NCR, Silver and Staples – the good and bad

NCR’s decision to sell their limited feature POS system Silver in Staples is not necessarily all bad for their Var channel. My first reaction was that they were directly competing with their resellers and poaching some of the market share. Since I’m not privy to all the details of the arrangement I have to make some assumptions which can be dangerous. Other companies have tried a version of this approach with very limited success. First and foremost any retailer walking into Staples looking for a new POS system is looking for a low end solution. Typically they want to handle POS transactions and some limited reporting. The Var market can’t afford the time and effort it takes to sell into this market tier. Having been a Var for fifteen years before staring my consulting business it was my experience that retailers looking for low solutions take as much sales effort, implementation and support time as larger customers without the offsetting revenue. You simply can get the dollar value of your services from what I’ll call the tier four market. If NCR’s intent with the Staples program is to provide an entry level solution in hopes that as some of these retailers will grow and upgrade to their full featured system that can be a good thing, but only if they turn those upgrade opportunities over to their Vars. I hope this is their intent because the Var channel is being eroded from a number of directions. The recent spate of mergers and acquisitions in the POS world has created a highly competitive environment to gain market share. In my opinion this has resulted in some policies and marketing decisions that are potentially harmful the reseller channel. The POS companies need to recognize that there some really great VARS out and they are being approached aggressively by your competitors. Before you make any decision that impacts your relationship with your Vars, pause and look at from their perspective before executing it.  

Wow, just saw where NCR acquired Retalix and the beat goes on.