How to Create an Amazing Return Policy

No matter what kind of business you operate, having a rock-solid return policy is of utmost importance. Whether you operate an online business or a brick-and-mortar – or both – having a strong return policy can save you a lot of headache (and money). Did you know that:

  • At least 30% of products ordered online are returned,
  • Nearly 9% of products purchased in a brick-and-mortar are returned,
  • And in one year alone, Americans returned $260 billion worth of merchandise to retailers!

The product is damaged. The wrong item was purchased. The merchandise is no longer wanted. The reasons customers request a return can be endless – but you can develop a return policy to handle it all. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you create an amazing return policy for your business:

What to Define in Your Policy

  • Receipt: You must define whether or not customers need a receipt in order to make a return. While this is optional, it is beneficial to require a receipt for myriad reasons: they enable you to verify the purchase came from your business, they help you accurately record the return in your books, and much more. Some different variations to include receipts in your policy include no returns without receipts, no exchanges without receipts, no-receipt returns will result in store credit, and more.
  • Identification: Next, decide whether you want to require customers to present ID upon returning products. Variations of identification policy could include ID is required with receipts, ID is required without a receipt, or ID is not required.
  • Payment type: When customers return an item, how will you refund them? Some choices include an exchange (return an item for a new item), cash refund, credit/debit card refund, or store credit.
  • Timing: Next up, it’s time to decide the required timing of the return. Can customers return items 14, 30, 60, or 90 days out? The choice is yours. Some businesses choose to vary the time range depending on product type (for example, clothing may be returned within 90 days, but makeup must be returned within 30 days).
  • Restrictions: Last but not least, what is the fine print of your policy? What items are not allowed to be returned, or “all sales final”? For example, sometimes businesses restrict returns on heavily discounted items and customized products.

Why Paper Receipts are Key

  • Easy for customers to retain: A digital receipt has its advantages, but when it comes to returns, nothing beats a good, old-fashioned paper receipt. Paper receipts can easily be kept in customers’ wallets, and avoids the frustrating, time-consuming process of sifting through emails looking for a receipt.
  • Can include more than just return information: Did you know you can include more on your receipt than just transaction and return information? With Star’s value-add PromoPRNT tool, you can easily include custom promotions directly on the bottom of receipts – and all from one central location!
  • Cut down on fraud: Here’s a shocking statistic for you: according to the National Retail Federation, a whopping 5% of returns are cases of return fraud (which costs U.S. retailers $9-17 billion per year)! Printing paper receipts – and requiring them for a return – is a sure-fire way to cut down on instances of return fraud in your store.

How to Manage Your Return Policy

  • Be consistent: To establish your policy, be sure to apply it to each and every customer. Also, to avoid surprises, it can be helpful to inform customers about your policy at the time of purchase.
  • Train your staff: Properly training your staff to handle different return scenarios can make the entire process smoother for both your business and your customers.
  • Display the policy: Be sure to prominently display your return policy near your register and on your receipts so that it’s constantly visible to both customers and employees.
  • E-commerce tips: If you operate an e-commerce store, check out these tips for an online return policy.

Star can help with more than just return policies – learn more now about how we provide simple mobile point of sale (mPOS) management.

What to Look for in a Retail Space

When you operate a retail brand, your storefront is everything. And when you consider that the average real estate lease term length is 3-5 years, it’s important to choose your space wisely. That’s why we’re here to discuss the three key things to look for in a retail space – before you sign your next lease. Read on!

A Prime Location

Location, location, location! One of the most important features to look for in a retail space is its location. The area’s foot traffic and demographic makeup should be two of your top considerations. What sort of shoppers stroll the area, and do they align with your target customer?

Another important thing to consider is the climate of the local business community. Are the businessowners supportive of each other? Do they collaborate? A supportive group of entrepreneurs will help you succeed – and an ultra-competitive environment most likely will not.

In addition to your customers and fellow businesses, you also need to keep your employees and contractors in the forefront of your mind. What local amenities will be available to your staff? From nearby restaurants to convenience stores, the more you accommodate for a healthy work-life balance, the better talent you’ll attract. You must also keep in mind the parking and public transportation availability – for your staff, contractors, delivery trucks and more.

