The Benefits of Self-Service Kiosks: 4 Ways Self-Service Kiosks Help Small Businesses Succeed

This is the first part of “The Benefits of Self-Service Kiosks,” a three-part blog series about the many ways self-service kiosk technology is improving businesses, communities, the customer experience, and more.

Operating a small business can be tough. In a world where online and big box retailers permeate the market, small businesses need to work even harder to differentiate themselves, stay profitable, and create a customer experience that has shoppers coming back for more.

Designated holidays like National Small Business Week and Small Business Saturday certainly help small businesses stand out, but how can business owners make a lasting impression on a daily basis? The answer lies at the customer’s fingertips: self-service kiosks!

Self-service kiosks are attractive, highly visible, and user-friendly. But on top of that, they can help small businesses boost profits, optimize efficiency, and more. Let’s take a dive into the many ways self-service kiosks help small businesses not just survive, but thrive.

1. Kiosks Make Money

Let’s be real: when it comes to staying afloat in the world of small business, money is key. Implementing a self-service kiosk (or two, or three) can cause small businesses to reap big rewards: when ordering through kiosks, consumers spend 30% more!  One big reason for this is that it’s easier for customers to customize their orders using a kiosk, and it’s also an intuitive, private way for them to browse other products. Long story short, kiosks are proven to drive increased revenue per transaction which can make or break a small business.

2. Kiosks Boost Efficiency

Shoppers expect businesses to run like a well-oiled machine, and if they don’t, they are likely to choose a different place to spend their money next time. Kiosks can help you avoid this pitfall by boosting the efficiency of every order. By providing a flexible way to maximize throughput, kiosks shift the bottleneck from the front-of the house (i.e. how fast to get orders into the system) to the back of the house (i.e. how much food can be made). Hello, line-busting!

3. Kiosks Enhance Loyalty Program Onboarding

Simply put, customers love loyalty programs – and small businesses should, too. In fact, it’s estimated that loyalty program members spend 12-18% more per year than non-loyalty members. Small businesses can have their self-service kiosk ask customers at the time of purchase to sign up for a loyalty program, and may feel more comfortable providing personal information on a kiosk versus out loud to another person. Additionally, if the loyalty program lives in a mobile wallet application, customers may be able to seamlessly provide sign-up information by transferring it from their smart device to the kiosk.

And why not promote that loyalty program on the receipt that prints out of the kiosk? With Star Micronics PromoPRNT, small businesses can create custom promotions from templates that are delivered in the most valuable place: on the receipt, in the customer’s hand.

4. Kiosks Optimize Operations

On top of making money, kiosks also help you save it by positively impacting operational costs. It’s expensive to run a small business: in the restaurant world alone, labor costs can reach 30-40%. Self-service kiosks can help soften this expense by providing an easy way for business owners to efficiently manage headcount costs and reduce unnecessary operational costs.

In a Nutshell: Kiosks Increase Return on Investment

At the end of the day, return on investment (ROI) is the most important factor when it comes to self-service kiosks. Due to upside from increased revenue, throughput, and reduced costs, ROI on self-service kiosk implementation is unmatched. And the proof is in the numbers: when shopping for a kiosk solution, many providers are able to deliver examples from businesses similar to yours that show the dramatic ROI impact kiosks can make.

How to Adopt Self-Service Kiosk Technology

Any way you slice it, self-service kiosks are huge: food and beverage revenue generated from kiosks alone is expected to top $310 million by 2021. But, of course, to be adopted by a small business, price and ease-of-implementation is critical.

Fortunately, inexpensive, easy-to-use kiosk solutions exist on the market. Take, for example, Star Micronics’ partner, Flash Order. Flash Order provides all of the benefits associated with kiosks, while being very affordable and easy for small businesses to implement. With a reasonably priced, easy-to-use kiosk implementation, it’s never been easier for small businesses to positively impact their ROI – and prosper.

Are you a kiosk manufacturer looking to find the right kiosk printer to fit your solution? In this FREE eBook, discover 8 Features Kiosk Manufacturers Should Look for When Choosing Kiosk Printing Mechanisms!

