Merchants are increasingly turning to technology for added convenience, stronger security, and better efficiency and functionality. With decreased consumer traffic and lower average ticket amounts, merchants are looking for ways to streamline their operations to improve their margins. Thus, they expect more from their equipment.
Responding to feedback from merchants who want better POS devices, United Merchant Services Inc. seized the opportunity to manufacture its own POS systems, not only for its customers, but to market to other ISOs and resellers.
With that purpose in mind, Jay Yoon, UMS's President and Chief Executive Officer, founded UP Solution Inc. in 2007. Yoon is now President and CEO of both companies.
"It's a natural outgrowth of our credit card processing division," said Shirley Yoon, Senior Vice President, UP Solution. She describes the company, with its one-stop shop approach to POS solutions, as a trendsetter in the payments industry. The company is one of a growing number of ISOs developing either its own POS division or a subsidiary POS business.
UP Solution's goal was to devise a truly unique solution with a new, modern look. The company rolled out a software module for spas and then, recognizing the growth in the restaurant vertical, also designed a system specifically for restaurants.
"Restaurant owners can, if they wanted to, manage not just one location, but multiple locations; log in to this site, and they can see and manage the remote location," said Randy Park, Chief Technology Officer, of UP Solution. In addition, restaurateurs can monitor inventories, check the number of people seated at a table and see what patrons order in real time. The data can be backed up at the centralized location and can generate a variety of customized reports.
The company is working on retail POS software, scheduled for release in April 2010, that will help retail merchants manage multiple locations.
UMS, and by extension UP Solution, has launched a free electronic cash register (ECR) program for all ISOs nationwide. The program includes the integration module and free terminal placement.
The ECR comprises a choice of either VeriFone (VX 510 and VX 570) or Ingenico Inc.'s Ingenico I5100 payment modules in a Casio America Inc. register. These give ISOs the option of working with terminals they are most familiar with.
Bryan Daughtry, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for both UMS and UP Solution, believes the free ECR program will have a significant impact, "allowing every one of our ISOs and agent partners to have a whole other option for merchants." He added that the system's ability to automate the inventory management process is a key selling point.
The company's proprietary product line - its UP 7000 and UP 5200 - are touch screen POS devices. "The UP 7000 is a true all-in-one POS system," said Bryan Lee, UP Solution's National POS Sales Manager. He added that many systems touted as all-in-one POS systems don't include a printer.
When the merchant hits the credit-card-tendered key on the cash register, it passes the information to the payment module, which sends it automatically via dial or Internet protocol (IP) connection for authorization. The approval comes back on the receipt. Having the two systems integrated avoids double entry errors.
Park said some competing solutions are more expensive because they include a proprietary credit card machine. He added that competing credit card terminals lack diverse functionality, only sending the credit card data to a back-end processor.
"Now the advantage of the [nonproprietary] credit card terminal going in there is that we can get the terminal at a very reasonable price and offer a very cost-effective solution."
According to the company, it has the ability to write any type of payment application onto POS terminals and to make a merchant's cash register a featured unit. Park said the payment modules that allow credit card terminals to communicate with the register are Microsoft Corp. Windows-based.
The UP 7000 features a dual display, with a smaller screen facing the customer. It can display item amounts and totals. There is also an option for a larger second screen - almost as big as the merchant-facing screen - that can display advertisements or promotions. Park said one of UP Solution's resellers in Dallas used that second screen to promote its products at the Electronic Transactions Association's 2009 Meeting & Expo held in April.
Lee said people who browse the vendor booths at payments industry tradeshows rarely follow up with the vendors, but that ISOs and end users that visit the UP Solution booth at shows "actually call us back within a couple of hours or sometimes a couple of days." He said that after returning from the ETA he was "probably building up about 100 megabytes of e-mails per day."
The UP Solution products are sold through POS or computer resellers and ISOs (ISOs account for roughly 50 percent of UP Solution's sales channel). UP Solution has nine showrooms throughout the country where resellers or ISOs can see the products demoed and learn more about them.
The company has plans to add 60 more showrooms in the next two years.
UP Solution boasts over 4,000 installations globally, "which include hospitality and retail chains in the Asian-Pacific market.
The company believes in the importance of ongoing training and support for its resellers. Speaking to that need, UP Solution provides new resellers with complementary initial training for its hardware, software and value-added services, and priority service from its always-open technical support department. It also anticipates adding a variety of training webinars.
Rick Lee, UP Solution's Sales Manager for the California region, said the company is very responsive whenever he has questions, and that the people at UP Solution work with their ISOs.
He also noted that the compact, white UP Solution terminals appeal to merchants. "It's something that looks new, looks modern, but so far the quality has been there."
Lee said he hasn't experienced any technical problems with the company and especially appreciates how easy it is to service the UP Solution equipment.
"You take out two screws and unplug one cable and you can replace the part," he said. You don't even need a screwdriver.
In the last two months, UP Solution has added two new members to its management team. Daughtry, its new Vice President of Sales and Marketing, brings 17 years of payment card industry experience to the position. His latest stint was as Vice President of Sales for the Indirect Business Channel at Global Payments Inc.
UP Solution's new Director of Sales and Operation, Timothy Dunn, has over 15 years of payment processing experience, including managerial stints with First Data Merchant Services, a division of First Data Corp. and United Bankcard Inc.
UP Solution combines the entrepreneurial spirit of successful players in this industry with the desire and ability to create a unique technological solution.
Just as UMS saw the opportunity in POS systems, UP Solution saw an opportunity in integrated and customized payment solutions. If its growth plans are any indication, UP Solution chose a winning path.
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National POS Sales Manager
255 Route 17 South
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Fax: 201-562 1480
Web site: www.upsolution.com