Mobile point of sale technology is gaining traction, though providers say the middle market requires a stronger sell.

The mobile point of sale industry is currently trying to market its products to the “inert middle," said Norm Merritt, co-CEO and president of ShopKeep, during a panel discussion at Money2020. These medium sized merchants are harder to market to because they've been using the same point of sale removal for decades, he said.

ShopKeep has seen success in growing its business through referrals, Merritt said.

Mobile point of sale systems can be especially beneficial for large merchants and stores that are very popular, because the mobility adds flexibility, said Anton Commissaris, president of Vend, a cloud-based iPad point of sale provider, during the panel.

“For consumers [the 'Everywhere POS'] means the ability to check-in and check-out of the store in a completely mobile environment...to make a purchase in the aisle,” Commissaris said.

For example, Apple Stores were able to cut long lines and help customers more efficiently by deploying tablets that accepted payments to sales representatives.

“It may be early in the adoption cycle but we're clearly there,” said Commissaris.

In a survey of acquirers and ISOs that is currently underway, most are reporting that MPOS sales are between 5 and 15% of new merchant deals and growing, said Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst and consultant at Double Diamond Payments Research. So not only has mPOS continued to grow in the micro merchant segment, but it is also becoming a core product offering for mainstream acquirers, Oglesby said.

One of the issues mobile point of sale providers are having is differentiating their product and getting it into merchant's stores. Many of these providers look to independent sales organizations (ISOs) for help is pitching the product to businesses.

But “the price points we sell at aren't nearly as rich as the existing legacy business acquirers have,” said Justin Hotard, president of NCR Silver and NCR Small Business, on the panel. NCR announced on Nov. 11 that it would be supporting Bitcoin acceptance on the NCR Silver point of sale system.

“When the new model takes over the old model, it still takes a real dedicated focus to migrating to that,” said Hotard. “EMV in particular will be a massive accelerator” for the adoption of mobile point of sale.

Poynt Co., a startup headed by former Google and PayPal executive Osama Bedier, is also hoping to take advantage of the U.S. EMV hardware upgrade schedule to entice merchants to switch to its payment terminal.

Within the mobile point of sale space, vendors usually don't make their merchants sign long-term contracts like the legacy players, Ingenico and VeriFone do. “Because once the device is in the business, running the business, it's extremely sticky,” Hotard said.

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