3 Ways to Market Your Small Business for Less

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When you’re an independent retailer or a small business owner, marketing funds tend to be limited. Not only are you already competing with the big franchise retailers, but reaching and engaging with your target audience can be especially difficult because you may not have the tools and budget available to develop a massive marketing campaign like your competitors.

All is not lost! Big box or even online retail marketing will not kill your business just yet. We now have the technology right at our finger tips to reach and connect with large audiences for little, to no cost. Here are three easy ways to market your small business and engage with customers without breaking the bank!

1. Social Media

Social Media is crucial for any small business. According to Digital Trends, “people in the U.S. check their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts a staggering 17 times a day, meaning at least once every waking hour.” With people spending that much time on social media, it is almost a guaranteed way to gain business exposure.

Since there are now so many different social media platforms available with almost all of them offering a free sign up, social media is an excellent strategy for engaging with customers and building a larger audience for your business. Social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are great for engaging with people because it allows your customers to tag you in Tweets and Instagram photos, or post directly to your wall on your business Facebook page. These social media platforms are also effective at encouraging potential shoppers to visit your website or even better, initiating conversation with customers because it allows you to integrate “call-to-actions” such as clickable links, photos, polls, lead-generation cards, and more right into your posts. This is especially great for retail because you can create social media posts about a special product, and then lead shoppers right to the website to purchase; and it’s free!

If you’re struggling to gain a good social media following, remember to communicate with your customers that you are active on social media. Utilize your social media pages to advertise sales, contests, and special promotions. If people have a reason to follow you, they will!

2. Create Content

When owning a small business, whether that be a clothing store, coffee shop, or salon, it can be tough to compete with big name franchises that already have such a large base of loyal customers. How can you help your customers be confident in the fact that your coffee tastes better than Starbucks, or that you have the scoop on the next big fashion trends that Macy’s has yet to start selling? Create content!

Owning a website or blog for your business is the best way to communicate your knowledge with customers and increase the amount of customers visiting your store. Your website or social media page is usually the first thing a person looks to when taking interest in your new business or product, so why not fill them with your abundance of knowledge for what you do?

Creating content or having a blog is a great way to communicate what’s new and trendy with your customers. For example, if you own a clothing boutique, starting a fashion blog is the perfect way to draw consumers to your website. It shows shoppers that your store not only has the best new clothes and accessories, but that your store knows what fashion trends are going to be the ‘next big thing’.

3. Digital Receipts

It seems so simple, right? Every customer is going to receive a receipt at the point of purchase. Now think about how you can use those receipts as a marketing tool!

We’ve all seen the surveys that big box retailers tell you to fill out at the bottom of the receipt to win a $500 shopping spree, and we’ve all ignored them and thrown those receipts away at one point or another. Today, with your shoppers armed with smart devices, you have a better chance at engaging with customers by going digital. There are a number of digital receipt solutions, but Star Micronics’ AllReceipts® offers a free, convenient digital receipt app that is beneficial for retailers and for shoppers.

While many digital receipt solutions require the customer to give up personal information such as their email address or phone number, AllReceipts allows the retailer to directly connect with the customer without needing any of their personal information. AllReceipts has features and tools such as Customer Survey, Flip, and Engage NOW that allow retailers to receive instant feedback from shoppers, provide their customers with promotions and coupons by utilizing the back side of the receipt, and encourage customers to visit their website or social media page. AllReceipts is a great marketing tool for retailers and allows them to offer their customers a digital receipt option, all while engaging with customers and encouraging them to come back to their store. What’s more, AllReceipts is free for retailers to install with any Star Micronics receipt printer.

Bottom line: Competing with large franchises can be difficult to do when you’re an independent retailer or a small business, but there are tons of free tools out there to market your business. Star Micronics recognizes this and that is why we want to help you be a better retailer!

For more information on AllReceipts®, please visit www.starcloudservices.com.

Sunshine Daydream Offers Groovy Digital Receipt Solution to Customers with Star Micronics’ Help

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Sunshine Daydream Hippie Shop is a psychedelic shopping boutique, located in St. Louis, Missouri. Sunshine Daydream offers an array of merchandise from clothes, to home décor, to smoking accessories, and more. Already a user of Star Micronics TSP100 LAN printers, Sunshine Daydream has decided to implement Star’s AllReceipts™ digital receipt app in all four locations, allowing customers to store and manage their receipts digitally on their smart phones.

