Point Of Sale Possibilities

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Cash-register machines may be one of the most unsexy pieces of technology in the history of the world. But some resellers haven't let appearances fool them out of cashing in on point-of-sales (POS) solutions, which are enjoying a resurgence, according to vendors and distributors.

"The POS business and retail sectors have been a lot better than they were 18 months ago," says ScanSource president and CEO Mike Baur. "There has been some underlying demand that we hadn't seen in the channel for at least six quarters."

ScanSource, the Greenville, S.C.-based distributor with the biggest POS presence, saw its third-quarter sales jump 29 percent this spring. Tech Data also has seen its POS business increase. Part of the rise in POS solutions can be attributed to the flow of new-product developments. These aren't your mom-and-pop cash registers; they are new flat-panel, touch-screen computers, self-checkout models and various mobile devices. Samsung, for example, has seen strong growth with its display and printer peripherals among resellers specializing in POS, according to Rey Roque, vice president of marketing at Samsung America.

Other top vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Microsoft, have put more attention on the POS market and positioned new products for resellers, such as HP's rp5000 and Microsoft's Retail Management System software. Fresh products and hot technologies appear to be giving solution providers more of an edge in the SMB market.

"Our POS business is growing, and we've found the margins are usually higher than a lot of other hardware," says Karl Werner, director of product marketing at Tech Data. "POS is a great solution for SMB solution providers because they all know where the local bike stores and shops are in their region."

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