5 Irresistible Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas

It may feel like we just celebrated the holidays, but already another holiday is upon us: Valentine’s Day!  Historically, the romantic holiday has been a big money maker – in fact, the National Retail Federation has predicted that U.S. consumers will spend a near-record $19.6 billion this year on Valentine’s Day alone. So how can retailers take advantage of this? Today, we have five irresistible Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for your small business:

A PromoPRNT Two-for-One Example

Promote Two-for-One Deals

What better time to promote a two-for-one deal than Valentine’s Day? If your business is in the hospitality industry, consider offering two meals, or two desserts, for the price of one. If you are a boutique shop, consider offering two accessories for the price of one. You could also simply offer a specific discount, like 14% off a customer’s entire purchase (to honor February 14). To ensure your customers have plenty of time to become aware of and plan for your sale, promote it at least one week ahead of time. A great way to practice Valentine’s Day marketing on your current shoppers is to promote the sale on your printed receipts.

Leverage Seasonal Branding

No one can ignore well-planned seasonal branding. Whether you choose to do your branding in-store or online, creating a festive vibe can get your shoppers in the mood to spend on their loved ones (or treat themselves). Examples of online branding could include Valentine’s Day-themed social media posts and email campaigns. In-store branding can include everything from decorating with flowers and balloons, to offering gift wrapping services and having your staff wear pink or red outfits. Don’t forget to showcase any holiday-themed items at the front of your store.

An Example of Promoting Your Gift Guide via PromoPRNT

Take Advantage of Pop Culture

Thanks to the television show Parks and Recreation, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on more days than just February 14! The hit show coined “Galentine’s Day” during its second season in February 2010. Since then, many women have started to celebrate the holiday, which focuses on the love they have for their female friends, on February 13 each year. Don’t believe us? A quick Google search of the term, “Galentine’s Day” yields a whopping 1.5 million results, including news articles, gift guides, party tips, and more. Another example of a Valentine’s Day-related holiday (that isn’t Valentine’s Day) is Singles Awareness Day, which takes place annually on February 15. So many holidays to take advantage of in your Valentine’s Day marketing strategy!

Create a Gift Guide

You know your product (or service) best. There’s no one better to provide a Valentine’s Day gift guide! You can create a guide that is tailored to your specific products and allows you to clearly pitch your selling points. You can even create “his and hers” versions, and versions specific to someone’s interest (e.g. cooking or fashion). Gift guides are a great way to flex your omnichannel marketing muscle – offer your guides in person, online, or both by pointing your customers to your online store via a printed receipt.

Source: Buzzfeed

Send Valentine’s Day Cards

Last, but not least, is a tried-and-true favorite: Valentine’s Day cards. Whether you deliver them in person beforehand with a coupon attached, or deliver them digitally day-of (via social media or email), an eye-catching greeting card is sure to capture your shoppers’ attention. Valentine’s Day cards are also a great way to show your brand’s personality or sense of humor – click here to check out some inspirational “punny” cards.

PromoPRNT, Star Micronics’ value-add tool, can help you with Valentine’s Day marketing – using your existing receipt printer! Click here to learn more and get promoting today.

The Cannabis Industry: What Lies Ahead in 2019

As more states and countries continue to legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use, one thing is clear: the cannabis industry is here to stay – and it’s rapidly growing. This new industry doesn’t just affect cannabis users – it affects countless markets. So, what’s to come in 2019, in terms of cannabis? Here are four key predictions for this year:

Cannabis-Infused Products Will Thrive

If you only think of dry leaf marijuana when you imagine cannabis, you are missing out on a ton of the market’s hottest products. Non-leaf CBD-infused items have a very high profit margin. Derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, but without any psychoactive properties, hemp products infused with CBD are a great way to introduce cannabis to a larger crowd. Cannabis-infused beverages, in particular, are slated to be a huge hit in 2019, but other infused products include oils, beauty and skin care products, pain relief ointments, chocolates, nuts, gummies – and even dog treats. These alternative forms of cannabis are expected to spread across North America, thanks to the recently passed U.S. Farm Bill which legalized industrial hemp. Many of these products (minus the dog treats) also come in psychoactive THC-infused forms, and are experiencing widespread popularity, thanks to medical and recreational marijuana bills being passed in several states, as well as Canada’s recent legalization of recreational usage.

