How Exclusive Brands Can Draw More Sales for Any Business

In today’s market highly charged with a constant stream of seemingly overnight competitive moves to obliterate the competition, holding one’s own can especially pose to be highly problematic for smaller to mid-sized companies. And while the fight to survive among the sharks is of critical issue to the minnows, there is actually no swimming creature that is impervious to the ongoing threat of annihilation by competitors. So, what is any owner of any size business to do, in order to find a small ledge along the cliff that will support market gains long enough for an occasional exhale, during the perilous climb to the top?

A Fish Story

As the retail market continues to change from paradigm shifts (that ultimately make more sense in the long run, regardless of the fact that they also inherently pump up the pressure for often, rather severe alterations in objectives,) it becomes ever-pressing for all players to jump on the bandwagon, go with the flow, get onboard and be happy about it. While it may seem that in such a climate, most retailers are set to go belly up, any time now, that’s not the case. As with all problems in life, there’s nothing that a little savvy thinking won’t resolve. So, with the sharks all hungry and heavily populating the waters, if, say, only one minnow were to distinguish itself from the others – it’s longevity would stand a chance at being sustained. For instance, Orcas, or Killer Whales typically use their tails in a multitude of ways, so a smart minnow might come up with a way to assist Killer Whales’ tail functionality. The distinction would best be impervious to being copied or duplicated, and so, when the Killer Whales come (and they always eventually do,) the identifying distinction of the minnow that appeals to the Killer Whales will surely save the minnow.

A Brand Will Direct the Customers You Desire to You

While the retail business is certainly about people, consumers and revenue, staying afloat is everyone’s priority. And to date, the one true sure-fire way to distinction is in crafting a company brand. A special or unique brand makes a product unique, and one that will stand out from the others in the market. A brand that is carefully created will create a solid emotional, visual and even cultural bond between consumers and your business – whether it has to do with products or service – and it will greatly influence the type of customers who are attracted, as well. One of the true leaders of the retail market is Disney – where it’s obvious that a great deal of time and effort is always being applied to sustaining the brand. From promotionals, events, vacation spots, TV and Movies – Disney has succeeded in conveying a message to the public of family, fun, stellar service and impeccable cleanliness. Disney is highly scrutinizing when it comes to the employees they hire, and they receive more training than most other companies provide to ensure that the Disney brand will be communicated all the time.

Branding Works for All Sizes of Companies

The thing that brings business back to you is the impression that your customers receive when they shop with you. And if you have a unique brand that is appealing to consumers, when they buy that brand, they thereby increase the value of your business. Customer loyalty to your brand helps you to dominate any size of market and increase or at least maintain market share value.

share save 171 16 How Exclusive Brands Can Draw More Sales for Any Business

Keeping Your Stock Current in Every Size and Color Means No More Lost Revenue

When a business of any kind must say to customers something along the lines of, ”Oh, I’m so sorry, but we are out of that item / that size / that color,” and so forth, they might as well proceed to their accounting software to chalk up another form of operating expense called “loss.” It tends to happen all too frequently, and really produces even more than the simple loss of a sale; often it can produce the loss of a customer. Almost half of all intended purchases are lost due to items being out of stock in retail establishments. While it might seem like being able to prevent stock-outs would be simple enough, just by making sure that there are enough of that particular item in stock, there is a precise medium between having enough stock and being overstocked. Either typically represents an inefficient bottom line and lost revenue. So, how does the well-stocked business go about successful management of inventory without dedicating a 24/7 effort toward it?

POS Salvation for Inventory Success

There is a POS system just waiting to take over the effective management of your inventory. With it, you will know exactly when to restock any item from your inventory, from alerts which you have preset according to your particular specifications. You will be alerted when the volume of any stocked item is at a preset low number, also based on the length of time it would take for a new shipment to arrive. You will then also know exactly which products are selling, when more units are scheduled to be arriving at your store and if you are waiting for additional or backlogged items; you’ll know what those are and when you should be expecting them to arrive. Without a suitable POS system, all of this used to be difficult and entirely time exhausting, at best. And don’t even think of the level of inefficiency that manual inventory management produced.