5 “Must-Haves” for Stadium Point of Sale

When visiting a large sports stadium or entertainment arena, you often find long lines for food and merchandise during half-time or intermissions. The people attending these professional sports games or concerts paid good money to see their team play or favorite artist perform, and they don’t want to miss a thing. This puts a huge amount of pressure on the employees working the concession stands or merchandise shops to complete the customer’s order as quickly as possible. A lot of this workflow plays into the stadium point of sale (POS) system being used. Here are 5 “must-haves” when looking for a POS system for sports and entertainment venues.

1. Intuitive Software

First and foremost, you will need an easy-to-use and intuitive stadium POS software. Depending on how often a team plays in the stadium or how many performances take place per year, stadium employees tend to work more sporadically compared to your standard restaurant or retail employee. This means that stadiums need a POS system that concession and merchandise shop employees can pick up quickly with little to no training.

2. Back-of-House Support

While people rarely see what goes on behind the scenes at stadium concession stands, it’s important to make sure that your POS manages the back-of-house just as well as it manages your transactions. From inventory management, to menu management, to fan data, back-end analytics can help you to make sure you never run out of stock during a big event. By having access to analytics that can be reported day-to-day, you can make sure that your concession menu appeals to your audience for a particular game or event.

3. Varied Payment Support

When you have a packed stadium with a mile-long line of customers, you simply do not have time to fuss over payment methods. In a high-pressure, high-volume environment such as sport and entertainment stadiums, you need to get your customers through the line as quickly as possible.

One of the best ways to ensure a quick and seamless transaction is to make sure your POS system supports a multitude of payment methods. Now, with more people adopting mobile wallets, you will see more and more retailers and concession stands accepting NFC payments at major sports arenas. Make sure that when your customer is set with their order and ready to pay, that whatever form of payment they choose will be accepted at your point of sale.

4. Mobile Ordering

One ordering method that’s rapidly gaining popularity in sports entertainment properties is mobile ordering. During major sports games and concerts, people don’t want to leave their seat and risk missing a big play or their favorite song. Many stadiums are adopting a mobile ordering method where fans can order food or drinks on their mobile device and either have it delivered to their seat, or go grab it when it is ready. Fans don’t have to miss a thing and concession employees don’t have to deal with a line of angry customers. It’s a win for everyone!

5. Reliable Hardware

In fast-paced environments such as stadium concession stands and merchandise shops, employees don’t have time to deal with flaky hardware. They need their receipt printers to print and their cash drawers to open every time a transaction is completed, and they need hardware that will withstand the high volume of transactions. Appetize and Star Micronics have teamed up to create a complete POS solution for stadiums that combines intuitive software and reliable hardware peripherals.

The Appetize-Star solution includes the Star Micronics TSP654IIBi, a reliable, high-performance Bluetooth-connected desktop receipt printer, as well as the Star Micronics SM-S230i, a lightweight portable receipt printer that’s Apple MFi-certified. You can find the Appetize and Star Micronics bundled POS solutions in major sports and live entertainment locations including the Golden 1 Center (home of the Sacramento Kings), U.S. Bank Stadium (home of the Minnesota Vikings), over 40 Live Nation properties, and many more.

Featured Star Stadium Solutions

Contact Star Micronics today to learn more about how we create streamlined point of sale solutions for stadiums and beyond!

How to Create the Perfect POS Solution for Your Fitness Center

A fitness center is a challenging environment for point of sale (POS) systems. There are staff schedules, members to track, classes to register for, and different areas of the facility that may need retail POS functionalities but don’t have the counter space to spare.

Owners and managers who want to create the perfect POS solution for their fitness center can build it with the right components and applications. There are a wide range of technologies and POS hardware solutions that can help you elevate your fitness center to the next level.

Scheduling and Membership Management

Downloadable applications for scheduling and member management are popular because they require little upfront investment, update frequently, and typically utilize the hardware you already own. This affordable alternative to traditional, on-premises POS systems keep information secure and make it easy to create schedules and maintain client records, even when you’re not on site.

