5 Things That Make a Good Promotion

Successfully selling products is the ultimate goal for a small business. However, in order to sell those products, whatever they may be, the business must entice customers to make a purchase. Promotions are the backbone of creating a sense of urgency to take initiative and purchase a product.

But, what makes a good promotion? How do you create the perfect promotion that encourages buyers? Here are five ways to successfully promote to your customers!

  1. Run a Targeted Promotion

Promotions are used in a multitude of ways, whether it is to gain new customers, sell products, or steer them away from competition. However, one promotion cannot reach every point in your promotional plan. Therefore, it is crucial to determine your promotion’s target efforts:

  • Do you want to entice more purchases either through greater frequency or volume?
  • Advertise to new customers?
  • Repair your relationships with previous customers?
  • Advertise your business during slow months?
  1. Know Your Incentives

Once you have determined the purpose of your promotion, you have to create an incentive for your promotion to draw your customers in. Here are some examples:

  • Discounts/Coupons
  • Samples/Trial Offers
  • Events
  1. Set a Goal

Although this may seem obvious, always have a goal for your promotions in mind. Know what you want to achieve. For instance:

  • What is your sales target?
  • How many new customers do you want to gain?
  • How much revenue do you want to bring in for the quarter?

Having a determined goal for your promotions will help to keep your business on track an aid in your its success.

  1. Choose a Promotional Strategy

Once your goal is determined, you will need a strategy for your promotion. That is, how will you best reach your customers? There are many effective ways to successfully advertise to your customers.

  • Social Media
  • Contests
  • Mail Order Marketing
  • Giveaways
  • Customer Surveys
  • Charity
  • Customer Appreciation Gifts
  1. Know Your Promotional Techniques

It is important to have an understanding of the many promotional techniques that can be offered. Like incentives, these techniques can be used to draw in your customers and lead to an increase in sales and loyalty:

  • Free samples, trials, and gifts
  • Special Pricing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Digital Marketing

To Discover Star Micronics Newest Value-Added Service PromoPRNT

How Retail Stores Can Create Customer Centric Experiences

By Sarah Jane Callender

 

The retail sector is facing huge changes. It is no longer enough for retailers to simply sell their products. With big, online and retail giants like Amazon, Apple, and Zappos, your retail store has to offer something which these corporations cannot; this is tangible, physical, and emotional experiences.
So, here are some tips on the best ways to do it:

1. Excellent Customer Service is Priority

Customers are number one. Making your customer feel welcome and happy in your store is essential. Any choices you make for your business should include the consumer at the heart of the discussion. It all starts with your employees. There is a linear relationship between in-person interaction and customer experience. When hiring new members of staff, consider focusing on their attitude as well as their skills and experience. Although work experience is important, stores generally perform better when their associates have a natural service-based character than when an experienced associate has the right skills but the wrong attitude.

2. Create a Company Culture

Retailers must balance operational efficiencies with customer experience. This can be achieved by creating a strong and clear company culture. The problem when a retail store focuses solely on operational efficiency is that the business starts to function like an assembly line, where worth is determined by a worker’s productivity. This means there is little room for incentives to go beyond the task and focus on the customer.

A great way to counter this is by creating and investing in your company’s culture, focusing on talent, capital, and training. The businesses that are best at this spend time and energy motivating, inspiring, and rewarding their team. This provides incentives where employees want to work smarter in your store, both for the reward, and because they are invested in your company’s culture.

3. Display Reviews and Consumer Feedback

The most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust.
Displaying little reviews and phrases from consumers next to your products, or having a review or consumer feedback box in-store, as well as on your website, can really boost sales and enhance the customer experience. Not only does this make your retail store seem more trustworthy, it also shows how good and reliable your products and company are. It shows that you value the consumer.  Why not include social media as part of this marketing strategy as well? Social media is a fantastic way to reach out to wider audiences, and to advertise and market to your existing and potential customers.

4. Improve the In-Store Experience

Late last year, one study found 44% of retail executives in Germany, Japan, the U.K, and the U.S. claiming that improving in-store experiences was a strategic priority for the year.
As brick and mortar stores struggle to stay afloat, we must consider what differentiates the physical store from what is online and capitalize on this.