Other Info Your POS System Will Give You

With the right POS software for your inventory, you can keep articulate records that can be contrasted over a period of hours, days, weeks, months and even years. While this might initially sound kind of good for you, the business owner, the real advantage is that you will be apprised of breakdowns in terms of the last price you paid for any given item, and even a general consensus of the average price you paid over the past. Having these numbers can go far, in terms of your having some negotiating power with your vendors.

share save 171 16 Keeping Your Stock Current in Every Size and Color Means No More Lost Revenue

POS Technology – Helping You to Understand and Take Advantage of Remarketing

Remarketing is any sales and advertising strategies you employ to maintain contact with your potential customers after they visit your business. When consumers are shopping or just browsing the web, they may arrive at your website. They might have even used your mobile app previously. Let’s say on such visits, they left without buying anything. Remarketing refers to your ability to position your ads among relevant ads that are presented to them when they browse the web in future searches, from that point on. Then, dynamic remarketing is all about the inclusion of the specific products and services that shoppers may have looked at on your website while there – within the ads. So, dynamic remarketing does require taking extra steps means extra time and effort on your part, by adding custom parameters to your website’s tag and implementing a feed, what consumers will meet will be highly customized, compelling ads that guarantee click-thrus.

Why You Should Remarket

Remarketing is a proven method of gaining sales activity and promoting your particular brand awareness. It can additionally increase the number of registrations you get. All of this stands to increase your ROI (return on investment,) for all kinds of businesses, whether online or brick and mortar, or both.

Reach the Shopper Right When They’re Ready to Buy

The typical web browsing shopper will spend a certain period of time browsing, or collecting information and data on whatever it is they are looking to buy. They will compare brands, sites, S&H policies, how returns are handled, customer reviews, prices and more. having a mobile app is of great benefit here, and you can provide reward type of incentives for anyone signing up. By using remarketing, the shopper will be provided with touch points that are orchestrated to appear at the best time – right before he or she makes that purchase. The shopper will be driven right to your website, where chances are even greater that they will purchase from you – your brand.

Pricing Guaranteed to Move Merchandise on Auction

By using automated bid strategies like target CPA and ROAS, you are able to generate superior-performance campaigns as a remarketing strategy. Bidding in real time will calculate the best bid you are likely to get from a viewer of your ad, and then show the best possible price. This goes a long way in helping you to win the auction.

How Remarketing Cookies Work

The central principle of remarketing is to hold onto the attention of shoppers who have already expressed an interest in your brand or business, rather than your efforts to just try to raise awareness about your brand or business. You want to ensure that any visitors to your site will continue to see your business’ ads after they have left your actual site. So, for instance, visitors to your site would acquire a “cookie” in their web browser. A remarketing cookie will result in the browsers of your site’s visitors subsequently displaying your business ads more frequently.( A cookie is a small bit of code that enables a web browser to store data and info about websites.)

share save 171 16 POS Technology   Helping You to Understand and Take Advantage of Remarketing

How POS-Educated Employees Generate More In-Store Purchases

If you are the proud owner of a brick and mortar boutique, department store or even a restaurant, you want to make sure that you are always doing everything possible to ensure maximum traffic flow to and through your establishment – and of course, hopefully with each resulting in a purchase. Word of Mouth and having a great brand, great selection are all wonderful assets to your business and its livelihood, but they are only part of a total package that serves to entice the largest number of customers to drop in. And if you are faced with the need to do more, in terms of laying out revenues to increase store profitability, you certainly want to make sure that any such efforts are going to pay off with increased store traffic and the resulting generation of sales. Not all marketing and promotional incentives are equal, in terms of their effectiveness, and they should certainly not break the bank, either. What follows are a few simple ways to increase the traffic to your store, while generating sales at the same time.