The Right Price

The price should absolutely be right in your new space. Ideally, your lease payment should amount to 3-8% of your gross revenue, depending on your industry. For example, a store with lots of big-ticket sales (like an electronics store) usually has rent that is about 2% of its gross revenue. On the contrary, clothing stores typically average rent that’s approximately 8% of their gross revenue. Curious what your target rent is? Below are sample amounts by industry:

Industry Percentage of Sales Allocated for Rent
Clothing and Apparel 7.66%
General Merchandise Stores 3.86%
Furniture and Furnishing Stores 5.98%
Food and Drink Establishments 5.81%
Electronics and Appliance Stores 2.09%
Books, Hobby, Music, Sporting Goods Stores 3.30%
Health & Personal Care Stores 3.37%

Source: fitsmallbusiness.com

And don’t forget about your down payment, and other expenses like utilities, property taxes, insurance, and common area maintenance (CAM)!

Properly Sized and Equipped

Once you’ve found a space that’s in a location that fits your target demographic – and your budget – it’s time to take a deeper look at the store’s features.

First, you need to make sure the space is the right size for your business. To calculate your target square footage, add together the sizes of the different areas in your store: for example, your sales floor, inventory storage, office, kitchen, bathrooms, and dressing rooms. Not sure how big your sales floor should be? Here’s a handy formula: Planned sales volume / average sales per square foot in your industry = sales floor space

If you’re just starting out, consider a pop-up shop, or a “store within a store.” These are more affordable than standalone shops, can help familiarize your target market with your brand, and helps the storeowner offset the high cost of rent. When your goal is to grow your baseline brand awareness, it’s worth doing some research and finding a complementary store in your target area to partner with!

Next, make sure the space has the features you need to make your store shine. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Lighting: Can the lights be dimmed? Can alternative lights be brought in?
  • Loss Prevention: Are there cameras (or other tactics) to prevent theft?
  • Emergencies: Is there adequate fire and police presence in the area?
  • Sales Restrictions: For example, are there restrictions on Sunday sales (blue laws)?
  • Wi-Fi: What’s the Wi-Fi availability like? This is extremely important so that you can process credit card transactions on your mPOS system.

Last but not least, don’t forget to keep in mind your target shopper – what do they look like? What is their occupation? Where do they live and what do they do for fun? When you boil it down, you need your retail space to match your target audience. For example, if your customers typically have small children, make sure you build in extra aisle space to accommodate strollers. And if you are selling trendy items, you’ll need a clean, modern, easy-to-manage space to match.

We hope these tips are helpful while navigating retail space leases. Looking for more retail know-how? Browse our Small Business Tips!

Why Guest Wi-Fi is an Important Asset for Small Businesses

If one thing is true about today’s consumers, it’s that they are constantly (or nearly constantly) connected. With the rising trend of omnichannel retail experiences, it’s more important than ever to provide an easy, free way for your customers to connect to the internet. Implementing a guest Wi-Fi network does more than connect your shoppers to their favorite apps and websites, though – it can also improve your business in many ways! Here’s how:

Enhance Marketing

Speaking of omnichannel marketing, having a guest Wi-Fi network is an excellent way to expand your omnichannel strategy. One way to do so is to engage in Wi-Fi marketing, a method where you use your network as a channel to communicate with your shoppers. Using Wi-Fi marketing, you can promote campaigns of your choice, which can serve as a part of your in-store marketing strategy.

When guests log on to your Wi-Fi network, their phones will redirect to a splash page where they’ll view a branded message, as well as details about the network and its terms of use. On the page, users will enter credentials such as their email address, which can help you build customer profiles and gather leads. With this additional insight into shoppers’ demographics, you can further tailor your marketing tactics to better suit them, and that can help create more sales. For example, a Deviscape survey found that half of businesses report that customers spend more money now that they have a Wi-Fi network!

Safeguard Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

Better marketing and more sales are nice, but did you know that implementing a guest Wi-Fi network has security benefits, as well? If you incorporate IoT-connected devices into your store, such as automated checkouts and smart shelves, you probably already know that they’re more vulnerable than traditional devices. If you connect those smart devices to your main network, the chance that hackers can access your other devices – like your main server or physical security system – is increased.  By connecting your smart devices to a guest network instead, you create an additional layer of protection against attacks; Even if a cybercriminal hacks into one of your devices, they won’t be able to penetrate your main network, where your most valuable information lies.

