At the Northeast Acquirers Association’s annual conference yesterday, Stephanie Lusher, the senior vice president of merchant sales for Vantiv, explained why she believes independent sales organizations (ISO) are facing an uphill battle at the moment.

According to the online industry publication PaymentsSource, Lusher attributed much of the difficulties to the rapid advancement of technology and how it can be incorporated into merchant operations. She offered examples in several other industries as well, including film and music, and how long-standing paradigms are changing.

Consequently, ISOs are trying to focus more on vertical markets where they can become specialists and stand out from the competition when merchants are looking for partnerships.

“What can you do to set yourself apart?” Lusher asked the conference attendees. “What are you doing that’s unique and different?”

Whether it is clothing retail, hospitality organizations like restaurants and hotels, or any number of other business types, ISOs are now looking to position themselves as the go-to partners for merchants in specific sectors.

On the plus side for merchants, they have increasing flexibility when deciding who they want to work with. As such, choosing a credit card processing application that can work with a wide range of POS systems and ISOs offers a great many benefits. For example, if your current ISO is not suited well for your industry and its specific needs, you can switch partners without having to gut your entire processing system and start over from scratch. This saves both a considerable amount of time and money.

The fact that ISOs are shifting their focus toward vertical markets and positioning themselves within those specific markets, business owners are gaining more leverage that can help them work out the best deals and strengthen their companies.