By Tom Greenhaw, Founder & CEO, Cashier Live
Retailing is the cornerstone of a free market economy. It took a lot of hard work to get here, but now you’re part of the centuries-old tradition of hanging a shingle and providing the public with the goods they need for their daily lives.
Before you get too nostalgic, you should know that retail store management has come a long way from the days of a simple “Mom & Pop” operation. Over the past decade, advances in technology have created the potential for highly sophisticated front-end solutions, many of which have been specifically designed to streamline the task of retail management.
As a retail owner, it’s in your best interest to implement smart solutions that simplify basic management routines and deliver a higher ROI than traditional retail processes. Although the idea of installing cutting edge technologies may sound expensive, some of the most able technologies consolidate multiple management functions at a very affordable price.
Web-based POS (Point of Sale) systems present a unique opportunity for retailers to leverage the benefits of today’s technology. A reliable POS system is more than a cost-efficient alternative to the traditional cash register, it’s a fully automated selling portal that gives managers anytime, anywhere access to the information you need for effective retail operations.
1. Inventory Management- Web-based POS systems are turnkey inventory management tools that give store management real-time information about stock and merchandise. At any given moment, you can spot items that are flying off the shelves, identify sales trends for re-ordering and highlight potential shrinkage. Since web-based POS operates on a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, you don’t have to be physically located at your store to monitor inventory.
2. Payment Processing- Today’s POS systems have all the features of advanced cash register technology, as well as the ability to integrate payment processing into CRM and financial management applications. Customers and store clerks benefit from smooth and seamless transactions using credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and merchandise returns.
3. Financial Reporting- Traditional front-end systems require several additional steps to translate sales receipts into organized financial reports. Today’s web-based POS solutions generate up-to-the-minute reports that can be customized to your operation’s specific needs. Automated financial reports reduce your time requirements for tasks like manual sales entries, sales tax reporting and other activities. Some POS systems are even capable of automatically generating purchase orders based on user-defined inputs and current inventory levels.
4. CRM Integration- One of the most valuable advantages a POS approach has over traditional retail solutions is the potential for full CRM integration. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) applications manage your business’ interactions with your customers. By integrating your web-based POS system with a reliable CRM application, you gain valuable insights not only about the kinds of items that are being purchased, but also about the individuals who are purchasing them. The customer tracking intelligence you gain from POS/CRM integration can be used to create targeted marketing strategies and to improve the quality of your customers’ retail experience.
5. Opening & Closing Procedures- Many retail business owners struggle to maintain standardized beginning and end of day procedures, especially when checkout stations are staffed by students and high turnover employees. POS solutions automatically reconcile cash registers at the end of each business day. Even better, web-based POS systems have remote access features that allow owners and managers to monitor the system from any Internet connection. No matter where you are located, you can ensure that front-end personnel have followed proper opening and closing procedures.
6. Cost & Scalability Concerns- POS systems have a proven reputation for delivering higher ROI than traditional retail solutions, yet many business owners express concerns about the upfront investment that is needed to meet POS hardware and software requirements. Web-based POS systems are a cost-efficient way to benefit from POS technology. Solutions can be tailored to grow with your business and web-based SaaS POS eliminates the kind of upfront investments that intimidate new business owners.
At the end of the day, your retail business isn’t going to be judged by your technology. It will be judged by important metrics like customer satisfaction and bottom line profitability. Web-based POS is your best bet for achieving the retail results you need at a price you can afford.
Thomas Greenhaw is the founder of Cashier Live. Prior to founding Cashier Live he was the VP of Operations for Nova Libra, a supply chain management software developer. Launched to the public in early 2010, Cashier Live has quickly emerged as a leader in retail management software. With over 500 stores signing on in the first two months alone, Cashier Live is poised to help a new generation of retailers manage their stores. He can be reached at email@example.com.