point of sale

New POS Workstation, Importance of Consumer Data, The Future of Small Retail

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Woman looking with binocularsWhat could be more exciting than starting a new year with new goals and expectations? This drives almost every human to make some type of change for the upcoming year. This weeks round up features some ways you can change your small retail business in order to attain those goals of success. First Panasonic has unveiled a new POS workstation that will enhance the overall point of sale experience for the consumer. The next article is about the importance and new innovative ways to gather and analyze customer data. The last three articles that are featured are about the future of small retail including a cities perspective on what lies ahead, keys to a great customer experience in 2010 and the top small business ideas for the upcoming year. Start planning your goals for 2010 today to help provide an advantage for your retail location.

1. Panasonic Introduces Lite-ray POS Workstation – This is the newest addition to the Panasonic point of sale workstation line. The Lite-Ray POS offers an open platform that provides excellent flexibility to run a variety of point of sale software. The all in one unit also features a customer facing LCD in addition to the employee LCD to help increase sales through POP (point of purchase). If you’re considering a new POS for your retail business this deserves a good look.

2. A Data Explosion Remakes Retailing – A very informative article that expresses the changes in the amount and the types of consumer data that retailers now have access too. It goes on to talk about better tools and programs that have been put into place with the advancing technology that makes it easier to determine your target customer base.

3. What lies ahead – A straightforward opinion of what lies ahead for the city of Charleston as well as the entire country. The author touches on banking, real estate, medical, retailing and more. There are many valid and interesting thoughts that are expressed including three excellent questions we all have on our minds as we enter 2010.

4. 7 keys to customer experience in 2010 – Great advice as always form the Retail Customer Experience on 7 key ways you can focus on improving your customer experience in the upcoming year. This is one of the most important areas that any business whether large or small can always improve on.

5. 2010 Top 10 Small Business Ideas – Many of these ideas deal with the online aspect of running or starting a business but a few are ideas that could transform your existing retail establishment in the year 2010.

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.

POS Security, Small Retail Mobile Commerce, Employee Branding Tips, Gift Cards and Small Retail, Guide to Holiday Sales and Profits

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Weekly Small Retail News Employee theft is a large problem with small retail businesses but not for long. Our first feature in the round up this week is a security device that is triggered at the point of sale when it detects a suspicious transaction. Then we move onto numbers that will show you why small retailers should be using mobile commerce to enhance the customer experience. Our third feature in the round up is an article targeted toward the restaurant industry and crew branding but it’s a universal theory that can be used in any industry. Next we feature an article that all small businesses should consider, selling gift cards for their shops. This inexpensive concept could bring in more profits than you think. The last article we feature in this weeks roundup is more of a guide, an essential guide for small retail business owners that will show you step by step how to maximize your sales and profits during the Holiday shopping season.

1. Fighting the five-finger discount – Agilence has revealed a solution for loss prevention that could revolutionize the retail security industry. The system synchronizes raw security camera footage with point of sale data, taking a till image of every product scanned at the POS. This allows for quick review of thousands of images for any suspicious activity. Read the article for a full explanation and future enhancements.
2. Mobile commerce has arrived – The numbers in this article are proof enough that small retailers need to start implementing a mobile commerce strategy. North American mobile commerce sales will be above $750 million in the upcoming year and over 57 million American people access the web via a mobile device at least once a day. Still not convinced? The article lists many other staggering facts as well as a detailed chart showing the data.
3. Your Crew Is Your Brand – As I stated in the beginning of this post, the article is targeted toward the restaurant industry. After reading the great advice given by the author about how your employees can influence your company brand, I felt that all retailers could gain knowledge from it. The article goes into what’s missing, what’s needed and examples of who is using great techniques to bring employees to the level of promoting your brand image positively.
4. Every Business Should Be Offering Gift Cards – I couldn’t agree more with the author of this article. Every shop whether large or small should be offering their customers the chance to purchase a gift card. They’re easy, a great gift idea and a fantastic way for a current customer to recommend your product or service to a friend. The article gives statistics on the number of consumers that purchase gift cards as well as some great example of why every business should be using them.
5. How to Maximize Holiday Sales and Profits – This has to be the best how to guide I have found for any retail business. It’s a comprehensive three page article that outlines how to differentiate your small business during the holiday season, how to come up with a sales plan and marketing strategies (offline & online) that will increase Holiday sales.

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