Note: This is an update to two articles originally published on the RSPA Blog in August 2019 and November 2021. Additions to version 3.0 of this list are #11 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations as-a-Service (EVCSaaS); #13 Embedded finance; and #36 Programmatic Digital Out of House Advertising (pDOOH). Thanks to the many RSPA members who provided their input.
More recurring revenue is what every retail IT VAR wants, but the best path for them to achieve that goal is sometimes unclear. The RSPA’s updated “Ultimate List of Recurring Revenue Products and Services” should help lift the recurring revenue fog for you. I’ve crafted this list over the past several years – going back to my days at Business Solutions Magazine when we launched our Channel Transitions conference series to help VARs move away from break/fix to the as-a-Service business model.
We’ve refined and expanded this list by studying successful retail IT solution providers who have embraced the recurring revenue business model. The list includes products and services they’ve converted to a monthly recurring revenue offering. Let’s look at the list and then I’ll offer some caveats about it.
Recurring Revenue Products and Services
implemented by VARs in hospitality, retail, grocery, or cannabis
- Above-store management
- Audio system management
- BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery) for non-cloud systems
- Cellular failover
- Cloud services
- Data analytics
- Digital menu building
- Digital Signage-as-a-Service (DSaaS) – hardware, software, and updates
- Digital signage content management
- Electric Vehicle Charging Stations as-a-Service (EVCSaaS)
- Email hosting
- Embedded finance
- Facebook/social media services
- Firewall management
- Gift cards
- Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS)
- Hardware preventative maintenance
- Hardware rental
- Internet service
- Lighting management
- Loyalty program
- Maintenance agreement – phone and remote support
- Managed antivirus
- Managed print
- Managed services
- Menu management
- Mobile device management
- Network management
- Online ordering
- Patch management
- Payment processing
- Payment processing surcharging, cash discounting, and NCA (non-cash adjustment)
- Payroll integration/payroll services
- PCI assistance
- Programmatic Digital Out of House Advertising (pDOOH)
- Phone system management
- POS-as-a-Service (PaaS) – HaaS and SaaS bundle
- Receipt content management
- Remote monitoring
- Remote access
- Reservation software
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Text message marketing
- Web hosting
- Website services/online content management
- Wi-Fi marketing
About the list:
- I don’t know of any VARs who are offering all 49 of these products and services. This list is a compilation of products/services that have been implemented across several retail IT VARs in North America.
- I’ve shared this list at industry events, online, and via social media with retail IT VARs and ISVs, and they’ve used it to determine where to go next – which two, three, or four offerings they will pursue during the next quarter. You can’t start by implementing “all of the above”; determine how much your organization and your customers can digest in the near-term.
- You might currently offer some of these services at no charge. Be brave and put a price on the value you’re providing. One RSPA VAR member took this tactic to heart after I shared this list during a presentation at the RSPA Inspire leadership conference. Two months later, at an ISV partner conference, the VAR flagged me down to say, “I keep your list on my desk to help me figure out what we should offer next. Two things we were already doing for free – but not anymore. Your list is already making me money!”
- There isn’t one universal correct answer as to which product or service you should focus on next. For hospitality VARs, it’s probably wise to offer online ordering. But if you have skills in web design and social media, you might want to offer website and Facebook services first. Or your roots might be in telecom, so the next right move for you might be phone system management. If you’re in grocery, offering text message marketing could make you a hero to your merchants by saving them money because they no longer need to print and mail flyers. VARs who serve bars may want to offer cellular failover to prevent customer downtime on busy weekend evenings.
This list should trigger more than just a mental exercise for you and your team. If you’re reviewing this list, nodding in agreement, and then going back to sell the same things you’ve always offered the same way to the same customers, you’re making a mistake that harms the future relevance of your business.
Take time during the next business day or two to determine which products and services you’ll investigate. Then, over the next one or two weeks, conduct online research, visit the RSPA Solution Center, consult with your customers, and talk with solution provider colleagues, vendors, and distributors about the products/services you’re considering. Be sure to lean on the RSPA as well. Our Member Services Managers specialize in making warm introductions between members to help them accelerate their success.
Next, conduct an experiment with the products and services that best fit you and your customers. Try them out. Test them. Measure the outcomes. Implement changes. Continue experimenting. Measure the outcomes again. Integrate the offering into your linecard and marketing materials, and then train up your sales team. Then rinse and repeat with a new item or two from the list. This process isn’t magic, but it’s essentially what the most successful, growing, profitable retail IT VARs are doing today.
I’ve made the list. Now it’s your job to check it twice and begin making progress towards greater profits and predictable revenue.