Retailers should provide their employees with the technologies, tools, and information so that they can add value to the in-store shopper. The brick and mortar store can offer physical in-store experiences and demonstrations. For example, Dyson’s London store allows customers to try their vacuums; Apple allows consumers to try their latest gadgets and holds regular demonstrations; Lush lets their consumers try their hand creams, body lotions, and face masks. Whatever your retail store, there is always a way to connect with your clients and make an emotional impact.

5. Connect Physical and Digital Experiences

Retailers must now realize that the customer journey is no longer linear, but involves a series of backward and forward decisions.

For example, it is important to consider your online content and how it inspires and informs store shopping. Brands should aim to create a seamless experience that connects their online and social media content with their brick and mortar shopping experience.

How can you achieve this? You could start by analyzing your customer journey, working out how customers interact with your web content compared with their in-store experience. Data drives this. By analyzing your consumer buying decisions and what channels are involved, you can create a tailored service perfect for each customer to promote in-store foot traffic.

6. Make it Personal

Personalising your communications and marketing material can go a long way with your customer. It makes them feel valued and a part of your brand.

You can maximize this approach in store by explaining or including signage of why your products are ideal for a particular customer. For example, if you’re retail store targets young women, use signage, feedback from customers, or create events specifically targeted at your consumers, and personally advise your shopper exactly why your products are perfect for them.

7. Build a Community

Everyone wants to be a part of something and this goes for shoppers as well.
One way to do this is by rewarding your customers. Include discounts for loyal consumers or have a customer loyalty program, such as ‘buy 10 drinks and get the eleventh for free’. This will strengthen the relationship between your retail store and your shoppers.

Social media can help with this too. Twitter campaigning or creating hashtags are fantastic ways to advertise and build excitement for a product or an event in your store.

Other ways include sending a bi-weekly newsletter to subscribers and loyal customers, or giving shoppers a gift card, or exclusive discounts for your store.

PromoPRNT is a fantastic way to do just this. PromoPRNT allows retailers to automatically create printed promotions to print after the paper receipt. These incentives and bonuses will be delivered directly to shoppers’ hands, boosting customer retention and notifying customers of new deals and promotions. Check it out here.


Overall, it is becoming increasingly important that retailers know how to embrace change. Retail brands should be open to embracing new technologies to meet their consumer expectations and challenge their online competitors. As the brick and mortar store becomes increasingly threatened, the retailers that survive will be those that find ways to improve shopper experiences and provide customers with the most satisfying post-purchase and loyalty-building relationships.

The lesson here is clear: differentiate yourself based on the experiences you deliver to customers, not on the products you sell.

Why Shoppers Prefer Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Oro — Singapore.

Written by Michael K. Spencer

 

While in parts of Asia e-commerce is really catching on, in North America especially, brick-and-mortar shopping experiences still dominate. However consumers have new expectations regarding convenience, discounts, personalization in retail, and in particular, the interactions at the POS like mobile payments and offers on receipts.

As stores are learning the kinds of experiences their audience enjoys, physical retailers are getting better at adapting and boosting store traffic and engaging with their customers in contemporary and complementary ways. Enabling a better experience is key by marrying the human with the technology.

  1. Cater to experiences.
  2. Create human-interaction that’s educational and fun.
  3. Do seasonal campaigns better, promote community, and leverage unique product, lifestyle and cultural niches.

We live in an era where online sales are booming and a lot of retail growth occurs online, however, the majority of shoppers still prefer visiting stores in person. Why is that?

Local retailers provide a grass-roots way to connect with the community, culture, and vibe of a neighborhood, culture, and social life of a district. Retail and the marketplace is about connecting with our roots.

It’s Not Just About Convenience

While online shopping has never been easier, in a mobile-addicted world, younger consumers are showing a preference to experiences over the acquisition of stuff, goods, and material products.

Many younger consumers live in an era of discount shopping, price-wars, and comparative shopping impacted by the likes of mobile search, causing them to make different kinds of choices that retailers are still discovering in efforts to keep up with.

Smart small businesses and independent and local retailers are leveraging this to create a whole new retail culture around their products, staff, and locations. At Star Micronics, we’re creating products that reflect this. Sleek POS hardware at the cutting-edge of reliability and innovation.

We Are a Species of Touchers and Feelers

The more mobile is starting to impact every aspect of our lives, the more, as consumers, we crave tactile, human, intimate, empowering, and genuine interactions with local retailers. Human beings thrive not just with good customer service, but with customer experiences tailored to them in-person.

