Do Door Busters Work?

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By Simit Patel

Simit Patel is a trader, writer, and technology entrepreneur. Simit blogs via Contently.com.

A “door buster” is a loss leader. The idea is to sell a product at or below cost, as a way of getting customers into your store. The expectation is that customers will then purchase additional goods and services that are selling at a higher profit margin. From this perspective, door busters can be a winning marketing tool to help businesses grow their customer base and increase their profits. 

Sadly for merchants, though, door busters don’t always work. Some people only purchase the loss leader, and don’t return, so there are no purchases of additional goods or services to generate profits for the business. Door busters, in these cases, can actually be dangerous, as companies take losses that they may have failed to foresee.  

There are ways to get the most out of door buster strategies, through. Here are three easy and effective tactics store owners can use to both bring in and build business.

Make your door buster deals social

The concept of happy hour in bars is perhaps the quintessential example
of a social door buster, and one that has worked well enough to have
succeeded for decades across generations and cultures. 

To make your door busters social, make your promotion an event so
people will be happy to come, and bring friends or colleagues as well.

Make upselling easy

Restaurateur Cary Friedman found that a door buster he ran was his most successful advertising venture in his more than 29 years of owning a food service business. The key to the success was that his menu made it easier to upsell dessert on the discounted main courses.

Amazon is now using its new tablet computer, the Kindle Fire, as a door buster to draw customers into the Amazon system. Once purchased, it’s making it as easy as possible for buyers to use the tablet to buy additional products. 

Find recurring customers 

Door busters can also be a successful way to secure recurring customers. When planning a door buster deal, it makes sense to know who your ideal customer is, and then, what makes that customer come back when there is no deal available. Applying that information to a special sale will ensure its success.

 

Merchants who do the necessary market research, and  structure their offers to provide additional sales in conjunction with the door buster deal, as well as return sales from purchasers of loss leader items, will find this an effective way to do business. They’ll penetrate new markets and increase their share of the customer’s spend. 

Cloud Computing and the Future

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By Dan Rafter

Dan Rafter is a freelance writer and editor with 15 years of journalism experience. Dan blogs via Contently.com.


Succeeding as a retailer is no easy task in today’s challenging economy. The national unemployment rate refuses to fall under 9%. Housing foreclosures continue to rise as home values keep falling. Consumers are more cautious than ever with their dollars. This means that they’re spending less at their local hardware store, beauty salon, grocery store or bakery.

Retailers who want to survive in this tough economy must cut their costs. One way to do this, and one that is growing in popularity among savvy retailers, is to rely on cloud computing services.


When businesses rely on cloud computing, they are simply removing their business computing programs from their own in-house computers to offline hosts. Most computer users are already familiar with cloud computing even though they might not realize it. Users who get their email from services such as Yahoo! or Hotmail, for instance, are using cloud computing.

For retailers, the benefits of cloud computing are many. Instead of investing in a copy of Microsoft PowerPoint, retailers can log onto the home page of a company that gives them access to a program that works in a similar way.

It’s easy to see more small retailers switching from hosting their own in-house software programs to relying on the cloud to do it for them.

For one, such a move makes obvious financial sense. Instead of paying for an expensive piece of software, businesses simply pay a host company for the amount of time they spend using their software. As a recent post on the Microsoft blog puts it, retailers who commit to the cloud won’t waste financial resources on software they use infrequently

That’s the obvious benefit of cloud computing services. But taken alone, however, it’s not enough to create a future in which cloud computing is the norm. But there are many other benefits that might do this.

For instance, many retailers rely on the work of employees who spend much of their time on the road. Salespeople, consultants and photographers can’t do their jobs while shackled to their desks. Retailers who connect to cloud computing services, though, can give these employees the freedom they need to survive.

As the Microsoft post says, these desk-less employees can log onto shared servers — hosted offline — from wherever they happen to be. They can read email messages from the airport and update PowerPoint presentations from their hotel rooms, saving the results in shared files that their co-workers can easily update from wherever they happen to be.

By using cloud computing, retailers can save money during those times of the year in which their business naturally lags.

Landscaping companies, for instance, see their business grind to a halt during the winter months. Instead of paying full price for presentation software or accounting programs that they’ll rarely use during certain months, retailers can instead “rent” these programs from cloud computing sites for those periods in which their business is actually booming. 

In a recent paper, consulting firm Accenture wrote that retailers can rely on cloud computing services to focus more on the needs of their customers, reduce their own costs of doing business and reach a wider net of customers. The company wrote, too, that no leader in business today can afford to ignore cloud computing.

That’s a bold statement coming from an established consulting firm such as Accenture. It’s also a message that retailers need to hear. With the amount of money that retailers can save by going with cloud computing, it’s easy to picture a time in which businesses who rely solely on the cloud for their computing needs are the norm, and not the exception.

Google+ Brand Pages Overview

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Brand pages might be the next big thing for your business.

Google+ booted businesses and brand names off its service last summer. But in doing so, officials at Google promised that it would welcome businesses back shortly. It also promised that the wait would be worth it.

Did Google make good on its promises? That depends. Businesses and brands are now welcomed back on Google+. But there’s some debate as to whether the wait was, indeed, worth it.

One prominent tech writer, Robert Scoble, who runs the Scobleizer blog, doesn’t think it was. In a post titled “I wish I had never heard of Google+’s brand pages,” Scoble lists several problems with the new service.

