Merchant Warehouse has seen a lot of momentum these past three months as small and medium-sized merchants adopt its Genius payment acceptance and customer engagement platform, which launched to the general public in January.

"October was the best [month] we had in our channel group; a big part of that is Genius," says Russell Harty, senior vice president of key accounts and channel partners at Merchant Warehouse.

Genius is a cloud-based platform that allows merchants to accept many different payment methods, including vendor gift, loyalty and promotional programs. It automatically equips their online point of sale systems and is readied for mobile wallets such as LevelUp.  It also supports EMV chip-card payments.

"Today in the small to medium-sized business market we're able to see payment technology… that in the past would require $5,000 to $10,000 …. [available] for significantly less," Harty says.

By Brooklyn, a store that sells fine goods made in Brooklyn, N.Y., began using the Genius platform because it was integrated with LightSpeed POS, which the store was already using.

"One of the key features that drew me to the Genius platform is the ability to add additional, future payment methods easily and in a cost-effective manner," says Gaia DiLoretto, owner of By Brooklyn. "As small business owners know, there's a significant cost to update point of sale technology, but because Genius updates from the cloud I can offer the latest payment options to my customers and can make updates quickly to more effectively respond to customer demands."

DiLoretto is also working with Merchant Warehouse to create an integrated loyalty program so customers don't have to worry about tracking rewards and DiLoretto can monitor which options are being redeemed.

And mobile payment systems are helping merchants mitigate what Harty says is the biggest customer complaint in their stores: waiting in lines. Merchants now have the ability to check out throughout the store with mobile point of sale products, he says.

"A lot of big box retailers today don't really have that all figured out," Harty says. "The large [merchants] are still doing tests … while smaller merchants can experiment and test much easier."

LinkPOS, an iPad point of sale provider, integrated the Genius platform in May to allow its merchants to handle coupons, rewards and loyalty programs. A month later, Merchant Warehouse partnered with Retail Pro International LLC, a payments software provider, as a means to scale its platform.

Merchant Warehouse continues to seek developer partners to expand its reach into different mobile payment offerings and blur the lines between technologies such as QR codes and Near Field Communication.

"A lot have trends have started at the top with big box retailers," Harty says. "A lot of programs now have been broken down so small to medium-sized businesses can appreciate these technologies; with the mobile payments trend it's really the other way around." 

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