Star Spotlight with Green Bits

What does Green Bits do?

Green Bits is an inventory and point of sale system for recreational cannabis retail. Unlike a standard point of sale system, Green Bits is directly integrated into their customer’s state seed-to-sale tracking system. Green Bits is designed from the ground up to integrate seamlessly into any store’s workflow and is built for speed, simplicity, and security.

How is Green Bits working with Star Micronics?

Green Bits has added support for Star Micronics TSP650II BTi receipt printer and CD3 crash drawers. With Green Bits being an iPad-based software, the Bluetooth receipt printer allows customer to print receipts without needed a physical, wired connection. Green Bits customers find the Bluetooth connection between the iPad and receipt printer to be very strong and easy to troubleshoot should any issues arise.

What key benefits do Green Bits and Star Micronics bring to the cannabis retail market?

Green Bits currently runs over 50% of cannabis retail stores in Washington and also supports Colorado and Oregon, all of which use Star Micronics’ TSP650II BTi printer with a CD3 cash drawer. As recreational cannabis legalization continues to grow, Green Bits and Star Micronics will continue to dominate that market. The bundled solution allows retailers to keep track of their sales and analytics by budtender in one, easy-to-use platform. The wireless connection between the device and printer also helps to reduce clutter, making it easier for retailers to increase their impulse sales at the POS.

What to Expect from Star Micronics at RetailNOW 2017

It’s that time of year for retail and point of sale industry professionals to gather at RSPA RetailNOW 2017! It’s the only show that focuses strictly on technology providers (resellers, software vendors, payment professionals, manufacturers and distributors). This year, Star Micronics (booth #707) is looking forward to realigning our strategy and efforts in producing top-quality POS printer peripherals, reuniting with our partners to provide solutions for new and emerging markets, and reengaging with new technology and opportunities.

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect to see at the Star booth at RetailNOW 2017:

mPOP™ Your Way!

Star Micronics has officially released support for new peripheral options for our all-in-one mPOP™, Mobile Point of Purchase. Transform your mPOP™ into a complete point of sale hub with optional 1D or 2D bar code reader, scale options, a customer-facing line display, and external cash drawer.

Faster, Easier, Better – TSP100IIIU

The TSP100IIIU is a game changing USB POS receipt printer! Its the first of its kind to be able to connect directly to an Apple iPad® or iPhone® using an Apple Lighting cable for reliable communication between the printer and device, and simultaneous device charging.

SM-L300 Portable Printer for Receipt, Label, and MAXStick®

The SM-L300 is Star’s latest addition to their line of Bluetooth low energy (BLE) portable printers. This 3-inch, lightweight portable printer features an adjustable multi-paper width and an optional charging cradle. The SM-L300 supports thermal receipt paper and linel, linerless, and MAXStick® labels, making it the perfect portable printer for on-the-road or mobile receipt or label printing.

Come see our POS printer peripherals with the following software solutions:

CAP supplies specialty retailers with custom tools and software, as well as any hardware they may need. CAP’s retail software solutions are suited to a variety of businesses in a wide range of verticals such as specialty boutiques, small grocery, convenience stores, apparel, and more. CAP Software solution will be shown on Star’s mPOP.

 

PopScrap is a global scrap metal compliance specialist and U.S. based recycling software prodiver to the international scrap, waste, and recycling industry. Weigh & Pay’s software solution will be shown on Star’s mPOP with new scale option.

 

TouchBistro offers a POS specifically for restaurants that is easy to use and learn, helps increase staff performance, drives greater operation efficiency, and improves customer experience. TouchBistro will be shown on Star’s TSP100IIIBi printer.

 

Green Bits is designed specifically for the cannabis retail market and is designed from the ground – up to integrate seamlessly with your store’s workflow. The Green Bits solution will be shown on a Star TSP100IIIU printer.

 

Total Merchant Services offers payment processing and more to help business grow. Groovv POS includes everything merchants need to manage, grow and optimize their business, all in a compact point of sale system that’s easy to set up and free to use. The Groovv POS solution with be shown on Star’s mPOP with a Samsung tablet.

