How Digital Receipts Can Boost Omnichannel Retail

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In the world of small to medium businesses (SMBs) in retail, we hear the word “omnichannel” being used quite often. Retailers are working to improve and grow their omnichannel strategy in order to better satisfy and engage with their customers. Today, there are so many channels for purchasing, it is important for SMB retail stores, especially brick and mortar, to utilize these channels to increase their engagement with customers and customer loyalty.

First, what does omnichannel mean?

Omnichannel is a multi-channel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a brick and mortar store.

Now the question is  – what does this mean for SMB retailers?

The answer seems very obvious – expand business by creating buying opportunities for customers through multiple channels. In order to do that and see an actual ROI from creating purchasing options from all channels, retailers will need to also develop a strategy for using these channels to increase customer loyalty and omnichannel marketing opportunities. Luckily, the two go hand-in-hand.

One important thing to consider about omnichannel retail is that you are not only giving your customers the option to choose which channel to purchase from, but you are giving them the flexibility of seamlessly moving between channels during their purchasing. For example, your customer finds the perfect dress for her friend’s wedding, but you do not have her size in stock. You will be receiving another shipment at the end of the week with her size included, but she is afraid that she may not make it back to the store in time. By offering the option to purchase through multiple channels, the customer can simply go online and pre-order the dress right from her smartphone, making it a win-win for both parties involved.

The tricky part here becomes marketing through the different channels in which customers are purchasing. Should you be investing in more digital advertisement to target your online buyers, or do in-store shoppers still make up the bulk of your total customers?

An easy way to bridge the gap between the digital channel and your brick and mortar store is to offer the option of digital receipts to customers. By offering the AllReceipts™ digital receipt application to in-store shoppers, you are automatically gaining access into their digital world, making the customer more likely to make future purchases through an alternative channel such as an online desktop or mobile device.

Since Star Cloud Services offers AllReceipts™ in-app marketing tools like Engage NOW and Flip, retailers can increase their omnichannel marketing strategies without any additional cost, and by targeting customers through all channels.

Star Cloud Services’ digital receipt solutions works to connect the retailer to the customer through IoT technology and uses the smartphone application, AllReceipts™, to help retailers engage with their customers through all purchasing channels, whether in-store or online.

With the growing adoption of mobile payments and mobile wallets, digital receipts are going to continue to grow in the retail space. By offering multi-channel purchasing options and using omnichannel marketing strategies, such as digital receipt applications, to engage with customers, you are opening your retail business to endless possibilities.

To learn more about Star Cloud Services and AllReceipts™, please visit www.starcloudservices.com.

 

Bar POS: 4 Things to Help You Be Successful

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Owning and managing a bar is not all fun and games, but takes a lot of time and hard work. With drink specials, pricing, food menus, and of course, money to worry about, it leaves little time to consider how you will manage the point of sale system of your bar. For bars and restaurants in particular, the point of sale and cash management is extremely important. In a fast-paced environment with a high cash flow, you will want a point of sale that is easy to use for employees and will help you connect with your customers. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a POS for your bar or restaurant.

Easy-to-Use Software

Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants tend to be very hectic and fast-paced working environments for bartenders and servers. This means you will want a point-of-sale system that is easy to navigate for both management and employees. Being a bartender in a busy bar often means having to take multiple drink orders at one time and remembering the separate tabs for each. A point of sale system that allows your employees to easily manage tabs, split items, and enter happy hour and other other drink specials will cut down on the amount of time spent entering orders, and will increase the time spent preparing drinks and communicating with customers.

You will also want a system that allows employees to print customer tabs and receipts, or send food orders directly to a kitchen printer.

Cash Management

When managing a bar, you will typically have a higher amount of cash coming in compared to your standard restaurant. For this, you will want to ensure that your point of sale system has the capabilities to handle large amounts of cash. You may also want to consider a proximity-based solution for your cash drawer to ensure that your cash drawer is always safe while bartenders are restocking liquor or grabbing food orders from the kitchen.

Ambiance

In a bar, ambiance is extremely important! People decide to go out to a bar to relax after a long day of work, or to have fun with a group of friends. You want to make sure that your bar makes guests feel welcome and comfortable no matter their reason for being there. With that, be sure to consider the look and feel of your point of sale. When sitting at the bar, customers will see your bartender running tabs, printing receipts, and interacting with the point of sale. Invest in a POS that will display a smooth transaction between the employees and the POS system, and one that jibes with the ambiance of your bar. If you’re the type of bar to have wooden stool seats and dart boards lining the walls, then a standard cash drawer and printer with a tablet should do the job. If your bar radiates a more modern and trendy look, you may want to go for a sleek, all-in-one POS system, such as the Star mPOP™.

Customer Engagement

As a bartender, engaging with customers is important for two reasons: you get better tips, and customers end up spending more money on drinks. When customers feel comfortable talking to and engaging with their bartender, they are more likely to stay longer and purchase more drinks while they cat. But what about after the customer leaves? It’s just as important to engage with customers after their visit as it is to during their visit in order to ensure they continue coming back. There are a number of customer engagement options offered by POS providers with just one being digital receipts.

Offering a digital receipt option to your customer customers can easily allow you to track how often a customer frequents your bar and their go-to drink order. This then allows you to offer your customer coupons or inform them of promotions using those digital receipts. Star’s AllReceipts™ digital receipt solution offers engagement tools, such as Engage NOW and Flip, providing customers with coupons and discounts using the back of the digital receipts, or can direct them straight to your website. AllReceipts™ also offers device management options and data facilitation tools to make sure you get to most out of your digital receipt solution.

In your bar, a POS can be so much more than just a place to manage cash and input orders, but it can help you grow your business!

