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

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

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

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 Hardware is outdated and no longer compatible with new software

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

  1. Your existing system is not scalable

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

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

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

  1. Customer service is less than stellar

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

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

Star Micronics and MunchEm Team Up to Offer Online Ordering for Web, Custom Apps, and Kiosks

Somerset, NJ – Sept. 18, 2018 – Star Micronics, a leading manufacturer of mobile, point of sale (POS), and customer engagement technologies, is proud to announce that MunchEm has added support for its SP700 and TSP100III printers. MunchEm, unlike other online ordering and delivery services, is enhancing how the consumer orders food and the restaurant delivers.

MunchEm offers cutting edge customizable online ordering and content management software to allow restaurants to get ahead of their competition. Its order management platform has allowed restaurants to manage online pickup/delivery orders placed from web/mobile apps, and “skip the line” self-service kiosks. Restaurants can use OrderEm to assign delivery orders to drivers and allow both restaurants and customers to track drivers.

Star’s SP700 is durable for kitchen environments with the ability to withstand high heat, whereas the TSP100III printer is perfect for counter printing. The TSP100III can be used to print non-kitchen orders such as smoothies, pre-packed sandwiches, or coffee, or can simply be used to print the receipt for a take-out order.

The TSP100III is also compatible with Star Micronics’ suite of cloud-based customer engagement services, including AllReceipts and PromoPRNT. These services allow restaurants to offer digital receipt and printed promotions to their customers for free.

“Our partnership with Star Micronics has provided our merchant partners tremendous value,” says Ricky Rodrigues, Operations Manager of MunchEm. “The chaos that happens in a restaurant during peak hours can be the most hectic among many different industries. We can now ease some of that by having online orders print automatically in a kitchen.”

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.

Everything Grocery Retailers Need to Know About Scale Integration

Grocery retailers sell a variety of items by weight, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cold cuts, bulk bin dry goods, and more. Whether people are buying a bag of sweet treats or a pound of sliced cheese, you rely on grocery scales to measure the weight of items and calculate the prices. Although it seems easy to lay products on the scale and print the tags, there’s a battery of scientific tests and several government agencies dedicated to calculating weights and prices correctly.

Proper scale integration for your point of sale (POS) system can take some research. First, grocery retailers should check to see if the scale is NTEP certified for legal use.

What is NTEP? How does it work?

The National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) is facilitated by the National Conference on Weights and Measures. NTEP standards cover every aspect of a scale’s use, including:

  • Capacity
  • Accuracy
  • Appearance
  • Effects of temperature and humidity changes

The standards are developed by a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce called the National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST. Every device is tested in a lab setting to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations.

An NTEP Certificate of Conformance (CoC) means the scale is legal for trade and can be used in a commercial setting to sell products by weight. Every NTEP-approved scale will have a CoC number that an inspector can use to verify that the scale meets the agency’s rigorous testing standards and is legal for use.

Why is NTEP important?

Grocery retailers that buy, sell, or determine prices by weight are required by law to use a NTEP certified scale. NTEP scale certification isn’t optional — never purchase a scale that doesn’t have a CoC. Only NTEP-certified devices, when properly inspected and calibrated, can legally determine the weight of products. A grocery retailer with a non-NTEP-certified scale integration may be subject to civil penalties, seizure of the illegal device, or stop-work orders.

Does it matter if my scale is off by a little?

Simply put — yes, it matters. Every state has its own agencies and departments that monitor scales and inspect them for accuracy. Customers trust that their grocery retailer is charging them accurately for the products they buy, so imagine the public relations nightmare if it was reported that your store was caught overcharging customers for items sold by weight. The bad publicity alone isn’t worth the risk to your business, even if it was unintentional. Don’t be cavalier about following the calibration and compliance laws, which help prevent fraud at the scale.

In addition, choose a scale that’s the correct accuracy class. A grocery retailer needs a scale that’s accurate, but doesn’t need the same type of scale used for medicinal or pharmaceutical purposes.