Small Businesses Are Learning to “Hack” The Experience Economy

Fostering the “experience economy” that has been related to Millennials (shoppers under 40) means how small business retailers engage with their audience through education, classes, in-person local influencers, events, and creating social relevance of their locations in the community, is a huge deal!

If the modern shopper associates the big-box retailers with price, speed, and fulfillment, what then are the equivalent characteristics of their favorite SMB local retailers? Small business-love and shopping local as trends, it can be argued, are at all-time highs. Consumers want to support family-owned businesses and retailers they consider more like them and in sync with their own values.

Men and Women Shop Differently — Why it Matters

According to Retail Dive, the way men and women approach shopping experiences might be different.

In particular, female shoppers overwhelmingly want to see, touch and feel products before buying them. Males, on the other hand, skew more toward the immediate satisfaction of taking items home with them.

If this is true, in-store enhancements that are design-orientated are catering to Millennials, including digital influence that is good for the planet such as Star’s Micro Receipt that saves paper on receipts. In fact, when stores show they care about sustainability and corporate social responsibility, their female customers gravitate more to them, showing how valuable from a loyalty and marketing perspective CSR and sustainability is for stores to embed in customer journeys.

How we Do Customer Experience is Changing

The way we do customer experience is shifting to the preferences of the new consumer. Retail tech must shift to being customer-centric, giving more choice and augmenting a store’s ability to connect with their customers on the most human basic emotional level.

With more than a third of consumers shopping online at least once a week, physical retailers and small business owners need to find ways to be more personable, unique, and offer better customer service than ever before. For these are the true differentiators that will build a loyalty customer base that generates revenue and improves margins.

Brick-and-mortar stores are beginning to incorporate mobile technology that humanizes their retail brands, such as Instagram stories, mobile coupons, digital receipts, and QR code-based technology. This technology marries the human with the resonating digital influence that is starting to permeate our society that can no longer be seen as separate from the emotional experience of our love of shopping in stores.

Physical stores are going through a wonderful transformation and a retail renaissance, and are still at the core, the center of our urban commercial experiences. This is even more true for small towns and local communities. Shoppers prefer trips to stores since they deliver experiences and not just stuff.

 

 

 

10 Ways to Increase Foot Traffic for Small Businesses

Written By Michael K. Spencer

 

Getting customers in the door is a challenge for most brick and mortar retailers. Customers aren’t going to leave their homes to visit a physical store unless the company is offering them something they can’t get online. And that something needs to be relevant to the customer’s lifestyle and shopping patterns. In fact, relevance is the most overlooked component to success in retailer efforts to increase foot traffic. The following 10 tips will help your store increase foot traffic by catering offerings to customer demand

1. Add a personal touch

Why do you think fine dining chefs walk around and introduce themselves to everyone at the restaurant? People want to connect with the person behind the scenes. Connecting to your customers will humanize your brand, but it needn’t always be done in person. Respond to Instagram photos and customer posts on social media to connect with your customers in a time efficient way. Also, regularly post photos of your offerings that portray the lifestyle marketed by your brand, and offer prizes for the best customer photos of your product.

2. Get that local flavor

Make products relevant to customer locales is pivotal to boosting foot traffic in your store. Make a calendar of major music, culture, and sporting events near your store and narrow the list down by which local events cater to your customer base. In other words, a sporting goods store probably shouldn’t throw an event based on a ballet production, but could definitely increase visibility by sponsoring the local 5k. From there, pick a few events to use as focal points for your store’s philanthropy, store events, or promotions.

3. Seasonal Marketing

Seasonal marketing is an easy way to personalize your offerings for your customer base. Whether your store is exposed to all four seasons or the temperature only drops 10 degrees during the cold months, there’s opportunity to connect with your customers through shared experience via signage and promotions. Offer fun seasonal discounts, such as, “10 percent off if you come wearing earmuffs,” or “free coffee to anyone who shows us their umbrella!”

 Photo: Thirdshelf

4. Keep ’em coming back

Customers expect to be rewarded for their loyalty. No matter the size of your store, some sort of loyalty reward program is imperative to show your customers that you value their business. Customer relationship management software (CRM), similar to the loyalty program builder and communications automation technology offered by Thirdshelf, can help to track and identify the results of your loyalty programs to maximize the traction of your marketing spend. This shows you areas that are working and areas where you can to improve.