The Key Players Will Emerge

Until now, it’s been tricky figuring out who the top players will be in the cannabis industry. However, with consumer spending expected to jump 40% this year, those who are executing successful cannabis business plans should get a big boost this year as sales continue to grow. Strategy in this rapidly-expanding market will be key, and by the end of the year (or before), we should have a good idea of who the top dogs are. However, because interstate commerce is denied and it is currently difficult to create any sort of national brand, we will likely not see any nationwide dominators – yet. In the meantime, it will be of utmost importance for cannabis retailers to successfully promote themselves and maintain a tight business plan.

Legalization Will Continue

2018 was a big year for legalization – in fact, it was arguably the biggest one yet – and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. At least six more countries are slated to legalize medicinal marijuana usage, and at least one is expected to legalize recreational use. In terms of the U.S., at least three states have plans to legalize medicinal or recreational usage, with Illinois, New Jersey, and New York being the biggest possibilities. Even more traditionally-conservative states like Texas could change their current marijuana regulations.

(More) Research Will Be Conducted

Cannabis research has already been taking place, but it will pick up speed even more this year. Because of the more open regulatory environment, more research will be conducted, which is expected to spark even more innovation within the cannabis industry. The Farm Bill has opened the CBD market this year, and will support overall marijuana consumption, meaning more knowledge will soon be uncovered on each specific cannabinoid’s (the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers) powers. For example, therapeutic uses include treating and managing obesity, anorexia, emesis, pain, multiple sclerosis, neuroprotection, inflammation, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, asthma, cardiovascular disorders, glaucoma, cancer, and more.

The cannabis industry is booming. Are you looking to cash in on cannabis point of sale? Download our e-book now!

Why You Should Create Instagram Stories for Your Store

The influence that social media has in today’s society is undeniable. Life is now about documenting every experience, whether it’s a trip to a new country or what you ate for dinner. Instagram Stories allows Instagram users to share multiple experiences through images and videos for a 24-hour period until they disappear (very much like a Snapchat story).

As Instagram Stories has grown to be more popular, it is becoming an important tool to help businesses increase brand awareness and engage with their customers. But first thing’s first – how do you create Stories, and why should you use them?

How To Create An Instagram Story

Although Instagram Stories has existed since 2016, here is a brief tutorial to get you started:

  1. Open your store’s Instagram account and tap either the camera icon or your store’s logo in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Next, either:
    1. Take a picture or video, or
    2. Choose an existing picture or video from your phone’s gallery.
  3. Upload your picture/video to your Story by tapping “Your Story” in the bottom left corner.

Once uploaded, your image will remain on your Story for 24 hours.

Why Use Instagram Stories?

Over 400 million people use Instagram Stories. That’s a lot of people, and it’s more than double the number of Snapchat users! One huge benefit of using Stories is that because you can add public hashtags to your Stories, even users who do not follow your business can discover your content.

Besides making your business more discoverable, Instagram Stories now allows the use of outbound links, meaning you can include links to your website or blog. Stories is also an excellent way to build your business’ community by tagging partners and brand influencers.

Making seasonal content a focus can be very successful on Instagram. Source: pexels.com

Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Your Business

As you’ve now learned, Instagram Stories is a great way to reach your target audience, no matter what industry you are in. In fact, agencies report 2-3 times more engagement with Stories than with regular content. With a plethora of features just one tap away, Instagram Stories can be a valuable part of any small business marketing strategy. Here are some ideas to help get you started:

  • Use location tags to inform users where your store is located
  • Start a poll to get valuable customer feedback
  • Use Stories to highlight product teasers
  • Use the tagging feature to give partner and/or customer shout outs
  • Leverage the “Swipe Up to Read” feature (if you qualify) to give quick access to your website or blog
  • Post motivational quotes
  • Share client success stories

If you’re looking for even more inspiration, click here to learn about eight content tricks used by top brands, from sharing an experience to focusing on seasonal content.

How One Fashion Store Made the Most of Instagram Stories

Utilizing online marketing to drive in-store sales is a huge part of the omnichannel retail experience, and Instagram Stories is a great place to do just that. For example, one footwear and fashion company which recently opened retail stores hoped to raise brand awareness among young women, its target audience. The company created eye-catching Stories video ads, and the Insta-effort really paid off: the ads boosted brand awareness by 11 points among young women! Click here to learn more about how the store leveraged Instagram Stories, or click here for even more Stories ideas.