 

Appetize Point of Sale technology brings value to hundreds of enterprise businesses in sports and entertainment, education, convention centers, dining, theme parks, and more. The Appetize solution with be shown with a Star TSP700II printer with Elo’s I-Series and Wallaby flip-stand.

 

 

eMobilePOS is a next-generation POS solution for retail and restaurants that is EMV ready for tablets and smartphones. eMobilePOS will be shown with a Star Micronics SM-T300i portable printer.

 

Vend offers point of sale solutions for retail that works on Mac, iPad, and PC. It includes everything you need to run your business from POS, to eCommerce, to hardware, and more. Vend will be shown with a Star TSP100III printer and Star Cloud Services digital receipt and customer engagement tools.

 

Visit us at booth #707!

 

Sunglass Menagerie Finds Their Shine with Vend and Star Micronics’ mPOP™

Sunglass Menagerie has proudly served the New Jersey beach community for the past 38 years offering a variety of sunglass options for every type of beach bum. Sunglass Menagerie was originated in the late 70s before big brand sunglasses began to take off. Being one of the first sunglass stores in the country, Sunglass Menagerie’s goal is to have a pair of sunglasses for every face that enters the store. Over the past 30 years, Sunglass Menagerie has expanded to open 6 stores along the Jersey shore, and plans to open 5 more stores this upcoming season. With Sunglass Menagerie’s success and recent expansion, they sought a point of sale system that would work seamlessly across all locations. Star Micronics’ mPOP™ with Vend POS for retail was the perfect solution.

Sunglass Menagerie was experiencing huge success over the past few years, and needed a point of sale system to keep up with the high volume of transactions during their busy season. Prior to the install of the mPOP with Vend, Sunglass Menagerie used an analog cash register that they referred to as ‘a cigar box with a calculator’. When they decided to upgrade their technology, customers immediately noticed. Being based in beach town locations, Sunglass Menagerie typically employs high school or college students that are looking to make some extra cash over summer break. Their old cash register was very difficult for employees to set up and operate. “Employees could never be sure if the machine would even start up or work properly for the day,” said Colton Karch, Store Leader of Sunglass Menagerie.

The ‘out of the box’ solution offered by Star and Bend was simple to set up, only taking about 30 minutes. “A temp employee was able to get the first mPOP set up and running within an hour,” recalls Karch. Sunglass Menagerie never experienced a single technology issue with the hardware, and the Vend software offered a user-friendly solution for employees. The Vend POS solution allowed employees to run real-time reports, see their daily sales numbers, and complete seamless customer transactions, all to improve the overall customer experience.

The Vend and Star Micronics mPOS system brought many benefits to Sunglass Menagerie. One of the largest was inventory control. For the first time, Sunglass Menagerie has the ability to gain instant access to inventory reports to ensure that they never run out of popular items. Management can now check-in remotely and know exactly what they have available in each store, resulting in less lost customers.

The mPOP was also able to provide a smoother workflow for employees and management. Employees no longer have to worry about the system shutting down, and management is no longer receiving phone calls on how to change the receipt paper or that the machine ran out of ink.

“It’s comforting to know that we are no longer losing sales due to the system being down. Employees understand and enjoy using the new system. Knowing exactly what we have in stock and being able to see their sales numbers makes the employees more excited to set new goals and sell more sunglasses.”

– Colton Karch, Store Leader, Sunglass Menagerie

Download the full success story: Sunglass Menagerie Case Study

How a Thermal Printer with a USB Tether Connection Benefits Restaurants

Restaurant owners that want to turn tables faster and increase throughput often look to upgrade their technology. Mobile solutions can help boost profits and ensure a higher level of customer satisfaction – but even the newest, most feature-rich solutions only print as quickly as their device to receipt printer connection allows.

It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with top of the line POS hardware or more affordable packages, even the best technology won’t perform as expected without connectivity you can count on.

Star Micronics has developed a new printer with a USB tether option that eliminates connectivity problems between the device and the receipt printer, so data is transferred to receipt printers quickly when your restaurant staff is on the go.

What causes connectivity problems?

