Future Point of Sale, Mobile Coupons and POS, Small Retail Customer Care, Direct Mail Effectiveness for Small Retailers, Branding and Marketing Trends

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Point of SaleOur first feature this week in the roundup is a video demonstration of Intel’s new POS kiosk. The concept is simply amazing although I think shoppers may spend way to long during the checkout process. Our second pick this week is a company named ChaCha that is offering an outstanding mobile coupon service that would be ideal for small retailers. There’s one catch you can’t have an outdated point of sale machine but it may be worth investing in an upgraded POS service with the new upcoming mobile technology. Third on the list this week is an extensive article about direct response through customer care. This has to be the most informative customer service advice I have ever read…don’t miss that one. We then feature an great from the Specialty Retail Expert about ways direct mail can still help small retailers succeed. Ending the roundup this week is the top 10 brand and marketing trends for the upcoming year. I thought this might help some specialty retailers out there…

1. Intel Point-of-Sale Kiosk Skips Sales Personnel But Not Fitting Rooms – The future of Point of Sale is here…checkout what Intel is calling the ultimate customer checkout experience. Personally I think there are way to many choices but it’s still great.

2. ChaCha Unveils Coupon Service – ChaCha is a text and voice based mobile search service that has recently added a coupon services. User can get discount coupons and special offers from their favorite local retailer. They plan to roll this service out across 20 markets over the next year. What a great opportunity to bring in local customers that will be loyal customers.

3. Driving Response Through Customer Care – This is an incredible article about how to make sure your customers are always happy customers. After all isn’t that what makes your business is a happy customer? This article covers simple and extensive things that may not have even crossed your mind. Read this for small retail success!

4. Direct Mail is Not Dead – Many companies have resorted to online marketing only through email, social media, websites, ect. According to this article they are missing out on a great chance to potential customers. The author lists four cost effective ways to make direct mail work for the small retail industry.

5. Top 10 Brand and Marketing Trends for 2010 – This is a great list of 10 trends that are sure to help develop a strategic retail plan over the next year. It’s always smart to know what new an emerging concepts are hitting the market.

New Mobile POS Application, Mobile Point of Sale Coupons, Small Retail Management Tools, Save Money and Build Customer Loyalty, Tell Customers about Publicity

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iStock_000005301458XSmallMobile is the new technology whether it’s in the small retail sector or every day life. This weeks roundup features a new mobile point of sale application that will run on a blackberry as well as a new mobile POS coupon application. We then turn the attentions to saving money to help with your small business succeed. Including free tools and tips on controlling costs in a small retail environment. After that we will end with ways to focus on your customers which is the single most important element to keeping your retail shop alive.

1. CHARGE Anywhere Releases New Mobile Payment Application for BlackBerry Smartphones – Mobile POS is something that I embrace to a full extent and I feel every small retailer should be using. The convenience to the customer will bring in higher sales and retain loyalty. Consider the scenario of setting up a small vendor booth at your local hometown festival. If you’re able to use a mobile point of sale for customer to pay with a credit card it’s almost guaranteed that they would spend more than having to use cash. Plus it’s so rare that you see this type of payment system outside a normal brick and mortar business that the customer will remember you and pass the word.

2. MoLo Rewards: Making Mobile Coupons a Reality – Molo Reward has introduced a new mobile coupon application that allows customers to receive coupons on their mobile phones and redeem them at a point of sale. Although this is a new concept that many large corporations are starting to implement I believe this technology will catch on quickly. The ease of use for the consumer will be phenomenal and in today’s economy any savings is a good one. There will be a certain cost to small retails in order to start accepting mobile coupons due to the fact that you will have to have a reader installed at the POS. This would however be a great investment that could increase sales and retain customers.

3. Google Docs Templates for Small Business – Google offers free use of it’s document feature for anyone that signs up for an account. Many businesses use them to share documents among other departments or easy access form home. They also have a small business friendly template gallery that’s FREE to use including business plans, basic invoices and DYI business card maker. This is something any small retailer should take advantage of, why pay when you can do it for free.

4. Reduce Costs And Build Customer Loyalty – John Nicola, senior VP of merchant sales at First Data offers some wonderful tips on how to lower your small retail business costs and grow customer loyalty. The tips include advice on upgrading your current POS, contactless payments, paperless payroll options and growing profits through customer loyalty.

5. Let Your Customers Know About Your Publicity – The Retail Specialty Expert offers up some amazing advice on publicity. If you’re running a special promotion to bring in new customers you should find a way to let your existing customers know. This builds credibility and reminds your current customers why they love shopping with you. There are four ways listed that will help you let people know about in store promotions and not just new customers but loyal returning ones too.

Small Retail Blogging Tips, Receipt Free Future, POS Pole Displays of a Different Kind, Advancing POS Technology

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iStock_000009520174XSmallSmall retail businesses are moving to the way of the web and social media to reach customers. This week we feature tips that will help increase ways of finding your small business on the web as well as the possibility of a receipt free future. Then we turn our focus to the advancing technology of the point of sale. POS has come along way since the days of the manual cash register. The integration of new simple hardware and a broadband connection can do wonders for an existing point of sale or maybe it’s better to integrate. Read on to find out where your point of sale systems stands.

1. 5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Small Business Blog Traffic and Visibility – An incredible article focusing on five ways to increase visibility to your small retail blog. Many people believe if you just build a blog you will get traffic which will lead to customers. It’s not always as easy as that. Follow the advice given here to grow your reader base which will lead to targeted customers, that will eventually lead to more sales.