Good luck and happy “storytelling!”

NRF 2019 Recap: The Point of Sale of the Future

Last week, we had the pleasure of attending and exhibiting at NRF 2019 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The Star family was set up at booth #3601, and also took some time to explore the show floor and learn even more about the latest trends in retail. Here’s a look back at what we demonstrated in our booth, as well as some of the key trends we noticed around the show.

The Star Booth

Our booth this year was one of our best yet! We chose to create a mock shopping mall, complete with a candy store, apparel boutique, and even a sports stadium. In our “mall,” we demonstrated:

The mCollection:

One highlight of our NRF booth this year was our latest line of mPOS products, the mCollection. Built with the latest technology, the mCollection features sleek and modern printers, scales, and peripherals to offer the full hardware solution, for a variety of industries. The mCollection now also features its very own stand that unifies all of the peripherals and even hides all clunky cables. The lineup’s clean, sophisticated look (and high-end scales) lends itself perfectly to cannabis and confectionery markets, so that’s what we demonstrated this year at NRF!

PromoPRNT:

In-store marketing and customer retention are always hot topics that retail brands want to improve upon. To assist, Star created PromoPRNT, a value-added tool that allows retailers to engage and reengage customers where it matters the most – in the store! By offering printed promotions and information, you can encourage loyalty among customers, with the printer you already use. To educate NRF visitors on PromoPRNT, we set up an “In-Store Marketing” booth, and it was a hit.

The pioneer of PromoPRNT, David Salisbury.

Our Brand-New Coreless Rolls:

On Monday, January 14, we released new coreless paper rolls! It was great timing, and we were able to show off our eco- and budget-friendly rolls at Retail’s Big Show.

Our new coreless paper rolls.

Our Partners:

We were very happy to host some of our best partners in our booth this year. On the software/point of sale side, we demonstrated with Appetize, Apptizer, Evoke, Mad Mobile, SuiteRetail, Vend, and Veras Retail. And when it comes to hardware, we proudly displayed ArmorActive, BOX IT, Elo, Heckler Design, Innovative, Mimo Monitors, nClose, and SpacePole.

A kiosk example from our partner, Evoke.

Trends from Around the Show

Self-Service Kiosks:

Self-service kiosk technology was everywhere at NRF! The need for kiosk printers is quickly expanding as consumers prefer a more fast-paced experience. Star offers printing solutions to fit any kiosk – whether it be for ATMs, lottery, self-ordering, or retail.

Smart Displays:

Smart displays that incorporate dynamic data were another trend we spotted at NRF. An interesting example of this was a demo featuring electronic grocery shelf labels that displayed featured recipes, country of origin, competitors’ prices, and more.

Experiential Retail:

From a bar demo where you created your own drink, to a session focused on architecting an immersive customer environment, experiential retail was a hot NRF topic. Today’s consumers are looking for an authentic, hands-on shopping experience, and that trend was very clear this year at the show.

We had a blast at NRF 2019 and can’t wait for NRF 2020!

NUSHOP Online Ordering System Partners with Star to Revolutionize SMB Restaurants and Retailers

When it comes to point of sale (POS) and online ordering technology, it can be difficult for small and medium sized businesses (SMB) to compete with the resources of large chain competitors. Gone are the days where it was enough to have an in-store POS system. In today’s omnichannel marketplace, it’s imperative for restaurants and retailers to have a website. Not only that, but consumers have come to expect the convenience of online ordering. For SMBs, the costs (not to mention the time) to keep POS and online ordering technologies functioning seamlessly are dizzying.

This is precisely what motivated Ali Bakhtiari, a software engineer, and former restaurant chain owner, to establish NUSHOP Online Ordering System. Now a global provider of managed, cloud-based POS and online ordering systems, NUSHOP offers the functionalities of enterprise grade technology at an affordability that’s ideal for SMBs.

The Situation

NUSHOP offers the latest functionalities of POS systems and online ordering used by corporate competitors, to businesses of any size at a fraction of the cost. With modules for both the food industry and any kind of retail business, NUSHOP sets up a tablet POS system and website for under $1,000 and then provides software and maintenance support of both for only $100 per month. This removes the burden of management from store owners, who now can focus more time and energy in running the business instead of running technology.