However, many web-based applications have printer connectivity issues.  A platform-agnostic print data relaying application is a popular technology solution used to remedy this problem. You’ll want to find a low-cost, versatile solution to cloud/web-based printing that allows you to generate high-quality printing for your fitness center with professional, crisp graphics.

Solutions for Off-Site or Outdoor Fitness Classes

Fitness center owners who host off-site events or outdoor fitness classes need to have receipt-printing capability for customers paying for retail products, classes or services. For this reason, you’ll want to find a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled printer. These portable receipt printers can range from compact models to more robust options, and at price points that suit any budget.  Choose a portable receipt printer that is small, light, and can easily be carried outdoors and used to print invoices, labels, receipts, and other documentation.

Space-Saving, Cost-Effective Solutions

Fitness centers aren’t cash-heavy operations, so many gym owners don’t feel the need to shell out big bucks for a full POS setup. But for a select few areas that handle cash — for example, a juice bar, babysitting, or when paying for guests or special services — an ergonomic solution for tablet POS that combines a cash drawer and printer peripheral is the ideal solution. Select a unit with a fully integrated design that works with the tablet or mobile device of your choice, so you can have a mobile solution without compromising space, quality, or functionality.

The Star Micronics mPOP is the perfect modern, compact point of sale solution.

Quick and Easy Connections

Fitness center owners who choose popular iPad and iPhone POS solutions have demanded increasingly mobile and connected receipt printer solutions. Since gyms tend to be heavily soundproofed with electronic equipment or other signal blocking materials, you may struggle with connectivity.

The first AirPrint-certified receipt printer, the TSP654II.

Choose a printing solution from a line of printers that was created to take care of connectivity problems. For example, consider the TSP654II. This printer was the first-ever AirPrint® certified receipt printer on the market, meaning it prints via iOS devices easily and without driver installation. On top of its compatibility, the TSP654II also is capable of printing 60 receipts per minute and features swappable interfaces.

The Star Micronics mC-Printers are another great option for a connected gym. The sleek, cube-shaped printers are available in 2″ and 3″ models, and boast Bluetooth, USB, Lightning, LAN, and CloudPRNT connectivity options.

Gym owners looking for printing solutions for fitness centers should explore Star Micronics’ lineup of hardware and technology applications. Whether you are looking to add printer connectivity, mobile POS, or off-site functionality, Star has a variety of options that will help you add the capabilities you need at an affordable price.

Built-In Marketing Tools

Printing receipts is great, but why not kill two birds with one stone and market to your fitness center members at the same time? Star Micronics PromoPRNT, a value-added, cloud-based marketing tool, lets you do just that. PromoPRNT uses existing Star receipt printers to print custom promotions directly on the bottom of receipts., You can easily log on to the cloud dashboard and design promotions from templates, boosting customer engagement and retention. Promotions can advertise sales, special events, loyalty programs, and much more. Learn more or sign up today!

Need more guidance building out your ideal fitness center point of sale system? Contact us today!

What is the Future of Receipt Printers?

Receipt printers play an integral part in the customer experience. Every transaction at the point of sale (POS) generates a receipt; these paper (or digital) takeaways are proofs of purchase and potentially so much more. A good receipt printer enables store owners and managers to print coupons, raise brand awareness, and issue customer surveys. As receipt printer technology progresses, you can expect even more functionality, higher quality printing, and faster connections.

What does the future hold for receipt printers? These six features will become even more important as businesses evolve.

1. Front-Loading Paper Design

Front-loading printers are designed for easy loading and low maintenance. It’s inevitable that cashiers will need to change the printer paper at least once while there’s a line waiting. Quick access for a paper swap can shave time off the wait, which keeps the line moving.

2. Multiple Connectivity Options

Consumers expect always-on connectivity for uninterrupted service, so don’t limit yourself. Purchasing a printer that has multiple connectivity choices, including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, traditional USB, lightning USB, Bluetooth, and cloudPRNT, allows for versatile, reliable use throughout retail locations. Mobile checkouts are mainstays in busy retail operations, so multiple connectivity choices will ensure your receipt printer is always up and running.

