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The State of Social Media in the POS Industry


Online and social media-based marketing has, by most all accounts taken over as a growing, if not predominate tactic for businesses to connect to customers. This is true for connecting to both consumers (B2C) and other businesses (B2B) – marketing online and social is where you want to be sure you are allocating some of your marketing investment.

If this statement is true, we wondered what the state of social media adoption is by the POS industry in particular. We set off to uncover what both POS developers and POS resellers are doing to connect to their audience online.

We saw technology companies and socially savvy businesses leaping out to show the way, but many more are hanging back and saying, “I see my competitors doing it and my customers certainly are, but I’m not sure how to get involved – what do I do,” or “I don’t get it, what’s the payoff?”

Expecting Rapid Adoption in 2012

We discovered the use of online and social marketing in the Point of Sale industry is growing and will likely grow rapidly in 2012. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from how social marketing is being used by other companies and industries and will be interesting to see how this influences POS developers and resellers.

Assessment Methodology

We began with establishing a baseline of what’s going on now in the industry. We selected a number of POS developers and POS resellers and conducted a ‘Social Presence Snapshot.’ We did not solicit them; ask about their plans for 2012, or what they tried last year. We used the name of their company or their brand in a Google search much like a prospective customer might. We conducted similar searches to see if they had developed a presence in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube – the more popular social sites today.

Once we identified where they were, we evaluated the presence for each. We ran their main website through an automated evaluation tool which looked at several details, mostly what’s behind their sites. The data provided indications of their interest and ability to engage on both their own website and in social media with an audience.

We looked at obvious indicators and many of the more subtle ones – such as:

  • Was their main site set up to engage visitors?
  • Did they maintain a blog?
  • How many posts were made?
  • How often posts were made?
  • Other indicators of engagement or involvement

We applied similar tactics across their social presence, looking at the number of followers, members or “Likes” and the quantity and frequency of posts in their social presence. To make the data easier to compare, we translated those assessments into a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best and 1 being poor– so a higher number is better. A zero was awarded if they had no presence in a particular social site.

Assessment Scope

By the end of the investigation we had conducted the assessment of 20 firms – twelve POS resellers, eight POS developers. The results were compiled and served as a proxy to represent the industry overall, the developer community, and the reseller community.

Assessment Results

The evaluation found the industry at 2.2, Developers scored 3.0 and Resellers scored 1.4.

The analysis shows the industry expects their own websites to do the heavy lifting of presenting their business to the market online. Few had enabled their site in a mobile format, despite the huge growth of mobile this year and its predicted expansion for 2012.

LinkedIn was next behind the main website, but lagged by a significant margin. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube followed.

Developers Lead the Way

Developers overall presence in Facebook was stronger than LinkedIn with Twitter and YouTube lagging. The lack of a presence in Facebook showed this is likely where they might focus their activity in 2012. Online video should help developers better support resellers on their products.

Reseller Breakdown

Resellers appear to be rummaging their way through the confusion and uncertainty of social marketing but still have room for improvement.

We are very confident resellers will improve quickly in their use and understanding of social marketing. Why? Their customers, the merchants, will demand it. Merchants have discovered how powerful the online and social marketing technology is in generating business and running as quickly as they can to adopting social marketing tactics. Merchants in food service, hospitality and retail are firmly on the way to a much broader adoption already; food service exploded this year in social and the hospitality groups have been investing in social marketing also have got on board.


There is an opportunity for POS resellers to help merchants with their online and social marketing. Merchants want to understand how social marketing can lead to more business, more often with more customers and they will expect their POS partners to help them.

POS resellers can create opportunity by addressing the use of social marketing for themselves and their customers. Using online and social marketing in a B2B setting is not only desirable today, but essential. The data is piling up which demonstrates the ROI from a social marketing presence is powerful and becoming an important part of any marketing plan. The market is moving to embrace online and social marketing – is 2012 your year to do so?

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