Verifone is hoping to beat the payments disruptors at their own game, introducing a mobile point of sale terminal for quick-service businesses, small retail shops and cafés that integrates payments with other consumer services.
As much as anything, the San Jose, Calif.-based terminal manufacturer views its new Carbon terminal as a critical step to "engage a generation of shoppers raised on e-commerce," said Vin D’Agostino, executive vice president of Verifone Services.
Verifone Carbon features dual screens for the merchant and consumer, with the merchant’s own business apps on one screen, while the consumer pays and views targeted messages on the opposite screen.
The terminal has Verifone's open, cloud-based Commerce Platform preloaded, allowing merchants to create value-added services and synchronize targeted marketing campaigns at the POS.
"The value it will bring to merchants will be immense and the experience for shoppers will be aligned with how they are connecting today to the world around them," D’Agostino said.
More companies are seeking integrated payments solutions, with some going so far as to make big-dollar acquisitions to bring on the necessary tech.
It's a significant change for the industry when a provider as large as Verifone commits to an app-based POS platform "with a form factor [of the split screens] that is radically different" from other products in the market, said Thad Peterson, senior analyst with Boston-based Aite Group.
"If Verifone is pushing the envelope on the evolution of POS and committing to different ways of doing things, essentially disrupting themselves, that's a sign that the space is changing radically and quickly," Peterson said. Ultimately, Verifone's efforts will lead to a better and more valuable platform for retailers, Peterson added.
Verifone Carbon is "always on" and supports USB, Ethernet, Bluetooth, WiFi, Near Field Communication and beacon connectivity. The Verifone Commerce Platform supports an app marketplace that lets merchants install value-added services to provide customized and personal online experiences in the physical store, D’Agostino said.
"Merchants can utilize an app that gives shoppers suggested items to package with their purchase on the front facing screen, or a coupon offer for an item they regularly purchase without them having to go looking for it," D’Agostino said.
Mostly, the platform provides "an open space for interesting and dynamic experimentation, development and disruption," he added. "Its open Android OS welcomes developers worldwide to write software that leverages Verifone Carbon's hardware features."
As for the future, Verifone is banking on Verifone Carbon to stand out as payments commerce melts into the Internet of Things.
"It very much plays into that," D’Agostino said. "As we become more connected, so must our commerce experience."
Verifone innovation labs are working on "the Internet of Payment Things" as part of this transition, D’Agostino said.
"One day, your laundry machine, for example, will know when you’re out of detergent and will order more for you," he added. "Verifone is at the epicenter of this type of change and the market is ready for these types of great ideas."
Such an advancement for Verifone would ultimately help its merchants compete with type of technology Amazon advances with its Dash Buttons, which are designed to allow consumers to reorder detergent from their laundry rooms, among other tasks.