ISVs selling point of sale (POS) software through a channel know their VAR partners are challenged to keep up with the rapidly changing retail and restaurant industries. Since your VARs’ success is directly tied to your ISV’s success, it’s imperative to offer point of sale solutions that have the flexibility to meet their clients’ needs, scale with their businesses, and adapt to changing consumer demands. However, some of the features on a retailer’s or restaurateur’s wish list — like digital signage content management, marketing automation, or customer surveys — fall outside the scope of the standard POS feature set.
Matt Steiger, Strategy and Business Development for Epson Cloud, answers some common questions about the POS functionality that merchants need and why the recurring revenue model is important to your channel partners.
Can retail or restaurant solution providers remain relevant only selling point of sale solutions?
Steiger: POS solution providers can evolve as their customers’ needs change or run the risk of becoming irrelevant, being disintermediated or forgotten. As the pace of consumer demands accelerates, merchants are constantly looking to maintain or advance their competitive positioning, and technology is frequently a differentiator for them. The role of the solution provider includes assisting merchants with finding the right solution to their business needs. Consumers want relevant and unique experiences, and some POS systems may need to be augmented with specialized solutions to satisfy those needs. Keeping up with trends in the market by offering complementary or alternative applications allows solution providers to reduce the risk of being replaced by competitors.
What types of complementary services make the most sense for retail and restaurant VARs to offer?
Steiger: Some of the best-fit applications are those that support new business requirements such as mobile ordering and payments, business analytics as well as workforce and customer engagement. There are other solutions that offer value for merchants that have specialized needs with fraud management, labor scheduling or supply change management. Having a well-rounded set of ISV applications allows solution providers to continually be involved as their customers seek new technology to support their guests’ changing demands.
How can ISVs help their partners expand their offerings and grow their businesses with complementary services?
Steiger: ISVs are the source of much of the specialized application software that solves business issues in unique ways. As solution providers discover merchant operational challenges, they can leverage development work done by ISVs to quickly deploy point solutions without needing to replace complete systems. The effort to replace systems can be significant in time, expense and operational disruption while delivering ISV solutions may offer a faster time to value for the operator. Having the right solution available to deploy when needed allows solution providers to maintain their position as valued partners.
Why is the recurring revenue model important to channel partners’ businesses?
Steiger: The recurring revenue model is being driven by merchants who are looking to lower initial system purchase costs. There is also the consideration that many businesses are changing their buying model to operational expensing vs. capital investment. In addition, having all or much of their technology stack delivered by one company makes it easier for merchants for both billing and services. Solution providers gain value in being able to offer solutions that customers want in the way they want to buy them.
One of the other significant value-added benefits for solution providers with the recurring revenue business model is that they are more valuable as a company to potential investors. The recurring revenue brought in every month levels out cash flow and eliminates the peaks and valleys many solution providers experience.
Point of sale solution providers have a unique opportunity to build their businesses by incorporating complementary solutions into their product mix. By utilizing the development and support services offered by ISVs, they increase their value to their customers by helping them meet consumer expectations for unique and relevant experiences.