Hold a Promotional Sale Party: Promotional sales are unlike regular sales or markdowns, as they imply a sense of urgency that tends to be highly effective, in terms of quickly luring customers in. Place some of your more difficult items to move on sale. And while sales are typically referring to temporary price reductions, remember that markdowns are designated to never return to their original prices. By adding “promotional,” you thereby have a formula that is bound to draw in shoppers. Take advantage of such an event to introduce new inventory, gather customer information via sales associates on their iPhones or possibly through a drawing for free merchandise.

In-Store Events are Fun!

The public loves being invited to a special gathering, as it helps them to feel like they have special entitlement and inclusion in a VIP club. Using client information and other helpful databases (hopefully stored on your POS system,) mail out special invitations to everyone to your event. You might also include an invitation along with every purchase, in the bag of departing customers. Get the word out. Add news of your store event to the home page of your web site, so it’s the first thing visitors will see. You could even require that guests pre-register for special incentives, while you might also consider leaving the event open to the general public, also.

In-Store Events for Restaurants

Restaurants can host a wine tasting event, or possibly invite the public for a special cooking class by the chef. The item your students would learn to prepare could either be one of your least frequently served menu entrees, or possibly another dish that is similar but not the same as what you serve in your restaurant. There could be a sommelier to present a breakdown on choosing wine and other interesting details. Give attendees a gift card as they leave, which may be presented for food, desert or appetizers on a return visit.

An In-Store Women’s Clothing Boutique Event

Throw a fun trunk show, featuring one of the most prolific and popular fashion designers of the lines you carry to preside over it. You might also include makeup and hair professionals to give talks and demonstrations. Hold a drawing where, at the event, you give the person whose ticket is drawn a complete makeover, redressing them your clothing line. Invite everyone you can, and tell your guest speakers to do the same. Have some kind of small reward to hand to each guest, upon leaving.

Take advantage of the special ways in which your unique business can create a special event, and invite those whose business you know is possible. Tell them to tell others, and blast it on social media, email, special cards and your web site. Increased traffic always means increased sales. Give them a grand time, and they will be back, too!

share save 171 16 How POS Educated Employees Generate More In Store Purchases

Encourage Customer Visits With In-Store Events

If you are the proud owner of a brick and mortar boutique, department store or even a restaurant, you want to make sure that you are always doing everything possible to ensure maximum traffic flow to and through your establishment – and of course, hopefully with each resulting in a purchase. Word of Mouth and having a great brand, great selection are all wonderful assets to your business and its livelihood, but they are only part of a total package that serves to entice the largest number of customers to drop in. And if you are faced with the need to do more, in terms of laying out revenues to increase store profitability, you certainly want to make sure that any such efforts are going to pay off with increased store traffic and the resulting generation of sales. Not all marketing and promotional incentives are equal, in terms of their effectiveness, and they should certainly not break the bank, either. What follows are a few simple ways to increase the traffic to your store, while generating sales at the same time.

Hold a Promotional Sale Party: Promotional sales are unlike regular sales or markdowns, as they imply a sense of urgency that tends to be highly effective, in terms of quickly luring customers in. Place some of your more difficult items to move on sale. And while sales are typically referring to temporary price reductions, remember that markdowns are designated to never return to their original prices. By adding “promotional,” you thereby have a formula that is bound to draw in shoppers. Take advantage of such an event to introduce new inventory, gather customer information via sales associates on their iPhones or possibly through a drawing for free merchandise.

In-Store Events are Fun!

The public loves being invited to a special gathering, as it helps them to feel like they have special entitlement and inclusion in a VIP club. Using client information and other helpful databases (hopefully stored on your POS system,) mail out special invitations to everyone to your event. You might also include an invitation along with every purchase, in the bag of departing customers. Get the word out. Add news of your store event to the home page of your web site, so it’s the first thing visitors will see. You could even require that guests pre-register for special incentives, while you might also consider leaving the event open to the general public, also.