3. Easy Software Integration

The days of downloading multiple drivers, clicking around to integrate printers and software, getting frustrated and finally calling tech support is over. No one has time to sit on the phone to troubleshoot problems, so expect to see plug and play setups, with everything you need right in one box and online.

4. Hardy and Compact, but Still High-End and Stylish

Bigger isn’t better, and in the future, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a receipt printer that takes up a lot of real estate on a checkout counter. Instead, expect stylish, compact designs, even for printers that are tough enough to work in any modern environment.

5. Thermal Printing

A thermal receipt printer is quiet and uses a printhead to apply heat that transfers characters and images to receipt paper and labels. Thermal receipt printers have a higher resolution than impact printers, so they print crisp, clear images. For merchants that want a nicer looking receipt, or print coupons and marketing information, thermal printers may be the right choice.

6. Value-Added Services Included

You want more control from your POS system over services that were previously managed through third-party companies, such as surveys, promotions, coupons, and even digital signage. Star Cloud Services was created to bring next-generation customer engagement solutions to retailers by transforming their receipt printers into cloud-connected devices. This gives business owners total control over the what and how of communicating with their customer base.

Star Cloud Services include:

  • AllReceipts: a free cloud-based, digital receipt application that allows customers to store and manage receipts on their mobile devices
  • PromoPRNT/Promotion creator: a simple coupon creator that designs promotions for receipts
  • PromoPRNT/scheduler: schedule the duration of a coupon campaign by selecting a time, date, and printer for each coupon/promotion
  • Customer surveys: a direct line of communication with customers, printed on the receipt, to get their feedback on how your business and products are performing

Business owners shopping for a new receipt printer shouldn’t choose one that’s obsolete before it’s even out of the box. Look for a printer that is a front-loading device for fast paper changes, and one with myriad connectivity options for mobility and flexibility. Don’t let your receipt printer limit you — choose one that includes value-added services that gives you control over how and when you communicate with customers.

The Future of Printing with Star

4 Indicators That It’s Time to Upgrade Your Salon POS System

Salons and spas require special point of sale (POS) features like walk-in management, appointment schedulers, customer relationship management (CRM), loyalty functions, reminders, online booking, payment processing and more. It doesn’t matter if you own a hair or nail salon, blow-out bar or a full-service spa, salon POS systems aren’t a “one and done” investment—they require upgrades to keep up with your industry and new client demands and expectations.

Do you have a fast salon POS system that engages clients at checkout, tracks clients via CRM, accepts any form of payment, facilitates loyalty programs and accepts appointments online? If they can’t do these things and extra seconds are adding up to longer wait times, then it’s time for an upgrade. Here are four signs it’s time for a refresh:

1. Hardware is outdated and no longer compatible with new software

New functionalities designed to enhance customer service become available regularly, so your hardware needs to support these platforms. Watch for the signs that a hardware failure is imminent:  crashing, inexplicable component malfunctions, or software running slowly. Don’t wait until the system is offline, which means work slowdowns, data loss and longer wait times. Obviously, if your hardware is so old it can’t run new software, it’s time for a replacement. Set a regular schedule for evaluating salon POS system hardware to make sure all components are running well.

2. Your existing system is not scalable

If growth and additional locations is your goal, it’s important to have a scalable system that allows you to easily add terminals and locations to your network. Scalability is also important if you need more checkouts temporarily, because once the terminal is added to the network, the device will be running the same solution with the same data accessibility. If your current solution isn’t scalable or you’ve been putting it off because it’s a hassle, it’s time for an upgrade.

3. Your POS system doesn’t provide actionable data and analytics

A salon POS system should be a workhorse that makes your life easier. A few clicks should give you comprehensive reports that allow you to view sales, customer information, appointments and inventory data in real time. These systems also include a variety of reporting options that give you comprehensive intelligence by the shift, hour, day, week, month or year. Without this information, it’s impossible to optimize employee scheduling, see what products are in stock, what’s selling out and what’s ready for markdown. Without actionable data and analytics, you can’t make changes that will improve your business or maximize efficiency.

