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

Top 5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail

Written By Michael K. Spencer

 

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years. For local retailers, this is important. To determine how to succeed, first, know why small businesses typically fail. In this article, we’re going to be exploring this issue for would-be retail entrepreneurs and new small businesses who power local economies.

To start a small business and sustain it at the beginning and scale and grow the business isn’t easy. You need a combo of management skills, business savvy, product-market fit, and access to the proper capitalization. You need to be agile and learn as you go, especially if you are new to the industry.

We know from startup lore that about 7 out of 10 businesses fail after ten years. The harsh reality of businesses is a survival of the fittest. If you think a tech startup is harsh, try being a retail startup — not all glamour and customers to be sure, however well worth the challenge!

Even surviving your first year of operation makes you a success story as a retail startup and retail entrepreneur. But it’s true for all new businesses, the beginning is the hardest part.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this has less to do with the economic climate, but numbers do vary according to different industries. The economic climate in the U.S. has been in decent recently, and this is leading to new retail startups coming into being in both cities and local areas. What does it take not only to survive but to thrive?

First, we must look at the most common reasons for failure.

1. Poor Management

Retail is a complex industry. Growing a small businesses doesn’t just take guts, it takes business smarts, organizational skills, time management skills, and a talent for dealing with people, product, and marketing. As a manager, you cannot just lead, but inspire customers, employees, partners, and possibly even investors that your brand has a unique value and what you are bringing to the world is truly exceptional.

Not everyone possesses these rare talents or passion that’s contagious and attracts profitability. Not everyone is able to grow their business fast enough to make the margins that are required to stay in business. Give the idea time to bloom in the real world.

2. Failure to Optimize Conversions

If about 50% of businesses with employees will survive their fifth year in business, they did a lot of things right but they may not be growing fast enough.

This means they aren’t converting their existing customers into better customers. They aren’t doing a stellar job of bringing back customers to their store or location. Customer growth is often a problem of building customer engagement and converting new customers into regular ones and regular ones into high-value customers.

Business sustainability is about targeting the right customers and converting them into high-value customers successfully. Retail entrepreneurs especially need to create an elevated brand and market it to the right customer by having a deep knowledge of the product-market fit and the culture of their target customer. Optimizing conversions, in this case, is all about bringing a new customer back to the store, re-targeting them in campaigns, and using loyalty and discount tactics to attract them once again.

3. Lack of Product-Market Fit

Business is all about bringing something to market that’s in high demand or that can fit a valuable niche. For small businesses and retail stores, this is especially true. Knowing your competitors and doing better is essential, as well as providing a unique selling point that’s irresistible to your audience.

Even with a great brand and great products, small businesses still need to create an effective sales funnel and customer acquisition strategy. The customer experience must resonate with the audience and stand-out as memorable. The business plan has to embody the unique value of the culture and offer exceptional products with a strategy and marketing plan that ensures that the product and the market sync in the best possible way. This requires constant pivoting and not every business will be able to do it successfully. It requires listening to customers obsessively, tweaking details, optimizing experiences, reducing friction, and enabling staff to succeed.

However retail entrepreneurs can do everything right and still might find that the brand simply doesn’t have enough product-market fit to survive. There are intangibles, trends, and shifting customer preferences that could change things overnight or competitors that rise to the occasion, taking market share. Retail entrepreneurs must do an incredible amount of research before they start their business, to make sure they have the right product-market fit to risk starting the business in the first place.

4. Failure to Innovate and Be Agile to Changes

Onward, about 30% of businesses will survive their 10th year in business. Retail entrepreneurs need to be especially sensitive to changing consumer preferences. Small businesses need to implement technology and best practices that ensure they are responsive to customers at every level.

As entrepreneurs, we can’t do it all. We have a tendency to overgeneralize and become biased in our frame of reference. To keep growing our businesses and an SMB into something more requires that we remain agile to the marketplace. This includes an ability to control expenses, manage inventory, track key KPIs and remain customer-centric with evergreen branding and a fine-tuned flexibility to your audience.

As a founder of a small business, you need to be open to implementing technology and being data-centric in order to ground your business, automate tasks, and deliver incredible results where your business is a fine-tuned machine that balances people, customer experiences, and technology that empowers your business model and boosts your profits.

