaction systems. Point of sale, inventory management, payments, stocking, accounting, payroll, and other operations were maintained within the network and there was little or no need for more than basic Internet access. With the boom in new transaction systems and e-commerce, there is more reason than ever to connect POS systems with the Internet. For many retailers this is going to require new secure links to ISPs and cloud resources, as well as more wireless capacity.
4. New Wireless Platforms – The 802.11ac platform promises more wireless speed and more wireless bandwidth. This opens up new possibilities for retailers. For example, retailers are starting to adopt in-store mapping and location couponing powered by wireless mapping systems. Smartphone users can now access a map of the store and even receive special offers based on their location within the store. Similarly, to counteract “showrooming,” retailers are making it easier to place online orders from within the store thanks to expanded wireless, or to pick up online orders at store locations. Forward-thinking retailers are going to be looking to expand their in-store wireless capacity with secure wireless access to accommodate new transaction and marketing services.
5. Mobile POS systems – Last but far from least, there is a mass movement to mobile POS systems. Using off-the-shelf hardware such as the Apple iPad with downloadable POS apps, or custom handheld POS systems, retailers are arming sales associates with portable POS systems that can handle complete transactions from the retail floor. For restaurants, it means faster and more accurate tableside service. For retailers it means more sales as associates work on the floor to help customers find what they want. It also means more sales volume, closer control over inventory, more opportunities to capture customer information, and more. The revolution in mobile POS is driving demand for complete POS systems that can integrate tablets into existing transaction systems, or migration to the cloud to take advantage of hosted POS services. In all cases, retailers and restaurants are looking for guidance to help them understand their options and get the most from mobile POS systems.
So what does this all mean for resellers? More opportunities to not only sell new POS systems but more network infrastructure, wireless systems, tablets and mobile computers, and a variety of other supporting technologies. Talk to your customers and see what they are thinking about their future and how POS fits in. Chances are that a single POS upgrade will reveal a dozen additional sales opportunities.