4. Customer service is less than stellar

Constantly apologizing to customers because “the system is slow today” or making them wait to checkout is a poor finish to a relaxing massage, exciting new haircut or a fresh manicure. Your salon POS system should empower you to give each client personalized attention by tracking customer purchases and preferences and offering coupons, based on their buying habits. It should also facilitate loyalty programs, marketing initiatives and engage the customer during their final moments in the salon. However, if a fast (or slow, depending on your hardware) checkout is all you have to offer before your clients leave, then it’s time for an upgrade.

Even though there are other business changes you’d probably prefer to finance, your salon POS system needs regular TLC. In fact, not keeping your POS system current will cost you money and time and customer service will suffer. Don’t get caught off guard—monitor your salon POS system for signs of failure and address them right away.

Retail Stores are Boosting In-Store Customer Experiences with Receipts

 

At Star Micronics, we’ve been innovating POS Tech customer engagement solutions for years as an innovation hub for POS.

Recently we have solved how retail stores can achieve digital receipts and micro receipts that engage customers, and this year we’re rolling out PromoPRNT, a seamless feature that allows stores to easily reach their customers with POS Ads in-store on receipts.

 

A Star printer at Souvlaki George, 2017.

PromoPRNT as an Innovative Location Marketing Tool

  • PromoPRNT is a new service available to Star Micronics Cloud (formerly called Star Cloud Services) registered members that empowers retailers to create printed promotions in addition to receipts.
  • PromoPRNT is a suite of tools that allow small businesses to easily reach their customers with the creation, design, and execution of location marketing campaigns on receipts.
  • Ultimately, with these PromoPRNT tools, retailers will be able to deliver incentives directly to shopper’s hands at a fraction of the cost of other marketing tools.

Mobile In-Store is Catching On

According to a survey by iVend Retail’s 2018 Global Path to Purchase, 60.1% of shoppers said they used their smartphones in brick-and-mortar stores. This means mobile is an important touch-point for physical retailers and stores to elevate the customer experience. In 2017, Star created a seamless way for customers to upload their receipts to their smartphones called AllReceipts.

Customer-centric apps allow retailers to boost their sales. A good example of this is how Starbucks has created a seamless way to do mobile ordering.

 

Photo Credit: Kate Taylor, Business Insider.

 

Deployment 2.0 of Starbucks reworks the workflow of employees to better optimize their time that caters to the new mobile ordering feature at Starbucks locations, with a dedicated place for customers to pick up their orders.

Starbucks insists that digital sales are a key for its future and displays one of the top in-app experiences of any global retailer. Dedicated employees for mobile ordering tasks means Starbucks have sped up their customer-experience to enable mobile ordering to become an ever-increasing portion of their sales.

In-Store Mobile Experience Trends

Shoppers who receive special offers via mobile while they are inside physical stores show higher conversion rates than in other customer journeys, according to Retail Dive. Mobile is also increasingly the starting place for research into products and retail locations that are local. At Star, we recognize the importance of both digital and physical cues for shoppers and thus have dedicated digital receipts and location marketing suite of services that is an omnichannel solution to better engage the modern shopper.

 

 

Digital Signage that combines Mobile Loyalty with Digital Displays

With more consumers using mobile at physical retail locations, Star also has another new program that leverages POS Digital Signage, with digital signage partner, Sophatar.

Sophatar® POS Signage is another new service available to retailers who are registered Star Micronics Cloud users, for a low monthly subscription cost. Combining POS Data, with digital signage screens, the solution is able to increase the basket size of the most popular selling items at hospitality, grocery, retail, and apparel boutique locations.

In this article, we have covered how retailers and brick-and-mortar small businesses can easily combine mobile, location-marketing receipt tech and POS digital signage to create a better in-store customer experience that increases retail sales.

