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Insightful marketing with an EPoS system

An EPoS system holds a mine of customer insight and is an ideal tool to help you to further develop the relationship you have with your customers in terms of your understanding of their preferred shopping habits and their loyalty toward your business. Knowledge of multiple marketing techniques, newsletters, loyalty cards, promotions and so on is not enough anymore.

Generic campaigns alone are not going to maximise your sales, for today it’s more about personalisation through customer insight and targeted marketing.

Take Amazon for example, its latest strategy is less about what a customer has purchased in the past and more about predicting a customer’s next purchase. What items are they searching for, over which products is their mouse cursor hovering and which reviews they have read recently? With this information to hand, Amazon, can capture its potential customer’s attention through highly targeted, tailor-made promotions. These promotions can then be distributed though the more familiar medium such as newsletters, text messages, loyalty offers and the like.

While your business may not be easily compared to Amazon, a retail giant with a multi-million pound marketing and IT budget, the personalised marketing approach that it has adopted is still achievable on a highly beneficial level through the tools found in an affordable EPoS system. Special offer coupons found in the likes of Sainsburys for example, are now achievable through an EPoS system that was once the preserve of only the largest retailers.

All the elements of your next marketing campaign, audience, product and delivery, can be managed through an EPoS system:

Data capture
Through the likes of promotions, returns, bookings, feedback back forms or ecommerce website baskets and searches, you can build up a useful customer database that can be managed by an EPoS system. All customer data can be stored in a central place and accessed each time you have a relevant offer to promote. Each time a customer makes a purchase or otherwise, this information can be linked to their profile for future use.

E-commerce
Putting your business online can feel like you are running two separate businesses at one time. However, an e-commerce platform can work within an EPoS system, removing the need for separate management. This means that your business figures can be viewed and managed from one central location and will also will be representative of all your selling channels.

Multichannel
Managing a multi channel business and all the selling channels within it can be a struggle, but with an EPoS system all channel stock and sales can be kept in one central location helping you to make informed decisions borne of joined up thinking. You can choose to view data as a whole or by channel, and in addition, with channel specific data, you can run marketing campaigns that are tailored according to how the channel performs. For example, if online activity is low you can create a promotion just for the website orders.

Loyalty card
Many businesses run their customer loyalty programmes through an EPoS system taking advantage of many data capture opportunities. In most cases the customer is provided with a unique card to be scanned with every purchase in order to build up points for redemption later, or on the spot discounts. All loyalty activity can be stored on the EPoS system so you can track your most valuable customers and their requirements and shopping behaviour, such as the food they like to eat or when they are most likely to frequent your business. For example, Tesco’s Clubcard knows what its customers buy and using this information the company can make informed guesses about what else they might buy. This knowledge can then be applied to custom marketing.

Bespoke promotions
With customer data to hand such as where they live, what they like to buy and how often, you can tailor promotions to your best customers in order to keep them coming back, as well as introducing a ‘winback’ strategy for any less frequent customers in a bid to raise their spending habits with your business. Data capture can also flag when a customer changes their shopping behaviour, such as buying a new product like baby items, giving you an opportunity to revise your messaging to them.

Promotions
What are your best sellers at Christmas time? Or, maybe you want to know your least popular items in general and do a special offer on them. Using an EPoS system you can make sure that you’re your products are always being picked up by customers through system run promotions such as cross selling, bogofs, 2 for 1, etc. You simply create the campaign within the system, print new product barcodes or menus and set up an alert to staff so that nothing is missed.

Upselling
An EPoS system can help staff to up sell your products through automatic reminders that alert your team to complimentary products and services according to what a customer is buying. For example, a particular wine to accompany their meal, or the bag to match the purse they are buying.

Newsletters
Many businesses choose to keep in touch with their customers through email campaigns. In the past this would often be a case of one single mass mailing regarding a general offer, however with access to custom data through an EPoS system email campaigns can be highly targeted. As a result customers can receive product information and special offers about items that are relevant to their previous purchases and therefore more likely to be bought.

Text messages
Another way to keep customers up to date with your business products and promotions is through text messages. The data in an EPoS system can help you to send single, targeted messages without you having to invest in high tech programmes or design elements. For example, if you owned a hair dressers you would expect most customers to return every six weeks or so; therefore you could send a quick and simple text message to them as a gentle reminder to book their next appointment.