5. Throw in freebies

If you feed them they will come and if you give them something for free they will spend. Time Magazine lists 5 reasons why customers spend more when you give stuff away. The list includes when customers get something for free they’ll pay more for it later, and that people talk about freebies more than anything else. Whether you’re offering samples of your newest hand lotion or free appetizers at a store event, giveaways immediately increase foot traffic and make a lasting impact on your customers.

6. Create an experience

Since millennials value experiences over things, it follows that to sell things to millennials, retailers need to tap into experience. In 2015, more than 3 out of 4 millennials said they would rather spend money on an experience than accruing more things. With that said, even the most frugal shopper will make a purchase as a reminder of a one-of-a-kind in-store experience.

7. Be Disruptive

You can only create foot traffic in a market of breakneck retail evolution by adopting a business model that’s as disruptive as the market itself. Fashion trucks and pop-up shops generate enthusiasm due to their transient nature. The “get it before it’s gone” mentality generates the excitement that most customers find lacking in traditional department stores. Social media marketing is huge for mobile retail, so customers know where to find you and a bit about your offerings. And if you think big companies can’t pull off a disruptive retail model, check out what Zappos is doing with their “Friends With Benefits” roadshow.

8. Build a community

Most retailers cater to consumers with a shared interest, whether you are a home goods store with customers who love to cook, or you sell apparel to Instagram-obsessed teens, there’s an opportunity to bring your customers together over a shared interest. By offering your customers relaxing social spaces and online forums to voice share their experiences, you can create a community in which a love for your brand is the unifying thread.

9. Teach your customers

Shared interest can also be utilized to create foot traffic by offering your customers classes or seminars on topics related to your products. For instance, outdoor retailer REI is famous for the hiking and camping events they facilitate for their customers. Once you realize what lifestyle you’re selling with your inventory, you’ll have a better understanding of what type of education you can offer customers to get them in the door.

10. It comes down to people

Of course, the most thoughtful marketing initiatives don’t count for anything if your customers are greeted by a rude or poorly-trained staff. Know your employees’ strengths and weakness. If you aren’t able to spend much time at your store’s physical locations, invest in a staff augmentation platform like the insights you can get from Dor for hour by hour data that will help you make informed staffing decisions.

The US Census Bureau reported that e-commerce counted for only 8.3% of total retail sales in the fourth quarter of 2016. Since most purchases still take place in brick and mortar stores, it’s imperative that retailers cater promotions and marketing to individual customers to boost foot traffic and maximize marketing spend.

 

How Back to School is Bigger than Ever for Retail

Back to School Marketing Tips for SMBs

By Michael Spencer

 

This year it seems like Amazon’s Prime Day sent parents and kids back to school with early special back-to-school deals. According to Deloitte, parents are set to spend $510 per household during back-to-school shopping and most will be in stores, reports CNBC.

How big is the retail season now? Bigger than you might think. The back-to-school season now runs between July and September, during which time American households are projected to spend $27.6 billion. This means it ranks second only to holiday shopping.

According to Daphne Howland of Retail Dive, it turns out most parents and kids dread this kind of shopping. Most American parents (75%) and teens (73%) say back-to-school shopping causes tension, including which brands to buy. Predictably, fully half of parents find shopping for clothing and shoes a particular problem, while 30% of teens most dread shopping for school supplies.

Here is where brick-and-mortar shopping really shines, where over 50% of the money will be spent at malls and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, more than double the amount parents expect to spend online. In on the fun are many local SMB retailers as well.

Back to School Marketing Tips for SMBs

As for marketing tips for small businesses, the likes of POS leader Vend and Shopify have some great suggestions. The bulk of this will be spent on clothing, electronics, shoes and school supplies in that order.

The National Retail Federation was bull in their analysis of this seasonal sale, where total back-to-school spending has grown 55% over the past 10 years. For GenZ college students, the amount spent moves up to an average of $942.17 each.

So what can SMBs do to compete in this incredible opportunity to increase retail sales? Clothing and apparel, as well as footwear, are good verticals that could show growth here.

Weirdly, the fastest growing retail chain in America is actually an Irish discount retailer you’ve never heard of, called Primemark. The low-cost European apparel chain is making its mark on American soil and plans to quickly expand. It took first overall as the fastest-growing retailer in the United States, according to a report from the National Retail Federation’s Stores magazine, which used sales data from Kantar Consulting.

