Modernizing the Retail Approach
Years ago, a nascent business could be organized and operated with a limited range of equipment. With a cash register, basic order forms, and thick notebooks full of order patterns, a business owner could sell his goods and record his profits. However,in today’s technological world, many of these older pieces of equipment and methods of operation have been expanded upon and further developed, becoming more efficient, flexible, and productive. From Point-of-Sale modules to social media involvement, retail enhancement has become its own business, complete with proprietary hardware, programs, and cataloging systems. The age of barcode scanners and Instagram is here, and it’s selling with style.
While an owner’s products could always be tallied by hand with the record tucked away in a file, the process was typically far from accurate. The process itself was slow going, requiring employees to pore over inventory for hours at a time counting. Of course, once a business grows to a respectable size, this time-honored practice becomes more than outdated – it’s impossible. Businesses are increasingly turning away from the old model of counting manually, especially when the numbers can cause such a huge upset in the system. Alternative solutions like Point-of-Sale (POS) systems are becoming the new standard in retail thanks to factors like mobility and ease-of-use. Businesses ranging from department stores to food supply warehouses have made the jump to a POS, and for good reason. The inherent delay in a traditional sale and its manual recording can mean serious losses as customer grow frustrated and leave. As Entrepreneur notes in a POS overview article, a business that deals with several thousand SKU codes can quickly become overwhelmed if they lack an efficient recording system.
Some of the latest offerings by POS companies such as Shopify are intended to replace the conventional cash register and tagging systems, creating electronic databases that are automatically maintained and updated with each sale. Regardless of actual inventory numbers, POS systems are becoming more popular thanks to their management streamlining, and savings in time and money. With automatic recording, there’s no need to throw employees on eternal inventory tasks anymore. With a system that’s more or less self-sustaining, there’s no such thing as a sudden shortage. Everything is noted – and can be corrected – well in advance, even if a human counter might count improperly. Prices are maintained and kept in harmony by the program’s price settings, which will show up on any barcode scanner. To err is human, but to manage without direct involvement is POS.
In an age where a business owner can be responsible for a staggering number of employees, and even smaller business owners have to contend with hours that often don’t add up, the solution lies in proper management. As more and more business owners are finding out, especially as noted in a Food Service Warehouse piece about POS software, the solution to chaos and mismanagement is often found in software programs. Programs such as the aforementioned POS systems are capable of tracking employee promotions, hourly wages, placement in the company, and other crucial information. This gives business owners an unprecedented level of understanding and comprehension regarding their workers. In previous years, it might have been impossible to run some of the massive corporations that we see today. But with the careful application of spreadsheets and server banks, managing a monolith is easier than ever before.
Social Media: The Killer App
While they may have started as a digital gathering place for younger audiences, social media platforms have become a powerhouse in networking and communication; affecting the way that businesses and individuals conduct themselves all over the world. Twitter, Facebook, and Wanelo are among the most utilized tools in the advertising arsenal of businesses, which rely on social media to connect with customers and gauge consumer interest. A Business Insider report noted that sites like Pinterest and Instagram hold valuable sway on the items that customers purchase, particularly among female demographics. This new fascination with social media has obvious benefits. First,there’s no initial cost to publish your material, unlike traditional printing and distribution methods. And second, social media provides a rare chance to influence consumers when they’re not physically in the store.
By reaching out to the public with your preferred form of social media, you’re given an opportunity. Deals and brand awareness are huge considerations for marketing teams working for corporate giants. Although many of these elements are featured on the company’s actual page, some of them are put forward in advertisements. Companies like Facebook and Google are veterans in pitching particular brands and products to consumers based on the data collected about websites visited and online purchases made. The Houston Chronicle notes that consumer Internet usage data is critical for devising accurate strength and weakness assessments. In a system built around links and networking, the power of social media is undeniable for burgeoning retail companies. Additionally, social media provides the added benefit of collecting consumer data, even if there is no apparent connection to retailers or dedicated companies. Some of the larger entities involved in web searches are capable of compiling vast amounts of data about market trends. Business owners and their teams are now never more than one search term away from finding a complete and comprehensive list of financial news, developments in their given sector, and information about competitors.