Retailers: The Point of Sale Industry is Rapidly Changing – Are You Onboard?

To move forward into 2014 as a successful retailer you can’t just assume the key will be in stocking products in demand.

What do the consumers of 2014 want from their retail experience?

Customers want their needs to be served in the most efficient and intuitive way possible and Point-of-Sale (POS) systems are absolutely proving to be excellent channels to achieve this primary need.

The most widespread trend that will be taking over in 2014 will be the integration of mobile options. The days of waiting in long lines during peak retail seasons are numbered. Recognizing the need to adapt to the changing landscape of the eligible client-base – a younger and ‘always-on’ customer – mobile point-of-purchase systems are proving to be a win-win. Not only do tablet or smartphone POS systems streamline services and enhance guest satiMobile POSsfaction, this consumer-driven trend offers enormous cost-savings when compared to traditional cash register POS systems.

Additionally, the touch screen aspects offered by most mobile POS devices are more intuitive than traditional systems. Mobile POS systems do not require complex configurations or the need for a back-up server. Most employees are efficient with smartphones and tablets, which not only saves time from a staff training perspective, but also offers self-service for customers, yet another example of increased efficiency and differentiating value in the storefront.

Another trend we expect to see hit the POS space in full force next year is the integration of more loyalty programs and customized advertising and marketing promotions to engage with customers at each stage of the purchase process; from driving impulse consideration, all the way to the final purchase. Loyalty programs have been picking up momentum for the past couple of years and are now becoming fully integrated into on-site POS systems, both mobile and traditional. With customer loyalty software programs launching in every type of retail venue imaginable, cashiers are able to sign customers up within one to two minutes, meeting the easy and quick transaction consumers’ today demand while also reminding them of the added-value offered by the vendor.

Excerpts of the above were taken from Jay Graham’s article in Retail Info Systems.

If I can help you in your purchase and understanding of how a POS can make your business more efficient, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Shawn Thompson

sthompson@merchantsolutionsauthority.com

www.merchantsolutionsauthority.com

Why Does Free Cost So Much?

The old adage “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” is a reminder that while something on the surface may sound free it may actually be very costly. This is especially true with Point of Sale (POS) systems. Some of the most recent marketing ploys I have heard have been where one company “gives away” a POS but then requires you to process your credit cards exclusively through them at an excessively high rate.

freeI have also heard of another company that would “give you the POS software  for free”, only if you purchased the equipment from them along with a support agreement. Make certain your new POS does everything you need it to do and don’t purchase features which are not needed.

A good Point of Sale should pay for itself by increasing product turn and helping to increase margins.

For more information on POS and Business Solutions contact Shawn Thompson at Merchant Solutions Authority:

sthompson@merchantsolutionsauthority.com

www.merchantsolutionsauthority.com

p.s. Be sure to look for Shawn and the Merchant Solutions Authority table at the summer markets!

Inside View of Today’s Small Business Owner

Owning a small business has never been for the faint of heart, and over the past decade radical shifts in government policy, the financial world, and technology (particularly how we communicate) have presented even more challenges — and opportunities — for entrepreneurs.

In an effort to gauge the greatest concerns of small-business owners today, Intuit compiled data from diverse sources into an infographic (see below) along with a few other observations about what it takes to start and run your own operation in 2012.

The Modern Small-Business Owner [INFOGRAPHIC]
via: The Modern Small-Business Owner [INFOGRAPHIC]

Read complete article here.

Is your small business aligned with these issues or do you have other major topics of concern?  Let us hear from you….and we’ll see what can be done to address them.

For more information on Intuit POS systems for small business visit Merchant Solutions Authority.

When it Comes to Point of Sale Technology-Who should I listen to?

The quick answer to this is everyone, but the correct answer is no one but yourself!

As soon as you ask what you should do, someone will stand up and tell you they know exactly what you need.