 

3 Things Cannabis Retailers Need to Know About Cannabis Receipt Regulations

Running a marijuana dispensary requires in-depth knowledge of the local laws and meticulous recordkeeping including retaining copies of each cannabis receipt.

Running a medical or retail marijuana dispensary requires in-depth knowledge of the local laws and meticulous recordkeeping including retaining copies of each cannabis receipt. As of April 2017, 29 states have legalized medical marijuana, which can be used to treat several illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, inflammation, pain, mental disorders and substance abuse, among others. In addition, 9 states have legalized recreational use. That means cannabis retailers are legally operating in more than half of the U.S.

Their businesses can be very different, however, depending on the states in which they are located.  One difference is startup costs. For example, annual licensing fees range from $3,000 in Colorado to $75,000 Connecticut. States may also require a minimum of liquid capital, some places as high as $250,000, so it’s imperative you protect your investment with perfect recordkeeping of every transaction. Retaining a copy of every cannabis receipt ensures your dispensary follows state and local laws and protects your business in the event of an audit.

What should the receipt include? How can you prove your business is operating in compliance with state and local laws? The cannabis receipt provided to the customer proves you are collecting all the relevant taxes and dispensing marijuana legally.

If you are considering opening a marijuana dispensary or you want to make sure your business is operating in compliance with your state’s laws and make sure you are correctly formatting and recording cannabis receipts, your point of sale (POS) system is the perfect tool to manage this requirement.

1. Check the Specific Requirements in Your State

Understand your state’s tax laws to ensure you are charging the correct amount. For example, in California, retailers charge a consumer-excise and sales tax, while in Colorado, cannabis is subject to different taxation, whether it’s classified as medical or retail marijuana. It’s important to stay up to date on changing tax laws to ensure you are collecting the correct percentage. Failure to comply could subject your business to fines and added scrutiny.

 2. Manage Copies of Cannabis Receipts

Use your POS system to send a backup copy of each cannabis receipt to the cloud or store the backup offsite. If you are issuing receipts with carbon copy paper, staple or clip the receipts together. It’s also a good idea to keep important financial records, licensing information and other sensitive financial paperwork in a secure place outside of the dispensary. Retain all records for a minimum of three years in case of an audit.

 3. Include All Required Information on the Cannabis Receipt

Although the exact information you include will depend on your state’s laws, most receipts will include store name and address, the category of taxable products or product category name/product name. Receipts should also include a code or other identifier for the product’s taxes. There may be additional requirements, however. In Oregon, it’s required to list the sale subtotal before tax, amount of state tax, local tax, total sale amount and identifying receipt number. A disclaimer stating that receipts are required for customer tax disputes is also required.

The cannabis industry is promising for dispensaries, but it is tightly regulated by the states where marijuana has been legalized. Give your business the best chance for compliance and success with a POS system equipped with state-of-the-art printers to meet regulatory requirements while providing convenient customer experiences at the checkout.

Contact the experts at Star to learn more about ideal solutions for the cannabis industry.

The Ultimate Guide to Building Your iOS POS System

iOS POS systems look sharp sitting on a counter or mounted on a wall, so it’s no wonder why retailers and restaurants are drawn to these sleek setups for their establishments. Whether you need fixed terminals or a mobile solution, an iOS POS system can fulfill all your needs.

 Are you in the market for a new iOS POS system? If so, keep these points in mind while you’re shopping around.

1. iOS Device

If you’re using an iPad or other iOS technology you already own, make sure it has the most recent update that the hardware will support. If you have older devices, make absolutely sure the POS software you want to run supports your hardware — before you invest in it. A better strategy is to choose your POS software first — find a solution that offers features and functionality you need to run your business — then select the hardware. All iPad POS solutions aren’t the same. Look for options such as clock in/out, split checks, payments, scheduling and inventory tracking that can help you run your business.

