What do you do if you are a leading manufacturer whose product lines are enjoying unprecedented sales? Sit back and take a breather? Not hardly!
Since its introduction over a year ago, the VeriFone Omni 3700 family of products has received widespread acclaim and acceptance with ISOs and MLS throughout the payment processing industry. Not content to rest on its equipment laurels, VeriFone is taking the product family to the next level.
Take a look at what VeriFone now offers with the Omni 3750. First, it boasts multiple Class A certifications and shipments exceeding 600,000 units. Second, it showcases great success with value-added applications as well as new communications options.
The platform that supports the Omni 3750, Verix, is a remarkable architectural achievement that incorporates advanced technology and proven system functionality.
"Our competitors are just now talking about releasing new architectures but we have already delivered and proven it in the marketplace," says Paul Rasori, Vice President of Product and Marketing at VeriFone. "We are moving on to the next thing."
Is that next thing technologically based? According to Rasori, it is not.
"At VeriFone, it is all about solutions, not technology," says Rasori. "Technology is a given. We have already established ourselves in that area as a leader. Multi-app technology is great but what is required is to have a program in which value added service providers, processors and ISOs can meet in the middle and work together."
That philosophy has translated into a unique approach geared towards providing the value-added marketplace with a program that is beyond technology. It focuses on interoperability standards.
"When you take two applications that have been developed by two separate companies and place them on one terminal, how do you guarantee that they are going to work together?" asks Rasori. "We are the only vendor that has created a program in which every provider that is a recognized member of our program has to put their applications through our certification program. This guarantees that all applications will be interoperable."
VeriFone has established a set of standard requirements that require each service provider to have things like Class A help desk support, standardized user interface, terminal download capability and a reseller program. Providers also cannot be exclusively tied to any one processor so ISOs and MLS can have the opportunity to mix and match services and bundle solutions.
VeriFone supplements this unique program with creative marketing materials that outline bundled solutions and how to successfully sell the VeriFone line.
"Whether it's a doctor's office or a QSR or a small retailer, our marketing materials don't just help sell credit, debit or EBT," says Rasori. "We are not just creating solutions but also creating marketing strategies to put upsell opportunities in the hands of the MLS."
The program seems to be working. At present, VeriFone is up to 28 certified value-added service providers whose products can be downloaded onto any Omni 3750 without additional development, testing or certification.
"When an ISO or a MLS decides to partner with any one of these value-added service providers, they already know that the provider has met a minimum set of standards and has a reseller program," says Rasori. "That's a major point of differentiation and we have over a year's head start on the rest of the marketplace."
Hand in hand with the popularity of VeriFone's value-added program is the IP functionality of the Omni 3750. As the industry experiences major growth in the IP arena, VeriFone is embracing that growth with very advanced modular IP architecture in its product line.
"Our Omni 3750 has communication ports on an upgradable communications module that can be easily replaced," says Rasori. "Even with Ethernet capabilities released last year, our Omni 3750 always retains a dial-up port as well that provides several benefits."
Those benefits include the ability of a MLS to sell future proofing while offering dial-up at present. VeriFone sees lots of penetration along these lines in QSR. In fact, 20,000 units have already been shipped across the country to Burger King, Taco Bueno and Chick-Fil-A alone.
"Our terminals literally connect to any Internet connection resulting in a 2 to 3 second transaction," says Rasori. "That is especially attractive in the quick service marketplace."
Core to VeriFone's IP strategy is the ability to connect to Internet anywhere, whether public or private. VeriFone insures that the security of its system is built directly into the terminal and doesn't rely on external systems to guarantee against breaches.
"This is another area in which our competitors are playing catch up," says Rasori. "Most announced IP solutions at this year's annual ETA conference. We were the only ones to demonstrate seven certified solutions. As of today, we have certification with pretty much all the major processors."
This all results in VeriFone offering a product with ultimate flexibility. Where many businesses are driven by speed and speed only when utilizing IP technology, VeriFone believes in looking past speed to cost of operation.
