What’s the Outlook for the Retail POS Channel and How to Stay Agile in a Dynamic Space

Position your business so you can stay in control when your partners make changes, protecting your business’s and your customers’ best interests.

payments M&A

The Retail POS Channel continues to change and evolve as the market and consumer expectations change – in fact, it could accelerate in the mid-term. According to research from the 2024 Retail IT Channel KPI Study, a report from the Retail Solutions Provider Association (RSPA), it found there may be more activity in the near future than you think. The association asked, “Over the next 24 months, what is your company’s plan related to acquisitions?” Among ISVs who participated in the study, 16.7% said they plan to acquire another company, and another 25% said they want to be acquired. The conclusion? The IT industry should brace for active mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the next few years.

Your partners may pursue mergers or acquisitions for a variety of reasons. It can answer the “build vs. buy” question, giving a company new capabilities without investing time and resources into development. M&A may also be part of a succession plan – or it may have always been a software startup founder’s goal to develop a solution that an organization with ample resources would want to acquire. And sometimes, M&A is a move to add one business into a larger organization that wants to provide a broader solution or open up a new market.

What M&A Can Mean for Channel Partners

Even if you aren’t one of the companies signing a merger or acquisition agreement, your business may feel an impact. Most obviously, you may find your partnership in jeopardy. Depending on the terms of the agreement, the new company’s channel program may change. That includes an adjustment to your margin on sales, support, and resources that you are getting from the partner or your ability to build recurring revenue.

M&A may also result in a change in product features or bundles, which leave some of your clients wanting for functionality they’ve built into their workflows. You may also notice a change in service. Your partner may have prioritized dedicated support to your development team and your sales reps and ensured a knowledgeable technician answered when your customers called for service. After a merger or acquisition, that may no longer be the case.

How ISVs Can Stay Agile in a Turbulent M&A Environment

Although M&A activity and the ripple (or tidal wave) effects it sends throughout the channel aren’t something you can control, you can build a plan that helps you stay agile and keep your business on track for success. Ensure your strategy includes:

      • Staying Alert to Change

Companies in negotiations for a merger or acquisition don’t share information outside of their leadership team. However, you may notice unusual activity or hear rumblings that change is in the works. Business leaders may be preoccupied, and executive teams may be unreachable due to a full meeting schedule. Channel program plans that seemed full steam ahead may suddenly be on hold. Activity that’s out of the ordinary isn’t a guarantee that a merger or acquisition is imminent, but it may be a wake-up call that it’s time to evaluate your position as a partner.

      • Keeping Your Options Open

Successful ISVs take partnerships with hardware vendors, distributors, payment companies, and developers with complementary software solutions seriously. It’s what allows you to deliver comprehensive solutions to your customers and provide software that integrates with your users’ IT environments. Working with one partner can standardize and simplify your operations. But it also increases the risk that a merger or acquisition could lead to disruption. Understand the options available to you and don’t burn bridges in the industry.

      • Never Compromising

The merger of two companies typically requires changes to IT infrastructure, policies, and procedures. Always prioritize your company’s and your clients’ best interests, and don’t settle for fewer features, potential security vulnerabilities, or lower-quality service. Fill gaps with new solutions or partnerships, if necessary.

RetailNOW 2024

Keep an Open Mind  

The POS channel has experienced significant changes over the past decade and will continue to change. Although change creates friction, it can manifest in stronger organizations and result in more benefits for ISV partners.

Position your business so you can stay in control when your partners make changes, protecting your business’s and your customers’ best interests. Above all, always expect change. Be prepared to navigate it and emerge from your partners’ M&A decisions as a stronger organization.

Mark Bunney

Mark Bunney is the Head of Go to Market for North America. Mark drives the creation and execution of delivering new value-added software, solutions and services delivered through long term ‘as-a-Service’ recurring revenue agreements. Mark’s experience spans over 20 years working in solutions, sales, marketing and partner ecosystems strategy and management roles at POS software, payment, hardware and service technology companies.


Mark Bunney

Mark Bunney is the Head of Go to Market for North America. Mark drives the creation and execution of delivering new value-added software, solutions and services delivered through long term ‘as-a-Service’ recurring revenue agreements. Mark’s experience spans over 20 years working in solutions, sales, marketing and partner ecosystems strategy and management roles at POS software, payment, hardware and service technology companies.