Scoble is most upset that only one person can own or post to a Google+ brand account. As Scoble explains, this means that there is currently no way for a social media team or a customer-service team to split up posting duties on the site.

Scoble also points to how easy it is to post something on your company account that you really wanted to post to your personal Google+ page.

Search Engine Watch writer Miranda Miller also had few positive things to say about Google+ brand pages.

She points out that the owners of Google+ brand pages can’t run any promotions or contests on their pages. This means that the owner of a hardware store can’t advertise that his business is selling hammers at half price or that the car dealer can’t promote her lot’s 0% interest offer.

Google+ brand pages are also lacking a page analytic feature, Miller writes. This means that small business owners can’t determine who’s looking at their page and for how long.

In fact, according to this survey by Adweek writer Ki Mae Heussner, the majority of reviews for Google+ brands have been negative.

That isn’t to say that Google’s effort has all been in vain. As the SearchEngineLand website explains, Google+ for brands does have some nifty features.

Nifty Features

Business owners can create several Google+ pages promoting different facets of their enterprise. The owner of a financial services firm might have a Google+ page advertising her financial-planning services, a second promoting her tax-preparation work and a third promoting her estate-planning work.

Then there is the circles concept. With circles, business owners can create separate groups of Google+ customers, and then send custom messages to each group. Currently, entrepreneurs can split their audience members into three categories, VIPs, customers and team members.

Search Engine Power

There’s another benefit to Google+ brand pages that could mean all the difference to business owners. As the Business2Community website says, Google is the undisputed king of online searches. Google+’s main competitor, Facebook, is the king of social media.

For business owners, the power of search outweighs Facebook’s advantage in social media.

If Google+ brand pages are indexed by the search crawlers — which Business2Community columnist Alex Wall says will more than likely happen — then users seeking information through search will soon find a related Google+ brand page. This provides incredible power to the owners of these pages, and makes them a great marketing tool for their business ventures.

While it’s clear that Google still has plenty of kinks to work out before its Google+ brand pages meet all the needs of business owners, it’s equally true that the pages concept already boasts some features that savvy business owners will want to use.

And the best news? Google officials have said that its brand pages are a work in progress. Hopefully, Google technicians will be able to address the concerns that business owners across the web have voiced.


Dan Rafter is a freelance writer and editor with 15 years of journalism experience.

Online Point of Sale System

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When someone refers to an online point of sale system, they’re usually referring to cloud based point of sale software. This means the POS system runs online and doesn’t require an installation on your local computer or specialized hardware (other than the point of sale machine itself). The majority of systems being programmed these days are cloud based because it’s easier for retailers to use and doesn’t require on-site maintenance or repair.

Additionally, online point of sale software is automatically updated with new features and doesn’t require an manual installation. You just connect your device to the online software and a merchant gateway and you’re ready to process a transaction! This makes it easy to use even complicated features, like inventory tracking, and makes customer service faster.

From a developer’s perspective, online pos software is beneficial because it allows you to make big improvements to your software without requiring a software update on every user’s computer. This makes it easier to tweak your programming and user experience without interrupting service.

Roderick Campbell is the owner of Brevity Works, a boutique marketing agency, and a frequent business development blogger at ChiroHosting.com

Inexpensive Point of Sale Software

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The cost of high-quality point of sale software has declined dramatically in the last 10 years and there are now literally dozens of inexpensive point of sale software systems on the market. Most of the newer systems are cloud based, which means they run via the internet and don’t require difficulty installations or fancy hardware. This trend toward faster, lighter, and cheaper solutions makes it possible for smaller retail stores to use some of the best point of sale software on the market without spending a fortune.

One of the most challenging dilemmas is figuring out what features are most important and which inexpensive point of sale software solution best suits your needs. You’ll need to determine what kind of inventory tracking system your business requires, how many users you’ll need, if mobile functionality is important, and whether or not you’re going to need significant customization.

It’s also important that you find a company who you’ll enjoy working with because, invariably, something will go wrong or break — and probably during the holiday rush. At that moment, a fantastic customer service team can make the difference between tearing your hair out or calmly (and quickly) correcting the situation. While you’re shopping for a point of sale system, don’t hesitate to ask questions about the company’s culture and values. Everyone will tell you they have the best customer service, but you’ll be able to tell over the phone whether or not the company’s culture actually reflects that assertion. Friendliness, knowledge, and a relaxed environment are all good indications that a company knows what they’re doing and employees actually care about their work.

Additionally, look for a forward-thinking company that continually innovates. Chances are good that you’re going to work with the same company for several years and you want to make sure their technology will still be relevant in 5-10 years. This means they should be talking about their technological breakthroughs, sharing information about their development process, and soliciting feedback from customers. Companies that fail in this department may seem wonderful at the time you purchase the point of sale system, but they’ll drive you up the wall in a few years when they don’t offer any new features (like mobile integration).

I personally recommend Point of Sale Software by MerchantOS. Their POS software is fantastic and their company culture is very similar to MailChimp – one of the best email newsletter companies on the market. MerchantOS seems to be positioning themselves as a front-runner in mobile integration and their new interface refinements make it easy to use complex functions.

Roderick Campbell is the owner of Brevity Works, a boutique marketing agency, and a business development blogger at ChiroHosting.com

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