Sometimes the lights go on and the realization strikes that a new metaphor has taken hold and will change the market going forward. That realization struck when I recently read about GoPago’s Free POS system for SMBs. Greg Sterling first wrote about the product in August but it wasn’t until I saw a second article did it dawn on me that free POS was an incredibly powerful way to get SMBs to fully embrace the possibilities of local.
The product has a symmetry, pricing and usefulness that speaks to a wide swath of the smaller bricks and mortar stores and fills a need that Square and Paypal have only hinted at. The product includes an Android tablet, a free Verizon Internet connection, a cash box, a receipt printer, the company’s app for handling transactions and inventory tracking, and setup and support of the service. The cost? A 2.85% credit card processing fee.
The product includes a built in loyalty program and an interface with social sites but could easily be expanded to include other cloud based services like electronic payments, PPC, offers, reputation management, email management or any other local marketing process.
The product is not a perfect fit for every business but it is ideal for the small bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants and smaller retailer & service businesses that dot the landscape and often have to pay high processing fees on their credit card transactions.
The early creator of metaphor changing products sometimes reaps the benefits and other times the benefits go to better capitalized late comers. Certainly GoPago has no lock on this market. Square, Paypal, Bing and Google could all step in and have both distribution efficiencies and marketing clout that could give them an advantage in this space. Imagine Google offering up a free Moto/Android based POS system that also guides SMBs through a business center experience as the SMB gains familiarity with the many marketing options that Google offers. If I were Bing,in an effort to kick start their Local Business Portal, I would walk over to GoPago and hand them a check even if it meant the POS had to continue to use an Android based product.