Sunshine Daydream, already a user of Star’s TSP100 thermal printers with Microsoft RMS, was looking for a way to better connect with their customers. After seeing a live demo of the AllReceipts app, they immediately saw the value to the solution. Allowing customers to view their receipt digitally was a feature that Sunshine Daydream was previously looking for, but was very expensive to add to their Microsoft RMS platform. AllReceipts free digital receipt app was the perfect solution.

AllReceipts digital receipt app provided Sunshine Daydream with a way to engage with customers and receive their direct feedback on their shopping experience. The app also allows Sunshine Daydream to manage their POS directly through the app, seeing receipt recalls, printer status, and if the cash drawer had been left open for too long. What’s more, the AllReceipts app came at no additional expense for Sunshine Daydream, and the installation took less than two minutes; they were able to go live with the app instantaneously!

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“Star’s AllReceipts app was the perfect digital receipt solution for Sunshine Daydream. Aside from it costing us nothing, the install was easy, and it allows us to receive direct feedback from our customers, and manage our devices digitally through the app, which was a huge plus!”

– Jay Trudeau, Owner of Sunshine Daydream

Download the full success story here: Star_Sunshine-Daydream_Case-Study

The Value of Digital Receipts

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Receipts are crucial for various reasons, including tax deductions, issuing refunds or reimbursements, reconciling credit card and bank statements, providing proof of service, and more. However, as our world continues to embrace the transition to all things digital, having a shoe box full of paper receipts or a stack of them in your wallet is no longer desirable for consumers (was it ever?). Instead, well-executed digital receipts are now the preferred solution.

Although digital receipts are invaluable for retailers and customers, the reasons why vary. For retailers, they offer access to key customer data that can be used to drive a number of business decisions including which items to stock and when, tailoring marketing and promotional efforts, and more. For consumers, they provide a safe, easy and convenient way to store and manage all their receipts in a single place. As mobile devices solidify their stake as shoppers’ primary companion, a digital receipt solution is important to stay competitive.

What’s wrong with email?

When shoppers opt for emailed in lieu of printed receipts, they might not realize they are entering into the world of unsolicited email marketing. With privacy and anonymity being a top-of-mind concern among consumers today, a digital receipt solution that takes users’ email for self-serving marketing purposes creates distrust and apprehension among shoppers, making it an ineffective solution.

… Or taking a picture of the receipt?

Similar to the lack of discretion from digital receipts that demand an email address, digital receipt solutions that require users to take a picture of their printed receipt are ineffective and outdated. Think of this approach as the equivalent of holding a microphone to a speaker to record a song – would you really prefer a crackly, muffled version to the nice crisp sound of a digital audio file? It’s unlikely. Additionally, when taking a picture of a printed receipt, consumers don’t necessarily have the option to photograph the back side, therefore creating missed opportunities for marketing departments and stress for loss distrust and prevention departments.

Check out Star Cloud Services eBook to learn more about the value of digital receipts: The Value of Digital Receipts

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

3 Ways to Retain Customers Using AllReceipts™

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More often than not, when you walk into a store to buy something, chances are, you’ve been there before. Customers tend to return to their favorite stores when looking for particular items for a number of reasons. Perhaps the location is convenient for the shopper. The store always happens to have what the shopper needs. Maybe the shopper just likes to stick to what they’re comfortable with. Whatever the reason may be, there is a reason that shoppers continue to return to the same few stores for their particular shopping needs.

With AllReceipts™ digital receipt app, you can ensure that your store always retains its shoppers and builds customer loyalty!

AllReceipts™, digital receipt app from Star Micronics, allows customers to digitally store and manage their paperless receipts. But what’s more, AllReceipts™ also allows for retailers to personally engage and communicate with their shoppers to give them a unique and personal shopping experience. These three great features offered by Star Cloud Services, a subsidiary of Star Micronics, allow retailers to better engage and connect with their shoppers to retain customers and build shopper loyalty.

