This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.
In an increasingly digitized world, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing immense pressure to understand and accommodate their customers’ changing needs, including at the point of sale (POS).
More than two years after the EMV liability shift in October 2015, most large merchants globally have upgraded their payment systems. And beyond upgrading to meet new standards, many major retailers are adopting full-feature, “smart” devices — and supplementing them with valuable tools and services — to help them better engage customers and build loyalty.
But POS solutions aren’t “one size fits all.” Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t usually have the same capabilities as larger merchants, which often have the resources and funds to adopt robust solutions or develop them in-house. That’s where app marketplaces come in: POS app marketplaces are platforms, typically deployed by POS providers, where developers can host third-party business apps that offer back-office services, like accounting and inventory, and customer-retention tools, like loyalty programs and coupons.
SMBs’ growing needs present a huge opportunity for POS terminal providers, software providers, and resellers. The US counts roughly 8 million SMBs, or 99.7% of all businesses. Until now, constraints such as time and budget have made it difficult for SMBs to implement value-added services that meet their unique needs. But app marketplaces enable providers to cater to SMBs with specialized solutions.
App marketplaces also alleviate some of the issues associated with the overcrowded payments space. Relatively new players that have effectively leveraged the rise of the digital economy, like mPOS firm Square, are increasingly encroaching on the payments industry, putting pricing pressure on payment hardware and service giants. This has diminished client loyalty as merchants seek out the most affordable solution, and it’s resulted in lost revenue for providers. However, app marketplaces can be used as tools not only to build client loyalty, but also as a revenue booster — Verifone, for instance, charges developers 30% of net revenue for each installed app and a distribution fee for each free app.
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence looks at the drivers of POS app marketplaces and the legacy and challenger firms that are supplying them. The report also highlights the strategies these providers are employing, and the ways that they can capitalize on the emergence of this new market. Finally, it looks to the future of POS app marketplaces, and how they may evolve moving forward.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
- SMBs are a massive force in the US, which makes understanding their needs a necessity for POS terminal providers, software providers, and resellers — the US counts roughly 8 million SMBs, or 99.7% of all businesses.
- The entrance of new challengers into the payment space has put pricing pressure on the entire industry, forcing all of the players in the industry to find new solutions to keep customers loyal while also gaining a new revenue source.
- Major firms in the industry, like Verifone and Ingenico, have turned to value-added services, specifically app marketplaces, to not only build loyalty but also giving them a new revenue source — Verifone charges developers 30% of net revenue for each installed app and a distribution fee for each free app.
- According to a recent survey by Intuit, 68% of SMBs stated that they use an average of four apps to run their businesses. As developers flock to the space to grab a piece of the pie, it’s likely that increased competition will lead to robust, revenue-generating marketplaces.
- And there are plenty of opportunities to build out app marketplace capabilities, such as in-person training, to further engage with users — 66% of app users would hire someone to train and educate them on which apps are right for their businesses.
In full, the report:
- Identifies the factors that have changed how SMBs are choosing payment providers.
- Discusses why firms in the payments industry have started to introduce app marketplaces over the last four years.
- Analyzes some of the most popular app marketplaces in the industry and identifies the strengths of each.
- Breaks down the concerns merchants have relating to app marketplaces, and discusses how providers can solve these issues.
- Explores what app marketplace providers will have to do going forward in order to avoid being outperformed in an industry that’s becoming increasingly saturated.