Free POS Systems: How Resellers can Address the Elephant in the Room
There are many different point of sale (POS) solutions available, and we are living in a time of instant gratification over long-term investments. Many businesses are marketing “free POS systems” to capitalize on this, creating challenges for value-added-resellers (VARs) to convey the benefits of investing in high-quality POS systems when a “free” option is available. When competing against free POS systems, resellers need to be prepared to discuss with customers the misconceptions of free POS systems and the impact to a restaurant’s business.
The first thing your customers need to understand is that “free” isn’t really free. Yes, there may be no initial investment, but these systems often charge a number of fees for service, support, software upgrades, and account maintenance, among others. Many of these free models may only be a limited or trial version, requiring the user to pay a fee in order to upgrade to the full version and access critical functions. Free POS system providers also may profit by taking a percentage of revenue from card transactions, or by charging an additional fee on top of each transaction processed through an outside card processer. If a merchant is wary of a large upfront cost, VARs can offer the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, providing your merchants with POS software, maintenance, upgrades, support, and service for a monthly fixed cost. Furthermore, as a local expert, you are an invaluable resource with whom your customers can consult on new integrations that will help grow their business.
Many free POS systems require the user to sign a contract obligating them to use the system exclusively for many years, even if they end up disliking the system or finding a better alternative. Often, these businesses will be stuck using the hardware provided with the POS system, which may not be equipped to handle future regulations. Merchants are often required to continue paying fees for these systems even if they’ve gone out of business. VARs are able to offer fully-functioning, exceptional POS systems without requiring business owners to sign long-term contracts. By utilizing a SaaS model, VARs grow recurring revenue for your business while eliminating risks for the restauranteur.
Leverage Unsurpassed Functionality
Free POS systems come with many strings attached, but they are often limited in what they are capable of. In such a competitive industry, restaurants need more functionality than free POS systems can provide if they want to stay ahead. Help your customers understand that not only are “free” options stripped of many of the functions that prove to be so valuable to restauranteurs, but they come without the service and support that VARs offer.
Work with your restauranteurs to determine what their needs are, and recommend systems that have the exact functionality they require. Additionally, make sure the software solution on your line card can integrate with the widest variety of ancillary solutions in order to have the greatest amount of “tools” in your box to not only help your customer’s business succeed, but grow additional revenue for your own.
The “Value” in “Value-Added Reseller”
The concept of free POS systems seems attractive to restaurant operators at first, until they understand exactly what “free POS” means for their business. Demonstrate your value and expertise, as well as the risks that restaurateurs face when selecting a free POS model, and prove to owners that by choosing you, they are making better business decisions in the long run. By offering the right software with the features your customers need, at the price point they can afford, you can effectively compete with free POS and help your prospects succeed.
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