POS Lease or Buy, Mobile Retail Coupons, Small Retailers Shop Local Successful, Give a Gift Increase Sales

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shopperThe increase in technology often leads to an increase in price which has many small retailers wondering if they should buy or lease their point of sale systems. Our first article this week deals with just that, some tips on whether you should fork out the funds to own your point of sale or find a reliable company to lease from. Our next feature of the week has to do with the announcement of Coupons.com iPhone app which looks like it will be an upcoming retail trend in the mobile coupon market. The third and fourth featured articles this week are inspiring stories from small brick and mortar retailers from around the country that have become successful in their shop local campaigns. Both contain some great ideas on how small business owners can take a step forward in promoting local shopping in their communities. Last we jump into a last minute tip to increase your holiday sales. After reading an a survey this morning stating that 44% of consumers still have the majority of their shopping to do, this ones important.

1. Should Businesses Buy or Lease a POS System? – Good information about the pros and cons of buying or leasing a point of sale system for your business. Many retailers are currently trying to make the decision of whether to upgrade or not with new more secure regulations being put into place. An informative read if you’re trying to make that decision.

2. Coupons.com’s iPhone app now available – This free application lets the iPhone user save coupons to their grocery store loyalty card, print the coupon or redeem the coupon at the POS by showing them on their cell phone. I have to say the last one in that list will have consumers jumping for joy…no need to connect the mobile device and use the printer.

3. Shop local movement picks up steam in Merrimack Valley – An amazing story about a group of small retailers forming a merchants accusation to bring awareness to the community about how important it is to shop in their hometown brick and motor stores.

4. Shopping locally yields new perks – Local small businesses could learn a lot from a town named Pullman. They have implemented a program called Pullman Bucks which essentially gives the residents rewards for shopping at their local merchant stores. Consumers that spend $100 at participating local businesses will receive $10 Pullman Bucks that can be used as a check at any Pullman business.

5. Increase Christmas Sales by Gifting Your Customers – It’s not to late to increase those holiday sales figures. This article featured on About.com provides five ways to reward customers for shopping at your store such as free gift wrapping, special customer discounts, charitable donations and more.

POS Protection, Small Retail Discounts, Theme Table Tip, Retaining Customers, Small Store Success

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iStock_000010100900XSmallIn the wake of the recent focus on point of sale security our first article featured in this weeks round up deals with the POS problem. This extensive two page article will help you use the best point of sale practices to protect you and your customers. The next article may come as a shock as it deals with the fact the discounts can actually hurt small retailers. You’ll be very intrigued when you read the interesting way your customers may look at a discounted product and it’s may have you thinking twice the next time you place an item on sale in your store. Our third featured article is a short but sweet holiday sales tip from the retail specialty expert that’s sure to bring spontaneous holiday cheer. Then we go into an article about retaining customers through social media with some great advice posted on Mashable. The last article in this weeks round up will affect the majority of small retail establishments. It’s some great tips on how to make your small store look bigger.

1. The Point-Of-Sale Problem – This has to be the far best article I have found that deals with POS security and protection. Greg Shipley from InformationWeek goes into the cost of a point of sale breach, POS best practices and smart steps you can take to protect you and your customers. The article is also available for download in PDF format.

2. How discounting is hurting retailers – I was actually very surprised when I read this wonderful piece posted at Retail Customer Experience. I was expecting the information to say something like your taking money out of your own pocket by discounting merchandise but quite the opposite. The article describes an experience of a customer’s thoughts as they find an item they like that’s suddenly available for a much cheaper price. You have to sit down and read this one for some valuable tips on how a customer may view your discounts.

3. Last Minute Holiday Selling Tip #4: Product Themed Tables – As always Patricia has some fantastic advice on how to bring in those last minute holiday sales. A product theme table whether it’s stocking stuffers, gifts for men or unique gift ideas this is one practice you should put in place as soon as possible.

4. HOW TO: Use Social Media to Retain Customers – More great recommendations at Mashable.com on how to retain customers using social media. Let’s just say that the article was tweeted 886 times when I view it so there has to be some great information here. The article speaks about how to find new customers, building an online community and playing favorites.

5. How to Make A Small Store Feel Big – This problem is one that affects many small retail businesses, small spaces. This offers four great ideas on how to make your tiny establishment give the appearance of being larger than it really is.

POS Security Breached, Square Point of Sale, Targeted Coupons, Small Retailer Search, Holiday Selling Tip

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iStock_000003971423XSmallWelcome to another weekly roundup that features five informative articles about point of sale and small retail news. This week the internet had two highly talked about issues that involve small retailers so we have included them. The first deals with who is responsible in a point of sale software security breach and the second is about Square, a new mobile point of sale solution created by a co-founder of Twitter. The third feature this week is an advanced idea for retail coupons on the back of sales receipts issued at the point of sale. The next article is about a new search engine for local retailers that you should take advantage of immediately because it’s going to be big! We end the roundup with a quick but cheerful Holiday tip to increase the urge to buy.

1. Restaurants Sue Vendors After Point-of-sale Hack – It never crossed my mind before I read this article that a small retailer could be fined for a security breach in the software that connected to the point of sale software provider. Keith Bond is suing his POS vendor due to a security flaw that made the software non PCI compliant. This is a must read if your point of sale software connects to the internet to process payments.

“Bond and others blame the maker of his Aloha point-of-sale system, Radiant Systems, and its Louisiana reseller, Computer World (Computer World is not related to IDG’s ComputerWorld magazine).”