According to Francesca Nicasio, Vend’s content marketing lead writer, here are some ways retailers can keep up:

1. Make Marketing Promotion Sync with the Hottest Trends

  • Hone in on GenZ trends to build opt-in and increase demand.
  • Start with the right products that are most likely to sell during this season.
  • Showcase merchandise in school scenarios to increase the first impression

2. Make Campaigns More Kids & College Student Friendly

  • Base promotions on surveys of kids and teens in your local area.
  • Get kids and GenZ to be as involved as possible with UGC campaigns and contests.
  • Create promotions that are made by GenZ for GenZ. Target even got kids to write and produce promos and it turned out well for them.

Shopify also identifies apparel as the key vertical SMBs can get in on. According to the NRF survey, back-to-school shoppers heading to elementary and high school plan to spend the most on clothing ($236.90). That’s a good range of clothing items.

3. Leverage Social Media Differently to Target GenZ as Compared to Millennials

Retail brands and marketers must understand GenZ are more video native and have a lower attention span as compared to Millennials. Shopify, therefore, recommends the following strategies:

  • Generate buzz through giveaways
  • Partner with GenZ influencers
  • Retailers need to leverage mobile to better reach GenZ
  • Focus on trending verticals of apparel such as Athletic Wear & footwear

4. Leverage Niche Items to Can’t-Miss Products

With consumer sentiment high, SMBs can also leverage niche items that GenZ might not need but instead want. Shopify suggests for college-age GenZ, these could be:

  • Multifunctional pieces for dorm rooms
  • Personal care and grooming items
  • The “Marble Theme” on dorm furnishings like pillows and throw blankets.
  • Fancy water bottles and pencil case supplies

Whatever your strategy has been since June, you have just a few days left to make sure 2018 is your best back-to-school season ever. It’s a big year for retail sales in this segment.

With the economy doing well, this year back to school means back to shopping and that “old school” trend coincides with the reputation of GenZ as loving physical shopping. There are more GenZ than there are Millennials and their impact on family spending is considerable. As more of them enter their 20s, the apparel sector is a good opportunity in good hands.

 

How to Use Receipt Printers for In-store Communications

At Star Micronics, we’re always pushing the limit of our POS-tech designs. We’ve been a leading global manufacturer of mobile, point of sale (POS), and customer engagement technologies and this year we wanted to offer an add-on that has usefulness for a wide range of small businesses and local retailers.

PromoPRNT is the easiest way to reach your customers offline and in-store. It can be used for any kind of messages a retailer or small business needs to share with their customers.

An In-Store Customer Engagement Suite

  • Hiring notices
  • Event reminders
  • Discount promotions
  • Driving traffic online
  • Customer feedback surveys
  • Seasonal campaign sale (e.g. Back to School deals)
  • A funny message for brand awareness
  • Mention of a charity or community initiative
  • A point of purchase message designed for customer retention
  • Thank you and seasons greetings messages

With Promotion Builder and Promotion Scheduler, small businesses can easily customize and schedule their messages on receipts of Star printers.

A receipt printer is, therefore, more than just a printer, but one part of the Star Micronics Cloud suite of retailer tools. PromoPRNT also comes with inbuilt templates to get you started on the right foot.

Reaching customers offline has many distinct advantages over digital communications, such as:

  • Higher read rates than email (“open rate” is also considerably higher)
  • Much less costly, resulting in higher overall ROI
  • Easy to create original memories for local repeat customers
  • Simple implementation of an offline to online strategy
  • More intimate communications that go “straight to customer’s wallet”

PromoPRNT is creating an IoT Approach to Retail

Since PromoPRNT is managed on the Cloud and has an O2O (offline to online) aspect, this represents an evolution of Star’s ability to contribute an IoT aspect to all of the different kinds of businesses who use our products including retail stores, restaurants, gift shops, hospitality locations, seasonal kiosks, and retail chains.

Essentially:

  • Promotion Builder is a simple way to create and design receipt promotions.
  • Promotion Scheduler is a detailed way retailers can schedule their on-receipt POS ad campaigns.
  • Promotion Builder has an inbuilt library of templates to help SMBs get started.
  • Reaching your customers was never this easy! Since access to PromoPRNT tools is free in 2018, retailers are trying it out to deliver incentives directly to their shoppers’ hands.