  1. Engage NOW and Messages. Engage NOW and Messages allows retailers to better engage with their customers by giving them the ability to communicate relevant information whether that be promotions, discounts, new arrivals, coupons, or taking the customer directly to their website or desired social media page. With Engage NOW and Messages, the customer can simply tap on the store name, and the retailer’s customer message or website will then appear on the screen.
  2. Receipt Flip. With Receipt Flip, retailers can take full advantage of the entire receipt space by customizing the back. Yet another way to engage with customers, receipt backs can be used to display terms and conditions, store policies, watermark, promotions and marketing material, and more. Simply upload your content into the dashboard to start getting the most out of your receipts.
  3. Customer Survey. The Instant Customer Satisfaction Survey feature allows retailers to receive real-time feedback from customers. When claiming a digital receipt in the AllReceipts™ app, customers are prompted to provide feedback on their experience, which is relayed to the retailer’s user-friendly survey dashboard, allowing them to see how many customers have claimed receipts and the satisfaction level of the service received.

To learn more about the AllReceipts™ digital receipt app, visit www.starcloudservices.com or www.allreceipts.com.

Star Technology Day Recap

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Star Micronics would like to thank everyone who attended our very first Star Technology Day event hosted in Mexico City! Star Micronics had a wonderful time catching up with our customers and partners, and showing off all of Star’s newest technology. We’d like to share some of the highlights from the show for anyone who may have missed out.

IMG_2506While Star has a reputation for attending a variety of trade shows and events throughout the year, this was our very first Star-hosted event for distributors, resellers, end-users, and software partners. We were very excited to host our own event and showcase some of our newest products and technology.

Star Micronics spent the day showing off our newest TSP100III thermal receipt printer, now available with Wi-Fi connectivity and simple “Push ‘n’ Connect” WPS connection, making it the easiest wireless set-up in the industry. Also featured was Star’s all-in-one mPOP™, mobile point of purchase solution with built-in cash drawer and printer peripheral for tablet POS. Star was also showcasing our very own digital receipt application, AllReceipts™, which allows customers to store digital copies of their receipts, and provides more customer engagement for retailers with new features such as Engage NOW and Receipt Flip.

Star was proud to host a number of our software partners, allowing them to demonstrate their POS and mPOS software in conjunction with Star products. Software partners included GoNet, iPOS by Ivan, iZettle, Pacific Soft, MSP, National Soft, MyBusiness POS, SkyPOS, and Touch Bistro.

Thank you again to all who attended and we look forward to seeing everyone next year!

Star Cloud Services Introduces Receipt Flip

Star Cloud Services introduces a brand new feature to the AllReceipts™ digital receipt app, called Receipt Flip. Receipt Flip is the first two-sided, color digital receipt option for retailers. It is free to use for all retailers with a Star Micronics printer.

Why is it Important?

Receipt Flip provides retailers with a technology that allows them to take advantage of the back side of digital receipts – as they could on printed receipts – to display terms and conditions, store policies, promotions, marketing material, and more. Receipt Flip helps retailers create a better in-store experience for shoppers by making returns and exchanges drastically easier, as well as offering valuable promotions to keep them coming back.

What are the Benefits for Retailers?

For retailers, receipts are vital for three departments: financial – to know what was purchased, loss prevention – to know under which conditions items can be returned, and marketing – to get shoppers back in the store.

Often times, there is a large gap between digital solutions and loss prevention, causing confused and disgruntled customers and staff. Receipt Flip helps bridge that gap by ensuring the customer has a complete digital copy of their receipt. Loss prevention departments no longer have to worry about digital receipts not containing important terms and conditions or store policies. This also means customers have everything they need on their smart phone, and do not have to worry about keeping their physical receipt in case the retailer does not accept the digital copy. In addition, coupons and promotions are readily available to the customer without needing to keep track of a paper receipt, therefore increasing the likelihood of returning shoppers.

How does this Solution Stand Out?

Up until now, digital receipts have only encompassed the front side of the receipt, but not the back. Having access to the back gives customers the capability to go completely digital with their receipts, as they now have an exact replica available at their fingertips, helping to facilitate any return or exchange without friction.

With other digital receipt solutions, such as receipt apps that require customers to take a picture of their receipt, shoppers are not able, or encouraged to take a picture of the back of their receipt, therefore creating missed opportunities for marketing departments, and stress for loss prevention departments. Additionally, email receipts require shoppers to give up personal information, which is something that many shoppers do not want to, or are unwilling to do.

