Getting Ready For the Holidays During Economic Stress

As economic worries continue to be a major concern among retailers and retail sales overall are flat or down over the last two months, the times also indicate that there are also thriving retail businesses who are continuing their growth and profits.

There are several factors that contribute to that kind of prosperity, and clients of One Step Retail Solutions have the same advantage that most of the “big guys” have to achieve the same level of success during economic stress – a comprehensive point of sale software system.

You should know that clients using their POS system to its fullest capacity have weathered many economic storms in the past. This is largely due to several reasons:

1. Knowing and running reports that provide them with necessary information to take action fast.

2. Gathering customer information at point of sale and using it to send targeted promotions and personalized communications.

3. Maintaining better control of inventory and stocking what customers want to buy.

4. Adding features to your POS software to enhance retail operations, like better payment processing, accepting gift cards, selling merchandise online, etc.

5. Ensuring their system is secure to prevent employee fraud and customer theft.

6. Keeping their equipment upgraded with the latest hardware, and adding more POS stations as needed to prevent long check-out lines.

During the holidays, it is even more imperative that clients ensure that each point above is IN and being done.

A recent article in Time Magazine states what we all know, “Holiday shopping is crucial for retailers because it accounts for as much as 40% of their annual sales.” But it further states, “To adapt to leaner times, retailers are keeping fewer items in stock and many department stores are hiring fewer extra workers for the holidays. Shops selling necessities may weather the Christmas storm best.”

It is also important to remember that while sales are down, wholesale prices are also down, making possible more aggressive marketing by retailers and the prospect of maintaining margins while doing so. Tracking your inventory, buying the right merchandise at the right time from your wholesalers is crucial to your bottom line.

Whether you decide to keep fewer items in stock or fewer workers for the holiday, One Step believes that retailers using your POS system to its fullest potential can profit this holiday season.

Here’s how to get the most out of your system in increasing profits this holiday:

1) Streamline payment processing and gift cards.

In a consumer confidence survey, “Consumers will not use credit or debit cards when retailers seem untrustworthy” – 81 percent of consumers acknowledge that some retail locations are safer than others for using credit and debit cards, and 74 percent of consumers acknowledged they would never shop at a retail store they feel puts their information at risk.

By integrating payment processing modules such as PC Charge or Shift4 to your POS software, it means faster, more secure check-out.

2) Sell merchandise online.

In a time where retail industry sales are expected to experience sluggish growth, people will continue to shop on the Internet.

According to The State of Retailing Online 2008, the 11th annual study conducted by Forrester Research, Inc. of 125 retailers, “Online retail will continue to be a bright spot in the industry with retail sales rising 17 percent this year to $204 billion.”

How are you leveraging your online marketing and Web sites to benefit your brick and mortar stores? A retailer should know which Web site elements matter most to consumers – and invest in the right Web site features to meet that demand.

ECI Merchandiser enables retailers to sell online by adding an e-commerce web store integrated seamlessly with your POS system. With ECI Merchandiser you can increase your sales without adding more merchandise to your store.

3) Have up-to-date security for both your hardware and store.

If there is any hole in your retail security, it is time to take measures to implement security cameras and virus and firewall protection.

This holiday make sure you don’t lose money from theft or employee fraud, and get what is needed to ensure you make those profits you want!

4) Use your customer database to target promotions.

Which promotions do consumers most want to see this year – and are you meeting that demand?

Your POS software should allow you to capture customer information, and employees should be asking customers for their contact information to go on a mailing list to receive special promotions.

Write to them! Send a personalized note or a promotion flyer or postcard about a special offer or discount.

5) Track customer purchases

“By tracking customer’s purchases, we then have the ability to purchase inventory that will meet their needs and wants. We know their sizes, their favorite colors and the vendors that they prefer,” says Peter Pishko, VP Operations at One Step. “You can review what sizes have been purchased to ensure that you have merchandise on hand that will fit your customers. In addition, if you are in an over stock situation, you can contact specific customers to personalize a sale for them by using their size as a lead in.

“With customer information you can review a customer’s history and determine who your top customers are; who spent the most money in your store this month, quarter or year, and then do something special for them.

These are just a few points to take into account in expanding your growth and profits this holiday season. One Step is here for you to help you achieve the kind of success you want. It is up to you to take advantage of the expertise available to you at One Step, your retail technology partner.

Contact a CounterPoint Account Representative today to discuss what specific things you need to do to thrive in today’s economic conditions.

Post time: 03-23-2017