"I think the value of IP is more heavily weighed towards cost," says Rasori. "As IP grows, lower costs will drive it. It's a no-brainer to see why a small retailer or a multi-lane business wants to have all their terminals working off one connection. They want to eliminate dedicated phone lines."
As VeriFone looks to the future of IP, it is focused on extending the statement that VeriFone terminals can connect to the Internet anywhere, anytime. The next logical step beyond Ethernet is Wi-Fi. VeriFone has taken that step with the creation of a new module for the Omni 3750 that incorporates a Wi-Fi radio.
"This product is significant in that the merchant doesn't need to run phone lines or cables to connect their terminals," says Rasori. "Our experience with Ethernet tells us that where the Ethernet port is located is not necessarily where the POS terminal is located. Because of that, running the cable from the router to the terminal can be expensive."
With a simpler installation of its Wi-Fi product, VeriFone opens up the opportunity for ISOs and MLS to bundle solutions via a wireless router. VeriFone aims this product as the next step in LAN communication as well as reducing merchant costs and adding more flexibility in equipment placement. In beta testing at present, VeriFone will release this product to the market later this year.
But VeriFone is not stopping there. Two other Omni 3700 modules with wireless capabilities are also on the table. It is not a portable terminal, rather a fixed wireless terminal that works with major carriers like Verizon, Cingular and Sprint.
"We have developed a communications module that can interchangeably be placed on our terminals and offer access to these carrier networks," says Rasori. "Merchants will be able to transparently connect to the major carriers' wireless networks at the point of sale. We are deploying a product that doesn't require a phone line, reduces costs, improves speed and adds flexibility. We see this as an emerging opportunity for MLS to approach their merchants with a soft rather than hard sell. They'll be able to show their merchants a turnkey approach to save costs without the need for a separate contract with wireless carriers."
While VeriFone is expanding its Omni 3700 line in the high-end market, it is not overlooking the lower spectrum of the terminal scale, namely the more basic customer base. In the near future, VeriFone will be introducing the Omni 3730-geared towards those merchants that don't require advanced applications. Essentially a differentiated product from the Omni 3750, the Omni 3730 will not offer smart card capabilities, IP connectivity nor will it have mega-memory. It is a back-to-basics product.
"While our Omni 3750 doesn't fit every aspect of the market, the flexibility and power of our SoftPay application is what everyone is looking for," says Rasori. "The Omni 3750 is quite an investment for some ISOs and MLS. In the past we have not offered a lower end version to go after the larger part of their business. Now we are. The Omni 3730 is aimed at giving them that tool.
The Omni 3730 boasts the same user interface as the Omni 3750 with a slightly different look and feel. It appears more utilitarian but is still sleek and small. The same applications that run on the Omni 3750 run on the Omni 3730, namely credit/debit/EBT and check authorization.
"Here is an entry level product versus a flagship product," says Rasori. "We are giving ISOs and MLS the ability to learn one product and sell several solutions. They don't have to make a big leap mentally and physically to sell the Omni 3730."
VeriFone is making it even easier to sell the Verix-based product family. Only one user interface to learn, one set of key strokes and all the marketing and sales tools needed to support the products. MLSs can find all of the support tools, documentation, training and marketing tools they need on VeriFone's new website dedicated to MLSs The VeriFoneZONE (www.verifonezone.com).
VeriFone is reaping the benefits of giving MLS something to shout about. In the last six to nine months, VeriFone is seeing incremental sales as a direct result of their new products. Whatever they are doing, they're doing well.
"We recognize that our marketplace is heavily saturated and that a large majority of business today is either reprogram or refurbish sales," says Rasori. "We have made our products so reliable and readily available that there has to be reasons for upsale. That is what we are doing. We are trying to give the MLS more things to upsell because they are in a quagmire and we want to get them out of it."
Kudos to VeriFone for recognizing and responding to the plight of so many MLS in today's competitive marketplace and for continuing to push the terminal envelope.
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