The Covid-19 pandemic dramatically illustrates the need for next-generation merchant acquiring services. Even before crisis-enforced economic shutdowns, merchants large and small were experiencing various stages of transformation, as eCommerce and changing consumer behaviors challenged long-standing business models. With the spread of the coronavirus, those challenges threaten the existence of many merchants, and smartPOS transformation offers the best path to survival.
Over the past decade, the convenience of eCommerce has been encroaching on the intimacy of the traditional brick-and-mortar environment. With the pandemic, the intimacy of the in-store environment has come to represent a potential health threat to shoppers.
To counter this threat, merchants have to initiate or accelerate the shift to new services such as contactless payment, curbside and delivery transactions. The only way to overcome what is likely to be long-lasting reductions to in-store customer density is to quickly supplement existing goods and services with new digital complements.
Integrating intimacy and efficiency
Integrating the intimacy of the traditional brick-and-mortar environment with the efficiency and always-on capabilities of the digital is no easy challenge. It’s not sufficient to simply swap out a classic payment terminal for a new and shiny Android-based dedicated payment system with access to an electronic marketplace of non-integrated apps and services and label that a “smartPOS”.
Merchant payment service providers more than ever before need to be able to deliver solutions that truly make a difference. True smartPOS solutions must be able to integrate and orchestrate new services and functions with traditional payment transactions. They must seamlessly unite the physical and digital merchant worlds, leverage data analytics, and work side-by-side with classic payment terminals that are not likely to disappear anytime soon.
When it comes to smartPOS, next-generation acquirers need to think beyond devices and an encompassing strategy that unites the digital with the physical world, payments with data, and new approaches with legacy systems.
Integration and orchestration are the crucial elements of smartPOS. In addition to accepting and managing all types of payments, the smartPOS must seamlessly deliver new customer-facing digital services and new business productivity functions that will make merchant operations more profitable and easier to manage. These solutions must be capable of running on whatever hardware the merchant needs to deploy in the store, curbside, and mobile.
This transformation strategy requires a platform approach that allows merchant payment service providers to assemble tailored solutions of disparate value-added apps and digital services. Such a platform can make it easy for service providers to mix-and-match different types of hardware and ultimately even virtual endpoints. More importantly, it can provide the means to manage a diverse estate of classic and smartPOS devices so that each service provider can transition at a pace that is appropriate for its own business and the needs of its merchants.
For most merchant payment service providers, it’s not realistic to build their own integration and enablement platforms. That would be like expecting a small software developer to create its own Amazon Web Services infrastructure to deliver a new cloud service. The cost and effort required to do so is insurmountable.
Instead, payment services providers should find the right technology platform that can automatically and seamlessly handle the orchestration between the payment transaction and value-added apps and services. Focus on finding partners who can help to assemble and support transformation solutions, and utilize your efforts in matching merchant needs with suites of appropriate apps and services.
Diagram: Technology platform handles the orchestration between
the payment transaction and value-added apps
Leap forward with AEVI’s platform
AEVI’s merchant enablement platform for smartPOS provides data aggregation that allows the service provider to access a portfolio of digital services that can work in concert to create unique experiences. This provides payment solution providers with the ability to bring to market integrated, merchant-ready smartPOS offerings that can be adapted to different types of merchants, or all sizes.
Different merchant types have different needs. Mom & Pop corner grocery stores have different requirements than clothing and apparel franchises, who have different needs than travel agencies and healthcare provider offices. Service providers who are able to cost-effectively these individual needs and expectations will find the greatest success.
The right platform and digital toolset will enable solution providers to update and upgrade devices as needed to meet particular merchant needs. It will provide a non-intrusive upgrade path so that smart merchants can grow with new devices and apps as their needs evolve. It will deliver future digital services from new and existing partners.
Merchant payment service providers who are able to make the leap to next-generation acquiring will be able to ease merchants through necessary transformations and be rewarded with long-lasting trust and loyalty. In the meantime, they will have executed their own successful transformation and position themselves for growth and prosperity. AEVI is prepared to help you on your journey.