2. Receipt-free future: Just a dream? – All I can say is Wow! I never dreamed a day when you would not get a paper receipt with an in store purchase. This is an amazing article that gives the insight of a normal consumer that would embrace the idea of not having paper receipts IF done properly. For one, I had no idea that Apple already implements this by asking for your email address at the checkout and they email the receipt to you. The author quickly points out that it would become annoying to keep giving your email address out, in which I agree. The article then goes into the idea of having the credit card companies integrate the email address into the magnetic stripe…now there’s an idea.

3. New Feature: Customer Facing Display – An ingenious idea from our friend over at MerchantOS a POS pole display of a different kind. They offer a new customer facing display that uses a full screen computer monitor just like the ones you see in the grocery store. The article goes into exactly what you need to do to set up and customize your new point of sale display with the MerchantOS software. Robust features such as updates when you add or remove transactions, showing the customer name and showing the change of the actual transaction will definitely come in handy.

4. POS TECHNOLOGY: Broadband opens the way for innovation – Extremely interesting article on the advancement of point of sale technology due to the use of broadband. It’s something that many of us may not think of but it’s something that no doubt helps all of us.

Today, the majority of communications is over SMS, yet you can’t text a merchant. With broadband we’ll see that change so there’ll be non-payment applications that will allow you to order a coffee, ask store hours, or find out if they have a pair of size 12 jeans.

5. POS tech: integrate or die – Another great one form Inside Retailing explaining the need to integrate the various back office applications with your POS. The article talks about how crucial it’s becoming fro small retailers to have a point of sale system that has a built in CRM and rule based promotional capabilities. If you have every thought about integrating your POS with customer relations management this is a great resource to start with.

POS Options, 10 Tips to Save Money for Retailers, Holiday Inventory Financing, Small Business PR Tips, Guide to Starting a Small Retail Shop

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iStock_000006992474SmallThe holidays are fast approaching which hopefully means a busy season for small retailers. This weeks roundup with present you with information to survive the holiday season creating profits for your retail shop. Read about the available point of sale merchant solutions, money saving tips, holiday inventory financing, some great PR tips for any small retail business and how to start a small business that will succeed.

1. Merchant Solutions Available in the Market Today – In order to thrive in today’s business market small retailers need to be educated on the available POS or point of sale merchant solutions. In another helpful article by Amy Nutt she outlines the solutions presented by the current point of sale market. Including online merchant POS software that’s becoming increasing popular due to the growth of internet users. The author outlines each of the following: an online merchant account, or a basic credit card and bank card PAD, a full service point-of-sale (POS) terminal that will meet any small retailers need.

2. 10 Money and Time-Saving Tips for Small Business – Short 10 tips for any business most importantly small retailers that could help you at home as well. These are very practical but unique things like grouping similar tasks and do them in batch.

3. The Struggle to Find Inventory Financing for the Holidays – The season most small retailers depend on is approaching quickly and inventory will be the most important. The article gives an example of what is happening along with helpful information from some experts in the financing field on determining the amount of inventory you will need.

4. PR Equals Great Exposure for Your Store – The Specialty Retail Expert lays out 5 tips for getting press coverage in your local newspaper or regional city magazine. Editorial coverage could be very beneficial to gain new customers by putting your small business in the spotlight.

5. The Aspiring Merchant’s Guide to Launching a Small Retail Shop – The author caught my attention right away with this statement:

Some of these would-be merchants have been recently laid off from their corporate jobs and are looking for an opportunity to carve their own path. Others are simply ready for a change in the way they earn their living…This article will provide a high-level blueprint for not only surviving in your market, but also thriving among your competitors.

If you’re just starting in the retail industry this is a must read article.

Retail POS Buying Tips, 101 Small Retail Business Tips, 3 Digital Signage Audio Tips, Retail From Great to Good, Small Retailers Conquer

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istock_000003490427xsmallTips, Tips and more Tips in this weeks weekly roundup. Below you will find great questions to answer when considering the purchase of a point of sale for your business. Then go on to 101 tips for small businesses from small business owners, followed up by three rules you should abide by when using digital audio signage. We finish up with a couple great articles about how small retail has declined and the nostalgia of the mom and pop stores.

1. What Retail Point of Sale (POS) System is best for my business? – This is not your typical article about buying the right POS. The author gives you very poignant questions you should consider and answer before attempting your point of sale purchase.

2. 101 Tips from 50 Small Business Bloggers – This article is invaluable and a must read for all our viewers. There are 101 tips from small retail business just like yours. These are tips you can use and put in place immediately to help conquer any obstacle you may encounter.

3. Three rules for digital signage audio in the retail environment – The retail customer experience pull it off again with a fantastic article about digital signage. This is one of the latest, most effective advertising technologies but it can be ineffective even annoying if not used right. Take these three rules for displaying your audio digital, implement them and reap the rewards.

4. The Slow Drift From Great to Good – This writer makes a great analogy comparing the way to get a good cup of coffee to the way small retail hospitality has declined. Just like the taste of your coffee dwindles as it ages so does the generous experience from your local retail shop. The change is slow and you might not notice but this spells it out and gives you something to think about.

5. The enduring wisdom of Mom & Pop – A truly inspiring story about the time when small retail shops lined the city streets. It was not just a matter of retail style it was about the values, the experience and always the friendships.

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