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Become a Forward-Thinking Product Geek | President’s Note

2012/07/25

President's Note ImageAre We Out of Touch with the Current State of the Market… or the World?

There have been several eye-opening moments during the spring travel season. As an “old” product geek, I take pride in keeping up with the market – not only for personal knowledge but also to make sure RSPA remains a thought leader for our members. Two things recently became very clear: (1) The market has already gone through a massive technology transition and (2) If I want to be relevant in this marketplace, I’ve got to change from an “old” product geek to an “up to date, forward-thinking product geek”.

During my spring travels, I’ve had an opportunity to speak with many vendors and resellers and ask them for their perspective on our market and customer needs. Well I can tell you that their responses have been varied, providing comments such as, “tablet based POS is a fad that will fizzle” and “our new cloud/tablet/mobile based product is going to change the world”. Eye opening moment – the market has changed and some technology providers are not seeing these changes (perhaps by choice). It reminded me of a time in the early 70’s when the first electronic cash registers were hitting the market and some of the providers of electro-mechanical cash registers stated that the “computer cash registers” would not last. *Side note: Having grown-up in the town where the first micro-processor based cash register was developed and installed, I had a chance to witness this transition first hand. The DTS DaCap was installed at the Paper Store on Nason Street in downtown Maynard, Massachusetts.

What concerns me is that our industry and our members will not be on top of these new developments and business opportunities. During some of my speaking engagements I talk about technology trends. At one of these events, I asked a group for a single sentence definition of cloud. One reseller announced that the cloud goes down and they were not going to use cloud based products. FYI – my response was to ask if their client/server-based systems had ever broken down. Chalk-up that comment to fear based on lack of knowledge. At another stop I asked how many of the resellers in the room had websites for their own POS business. Only 75% responded with a ‘yes’. I then asked how their customers are doing the research to find products. Typically it is someone who is a digital native and they go to the web to search for information. Those resellers without websites have taken themselves out of several business opportunities without even knowing it. Would you buy a car from a salesman who does not know how to drive or even use a car?

It is a customer driven IT, continually connected, data-based, omni-channel accessible, hardware agnostic, social community based marketplace. The market has changed, the future is bright and it’s time for all of us to get educated, step up our game and become “up to date, forward-thinking product geeks”.

We look forward to seeing you at RetailNOW 2012!

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