In the dynamic landscape of today’s business world, the decisions you make about the technology you buy, particularly point-of-sale (POS) technology, can either jumpstart your growth or add stumbling blocks to your success. With all the options available, many businesses are left pondering a critical question: Should you navigate the complexities of selecting technology on your own or consider partnering with a specialized intermediary like a Value-Added Reseller (VAR)?
To shed light on the critical role VARs play in providing merchants the technology they need (plus ongoing support and expertise), Christin Dorner, Content and Media Manager at Star, recently sat down with the Marketing Director at POSGuys.com, Colton Kaltenfeldt.
In this candid interview, Colton offers invaluable insights into the unique advantages of working with a VAR, the common pitfalls of taking shortcuts, and how VARs cultivate partnerships that benefit businesses in the long run.
Christin Dorner: Thanks for joining us today, Colton. It's always a pleasure speaking with you. So, why don't we begin by discussing the advantages of working with a VAR. Could you elaborate on why this route could be beneficial for businesses?
Colton Kaltenfeldt: Absolutely, Christin. Thank you for having me. I like to think of working with a VAR as embarking on an exploratory journey. Every business is different, and selling a one-size-fits-all solution is almost impossible. As VARs, we really get to the bottom of your unique pain points—some of which you might not even be aware of—because we’re trained to see where technology can offer solutions.
For instance, we have dedicated teams with compatibility sheets for software ranging from extensive systems like Square to more niche software solutions. When you work with a VAR, you’re not just buying a product; you’re getting expertise that could save you valuable time and money in the long run.
And finally, if you’re working with an established VAR, you’re usually working with a partner who can work with you as your operation and technology needs grow. The owner of a retail store running a single POS terminal might have no problem figuring everything out on their own. But once you introduce mobile computing, inventory and asset management software, e-commerce, and all the other technology that competitive retail stores look at nowadays, keeping everything straight can be difficult.
A good VAR will know how each of those pieces fit together and remove much of the stress.
Christin: Yeah, that gets us right to my next question. How frequently do you encounter folks who initially opted for POS technology on an online marketplace only to realize they needed something different?
Colton: Oh, it’s a daily occurrence. We field 1-2 calls a day from people who thought they could take a shortcut by ordering something cheap from an online marketplace. They often find themselves stuck with a manual they can’t understand or a product that doesn’t do what they need it to.
The beauty of a VAR is that we don’t just sell you a product; we offer ongoing support. We are your partners in success. So when you hit a wall, we’re just a phone call away to help you climb over it.
Christin: What are the drawbacks you see when people decide to purchase from a marketplace?
Colton: When you buy from a marketplace, you’re taking a risk. You may receive a product that’s used or not quite what you were expecting. It might not even be compatible with your software. Marketplaces prioritize profits over support, so if you run into a snag, you’re mostly on your own.
With VARs, support isn’t an afterthought—it’s built into our business model. You get what you order, and you get a team that stands behind what they sell.
Christin: That makes a lot of sense. What about all the popular software apps businesses use? Could you talk a bit about the synergy between VARs and software providers like Square or DoorDash?
Colton: Sure, I’d love to. VARs often have direct partnerships with manufacturers and software providers, enabling us to be your go-between for custom solutions. Let’s say you’re a software company looking to integrate your application or a franchise wanting to roll out new tech. With our connections, we can expedite the process and even manage the whole project. This means that from consultation to deployment, you’ve got just one point of contact, making the process seamless.
Christin: That sounds incredibly advantageous. Do you have any examples where someone passed up going the VAR route, only to find themselves wishing they had?
Colton: Absolutely, I’ve got stories. We had one business owner who came to us in a panic. She had bought $4,000-$5,000 worth of POS equipment elsewhere. The software was mismatched, the hardware was a mess, and her store opening was just two weeks away.
We stepped in, reassessed her needs, and got her the proper setup. By the time she was ready to open, everything was functioning as it should, and she was incredibly relieved. That kind of turn-around is what VARs can offer.
Why Choose Star for Your POS Hardware?
Star Micronics proudly collaborates with the industry’s leading Value-Added Resellers (VARs) to deliver top-notch, tailor-made point-of-sale (POS) solutions that address your unique business needs. Discover why discerning business owners opt for Star hardware for unparalleled quality and seamless installation.
Christin: That's quite a testimonial. She's lucky she got your number! So, for those who are new to this, how can they go about finding a reputable VAR?
Colton: Manufacturer referrals can often point you in the right direction, but we also get a lot of traffic through the educational content on our website and YouTube channel. Word of mouth, though, that’s the gold standard. If you’re looking for a VAR, just ask around in your network. Someone you trust probably has a recommendation.