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Marketing

Customer displays

POS SOFTWARE

Today, a customer display is something that anyone with a Point-of-Sale should consider. 

Here are some advantages and some points to consider if you are thinking of getting one.

The advantages are:

- That your customers like to see what you are charging them and appreciate you being transparent as they can see that they are being charged fairly as they can see what is happening now. This inspires confidence among your customer and in practice, can boost customer loyalty. 

- It also gives them something to do, so making them feel less than they are waiting. Instead, your customer feeling like a spectator, they think they are a participant.  

- It reduces the problems of queries after the transaction is done. Time is saved as most queries can be done when they happen. 

- Finally, a customer display in our system can be used to convey important messages to customers to consider as they are waiting their turn, like here. If you are interested in *Discount Vouchers*, this is a better way to go then receipts which very few customers get in real-time in modern retail.

 

 

If you are looking at such a unit!

Here are some points to consider.

-Workout what the screen size should be for you, maybe look at a few that other shops have before deciding. The screen size, once selected, can not be changed. As a general rule, a bit bigger is better.

-You need something hardy. Retail is a harsh environment for computer equipment. It will be knocked, if it is flimsy, it will smash. It will be in the open, so it gets dirty, and dust will get into it. Make sure it can handle this.

-Over the lifetime of this screen, it will be moved and adjusted, so make sure that the screen can be lifted up and down, and the angle of the screen can be changed. Ideally, you should be able to change it from vertical to horizontal and anywhere angle in between.

 

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Using Price Changes

POS SOFTWARE

In your point of sale software, it is straightforward to change prices.

What several of our clients do, eg cafes and hairdressers have specials at certain times of the day! For example, after 2 pm, a cafe starts offering the remainder of the sandwiches and a coffee on a special deal. The sandwich that is not sold today, will probably be in the rubbish bin tonight. 

A hairdresser if she is quiet in the morning often offers a special on haircuts for seniors.

Make a Happy Hour 

If you want to experiment with such a limited-time promotion which last on a few hours, then it is worthwhile looking into the price changing facilities in our POS system as it can handle such changes effortlessly on the fly. 

Just a few taps and you are ready to go. 

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Note the Image is by Gerd Altmann

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Small business websites getting it seen

POS SOFTWARE

 

Retail websites

Your thinking of getting a website, the first point most people wonder about is will people come to buy off me if I have a website?

The technical term for this is SEO, and it is a problem. For any product that you sell, the odds are that many people will list it on the web for sale too. 

The first point to say is just because your product is not unique does not mean that it will not sell on the web. There are very few companies that have such unique products; almost everyone has competitors that make claims of having a similar product or service to them.

Ask yourself if you search online for a product or service, what are you looking to find out? Generally, it is either a location if they want to go there and/or a price if they want to buy and get delivered online.  That you are big or small is often a fairly minor question? If your fax paper price is $8 and the same brand is in Officeworks at $10, almost no-one will buy at Officeworks and pay more.

On the net, David can and does beat Goliath.

However, what you need to do is make sure that you are seen on Google. Today in Australia, Google has 94.7% of all searches.  

Now how do you get up high, well for most people the best strategy is to act local, and Google is built to do this. In its searches, it takes this into account, your location.

What you need to investigate is what words do people search on Google to find a business like yours. The best ones to ask are your customers, ask them "Say you were on Google and trying to find a business like mine, what would you put in?" There are also plenty of websites and tools that can help you if you want to get more technical.

 

Once you have your list to get up high in Google so you can be seen with "fax paper" as a search term is probably impossible without serious money but "fax paper near me" is not hard. Put in your website that you sell that fax paper and your location. Make sure you list the suburbs you handle, and Google will do the rest. Similarly, this will happen with any other product you see, eg dog food, lipstick, newspapers, etc. 


A decent web designer or service provider like what we have will be able to offer you practical advice on this.


Some fine-tuning will need to be done, some words you will find it very hard but many will be very easy.

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Storm Area 51

POS SOFTWARE

Well if anyone wants an example of the power of Facebook in today's world, well here it is Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us. Over 2 million people have signed up to go, although it is highly doubtful that anywhere that number will show up. 

Even if an alien or evidence of any alien technology is there which I doubt, I am sure it will not be found. If it is there, it will be moved and/or hidden today. And I doubt that any of the demonstrators will get anywhere near the base. They are quite a distance from the wall, and the wall encloses an area of 8,000 sq miles. Area 51 is about 150 sq miles and is well inside this wall. The area is protected by many guards who are instructed to shoot to kill and people have been killed trying to break in. There are good reasons for the guards' concerns to keep people out as we do know that the area has highly toxic materials lying around and two people who work in Area 51, probably died from this. I just hope no-one gets hurt.

Still, it has proven to be a significant business event, many businesses and merchandise related to this event are on offer. If you have some items that fit such an event, you should put it in front as there is undoubtedly a lot of buzz about it.