2. Square-up the Bill on your iPhone – Everyone’s talking about “Square”. Jack Dorsey, the co-creator of Twitter is developing an iPhone application that will be able to authorize a credit card, take the signature and email a receipt by using a magnetic card reader that attaches to the bottom of the iPhone. It looks like a “square”.

3. InStream sees big bucks in targeted coupons on sales receipts – InStream Media has introduced a system that enables extremely targeted coupons to be placed on the bottom of sales receipts using the precision of Google Adwords. The program has revenue sharing and they place your ad on the receipt too. It’s a very interesting concept that could prove to be very effective.

4. Local Shopping Search Engine Attracts Big-Name Investors – This article was the most exciting news for brick and mortar small retailers this week. It’s a new local search engine that lets shoppers check product inventory at their local retail stores. The company is Milo.com and they have already raised $4 million from much respected investors. This is an ideal place that local stores can take advance of online shoppers with minimal effort.

5. Last Minute Holiday Selling Tip #3: Music Increases Store Sales – A simple tip to keep the Holiday cheer in your customers and a proven way to increase sales. The price of a $5 CD could bring a smile and maybe a little singing from your shoppers.

Black Friday Advantage, Cyber Monday, Increase Holiday Sales, Mobile Shopping’s First Christmas

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small retail newsAlthough many small retailers have offered early Holiday promotions at the point of sale, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are quickly approaching. The weekly roundup is full of Holiday Joy, featuring articles on using Black Friday to your advantage, what retailers are expecting for Cyber Monday, two imperative tips to help increase your Holiday profits and mobile shopping first Christmas. The kick off to the Holiday shopping season is almost here…make sure you’re prepared to impress your customers.

1. Black Friday 2009: It is Time to Shop for Your Small Business Needs – A different take on what Black Friday should mean for small retailers. With many large retailers slashing prices on products that will improve your small business performance why not take advantage of them. Take the time to look at the deals and maybe you could purchase that new computer to run your point of sale software more efficiently.

2. Retailers Make Push for ‘Cyber Monday’ – Will you be in the 87% of retailers that will offer a Cyber Monday promotion? Although some people debate whether there’s a real advantage to Cyber Monday, you will have to agree that sales do increase online and consumers are looking for them on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

“While it may not be the biggest online shopping day on the calendar, it’s still online retail’s alarm clock, drawing 33% more shoppers than the rest of November’s average.”

3. Email marketing will make a difference in your holiday business – If you’re not already collecting customer email address it’s a perfect time to start. Email marketing is a free, targeted way to announce your small retail Holiday sale promotions to proven customers. This article mentions a free “Holiday in a Bag” kit from Campaigner that features email templates and graphics, holiday e-cards, and 100 tips for holiday marketing including instructions for optimizing deliverability of email marketing.

4. Training for unit-level success for holiday 2009 – Having highly trained, helpful employees during this shopping season is extremely important if you want to retain customers. This article gives some great tips on how and what to train your employees on to assure customer service satisfaction.

5. Mobile Shopping’s First Christmas – Shopping from your mobile phone was practically non-existent last year but as technology has advanced it has brought Mobile Shopping its first Christmas. In this helpful article form Business Week, Paula Rosenblum explains why mobile shopping is here to stay.

POS Review, BW Chooses Small Retailers, Holiday Survival Kit, Key Holiday Promotion, Learning From Apple

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Small Retail Holiday TipsAs the Holidays approach it seems that is the only thing that is on everyone’s mind. Small retailers, big box stores, consumers and experts all have a prediction for the “Holiday Sale” season. This being so, you will see many articles featured in the upcoming weekly roundups about the Holidays but be sure to keep tuned in as many of these will be tips and suggestions for small retailers. This week we start off with a genuine point of sale software review which caught my eye since it’s about our featured sponsor. The next is a follow up article from Business Week naming the three small businesses they will be following during the next month. This week the must read is the Holiday Survival Guide put out by the National Retail Federation and that’s followed by a great suggestion about promotion to your customers. We end the weekly roundup with a few things all retailers could learn from Apple.

1. MerchantOS – Point of Sale Goes to the Cloud – As I said above this is an honest review I found posted by a brick and mortar PC shop that recently decided to go with MerchantOS as their POS software solution. Chris, the owner of Charm City Networks explains why he needed a point of sale solution for his business, why he chose this solution and how the entire process went.

2. Introducing: Tales of Holiday Retail – Last month we featured an article by Business Week stating that they were looking for a few small retailers to follow during the next eight weeks of the Holiday shopping season. Well the results are in…read the article to see the three small retailers that BW will be following.

3. 2009 Holiday Survival Kit – This is actually a downloadable pdf file that is provided by the National Retail Federation (NRF). They cover past holiday sales, sales by sector, theft/fraud, advertising, gift cards and much more. Go on over and grab your free copy, its well worth a couple clicks of your mouse.

4. Shop Local: Authenticity as a Key Holiday Promotion – Another great article by John Tozzi over at Business Week. Ever think of focusing on Thanksgiving instead of Christmas? It’s not to late, find out how to boost your Holiday sales early. Use the buy local movement and giving some authenticity.

“Independent brick-and-mortar retailers have a key advantage over big box competitors: Their stores are rooted in their communities. Small business owners can leverage that sense of place and connection to people who live there in a way that’s very hard for Target or Best Buy to replicate.”

5. Five things any retailer can learn from Apple – I first thought WHAT? Then I thought HMMM…this is good. The Retail Customer Experience again delivers a clever, useful article on five lessons you could learn from Apple.

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