It’s been a good year for consumer spending with inflation at a low point, rising wages, and hiring on the uptick. The National Retail Federation expects U.S. retail spending to increase by 3.6% to $655.8 billion this year, a nice rise from the 2.5% average growth of the past decade.
So with the busy season upon us—and a strong one at that—here’s one important question to ask yourself: will your point of sale terminal help grow your business now and in the new year? If not, now is the time to rethink your POS strategy. Huge numbers of small business owners are making the move to a software-based POS that does a lot more than just accept credit cards, to their lasting benefit.
Many merchants are planning to make a POS switch in the new year, once the crowds have receded, when they have more time to make the shift. Sounds sensible, but there’s a flaw in that plan.
This is your busiest season
You’re about to welcome hoards of new customers through your doors. The National Retail Association confirms that the months of November and December is the busiest time of year for retailers of all shapes and sizes, accounting for as much as 30 percent of a merchant’s annual sales. That’s a significant percentage of customers appearing in your business in person, ready to connect with you, and forge a relationship.
So how are you capturing this data?
If you use an old fashioned POS terminal, you are not capturing valuable customer data, such as purchase history, contact information, and loyalty status. Asking your staff to collect this data is awkward, when they ask an exhausted shopper for their email address, and are met with a stony silence.
How does a mPOS change things?
With an mPOS system like Instore in place, every single sale you make via credit card will automatically create a customer record. Once the customer is recognized, the system quietly builds out key details such as name, contact information, purchase history, associated credit cards, loyalty balances, and gift cards. Better yet, an mPOS lets you do this with almost no effort, seamlessly and unobtrusively.
Say someone comes to your store three times in November and December, returning again and again to buy more gifts because you’ve suddenly proven yourself to be the Aladdin’s Cave for all their loved ones’ needs. You need to know who this person is, so that you can reach out to them in the New Year, thank them, and continue building a bond.
Don’t wait until January
The point here is that you want to be smart about that 30% upswing in customers. You want to maximize this opportunity, by bringing in superior tools to start building a strong customer list right now, while the conditions are right and store traffic is good.
That way, come January, you’ll have the time and wherewithal to dive into your customer data and create thoughtful promotions, starting the year with a real conversation to lure customers back for more.
Let’s not forget that repeat business is one of the strongest ways you can sail into a strong 2017–and the best marketing methods in the world build on repeat customers through personalized campaigns. A personalized campaign begins with the right data, and that begins with a great customer list. And in today’s brave new world, that begins with the right software.
Photo copyright: FutUndBeidl by CC BY 2.0