Posted on Monday, October 27th, 2014 by Uri Halevi
It’s not about eCommerce versus brick and mortar; it’s about being both, and maybe adding a few popup locations besides. However, taking on a change like this means taking on a new way of thinking about inventory, sales, and the technology you’re using now.
Whether you’re upgrading, updating, or looking at your first POS purchases, you should know that you’re not alone. Small businesses from karate studios to retail and restaurants to artisans are using POS systems to open new channels to reach customers with their goods and services. Whether you have a POS system and barcoding equipment through a third party vendor or in conjunction with an eCommerce platform such as Shopify, you are joining a legion of small businesses that are expanding their possibilities with better technology and equipment, according to Internet Retailer. Integrating your inventory across your eCommerce platform, flagship store location, plus satellite stores and “pop up” locations does takes work, but with minimal equipment, time, setting, and sticking to policies for inventory and sales, you can do it.
In fact, the Houston Chronicle reports that having a better information system – and that’s what a point of sale system is – can actually raise profits even though you might not increase your sales. With a POS and barcoding equipment, you can ditch reconciling the register with your sales receipts, and the repetitive counting of inventory. You’ll be able to reconcile your inventory with your daily sales, better track your vendors, and keep an eye on your profits. Generating information rich reports keeps you abreast of what your store is doing, and what it’s going to need, whether it’s an item in a retail store, chamois buffer pads for your car detailing business, or the ingredients for those bestselling chocolate chocolate chip cookies in your bakery.
Perhaps the best feature of a POS is the time it frees for your staff after the zombie tasks are slain. Customer service is one of the big differences that location retailers can make as opposed to cyber retailers. Retailers who have spent time building up the back end with a POS and live inventory system can now turn that technology around to face the customer. Busting the staff out of cash wrap jail and sending them out on the floor with a tablet to interact with the customers brings new and unique opportunities to enrich the customer experience or completely turn it around. The possibilities of a mobile POS are limited only by your imagination.
One of the biggest irritants about holiday shopping is waiting in line. What if your sales staff member takes a tablet with a card reader out onto the floor, builds the order, takes payment right there, and then just needs to bag the items? That’s 50 percent less hassle right there.
While the behemoths of online retail dangle free shipping, there’s nothing to say that you can’t do it, too. Eliminate the step of dragging the purchase home, boxing it for shipping, then dragging it to the nearest FedEx or UPS store.
Service with a smile is always remembered, as is going out of your way so that the client isn’t going out of theirs. While they could drive out and pick up the items from your satellite, a few taps of the tablet’s screen can let your satellite staff pull the item and ready it for pickup.
Pop up retail is a growing part of retail sales, and whether it’s a temporary store, kiosk, or booth somewhere or an actual roaming vehicle with your stock, taking the business to your customer’s home or office.
The basic premise of inventory control, according to industry publication Logistics Management, is to minimize purchasing outlays while at the same time keeping a continuous flow of goods to meet your customer’s requirements whether it’s chocolate chip cookies or a sofa. Managing inventory is not a process by which you wave the magical barcode wand, but a set of practices and policies that are consistently and stringently adhered to lest your live inventory return to zombiehood, or worse into a vampire that sucks up money, time, and space as it sits on the shelves. Starting your practices now in order to secure your inventory will reduce shrinkage, increase staff productivity, and keep your POS jingling merrily into the new year.