Technology For Single Owner Retail Stores
Single-owner retail stores can gain a competitive edge with bigger businesses through the use of technology. There are many vendors available who can build a network for your store, and tailor it to your needs. Implementing technology can streamline operations, processing customer purchases faster and updating inventory as sales are made. Reaching customers and advertising is easier – and cheaper – than ever with the internet. Here are some suggestions for technology that single owner retail stores should definitely have.
Your point of sale, or POS, can save you time, money, and frustration. Small retailers today can adjust their inventory on a per-purchase basis with the right POS. They can also receive automatic records of frequent shoppers and customer loyalty.
Your retail store can benefit from accounting software specifically developed for small retailers. Much of the information needed will be entered by the POS. Your accounts receivable should certainly be part of the POS, along with accounts payable. The general accounting software can be integrated with these or designed to stand alone.
The cloud is actually a network of servers. Reams of paper and piles of ledger books can be digitized and stored securely on the cloud. You can work remotely with all of your data stored in the cloud. It is safer and more accessible there than it would be on your own server or in ledgers stacked in a safe.
Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI allows you to place orders over the internet. The data about inventory is in your POS, and you can simply send a purchase order to your vendor for new items, without having to manually enter a number.
For a small fee, you can have an app developed for your store. This encourages shoppers to visit your website on a whim and look at your inventory, scope out sales, or even place orders. Recent studies have shown that 80% of all owners of iPhones or androids do most of their shopping on their phone. An amazing 60% of these will make a purchase within 24 hours. A store app will make you a contender, placing you on an equal footing with larger retailers.
Using a scanner on bar codes is part of the POS, but a valuable addition to the technology of your store. This not only speeds up checkout, which makes the customers happy, but keeps track of your inventory. It is far more accurate than traditional key-entry.
Most products these days come with UPC codes. You can scan these codes and enter the price you want to charge at the POS, and inventory is complete.
Restaurants now offer online ordering and payment for both carryout and dine-in. Convenience stores are now getting in on the trend, accepting orders placed both online and via hand-held mobile device. This technology not only increases your profit margins, it creates customer loyalty. With mobile ordering, you can have your customer’s order ready when they walk in the door. Whether the order is for fries and a Coke or a package of size 9 white athletic socks, you make money and the customer has personal service. And, your profit margins increase, because people seldom just purchase the item they ordered. Add-ons make even more money.
Customer loyalty is rewarded these days with digital rewards systems. Your small retail store may use a punch card or some variation. But, you can reward your customers when they convince a friend to get your store app, share on Twitter, or recommend you on their Facebook page.
Your POS can also keep track of customers. This makes your rewards program more accurate. It also gives you valuable data on sales trends, as well as customer contact information.
CRM, or customer relationship management software helps you to solidify a relationship with your customers. It helps to build customer loyalty and bring in new clients. With the right CRM, you can identify trends in sales and contact customers and potential customers in any number of ways. In some cases, you may have a POS that has CRM abilities. If you have already bought your POS and it is not CRM capable, you can purchase the software separately.