 

 

 

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Try using email in your point-of-sale system to market

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

 

Most of our clients use social media, mainly Facebook, to market their business, but I would recommend although it is more work to look at email. On the basic version, email is also free so several of my clients take advantage of this to send email newsletters free.

It is one of the best solutions for small-business owners who are just starting email marketing campaigns, mainly because of its free service for small businesses. So my advice is to try it first and if it does not work out after a while and you find you want something better well at least you will have acquired the necessary experience and knowledge to move on.

Now the first step is to collect emails, lots of them. Consider running a contest in your shop, to build up your email list. Some ideas my clients use, a free second chance at lotto, a cake, a gift voucher, a special offer etc. To enter the customer needs to fill out a form or deposit your business card. What you need to start are about 500 accounts to kick start it.

If you require, we provide a free service to our clients which supplies you for your geographic area a list of email addresses for the local businesses too to help out. But please 

Note about Spamming

There are strict laws in Australia about spamming and maybe check with your association first before sending any email newsletters to these businesses.

Our understanding of the law and we are not solicitors nor experts in such matters is that if a person gives you, an email address on a business card, then it is okay to send them an email newsletter. If they are in a business that you supply goods that they require like a tap supplier, you can send an email newsletter to a plumber about taps without permission but a solicitor even though they use taps too in their office, you cannot send without permission.

Ready to start

Now once you have about 500 email addresses, the next step is to get our existing client's email addresses into the newsletter system. The most popular method of sending such newsletters by far with our point-of-sale system is with MailChimp although there are many others that do similar tasks and from my research, they are all technically about the same. Not one stood out to me in functionality. 

Now to get them into MailChimp please go to cash register reports.

Then go to customers.

 

Once there select

Customer List (Excel)

Now run the report, and it will give you a listing of your customers and their email addresses. This you import into MailChimp. I would recommend doing this regularly in that way as then your email marketing has the latest email addresses.


Now what you need to do is write an email newsletter. This will take some time at first but get easier as time gets on.

The read rate is about 20+%, so on 500 emails, you will have 100 readers which is a good start to build on.

Now the next step is to figure out what is the best times to send these emails. The same email can vary up to 20% readership. There is no getting around the fact that every business is different and both the best day and time varies. After a while, you will work it out. 

Also, what you need to consider is that promotions can be especially useful; a newsletter before a significant event or holiday shopping season can be very effective. 

By timing your emails right, you will get maximum results from your efforts.

 

Make sure that each of your email newsletters has your name and address, and an unsubscribe note; you can get into big trouble if you do not. 

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Market researching products to sell

POS SOFTWARE

Your POS System can tell you what has sold well in a department and it will tell you what has sold well with another product. This is all good stuff for upselling. The problem is that you are looking at is what was in your store, which is only a tiny subset of the products available plus it is only telling you what *WAS*. What you need to know is what is *NOW* and what will *BE*!

Here is a tip to help you to do this which you can do.

In Amazon Australia, you will find the best seller's list here

Now pick a department say "Pet Supplies" and out will pop all the top sellers here 

These are the top-selling items updated hourly, so it is current information.  

Now go through the items and see which ones appeal to you. You will see the sales ranking. If you click on the items, you will see a lot of details, including what people think about these items.

I am sure it will give you a lot to think about them.

The best part about it is these are local products.

Now if you wanted to see what people in the US were buying, after all, they are not that different to Australian consumers, you can check the US website here

Be careful as although many think, that the US market is more advanced than ours. I am no so sure of this in my experience. It is an odd combination of being more advanced and more behind us plus its a different market with different cost, benefit and requirements so be cautious about using it. Still because of its Winter/Summer being reversed there many of you will get many goods ideas of where the market is moving.

 

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How to start cross-selling

POS SOFTWARE

As a benchmark, the average basket size in an SMB retail business in Australia is about 2.54. If yours is below that, you need to look at cross-selling.

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Cross-selling

In any case, even if you are over that figure, I would say that proper cross-selling techniques will increase revenue for your shop.

Now in retail there are two ways to cross-sell, the one is active ask a customer "is there anything else you want?", the other is passive which is making sure that the appropriate goods to the person buying are brought to their attention.

So how do you identify the goods that you can offer? Well, you go on history, you see the past shopping behaviour of people that purchased items have brought in your shop.

It is very easy to do with our point of sale software.

Firstly get your top ten sellers, you can get more but we will start there.

Go to Register reports.

 

 

Now select "Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period"

 

 

Now put appropriate dates (say last three months) and ask for the top ten, like I said you can put more in but let us start there.

Now go to sales register reports section here

and select the stock companion report

Put in the same dates, put in your top-selling items and now and ask for a full listing.

Now go through the list and there is a fair bit to look at there. Now take notes of those items that sell well with these items. 

