Merchant Warehouse will make its Genius payments and marketing platform available to Retail Pro International LLC customers in what amounts to "future-proofing and a lot more" for the merchant payment terminals, says CEO Henry Helgeson.

The exclusive deal with payments software provider Retail Pro comes nearly a year to the day after Merchant Warehouse first introduced its Genius platform as an advanced payment and customer-interaction tool and a way for merchants to more easily deal with the rapid changes in payments technology.

The Retail Pro pact is "a pretty big win for us that speaks to the product itself," Helgeson says. "We have had other nice wins, but the scale of this and the nature of the relationship makes it our biggest one."

It also shows that Helgeson's decision for the independent sales organization to emphasize technology development at its tech center in Belfast, Ireland is paying off.

"It's amazing, in that with most ISOs the tech team supports the sales team," Helgeson says. "Here it is the opposite, as the tech team is supported by the sales team."

Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro will initially concentrate on Retail Pro's merchants in the U.S., Helgeson says. Retail Pro provides payments software to specialty retailers such as Oakley, Helly Hansen, Victorinox and Cycle Gear, in more than 52,000 stores in 86 countries.

The Genius platform will allow U.S. merchants to handle all modern payments technology, from signature capture to PIN and EMV smartcard acceptance, as well as mobile wallets, loyalty programs and card-linked services initiated through plastic cards or mobile devices.

Merchants incorporating the Genius platform will have far more tools at their disposal, but not every retailer will use every tool, Helgeson says.
"It's kind of like going from a flip phone to an iPhone 5," Helgeson adds. "You'll use the iPhone 5 for the same things you did on the flip phone, but there will be so much more you can do."

Even though the Genius platform has been available for a year, larger companies face more difficult integrations, making for a long sales cycle for Merchant Warehouse, Helgeson says.

The Genius platform has gone through numerous updates in the past year and continues to add new features daily, Helgeson says. Merchants find the cloud-based security aspect an appealing feature, he adds.

"The security piece is the most straight-forward technology," Helgeson says. "The card data never passes through the terminal."

As such, the retailer doesn't have "much to mess up" in configuring data-storage protocols or gateway connections, Helgeson adds.

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