Magazine Article | August 17, 2012

Thrive As A POS VAR: Here's How

By Mike Monocello, editor in chief, Business Solutions Magazine

During last month’s RSPA RetailNOW 2012, one message was repeatedly hammered home by speakers and roundtable panelists: The world of retail technology is changing, and those who don’t change with it will be left behind.

Yes! I could not agree more. If you’ve been reading the articles in this magazine or following our blog, you know I’ve been writing a lot about the changes taking place and threats being posed to POS VARs.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are also great opportunities for POS VARs who are willing to break outside their comfort zones and take on new technologies. Jeff Riley, CEO of restaurant POS software provider Dinerware, said during the Industry Vision Panel at the show, “You can’t control the threats you face, but you can control and take advantage of the opportunities.”

And opportunities are out there. Here’s a short list, including topics discussed during RetailNOW, of products/solutions/ services POS VARs could — or should — be offering their customers. As you read, ask yourself how many of these solutions you offer.

  • Payment processing
  • Loyalty/mobile marketing programs
  • Video surveillance
  • Mobile computing solutions (tablets)
  • Digital signage
  • PCI (payment card industry) security audits
  • Wireless infrastructure installation
  • Wireless activations
  • Software-as-a-service

Looking at the list, two things become clear. First, we’re not just talking about point of sale. Part of the problem many in the POS VAR/dealer channel face is a stubborn focus on just point of sale and not on all the other technologies related to point of sale that customers need and want. More than a couple times during the educational session, panelists suggested that those in the audience not think of themselves as POS VARs or dealers, but retail IT professionals. Note the subtle difference between “POS” and “retail IT.” A whole world of solutions you should be providing opens up.

Second, to retailers, these solutions still have a certain amount of mystery around them and, therefore, present great opportunities for higher margins. Additionally, mystery means retailers will have a more difficult time doing these things themselves or going the cheaper online route.

Here’s the punch line to this article and the message attendees at RetailNOW hopefully took away from the show: The threats you face are very real, but so are the opportunities to not just sustain your business, but to make it thrive. No one else is better positioned to leverage these opportunities. It’s your business to win.