5. Failure to Build a Tribe

A small business today requires community. This is an often overlooked point. A tribe of loyal customers and devoted employees is essential for sustaining growth and the ups and downs of being a retail entrepreneur or founding a small business. A tribe means you have reached people on a fundamental level, not just as a brand or for discounts or products, but as a message to the local community — we bring value to your life.

Building a tribe means establishing a brand and doing all the little things in marketing right that can help scale your business, so it can adapt to changes in the market or the economy or the location of your physical store or business. Building a tribe means so many things in the value you bring to your local community: events, partnerships, charities, in-store happenings, connecting people together at your business — that is great for word-of-mouth. Being a leader in your community and inspiring your audience with your products.

Building a tribe is easier said than done. If you started your business for the right reasons, it will also be easier to build a tribe that resonates with people authentically. 42% of small businesses fail because there’s no market need for their services or products. If you build a tribe effectively, you can create a market need; that’s the power of local businesses fueling economies and inspiring entrepreneurship.

 

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   

4 Ways to Use Offers, Coupons, Discounts and Deals to Drive Revenue and Customer Loyalty

Photo Credit: Burst.  

At Star Micronics we’re a POS tech engagement company obsessed with adding value to retail stores and small businesses. We became a leading global manufacturer of mobile point of sale (POS) and customer engagement technologies through many years of building simple-to-use and reliable products such as receipt printers. In 2017 we created innovative partnerships at  Star Micronics Cloud (formerly called Star Cloud Services) which have helped solidify our position with tens of thousands of independent business users and hundreds of thousands of devices sold.

Today we want to present to you how to use promos, discounts, coupons, and deals to generate ROI and increase basket size at your store and local business. Creating offers cheaply that engage customers at the POS and at the time of sale is key for developing memorable offers that lead to repeat customers and long-term customer loyalty.

1. CREATE PROMOS EASILY ON RECEIPTS

The physical receipt is now a key marketing real estate in 2018. With the advent of our solution called PromoPRNT, you can easily create ads at the POS that quickly and efficiently create marketing campaigns on your store’s best deals, offers as well as QR-code-based coupons.

With Promo Maker and Promo Manager, retailers can create in-store ads on receipts that convert shoppers and get eyeballs with the greatest ROI and also improve word-of-mouth benefits for your small business. Since PromoPRNT allows for the customization of the offer, receipt-based promos can drive revenue 24/7 automatically with POS ads. The solution is available to registered users on the Star Micronics Cloud.  

Source: screenshot from Sophatar Webinar hosted by Star Micronics.

2. SYNC DIGITAL SIGNAGE WITH POST AND RECEIPT DATA

Sophatar is a Digital Signage startup with whom we have created an innovative solution with Sophatar® POS Signage™.  Easy-to-install digital screens help increase basket size, enabling retailers to produce more ROI from their top selling products. This means that through a simple software subscription, small businesses can easily create discounts, promos, and deals that integrate with POS data from Star Printers, directly and automatically creating contextual and dynamic signage that shoppers can see at physical locations.

This essentially enables any retail or hospitality business to implement professional digital signage that’s smart and can easily integrate with mobile coupons and loyalty cards, with no need for customers to install a mobile app. This not only creates customer loyalty, through engaging customer experience in-store but also deals that shoppers cannot resist. As the offers are generated and displayed, based on existing sales data, the best selling items can be displayed, driving higher revenues and increasing average basket sizes at your location.

3.  MOBILE LOYALTY OFFERS PAIRED WITH SEASONAL CAMPAIGNS

For promotions and loyalty offers that sync with a retailer’s Email and SMS marketing campaigns, it’s essential to onboard top customers into a customized loyalty program. From here, retailers and brick-and-mortar stores can drive ROI from events, seasonal campaigns, free product giveaways, birthday messages and other strategic discounts where loyalty points can drive in-store traffic.

Automated customer communications inside loyalty programs build and strengthen existing relationships with a retailer’s best shoppers. Thirdshelf is the ideal software for independent retailers to accomplish this:  

  • Creating a loyalty program out-of-the-box
  • Segmenting customers and tracking loyalty analytics
  • Automating Email and SMS marketing offers

Nurturing high-value customers can drive revenue and increase customer loyalty through tailored and highly segmented marketing campaigns that reach the smartphones of shoppers.

