Retailers look to sweat their IT platforms for around five years and given that Y2K condensed this "refresh”, the subsequent spend cycle came about during 2005 and 2006. Now we have a number of compelling events combining that have a retailer’s front end POS and back office systems front of mind once again.
The mass refresh of EFTPOS terminals mandated by the international card schemes, combined with an aging fleet of POS hardware (since the last refresh in ‘05/06) and punctuated by the Rugby World Cup, sees a flurry of activity in Q1 and Q2 of 2011.
Higher margins remain for those resellers and integrators who can supply the entire retail store solution completely integrated, i.e. POS software, POS hardware, wireless infrastructure, stock-taking device, EFTPOS, kiosk, security cameras, digital signage. That said, there are still many examples of highly profitable integrators who pick out component parts of the above and specialise.
Retailers have become far savvier about how they want their POS to look, both aesthetically and in user interactive functionality. We have seen a proliferation of customer-facing second screen applications at the POS, while the footprints of the latest generation POS hardware platforms are smaller and more elegant. Retailers care, for instance, what their EFTPOS terminal looks like. Can I have a two-tone silver model? These are big differences compared with 10 years ago.
We are seeing traditional EFTPOS resellers venturing into POS. Similarly, traditional POS resellers are venturing into security. This would appear to have resellers thinking about how they can better farm their existing retail customers, i.e. "I can sell and support more than the POS lane in that store”.
Resellers who have not traditionally ventured into the security market can partner with distributors who supply the hardware and software solution as a bundle, allowing integration of cameras, DVR and security software to the POS application. This allows the retailer to look up time and date-based activity on the POS and access it directly from the DVR, versus cameras on continuous record seeing the retailer having to sit through hours of footage to find what they need.
Similarly for digital signage, vendors like Panasonic have a wide range of panels and media players, but also the content management software to bring it all together. This is the opportunity for existing resellers.
For new resellers looking to enter the POS market, they will need to partner with a distributor and vendors who have a deep knowledge of the local market and who can assist with gaps in their knowledge by way of joint presentations and workshops for up-skilling of their sales and support teams.
2011 is a big year for retail refresh.