2. iPad Enclosure

Although iOS POS systems are feature-rich, they aren’t ruggedized devices. An iPad or iTouch is a consumer-grade device, nowhere near tough enough for retail and restaurant workplaces. iOS devices that get wet or hot will have functionality issues, so protecting your technology with a specialized enclosure is imperative to staying online. iPads left unattended are targets for loss and theft, so opt for an enclosure that allows you to secure the device to a wall or counter. Some enclosures can be fitted to stands that flip and swivel into a customer-facing position, so shoppers can sign for credit card transactions or add a tip.

3. Peripherals

iOS POS systems differ from more traditional POS solutions when it comes to peripherals. If you need a 2D barcode scanner, scale integration, receipt printer and customer display, make sure your solution has options to keep everything connected. Printing receipts from an iOS POS system can present a particular challenge for merchants. A great solution is Star Micronics’ TSP654II AirPrint, the First Receipt Printer on the market with AirPrint™ Certification. TSP654II printers allow merchants to print from their iOS devices without installing specific printer drivers.

4. Aesthetic Appeal

One of the iPad’s main selling points is the tablet’s stylish design. If you selected an iOS POS system, chances are you care about how it looks. Don’t cover up a glossy iPad with a clunky enclosure or pair it with nondescript peripherals. Make sure your enclosure and peripherals enhance the iOS POS system and are as chic as their surroundings. Star Micronics offers mPOP™, Mobile Point of Purchase, the first hybrid for tablet POS that combines a cash drawer and printer peripheral. The unit’s ergonomic but fully integrated design works with the tablet or mobile device of your choice, so you can have a mobile solution without compromising space, quality design or functionality.

iOS POS systems can be a great choice for your store or restaurant if you strategically design a system that will meet your business’ needs, withstand a harsh commercial environment and complement your brand with the look you want. Work with an experienced POS solution provider to help you incorporate those elements into your solution — and more— to help you get the most out of your investment.

5 Benefits of Digital Signage Solutions

As you plan your strategy, consider how your business could be reaping the benefits of digital signage.

Smart marketing includes the goal of making the best investment of precious advertising dollars on activities that people will see. As you plan your strategy, consider how your business could be reaping the benefits of digital signage.

Shopping habits have certainly changed as consumers are more technology-oriented and sophisticated than ever. Digital content is now a primary trusted source when shoppers are considering a new purchase or searching for the best deal. Digital content affects where we choose to shop and what to buy, and smart business owners are adapting their operations to find the most effective ways to communicate with their customers.

Effective communication is one of the primary benefits of digital signage. It is an interactive gateway that allows businesses to communicate directly with customers, engaging them while they are in the store. This strategy pays off—according to Independent Retailer, digital signage can increase overall sales volume by nearly 32%. Additional benefits of digital signage include:

1. Attention-Grabbing Displays

Consider this: digital signage is one of the most customizable forms of publicity and a virtual guarantee that the message will be seen by its target audience. Merchants may use the same digital interface to influence customer behavior by creating eye-catching displays and showcasing brands or services, which will ultimately drive sales and boost profit margins.

2. Dynamic, Contextual Content Updates

Digital signage is easy to control and can be modified quickly, allowing it to be incorporated into virtually any environment. Depending on the setup and service you choose, you may be able to store your own graphics and update the signage as often as you want. This is especially useful during holiday shopping time, or if you want to promote doorbusters and flash sales during certain hours.

You can take this a step further by implementing a digital signage solution that incorporates an AI element to determine your most popular sales items and which items are commonly sold together. Or, perhaps to identify items that have seen a sudden drop in sales. Such a solution would then display these items, promoting them to in-store customers to increase sales and boost profits.

3. Cost-Effective

Another one of the benefits of digital signage is that it provides an additional revenue stream for enterprising business owners. After the system is installed, retailers or restaurateurs may opt to pay off their original investment by selling advertising space to companies or brands that will complement the store’s operations. These ads elevate the status of certain brands, services or suppliers that want to raise brand awareness and raise their numbers in the store, target market or sales territory.

Moreover, making information available via digital messaging helps businesses reduce the cost of traditional campaigns, by saving money on printing, distribution and waste materials that will be discarded after the promotion has ended.

