The Cloud And Mobile POS: A Match Made In Heaven

As mobile point of sale infrastructure becomes increasingly important, the cloud continues to solidify itself as a safe, effective and simple way to send and receive data. Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster spoke with Ken Paull, CEO of ROAM, and Jason Richelson, CEO of ShopKeep, to discuss where the cloud and mobile POS systems intersect, how the industry will move going forward, and why tablets are poised to play an important role.

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The Cloud And Mobile POS: A Match Made In Heaven

At the intersection of mobile POS and the cloud, you’ll find payments Nirvana.

That’s how Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster characterized the intertwining of two of payments’ most dynamic industries, at a time when mobile purchases, merchant interest in data and payments flexibility are of ever-increasing importance.

Webster spoke with Jason Richelson, CEO of ShopKeep, and Ken Paull, CEO of ROAM, to discuss that intersection, as well as the evolving mobile point of sale industry, the importance of tablets and more.

“There are probably 200 apps in the App Store that allow you to take a credit card swipe, and if you consider that mobile point of sale, then yes, there’s a lot of players out here,” Richelson said. “But I can count on a few fingers how many players out there are servicing the merchant 360 degrees, and that was the problem I saw as a retailer. It wasn’t about mobile point of sale, per say, as much as it was around all the problems with point of sale systems. “

According to Richelson, true mobile point of sale players need to be able to address sales strategies, support issues, technical problems, data storage and any other retailing needs that may arise.

“We’ve now realized that by having a cloud-based point of sale system with the front end running on tablets, we can deliver a whole bunch of other interesting stuff to consumers, which is what a whole lot of other people out there are not doing,” Richelson said.

“A lot of these guys are just helping people swipe credit cards.”

Paull pointed out an interesting juxtaposition between ROAM and ShopKeep, noting that the two companies are both taking technologies that exist at one end of the merchant size spectrum and attempting to make them applicable for those on the other side as well.

“It’s interesting, what Jason had to say, because in essence what I see his company doing … is taking a lot of functionality that’s being used by enterprise accounts down market into smaller firms that can leverage the crowd in a very focused way for their point of sale system,” Paull noted.

“At the same time, ROAM is very active in helping taking technology that has been down at the bottom with smaller merchants and moving it up market. We’re both coming at it at different angels, and there is some intersection.”

Paull also noted an “intersection” between ROAM and ShopKeep in that his company is attempting to broaden its support features, such as its basic inventory functions, while ShopKeep is expanding its payments capabilities.

“There’s a lot of activity with both this technology coming down and up market, and colliding in some respects,” Paull said.

How do the two companies view the mPOS industry growing and changing in the future?

Richelson cited tablets as a key player, and made the bold prediction that within the next three years, 50 percent of POS terminals will incorporate tablet use for cashiering.

“We’re already seeing it, we’re seeing a huge increase in adoption and as upgrade cycles change, as people are more or less forced to take different payments options … you’re going to start to see it really snowball over the next few years,” Richelson said.

Paull declined to confirm Richelson’s aggressive timeframe prediction, but agreed that tablets are having a major impact on the POS industry, and noted that EMV will force the industry to change as well.

“There’s no doubt that people are underestimating the coming of tablets, and I think it’s a huge trend, and I think that what a lot of people haven’t thought about is the combination of tablets and EMV,” he said.

“I think there’s going to be quite a fallout of folks … in terms of small players continuing to participate in providing an end-to-end solution, because I think this is going to require a much more sophisticated solution with EMV.”

To hear more Richelson, Paull and Webster on the cloud and mobile POS, listen to the full podcast below.


*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.

Ken Paull


Ken has over 20 years in senior management roles in the electronic payments industry including Senior Vice President at RBS Lynk (now WorldPay), Vice President at Triton Systems and General Manager at VeriFone. He was responsible for building and rapidly growing what is now WorldPay’s national account payments division while also directing the turnaround of what had been a declining ATM processing business. While at Triton, the company surpassed NCR as the second largest domestic ATM supplier and also became the global leader in retail ATM deployments. At VeriFone, Ken built their major account, retail division which has become one of the largest segments of their business. Most recently, Ken was ROAM Data’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to joining ROAM, Ken served on the Board of Directors of Access to Money, as Director of Market Platform Dynamics and President of PAX US. A native of the Boston area, Ken holds a B.S. in Marketing and Communications from Babson College, as well as an MBA in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University.

Jason Richelson

Co-Founder and CEO, ShopKeep

Co-Founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS, an iPad point of sale system in the cloud. Their system helps retailers make smarter business decisions.He is also a co-founder of a grocery store and a wine store that he opened with his partner, Amy Bennett about eight years ago in Brooklyn, New York. They had a point of sale system from a competitor, a large software company, and eventually they started having technology problems.It dawned on Jason that after fixing these things and fire fighting all these problems, the solution was to switch to a cloud based point of sale.He did a little searching in 2008 for a cloud point of sale, and He didn’t find any. He said to Amy, I think we should start this company. She’s like, “Let’s do it.”, and we did.

“When I look at other POS systems out there it’s clear to me that these folks have never stood behind a cash register. They don’t really understand what retailers want to see, the numbers they want to see, where they want to see them and how they want to see them.I do understand. So when a retailer tries ShopKeep POS they get it and they know that this is what they have been looking for.”

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