Don’t believe me? Try this. Comment on your Facebook page that you want to buy a new car and you’re not sure what you should buy. If you have 500 friends on Facebook, 50 will tell you what you need to buy. Or, go to a chat room full of strangers and ask what kind of computer you should buy. Again, everyone will tell you, without any knowledge of your needs, what is best for you.

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So how do you make the best buying decisions for your business? Ask yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t think you know enough about whatever you were considering to purchase. The truth is, neither do most of your friends on Facebook or the strangers in the chat room.

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If you are wondering if a Point of Sale or other business solution would be of benefit to you, make a list.

  • First, what are you currently doing that you would love to no longer be doing (working on payroll, paying bills, scheduling, placing reorders, working on taxes, etc.).

 

  • Second, make a wish list of what you wish a POS system could do. Let your mind run wild and you might be surprised what solutions are out there.

 

Maybe you would like a POS that could tell you when you are going to run out of a certain product, the time of day when the most sales occur or the employee who seems to be taking the most returns and the reasons for those returns. Or maybe you would like a POS that will email all your customers when a product they like arrives. Whatever is of the most value to you, put it on the list!

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Now take your list and  write down what your time is worth, then look at the list and determine how many hours a POS system that can do all the things you want it to do saves you each month. I know you already know what I am going to ask you to do next: Multiply those numbers together.

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Lastly, look over your  list and place a value on a POS that could do everything on your wish list.

Now,you know how much you are willing to pay and what you want a new POS to do for you.

You can ask around to as many people as you would like, but know that you and ONLY YOU know what is best for you and your business.

I would love to hear from you to see if our business solution exceeds your wish list.

For more information on POS and training, contact Merchant Solutions Authority or Shawn Thompson.

“You can’t handle the truth” a view into Point of Sale systems in the Gift and Home industry

At a recent trade show, I was demonstrating to a retailer how a good Point of Sale could show you how often products turn or how often they sell out in a given period of time. With this information, a retailer can then put  their money into product types that offer the best turn, and move out of the products not turning. The retailer I was speaking with said to me, “I’m not sure if I want to have that much information about my store.” When I asked why, she said, “That would take the fun out of buying for my store”.  

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This retailer made me think of the movie A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson, in which he said, “You can’t handle the truth”.

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Truth is, if you are running a business today and one of the reasons is to turn a profit, you have to know what products will produce the best return on your investment. Retail is hard enough without sticking your head in the sand.

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You can handle the truth and retail can be even more fun when you’re turning a profit!

 

 

For more information on POS and Business Solutions, contact Shawn at:

Shawn Thompson

sthompson@merchantsolutionsauthority.com

 

www.merchantsolutionsauthority.com

Why we are Different: We have over 50+ years of experience in independent and specialty retail – we know your passion and we understand your business. We uniquely combine our retail and product experience with business expertise to simplify your operations and enhance your profitability.

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Naming a Business is No Simple Task

What’s in a name…?

I heard somewhere that a rose is a rose, and a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Over the past 20 years in the gift industry I have enjoyed hearing how retailers picked the name for their business. Having just gone through the process of finding a name for Ivystone’s business solutions division, I feel for anyone who has tried to name a business. I named all three of my kids in less time.

You want a name that is easily remembered.

You want a unique name (good luck with that one).

You want a name that will grow with you and not limit you to what you could become.

Most importantly, you want a name that says who you are and what you can do.
I wanted our name to tell retailers that we know the gift and home business, and we know the business solutions industry. I wanted the name to express that while we are a business wanting to keep the doors open, our primary goal with every retailer is to find the best solution for them and in some instances it might be they don’t need a certain product. I really wanted the name to say we want to be a partner with you and help your business be everything it can be.

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 We are Merchant Solutions Authority, and if given the chance, I personally will make it a priority to find the best solution for your business. That does everything you need it to, today and tomorrow.

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For more information on POS and training contact Merchant Solutions Authority or Shawn Thompson.