Improve Customer Experience

Last but not least – and this probably goes without saying – guest Wi-Fi networks greatly improve the customer experience. Depending on your store location and your customers’ cellular provider, providing shoppers a guest network saves them data and gives them a potentially faster network. And there are stats to back it up – nearly 62% of businesses with free Wi-Fi report their customers stay in the store longer, which likely means they’re having a better shopping experience, spending more money, and are more likely to return.

From boosting sales to securing your sensitive data, there are many reasons to utilize a guest Wi-Fi network. Looking for even more ways to improve your retail store? Click here to read more of Star’s Small Business Tips!

5 Irresistible Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas

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

A PromoPRNT Two-for-One Example

Promote Two-for-One Deals

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

Leverage Seasonal Branding

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

An Example of Promoting Your Gift Guide via PromoPRNT

Take Advantage of Pop Culture

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

Create a Gift Guide

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

Source: Buzzfeed

Send Valentine’s Day Cards

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

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

Why You Should Create Instagram Stories for Your Store

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

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

How To Create An Instagram Story

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

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

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

Why Use Instagram Stories?

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

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

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

Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Your Business

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

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

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

How One Fashion Store Made the Most of Instagram Stories

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

Good luck and happy “storytelling!”

Dale Carnegie Training Recap: Our Top 3 Takeaways

Star Micronics family.

A part of the Star family who visited Arizona.

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

1. Don’t Just Hear – Listen

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

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

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

2. Mix It Up

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

Dale Carnegie training.

Learning about the importance of mental attitudes.

3. Choose the Right Attitude

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

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

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

The Top 7 Ways Retail Stores Can Grow Repeat Customers

Why Customer Retention Matters

For brick and mortar stores and small businesses, driving repeat business means everything. With increased competition for less traffic and reduced consumer attention, small businesses too need to learn how to stand out and be memorable. Increasing customer lifetime value is part art and all science—data and marketing.

The right customer retention tactics for your independent business could mean success or failure in the critical window; here you need to grow and increase ROI and focus in on your most valuable customers to drive sales.

1. Serve the authenticity motive.

Consumers need to feel a connection to your staff, your store, and your products to keep coming back. This requires great customer service, competitive prices, exquisite products, and building trust with authenticity. At the end of the day, your best customers will want to support you and see your establishment do well if they feel a connection. By being genuine, transparent, generous, and focused on giving to the community, your local business can do great things and drive people to care, and shop more!

2. Adopt a loyalty program.

The surest way to re-target customers and drive repeat sales is to choose and implement the best loyalty program that works for you, and generates higher sales on the top 20% of your customers that are the most profitable. With a solution like thirdshelf, small businesses and boutiques can quickly develop a loyalty program and easily on-board their customers to enjoy the benefits.

3. Drive visual and mobile attention.

Adopting tech at your small business does not have to be expensive, and it can help increase repeat sales and pair products most commonly bought together. This is fairly intuitive with the implementation of digital signage via Sophatar. The impact of digital influence on customer engagement is increasing; contextually based dynamic content that’s highly visual can increase basket size and augment the customer experience.

4. Have the very best customer service.

The key to having great customer service is in well trained and motivated sales associates and store clerks. Investing in employee engagement tools and staff training programs such as those offered by Myagi can help keep employees on top of their game. Customer fulfillment in physical retail really is very based on the human experience with staff, and if their training was skill-based, they will have all the tools to deliver truly memorable service.

5. Acquire and utilize customer data for personalization.

Even the smallest retailers should be obsessed with their customers and this also means gathering customer data. This is the genius of loyalty programs in that they benefit the entire business by understanding customer and product analytics at a deeper level. To increase customer retention, engagement, and repeat business, it’s therefore essential to gather customer information. Re-targeting with email marketing and personalized offers is the bread and butter of any customer retention program.

6. Elevate the customer experience that matters to your key customer segment.

Every business will have a sweet-spot of what the ideal customer journey looks like and the most common points of friction. By providing more of the best and minimizing the usual rough spots, independent stores can constantly improve the experiences they provide. Offering educational opportunities, events, and even appointments with an expert can provide added incentives for loyalty customers to convert. A tool like Booxi can drive traffic via online appointment booking while simplifying the journey.