4. CREATING AN OMNICHANNEL LOYALTY EXPERIENCE

In an era when retailers need to create customer experiences in-store, at Star Micronics we believe that creating immersion in-store at the POS — via promos on receipts, via digital signage and mobile that can all work together to create promotions whose benefits stack, generating ROI at physical locations and increasing sales.

This is also a seamless loyalty strategy that is affordable even for retailers who operate from a single physical location. Secondly, the offers created via PromoPRNT, Sophatar® POS Signage™ and Thirdshelf complement different touch-points of the customer journey that create irresistible offers while boosting customer loyalty.

What the three solutions mentioned all have in common is that they exist to help retailers automate marketing at their retail location and at the POS, in-store, and via mobile, to create the best customer engagement at the lowest cost.

The Rise of Experiential, Discount, and Specialty Retail

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In 2016, we have seen major shifts in the retail industry and consumer buying patterns. We’ve seen the largest Internet-based retailer in the world (Amazon) open brick-and-mortar stores, and we have seen “big-box” retailers closing stores. Clark has named just a few:

  • Macy’s plans to close about 15% of its locations amid challenging retail environment.
  • According to the Dallas Morning News, JCPenny CEO Marvin Ellison said the department store chain plans to close some of its roughly 1,000 stores soon.
  • CVS, America’s leading retail pharmacy, plans to close 70 stores early this year.
  • Mall-based retailer, The Limited, closed all of its nearly 250 stores across the country on January 8, but will continue to have an online presence.

Shift in Consumer Buying Patterns

With the closing of many department stores and “big-box” retail stores, we see that discount retailers such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross are thriving. Consumers are now realizing that many of the products or goods that they typically shop for in department stores can be found for a cheaper price either online or in discount stores. This shift is being largely influenced by the millennial generation. For retailers who do not fall into the “discount retailer” category, the key to competing is improved store data. This means creating a way to better track customer data in order to provide unique and authentic shopping experiences for each customer.

The Millennial Consumerscan_shop_featured

According to Forbes, there are eighty million millennials in America alone, and they represent about a fourth of the entire population, with $200 billion in annual buying power. This means that the buying patterns of millennials are having a direct impact on the retail industry and brick and mortar stores.

While millennials are commonly targeted as the “self-entitled” and “lazy” generation, it has been found that they are extremely price sensitive. Meaning, millennials will take the time to search for more affordable options (usually online or by using their smartphone) before making a purchase. Based on a survey performed by Accenture, 41% of respondents said they have practiced “showrooming” – the act of examining merchandise at a nearby retail store and then shopping for it online to find the lowest price.

It’s no question that the millennial generation is very unique. Retailers have struggled to understand the buying patterns and the interests of this generation for quite some time now. Unlike the Baby Boomer or Gen X generations, millennials tend to be less influenced by advertising and promotional content, and care more about the authenticity of a brand. Millennials best connect with people over logos. The fact that millennials are less likely to go for the “brand name” over a cheaper option, is largely impacting the way retailers must market themselves and their brand. The recent closing of Macy’s and JCPenny stores speaks volumes when compared to the popularity these stores held with previous generations.

Specialty Retail Steps Up

Specialty retailers are businesses that focus on specific product categories. It isn’t the product they sell that determines if a company is a specialty store, but rather the breadth of their product offering.

As we see more and more large retail stores closing, we see specialty retail continue to thrive. Brick and mortar retail is becoming less about shopping and more about the customer experience. With the rise of retail technology such as IoT, virtual reality and augmented reality in retail, consumers are entering brick and mortar stores with the expectation that they will walk away with more than just their purchase, but with a valuable and unique shopping experience.

With the generation that values experiences over items now holding such high buying power, retailers have to make an adjustment to their previous selling strategy. Retailers are beginning to take advantage of IoT and artificial intelligence to create a more personalized shopping experience. Specialty retail is thriving because it has been much easier for SMB and specialty retailers to create these personalized experiences, because they are more likely to have repeat customers, making it possible to establish a certain level of customer loyalty. “Big-box” retail stores have a more difficult time creating a unique customer experience, simply because their audience is too large, and too diverse to maintain a valuable relationship with the customer.

For retailers to survive in this age of discount and digital shopping, it is essential that retailers do not just sell goods, but that they sell an experience.