Device to printer connectivity problems can cause dropped tickets, order mistakes, and errors in food preparation. They also can cause a delay in the time it takes to transmit data.

What is a USB tether?

The main connectivity options restaurant owners usually consider for their device to printer connections are Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth. Unfortunately, none are a perfect fit – Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections can be unpredictable in a hospitality environment, while Ethernet connections may be awkward and difficult to set up.

AUSB tether is the ideal solution for a restaurant or hospitality venue that needs “always on” connectivity between devices. USB tethers are established when an Internet-enabled device, like an iPad or Android tablet, is connected to another wireless device using a wireless connection or a physical cable via a USB connection. USB tether, especially when wired to another device, is extremely reliable.

How can I employ a USB tether in my restaurant?

If your restaurant needs to print receipts from mobile, web-based POS applications but struggles with connectivity issues, a printer that is connected via USB tether is the perfect solution. Star Micronics’ new TSP100IIIU offers a simple and extremely reliable tether via USB connectivity. If you’re using an Apple device, the USB tether will simultaneously charge the device that is it connected to.

The TSP100IIIU allows iOS, Windows or Android devices to tether directly to the receipt printer. The simple connection, lightning fast printing speed and compact design provides the reliability required for fast-paced service, high volume transactions and workplaces where wireless networking is difficult.

This cost-effective printer option includes everything you need to upgrade your printing capabilities. The printer comes with an internal power supply, cables, mounting kits, and paper roll. Its simple “plug and play” connectivity and new USB serial number feature, allows a PC to detect the TSP100IIIU on its Windows platform using any USB port.

Your customers expect to see up-to-the minute POS solutions that empower them to order when they want, how they want and pay the check promptly when they are finished. However, mobile POS is only as reliable as the internet connection that keeps it up and running. Restaurants that use tablet POS in their restaurant or hospitality venue should take advantage of Star’s new receipt printer with the USB tether option so they can print receipts anytime, anywhere, with a reliable internet connection.

Learn more about the TSP100IIIU: http://starmicronics.com/pages/TSP100

Small Business Tips: How Retailers Can Leverage User Generate Content

If you’ve looked into marketing options and best practices for your retail business, you may have seen the term “user generated content” being tossed around quite a bit. For retailers and small businesses, leveraging user generated content is a great way to grow your marketing and sales for little to no cost.

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content (UGC) is defined as any type of content including videos, photos, blogs, tweets, etc. that has been created and published by unpaid contributors. In the case of retail, this would be content created by your customers. This can range from Instagram photos featuring your new line of summer wear, to a Facebook Live video of your bath bomb dissolving to create the most relaxing bath time.

Now the question to ask is: Do user generated marketing campaigns actually work? The short answer is yes!

Organic vs. Driven UGC

Now that you know what user generated content is and have seen some statistics to back up the benefit of UGC campaigns, let’s talk about what it can do for your brand. Leveraging UGC on social media portrays that your brand is so likable, that people want to promote it themselves. Sometimes UGC comes from different motives. Many brands will hold a photo contest in order to leverage user generated content, whereas others generate is more naturally.

For example, if you follow any millennial females on Instagram, you may have seen the famous red bathing suit post that “broke the Internet”. Sunny Clothing Co. saw the opportunity to make their Instagram post go viral by posting a photo of a woman in a red bathing suit with the caption telling their followers that they can get that same bathing suit for free by reposting the photo and tags Sunny Clothing Co. For an SMB retailer, this is a genius way to organically boost your social media following and take advantage some free user-generated marketing. It was in fact so genius, that the company underestimated the success of the post. They ended up with so many respondents that they had to put a limit on the number of red bathing suits they could give away.

Personalization and Contests

Coca-Cola, on the other hand, found a more subtle way to run their UGC campaign. Within the past year or so, you may have noticed that Coke began putting people’s names on their bottles. You may have even found yourself searching through to find a Coke bottle with your own name on it. So how is this campaign helping to create user generated content? We live in a digital age where everything and anything we do gets posted to Facebook, sent in a Snapchat, posted to Instagram, or even sent to a group chat on iMessage. And for some funny reason, people love finding their name on things! With the combination of that and our obsessions with sharing our day-to-day tasks on social, Coke created a wildly successful UGC campaign.