I’ve chosen a NTEP-certified scale, now what?

NTEP-certification doesn’t mean you can plug in the scale and start using it right away. Before using the scale, contact your local regulatory authority to find out what you need to do before processing any sales by weight. You’ll likely have to register the device for inspection prior to scale integration and participate in regular inspections.  A local weights and measures official will use NIST standards when inspecting your scale and certifying it for use.

Grocery retailers who charge for items by weight need a scale to conduct business legally. Look for a scale that is NTEP certified, and legal for use or trade, and be sure to consult your local laws and regulatory agency regarding its set up and use. Always maintain properly calibrated devices, to avoid overcharging customers or shorting your business.

Back-of-the-House vs. Front-of-the-House Receipt Printers for Restaurants

Restaurants are busy work environments where mistakes can quickly snowball into kitchen backups and long wait times for tables. A restaurant POS system with both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house printers reduces the need for staff to decipher someone’s handwriting —which can mean fewer mistakes, quicker service, shorter lines, and more table turns.

However, restaurant printers are only effective if you choose the right ones. Receipt printers for restaurants aren’t usually “one size fits all.” The best printer for your kitchen might be different than the printer that sits on the counter in the dining room.

Back-of-the-House Printers: Impact Printers

The back-of-the-house is where heat, spills, particles, and steam can damage a printer to the point where it stops working—causing work to slow down or, even worse, forcing staff to handwrite tickets.

Choose an impact printer that uses bond paper that can withstand the hazards of a busy kitchen. Impact printers are designed so a printhead makes impact with an ink ribbon, transferring the message onto the receipt paper. The advantage of the ribbon is that two colors can be used, black for orders and red for modifiers. Bond paper will withstand humidity and the extreme temperatures found in hot kitchens and freezing cold storage. In addition, impact printers are loud and help to notify cooks when orders are coming in a rowdy kitchen environment.

In modern kitchens where heat and oil are well-controlled, direct thermal printers can also be used. However, they also need some very specific features, such as splash resistance, warning buzzers, and an insect-proof design, as well as some other, more optional features.

Star Micronics’ impact printer recommended for all your back-of-the-house needs includes:

  • SP700: 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 BTi supports iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® devices in addition to Android™ and Windows devices.

 

 

 

 

Front-of-the-House Printers: Thermal Printers

In the front-of-the-house, aesthetics are important and the hazards are fewer.  Thermal printers are sleekly designed and have a compact footprint, so they don’t look like electronic clutter sitting out in the open. A thermal printer is quiet and uses a printhead to apply heat that transfers characters and images to receipt paper and labels.

These receipt printers for restaurants are perfectly suited for front-of-house printing needs like customer receipts, because they have a higher resolution than impact printers, so they print crisp, clear images. For restaurants that want a nicer looking receipt, or want to print coupons and marketing information, thermal printers are the right choice.

For the front-of-the-house, Star Micronics recommends:

  • TSP100III printer line: High-speed printing of 250 mm/second and a guillotine auto cutter helps your staff do their jobs as quickly as possible. The printers are easy to set up, are Cloud Ready, and compatible with AllReceipts, and they includes the futurePRNT Receipt Enhancement Tool.

 

 

 

 

  • TSP654II and TSP654IIResto: Easy to set-up and extremely fast, the TSP654II is extremely reliable, offers drop-in-and-print paper loading, and prints 300 mm/second. The TSP654II-Resto version is certified by “Revenu Quebec” to comply with the tax laws in the Canadian province. The TSP654II is available with WebPRNT for printing from web-based  applications and, it comes equipped for online ordering applications with cloudPRNT.

 

 

 

Front-of-the-House and Back-of-the-House

Star Micronics has created a state-of-the-art thermal printer recommended for all your front- and back-of-the-house needs.

