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Apple VARs Cash In On Point-of-Sale Solutions

Shelley Solheim
OS

One VAR cashing in on POS systems is MacSpecialist, an authorized Apple reseller and service provider in Villa Park, Ill. Two years ago, nearly 60 percent of the VAR's business was derived from consumer sales, but now small- business sales and the services that go with it account for nearly 75 percent of its revenue--and POS systems have been one of the triggers to open up new business sales for the VAR.

The reseller's small-business customers are attracted to the aesthetic appeal of the Macintosh hardware in their retail storefronts, and for the VAR the sales open up new revenue and margin opportunity, says Dustin Templeton, director of sales and marketing at MacSpecialist.

"We not only sell the POS software, but the systems, the networking hardware, the cash registers, the barcode readers, the receipt printers and the services," Templeton says.

The reseller decided to start selling POS systems after deploying and using Xsilva Systems' LightSpeed POS software internally in its own Apple retail store.

Xsilva Systems, in fact, originally started selling its systems for use in independent Apple resellers' retail stores like MacSpecialist. Xsilva's founder and CEO Dax Dasilva had previously run an Apple reseller business and recognized the need for Mac OS X-compatible POS systems among independent Apple VARs. Apple had its own proprietary POS software, but did not extend the system to its independent resellers.

So Dasilva developed the software and launched it in October 2005 for use in independent Apple resellers' stores. In January 2006, Xsilva made its software available for sale through such resellers and then doubled its sales figures in the first year. And the growth has continued ever since. In the first quarter of 2007 alone, the company recorded about the same amount of revenue that it had in all of 2006.

Xsilva is now relying mainly on Apple VARs to sell its software and, for the most part, only sells its product direct in areas where it doesn't have reseller partners, says Ali Noormohamed, vice president of sales and marketing in Montreal. The company now has about 150 resellers, of which some 100 of them are certified resellers. The company is looking to recruit more Apple VARs, but mainly in areas where it doesn't already have a strong reseller presence.

"In certain regions, we don't have a strong presence and we're looking to add more resellers, but in California, for example, we have a number of resellers so we're good there," Noormohamed says. "We have to be careful about who we bring on board and how we work with them."

Xsilva is also focused on helping its VARs to sell services, Noormohamed says.

"Their biggest margin is in consulting dollars, and during training we walk them through how to do a needs analysis, how to look at the entire business model and how they can make it more efficient using the software so they can make business consulting dollars and optimization dollars," Noormohamed explains.

The software vendor also supplies pretested compatible POS hardware products for resellers, but VARs are not required to resell that hardware. Xsilva also offers additional software modules resellers can sell in addition to its base software offering. For example, it is now selling a Web store offering and will soon release a new reporting tool.

Cost for the product is based on the number of users, with a one-user license starting at $749.

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