Revel Systems Inc. is now delivering its iPad-based point-of-sale products into larger retail settings – and intends to make a push for equipping major retailers early next year.
San Francisco-based Revel announced last week that 23 Goodwill stores in Florida have replaced their Microsoft Dynamics RMS system with Revel's Retail POS software for iPads. In addition, Revel says consumer technology seller Belkin International Inc., which recently opened its first retail outlet in Los Angeles, will use Revel products in all of its stores.
The expansion into new retail settings coincides with Revel's development of features that allow variable pricing by volume or weight. This is a key function for Goodwill, which has three different types of stores with different pricing and checkout points, says Adam Thayer, information technology manager for Goodwill of North Florida.
"We also wanted the full reporting functionality of Revel's retail management system so we could manage all 23 stores from one centralized portal," Thayer says. "Out of all of the solutions we looked at, Revel was the only software that fulfilled all of those needs."
Revel also introduced a new inventory module for retailers using an iPhone or iPod. The inventory software will also eventually work with an iPad mini after further testing is completed.
Retailers using Honeywell hardware will benefit from Revel's software now communicating with Honeywell's Bluetooth barcode scanner for processing orders, Revel says.
Revel has had an early impact with iPad-based POS systems for pizza parlors, coffee shops, food trucks and other small retailers, but the company has every intention of approaching "the Targets of the world" during the first quarter of 2013 to continue its retail expansion, says Chris Ciabarra, Revel's co-founder and chief technology officer.
"Revel's Retail POS is built for enterprise, for companies with multiple locations," Ciabarra says. "And we always keep security in mind, with encryption at the card swipe and again in the payments system."
Ciabarra expressed confidence that Revel will convert major retailers in the near future, mainly because "all of these companies are adapting to the mobile technology, and they can now do it with consumer-type products."
Revel offers an option that is at a lower cost than traditional POS systems and provides more functions, Ciabarra says.
Major manufacturers are not likely to quickly develop a mobile product that can match what Revel offers, Ciabarra says. "We feel we are in a good position to make a big, hard push into retail segment next year," he adds.
While Revel has had solid success with small retailers, the company's recent moves aren't likely to signal a future shift in which the industry will see major retailers converting to mobile terminals, says Gil Luria, industry analyst with Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities.
"The providers of mobile POS systems have hurt the major terminal makers to a certain extent, but it is very limited," Luria says. "Most large retailers need systems that call for constant updates and maintenance, and a more robust management system."
Major retailers tend to buy management systems from a company such as Oracle or NCR and combine it with Ingenico or VeriFone terminals to "suit their technology needs and get the support needed for a secure payments system," Luria says.
Because small retailers don't have as many management or accounting needs, they are perfect targets for an upgrade to a mobile system that allows card acceptance and other features targeted to their business, Luria says. "A lot of small retailers operate with a Casio cash register because that's all they have needed," he adds.
Large corporations, especially in the U.S., are also wary of what's in store when EMV smart card technology and Near Field Communication contactless payment begins to take hold and they will need equipment to handle both, Luria says.
"There is no doubt that mobile terminals are changing the retail landscape, but they don't replace the need for a larger, robust and secure system," Luria says.
However, major retailers incrementally bring on mobile devices for their sales force, with the devices communicating with the corporation's main system, he adds.
In October, Revel reported it had secured a profit in its first year in business and announced its new marketplace for retailers, offering plug-ins, including third-party applications from Facebook, Twitter and daily deal application interfaces from Groupon, Social Living and others. Revel designed the system to allow retailers to send out promotional materials through Facebook or Twitter, and also redeem vouchers from Groupon.