How to Leverage UGC

Before you go off and launch your very own UGC campaign, there are first a few questions you will need to ask yourself. Do you want to drive the UGC? Do you have the budget to give away prizes for top posts? Will the content generated by your customers be consistent with your brand?

Creating Campaigns that Live On

It’s important to remember that leveraging user generated content can be as simple as using a social media monitoring tool to see when your customers are talking about your brand, or it can be as complex as starting an entire UGC campaign like Sunny Clothing Co. or Coca-Cola. While Sunny Clothing Co.’s UGC campaign was very successful, it was also very short lived, as it was only a one-day contest. Coke, on the other hand, is going on their second summer of their “Share a Coke” campaign.

It is important look at your goals and why you want to leverage UGC, and how your business can benefit from it.

 

Star Spotlight with Thirdshelf

What does Thirdshelf do?

Thirdshelf is a loyalty marketing software for independent retailers that helps to drive sales with customized loyalty programs and automated customer communications. They help these independent merchants grow the value of every customer relationship through analytics and converting transactional data from the point of sale. The Thirdshelf loyalty software is 100% branded to the retailer and is completely digital with no cards, dongles, or extra hardware required.

How is Thirdshelf working with Star Cloud Services?

Thirdshelf and Star Cloud Services have worked together to develop an offering where they can take transactional data from a Star Micronics receipt printer, regardless of the point of sale system that the printer is tied to, and convert data into powerful analytics and automated marketing to bring shoppers back into the store. Through this offering, retailers can create and send personalized email and SMS offers to their shoppers and learn how to accurately measure their customer relationships.

How will Thirdshelf and Star Cloud Services impact the future of retail?

“There’s a big shift happening in retail today,” says Rami Karam, Co-Founder and CEO of Thirdshelf. “Retail is beginning to move away from a transactional-oriented view and more toward a relationship-oriented view.”

Online customer data is very prevalent in today’s retail market, which has previously been less important for in-store shoppers. With more online merchants opening traditional brick and mortar stores, they’re bringing more of this customer data to the forefront of traditional retail. Thirdshelf, teaming up with Star Cloud Services, allows brick and mortar retailers to manage these loyalty programs and marketing through transactional data, just as they would in a digital store.

Shag Spa and Salons Creates Customer Branded Receipts with Rosy Salon Software and Star Micronics

Shag Spa and Salons offers hair, nail, massage, and skin care services in The Woodlands, north of Houston, Texas. Shag Spa and Salons strives to provide the best experience possible for all clients, every day. With over 60 service providers and a diverse and growing clientele, it’s essential that all operations run smoothly at every level. Appointments need to be simple to book; client information must be easy to access and checkout must happen seamlessly, so that the customer experience is smooth all the way through their visit.

Shag was in search of a robust cloud-based software solution that would allow them to run all aspects of the salon, even when working remotely. The system needed to have easy access to client information with the option for clients to book online. It also needed to integrate with multiple merchant accounts and offer completely branded receipts for all products and services.

Shag Spa and Salons uses Rosy Salon Software, a cloud-based application to schedule and confirm appointments, track client information and transaction history, make product recommendations based on current or past services, and allow easy checkout with integrated POS. Various merchant accounts and processing machines are used along with Star Micronics thermal printers to complete the transaction with customer messaging on a completely branded receipt.

The reception desk at Shag Spa and Salons can easily look up customer information, book an appointment, and check clients in or out with just a few clicks, which offers a more efficient and personalized customer experience. Clients can also book online, reserve products, and purchase gift cards or memberships from any device, any time their schedule permits. This offers convenience for the client and saves the salon precious staff time. Also, automated appointment confirmations and text alerts help reduce no-shows, keep clients on time, and notify service providers of a change in their schedule. In addition, the integrated POS handles multiple merchant accounts and the Star TSP100 printers offer a customizable receipt complete with salon branding and return policy

“We own fine of the Star TSP100 printers between our two salons. They are rock-solid, are a great value, and last a long time, even in the high demand of our always-busy salon. If i could measure the amount of thermal paper that has gone through these printers, it would be hundreds of miles of receipts. These printers just go, and go, and go!”