In-Store Events for Restaurants

Restaurants can host a wine tasting event, or possibly invite the public for a special cooking class by the chef. The item your students would learn to prepare could either be one of your least frequently served menu entrees, or possibly another dish that is similar but not the same as what you serve in your restaurant. There could be a sommelier to present a breakdown on choosing wine and other interesting details. Give attendees a gift card as they leave, which may be presented for food, desert or appetizers on a return visit.

An In-Store Women’s Clothing Boutique Event

Throw a fun trunk show, featuring one of the most prolific and popular fashion designers of the lines you carry to preside over it. You might also include makeup and hair professionals to give talks and demonstrations. Hold a drawing where, at the event, you give the person whose ticket is drawn a complete makeover, redressing them your clothing line. Invite everyone you can, and tell your guest speakers to do the same. Have some kind of small reward to hand to each guest, upon leaving.

Take advantage of the special ways in which your unique business can create a special event, and invite those whose business you know is possible. Tell them to tell others, and blast it on social media, email, special cards and your web site. Increased traffic always means increased sales. Give them a grand time, and they will be back, too!

share save 171 16 Encourage Customer Visits With In Store Events

Apple Pay and NFC

There is a new form of payment for iPhone 6 users, as Apple is joining a growing militia of banks and technologically – based companies that are all aiming to eventually wean the world away from all forms of cash payments. Owners of the iPhone 6 have no need to clutter their pockets, wallets and purses with bulky cash, in all its denominations, as their purchases of all kinds can simply be made by connecting their phones by touch with wireless readers. This revolutionary form of shopping is predicted by experts to forever change the way shopping is conducted, in much the same way that the music, mobile and personal computing industries have been forever changed. Apple Pay is the first to succeed along a path to eliminate cash payments that is strewn with remnants of other failed attempts by many of the best known names in banking and technology.

What Was Originally New (And Not so Long Ago) is Quickly Becoming Obsolete

In the realm of shopping, the way payments are processed is a huge business. Every day, in the United States alone, the prevalence of payments conducted by credit and debit is in excess of 12 billion dollars – meaning over 4 trillion dollars each year. The daily total then is around 200 million payment transactions every day, by credit and debit cards, and it’s time to pay attention to the growing antiquity of this process.

What Apple Pay Looks Like

Consumers can easily add a card by scanning it to their iPhone, and they thereby dispense with the need for the conventional pieces of plastic cluttering their wallets. The Find My iPhone app offers a deep level of security for users by immediately suspending all payments whenever a device is lost. Additionally, the amount that is actually spent on any given article will remain unknown to Apple, and during the entire time when the cashier handles the purchase, the user’s security code will remain unknown.

Developing Since 2009, and Now Ready for Use

Apple Pay is the name of this service, and its launch includes Amex, MasterCard and Visa, in addition to banks representing 83% of all credit card payments by volume. The merchants that consumers will find offering this service like Whole Foods Market, McDonald’s and the Disney Theme Parks will all have tills that are specially compatible. With this form of payment technology in place, expect to see the emergence of many apps for Apple pay using an API. In the UK, where Apple Pay has already taken off with great reception, most account holders already own touch to pay cards.

share save 171 16 Apple Pay and NFC

MPOS Defined

The current way we pay for everything we buy is rapidly transitioning, in response to a myriad of time saving and customer management apps that are all processed by point of sale technology, or POS -and all the software that is being developed all the time. And while many people have heard of POS, a newer source of technology called mobile point of sale, or MPOS refers to any mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet or dedicated wireless device that performs the typical function of a cash register or an electronic POS terminal. The advent of mPOS enables the processing of sales and access to product and service information by retailers and businesses in the hospitality industry – from practically anywhere in the store. This goes far, in terms of improving the shopping experience for customers, and eliminating the significant volume of space that would otherwise be required to position a POS countertop, and the formation of long lines of shoppers with their purchases-to-be, simply waiting to check out.

