So you're a SoftPOS vendor. So what?

Author Picture
Pierre Aurel
Woman tapping card on phone powered by Halo Dot

Tap to Pay, also known as Software Point of Sale (SoftPOS), has gone mainstream. Driven by its accessibility and its ease of use, this technology has shifted the foundations of payments worldwide. This is reflected in the Payments Cards & Mobile Digital and Card Payment Yearbook that predicted electronic payments in Europe would increase by 30% over the next five years after a significant 8% increase over the past two years. In its 2022 Global Payments Report, McKinsey pointed out that this is being largely driven by the need for seamless and convenient digital experiences as software companies and innovators partner with financial institutions and technology service providers to streamline payments.

However, this rise in demand has led to an influx of SoftPOS vendors and solution providers, making it difficult for companies to ascertain which solutions are best suited to their needs, and which ones will survive the onslaught of big brands such as Apple, Stripe, and Ayden. As Pierre Aurel, Head of Product Development at Halo Dot, points out, the massive step forward towards contactless payments needs to be balanced carefully alongside market saturation and long-term relevance.

“Every industry is defined by first movers and fast followers,” he adds. “Now, with the rapid growth of SoftPOS solutions, mobile phones have been turned into mobile banks and this ubiquity is taking off across Africa and the world. However, there has been a lot of change as consumer adoption has increased and global giants are making it hard for smaller suppliers to thrive in this environment.”

Companies like Apple have made huge strides in the payment Industry. Apple's “Tap to Pay” provides small businesses with a simple way of managing payments without heavy investment into extra hardware, but Apple is not the first, nor the only company to embrace the technology and the opportunity.

“It is a hugely profitable area so it makes sense for companies to explore their options and see how they can cut out their piece of the pie,” says Aurel. “However, they often miss out on a few key elements in their solution delivery and development. Yes, payments are fast and accessible, yes companies can bypass the need for hardware and move straight into customer service. But they don’t necessarily meet the business on the ground when it comes to supporting and the development of services that fulfill the user’s needs.”

So how does a company pick the point-of-sale platform that’s right for their business over the long term?

Product Development Roadmap

The first step is to look at the product development roadmap. Smaller companies that specialized in SoftPOS from the beginning have been more engaged with what their customers want, and they rapidly adapt their product features and roadmap to align with ever-changing market needs.

Location and Cultural Context

Another important consideration is the location and cultural context of that environment, vendors operating in that local setting will immediately know their market better than global juggernauts who have unlimited marketing budgets.

“Unlike the closed Apple ecosystem, you want your SoftPOS platform to operate in a more open ecosystem, facilitating easy integration across different platforms and channels,” says Aurel.

Cross-Platform Approach

Finally, it’s key to look at the cross-platform or multi-platform approach taken by your SoftPOS vendor as it makes sense to invest in a tool that works across multiple platforms. If a business is limited to one operating system it can impose unnecessary limitations on functionality and growth.

“Your payment platform shouldn’t limit your options and choices for your business. You want a solution that will empower your team and your customers. This is why we recommend that you consult SoftPOS vendors that offer a multi-platform approach, supported by a solid and transparent product roadmap, robust customer service, and a proven track record. This will allow you to cut through the sales noise and get to go straight through to the best.”