Point of sale (POS) value-added resellers (VARs) have always faced tough competition, but the competitive landscape has grown. Businesses outside the traditional POS channel are selling POS systems directly to end users — and your prospects may tell you they’re just going to get an iPad, a POS app, and a card reader and then start selling.
POS ISVs and their VAR channels need to answer the persistent question: How do we compete? By analyzing the industry, talking with our partners, and considering the changes end users are facing in their markets, we are convinced the answer is value-added services.
What are value-added services?
Merchants need more than POS and payment solutions to operate. They want to create customer experiences that build loyalty and use data to help them stand out from the competition and streamlines processes. Value-added services give them the additional capabilities they need. Value-added services VARs can bundle with the POS and payments solutions they provide include:
Gift cards: You can equip merchants with a complete stored-value solution that covers everything from issuing cards and processing to multichannel delivery and fraud prevention. Gift card redemptions can increase a merchant’s sales by 38 percent.
Loyalty program: Today’s merchants need more than just a rewards points program. They want to build relationships with customers that provides the data they need to anticipate the types of products, services and experiences that will keep them coming back to make additional purchases. Effective programs can increase engagement by 25 percent and improve annual spend by 26 percent.
CRM: Customer relationship management solutions give merchants a total view of their customers, allow them to segment their list for targeted marketing, and provides them with insights from analytics so they know their campaign strategies are working.
Marketing: Enable merchants to use the most effective ways of reaching their customers — whether that’s through triggered messaging, gamification, mobile wallet offers, or personalized content.
Real-time surveys: Customer feedback will provide merchants with valuable insights. You can give them the ability to take a quick, one-question poll at checkout that can help them improve customer experiences and their operations.
What do value-added services do for your business?
It’s easy to see the benefits value-added services offer merchants — but don’t overlook these three major benefits they offer POS VARs and ISVs:
Grows recurring revenue
The as-a-Service business model allows you to build a monthly recurring revenue stream from POS software subscriptions, payment residuals and managed services. By selling value-added services in addition to the solutions you now provide, you can increase monthly recurring revenue.
Builds stronger business relationships
Value-added services also allow you to sell deeper into your existing client base, and the more services you provide, the stickier your customer relationships will be. You can provide all the solutions your customers need, allowing your business to become the one-stop-shop for IT and making it unthinkable for your client to replace you — even in an increasingly competitive space.
Elevates you to the role of business advisor
With value-added services, your business can operate on a whole different plane than a tablet POS app provider. Instead of merely a business that sells solutions, you can assume the role of a business advisor. You can consult with clients about the types of customer experiences they want to create and then enable them from the range of IT solutions you provide. You will provide your clients with solutions that can help them innovate, operate more competitively, and build loyalty. There’s no question that a business that can provide this expertise is relevant — even though some businesses are trying to get merchants just to download an app.
A Time of Change
Business growth always requires you to take stock from time to time and make sure you are delivering what your market demands. Retailers, restaurants and other merchants are adapting their operations to provide the types of experiences and services that a changing customer base — including digital natives —want. The types of IT solutions those merchants need to meet their objectives have evolved from the basic POS system of the past to a total solution with expanded capabilities.
Changes in your vertical market may require you to expand the types of solutions you provide, but the best way to add new services may not be clear. The right payments partner can make it easy for you to implement new value-added services, some as simply as plug and play, that your clients need — and that you need to keep your business relevant and competitive.