– Fred Klages, Co-Owner, Shag Spa and Salons

Download the full case study here: Shag Spa and Salon Case Study.

Calling All Hospitality ISVs: Provide a Reliable iOS Device for Receipt Printer Connection

The rise of mobile technology and its benefits include shorter wait times, more streamlined processes, and less double work for employees. This has caused technology preferences in the hospitality industry to shift away from stationary legacy systems and move towards mobile tablet and iPad point of sale (POS) solutions. Mobile solutions have also become an option for restaurant operators that need to upgrade their POS technology but don’t want to add more traditional terminals.

Restaurants are turning to ISVs to enable them to use state-of-the-art mobile POS solutions to give them the receipt printing functionality they need at the table, at the checkout counter, car side, in outdoor dining areas, and anywhere else transactions can take place. However, upgrading a clients’ POS system with mobile capabilities is more than just integrating new hardware, it also means the addition of new elements that will keep printers connected and operational.

Star Micronics’ TSP100IIIU may be the answer you are looking for.

The Problem with Bluetooth and WLAN Connections

The main connectivity options restaurant clients usually consider for their receipt printer to device connections are Bluetooth and WLAN. Unfortunately, neither are a perfect fit for “always on” connectivity.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth technology uses short wavelength UHF radio waves to connect to a mobile device or computer. Although Bluetooth is synonymous with hands-free connectivity or headsets, this technology uses the same 2.4 GHz frequency as Wi-Fi. Before a connection can be established, the devices need to “pair” and then a network made up of piconets (devices using Bluetooth) is established. The network is fluid as devices enter and leave the field.

 

What is WLAN?

A wireless local area network (WLAN) allows a mobile device to connect to a LAN through radio transmissions. WLANs usually follow IEEE 802.11 standards and are therefore compatible with almost every mobile device or computer.

 

The Benefits of a USB Connection from POS Device to Receipt Printer

A USB connection from device to printer may be, if not the best, then one of the best connectivity options for your restaurant clients. By nature, a USB connection reduces the time required to transmit data from the POS device to the receipt printer. This allows for lightning fast printing of order tickets and customer receipts in a restaurant environment. Because of this, your restaurant clients will experience a boost in customer satisfaction. Restaurants will also experience an increase in table turns due to staff’s ability to submit an order ticket and print the customer’s bill more quickly, ultimately boosting sales. Additionally, a USB connection is one of the most reliable, ensuring order tickets aren’t dropped or lost and causing an undue roadblock for your client when trying to deliver exceptional customer service.

The Star Micronics Solution

The issues your hospitality clients face with connectivity have occurred as shifts in the industry and technology innovations have forces receipt technology to evolve quickly over the last several years. Most recently, the popularity of iPad® and iPhone® solutions has increasingly demanded mobile and connected receipt printer solutions, but until now, there hasn’t been a solution that offers simple and reliable connection for iOS devices to a receipt printer. In light of these challenges, Star Micronics has developed solutions for clients who need to print receipts from Web-based applications and help hospitality customers overcome connectivity issues.

Why choose the TSP100IIIU?

The TSP100IIIU builds on the success of Star’s TSP100ECO printer. The new model offers faster print speed, increased reliability and connectivity, power switch and serial number for asset management, and more, such as:

  • Low operating cost
  • High-speed printing, 43 receipts per minute
  • Guillotine auto-cutter
  • Revolutionary futurePRNT receipt design software
  • Compatible with Star Cloud Services and AllReceipts™

Connectivity issues can derail any POS system, wreaking havoc on a client’s hospitality operation. A mobile solution and printer is only as reliable as its network, and Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections all have vulnerabilities that can cost clients time and money. Star Micronics’ new TSP100IIIU offers an answer to printer connectivity issues, by allowing iOS devices to tether directly to the receipt printer.

