The Green Sheet Online Edition
July 10, 2017 • Issue 17:07:01
Portable, cloud-based business management
First Data Corp. launched Clover Flex, the latest addition to its suite of Clover cloud-based POS solutions. Named for its flexibility, the portable POS device can be used in an array of retail and hospitality settings and supports a range of payment schemes. Clover Flex combines payment functionality and signature capture with a scanner, receipt printer and operational tools and reporting designed to help merchants grow and scale their businesses.
"We've positioned Clover among our sales channel partners and user base according to how it benefits the merchant and adds value to the merchant's business," said Paul Rasori, Vice President, Global Product Marketing at First Data. "We've engineered the hardware to support an array of use cases, from smartphone dongle to full-blown cash register; all are designed to help the merchant attract and engage customers."
Rasori noted that Clover Flex combines payment functionality with centrally stored, cloud-based tools and reporting. It accepts credit, debit, gift and EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) cards; near field communication; Apple Pay; Android Pay; and cash. The device can also track mobile, online and in-store sales to automatically update inventory.
A world of apps and services
Rasori said First Data is proud of Clover's design and technology, but its real differentiator is its cloud-based platform. "We designed the platform knowing there's no possible way we can design all the ancillary apps and services," he said. "Of the approximately 250 applications in the Clover app market, 80 percent are third-party apps."
The open-source platform is designed to simplify integration for software, hardware and independent software vendors, Rasori said. Some ISOs have built proprietary apps on the platform; others have built publicly available, software-as-a-service solutions, he said.
Clover Online, an ecommerce development tool, is a way for a merchant to set up an online presence, whether it's a simple brochure or full-featured ecommerce website. Merchants can import all inventory items, and the system will automatically decrement inventory with each online sale, the company noted.
Multiple configurations, single MID
Merchants can incorporate different types of Clover devices into their businesses within a single MID. Clover Station and Clover Go, a popular combination, facilitates in-store and mobile commerce, Rasori said. Clover's family of devices includes the following models:
Clover Flex: Handheld mobile device with built-in printer and scanner can adapt to a variety of mobile applications and use cases, including in-store, in-lane and at-table environments.
- Clover Mini: Compact countertop POS device supports mag stripe, EMV and contactless payments.
- Clover Mobile: Portable POS tablet can be paired with Clover Station or Mini and can adapt to a variety of transitional and mobile environments.
- Clover Station: Full-featured POS countertop device offers a full range of functionality including a connectivity hub for printed receipts.
- Clover Go: All-in-one contactless, mag stripe and chip reader can pair with smartphones and tablets and provide many of the same features as larger Clover devices.
A winning combination
Clover's POS hardware and software are designed to adapt to individual merchant requirements and vertical markets. Clover users can selectively incorporate Clover apps to customize their devices or use preconfigured vertical app bundles tailored for their specific markets.
The versatile, scalable Clover platform is used in a variety of industries and is expanding into the midmarket sector, Rasori noted. For example, food truck operators are using Clover Flex to process and track sales via online ordering apps, obtaining customer signatures upon delivery. Bed, Bath and Beyond recently used Clover Go in a back-to-school pop-up store, where sales associates used the handheld device to quickly and efficiently process payments, he added.
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