Multichannel Sales Initiatives – Are consultants too self serving?

According to the 24th annual Retail Info Systems technology study, expanding multichannel initiatives is the biggest action item over the next 18 months, followed by a mobile enterprise / store strategy and security. 2014 and 2015 are expected to be years of hyper innovation and with the EMV October 2015 deadline looming, CIO’s and IT are right in the thick of it.

2014 Retail Technology Study

Data excerpt from the 2014 Gartner Research 24th Annual Retail Technology Study: Major Action Items Over the Next 18 Months. To get the study, go here

For merchants, checking with peers and current vendors about potential partner solutions may be inadequate. The stakes are extremely high for many of the parties that hope to capitalize on the huge investment companies will be making. Whether they have the best product or not- or even a working product- many vendors will serve their best interests first.

For example, a prospective customer was very interested in my omni-channel payment gateway and wanted to check with his current merchant processor, one of the top three largest US processors, for his input. The current vendor knew nothing about my product but concluded after a 10 minute conversation there was little value in a product like mine (no price was discussed) and would relay that to his customer. He completely dismissed there was any value in:

  • Eliminating stored credit card numbers on paper forms
  • Using tokens to recharge customers in a few clicks vs key entering every time
  • Level 3 Processing (100% B2B merchant)
  • One reporting system for all payment sources (reducing PCI burden and creating back office efficiencies for research, reports and reconciliation)

The consultant concluded that if the customer wanted to change, he had a ‘similar’ product, though admittedly not as good, nor comprehensive enough to address all the customer needs. In other words, the guy was too lazy to help the customer before, but if pressed, he was willing to sell him an inferior product. Worse, he completely failed to recognize that his own customer did place value on solving business problems.

In conclusion, so many vendors have ‘a product’ to sell in which they have a vested interest, that they will readily dismiss anything they can’t make money on. Consultants are often getting their information from the same sources so they just don’t know any better. CIO’s might be better off seeking experts outside of their current vendor resources to find the best solution for multichannel initiatives.

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