Point of sale industry trends are evolving at a fast pace. For an ISV, that means you can find new opportunities to develop applications, but it also means you have to form alliances carefully to make sure you partner with companies that are keeping up with the times. DevPro Journal asked Matt Dye, Director of Business Development at First American Payment Systems, to share his advice on what ISVs need to know before partnering with a point of sale (POS) or payments vendor in this time of disruption and change.
Dye suggests evaluating potential partners against POS industry trends in three areas:
#1 What Consumers Want
Consumers, especially millennials and Generation Z, are demanding more security as well as convenience at the point of sale. The days of using a credit card with little thought to security are gone. Dye advises making sure your partners’ solutions support convenience and security, for example, mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and SoftPay. Not only do mobile wallets offer the convenience of not having to carry a stack of cards, they also offer enhanced security with layers of protection built into smartphones, such as fingerprint ID, encryption, and tokenization. Dye says mobile wallet adoption rates vary by generation. “Younger people want to optimize their time and find these tools extremely handy. A lot of older people are still shopping with checkbooks, but they’re starting to get used to the convenience of using their smartphones for payment, too,” says Dye.
Another POS industry trend is toward customer self-service, aimed at saving time and addressing growing impatience among consumers. According to a Fetch, Dentsu Aegis Network study, 52% of millennials are more impatient today than they were five years ago, due to their reliance on technology.
Self-serve kiosks have grown in popularity in restaurants, giving customers an alternative to waiting in line for counter service and resulting in fast, efficient service by communicating directly with the kitchen. Some retailers and grocers are also exploring cashierless checkout as an option to save time, but there has yet to be a clear winner among solutions. “The most convenient, secure solutions will ultimately win out,” says Dye.
#2 What Merchants Need
Demands driving POS industry trends aren’t just consumer-based. Merchants are also looking for new solutions that help them manage their businesses more effectively and profitably. Dye sees one of the greatest opportunities for ISVs in solutions that help with back office management in restaurants. He adds that many restaurants are offering online or mobile ordering, but helping restaurants with the fees associated with these services can necessitate a significant increase in menu prices, so the industry is still looking for a solution that addresses the financial side of mobile ordering.
POS industry trends also include cash discounts to help merchants recover all or a part of their payment processing fees. Dye says it’s now possible for businesses accepting payments — from retail to wholesale to B2B — to institute cash discounts, although ISVs need to be careful not to overstep regulatory boundaries with the solutions they create.
#3 Unwavering Support
Dye says an important consideration when choosing a POS integration partner is the level of support they provide. First American, which has just received its sixth consecutive Association of TeleService International (ATSI) Call Center Award of Distinction, makes it a priority to provide fast, courteous, and professional service that helps foster customer loyalty.
“Developers’ income is primarily from SaaS,” Dye says. “If a partner doesn’t deliver the right level of support, client retention drops. And if you have fewer clients for a year or so, it puts you in a financial hole you have to climb out of.”
He says to investigate the support your partners offer, and align with those that will back their solutions — and yours — with excellent support. “There’s been a lot of consolidation in the industry and some decisions regarding support were made with a company’s pocketbook, not based on the best personnel. It may save them money, but ask what it will cost you in terms of dollars and cents and your reputation,” Dye comments.
Dye says to also form alliances with partners that give you the flexibility to tailor solutions to an individual client’s needs. “Solutions all still require features on a case-by-case basis. Some merchants want all data and applications in the cloud, others want a hybrid solution. Some are located in areas with no internet connectivity,” Dye explains.
“You have to analyze the customer’s needs all the way through to deployment and equipment, and find the right fit for that merchant to optimize their business,” he concludes.