Insight on POS Solution Selection for Independent Merchants
Hybrid POS Solutions for Hybrid Business Models
In recent months, I've heard these words more frequently than
ever: "my facility is a bit of a hybrid...what do I do for POS?”
There are a few reasons for this increase in frequency of this question.
Just like in the financial markets, diversification works. Bakeries are supplementing their core business with retail merchandise that fits their persona. Specialty food retailers are offering tastings to enhance their core retail business. Cafe owners are adding and/or increasing retail portions of their business to increase sales per customer and build brand awareness. Coffee shops are obtaining liquor licenses to offer wine and craft beers to boost their evening sales.
So, the challenge remains and with good reason. I have always been a true believer in the "do one thing great" concept. I realize it's simple and improper grammar but eloquently so in both regards.
Fortunately, most POS developers agree and build applications that are extremely focused on specific markets. There are significant benefits in being vertically focused when developing POS. Most of them revolve around the aforementioned “do one thing great” concept. Point-of-sale software and hardware packages are very complex animals. Selling, delivering and supporting them become much easier when there is a strong focus on certain vertical markets.
However, with the climate changing in many verticals, a great deal of crossover exists today in terms of product mix being sold by merchants. As mentioned earlier, merchants are adding related products and services to complement their core businesses. In the examples above, retailers are adding services and hospitality items while QSR’s who traditionally have hospitality items are adding retail components to their business to increase revenues. Consequently, many of these merchants find themselves growing out of their POS systems since they are branching out of the traditional functionality needs of their standard market.
So, when you as a merchant start thinking outside of the box to gain that edge over the competition or to generate other revenue streams, what are you supposed to do about your POS? Your retail POS does not support hospitality functions. Your hospitality POS does not support the retail components you just added. Deploying two systems is simply not practical. You need a system that fills the gap. You need a hybrid.
Not to worry! These systems exist today. It is unlikely that you will find them with the large corporations who develop POS systems as they are slow to adapt to change for obvious reasons. So, seek help from the smaller companies who are focused on markets that have hybrid POS needs by nature. Examples of these markets are:
· Farm and Feed Stores
· Coffee Shops and Cafes
· Golf Courses
· Specialty Food Retailers
If you find POS companies spending time and energy in these spaces, they most likely already have an offering that is a bit of a hybrid in terms of features and functionality. These vertical markets have demanded hybrid systems for decades simply due to the nature of their business. So, if you are going through some diversification in your offering and your POS is stunting your growth, look outside your market for other solutions. You may be pleasantly surprised.