 

To sign-up, simply register your business here with the Star Micronics Cloud. To understand more about how PromoPRNT works, watch this short video:

 

 

 

5 Ways to Motivate Retail Store Staff and Keep Morale High

Motivation

Picture this:

It’s just a normal Tuesday and you arrive at your shop. Your spirits are high and you are looking forward to your day. You step through the door and your cashier is on her phone. Another employee is lounging to the side. There is no sense of enthusiasm or motivation. There are no positive interactions with your customers. Your mood immediately changes and, suddenly, you realize that this is affecting your store’s sales.

Motivation, the state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something. In 2017, it was reported that 51% of employees in the United States are not motivated. With the lack of motivation, about 70% of Americans do not feel engaged at their job. Why? There is a science to motivation that needs to be understood in order to keep employees engaged in their daily work.

Let’s first understand why it is so hard to stay motivated. As said by Forbes, there are three main mental reasons as to why it is so hard to remain motivated:

  1. “I have to”
  2. “I don’t feel right about this”
  3. “I can’t do this”

Basically, motivation is determined by how your employees view a situation. So, how can you keep your staff motivated besides their paycheck? Take a look at these five tactics!

  1. Employee Training

We get it, this sounds boring. Nobody actually wants to sit through training, right? Wrong. Employee training sessions may have a bad rap for being boring, however, when done correctly, can be fun and engaging. For starters, Myagi suggests utilizing quizzes and follow-up questions to bring about friendly competition to your employees and increase participation and memory retention. Additionally, get your employees to present their ideas to one another.  You never know what tricks they may have up their sleeves.

  1. Listen

Such a simple concept, yet so effective. Think about your personal experiences. Don’t you feel more valued when your boss listens to what you are saying? Listening to your employees’ thoughts, concerns and ideas is crucial in allowing staff to feel involved. Showing employees that their insights are valued and appreciated guarantee a high morale and motivated work environment.

  1. Advancement Opportunities

Knowing that you are working to achieve a goal is motivating. The goal is especially motivating if it leads to more opportunities to advance within the business. By offering these opportunities, you give your staff the encouragement to work to the best of their abilities.

  1. Incentives

Incentives are a fun, simple, solution to keep staff members motivated. Don’t worry, your incentives do not need to be expensive. They can be as simple a gift card to Starbucks. Let’s be honest, most people love prizes, so why not give your employees a reward for a job well done?   

  1. Be an Effective Leader

Show that you’re passionate about your role. Be excited about your business’s goals. Nothing is more motivating than a leader who wants to succeed with their staff. However, passion is not solely what makes an effective leader. Take a look Peter Economy’s 10 powerful habits that leaders should practice:

  1. Confidence
  2. Persuasive communication
  3. The ability to be sensitive and responsive
  4. Determined
  5. Supportive
  6. Distinguished
  7. Responsible
  8. Optimistic
  9. Honesty
  10. Organized

Takeaway

Motivation is mental and the mind is strong. With the mind being such a powerful tool, one must learn how to interact with their staff in order to encourage a positive and productive workday. Motivated retail associates directly translate into better customer service and thus increased in-store sales.

The Future of Cannabis Retail is Looking Good

 

The retail cannabis industry is growing fast, $75 billion by 2030 fast.

But let’s look at the nearer future. According to Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, by 2021 the cannabis market is expected to reach $24.5 billion. Currently, cannabis is legal in 9 states for recreational use while 30 states have legalized cannabis for medical usage.

With such a high market growth expectancy, dispensaries sell a variety of cannabis products in the forms of hash, rosin, shatter, and oils which can be smoked or vaped. In addition, as many are aware, cannabis is also sold in the forms of candy and baked goods. As for pharmaceutical use, cannabis contains cannabidiol (CBD) which when used in the form of candy or oil aids in the treatment of pain and epilepsy. Now that sounds pretty good.

Let’s Talk Business

There’s no doubt that cannabis has health benefits that aid in the relief of:

  • Pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Arthritis
  • Dravet’s Syndrome
  • Mental health symptoms
  • Etc…

But what about benefits for businesses?

Well, as was mentioned earlier, legal cannabis reached $9.7 billion in sales in 2017.