  • mC-Print3: This fast, front-loading and front-exiting printer is one of the smallest printers in its class. It is the perfect solution for any restaurant. It comes with multiple connectivity options such as USB, Lightning USB, Bluetooth, and Ethernet, allowing it to connect to any PC, tablet or cloud-based software application.

In addition to its flat top design, it also includes a splash-proof enclosure to protect the printer from hazards such as water, debris, or insects when used in harsh environments or outdoors. Gain all of the benefits of a thermal receipt printer in the back-of-the-house with the mC-Print3.

 

 

 

Selecting a receipt printer for the front- vs. back-of-the-house restaurant environment doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. Typically, for restaurant kitchens and environments with extreme heat or cold, look for an impact printer built to withstand spills, humidity, dust particles and more. Unless, of course, you’re purchasing a Star Micronics mC-Print3, a versatile, sleek, and fast little printer that will handle both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house applications with ease. For more information, please visit www.starmicronics.com.

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 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:

 

 

 

Finding the Right Mobile Application and Printer for Your Restaurant

 

Finding the Right Mobile Application and Printer for Your Restaurant

When owning and operating a restaurant or food service business, it’s important that your customers are always left satisfied, whether that be by the food, wait service, or speed. What many restaurateurs do not realize is that this often goes beyond serving a good plate of food and having an attentive staff, but it all connects to your backend operations. Food service and restaurant businesses need to make sure that they have a solid point of sale system that keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently.

Fourleaf and Star Micronics offer restaurant solutions for businesses of all sizes with top performance. Fourleaf is a restaurant point of sale (POS) application that allows management and staff to manage orders from start to finish using an iPad. Restaurant and food service business choose Fourleaf and Star for its mobility, always-on functionality, and outstanding user and customer experience.

Mobility

Smaller restaurants, cafes, and food trucks need mobility options that will allow them to take an order and accept payment from anywhere, at any time. With mobile ordering and payment becoming more popular options when it comes to food service, it is important for business owners to accommodate to the new generation of consumers by offering more mobile options. Fourleaf allows restaurants to seamlessly accept mobile orders and payments. Operating on iPads, Fourleaf’s POS solution enables food service businesses to go completely mobile using one of Star’s mPOS hardware options including the SM-L200 portable printer, mPOP, or mC-Print3.

Always-on Connectivity

With Fourleaf and Star Micronics, restaurateurs never have to worry about devices being disconnected, or losing payment or transaction information. The benefit of Fourleaf’s real-time sales and inventory updates is that business owners and managers are always connected and able to see updates whether they are in the restaurant or relaxing at home. And with Star Micronics’ new mC-Print3, they never have to worry about losing connectivity with the printer’s HUB interface with Bluetooth, USB, lightning USB, and Ethernet options. Not only does the mC-Print3 offer multiple connectivity options, but it also allows restaurants to connect multiple devices to be used all at the same time while boasting both spill- and insect-proof technology, making it ideal for kitchen and restaurant environments. For mid-size and large-scale restaurants, always-on and always-connected functionality is a must.

User and Customer Experience

The most important aspect of running a successful restaurant business is providing an exceptional customer experience. In order to do this, staff must be knowledgeable of the menu and the back-of-house operations including how food is prepared, wait times in the kitchen, and most importantly, the point of sale. Providing your staff with a user-friendly POS system helps set-up them—and your business—up for success, especially in a large-scale and busy restaurant environment. Fourleaf POS offers an easy-to-use and intuitive system that makes it easy for staff to take orders, print receipts, and track loyalty. This is also great for the customer experience because they receive excellent service and rewards for frequenting your business. Star’s TSP143III printer helps staff to quickly print receipts and credit card slips and offers an aesthetically pleasing printing solution for your business.

The bottom line is that no matter what size or type of restaurant or food service business you run, it is important to have modern and functional technology to help your staff get the job done and provide your customers with a 5-star experience every time. Whether you own a food truck or a steakhouse, Fourleaf and Star Micronics have the solutions to help you succeed.