Highly Cost Effective Technology for POS

MPOS technology is one of the most cost effective additions a small business can make to their existing operations, so that they can conduct transactions without the need to invest a sizeable chunk of change in an electronic register, or pay a third party for software support. The good news is that any smartphone or tablet can be easily turned into an MPOS, simply with the addition of a downloadable mobile app. The way it usually works is that once the business has registered the app, the vendor will respond by sending that business a card reader that will plug into the mobile device’s audio jack. With some MPOS software, the vendors actually provide the option of hand held docking stations that allow the mobile device to read barcodes and even print receipts. These are called “sleds.”

Stand Alone POS Options

There are different software programs available, and some will allow the MPOS to operate as a stand alone device that is directly linked to the bank account of the business. Others allow it to be an integrated component of a larger, legacy POS system. It typically boils down to the type of business and its particular needs. To guarantee protection for cardholding shoppers, their customer data is first encrypted, and then stored in the cloud – with nothing being stored on the device itself.

BYOD and BYOSM

Bring Your Own Device and Bring Your Own Smart Machine technology allows for even further streamlining to businesses with employees. It places all the important information right within the palms of employees and is thought to further the advancement of employee innovation and participation.

share save 171 16 MPOS Defined

Differences Between Card Present Transactions and Card Not Present Transactions

Industry experts say that the way payments are processed are currently changing (and will continue to,) over the next few years more than they ever have, since the implementation of the credit card. What we are now looking at is the high cost rate difference between card present (CP) and card not present (CNP) transactions. The difference on some interchange tables can be more than 100 basis points, which is a full percentage and more of cost. There is usually an up-charge associated with transactions involving the manual entry of card data on a keyboard. And it’s typically something like 3.50%, which is a 75 basis point variant from typical charges.

Reducing the Overall Cost Percentage

In prioritizing the typical needs of merchants, the costs associated with payment processing is neither at the top, nor the bottom of the list. Certainly the cost of sales transactions is reflected in the cost of sold items, however when sales are increased sufficiently, the impact is just a few cents on a $100 sale.

Prioritizing Forms of Loss Management

Now, for e-commerce retailers, those few cents can end up adding up rather rapidly, but in the area of company loss, they come nowhere close to the disastrous effects of losses from merchandise fraud. E-tailers are not covered for fraud losses, as the card is never presented, which has long been regarded as the same thing as the card holder being present for the sale. And in the bigger picture, effective management of fraud levels should matter much more than the variation of cost between CP and CNP.

Seeing as how increased sales is the pinnacle of ambition of every merchant in business today, what is most valued across the board is any means by which sales can be effectively increased. And so, while understanding that fraud loss management is a prevalent aim of business, anything that can be implemented to increase sales is in hot demand. One of the leading boons to increased sales has been the rise of mobile apps, as well as their utilization of on-file card payments, even though such payments are charged back to merchants as card not present payment rates. And even though they cost significantly more, increasing numbers of merchants are beyond willing to process such payments, especially because all of these apps increase their sales enough to compensate for the loss. It’s been proven that when mobile apps work well, they actually engender warm feelings and even passion from customers. What form of advertising could do more?

share save 171 16 Differences Between Card Present Transactions and Card Not Present Transactions

A Barcode Label Maker Can Simplify Much for Merchants

A barcode label maker is essentially a type of printer that is specifically designed to print out barcodes for retailers. Generally, these unique printers print by thermal transfer, although there are thermal direct printers, too. Each industry uses their own set of coding systems and fonts in their bar codes, and these are all available through software options. To name a few, there is EAN, which is used for worldwide product grouping, Postnet is used for mail delivery and UPC stands for universal product code, which it applies to. In selecting the specific printer that each industry needs, it’s important to evaluate the printer itself, as the type of software that is needed to generate the different barcode schemes is actually built into the controller firmware, when you buy it. The software that directs exactly what to print will usually be included with the POS software you buy, or you may use another type of product inventory, if you prefer.

