How to Handle the Demand for Custom POS Applications

Collaborative “solution fitting” may be the answer to equipping merchants with the exact features they need, without high-risk application customization.

ISVs know better than anyone in the industry that there’s no one-size-fits-all point of sale (POS) software solution. “You can call on five merchants and ask them the top five things they want POS software to do, and they can tell you five different things,” says Keith Sampson, Director of National Sales at North American Bancard. “They all have different needs.”

He says some merchants may be using POS applications that they aren’t satisfied with, and they have wish lists of features that would make those applications more valuable to their businesses. Others may want specific customizations, like a PIN pad that communicates directly with the payment processor to keep data out of PCI scope — but they may have integrated devices that keep it in scope. Merchants may also need a customized loyalty program feature, the ability to integrate a third-party solution, or they may want to add e-commerce functionality.

And other merchants are just now upgrading from a cash register and card reader, and a full-featured POS system may not be what they’re looking for — they may be more interested in a smart payment terminal.

In some instances, you may have a merchant that presently doesn’t utilize a POS system, so transitioning to a new solution can help merchants realize valuable time and resource savings. “Anything you give them is a wish list. They have the biggest learning curve, but they have the most to gain. It can be a lot of fun, and they can be the most appreciative. If they’re doing manual accounting now, they can realize 5 to 8 hours per week of time savings with a new solution,” Sampson says.

Two of the Biggest Problems with Customization
Keith Sampson,
Director of National Sales,
North American Bancard

So if an application doesn’t exactly fit a merchant’s needs, you may go down the path of how to customize your software to make it work. In a perfect world, this means a minimum of investing time and resources to the custom POS application project. But it’s not a perfect world and custom projects create challenges including:

  • Communication: There is always the risk that communication breaks down between you and the merchant, and the work your team does doesn’t hit the mark with the client. It’s also crucial that your team collaborate closely about unique issues or requirements related to the project and the client.
  • Cost: Even if you collect data on your operation and base time and cost estimations on statistics, it’s hard to plan ahead for every contingency. So if your estimation is low, you face the undesirable circumstance completing the project at a loss or, if the client changes the scope, renegotiating project costs.

An alternative to customization projects is attempting to convince all of the merchants your sales team encounters that they can successfully use your application to meet all of their needs. But with so much at stake for merchants in today’s hyper-competitive landscape, where businesses need to deliver the best possible customer experiences to remain relevant and viable, they probably won’t settle for less than the functionality they need.

Take a New Approach

Sampson says there’s a better approach to this problem: solution fitting. “It’s a method of connecting the merchant with the correct solution.” In this cooperative approach, sales partners listen to what the merchant needs, work through a team of business consultants equipped with multiple solutions and then pairs the solution or solutions that are needed. Sales partners are the conduit to the merchant, and work directly to help find the most tailored solutions that will strategically benefit the merchant. This consultative approach proves most beneficial for ISVs, merchants and sales partners.

“It’s unrealistic for every sales partner to be a POS expert,” Sampson points out. “With solution fitting, sales partners can rely on a team to help them find the right solution.”

Sampson says the Solution Fitting Specialist will be a consultant and concierge, finding options, setting up demos, and walking through the POS software application process with the merchant.

For a POS company, if the right fit for a merchant isn’t your POS application, you can still benefit. “ISVs can be resellers for solutions that are a better fit for a prospect, not have to attempt to customize their solutions, and make a profit,” Sampson points out.

Solution fitting may require you to adjust your mindset about how to provide prospects with POS applications that are the perfect fit, but when the alternative is major customization or completely losing a sale, you may decide it’s worth considering.

“The most important thing is to get merchants the solutions they need,” says Sampson.  

Jay McCall

Jay McCall is an editor and journalist with 20 years of writing experience for B2B IT solution providers. Jay is a cofounder of Managed Services Journal and DevPro Journal.

Zebra MC9400
Jay McCall

Jay McCall is an editor and journalist with 20 years of writing experience for B2B IT solution providers. Jay is a cofounder of Managed Services Journal and DevPro Journal.