Marty McFly, from the legendary 1985 movie “Back to the Future,” clearly missed the future of the point of sale. The day after the mythical day that McFly traveled “back to the future” – Oct. 21, 2015 – Verifone launched what it describes as the future of the point of sale: Verifone Engage.
Engage brings together the functions of physical, mobile and online consumer interaction that not only adds value to the POS, but also delivers an enhanced payments experience for consumers through connected, commerce-enabled solutions. The goal, according to Verifone, is to “dramatically transform” the retail POS, enabling it to be much more than just a terminal where payments are accepted.
“We are leveraging the power and performance of our open and flexible architecture to bring an entirely different level of interaction between consumers and merchants. With a two-way conversation that can happen at the counter and anywhere in-store, we are making the shopping experience more profitable for merchants and more rewarding for consumers,” Glen Robson, EVP, Global Head of Terminal Solutions at Verifone, said in a press release announcing the launch.
Erik Vlugt, VP, Global Products at Verifone, likens the evolution of Engage and the merchant point of sale to the evolution of the personal computer in the 1990s. Much like connectivity transformed the way people used PCs in the ’90s, he believes, taking them from single-purpose devices to integral parts of our daily lives, the same may be said for empowering payments devices with the ability to truly connect to apps and the cloud to deliver commerce.
“Once you start connecting those [POS] devices you can start doing really powerful things, things that are operational in nature but also those that make the vision of offering additional value through commerce very real,” Vlugt said.
In what the company is calling the “next generation” of payment devices, Verifone Engage products come equipped to support a variety of payments methods, including all mobile payments wallets, while also preparing merchants to wrap additional value around the point of sale opportunity. Multimedia displays enable two-way customer interactivity and multilayer security safeguards data via encryption and tokenization.
The launch stands as a major shift in the way Verifone approaches the point of sale. While the hardware is slick and modern, that’s only a small part of the Engage proposition. Vlugt emphasized the importance placed on what’s happening behind the scenes as well.
Central to the Verifone Engage platform is the Verifone App Marketplace. Verifone is opening the door to developers to channel their creative energies and create new apps that respond to the personalized POS experiences that merchants seek, and value-added services that consumers demand. Vlugt emphasized that the apps marketplace is architected in such a way that developers don’t need a payments knowledge base to add value. They simply build on top of the equivalent of a “Verifone Engage Inside” payments layer.
“A lot of developers would like to provide value to merchants and the POS and many of them are not in payments. Now they can look to the Verifone Engage platform as a way to get there quickly, with a ton of built-in functionality and at a lower total cost of ownership. Why? Because now they don’t need a separate piece of hardware to bring that functionality to the merchant,” Vlugt said.
While the payments landscape and the offerings of its players continue to transform, Vlugt underscored Verifone’s focus on achieving the vision of connected commerce in the most partner-inclusive way possible. Verifone Engage is a complement to the channel, Vlugt explained, and has been well-received so far.
From new designs geared toward revamping the POS user experience to the creation of hardware and software that is more closely aligned with the ease of use found in consumer electronic devices, Verifone Engage is squarely focused on setting a new and higher standard for what merchants should expect from the point of sale.
As Vlugt explained, the “foundational difference this will make in bringing connected devices and commerce enablement to the world will not go unnoticed.”
To learn more about Verifone Engage, check out the news capsule below.