The Tru view from Retail NOW 2018

The TruRating team hit the road once again last week, this time heading out to good old Music City, Nashville for RSPA Retail Now 2018.  We were delighted to act as hosts for a key breakout session, Impactful Selling By Focusing On Value, and as usual it was great to spend time with our partners in the booth while catching the latest news from the exhibition floor.

As ever, we kept our ears close to the ground so we could bring back a few key learnings from the event.

Mergers and Margins: an industry-wide challenge  

It’s no secret that the reseller community has thrived off reoccurring revenue from payment residuals for years.  Recently there’s been a change of the tides, however, and re-sellers are fighting the compression of profit margins like never before.  In part, this can be read as a knock-on effect of the mergers and acquisitions of some of the largest providers in the space. With some resellers seeing profits cut by as much as a third, it’s hard to deny a sense of urgency in the air.

A more open approach to partnerships, coupled with bundling models that offer retailers a wider option of services than pure payments, increasingly appears to be seen as an overdue evolution. For an industry that’s traditionally viewed the chase to the bottom of the pricing barrel as its competitive modus operandi, a call for a more creative approach to ‘value’, beyond pure dollar-cost efficiency, seems to be growing.

Alan Outlaw_RSPA2018
Alan Outlaw, TruRating President NAM
The New Model: the everything-as-a-service approach

Another hot topic at this year’s event was how providers are increasingly adopting the ‘as-a-service model’ across their product line. While previously retailers tended to buy a POS and terminal outright, the new model is for providers to sell a monthly plan that bundles hardware, software, and payments in one package. In the face of an increasingly sophisticated retail community, and hits to profits across the board, ‘third party’ services, including loyalty and feedback applications, are being integrated into to the core ISV and VAR offering in a way that the more rigid payments structure of old, simply wouldn’t have allowed for.

From service provider to trusted advisor

In a session moderated by TruRating’s Alan Outlaw, Marc Castrechini of TSYS called out a key lesson for all players in the industry,  “We sell payments well, but it’s now our role to help our merchants be competitive and grow.”  The panelists talked through a variety of solutions connected to the familiar ecosystem of payments that can help the merchant through their everyday operations. For Castrechini, the future of the industry was clear, “loyalty, customer insights… get familiar with these solutions, help your merchants and they immediately will become stickier to your service.”

As we packed up our booth, we left RSPA 2018 quietly confident that the wider industry was beginning to wake up to something we’ve been saying for a long time.  Provide retailers with the services they really need, and they’ll reward you in turn.  Remain complacent?   There may be some difficult lessons to learn along the way.

To learn more about how TruRating is helping retailers and payment providers to take their business to the next level, visit TruRating.com/business.

Dan Frank

 

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