4. Boosts Impulse Purchase Sales

Digital signage is a valuable tool for businesses because it conveys important messages, in-store specials, promotions or advertising directly to patrons during a critical moment—while they are contemplating making a purchase. This will help increase revenues by giving shoppers an extra push to complete a transaction by displaying information about impulse buys, promotions and other specials.\

5. Increases In-Store Digital/Social Media Presence

Business owners should use social networks to increase brand awareness, drive repeat business, generate new customers and address customer satisfaction issues. By providing additional information directly to customers via digital signage, stores can generate additional sales revenue, recruit new people for their loyalty programs and even display digital endorsements from Facebook, Twitter and other websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and more.

As technology seeps into every aspect of our lives, it seems like a natural progression to incorporate the benefits of digital signage into your business strategy to enhance customer experiences—and store revenues. Digital signage is an effective marketing tool that’s worth exploring: Businesses that have incorporated this electronic medium are already harnessing its power and using it to boost traffic and increase sales, boost traffic.

4 Must-Have POS Solutions to Increase Customer Engagement

If you’re not using point of sale (POS) solutions to communicate with and engage your customers, there’s a good chance they’re going to go elsewhere.

The retail landscape is extremely crowded, and your customers have a wide variety of choices when deciding where to shop. A blowout sale isn’t enough to draw foot traffic—it’s important to ensure that each person who visits your business feels appreciated and engaged. If you’re not using point of sale (POS) solutions to communicate with and engage your customers, there’s a good chance they’re going to go elsewhere.

Of all the channels available to consumers, brick-and-mortar stores offer the instant gratification and service experience that shoppers crave. Make sure their time in your shop sets your business apart from the competition. A high-level of attention can turn first-time shoppers into repeat customers that may even evolve into brand ambassadors who refer their family and friends to your business.

POS solutions offer you several tools to help increase customer engagement and make visitors feel valued.

  1. Digital signage

Digital signage is an interactive gateway that allows a business to communicate directly with a consumer, engaging them while they are contemplating making a purchase in-store. This electronic medium is a highly customizable form of publicity and a virtual guarantee that your target audience will see your message.

Many POS solutions have digital signage functionality built-in, so users can change messages frequently. This user-friendly platform will help increase revenues by displaying information about impulse buys, promotions and other specials to customers.

Sophatar Digital POS Signage is the next generation of intelligent customer-facing displays. See how Sophatar can help increase your customers’ basket size in this interview with Bart DeCanne at NRF 2018.

  1. Custom coupon offers and promotions

Shoppers love saving money and receiving free items or services. Coupons give your customers an incentive to try a new product or make a repeat purchase. Merchants can use their POS solutions to reduce the cost of printing coupons and digital campaigns by generating offers in-store. Printing coupons on customer receipts allow you to reach a higher percentage of shoppers for a fraction of the cost of a print or digital campaign. Many POS solutions are equipped with templates of coupons, discounts and offers to customize receipts. Printing a coupon on the receipt means you can be sure the customer receives it.

  1. Digital receipts

Shoppers are rarely able to keep track of all the receipts they receive, but these proofs of purchase are often required to make a return. Returns are less frustrating for shoppers who can locate the receipt in their email, saving them the trouble of rooting around in bags, pockets or cars. The ability to make hassle-free returns moves customer service lines faster and increases the chance that people will shop at your store again.

Offering digital receipts gives businesses the opportunity to collect customers’ email addresses, which can also be used to email coupons, promotional information, and other announcements.

  1. Customer engagement surveys

Take advantage of every opportunity to engage your customers. A customer service survey is a direct channel of communication that gives you an inside look at how your business and products are performing. Typically, customers are offered an incentive like a discount coupon, free item or a chance to be entered in a contest for completing the survey. These surveys should be included on the receipt because it shows you care about a customer’s experience.

Engaging every shopper who comes into your store will go a long way toward ensuring they will return. POS solutions can make engaging customers easier and equip you with tried and true methods of capturing attention and offering personalized service that will help build customer loyalty.