When consumers walk up to the checkout, their expectations are much higher than just a few years ago. The decade began with a pandemic that drove people inside and forced them to interact with the world digitally. They browsed, ordered, and paid online. Furthermore, with time on their hands, they explored e-commerce solutions, discovering the personalized, time-saving, convenient experiences they can provide. So, when consumers returned to in-person shopping, they had different expectations of the point of sale. After all, they had all the information and access they needed at their fingertips when they used their computers at home. Why couldn’t merchants deliver similar experiences using the terminal at the store?
The truth is, they can. Tony Walsh, head of retail sales at Ingenico, points out, “ISV solution providers have the opportunity to bundle solutions together to increase functionality at the point of sale and bring more value to merchants and their customers.”
What’s Missing at the Checkout?
Walsh says you can divide point of sale (POS) add-ons into two categories: solutions that enhance the customer experience (CX) and solutions that increase the merchant’s operational efficiency.
In-demand, CX-enhancing functionality at the point of sale includes:
Walsh says buy now, pay later (BNPL) is now one of the biggest demands for added POS functionality. According to Statista, BNPL lending has increased from about $3 billion in 2019 to $77.3 billion in 2022, and it’s expected to grow to $143.44 billion by 2026.
This payment method allows shoppers to split payments over several weeks, interest-free or at low interest. Consumers enjoy the flexibility of BNPL, especially if inflation, unemployment, or concerns about the economy mean they’re tightening their purse strings. However, BNPL not only meets consumers’ demands. Merchants can also benefit from increased revenues by giving customers a budget-friendly payment method.
Many of your clients may be looking for a loyalty solution refresh to keep customers engaged during ongoing inflation and a potential recession. Research by enterprise loyalty solution Antavo found that 78.6% of merchants with an existing loyalty program are planning a refresh in the next three years. Additionally, they know the ROI is there, with 80% of companies reporting they earn 4.9x more revenue than they spend on the solution.
This adds up to a significant opportunity for solutions providers. MarketsandMarkets Research predicts the loyalty management market to increase by a 17.5 percent CAGR from 2023 to 2028 to reach $22.8 billion.
The U.S. Merchant Gift Card Evaluation from NAPCO predicts continued growth of the gift card market, rising at 8.3% from 2022 to 2026. The report also reveals that merchants are transitioning to omnichannel gift card solutions, which require in-store systems that accept plastic or eGift cards on a smartphone. Giving merchants that capability can help them build revenues. According to Blackhawk Networks, up to 90 percent of consumers are willing to spend more than a gift card’s value.
Walsh says solutions providers may also be able to enhance experiences for some consumers by enabling dynamic currency conversion (DCC). This solution allows shoppers to make purchases with credit cards from their home country, quickly understand the prices they’re paying, and know the price is locked in.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 merchants are capitalizing on the opportunity to make the most of the engagement opportunity at the point of sale by adding customer surveys. Short, simple surveys provide feedback on customers’ experiences or perceptions of various elements of the business or the brand.
Solutions providers have the opportunity to help their clients tailor point-of-sale features to their market or niche. For example, restaurant POS solutions providers can add analytics, reservation, waitlist, curbside pickup, online ordering, or inventory management.
In addition to POS add-ons that allow merchants to optimize customer engagements, solutions providers can also offer solutions that streamline backend processes. Walsh comments, “Sometimes the terminal is the only computer in the room. It makes sense to let the merchant do more with it.”
He adds that device management can benefit merchants and solutions providers. “It means more uptime and less time spent managing devices for merchants and gives solutions providers another recurring revenue opportunity,” Walsh says.
Overcoming Challenges with POS Add-Ons
Providing POS add-ons forces solutions providers to answer the question of build vs. buy – but the correct answer isn’t always straightforward.
POS add-ons require significant investment to develop; however, they don’t produce a lot of revenue compared to the solutions provider’s core product. On the other hand, if a solutions provider decides to partner to provide a third party to offer the add-on, they need to determine which will appeal to users and devote time and resources to integration and certification.
“It’s like an automaker putting a stereo in a car. It’s not practical to build your own stereo, but then you must choose which is right for your customers,” Walsh explains. “However, it’s more complicated. Merchant requirements are constantly evolving. Keeping up with change and certifications is a challenge.”
“The issue is really around choices for ISVs, resellers and merchants,” he comments.
Walsh says leveraging a relationship with a payments partner can help solve the pain point. A payments company that takes a platform approach gives solutions providers the ability to offer a range of POS add-ons and support various devices. Therefore, if a merchant’s needs change, the solutions provider can easily accommodate them.
“It allows solutions providers to focus more on their core businesses and on their customers and what they really want,” he says.
Increase Your Value
POS add-ons will increase the value of your solutions by giving merchants the tools they need to create the experiences that today’s omnichannel consumers expect. For example, you can help merchants to accept BNPL payments, give customers access to their loyalty rewards account on a customer-facing screen or the payment terminal, scan an eGift card stored in a mobile wallet, or even collect feedback that helps them optimize CX and operations.
However, building total solutions for your clients also increases your partnership’s value. They’ll rely on you to keep their systems and all the features they need up to date, operational, and working seamlessly. And that’s a value that’s hard to replace.
Find the time to evaluate your portfolio and ensure you’re offering everything merchants need to meet digital-first customers’ expectations.