The NUSHOP’s cloud-based system automatically processes online orders, sending them directly to both your business’ in-store POS and order printer. The system can support an unlimited number of printers and cash registers for both single and multiple store locations. Consumers can select options for pick-up or delivery, and the system automatically sends the orders to the ideal location for delivery based on zip code. Best of all, store owners have peace of mind knowing that the entire system can be restored in a matter of minutes should a major issue arise.

For NUSHOP’s system to provide greatest efficiency and profitability for its customers, the right printing technology would be essential.

The Solution

The NUSHOP team partnered with Star Micronics for the technology that would provide the sophistication and processing power required to complement their streamlined POS and online ordering software. This included Star Micronics’s CloudPRNT, as well as two printer models, the TSP650II and TSP700, and two cash register models, the CD3-1313 and CD3-1616.

CloudPRNT allows for cloud-connected control of peripherals enabling printers and cash drawers to speak directly with NUSHOP’s server, saving time, increasing efficiency in order processing, and significantly decreasing the chance of error.

 

Both the TSP650II and TSP700 printer models have the ultra-high class-leading reliability and performance ideal for high-volume retail and restaurant establishments. With lighting fast print speeds of 60 RPM (receipts per minute), rugged construction, and thermal printing that withstands damage from heat and spills, the Star Micronics printers provided all the functionalities necessary for dependability and enhanced workflows.

Star Micronics’ printers were coupled with the cost effective and durable cash drawer models CD3-1313 and CD3-1616. The CD3 series integrates seamlessly into retail and restaurant environments, particularly where counter space is at a premium, and enhances the appearance of your POS terminal.

Click here to download the full success story.

Dale Carnegie Training Recap: Our Top 3 Takeaways

Star Micronics family.

A part of the Star family who visited Arizona.

Last month, we had the pleasure of visiting sunny Scottsdale, Arizona to attend a Dale Carnegie training that taught us some of the best tips and tricks to sell mPOS in today’s market. As we all know, technologies are always changing, and it’s a good idea to refresh your skillset in order to do your best and offer your best to your customers. Although we manufacture POS solutions, there were three key takeaways we received from the Dale Carnegie training that are also relevant for ISVs, resellers, and SMBs alike. Read on to get some good business tips, no matter what industry you’re in.

1. Don’t Just Hear – Listen

Our first takeaway sounds easy, but is often overlooked. When engaging with colleagues and customers (and friends and loved ones, too) don’t just hear what they’re saying – truly listen. Paying attention and really listening to what the other person is saying will not only improve your relationship, but also help you remember the conversation more fully.

The beautiful landscaping at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa.

The beautiful landscaping at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa.

2. Mix It Up

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have a lot on your plate. To avoid things slipping through the cracks, mix up your tasks! Categorize your to-do list by things that already happened that you need to work on (responding to older emails), items that pop up in the present (a report that is due today), and things you need to deliver on in the future (writing a draft that’s due next week). Then, choose a task to begin with, and work one-by-one and alternate the type of task as you go. This will help you keep a variety of tasks in the foreground of your mind.

Dale Carnegie training.

Learning about the importance of mental attitudes.

3. Choose the Right Attitude

Last but not least, is a good lesson in developing a healthy, productive perspective. Per Dale Carnegie:

“It isn’t what you have, who you are, where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it. Two people may be in the same place, doing the same thing; both may have about an equal amount of money and prestige – and yet one may be miserable and the other happy. Why? Because of different mental attitudes.”

Thanks again, Dale Carnegie of Arizona, for having us and teaching us your ways!

The 5 Best Star Receipt Printers

Star Micronics has a full line of printers for every type of work environment, ranging from solutions for aesthetically-minded users looking for a stylish printer, to printers for merchants who need a more durable option that can withstand temperature fluctuations, liquids, dust, and heavy use. Star’s receipt printer solutions include thermal printers, impact printers and, for business owners looking for a more complete solution to help streamline promotional efforts, Star allows you to create receipts, coupons, promotional messages, and surveys.

Do you know which Star receipt printer is the best for your business? There are several top options suited for a variety of retail, restaurant, and hospitality locations.

