ith so many changes coming to the payments ecosystem in the past few years, many merchants are now considering their options when it comes to value-added resellers. With this in mind, it’s important for VARs to get a feel for what merchants need as they do their homework, and how they can use that knowledge to stand out from what is becoming a crowded field of competitors.

Among of the best things VARs can do at this time is highlight not only the benefits they can currently provide merchants, but also the added value they’ll be able to bring over the course of the relationship as more changes develop within the payments ecosystem, according to Green Sheet. This might be particularly important when resellers remember what the “VA” in “VAR” stands for: They need to be able to show that they’re providing merchants above and beyond industry standards.

Where to Begin?

One of the biggest challenges merchants now face relate back to security. While the ease of use for many modern point-of-sale devices is growing all the time, the work that needs to be done on the back end to ensure ongoing security of not only POS devices, but also the systems storing the data, is significant. To that end, VARs need to be able to highlight how they can help merchants with everything from meeting PCI compliance standards to getting up to speed on QIR certification and properly implementing more secure payment platforms like EMV and mobile.

But even beyond that initial setup associated with getting merchants up to modern security standards, there are also ongoing considerations that merchants face. VARs that show merchants they can assist in improving ongoing security posture will likewise find a more interested audience and, by extension, a growing base.

What about Hardware?

Of course, as merchants move to adopt the latest and best point-of-sale devices, they are likely to have plenty of questions about their operation, how their software integrates with old data, and so on. VARs that can provide high-level support that is responsive to each client’s unique needs are more likely to gain traction as reliable players in their field, according to Piper Jaffray. For instance, while many merchants have already made the move to upgrade to EMV in the past two years, there are still some holdouts, for any number of reasons. Complexity of getting new systems up to speed is likely to be among them.

Resellers that can walk their clients through the process of getting everything squared away may gain their trust for the next time they want to upgrade their POS devices as well, and that level of loyalty is likely to last for years.

Widespread Service

Of course, there are plenty of VARs that will be able to walk their clients through installation, security certification, and ongoing routine updates to maintain network safety, so the question often becomes what will “wow” a merchant, according to Digital Transactions. What applications can VAR’s provide to make a merchant’s job of properly handling each transaction and all accompanying data just a little bit easier?

In this regard, it may be important for VARs to take the approach of being able to help merchants regardless of the industry in which they operate, the report said. With more types of businesses now taking card-based payments, the ability for a reseller to meet the needs of a food truck or taxi service is now just as important as it used to be with a takeout restaurant or convenience store.

A Strong Relationship

In the end, the thing most merchants are likely to want from their value-added reseller is simple: The feeling that they have a strong working relationship that will lead to the most fruitful business relationships, according to Sitepoint. That is to say, if merchants feel as though they can pick up the phone and reach their resellers with any concerns they may have, when they first crop up, and get those concerns resolved, they’re far more likely to look for other options in the future, regardless of other circumstances.

With all this in mind, just like merchants with security and payment trends in general, VARs need to continually revisit what they can do to ensure their clients are getting the best possible service on a number of fronts.