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How to Put Your POS to Work

POS Features and Integration Study Article#1 – Marketing
How To Put your POS to Work
By: One Step Retail Solutions www.onestepretail.com

One Step Retail Solutions

We surveyed the action sports industry and found that 48% had either no system for customer management or have not put their existing system to use.

A few years ago we surveyed our retail clients and asked them what their plans were to market to their existing customers for the holidays. We were shocked to find that almost 40% had no plans to do special holiday marketing to their existing customers and 64% had no customer loyalty program of any kind. Almost 60% said they had no idea how to market to their customers using their POS system. This was something that we set about rectifying quickly for our clients and we want to share our tips for success with you.

Your investment in your existing POS system can only show a return if you learn and utilize the things it can do for you. So we ask, what tools do you ALREADY have in place that can help you effectively market? One Step Retail Solutions, VP Sales, Kevin McAdam has some tips and information for retailers everywhere.

“Of all the retailers I have talked to over the last couple of years, ignoring the marketing potential of your customer base is among the most dangerous decision you can make in your retail business. Capturing it and leveraging it is among the best.’

“Many retailers I talk to do virtually zero marketing because it’s so expensive and because they see so little measurable return from it. That’s often because it’s shotgun marketing.”

So how do you AVOID shotgun marketing, how do you make your efforts pay off?

“Marketing today is getting more and more precise and as an independent retailer you need to be riding that cutting edge to stand out. Let’s take a look at Facebook and how they market to their members. They know your profile (likes, dislikes, where you go, what your hobbies are) and so they put advertising on your sidebar that they know will have the highest probability of catching your attention.” You could say that the key to effective marketing is knowing your client base and their needs.

So how does one find out their needs? How does one leverage that information in a small to medium size retail shop without spending thousands of dollars in research and marketing campaigns?

“First of all, hopefully you have a robust POS system that can hold large amounts of information about your customers, because this is literally your gold mine. Studies have shown over and over again that it costs 5 times as much in marketing dollars to get a new customer as it does to re-sell to an existing customer. It’s easy to understand: someone who has already bought from you knows where you are and what inventory you carry and, given good customer service, would buy from you again. You just need to stay in touch with them and offer them things you know they will buy. (This is why Customer Loyalty programs work and yours should definitely marry up with your POS system.)”

Please note that this is as vital for small and medium size retailers as is it for the big box stores. “Now you need to collect the information. Usually it’s as easy as telling the customer that you make special offers to your regular customers and then offer to put them on that list. Get as much information as you can, street address, email (assure them you don’t let anyone else use their email address), home phone, cell phone (ask if they would like to be text-messaged if there’s a really hot sale on something you know they might like) birthday, sizes, color preferences, family members….anything that you think might help you promote to them. It might not make sense to try to get all this information at one time, but sales clerks should try to help build their ‘profile’ within your POS system” As a side note, you can also create a sign that has “Follow us on Facebook and Twitter” and “Check in on Yelp”. Facebook contact data has become as relevant as an email address or mailing address.

Marketing ideas made available by having a solid directory of clientele in your POS system:

– Hopefully your POS system will not only keep a record of that customer but also the record will show everything they ever bought from you. This should be an available customization in your POS. This way, the next time you get a new item from the designer they have purchased before, you can easily pull up the list of all customers that buy that designer and email them that there’s a new shipment in the store.

– You might even want to have a wine and cheese party to kick off a new line and invite all the customers that have bought similar categories in the past, let them know they can bring along a friend as long as they are added to the guest list (with their contact data of course).

– For a men’s store, make sure you have their wife’s contact information so that just before the customer’s birthday you can email their wife alerting her to the fact that you have all his sizes and favorite designers.

– For a jewelry store, make sure that you have the husband’s contact information so that before major holidays and birthdays you can alert him to an exclusive sale or offer.

– Reward customer loyalty. You can rank your customers using the information in your POS system. You should know which customers bring you the most margin, who are the ones that buy the most at regular prices, who are the ones that only buy when things are on sale, and who are the ones that you make the most money from. Offer exclusive deals, first pick or even host a invitation only preview of your new season.

Don’t let it just be an expensive cash register! Learn it yourself or have one of your employees learn at least the marketing functions of the software and then put them to work to increase your profitability.

“I think one of the most important things you can do as a retailer in today’s marketplace is stop the old shotgun wasteful marketing and get on the sophistication bandwagon to precisely market to precise customers that you want back in your store and that you know will appreciate and buy the wonderful merchandise you work so hard to provide.”

If you would like more information on our POS solutions or for a free POS consultation please contact Amy Hanson at 818.543.4777 ext 4116 or email ahanson@onestepretail.com