Download our full eBook: Star_TSP100IIIU_Receipt_Printer_Connection_eBook

 

Top Point of Sale Trends for Small Businesses: Part 1

The point of sale is evolving quickly to accommodate new demands on retailers and to better integrate smarter software for independent merchants. There are many POS trends that point to an augmentation of how data can be democratized for “mom and pop” retail stores. When choosing a POS solution, small businesses have to do their research more carefully than ever. For retail entrepreneurs, POS systems and POS solutions are some of the most researched software that relates directly to their business.

POS solutions are evolving in ways that are leading POS systems into the 21st century. Retail entrepreneurs now have easy access to powerful software that is becoming cheaper than ever, more mobile, and are able to do more to grow their business. This is allowing physical merchants to keep up with their sophisticated data-centric e-retailer cousins. From payments, to automation, and from hardware to analytics and insights, the POS is becoming the real deal.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the major trends and a few surprising innovations. We’ll also uncover some of the bigger POS trends.

1. Shopify Starts to Build Hardware

The Canadian e-Commerce solution is having a stellar start to the year, as can be seen in its Unite 2017 event. With new partners such as Amazon and Buzzfeed, Shopify can scale this year like never before. In April, Shopify announced their first hardware product, a chip-and-swipe card reader. Shopify is banking on the trend of online sellers to sell in physical retail with its simple card reader.

Key takeaway: Payments and new hardware are still a hot topic for new retail businesses.

2. The Tablet and Mobile POS Market Grows

Whether its iPad POS solutions or other kinds of tablets, the mobile POS boom is on. U.S. and global growth of more convenient mobile POS solutions is quickly showing to be the new normal in some retail verticals.

Mobile POS is growing at 9.2% a year according to Capterra via Quickbooks. As Cloud-based solutions became mainstream, so too now are mobile POS solutions. This occurs often in hospitality, convenience, retail, and services stations where tablets are more useful for data access and of course, checkout.

For the SMB space, mPOS makes a lot of sense. This is where cost-effective hardware is meeting the mobile-first era. This means it’s easier than ever to become a retail entrepreneur with smarter and less costly hardware and software. You can do more with a mPOS for your small business than you may realize.

Key takeaway: As Cloud POS became the new standard years ago, it’s looking like mPOS might do the same.

3. Star Micronics Launches New Printer: TSP100IIIU

The TSP100IIIU is being called a game-changer for tablet and mobile POS.

  • It connects directly to an iPad or iPhone using the Apple Lightning cable for reliable USB communication and simultaneous charging.
  • It includes a USB Serial number feature to detect the device when disconnected and reconnected to a different USB port
  • Ultra-fast print speeds and special receipt de-curl function

Key takeaway: Printers are getting smarter and connecting merchants with the future.

4. POS Systems Acheive New API Integrations

The age of value add-ons is influencing how POS solution ecosystems evolve. This means software providers are becoming better connected with their partners. You don’t have to look far in the POS world to see how this occurs.

Typically, this consolidation of software with the POS solution as node now in the cloud can be characterized into a few major branches:

  • Payments
  • Loyalty
  • Analytics, Reporting, and Artificial Intelligence
  • Accounting
  • Email Marketing
  • Employee Scheduling and Management
  • Inventory and Warehouse Management
  • Niche Specialty Solutions (such as for Hospitality, Restaurant, e-Commerce, etc.)

Key takeaway: POS solutions have native strengths and weaknesses, but will also have third-party integration strengths and weaknesses

5. Mobile Payments and Cashless Solutions

While major smart phone companies are developing next-gen biometric and other post NFC solutions, the mobile wallet has not caught on with consumers as fast as some anticipated. Mobile wallet users have so many choices, and are aware that mobile payments can lead to more impulse purchases. While mobile payments are increasing with PayPal, and there’s buzz around Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet, offering multiple payment options is still a good idea for the merchant.

Key takeaway: Mobile wallet adoption is slow but is a benefit for retailers to offer.

6. Rise of Cloud Computing and Cloud Point of Sale

The legacy point of sale system is dying as POS systems and peripherals in the cloud continue to gain impressive traction. This is leading to not only more accessible and flexible solutions, like having your POS on an iPad, it’s leading to a decrease in total spend that independent merchants must make for even more robust and connected solutions.

