By Elie Y. Katz
The USA has, for as long as we can remember, been coined “The Land of Opportunity.” We offer a melting pot of options for new businesses to start up, grow and thrive. Our country is renowned as a safe haven for immigrants to start over and rebuild their lives, while preserving their ethnic heritage.
I’ve been around many Mom-n-Pop businesses and gotten to know the ins and outs of the independent retail world. Every business is unique, and therefore every business has unique needs. Starting a business, staying alive and thriving is challenging. And now, even more so, with the onslaught of Covid-19, which has directly impacted the US retail industry, ingenuity and out-of-the-box solutions are necessary for a small, independent retailer to survive and thrive.
In order for a small convenience or grocery store to stay in business, they need to be extremely organized and plan carefully in stocking their shelves and managing their inventory. The storeowner needs to manage employees and keep track of who’s on shift. They need to make sure the store is secure and take necessary steps to deter customer – and employee – theft. The store needs to be able to attract and retain loyal customers, in order to make money and establish a business pipeline.
The point of sale (POS) system is at the heart of every retail business. A POS isn’t just a cash register anymore. Technology has redefined today’s POS as a powerful tool for helping a business grow.
There are lots of POS out there. Most offer the standard features of tracking sales and monitoring inventory. Many integrate with their own or third party credit card processing. But some, such as the National Retail Solutions (NRS) POS, take store management to a whole new technological level.
CUSTOMER LOYALTY IS KEY
We all know how important customer retention is to a store’s bottom line. The NRS POS comes with a built-in customer loyalty program, so the store owner has the ability to provide customers with unique monthly discounts and offers. Customers can sign up with a phone number and receive a key fob to swipe each time they visit the store, for instant discounts on popular monthly deals. A good loyalty program benefits customers while encouraging repeat visits, and doesn’t cost the store owner anything.
MOBILE APPS AND WEB PORTAL ACCESS
Apps are extremely popular now, and they help boost a POS’ already powerful capabilities. A remote app gives any store owner the ability to manage their back end and features from anywhere, 24/7, with their phone or tablet. This is especially beneficial during this pandemic, when some store owners are unable to physically be at their store. Online portal access to downloadable reports helps the store owner with accessing documentation for accounting. This documentation can be critical during this time when obtaining SBA loans assistance may be necessary.
While many POS offer an app, National Retail Solutions also just recently also announced their new BR Club Shopping app, for customers to be able to locate their nearest participating BR Club store and order on the app. This app will give any store the ability to have a pickup and/or delivery system so that customers can have easy access at times when they cannot shop in person. Clearly, this is very beneficial during this time when many customers want to avoid any chance of Covid-19 virus exposure. For stores that cannot offer delivery, curbside pickup is an excellent solution for servicing their long-time-loyal customers.
STORE SECURITY AND THEFT DETERRENCE
Even in the best of times, independent retailers struggle with in-store theft by customers, employees, or both. Transaction surveillance monitoring is increasingly popular now. With this feature, POS transaction data gets overlaid real-time onto the store’s DVR footage. This gives the store owner peace of mind, with the ability to record all transactions taking place in conjunction with their store’s camera system. This is a great feature to have and use during this time when store owners and managers may need to remain at home but keep tabs on the store and deter theft.
SHOPPING FOR SUPPLIES
Many c-stores regularly shop for inventory at local cash and carry outlets, which are labeled as essential businesses. At this time, merchants are more frequently ordering for delivery, to avoid other shoppers, long lines and lugging bulk items. NRS recently launched its newest offering on its POS Marketplace; a special Covid-19 section, where retailers can purchase hard-to-find Covid-19 products such as masks, gloves and infrared no-touch thermometers. The NRS POS Marketplace, where store owners can purchase many necessary items to keep their store stocked, has been upgraded to help retailers during this difficult time. The Marketplace generally includes wholesale products, equipment, accessories, retail programs and partner services.
RUN YOUR OWN CUSTOMER-FACING PROMOTIONS
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could remind your customers to wash their hands, wear masks and stay safe? Wouldn’t it be amazing to run your own store promotions for customers to see that you sell masks and gloves? The NRS POS has a customer-facing ad screen, where customers can see their transactions plus advertisements. Through the merchant portal online, a store can upload their own free ad, have it running at the checkout counter, and change it any time.
A point of sale system that offers these beneficial features plus powerful software is something in which every small and mid-size business owner should invest. In challenging times, having the best tools can make a huge difference in not just surviving, but thriving.
National Retail Solutions (NRS) is currently running an unprecedented promotion on POS combined with credit card processing. I have been told this offer will not last – Grab it now while it’s available! Call (833) 289-2767 for details.