 

AllReceipts NRF“Star is very proud to take this important step in the new wave of retail marketing. When Star Micronics first released futurePRNT in 2005, the idea of low-cost customer engagement was born. Now 10 years later, we know that the physical transaction is becoming less important, while the focus is being put on the return of the shopper. Being able to provide not only retailers, but also shoppers with a reliable, digital receipt solution that is built to increase customer engagement, has been a personal dream come true!”

– David Salisbury, VP Sales and Marketing for Star Cloud Services

 

Visit www.starcloudservices.com for more information.

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The Challenge of mPOS in Today’s Industry Trends

Mobile point of sale technology has become ubiquitous in today’s society, however the last impression of indicating customer satisfaction are often still at the checkout counter. Hence the challenges of mPOS in today’s industry are critical to the positive effect of customer experience.

“mPOS has been particularly successful in small business environments due to large feature set available at a low price point. In 2015, the mPOS adoption rate will accelerate as small to mid-sized merchants leverage mobile solutions to enhance customer experience and improve sales. The challenges of mPOS change drastically when moving from a small merchant with a single checkout setting to a multi-store, multi-check out, enterprise environment. For large enterprise retailers, there are new products and services in security, connectivity, design, functionality, and hardware to make your mobile strategy a success”

Michael Hanson, Executive Vice President, Star Micronics America, Inc.

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Enhance Customer Experience with a Clean, Organized Store

Adopting Star Micronics peripheral suite of mobile printers with Star Micronics cash drawers unlocks the power of our software developer kit to leverage new mobile solutions. Technology such as ProxiPRNT, which uses Bluetooth Smart (BLE) connection helps locate the nearest peripherals and securely open remote cash drawers. Star’s ProxiPRNT technology is ideal for any enterprise establishment implementing the ultimate mobile POS application to reduce queues in larger stores and have customers efficiently checked out with the purchase completed immediately. This will result in fewer lines and more space for new customers to shop in the store.

Saving Space in Customers’ Wallets

With the release of AllReceipts™, Star Micronics’ Digital Receipt Solution, customers can now save their receipts digitally during those busy holiday seasons. Complementing the paper receipts, shoppers can now scan the QR code and save a digital version of the receipt without having to provide any personal information such as e-mail address that could result in spam, such as an issue with e-receipts.

A digital receipt solution in the mPOS world would allow customers the option to have their receipts securely saved on their mobile device at all times.  AllReceipts™ not only enhances the shopping experience for the customers, but provides retailers real-time printer status, operational notifications, and customer survey results through a comprehensive dashboard.  This technology will help increase customer engagement between the store clerks and provide retailers a mPOS solution that eliminates cluttered wallets.

‘Always Leading-Always Innovating’

The face of retail will continue to change rapidly with new and advance mPOS technology. Leading the transition to the mobile world, Star Micronics’ hardware and software solutions help solve the challenges presented by the implementation of mPOS at a large scale.

 

The True Value in Printed and Digital Receipts

Have you ever lost a needed receipt to a purchase? With the release our AllReceipts™ App, it is important to understand the value and differences between printed receipts and digital receipts. Our new eBook will help you manage your receipts easier by guiding you into the transition of digital receipt management. Printed paper receipts complement their digital counterparts and this blog post will preview our eBook and explore why.

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Think about the many times a bank statement or credit card statement has verified a payment that you were unfamiliar with. Certainly, you want to reference the purchase on your printed receipt; but if the printed receipt was faded or was lost over time, it is always a safe solution to have a digital copy on your preferred mobile device.

Receipts are critical for many scenarios such as:

  • Refunds- proof to merchants to issue an amount back to your account
  • Reimbursements- business travel costs, work-related purchases
  • Tax deductions- deductible expenditures on IRS returns
  • Warranties- proof of item purchased for coverage

Always keep in mind; rather it is ‘short term’ or ‘long term’ reasoning for keeping your receipts, receipts play a major role in your life! There is no escaping the need for receipts, both printed and digital. We all know it can be difficult to remember your receipt, that’s why Star Micronics is here to help!

Click here to read the full eBook ‘The Value of Receipts: Printed and Digital”.

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Star Micronics, AllReceipts™ Digital Receipt Solution

To find more information on AllReceipts™, Star Micronics FREE digital receipt solution, visit http://www.allreceipts.com/.