7. Optimize and quantify your physical retail success.

For loyalty marketing that’s data-based, you will be able to create marketing campaigns that are customer-centric. This means having the right data your fingertips, both in terms of customer segments and actual foot-traffic, and for this, we recommend getting Dor. Dor can help you measure marketing outcomes as it’s an actual foot traffic solution that’s affordable and easy to install at your retail location.

One of the key takeaways is that growing repeat customers takes data, it takes hard work, and it takes a lot of testing via loyalty and marketing campaigns. The savvy retail entrepreneurs, who understand their customer the best, can implement the right solution to drive additional revenue and increase sales. Setting these priorities firmly in mind can enable you to grow your business with proactive growth mentality that is constantly in tune with your customers that are always in search of adding more value to their experience.

  • Do more with less; try new tools and software.
  • Eliminate pain points and friction.
  • Zero in on providing add-on value for your best customers.
  • Create fresh campaigns that truly differentiates your retail brand as an experience provider.
  • Incentivize repeat business will well-crafted and personalized offers.

How Small Businesses Can Stand Out on Social Media

Owning a small business can make it difficult to compete with the big brand names that everyone already knows. The advantage that SMB retailers have compared to “big-box” retailers is their opportunity to create an authentic and unique experience for each of their customers.

While you may feel like even on social media you’re being overshadowed by the big guys, here are a few ways to stand out, and how to do it.

Start a Vlog

Benefits:

Video is taking over the way people consume information. A fun way for small businesses to showcase their products and expertise about their business is to start a vlog, a.k.a, a video blog. Video blogs can cover topics from a new clothing line you’ve just started carrying, to fashion tips, to a personal entry about the success of our small business.

Vlogs are also great for promoting events and one-time sales. Aside from that fact that online videos now account for more than 80% of Internet traffic, a vlog creates a better sense of authenticity than your standard blog. This gives you a better opportunity, not just to increase the foot traffic in your store, it allows you to create a community with your frequent shoppers.

How to do it:

The great thing about vlogging is that it doesn’t need to be filmed in a fancy production studio. All you really need to start a vlog is a smart phone and an idea of the type of content you want to share with your viewers.

A great starting point for a vlog is to film an overview of your business, what inspired you to start it, and a tour. This introduction is a perfect way to create loyal viewers and customers who are interested in learning more from your vlog. And if you’re camera shy, try asking a friend, employee, or business partner to take the lead with your creative input!

Run Seasonal Campaigns

Benefits:

For retailers, you may find yourself needing to update your store for every season. This is especially true for clothing stores. By creating seasonal campaigns, you are not only letting your audience know that you are all set for the upcoming season, but showing them that you know what will be trendy for the upcoming season.

Seasonal campaigns are beneficial because they allow you to get very visual in your social media posting – which is great since Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without images, and as of June 2016, there are more than 500 million Instagram users.

How to do it:

In order to announce your brand new stock of inventory for the upcoming season, you’ll need to create a visually appealing seasonal campaign. There are a few ways to do this.

In addition to the aforementioned vlog, try creating some promotional videos to help promote the new inventory coming in. Capturing visuals of outdoor seasonal scenes will trigger your audience to visit your store for a new winter coat. In addition to video content, Instagram and Pinterest are the perfect platforms to look to when promoting a seasonal campaign.

According to Shopify, 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan their next purchase. Hootsuite found that 75% of Instagram users are taking action, such as visiting a website, after viewing an Instagram post. By visually promoting products that are appropriate to the season on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, you’re much more likely to turn those “likes” into sales.

Leverage User Generated Content

Benefits:

User generated content is a great way for small businesses to stand out on social media because it means that people are paying attention to and care about your business! By definition, user generated content includes any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasts, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements and other forms of media that were created by users of an online system or service, often made available via social media websites.

Put in more simple terms – user generated content is content posted by your customers about your business. This can include anything from an Instagram user posting a photo of them wearing an item from your latest clothing line, to a shopper writing a blog article about your business. Not only does user generated content often result in free advertising, but it helps you reach a wider audience through your customers’ network.

