Lessons Learned from RetailNOW and Investment Opportunities for the Future

by Jennifer Clark on September 5, 2017 · 0 comments

in Barcode Printing,Cloud Computing,Digital Signage,Mobility,POS,Retail,RFID,ScanSource POS & Barcode,SMB,Technology

The Retail Solutions Providers Association’s annual RetailNOW show in Las Vegas showcased an abundance of technology and educational sessions for resellers in the POS industry. From cash drawers to printers to invisible cloud services, it was the defining show for consumers and providers to showcase their portfolio of retail technology. And while the expo showcased myriad opportunities for networking and discovery, some of the biggest takeaways were in the breakout and keynote sessions tucked away in the Parisian-named meeting spaces.

Are you experienced?

One common theme from the show was customer experience. Whether outlining innovative ways to bring customers into the store instead of shopping online, or designing applications that solve for today’s biggest headaches at the checkout line, solutions in retail must be customer-focused and feature collaborative tools that provide value back to the customer. As speaker Marty Hodgett of Accenture said on the main stage, “People don’t want you to sell them a kayak, they want you to sell them a Facebook photo.”

As-A-Service

Even more, the shift to almost everything-as-a-service is no longer buzzworthy or nearing the horizon. It’s here and is the preferred model for most all business. If you’re not already offering your products or services as-a-service, you will be soon, or else you’ll be left behind. Consumers are looking for one supplier to solve many needs, and even more, want to pay for it on flexible terms. Pay special attention to their biggest preference: SaaS.

Head in the Clouds

Cloud software spending among retailers has increased more than 70% in the last two years (DevPro Journal). The challenge, however, is determining how ISVs can price their SaaS products competitively and keep resellers interested amid low margins. If you can focus your efforts on developing this relationship, the opportunity for growth skyrockets.

Additionally, resellers are also looking to bring managed services into the retail space while still protecting merchants and increasing their own margins. Look out for ways to bundle services that blend managed services with POS solutions.

Living in a Digital World

I would be remiss without mentioning the impact the digital world is having on businesses, especially in the terms of brand equity. RetailNOW showed us how to reform marketing strategies, while illustrating via staggering statistics how the majority of our business and social lives are conducted via digital methods. It appears the digital transformation is not just upon us but surrounding us. We can’t, however, completely replace face-to-face conversations with complete automation.

According to RetailNOW plenary speaker Erik Qualman, “Technology changes every second, but human nature does not.” And while we were repeatedly reminded to realign our strategies and embrace the digital tools around us, Qualman also recommended behaving like “Flintstones in a Jetsons’ age,” and not forget the tried-and-true methods for communicating that got us where we are today.

RSPA’s legal counsel Bob Goldberg suggested that, “Resellers need to create their own identity, and not rely on their vendor brands to do that for them.” This might be hard without the weight of some of the big names your products represent, but don’t underestimate the power of search engines and the time consumers spend researching products. The more transparent your brand is, and accessible for an audience to learn about you, the deeper the connection and sense of identity your brand will generate. As ScanSource VP of Global Marketing Christy Thompson said, “Think about why your customers engage with you. Then you can build your communication strategy.”

Next Steps

The days in Vegas were long and hot, but the takeaways, best practices, and spotlights on where the industry is headed provided a comprehensive guide for resellers, distributors and vendors alike. ScanSource POS and Barcode will continue to take a deeper look into all of these topics as well areas like IoT and Master Agent relationships in the coming weeks as we continue to focus on new investment opportunities for resellers.

 

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