1. mC-Print2

mC-Print2 / mC-Print3

Star Micronics’ mC-Print2 is a smart choice for both the front- and back-of-the-house operations for businesses using traditional PC point of sale (POS) systems, tablet solutions, and web-based POS.

The mC-Print 2 is the mCollection’s 2-inch front-exit thermal printer, which is designed for easy paper loading and maintenance, ensuring minimal downtime in the fast-paced retail environment. Its ergonomic size is ideal for maximizing precious counter space and its five interfaces and multiple connectivity options deliver ultimate flexibility. The mC-Print2 also features Print Flat Technology, ensuring each receipt comes out flat with no paper curl.

2. mC-Print3

The mc-Print3 has a stylish cube design that was created for busy and space-conscious restaurateurs and retailers. The mC-Print3 includes a protected control board and IPX2 splash-proof rating to guard against spills and particles that fly in even the most well-run kitchens and tough retail environments.

Its 3-inch compact footprint maximizes counter space and its ultra-fast 250 mm/second printing speed ensures customers are checked out and orders are printed as quickly as possible, safeguarding the customer experience. With multiple connectivity options, access to Star CloudPRNT and USB peripherals, such as cash drawer, scanner, and customer display, the mC-Print3 is well equipped to handle any restaurant or retail application. Just like the mC-Print2, the mC-Print3 also includes Print Flat Technology, so that every print job comes out flat – even if tightly wound coreless paper is used.

mPOP

3. mPOP™ Multifunction System

The mPOP™, Mobile Point of Purchase, is the first hybrid for tablet POS that combines a cash drawer and a 2-inch, “drop in and print” paper loading printer. This compact Star receipt printer is an ideal solution for tablet- and mobile device-based POS systems.

The mPOP’s ergonomic, fully integrated design works with any tablet or mobile device. It’s sleek look and compact design is perfect for specialty retail environments, such as boutiques or salons.  It delivers the polished appearance these environments call for without compromising features, space, design quality, or functionality.

4. Star Micronics TSP100III

TSP100

Star’s TSP100III line of printers was created to address connectivity problems that plague business owners. The TSP100IIIU delivers a simple and extremely reliable tether connection for iOS devices via USB connectivity. This sleekly designed Star receipt printer is spotlight-ready and looks beautiful sitting on a counter in both restaurant and retail environments.

The TSP100III thermal printer is easy to set up and compatible with Star Micronics Cloud Services, granting users access to a suite of value added services, including PromoPRNT. PromoPRNT offers retailers and restaurateurs the opportunity to create and schedule custom promotions printed on customer receipts, increasing customer retention and bolstering the bottom line.

5. SP700 Impact Printer

SP700

The back of the house is where heat, spills, particles, and steam can damage a printer to the point where it stops working. The SP700 impact printer is the answer to those concerns. This fast, two-color printer is built to withstand heat and humidity while offering clear and crisp type, clamshell design for easy paper loading, and an embedded power supply for space efficiency. The SP700 supports iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch®, in addition to Android™ and Windows devices.

Star Micronics’ printer lineup complements any device and includes options for every type of business and environment, even where space is limited. The company’s roster of printers includes thermal units for clear printing, impact printers for harsh work stations, and hardware with functional, compact footprints. Merchants looking for a new Star receipt printer can visit www.starmicronics.com for more information.

Looking Ahead: What to Expect from Star at NRF 2019

It’s that time of year again – it’s the final countdown to NRF 2019! Commonly referred to as Retail’s Big Show, NRF attracts thousands of retail professionals from across the globe. Built on the idea that retail should be an experience, not just an establishment, the show will highlight the latest and greatest retail trends and technologies.

So what does Star have in store for NRF 2019? A lot! We’ll be setting up an emulated shopping mall in booth #3601, where we’ll demonstrate our latest mobile point of sale (mPOS) product line, the mCollection, which includes printers, scales, and more. We’ll also be showing off our value-add promotional tool, PromoPRNT. Need more incentive to stop by? We’ll be raffling off Apple AirPods, and we’re hosting a champagne and dessert-themed networking party!