How to do it:

I know what you’re thinking – how do I encourage my customers to create content about my product? There are a number of ways to push that content out of your shoppers. The easiest way to do this is simply to use social media to interact with their audiences. If someone tags you in a post, make sure to leave a comment! There are also a number of social media monitoring tools that will help you scan for posts that mention your business but don’t tag your page. Surprising one of your frequent shoppers with a comment on their Instagram photo is almost guaranteed to increase customer loyalty and stand out to all of their followers.

If you’re looking to boost your user generated content, try hosting a contest. Photo contests are probably the most popular way to get see more user content. For example, if you are the owner of a fashion boutique, try holding a photo contest on Instagram asking people to pose with their latest store purchases. You can create a hashtag for users to post along with their photos; that way, you can easily track who is participating in your contest, and choose a winner! People will notice the hashtag and it will help you stand out to a wider audience than you initially started with.

Competing with large retailers doesn’t have to be a ton of work. Social media has allowed retailers to connect with their customers on a more personal level, and will continue to advance in favor of business owners. Sometimes all it takes to stand out is the initial interaction.

How to Choose a POS System for Salons and Boutiques

Retailers that make a living helping clients look and feel gorgeous need to look amazing themselves, so electronic clutter and outdated technology doesn’t fit the bill.  Choosing a point of sale (POS) system for salons requires extra attention to style, whether it’s hardware design or an installation that needs an added level of detail.

However, don’t choose a POS system based on looks alone. Think carefully about the software: do you need inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), reports, or time keeping? It seems like common sense, but don’t paint yourself into a corner by selecting a package that leaves out important features.

Once you’ve made a list of what you need, it’s time to shop around. Choose a POS system for salons that includes these six necessities.

1. Functionality: POS systems for salons should be easy to learn and use and allow employees to complete a transaction in as few clicks as possible. If you cater to repeat clients, select software with an integrated CRM. This allows you to track customers’ buying habits and preferences. You can use this information to make recommendations based on past purchases or send clients coupons and incentives to make a purchase or schedule an appointment.

2. Employee management: Employee management is an important, multifaceted function of a POS system for salons and boutiques. Labor schedulers make it simple to schedule employees for work, swap shifts or duplicate a previous week’s schedule. They also help you make informed decisions about scheduling, so you are not caught under or overstaffed. Depending on the software, employee management functions give you a bird’s eye view of how many employees are working and what jobs they are performing that day.

3. Printed promotions: Very few receipt printers come with cloud software that allows you to create and schedule printed promotions for free. Choosing a Star Micronics printer for your salon POS system will grant you access to a full suite of Star Cloud Services, including PromoPRNT. PromoPRNT will empower salon owners to create custom promotions, manage them remotely, and schedule them to run at a pre-determined time. Increase customer retention with a limited time 20% off brow wax offer. Boost customer retention with a monthly 15% off of a cut and color.

4. Sales and inventory reporting: Many POS systems for salons allow you to see sales and inventory information in real time, so you can keep tabs on business throughout the day. These systems also include a variety of reporting options that give you the opportunity to see sales by the shift, hour, day, week, month, or year. Running sales reports help salon and boutique owners identify which styles and product lines customers can’t get enough of and which ones are ready for markdown. Knowing what the top selling items are helps ensure they’re always in stock and in prime position on the sales floor.

5. Inventory control: Knowing which items are hot helps you manage inventory levels so you aren’t overloaded with unsold products while running out of the ones customers want. POS systems for salons and boutiques can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend searching for items that are in stock, so choose one with the proper inventory control functions. A multilocation business can use its POS system to determine which locations have the items available and arrange for shipping.

6. Aesthetics: When it’s your business to make people look beautiful, you need to keep up appearances. Choose a stylish POS system for salons that fits with your business’ reputation. Appearances matter, so you can’t afford to have wires hanging around or dated hardware. The checkout is a customer’s last stop before they leave, so a fast transaction on beautifully designed hardware leaves a positive, lasting impression as clients depart.

The term “salon quality” has come to mean top of the line. Insist on the same standard for the technology you choose for your business. A purpose-built POS system for salons and boutiques will give you the features that meet your unique business needs, allow you to provide great customer service, and equip your business to operate successfully.

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

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