Payments Plus… Solving for the Niche Markets

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Traditional point of sale (POS) systems have not only revolutionized the way business is done in the world, but have also created a new wave of business owners. The likes of PayPal and Square in the North American Markets took things several notches up by the creation of  the new “at-home” or “on-the-road” business owners, nicely equipped with mobile payment solutions.

I remember my daughters asking me for a washable princess tattoo from a small vendor at Legoland a couple of years ago. I looked in my purse and realized that I did not have cash on me. I told the vendor “I am sorry I do not have any cash” and she quickly whipped out her smartphone and her Square card reader and said: “Not to worry, I take credit and debit cards!”  Rewind to a few years back at a state fair; you would have had to bring cash in order to transact at such an event. Times have exponentially changed in the payments world, and for the better at that!

While this makes life beautiful for business owners, it is not yet quite the ideal for certain types of businesses. POS service providers have figured out the payments part and continue to evolve this space for the better. Big businesses are able to add the payments piece to their standard features (beyond inventory management) to create a solution that works for them and their customers. This is basically what i call the “Payments Plus” Solution:

Payment Processing + Niche Features = Payments Plus

What about business owners that need it but are too small to create their own Payments Plus solutions? This is an opportunity that I believe should be explored by POS providers world-wide for the following categories/markets:

  1.  Direct Sales
  2. Non-English Speaking
  3. Semi-Literate

Take the Direct Sales market for example. As amazing as it sounds, even the biggest players in the space have payment processing for their reps as a separate app and it is not integrated to the rest of their party planning systems.

An example of the Payment Plus type solution is the PointeRep application deployed into certain African markets. It has standard payments processing plus 1 or 2 key features that cater purely to the direct sales world thereby making it a perfect fit for them. By the way, the direct sales market produced 34.5 billion dollars in US sales for 2014!

PointeRep

 

Not all niche markets are worth it for POS service providers depending on their goals. Those with purely economic goals should look at niche markets that matter to their bottom line like direct sales and the like.

Those that are leaning more towards a socioeconomic impact should consider niche markets such as semi literate business owners in Asia, Africa and certain parts of South America. These markets matter in that solving for their needs produces a payoff in volume. So its a win-win because you make money from the volume and you make a tangible social impact by innovating with inclusion in mind.

The QVC-Zulily Marriage

QVC-Zulily
Barely two years after going public, the flash sales pioneer Zulily (as reported by the WSJ) has agreed to be acquired by Liberty Interactive Corp., the parent of QVC (home shopping network) in a cash and stock deal.

Valued at around $2.4 billion dollars, Zulily is expected to add a younger demographic to QVC’s current customer base. This sounds like a really good strategy.

I really like this aspect of the deal. Especially the ability to now cross-sell their products on TV and online. I think it will work very well for the Zulily side of things online, but wonder how this new younger demographic being brought to the QVC world will translate to increased sales on TV.

There is definitely a market for the TV sales for some portion of this younger demographic; the-stay-at-home moms, work-from-home customers, etc. Hopefully, this portion of that demographic will be enough for QVC to count this deal as very well worth it in the years to come.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

 

 

Inclusion Inspired Innovation

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