QR Codes
Many EPoS systems are capable to generating QR codes that can be displayed on shelf labels, menus or receipts to provide customers with additional information. The QR Code might link to the product information, a special offer, social media or a website.

Receipts
Your customer receipts can easily be customised using an EPoS system and regularly updated according to periodic promotions, business alerts such as seasonal opening hours, and generic thank you messages. You can even go so far as to ask your customer if they are happy for you to email their receipt to them, in addition to or instead of a paper one, and using this digital email receipt you can add live links to your website, social media or offers.

Coupons
Using an EPoS system you can set up coupons to present to customers at the point of sale. Such coupons can be generic and printed individually, or customer specific and added to the bottom of a receipt based upon the customers’ purchases. Your sales staff can also control the coupons and select active offers to display.

Industry insight

Martin Newman, founder and chief executive of Practicology a Multichannel strategy and Ecommerce consultancy business, is a fan of using EPoS to leverage “insight from digital channels to improve range, supply chain, customer service and marketing across all channels, not just online”. He asks you to consider: “What decisions would you make differently if you had insight into what customers wanted to buy, not just what they ended up buying?” “Much of this can be captured online, he said, explaining that one example of this are what products customers search for on your site.

These searches are great way of highlighting potential demand for products not currently ranged. “Mining behavioural data from online customers also allows you to drill down and look for location-specific trends, leveraging the web to try products before deciding which locations or clusters of stores might stock them. In the US, Safeway’s customers are presented with deals on smartphones, based on their online and offline purchase history. Customers add offers they are interested in to their Club Card, and the system learns what they are interested in, improving relevance over time,” he added.

Another example of businesses utilising EPoS are JUST EAT, a food delivery provider that gives consumers access to restaurant menus online, and its food partners. 36,000 takeaway restaurants are signed up to JUST EAT, which uses an EPoS technology platform to offer an efficient on-line ordering service. It was recently ranked in the Deloitte 2013 Technology Fast 500 EMEA and is recognised as one of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). JUST EAT works alongside restaurateurs that want to expand their customer reach as well as their marketing and sales strategy. These restaurants use the JUST EAT’s EPoS system as a route to have an online presence and ordering platform, without having to incur significant start-up and marketing costs. The EPoS system provides its takeaway restaurant partners with a central system for managing orders taken whether online, from ‘walk-in’ custom or over the phone, many of which find the restaurant via JUST EAT. Data is fed back to each business to give them a better view of their customers’ ordering habits, which can be used to help improve customer service and marketing efficiency. Graham Corfield, UK Managing Director of JUST EAT, hopes the service will provide significant growth for its takeaway restaurant partners: “We know there is huge demand among takeaway businesses for great value, high quality EPoS technology, which we are able to offer,” he said.

Meanwhile, Holeshot a Guernsey based independent retailer with two fashion stores was keen to expand its customer reach via EPoS. It enjoyed a lot of passing trade from tourists, but had no means of keeping in touch and selling again to those customers. Marc Maubec co-owner and Managing Director of Holeshot, said: “In the past ten years we’ve spent money expanding and improving our retail space, at the same time knowing that to move forward an online platform is essential to supplement local trade and keep in contact with seasonal clients when they’re back at home.”

Holeshot was keen to expand into full e-commerce operations without the need for a separate e-commerce solution. In addition, features such as e-receipts were seen as key elements for capturing details from holiday visitors and extending market share outside of the confines of Guernsey. Following investment in a new EPoS system the business is now enabling year-long customer contact to be maintained, Marc explained. “It is great for recording purchase history and analysing customers, which will support our loyalty program and build sales. The team capture customer data at the till point and can attach a label such as ‘holidaymaker’ to it, which makes it easy to do promotional targeting and analysis. It is now possible to identify someone coming into the shop, see there is a piece they didn’t originally buy with an outfit and tell them that that piece is on sale today. We’re now going to be able to analyse our customers and measure the performance of individual stock lines. We hope the new system will make us a more profitable business, more streamlined and efficient,” said Marc.

If you’d like to find out more about the advantages of an EPoS system or upgrading your existing solution, expert help is available. Contact us for advice on the right EPoS system for your environment and receive a free quote.

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Please note that the budget required for the purchase and installation of a Full EPoS system starts from £1300 for hardware and software.
The prices can be considerably higher depending on your requirements.

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