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3 Ways to Supercharge Business in 2017

We all know that New Year’s Resolutions are historically a terrible idea. No one keeps them, and we all start to feel guilty by the end of January. But what if there were three practical things you could plan to do in 2017 that would actually bring about supercharged business growth?

Here at Instore, we’ve been the champions of small business since inception. In our daily conversations with merchants, we’ve identified three important things that your business can do today to build critical momentum. These are not difficult tasks—if you accept credit cards, they are all within your grasp. But together they pack a punch, impacting your business’s bottom line in very real ways.

Resolution #1: Identify every customer

It sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many small businesses are not yet making the most of smart technology that helps you get to know each customer. Today’s consumer market is shifting—there are extraordinary cloud-based tools that allow customers to be recognized for the individuals they are. And people expect the personalized attention that these data-driven tools are bringing. In today’s always on, connected world, every time a customer pays with a credit card and swipes it through a cloud-based platform like Instore, their information is automatically aggregated to a customer list. This means that you can focus on selling your great product or service—and let the technology aggregate their info for you.

Having technology that recognizes each customer supercharges workflow efficiencies, and boosts customer service. Say, for example, you own a fast-casual restaurant where the pace is swift and things like missed orders, not charging for upsells, or wrong orders can weave their way into the day. By using a mobile POS, where the data is captured from the customer automatically—their order will seamlessly appear on systems throughout the business from the floor to the kitchen, reducing mistakes in the workflow. The right customer will get the right order and they will reward you for recognizing them as individuals.

Resolution #2: Inspire repeat visits

The stats are irrefutable: The Gartner Group tells us that 80 percent of future profits will come from just 20 percent of your existing customers. An infographic by SumAll featured in CMS Wire highlights the power of repeat customers: Businesses with a 40% level of repeat customers generated 47% more revenue than similar businesses with only a 10% level of repeat customers. Meanwhile, Marketing Metrics, by business marketing analyst and professor Paul W. Farris, tells us that return customers present a 60-70% higher likelihood of purchase when walking through the door, while new prospects have only a 5-20% chance of purchase.

Let’s go back to that customer list that your mobile POS system is now effortlessly aggregating on your behalf while you go about your day. Once you know who your customers are as individuals, you can start to connect with them with personalized marketing campaigns that hit their sweet spots. Say for example, Barbara has a deep love for your soy chai lattes—and this isn’t someone who comes in every now and then, Barbara appears at 4:15pm every weekday to get her latte and your data shows you this. With the data and your perfectly up-to-date customer list to hand, you can send her an email wishing her a happy 2017 and letting her know a complimentary steaming New Year’s chai is sitting on the counter waiting for her.

Resolution #3: Offer rewards and sell gift cards

Targeted marketing will draw people back in the door, but rewards and gift cards are proven ways to keep that repeat flow coming in a systematic way throughout the year. There is an art to building a loyalty program with true ROI, and it comes down to five key ingredients: simplicity, rewarding spend rather than visits, tracking every customer, not making cards or apps required, and motivating repeat visits and higher spending. Put these pieces in place, and you’ll have yourself a healthy, profitable program.

Gift cards are another supercharged strategy—and we’ve been studying the psychology of gift-card buying for years now. By working with a system like Instore, you can have beautifully, professional designed cards at the ready—spreading the love to new referral customers.

If you’re currently accepting credit cards in your store, now may be the time to upgrade to a cloud-based system that allows you to use the data to your advantage, helps you to treat every customer as the individual that they are, and deeply rewards your most loyal customers. Believe me, you’ll be feeling the benefits right through December.  

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