Now check in the shelves, where these items are these companion products close by, can the customer for those items quickly see these items? If not, then you have to start rearranging stock because that is what is selling. 

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Retailing by the weather

POS SOFTWARE

Retailing by the weather

The recent cold and wet wave sweeping across Australia show how weather can affect retail sales. The effect is stated to be 3.2%. 

Which I can believe as a while ago, I did a study of my clients sales data and the weather. What I showed was that changes in temperature much more then the rain made impact sales of many products. I guess that people can reschedule in the day when they go shopping or pick a place which is covered if it is raining but if its too hot or cold many will cancel going shopping today.  Also, I found that specific products do sell well if the weather is appropriate.

This a smart retailer can take advantage of, for example, have a stand filled with goods that are suitable for a hot day, another if it is raining, etc.  In the appropriate weather, bring that stand to the front and move the inappropriate one to the back.  Also, they can check that their drink fridge, is full on a hot day. I have seen figures of 200% increase in drink sales during a heat wave.

This is all too easy to do as seven-day forecasts are reasonably accurate nowadays.

Here is a step by step plan to take advantage of the weather.

Create a list of your products based on the weather; all you need to do is check the days that were unusually hot, cold, wet, etc. Now see what happened using your sales report from our system and your experience to see what sold well on those days.

Now bundle these products together by hot, cold, wet day etc.

Now every week, get the seven-day forecast here, select your area and see what coming days are abnormal.

Now you have a coming sales window, make sure you are prepared as by matching your product to match the appropriate weather conditions, you can increase conversions and sales. 

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Tip: Have an EOFY sale too

POS SOFTWARE

Years ago, there was a stocktaking sale, rapidly however this has expanded, and now we have an EOFY sale too. If you look up google trends and do a search on "EOFY sale" in Australia

This is the graph you will get. In the past seven years, it has grown dramatically from nothing 

 

Ask yourself, why do companies, like us do it? Mainly because of supplies as they are doing deals, why?

 

) They are budgeting for the end of the financial year, they know they need money to pay taxes, payroll tax, insurance, etc. So they want to liquidate stock to pay the tax bill.

) Managers need soon to justify to their stakeholders what they have done. This is their last chance as soon the financial reports will be done and with it their annual performance report card. They need excellent performance if they want their promotions, jobs and bonuses. You do not want to be a sales manager with a flat sales figure what you want to do is show I have sold well and now sales are going up. If their sales are low, they know they need to get cracking.

) Organisations are starting to implement changes to the next financial year. We see, for example, a supplier will say to us, we are moving out of these lines and going more into these lines are you interested in......

) Companies are now starting to organise their stock for a stocktake. They can see now stock that is getting old, looking obsolescent, that they have ranges of stock that is fragmented - a lot of one item and not enough of another item, damaged stock and were slow selling/overstocked assortment items. They are very conscious of the stock they need to lose. I had one come to see me a few days ago, "Bernard, we have a $300,000 worth of old monitors, can you move some of them?" 

) If you are into seasonal products, it is the high selling point of winter, from now on winter stock will start to drop. Now is probably the last chance you get to get rid of this stock in bulk, so it is a good time to clear stock from this season to make way for the new.

The result is that the consumer does see real deals here, so it becomes to them an exciting time. Many have tax reasons why they should move now e.g. Instant Tax write off. They can see retailers trying to move stock. The trick here is that consumers have to navigate through the deals to get to the ones that are good for them.

So it does work.

What I suggest is that consider doing all the above, look at your stock, see how it looks then support, run and promote your 'end of financial year' sale. I can tell you that it works for us.

 

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Psychology with price labels

POS SOFTWARE

Jurek Leon is an Australian consultant in retail, he certainly knows his stuff, often talks on TV and puts out a very good monthly newsletter for retailers which I recommend you subscribe too here.

His current edition has a fascinating post. 

Say we have an item in your shop which was $9, now maybe you buy a whole lot at a low price or perhaps you want to get rid of them, so you decide to reduce the amount to $5.99. Note like many good retailers you are not going at $6, but $5.99 plus you are not going to say 33% off because you know that dollar amount discounts work better than percentage discounts.

So you make a label to sell them and say you have these two options.

Two price labels compared

Option A: The reduced price is shown in big letters

Option B: The old price is shown in big letters.

Now, have a good look and decide which one is better?

Please, after you have worked out which one is better and decide why you think its better scroll down to the answer below. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

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Most people go for the first one, I did too as its the new price I want people to see, but studies show that it Option B that works better.  Why? Well according to the study 

"It’s because the discounted price is literally smaller than the original. Behavioural economists like Bri Williams call this the ‘size-congruency effect’. She says you are better to go with your marked down price in smaller font (Option B) than the conventional stand out (Option A), proving yet again that our assumptions about how best to influence customers can often be incorrect."

This is an example to her that retailers need to test and measure results. I agree with that too, how else are you going to find what works best with your business.

 

 

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