Here’s a closer look at what we’ll be displaying at our booth:

The mCollection

When you look around our booth at NRF 2019, you will certainly see our mCollection! Our latest mPOS series is designed to be sleek, compact in size, and the easiest to set up in the industry. The mCollection features a reliable and remarkable user experience, and multiple connectivity options (Bluetooth, CloudPRNT, Ethernet, and Lightning USB and traditional USB). Stop by our booth to discover the ways the mCollection is transforming industries like retail, hospitality, cannabis, and more.

PromoPRNT

The fun doesn’t stop there. We’ll also be demonstrating PromoPRNT, our value-add promotional tool, in our booth. PromoPRNT allows retailers of all sizes to create and manage custom printed receipt promotions from anywhere, increasing customer retention and personalizing the shopping experience. Learn more about PromoPRNT in this video:

Our Partners

Our partners make Star shine. Here are the ones we’ll be highlighting in our booth this year:

Appetize is a POS, inventory and analytics company transforming how enterprises manage and process guest transactions at scale. With an omni-channel approach, Appetize makes front of house transactions more intuitive through fixed, self-serve and handheld form factors, while providing robust kitchen and back office tools. Appetize will be demonstrated on Star’s TSP654IIBTi and SM-230i.

 

With Apptizer, any merchant can create the mobile storefront their business truly deserves in minutes, with no coding or technical knowledge needed. Apptizer also can be integrated with payment gateways, POS and e-commerce platforms as a mobile storefront, giving more agility and accessibility to bring in a mobile-first experience to retailers and SMBs. Apptizer will be demonstrated on Star’s TSP100IIIUSB.

 

Evoke helps brands engage with their customers in creative, innovative, dynamic and rewarding ways. They look after the entire process from start to finish and work closely with clients to understand their brand and their customers. Evoke will be demonstrated on Star’s TSP700IIU.

 

Mad Mobile is a mobile technology leader with a strong reputation for innovation and delivery. They are enabling major retailers to re-invent the store experience, where 90% of sales still occur, and bridge the digital gap between online and in-store. Mad Mobile will be demonstrated on Star’s SM-L300.

 

SuiteRetail enables retailers to better serve their customers. With SuitePOS, they have successfully made the in-store experience for employees and customers simple and efficient. In addition, payment transactions flow seamlessly, out-of-the-box, to sophisticated back-office ERP solutions such as NetSuite and Salesforce. SuiteRetail will be demonstrated on Star’s mC-Print3.

 

Vend is cloud-based POS and retail management software that lets retailers run their business in-store, online, and via mobile. Vend’s solution includes POS software, inventory management, e-commerce, customer loyalty, and reporting analytics. Vend will be demonstrated on Star’s mC-Print2 / mC-Print3.

 

 

Veras Retail creates in-store interactions between customers and retailers that are engaging, fun, profitable, and repeatable. They feel that a consumer’s relationship with a retailer (and thus their long-term impact to the retailer’s bottom line) is primarily forged in the in-store interactions with the products, the store staff, and the store’s physical environment. Veras Retail will be demonstrated on Star’s mC-Print3.

 

 

See you soon at NRF 2019!

Star’s Top 5 Blog Posts of 2018

Happy New Year! To celebrate the beginning of 2019, we’re taking a look back at our top five blog posts that were published in 2018. But don’t be confused: just because these were our top blog posts last year, they certainly still have value today and beyond.

Read on to discover everything from how to implement an iOS POS system and how blockchain can optimize retail stores, to the benefits of digital signage and the importance of properly managing cannabis receipts. Happy reading!

1. 3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Apple POS System with AirPrint Receipt Printers

 

 

Apple POS systems are extremely popular in many industries including retail, restaurant, hospitality and more – and that’s sure to remain the same in 2019. But how can you get the most out of your iOS POS setup? This blog post dives into three ways to do just that with AirPrint, from printing receipts directly from your device to controlling your cash drawer remotely.

2. 5 Benefits of Digital Signage Solutions

Digital signage displays do more than just look good – they’re a great way to boost your business’ marketing strategy! Discover the many benefits digital signage can offer you, including grabbing customers’ attention, providing dynamic updates, being cost-effective, boosting impulse purchases, and increasing in-store digital and social media presence.

3. The Ultimate Guide to Building Your iOS POS System

 

Another iOS POS post reached the top of our ranks this year – can you tell the systems are popular? In this blog post, we walk you through how exactly to set up the ideal iOS POS system, from choosing the right device to creating an aesthetic appeal … and everything in between!

