The successful launch of ApplePay just over a year ago has prompted many retailers to look again at payments systems, trying to identify new and innovative approaches.
One of those new approaches is Consolis, a fast-growing supplier of flexible and scalable point of sale payments systems. As well as traditional products such as credit and debit cards, it also specialises in alternative payments solutions such as Apple Pay and Yoyo.
The company’s products are targeted at independent retailers and hospitality owners with a high performance, low cost package that meets the challenges of rapid check out and secure payment at the point of sale.
In 2007, Consolis founder Peter Moore was running a business with a main central database that managed mobile top-ups across 23,000 retail locations. He began to realise that the electronic point-of -ales (EPOS) technology that records customer transactions and sales would converge with payment technology, such as cash registers and chip and PIN terminals.
“Having worked in the technology sector for a number of years, one of my strengths is to be able to predict what technology can change lives,” he said. “I can spot emerging trends and therefore the future opportunities that they will present in the marketplace. I wanted to harness this technology to help SMEs to run their business efficiently and at a price they could afford.”
His business experience had already enabled him to work closely with large companies including Telefonica and BT as well as with SMEs. Consolis’s initial funding came from the management team and a single angel investor.
“I have a great team around me who share my drive and focus on serving our sectors well,” explained Moore. “Our successes are largely due to our ability to adapt to the changing market. Our products are scalable and we can identify new opportunities to benefit our customers without compromising on quality or customer service.”
Read more about the payments space:
- Mainstream money: Changing your small business with contactless payments
- The fast-changing world of payments: What every SME should ask itself
- Why a rush to support Apple Pay could be wrong for independent retailers
Typical of the products that have driven sales at Consolis so far is its X-10, an integrated point of sales system designed for vendors in the SME market which are looking to upgrade from a cash register. The Consolis technicians have built into it functionality that can stimulate sales and increase efficiency, along with a cloud-based reporting system to access on any device, anywhere, for very busy business owners.
“The X-10 is a rapidly popular choice because it is a low cost, quick to set up, and easy to use option,” said Moore. “It’s the perfect system for retail, and also, we’re attracting a lot of pop-up and festival events too for this system.” Identifying how the public will want to pay and how SMEs and other companies can meet these trends and enjoy better visibility of sales while ensuring that their systems are secure is the challenge for companies in this sector.
For Consolis, cloud computing and the development of a product that is scalable have both helped with its success. SMEs are also seeing how technology can offer them advantages that were previously only available to larger companies, believes Moore.
Despite the demand from SMEs and the success of much of his technology, Moore has faced challenges, though.
“I acquired an established family-run business in the EPOS world that was really struggling, had lost its focus and was losing money,” he explained. “I bailed it out and invested a lot of time and money into the company, but ultimately, I couldn’t turn it around. I was devastated as I had to close it down, which affected many people’s lives and was the worst moment of my career. It can be hard to accept, but not every business can be turned around, each has its own time unless you evolve.”
Over the past few years Consolis has invested in the infrastructure to harness emerging technologies. “We want to maximise this to continue serving SMEs, and I can see us using our platform for the B2C market too,” he added.
For Moore the key to success for an SME is all about the people that it employs. This involves recognising individual strengths, support staff in areas where they need to develop – and making sure that the work environment is fun.
SMEs owners also have to understand their target markets and build their products or services around the needs of those target markets. “Then,” he said, “nail it better than your competitor and do so at a profit.”
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