Over the past five years, there’s been a considerable shift in the retail world to rely on cloud-based applications offered as a service as opposed to traditional POS systems installed on-premises. For some traditional solution providers used to selling systems with software licenses, the change from large payments up front to smaller monthly payments has been a hard pill to swallow. And yet, swallow it they must, for the benefits to retail as a service are too numerous to ignore—for both retailers and solution providers alike.
3 Primary retailer benefits
- We now live in a subscription economy. As consumers, we’ve become used to paying monthly fees to access services. Our personal preference for subscriptions has followed into the enterprise where retailers have learned that they can make monthly payments and gain perpetually new retail software systems, as opposed to dropping large lump sums on technology that’s outdated soon after being installed.
- From an accounting point of view, many retailers appreciate being able to shift their IT expense to an operational expense.
- Having software and data stored in the cloud can reduce IT and administrative costs for a retailer. Onsite servers don’t have to be purchased and maintained and the burden of security can fall on the cloud provider.
3 key solution provider benefits
- If your company relies on large sales to pay the bills, shifting to receiving monthly payments can hurt cash flow significantly. However, once you’re able to shift your business model, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a stable monthly revenue stream. The peaks and valleys you’ve experienced in the past that make planning difficult will be replaced with predictable revenue, allowing you to make strategic business decisions with confidence. It’s powerful to start each month knowing all your bills are already covered with as-a-service revenue.
- Shifting to an as-a-service offering means you can spend time building your business around ways to provide more value to your customers. If you aren’t spending time patching software, fixing errors, updating security and administrating servers, you can find additional value-added services that address customer needs and increase your monthly recurring revenue.
- If you look beyond simple retail as a service to other services you could offer, you’ll find a variety of potential offerings. A couple common, must-have offerings are remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA). Both tool sets will allow you to give customers proactive service—identifying problems before they happen—and allow you to do more with fewer technical staff.
The reality is that the future of retail—here now—is offered as a service. New solutions coming to market are built in the cloud. Solution providers who ignore the retail-as-a-service trend are missing a big opportunity to address the desires of their customers.
If you want help understanding as-a-service opportunities and shifting your customers into cloud platforms, contact your Ingram Micro sales rep.