Ajit Deshpande - December 4, 2012 - 1 Comment
Last week brought news of consolidation in the POS system segment – National Cash Register (NCR) Corporation announced its $650M acquisition of Retalix, a developer of software for managing sales, stores and logistics for retail chains. This is the second large acquisition for NCR, coming a years after its acquisition of hospitality and specialty retail POS company Radiant Systems for $1.2B in July’11. As of August’12, Retalix was deployed at more than 70,000 store locations and more than 400,000 customer touch points; an excellent addition to a company which was already the leader in banking ATMs, retail self-checkout and POS systems, hospitality and specialty retail.
This is an interesting play by a company that is more than 125 years old, and while the obvious motive here would be scale and consolidation, the other more important underlying driver might be mobility. As smartphones and tablets have become increasingly pervasive, brick and mortar stores are starting to embrace mobility and related software and services. Players such as Square in their pursuit of disrupting the larger financial transactions marketplace are also contributing to lower growth in NCR’s core POS and ATM product lines by weaning SMBs away from stationary POS sytems. In response, NCR has begun to introduce its own solutions for mobile payments and mobile customer interfacing. The Retalix 10 Store & Sales Channel Suite now adds a much needed software and services layer that helps NCR become a more vertically integrated solutions provider, and as such might allow the combined entity hold on to at least the larger players in retail, hospitality, healthcare and banking for the time being.
And so on to the broader question – will brick and mortar stores survive in the face of the ecommerce revolution? That is a difficult question to answer, but at least for the medium term, it is good to see a company with a long legacy and a throwback name continue to keep itself relevant and at the cutting edge.