Merchants need more from traditional merchant payment service providers. But those providers are constrained by the proprietary limitations of classic card-acceptance terminals. Something has to change or merchants will move on to alternative providers.
Even though payments in-store continue to represent the vast majority of transactions, the world of eCommerce has changed how consumers view the retail experience. They are accustomed to being able to find what they want, when they want it, as part of a relatively frictionless process.
Classic card-acceptance terminals are falling behind the changing nature of retail commerce. Limited-function terminals tightly bundled with monolithic payment applications do not provide an enhanced consumer experience, neither do they provide sufficient added value to retain merchant loyalty.
Meanwhile, more agile software developers and VARs, a growing number of payment facilitators, and venture-backed insurgents are seeking to disrupt the traditional channels through which payment solutions are delivered to the merchant countertop.
Unless something changes, traditional merchant payment solution providers will be marginalized, or have to migrate to a new business model such as those of alternative providers. A better way is to cast off dependence on proprietary solutions and adoption of a vendor-agnostic approach.
Small and medium-sized merchants (SMB) face even more challenges in the wake of the disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. ISOs and acquirers must be able to help them overcome these challenges by delivering new payment solutions that enable these merchants to become more agile and to deliver new services and new digital experiences to consumers.
SMB merchants have no choice but to reinvent themselves because consumers are less and less dependent on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. These consumers are learning they can live with fewer visits to hair salons and restaurants. They can buy clothes and groceries online with ease and rely on curbside pickup or home delivery.
Merchants need to be able to transform the in-store experience with new digital services that win back and retain customers. Services such as online booking and scheduling for restaurants and pet groomers; order online and pickup in-store for the local grocery or convenience store; in-store ordering combined with online fulfillment for the local clothing boutique. Merchants do not want and cannot afford to have to invest in additional standalone solutions to deliver these services.
Time for POS to get smart
New smartPOS solutions can deliver these services and more. Service providers, however, have been hesitant to adopt new solutions because of the technology burden in building new infrastructure to support a new set of devices. Many payment solution providers have built their businesses on limited set of hardware vendors so as to contain their expenses for supporting devices with services, maintenance and software.
Adding additional payment solutions to a portfolio traditionally requires added investment in people, training, and systems, as well as implementing separate estate management systems for incompatible hardware.
A vendor-agnostic platform is the key to simplifying payments infrastructure and empowering merchant payment solution providers to readily expand their portfolios and easily deliver new digital services to respond to changing consumer and merchant requirements. But these providers cannot simply shut off older systems and snap in new systems overnight—they need the ability to continue operations of older systems side-by-side with new smartPOS systems with one unified estate management solution.
AEVI’s platform provides the ability to support classic terminals and smartPOS systems side-by-side. This means that merchant payment solution providers will be able to add and subtract devices as their needs and those of merchants change. Not only will they be able to deliver new digital services, but they will free up resources to focus more time and attention on helping their merchants operate their businesses profitably.
Building agile business models
Acquirers and ISOs that gain the flexibility to work with a mix of existing and future hardware vendors will be able to better adapt to market changes and merchant demands. With AEVI’s approach, acquirers can adopt similar user interfaces across classic and smartPOS devices, simplifying support and training. They can also make it easier for merchants to integrate smartPOS devices alongside existing classic terminals, so they can roll out new capabilities without having to swap out all of their current card acceptance devices.
By adopting a vendor-agnostic platform, merchant payment solutions providers can transform their own businesses. They no longer have to bind their futures to one or two hardware vendors. Instead, they can create a more agile business model that allows them to leverage their market-specific knowledge to create more flexible, adaptive solutions for their customers.