5 Mistakes Retailers Can’t Afford to Make

With so much to do each day to run your business it could be easy to overlook critical details that make all the difference to your bottom line.  Below are 5 hot points to avoid along with solutions to help you resolve these frequent challenges.  

Mistake #1:

Stock too much of one item and your money is tied up.

This is the challenge you face every day. With so much money invested in your inventory, it’s essential that you stay on top of it. That means that your inventory figures need to be constantly updated. Relying on a cash register or paper-based transactions does not automatically update your inventory. Retailing requires that inventory tracking occurs in real-time and is effortless and automatic.

 Mistake #2:

Run out of stock and you’ve missed an opportunity to make a sale.

Few things hurt sales, or frustrate customers, more than failing to stock an item consumer’s want. A good inventory management system should enable you to always know what inventory you have on hand, without conducting a physical count. It should use a bar code scanner to scan items when ringing up sales or entering new inventory – automatically adjusting inventory totals as you sell items and automatically notifying you when items are out of stock.

 Mistake #3:

Making inventory decisions by the seat of your pants.

Imagine being able to spot trends in sales, profits, liquidity and assets as well as optimal operating hours and profit margins. Oh, and of course track inventory with easy-to-access data so you can act quickly on new products or eliminate poorly performing products.

Mistake #4:

Ignoring shrinkage and failing to secure against theft.

Shrinkage is all merchandise that is taken out of stock without being paid for. Studies consistently show more people will steal if they think they can get away with it. You might not even realize that theft, by employee or customer, is actually going on in your store.

 Mistake #5:

Not making lemonade when you have lemons!

Pricing items correctly and knowing when to offer discounts is key to successfully managing and growing your business. You should be able to identify the most “saleable” items, which are typically your most price sensitive (generally the 20% of your inventory that moves the fastest), and price them competitively.

You can then recognize the “slow movers” from the remaining bulk of your inventory, which are typically your most non-price sensitive items, and raise the margins. By selling the “slow movers” early in the season, when items are more saleable at higher prices, you will minimize clearance markdowns at the end-of season.

Reporting is critical to understanding and managing your inventory. QuickBooks Point of Sale allows retailers to keep track of critical information and avoid costly mistakes and Merchant Solutions  Authority is focused on these types of business solutions for retailers.

Merchant Solutions Authority is a proven and trusted advisor to retailers across the country.  MSA specializes in business tools and methodologies for independent retailers – single store operations; small to medium sized chains.

Why they are different: Merchant Solutions Authority has over 50+ years of experience in independent and specialty retail – they know your passion and understand your business. MSA uniquely combines their retail and product experience with business expertise to simplify your operations and enhance your profitability.

Let them help you avoid costly mistakes.

For more information on Merchant Solutions Authority please visit their website:



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




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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