Thermal Based Label Printers Are the Least Inexpensive, Yet They Perform Beautifully

POS guided barcode printers offer an unparalleled method of creating economical and top quality labels, wristbands, tags, receipts, tickets and more. Of all the currently available printing technologies, thermal printer options require the least amount of maintenance, and operate with less expensive media and they print much faster without losing a big of top print quality

Other Highly Specialized Ways That POS Label Makers Can Improve Business

In addition to the basic label maker, there are numerous add-ons that, depending on the exact type of business needs, can ultimately save substantially on time while maximizing productivity. Here are some of the more popular ones, in use today:

  • Cutters: These cut the labels, as so named. A cutter performs the task of completely cutting away each label from the roll as it is printed. While most label printers use stock that comes pre-perforated, continuous or special media can benefit greatly from the addition of a cutter.
  • Rewinders: Especially beneficial in high volume applications where significant batches are being printed at one time, a rewinder is essentially an internal roller that will take the labels, and as they are printed, conveniently feed them back into the printer where they are rolled up onto a new roll. This means your printed labels are produced as a roll, instead of a pile of labels in no particular order.
  • Peeler/Dispensers: When the labels you are printing will be immediately applied to products, this device actually peels (or separates) each label from the protective backing as the final stage of printing. No time is spent in trying to tear off the label and then peel it. The only down side would be when printing in batches, as the printer stops printing until the current label that has been peeled has been removed altogether from the printer.
  • RFID: With this option, the front side of a label is printed while at the same time information is encoded into the RFID chip on the label’s back side. Most printers will support UHF or HF ranges. Using one of these requires training for any users who are not familiar with the technology.
  • In-line Verifiers: These are scanners that are mounted to the printer’s front. As each label is printed, it insures that it meets the print quality requirements. Whenever quality is compromised, the verifier will stop the printing process. Inventory that is labeled for large retailers or government and military agencies, there are typically very stringent requirements for the quality of printing used. The resulting fines can be more than the cost of a verifier. Ensure the highest degree of print quality with a verifier.
share save 171 16 A Barcode Label Maker Can Simplify Much for Merchants

Dispelling the Notion that POS Technology Will Replace Humans for Customer Support

When talk comes to technology fully replacing in-person transactions, it tends to strike up a myriad of reactions – with the most prevalent ones being based in fear. There is a general exception, though, as members of Generation Y seem to never be able to get enough of increased technology. These people have lived the entire expanse of their rather relatively short existence completely immersed in emails and text messaging, so it would stand to reason why they would rather communicate digitally than doing so in person. Their main objectives are met by a streamline of technological advancements, because it’s always about being quicker and easier, which is what they most desire. On the flip side, though, when relied upon to an extreme, personal interaction that is rendered obsolete by technology is impersonal, emotionally disinterested and is limited in many other ways, too.

Things That Technology Just Can’t Do

in 2001, a national airline produced a series of commercials as part of a campaign that drew attention to many interactions that are only possible in person, between persons in real time. This campaign was entitled “Some Things Are Just Better in Person.” Among the conventional forms of personal interaction that have come to be proven winning strategies and actions were a list of several important modes of operation that technology will fail to reproduce. These included:

  • The Ability to Fax a Handshake
  • You Can’t Smell Homemade Bread on Your Pager (now, virtually extinct, anyway)
  • You Can’t Have Coffee With a Website
  • How do You Pat a Voicemail on the Back?
  • You Can’t Hug a Voicemail.

Raising the Standards Personally

The thing is, any company in any industry worth its salt must maintain a good volume of its intent on a focus to raise the bar by introducing more highly personalized ways in which they communicate with customers – even today, in our modern and advanced society. Ultimately, such goals will serve to define any practicing company or business as a leader in its industry.

The Real Deal

All forms of Technology, from POS to others should originate from and focus on the need for business to be availed of increased time with which they can use to improve their customer relations in a more personalized effort. It should never be regarded as a way to avoid human interaction. Most business owners report that the advancements in technology have not at all replaced their need for human employees; rather it has been effective in freeing them up from what at one time was exhaustingly time-absorbing minutia that took them away from being available for customer interactions.

share save 171 16 Dispelling the Notion that POS Technology Will Replace Humans for Customer Support