So, you’ve decided to make point of sale technology an integral part of your business—what do you do now? One aspect of the POS industry that can be confusing to the uninitiated is that a person typically doesn’t buy POS systems directly from the companies that manufacture them. Instead, we have what are called POS VARs, or Value Added Resellers.
A POS VAR is a person or company that packages all the software and hardware necessary for an effective POS system together, and then provides that package to a business. A reseller will also often provide training, maintenance and technical support.
One example of a POS reseller is Zephyr Hardware. A recent article here on Point of Sale News discussed hardware and software being implemented together as a restaurant POS solution on the FOX show Kitchen Nightmares. The article mentioned but did not explicitly discuss that this system was provided by Zephyr Hardware, a value added reseller. What does this mean? Zephyr Hardware did not manufacture the product; they bundled the iPad, the iPod touches, the Cash Drawer, the POS software, the receipt printer and everything else together and then provided that bundle to the show.
Why are POS resellers necessary? Consider everything that goes into a POS system and the huge range of possibilities regarding each business’s needs. Are you the owner of a small-town coffee shop where a single iPad at the counter will suffice? Do you run a busy restaurant and need a half dozen iTouches for your wait staff? Are you responsible for an array of stores that share inventory? Consulting an expert in POS technology who can assess your needs can save you time, money and a lot of frustration.
A POS reseller may be an individual, a large company or anything in between—and size doesn’t necessarily reflect quality. There are VARs with 20 or 30 years of experience who are one-man shops, and VAR organizations who employ thousands – sometimes as full-time employees, and sometimes as independent operators. You need to choose the one that is right for you. Therefore, when choosing from whom you are going to purchase a POS system, there are some questions you should ask:
· How much experience do they have installing point of sale systems?
· Are they familiar with the specific system they would be selling to you?
· Is training included with the purchase, and if so how much?
· What extent of customer support is provided post-purchase, and how is this support provided (over the phone, on-site, etc.)?
Another way to think about POS resellers: point of sale technology is an investment. Much like you might consult a financial planner before investing a large sum of money, you might consult a POS reseller before investing in a POS system. In order to maximize your investment, be sure to choose a reseller who is a good fit for you and your business—and never be scared to ask to ask for references.
Perhaps one of the best reasons for choosing a VAR is that there is a single point of contact for all the disparate components of the system – including the software, printer, scanners, cabling or routers, training, backing up, customizing, etc. Just one LOCAL number to call if you need help, and, often, someone who really understands your business. VARs can offer a level of support, training and peace of mind that simplly cannot be matched by someone at a support desk 2,000 miles away.
Not every business needs a Value Added Reseller, but every business should talk with a few in the process of choosing point of sale software.