4. 3 Things Cannabis Retailers Need to Know About Cannabis Receipt Regulations

 

Not surprisingly, one of our top posts in 2018 was about cannabis. Also not surprising is the fact that cannabis retailers need to pay close attention to cannabis receipt regulations, which is what this post is all about. There are three main things you need to stay on top of if you’re a marijuana retailer: adhering to your state’s requirements, managing your cannabis receipts, and including all of the required information on the receipts. Read on!

5. The Future of Blockchain in Retail

Blockchain, or an incorruptible digital ledger, is here to stay. It might sound a little intimidating, but in this post we explore how retailers small and large can use blockchain technology to improve the consumer experience, streamline the supply chain, and optimize payments and contracts.

Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!

6 Top Retail Trends Coming in 2019

It’s December, which means a new year is right around the corner. Along with the big ball drop and lots of confetti, the New Year is also bringing a slew of retail trends. From multi-channel nurturing to the continuing growth of artificial intelligence, let’s take a deeper dive into the top 5 retail trends coming in 2019.

1. Experiential Retail

This first retail trend probably comes as no surprise: today’s consumers want to feel more engaged. Simply remodeling your store isn’t enough – you need to create an experience. Some examples of this include “pop-ups” that feature your best products (even if they aren’t for sale), in-store classes and workshops, incorporating your brand’s apps in brick and mortar stores, and more.

Speaking of apps, there are many types to choose from. Some features of today’s retail apps include:

  • Showing product aisle location, price, current stock, specs, reviews, etc.
  • Shopping list creation and coupon access
  • Augmented reality (AR) functionality, enabling customers to try on clothes virtually, see what products would look like in their home, visit “invisible” pop-up shops, etc.

Using apps will not only make your store (and brand) more fun – it will benefit your customers, too. According to a recent study, over 60% of consumers say AR could improve their daily lives, including how they shop. By implementing AR into your retail marketing strategy, you’ll stay on top of the trend that’s predicted to attract 1 billion users by 2020 – and grow to $90 billion in size.

2. Multi-Channel Selling

Don’t let the changing retail environment scare you – there’s certainly still a place for brick and mortar. But the key to your success involves more than just the physical storefront: you must appeal to customers online, as well.

It’s not just speculation – it’s been shown that consumers embracing multi-channel shopping is a true retail trend. For example, on Black Friday this year, 54% of shoppers reported shopping both online and in physical stores. The time to funnel effort into your e-commerce approach (from your website to your social media strategy) is now.

3. Innovative mPOS Systems

Next year, point of sale (POS) systems will continue expanding further into businesses’ marketing and customer engagement strategies. Mobile point of sale (mPOS) systems are a perfect example of that transition. Because mPOS systems are deployed on mobile devices, they enable employees to bring the transaction to the customer, decreasing wait times and greatly improving the

Star’s mCollection can help you bring the transaction to the customer.

shopping experience. mPOS (and some traditional POS) can also enhance your brand’s marketing by allowing you to communicate and schedule coupons, promotions, job openings, and more via your receipt printers – all from one centralized device.

4. Corporate Social Responsibility

In this day and age, consumers don’t want to shop just anywhere – they want to purchase high-quality products from companies that care. Topics such as food waste and plastic pollution are making headlines left and right, and it’s more important than ever to practice what you preach. From sourcing locally to encouraging volunteerism, there are many ways to embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) that can better the world – and align with your business objectives. Some examples of the business benefits of implementing CSR initiatives include improved brand reputation, operational cost savings, increased employee productivity, and a greater ability to attract and retain talent.

5. Data Driven Workflows

Data is king. If you build strategic data collection into your business model, you can then leverage it to improve everything from sales and marketing, to operations and customer service.

What does this look like? Big box retailers such as Walmart are using machine learning to optimize home delivery routes, and the technology could also be used for stocking and inventory, marketing and product placement, theft monitoring and more.

6. Artificial Intelligence

While the peak of artificial intelligence (AI) usage may still be a couple of years out, there’s no denying that AI is a growing trend – and a quickly growing trend, at that. Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are being utilized more and more, and it’s predicted that AI will follow a path similar to mobile shopping (starting off slow, then becoming a major channel for purchasing). This year consumers might just ask their virtual assistant for the forecast, but next year they could be asking to buy your product.

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