EPOS for Retail Shops
Just as there is a huge range of different retail trades, there is an EPOS system ideally suited to each. EPOS systems nowadays are incredibly flexible – but this only makes it more important that any system is selected to meet all of your exacting requirements. One thing is for certain: if your shop is still running on twenty year old cash registers, modern EPOS systems have come a very long way since then. EPOS now offers so much more: it helps to increase sales and in the control of cash, costs and stock. You will definitely benefit from the features a modern EPOS system has to offer!
Speed of customer service is vital in any busy store – and your customers will thank you for a well-run and efficient EPOS system. Any system should be very easy to add new stock lines and prices to, thereby encouraging you to keep it fully up-to-date to avoid missing stock items and mis-pricing. Your staff will thank you for allowing them to work without frequent and unnecessary interruptions to their work flow for manual look-ups. Some systems even incorporate staff "to-do" lists, eliminating those messy Post-It notes!
Bar code readers are a must for convenience type stores and are offered by all modern EPOS systems, allowing you to offer your customers the detailed receipts most now expect, for all but the simplest of purchases. Receipts can even be bar-coded to assist with verification and rapid processing of customer returns.
If you are selling non-standard, loose but pre-packaged or self-produced items, why not consider your own bar code printer? These allow you to label and price individual items for immediate recognition at the till and are particularly suited to butchers, bakers and similar trades. There are even integrated scales that print their own bar code labels for sale-by-weight goods such as meat, fruit and vegetables.
Pay Point Processing
Convenience Stores know the value of offering add-on services such as Gas and Electricity payment processing, bringing additional footfall to your store and add-on sales from those extra visits, let alone the processing revenue. So do make sure before investing that your EPOS system can integrate these processes from the start. Including all those important National Lottery sales and Mobile Top-Ups!
Aside from this, modern EPOS allows you to process card payments like never before. With new "contactless" cards rapidly entering the market-place, smaller purchases will increasingly be made without the need for Chip-and-Pin; that is, the customer just touches their card on a pad and payment is made. One in seven UK credit cards should have this time-saving technology by mid-2011, giving yet more reason to re-assess your current EPOS system's capabilities.
Have you considered gift cards as a means to further increase revenue? If you are in the gifts or services businesses, there are EPOS systems out there that can produce and accept gift cards or tokens – either self issued or as part of a wider scheme such as YESPay. It all helps to lock that revenue in and keep the customer coming back ....
Customer loyalty cards are another opportunity to grow sales and build customer profiles that can be implemented on modern EPOS systems. One of the most difficult problems facing any cash business is in identifying just who their customers are - and building history on them. Whilst it is very easy in a small shop to learn what the regular customer likes ("Daily Mirror please!"), it is not so easy in a larger premises or city centre locations that have high throughputs of occasional customers.
By offering your own, or even joining a local traders loyalty card scheme, any retailer can build a business brand and offer loyalty points. At the same time, by identifying the customer, EPOS allows you to collect data about their individual buying habits. A simple cash loyalty card may not tell you exactly who your customer is, but knowing his or her buying history opens up possibilities to offer tailored promotions just like the big supermarkets. Money off vouchers and coupons – they are hugely popular with all types of customers in these hard economic times. All this can be implemented from a suitably specified EPOS system.
Combine the issue of a loyalty card with the collection of a name and address and you are well on the way to building that most valuable marketing resource of all – a customer database. Once you know who your customer is, you can engage them by email, post, telephone ... even social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter!
The loyalty card is also of huge benefit to multiple site operators: they do work in having customers recognise your brand, no matter how small or large it might be - and attracting those customers to your shops in other cities which the customer might not have visited before, but that they will recognize for your brand. Note how popular schemes such as Tesco's Clubcard, Boots Advantage Card and The Co-Operative's membership cards have been. Put simply, these schemes encourage customer loyalty and they will work equally well for smaller retailers who invest in the right technology.
Stock & Cash Control
As the financial climate hardens even further, careful control of stock and rapid identification of stock or cash losses becomes yet more essential. A good EPOS system will of course, provide all the basic stock and cash control functions: audit trails; re-ordering; identifying discrepancies; fast and slow line reporting; pricing and margin reports, but it can also do so much more. Many systems additionally offer reports in easy to use graphical formats, enabling "decision making at a glance".
CCTV & Security
In the unfortunate circumstance when the retailer suspects theft by staff, the EPOS system can now be integrated with the CCTV system. This is a powerful tool as images of individual or suspicious transactions can be dialled up directly on CCTV, so the proprietor can see exactly what was sold, what should have been sold - and how it was paid for – or not!
Don't forget those Online Sales
Every business nowadays needs an on-line presence and if you are selling on line, it is even more important to ensure your e-commerce system integrates with your EPOS system. There are solutions out there that will directly record on-line sales to your EPOS system, updating stock and allowing for on-line payment receipt reconciliation. EPOS can even place stock lines for sale on your e-commerce website or eBay at the click of a mouse – a great way for getting rid of old or slow-moving stock.
One satisfied retailer said of installing integrated EPOS and on-line sales: "Our website has seen a 10 to 15 times increase in the past year. It's a very competitive market yet we started receiving orders as soon as it went live." Some systems can even handle on-line gift / wish lists for a wedding or the arrival of a new baby, ensuring all of those purchases come to you!
So, the Internet really is an extension of your bricks and mortar based business, so do look for EPOS and e-commerce systems that will talk to each other and interact with the wider world. You can even manage your business from the comfort of your own home, as many EPOS systems allow remote access for management and monitoring purposes.
Have you considered home delivery? Yes, there are even small EPOS systems that not only take online orders - they can manage your stock-picking and delivery rounds should you decide to compete with the big boys and get into the home delivery market.
And for newsagents (and other similar repeat businesses) – don't forget that all important paper round. Modern EPOS will also manage your day-today orders and effectively and pro-actively track your accounts receivable, putting the profits in your pocket faster than ever before.
Why not get in touch to discuss your requirements?
Click here to get a free quote for your EPoS system or call free on 0800 310 1013.