Thursday, January 15, 2015

Point of Sale Trends - Who Wants to Sell to You & What Are Your Options?

I have taken some time to chat with different point of sale dealers/partners that have physical presences and sell point of sale systems both online and locally. There are some noteworthy trends taking place related to business plans, solutions, and target market segments that might be of interest to you. I will break it down by gross annual sales volume so you can skip to the section that applies to your business or organization. Note that this applies to everyone and is not just specific to retail stores, museums, restaurants, bars, concession stands, venues, or similar.

Under $100,000 in Gross Annual Sales:
  • Cash Register
  • Square
Basically businesses and organizations with this low of a sales volume really can't afford to spend much more than $200-$1500 on a cash register or point of sale system.  Most of these cash register and point of sale solutions are found online but some areas do have local dealers but plan on paying an additional hourly labor rate for any onsite training, setup, or support services. Most companies that I spoke with prefer that these systems be sold online and direct to the end user.

$100,000 to $300,000 in Gross Annual Sales:
  • Cash Register
  • Tablet/Mobile Point of Sale System
  • Point of Sale System with a Monthly "pay as you use it" Fee
This segment of the market has become increasingly competitive with numerous iOS, Android, and even Windows systems on the market designed to run on mobile devices like tablets and smart phones. Nearly all of these systems use a "pay as you use it" pricing plan which is easy on your budget (think of it as another utility bill) and normally includes support and updates in the monthly fee.   Most companies that I spoke with prefer that these systems be sold online and direct to the end user.

Make sure that you watch out for hidden fees in the contracts and ensure that your EMV hardware needs will be taken care of since our EMV Liability shift date is coming up in October 2015.  Also make sure that you are working with something that does not lock you in to a long term merchant services contract as this will cost you dearly in the long run.

$300,000 to $800,000 in Gross Annual Sales:
  • Tablet/Mobile Point of Sale System
  • Bundled Computer Based Point of Sale System 
You folks are in a tough position. Your business may have feature/function needs that require more that what the tablet or mobile point of sale systems offer but you likely don't have $8,000 - $20,000 to spend on a full blown computer based point of sale system. You may also have noticed that your local point of sale dealer/partner is only interested in working with businesses with multiple locations and not single location businesses.  This is due to the simple reason that selling mobile point of sale solutions with monthly "pay as you use it" pricing plans or $8,000 computer based point of sale systems don't generate any profit while selling $20,000+ point of sale systems to large single location businesses or business with multiple locations does generate a profit.

You will likely be able to find online point of sale companies willing to sell you a 'bundled' system online and then you take care of setting up the system yourself or hire a local technician.

To be honest - many of the point of sale companies, partners, VAR's and dealerships that I spoke with are not planning on providing anything for this segment of the market. I understand the reasoning but it seems like this is leaving folks with these sizes of businesses and organizations with limited options - especially if any sort of onsite services are needed.

Hopefully someone will come up with the right type of solution that offers all the features/functions that businesses and organizations in this market segment need as well as any onsite support services. I was part of a company that launched $2995.00 bundled point of sale systems in the late 1990's so I'm sure that a $5995.00 bundled system would sell well today and you simply add on optional bundles for services like training, onsite setup, and ongoing support/

$800,000+ in Gross Annual Sales:

Basically - anyone and everyone with a point of sale system wants to work with you. Unless you have real basic technology needs, you will likely want to go through a local point of sale dealer/partner who can sit down with you to learn more about your business and what you need in a point of sale system.  Make sure that you take time to find a system that meets your present and future needs as well as a point of sale partner/dealer that can provide the support and service that you need.

Overall Summary:

So, obviously, there are some market segments that are likely going to be under-served for the time being while other segments will be receiving lots of cold calls from salespeople!

The good news is that I don't care what your volume is. I have worked with business and organizations with 1 location and annual gross sales as low as $18,000 to chains with several hundred locations and multi-million dollar per location annual gross sales.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

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