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But let’s dig a little deeper into the facts and figures…

By 2021, marijuana sales are expected to reach a whopping $24.5 billion. Younger generations are turning to cannabis consumption and slowly turning away from alcohol. This has resulted in a decrease in binge drinking, 9% below the nation’s average, in the states where marijuana is legalized. Funnily enough, the industry’s sales will be led by people 55 and older. With such a diverse market, the cannabis industry is opening up multiple opportunities for businesses to flourish.

The increased popularity, and acceptance, of the cannabis industry is leading to the establishment of more small businesses with an increase in employment opportunities. With cannabis stores becoming more common in legalized states, the industry of creating products to efficiently, and legally, weigh and sell marijuana to meet regulations are necessary for the success of the business. Additionally, with cannabis being legalized all over Canada, there may even be a possibility that the East coast will speed up its state adoption for recreational use.

Regardless, cannabis is creating a diverse industry that includes the need for different markets to ensure its success, thus providing a positive impact on the nation’s economy.

The Cannabis POS Industry

With Cannabis creating such a diverse industry, it only makes sense that businesses will need reliable POS systems…

Keep in mind that the cannabis industry is different than your average retail business.

There are multiple rules and regulations that need to be followed in order to ensure that your business is legal. Here are some key points to remember when choosing your POS system:

  1. Cannabis is a cash business
  2. Sensitive scales are a necessity
  3. Labels are regulated
  4. Receipts are essential

 

For more details about Cannabis Point of Sale,  download our FREE eBook and explore our new Cannabis POS collection   

The SMB Guide to Retail Promotions

eCommerce sales have outpaced brick-and-mortar store growth, but effective retail promotions will help you compete with online goliaths.

The weather is getting warmer and school’s almost over for the year. SMBs are shifting gears for summer months, lining the shelves with warm weather merchandise. Customers are ready for some fun in the sun, but they’re looking for deals to affordably stock up for summer camp and trips to the beach.

eCommerce sales have outpaced brick-and-mortar store growth, but effective retail promotions will help you compete with online goliaths. It’s important to focus on your existing customer base because marketing experts agree that it’s less expensive to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones. How much exactly? According to the Harvard Business Review, it ranges from 5 to 25 times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to generate repeat business.

Brick-and-mortar stores still have the upper hand over online competitors when it comes to instant gratification and the face-to-face service experiences that shoppers crave. Supercharge these advantages by combining them with effective retail promotions that draw in foot traffic, giving customers can’t-miss reasons for wanting to shop in your store.

  1. Discount promotions: It’s natural to think that the easiest way to give sales figures a boost is to run discount promotions however, it’s important to ensure there’s enough long-term value to justify the short-term discount. Bundling is a great way to encourage shoppers to spend more money. Couple related items for a discount—for example, purchase a beach towel and get a bottle of sunscreen for 50% off. Partnering less popular items at full price with discounted best sellers is a smart way to move inventory quickly while still earning a profit.
  1. Utilize “free” in your promotions: Free items or small “tokens of affection” can go a long way toward making shoppers feel their business is appreciated. Customers are more likely to return to your store if they feel they are being rewarded for buying items they need or value, so “buy one, get one free” can inspire shoppers to stock up. This is especially effective for special event-related merchandise that’s headed for the markdown bin after the season is over. Retail promotions such as “purchase a $100 gift card and get a $10 gift card free,” are also popular because consumers feel like they are getting a bonus with their purchase.
  1. Coupons, coupons, coupons: Coupons are a great way to get people to try new products at a lower price, and if the product lives up to expectations, pay full price the next time. In addition, coupons like “spend $50 and take $10 off” give people an incentive to buy a few more items to reach the $50 goal, and let the shopper choose which items to purchase. Merchants can use their POS solutions to reduce the cost of printing coupons by generating offers in-store. Printing coupons on receipts allows you to reach a higher percentage of shoppers because you can be sure the customer receives it, and it gives your sales associates an additional opportunity to engage customers before they leave the store.
  1. Limited-time-only retail promotions: Discounts or items that are only available for a short amount of time creates scarcity and a sense of urgency to purchase. For example, flash sales that happen between certain hours will force people to purchase in that time frame. Daily deals give the perception that the deal will last only as long as the items are in stock. Use these tactics to your advantage with summer deals.

Although the retail landscape is competitive, SMBs can employ smart retail promotions to help attract new shoppers and retain their customer base. Coupons, free products, discounts, and limited-time-only sales can make an already-great, in-store shopping experience too irresistible to pass up.

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.