Cloud POS services push traditional acquiring to the sunset

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Revel noticed its point-of-sale customers were similar to most consumers who don't take advantage of the vast capabilities of their computers or smartphones, or don't even realize what tools exist.

That gap fed a technology concierge service that monitors technology, and walks merchants through updates. For the San Francisco-based cloud POS service provider, it's a deeper step into modern-era merchant acquiring.

If the days of a terminal provider simply plugging in a unit and leaving customers to their own devices is not already looked upon as the Stone Ages of payments, Revel's new service adds to a trend that sets aside those old tactics for good.

"There has been a big evolution over the past five years in how payments companies position themselves," said Larry Berlin of Chicago-based MSI Consulting Corp. "These companies have put together payments with a series of other services to reduce churn and increase revenue."

Creation of a customer-service tool like Revel's Concierge Services positions payment providers as business partners and assures "the days in which merchant acquirers competed solely on how they established rates based on interchange fees are long over," Berlin added.

Concierge Services provides clients with access to business administration tools, as well as device and network management in a 24/7 support setting. "The initiative will offer the knowledge needed for merchants to take full advantage of the technology in their hands, without wasting time or resources," said Leslie Leaf, chief customer officer at Revel. "Retailers might use Concierge Services to outsource POS administration, manage growth, implement training and webinars, or increase employee engagement.
In many ways, the new service offering also illustrates how Revel itself has learned more about the competitive POS marketplace and how to establish firm footing.

For the past nine years, Revel has positioned itself as a high-tech cloud- and iPad-based point-of-sale system ideal for large and small business settings. In its early years, the company pushed the advantages of Revel's technology through WiFi and offline connections and the mobility and flexibility of tablet-based networks.

Over time, Revel has landed the types of agreements with partners and technology advancements in integrated payments that would keep it in the forefront with merchants seeking modern POS offerings.

Earlier this year, Revel entered a non-equity partnership with Worldpay to develop more payment solutions for its customers — a move that indicated Revel understood what it had to do to become a more complete business services provider and compete against the likes of Square and Stripe and other terminal providers.

"We have seen many POS vendors implement their solutions and then disappear," Leaf said. "Concierge Services solves that problem, and allows us to be available to our clients on an ongoing basis to ensure they continue to see benefits from our services."

Concierge Services can be designed for specific retail verticals, for businesses of all sizes, including multiple-location settings. In the restaurant vertical, for example, it would work for table service, quick service or snack restaurants.

When a payments technology provider can provide that array of services when acquiring a merchant contract, it makes it much harder for the merchant over time to simply change loyalty to someone else based solely on slightly lower pricing, MSI's Berlin said.

"The way this has turned out, is that the merchant acquirers had a phenomenal access point to a phenomenal market that they didn't know how to take advantage of, and they are learning how to now," Berlin added.

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Point-of-sale Payment processing Digital payments Retailers Revel Systems