announced the acquisition of Global Bay to bring flexibility to the point of sale to retail stores across the world. Verifone is locked into a battle for mobile credit card readers with the likes of Square, Intuit, ROAMPay, Erply and PayAnywhere. In the retail channel, Global Bay should help Verifone differentiate itself from the pack.Payments hardware and software company Verifone today
The opportunity for mobile credit card readers is to disrupt the traditional cash register point of sale. Users want to be able scan items from their smartphones and then turn around to the next available clerk and pay for them. The idea is to make the point of sale mobile, even within a retail store.
The new Global Bay/Verifone product will have four features: mobile point of sale, retailing (price check, customer programs, credit card enrollment), "clienteling" (information about customers for sales associates) and inventory management. The mobile POS will be integrated from both Global Bay and Verifone's offerings while Global Bay brings the other three to the fold. Instead of a dongle, Global Bay uses a sleeve that can fit over devices such as an iPod Touch.
There is an opportunity for retails stores to vastly enhance the checkout process with mobile payments. Cherian Abraham, principal analyst from a company called Drop Labs, wrote extensively a couple of weeks ago about the point of sale within retails stores in relation to the opportunities created with near field communications and the Google Wallet. The idea is users can scan and purchase items straight off the store shelf, eliminating the actual cash register. Clerks and sales associates could check the mobile receipt for customers that made purchases on their way out the door.
Verifone and Global Bay do not take the solution quite that far. What the strength is for Verifone with this acquisition is the infrastructure and software support that Global Bay provides. Mobile inventory management is a good feature that not many of the other mobile credit card readers institute, except for Erply, which specializes in that particular function. Each of the major mobile credit readers & dongle providers have a specialty within the ecosystem. Square touts its ubiquity and ability to create a cash register and card case rewards program. Intuit has a wealth of financial management solutions. PayAnywhere also touts its ubiquity (hence the name) and tries to be slightly cheaper than the alternatives (if ever so slightly).
Before the Global Bay acquisition, Verifone touted its security. The company once scolded Square for not encrypting its dongles. Verifone is now looking to create value added services on tops it platform to entice retailers to use the service.
What do you think of the ability to pay from anywhere you want in a retail store? Merchants, does arming your employees with mobile readers entice you? What are the benefits? Let us know in the comments.