Friday, March 16, 2012

How to put your POS to work - POS Features and Integration Study #1 – Marketing

We just recently surveyed the action sports industry and
found that 48% had either no system for customer
management or have not put their existing system to use.

A few years ago we surveyed our retail clients and asked
them what their plans were to market to their existing
customers for the holidays. We were shocked to find that
almost 40% had no plans to do special holiday marketing
to their existing customers and 64% had no customer
loyalty program of any kind. Almost 60% said they had
no idea how to market to their customers using their POS
system. This was something that we set about rectifying
quickly for our clients and we want to share our tips for
success with you.

Your investment in your existing POS system can only
show a return if you learn and utilize the things it can do
for you. So we ask, what tools do you ALREADY have in
place that can help you effectively market? One Step
Retail Solutions, VP Sales, Kevin McAdam has some
tips and information for retailers everywhere.

“Of all the retailers I have talked to over the last couple
of years, ignoring the marketing potential of your
customer base is among the most dangerous decision
you can make in your retail business. Capturing it and
leveraging it is among the best.’

“Many retailers I talk to do virtually zero marketing
because it’s so expensive and because they see so little
measurable return from it. That’s often because it’s
shotgun marketing.”

So how do you AVOID shotgun marketing, how do
you make your efforts pay off?

“Marketing today is getting more and more precise
and as an independent retailer you need to be riding
that cutting edge to stand out. Let’s take a look at
Facebook and how they market to their members.
They know your profile (likes, dislikes, where you go,
what your hobbies are) and so they put advertising
on your sidebar that they know will have the highest
probability of catching your attention.” You could say
that the key to effective marketing is knowing your
client base and their needs.

So how does one find out their needs? How does one
leverage that information in a small to medium size
retail shop without spending thousands of dollars in
research and marketing campaigns?

“First of all, hopefully you have a robust POS system
that can hold large amounts of information about your
customers, because this is literally your gold mine.
Studies have shown over and over again that it costs 5
times as much in marketing dollars to get a new
customer as it does to re-sell to an existing customer.
It’s easy to understand: someone who has already
bought from you knows where you are and what inventory
you carry and, given good customer service, would buy
from you again. You just need to stay in touch with them
and offer them things you know they will buy. (This is why
Customer Loyalty programs work and yours should
definitely marry up with your POS system.)”

Please note that this is as vital for small and medium size
retailers as is it for the big box stores. “Now you need to
collect the information. Usually it’s as easy as telling the
customer that you make special offers to your regular
customers and then offer to put them on that list. Get as
much information as you can, street address, email (assure
them you don’t let anyone else use their email address),
home phone, cell phone (ask if they would like to be text-
messaged if there’s a really hot sale on something you know
they might like) birthday, sizes, color preferences, family
members….anything that you think might help you
promote to them. It might not make sense to try to get all
this information at one time, but sales clerks should try to
help build their ‘profile’ within your POS system” As a side
note, you can also create a sign that has “Follow us on
Facebook and Twitter” and “Check in on Yelp”. Facebook
contact data has become as relevant as an email address or
mailing address.

Marketing ideas made available by having a solid directory
of clientele in your POS system:

- Hopefully your POS system will not only keep a record of
that customer but also the record will show everything they
ever bought from you. This should be an available
customization in your POS. This way, the next time you get
a new item from the designer they have purchased before,
you can easily pull up the list of all customers that buy that
designer and email them that there’s a new shipment in
the store.

- You might even want to have a wine and cheese party to
kick off a new line and invite all the customers that have
bought similar categories in the past, let them know they
can bring along a friend as long as they are added to the
guest list (with their contact data of course).

- For a men’s store, make sure you have their wife’s
contact information so that just before the customer’s
birthday you can email their wife alerting her to the fact
that you have all his sizes and favorite designers.

- For a jewelry store, make sure that you have the
husband’s contact information so that before major
holidays and birthdays you can alert him to an
exclusive sale or offer.

- Reward customer loyalty. You can rank your customers
using the information in your POS system. You should
know which customers bring you the most margin, who
are the ones that buy the most at regular prices, who are
the ones that only buy when things are on sale, and who
are the ones that you make the most money from. Offer
exclusive deals, first pick or even host a invitation only
preview of your new season.

Don’t let it just be an expensive cash register! Learn it
yourself or have one of your employees learn at least the
marketing functions of the software and then put them
to work to increase your profitability.

“I think one of the most important things you can do as a
retailer in today’s marketplace is stop the old shotgun
wasteful marketing and get on the sophistication band-
wagon to precisely market to precise customers that you
want back in your store and that you know will appreciate
and buy the wonderful merchandise you work so hard to

If you would like more information on our POS solutions
or for a free POS consultation please contact Amy Hanson
at 818.543.4777 ext 4116 or email