For value-added resellers (VARs), this means a proliferation of new potential products that integrate software and hardware in new ways. Cloud POS systems are also aggressively connecting to niche and specialty stores and increasingly to omnichannel solutions.

This means restaurant POS, e-Commerce, and an emphasis on data and analytics for brick-and-mortar retailers is on the swift incline. Leading POS solutions are also battling it out in important new global territories expanding their reach and acquiring companies to improve their value propositions

Cloud POS has come a long way in the last decade, and with the integration of technology, IoT, and machine learning, it is going to reach even higher in the decade ahead.

Key takeaway: The Cloud POS is leading to a very dynamic ecosystem of innovation around software customized to each industry.

There’s no right or wrong POS system, but finding the right point of sale solution and add-on apps for your business can help your business grow. Read the full article from Star Cloud Services here.

Small Business Tips: How to Create Engaging Video Content

Video content is quickly becoming a favorite among marketers everywhere. For small businesses, creating video content is a great way to stand out from the competition and offer a fun and easily consumable way to market your products or services to your customers. Creating and promoting video content is also becoming easier and more feasible for small businesses with tight budgets through social media.

Let’s first take a look at the impact that video content is having on social media marketing (compliments of Buffer).

  • Online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020
  • Over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook everyday
  • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube everyday
  • More than 100 million hours of how-to YouTube videos were watched in North America in the first five months of 2015
  • 60% of marketers used videos in their social media marketing in 2016

Now that we’ve seen how video content has rapidly grown over the past few years and is now dominating social media marketing, let’s talk about how you can leverage video content for your business. There are tons of different videos that can be made on many different topics, using many different styles. For now, we’re going to focus on three types on videos that you can leverage for your small business: promotional, “how-to”, and testimonials.

1. Promotional Videos

A promotional video can be used to tell your customer about your products or services. When creating a promotional video, it’s important to focus on your target audience, the overall message, and the benefits that your product or service will provide to your audience. Are you looking to create brand awareness? Will your video educate your customers? Do you want to increase sales on that particular product? A promotional video can be used to help meet all of these goals, but make sure you have a specific goal in mind before you begin your storyboard.

You’ll also want to consider the duration and the tone of the video when planning out your promotional video. Promotional pieces tend to be shorter in length in order to keep the audience engaged throughout the entire video, and will need something to immediately grab the viewer’s attention.

2. “How-to” Videos

Fun fact: YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google. Visual learners skip the “how to” Google search and go straight to YouTube so they can complete a task as they watch someone else do it in a video. These “how-to” or “support” videos can be extremely helpful for any business. And the number one rule to creating a killer “how-to” video – keep it simple!

When creating a how-to video, it is acceptable to make the video longer in length so you can explain the full process of the task, set-up, or tips at hand. With this said, you want to make sure that the video explains that task in the simplest way possible. Good how-to videos focus on 4 simple things: the problem, the solution, how it works, and a call to action.

It’s important to also remember that how-to videos are not just limited to businesses that sell electronics or tech-savvy companies. A how-to video can be as simple as “How To Tie a Neck-Tie” or as complex as “How To Play Beethoven’s 5th Symphony” or “How To Build a PC”. Take some time to discover what you can teach your customers, and use your skills and knowledge to create an enlightening how-to video for that process.

3. Customer Testimonial Videos

You know that you run an awesome business offering even more awesome products and services, but convincing other people of that is the difficult part. This is why customer testimonials are extremely important to any small business. Video testimonials are becoming a huge marketing tool for SMB. In fact, customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%.

Again, while customer testimonials can be longer than your average promotional video, you want to be sure to keep it simple. Focus on the solution, the benefits, and the results that the customer got out of using your product or service. Another important thing to consider is that testimonials appeal to customers because of their authenticity. Try ditching the script and having a casual conversation with your customer about the product or solution. This tends to create a more relatable video for the audience, and helps the customer feel comfortable on camera.

Small businesses can leverage video content in many different ways. It’s important to define your video goals and decide which type of video content will bring the best results to your business.

Click here to view Star Micronics’ full YouTube video library.