Old-fashioned cash register

Why You Need to Bring Your Small Business Out of The Stone Age

Is your business stuck in the stone age? Do you continue to use a combination of traditional cash registers, credit card machines, and old-fashioned hand-written tickets and receipts? While relying on these tools may feel safe—and the thought of changing may just sound like unnecessary stress—it’s worth considering how the Old School is actually holding your company back and could even be having a negative impact on your customers.  

If you’re resisting the move to more futuristic payment processes, you are by no means alone. In late 2015, Software Advice found that 63 percent of restaurant operators still didn’t have a digital POS system in place. This is a remarkably high number considering the efficiencies that mobile point-of-sale systems offer—and the lightning growth that can come about with honest data.

While many are intimidated by the launch into new technologies or assume that the investment is too expensive, the simple fact is that POS systems are unveiling a supercharged (and affordable) new way of doing business where even the smallest mom-and-pop can have instant access to the kind of data sets that were once the dominion of businesses like Apple and Google. This data can help you increase efficiency, cut down on costs, and be more customer-centric.

Here are three reasons to update today:

An astonishing data view

By launching a mobile POS, you’re not just making credit card payments easier for customers; you’re entering a whole new era of doing business—an enlightened era where you can make extremely informed decisions from the 360-degree view that data affords.

Platforms such as Instore allow you to chart in real time how your business is operating. You’ll quickly see in real time who is visiting, what items they prefer, the times of day and week that they are most likely to swing by, and their demographic information. Want to get an aggregated sense of the best-selling items of the month? A mere click can show you this data in an easy-to-understand dashboard.

That data can help you modify your items for sale and promotions to align perfectly with customer demand. It can help you design genuinely helpful customer loyalty programs—making use of your customer analytics to promote items they’re likely to love, and rewarding them for their support every time they come in. When you swipe a customer’s credit card, offer to email them a digital receipt and thereby capture their email address. Then you can utilize your growing email list to send customized special offers and discounts.

Efficiency

Data is only the beginning. There are also behind-the-scenes benefits at play. A mobile point-of-sale system offers astonishing efficiency. This begins as the wait staff take orders: they can document precisely what everyone wants, adding all the extras and upsells along the way—and with a mere click, they can copy this information to the back of store. This leads to improved customer service, with far less confusion or room for mistakes. The entire work flow becomes faster, more accurate, and customer-centric.

You can also keep track of your staff and monitor their efficiency throughout their shifts, even remotely. Is someone making mistakes? Chart who is doing what when, and correct mistakes before they grow into problems. On the positive side, identify your superstar staff and reward them. Even as you grow and build multiple locations, you can still check in on staff in real-time across multiple branches. On your mPOS screen, you can watch real-time transactions taking place across locations—and gain a precise view of the retail floor.

Customer expectations

With all the perks that an mPOS system provides to a business owner, it’s worth remembering that among the biggest beneficiaries of this new, enlightened form of engagement are the customers themselves. A new generation of millennials has become used to handing over their credit cards (who even carries cash anymore?) and having the mPOS figure out the tip for them and aggregate their information for special deals.

Rather than pushing back against this technology, use it as your strength. By making the decision now to shift to a more visionary, efficient and customer-centric form of business, you can start to reap all the rewards it brings. After all, if there’s one thing you can be sure of it’s that this technology is not going away.

Photo copyright: David Trawin by CC BY 2.0