A Beginner’s Guide to POS Software and Systems

POS Buyer's Guide

Investing in a point of sale (POS) system is one of the best things you can do for your business, but with so many options on the market, how do you determine which POS hardware and software best suit your business needs and your budget?

This guide can help you get on the right path to finding the perfect POS system for your business.

Step 1: Define Business Needs

No one wants to waste time and money on a POS solution that lacks needed capabilities, or has unnecessary features that increase the price. To avoid purchasing a system that isn’t right for your business, you need to identify the specific challenges that you will need your new POS system to address.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Is business suffering because customers must often wait in long lines at the POS?
  • Do shoppers frequently leave your establishment empty-handed because you don’t have the merchandise they want?
  • Are you spending too much time managing employees or trying to find out why your sales volume often doesn’t jibe with your inventory levels?
  • Do you want to attract new customers?

Once you have clearly identified your business needs, research which POS functions address them. The list of functions you need your new system to provide will help narrow the field of choices when you shop for a new POS system.

Step 2: Set a Budget 

Decide how much your business can afford to spend on a POS system. By most accounts, the average industry investment in POS systems total 2 to 3 percent of retailers’ annual volume, and 1 to 1.5 percent of restaurant operators’ annual volume. Consider ongoing costs, such as software maintenance/updates, hardware maintenance, and technical support.

Step 3: Shop for Software

As you consider your options, you will find that not every software solution is compatible with all POS hardware. Selecting your software first will prevent you from being limited in functionality.

There are different types of software you can choose from:

  • Native. Native POS software is installed on your POS hardware. It is easier to customize then cloud-based software.
  • Cloud-based software (Software-as-as-Service, or SaaS). In a SaaS model, software is delivered via the cloud, and you pay for it on a monthly subscription basis. Also, cloud-based software can be accessed from anywhere there is an Internet connection, giving you enhanced visibility into, and control over your operation. Customizing this type of software may be difficult.
  • Hybrid software. This software can be run online in the cloud or offline.

Step 4: Find Compatible Hardware

The POS software you choose will dictate the POS hardware that you can use. In many cases, however, there will still be a number of options to choose from. Some of the choices you must make are related to how your employees will use the system. For example:

  • What is the preferred input method? Some operators favor keyboards or a scanner interface for POS data input, while others prefer a touchscreen interface that facilitates faster data input and easier training for new employees.
  • Will you use mobile POS? POS functionality on a tablet or other mobile device can give you line-busting, in aisle assist, and pay-at-the-table capabilities that can greatly enhance customer experiences. Your options include adding mobile POS to a traditional, stationary system, or using mobile POS alone.
  • Which peripherals are needed? You need to consider printers, cash drawers, PIN pads, payment card readers, and barcode scanners, and select the model that best suits your needs.
  • Will you accept all forms of payment? Make sure your new system gives your customers the ability to pay by their preferred method. Now that the U.S. is migrating toward EMV payments, all new POS systems should have the ability to accept chip card payments. Failure to do so can result in bearing liability for fraudulent payment card changes. Also consider trends that indicate emerging payment types. Mobile wallet use, for example, is gaining ground. To accept payments of this type, you’ll need POS solutions that include near field communications (NFC) technology.
  • Which terminal design do you prefer? A traditional POS terminal design may work well for your business. If space at the checkout counter is limited, however, you may want to consider a more ergonomic solution with a smaller footprint, such as an all-in-one configuration that incorporates basic peripherals (e.g., printers, cash drawers, credit card readers, PIN pads, and customer displays) or a tablet POS system. You will also find options that are aesthetically pleasing and don’t detract from a store’s dècor or restaurant’s ambiance.

For more information on choosing a POS system, download our POS Software and Systems Buyer’s Guide eBook.

RSPA RetailNOW 2016 Recap

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RSPA RetailNOW 2016 has just come to an end and Star Micronics would like to thank all of those who visited our RetailNOW 2016 booth! We always enjoy connecting with customers and partners, and forming new relationships at industry events. In case you missed it, here are a few highlights from the show.

Our mPOP™, combination cash drawer and printer peripheral stole the show! As our mobile point of purchase solution continues to gain popularity among the POS industry, we have more and more partners integrating software support for the mPOP. The peripheral was displayed in Star’s booth with partners such as Quetzal, Hike POS, retailcloud, and Keystroke. The mPOP was also spotted in a number of partner booths including BlueStar, ScanSource, MS Cash Drawer, eMobilePOS, Pioneer Solutions, iVend Retail, Logivision, TeamSable, Anywhere Commerce, and more!

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AllReceipts®, Star’s free digital receipt application, supported by Star Cloud Services (SCS) continues to be a hot topic at RSPA RetailNOW. Star Cloud Services showcased their services along with AllReceipts in Star Micronics’ booth. VARs were lining up to register for SCS right there. Star and SCS are continuing this promotion to make it possible to register more resellers for Star Cloud Services solutions. The idea being to encourage resellers to implement the AllReceipts digital receipt solution into their retailers’ stores who are already using Star printers.

“We are proud to announce that we will offer a $30 per printer promotion for VARs who enable retailers to connect their printers to deliver AllReceipts digital receipts and other services offered by SCS to their customers”

 – David Salisbury, VP of Sales & Marketing for Star Cloud Services

For more information on the reseller promotion, please contact Pete diCoio – pdicoio@starmicronics.com.

Our own David Salisbury from Star Cloud Services participated in The Future of mPOS panel at RetailNOW 2016. David, along with other experts from the industry, discussed where mobile point of sale is headed and how the large shift to digital will help to shape the future of mPOS.

Star thanks everyone again for taking the time to visit us and learn more about our point of sale peripherals at RetailNOW 2016. We look forward to seeing you all next year!