As a retail business owner, you are busy and your plate is full of responsibilities. From managing inventory to recruiting staff, you have a lot of tasks to juggle and one of the last things on your mind might be your point of sale (POS) technology. So, how exactly do you know when it’s time for a retail technology upgrade? Read on to explore four common ways to determine when it’s time to refresh that tech.
1. You’re Not Online
Did you know that online shopping started all the way back in the mid-1990s? According to Money Magazine,
“Toward the end of 1994, Money magazine published a story about the sharp rise in consumers shopping from home. That year, some 98 million consumers made $60 billion worth of purchases from home, nearly all of it through phone orders prompted by mail catalogues and TV shopping channels. Another home-shopping option had suddenly arrived on the scene that year, too–an “on-line shopping service [that] requires a PC or Macintosh that’s equipped with a modem.” The article explained how such curious services worked:
‘For ordering, many of the “computer stores” offer shoppers an 800 telephone number to call. Others are set up so a shopper can click on a box next to the desired gift, type in payment information and the shipping address and then hit a “Submit Order” button. Some companies even let shoppers pick out the wrapping paper via computer.’”
Obviously, online ordering has come a long way since 1994 – and the COVID-19 pandemic kicked the trend into high gear. It’s simply not an option to not be online anymore. According to Zoovu.com, Target’s digital sales increased by 275% in April 2020 alone, and there has been a 500% rise in curbside pickup year-over-year. This trend extends past large retail chains; people understand the hardships many small businesses have faced during this unprecedented time and are looking to support their local mom-and-pops during the new normal.
If you aren’t online yet, don’t panic. There is a chance your current POS software provider offers e-commerce capabilities, and if they don’t, set aside some time to research an affordable and easy-to-use solution. From a POS hardware perspective, establishing an online store can be easier than you think. Certain online ordering printers, like the Star Micronics mC-Print3, are equipped with retail technology enabling the printer to automatically and directly retrieve orders from your online store. What does this mean for you? No extra tablet to purchase and install in your store and no additional timely training for your staff.
2. Your Marketing is Lackluster
Another task that can easily slip through the cracks for small business owners who wear multiple hats is marketing. While it may sound daunting, if you are equipped with the right retail technology, marketing can be easy.
From a software perspective, many POS software providers offer integrated, easy-to-view sales and marketing data right in their dashboards. These analytics can be used for sales reporting, loyalty programs, email marketing, and much more.
From the hardware end of things, did you know that with the right receipt printer, you can print promotions on your receipts for free? These promotions can easily and quickly be customized to communicate upcoming sales, your social media accounts, now hiring messaging, and more. You can design and schedule the promotions from anywhere using a simple online-based dashboard – even if you have multiple store locations.
3. Your Customers Can’t Pay the Way They Want To
The days of traditional cash and credit/debit card transactions are over. The COVID-19 pandemic has launched the retail world into a new way of doing things, and consumers demand modern payment methods that either reduce or eliminate contact with common surfaces and other people.
Is your store set up to accept contactless payments? Contactless payments – or the processing of transactions via the tap or close placement of a credit/debit card, smartphone, or smart watch – are growing in popularity as a safer and more efficient way to make purchases.
If you are looking to implement contactless payments, rest assured the process can be quite simple. Most banks not only offer contactless credit and debit cards, but also the terminals that are required for processing contactless transactions. These terminals have a contactless payment symbol on them showing customers that contactless payment methods are accepted. You may also tell your customers that you accept contactless payments in person, through social media or email marketing, by placing a sign at the point of sale, and through receipt marketing.
4. You Have a Dated Aesthetic
They say looks aren’t everything, but when it comes to retail technology, aesthetic makes a big difference. You might be used to seeing your POS hardware every day but try to take a look at it with a fresh set of eyes. Does it look clunky? Does it match the environment of the rest of your store? Does it complement the personality and vision you have in mind for your business?
If you find that your POS hardware looks a bit outdated and takes up too much space, it’s time to consider a refresh. In terms of style, POS hardware has come a long way in recent years. Tablet POS systems are now the norm, and not only provide a modern, clean appeal, but can provide an even better customer experience as well with features like tilting tablet stands that can be used to capture customer signatures. There are options on the market for modern-looking printers, cash drawers, scales, and more, too.
mCollection: Changing the Face of Retail
Whether just a couple parts of your retail technology environment need an upgrade, or you’re looking for a complete overhaul, the Star Micronics mCollection has you covered. A true one-stop shop, the mCollection includes receipt printers built for online ordering, tablet stands featuring clean cable management, stylish and durable cash drawers, and a full range of accessories like scanners, customer displays, and more.
Designed with ease-of-use in mind, the mCollection is integrated with the retail industry’s top POS software providers, like Shopify, PredictSpring, Square, Vend, and more.
Star Micronics has what it takes to modernize your small business.
Kyle Lauber, the Marketing Coordinator at Star Micronics. Kyle has been in the industry since 2017 and has touched many areas of the business. He started out writing blogs, social media posts, and webpages for Star Micronics. Since then, Kyle has become a member of RSPA’s STS Committee, began setting up Star’s trade shows, and took on the role of product champion for Star Micronics Cloud Services, mUnite stands, and POSShield sneeze guards.