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Enhancing Your Social Media Space

To make it in the world of retail, business owners need a killer product, a great space to match, competitive pricing and fantastic customer service. Now with the social media world exploding with potential business opportunities, many retail store owners are looking into how they can utilize the various spaces available in social media to gain popularity for their business. So what specifically can retail owners do to enhance their social media space?
Facebook
Facebook is where business owners can collect their loyal customers. Entice customers to be a fan on Facebook by offering exclusive offers, or reveal your new line of skinny jeans on the fan page first. If you’re new to Facebook, ask customers as they check out to join the Facebook page.
Once you have a loyal following, encourage your followers to share your product with others. This can be as easy as holding a contest or circulating a special offer for your product. Even just revealing an exciting new product will encourage your followers to talk about the new product with their friends.
Facebook can also be an extension of a business’s customer service. If someone raves about an item they just purchased, thank them for their business. If someone posts a complaint, address the problem immediately. If a disappointed customer ends up pleasantly surprised by your service, they will let their friends know.
Twitter
Twitter is a unique platform in that it extends a businesses’ reach to its loyal followers, while allowing business owners to establish themselves as leaders in their industry and connect with other retailers.
Tweets should be more informational and much less promotional. A clothing retailer can tweet about anything from the hottest trends that season to a recent fashion mishap that has been all over the news.
Business owners should, however, remember their brand when expanding their tweet repertoire. A hip, young company should have a much different tweeting style than an older, conservative company.
Blog
A blog gives a company the chance to expand on the expertise they establish on Twitter. Many businesses, in fact, will base their tweets on key points they make in their blog posts and then link back to the blog.
While the blog medium allows for longer posts and more information, remember people have a much shorter attention span online, so keep the posts to around 600 words or so. Pictures, short paragraphs and bullet points are also good things to include in a blog.
Fernanda Bohme owns Bohme Boutique, a growing retail chain. For more information please click here.

 

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How Can Retail Managers Lead Their Teams More Effectively?

Managerial Challenges

There are many challenges that face the modern retail manager. Whether you work for a large company in one of hundreds of retail stores for a huge company, or run your own retail business, different challenges are thrown up every day to be dealt with in as quick a manner as possible.

In the modern world, where business costs are higher than ever meaning our headcount will likely be severely compromised, managers need as many tools as possible at their disposal in order to help them carry out their job effectively. Modern POS systems are one huge factor in giving managers this power. What benefits can modern POS systems bring not only to retail managers, but to businesses as a whole?

Knowing the Team

In a world where generally, sales figures are a whole number giving a total store performance, it can be difficult to understand which employee is adding value to your company, and which isn’t earning their wages. Using modern POS systems, today’s retailer can quickly analyse many aspects of employee performance and importantly, have the evidence at hand to take action, whether this be in the form of praise or otherwise.

POS systems can be used, for example, to monitor employee attendance and punctuality, as clocking machines can easily be integrated into POS systems. Other simpler methods, like asking an employee to sign into the system when they arrive, can also verify their attendance and timekeeping. Other business critical issues such as sales performance and even task management can also be viewed on POS. One popular way to drive sales at till points, for example, is to have a promotional product offered to all customers. Using the POS systems, managers will be able to quickly see which team members are performing better in this area of the business.

Business Owners

Modern POS systems can be extremely effective to business owners who are operating across multiple sites, or for area managers in larger businesses. Analysing and understanding trends from store A to store B, for example, can help business owners drive accountability and implement positive changes across their estate in order to ultimately make more profits. POS systems also act as the platform for the managers to understand how each business is performing, as well as the team members in each business.

Having this knowledge will enable business leaders to use POS systems much more effectively, and to impact on their business’ performance.

Posterita is innovative (POS) software that allows large or small stores to manage every conceivable aspect of their operations via a web-based platform.

 

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Organized Retail Crime (ORC) on the Rise

Two trusted bodies recently released surveys that show the serious extent of organized retail crime in the U.S. Organized retail crime is on the rise in the country and retailers should take preventive measures. It is also important for the lawmakers to take decisive actions.

Hayes International published its “24th Annual Retail Theft Survey” showing that over a million dishonest employees and shop lifters were arrested in 2011, leading to the recovery of over $161 million. The survey involved 24 large retail groups whose sales exceeded $589 billion. Hayes International provides consulting services on shrinkage control and loss prevention.

Within the past decade, apprehensions and recovered dollars have risen in eight years. According to the survey, a rise in organized retail crime plays an important part in increasing shoplifting activities.

The National Retail Federation’s eighth annual organized retail crime survey also showed how prevalent the situation is. The federation surveyed 125 retail companies, 96 percent of which had fallen victim to ORC within the past year. The results showed a rise from the previous year when 94.5 percent of respondents had experienced ORC. Over 87 percent of those surveyed believed shoplifting had risen within the last three years.

The survey revealed that the criminals involved in organized retail crime tended to target such high-end electronics as cell phones, laptops and televisions. However, retailers should safeguard against shoplifting of almost all products, including small, lower cost items, for example: pregnancy tests, diabetic testing strips, kitchen aid mixers and energy drinks.

Organized retail crime involves multiple operatives who cover large areas in the regions where they operate. They move from one store to another in a stretch of interstate and steal so many products that they sometimes rent storage units. They later sell the stolen merchandise at flea markets or online.

Preventive Measures

Retailers should take measures to avoid falling victim to organized retail crime, including:

  • Having good sight lines on sales floors. It is particularly important to have clear view of popular and high-value items, which should preferably be kept close to employee work areas.
  • Keeping organized and neat displays to make it easy to see missing items.
  • Limiting easily pilferable and high-value items on the sales floor. Apart from making it easy to notice any missing items, this will also avoid the risk of large losses.
  • Using appropriate technology, including ink/dye tags, CCTV, merchandise alarms and electronic article surveillance.

A growing trend is the use of cameras that integrate point of sale software and loss prevention hardware, which also helps to deal with insider fraud. For example, the camera makes a record when a cashier with “no sale” transaction opens the cash draw.

All retailers must not assume they are immune to organized retail crime. They must take suitable measures right from the hiring stage to the installation of appropriate security systems.

Image by Mubina H and licensed through Creative Commons.

Michael Gardner is a sales rep at CardPrinter.com, an online retailer of Fargo plastic badge printers and identification systems. To learn more about Fargo printers including the DTC4500 visit: http://www.cardprinter.com/products/dtc4500-duplex-ID-card-printer.

 

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Shopfitting Advice For 2012

Shop fittings and shop displays are vitally important to the layout of a commercial premises, as it can be the difference between a customer buying or not.
Visually appealing shop layouts are there not just to be eye candy, but to make sure the goods are shown off in the best possible way.
Having a good selection of difference shop fittings will give you the flexibility to design your shop so that different types of goods can be rearranged quickly and presented in the best possible way.
Below are some examples of different types of shop fittings you may want to consider and their possible uses.
Clothes and dress rails.
Clothes and dressed rails are just there to hang clothes off, right?
If you want to present your clothing like a discount store, then regular old clothes rails will do.
For a much more attractive way to present garments, there are many more clothes rails available to fulfil this need. Circular rails, garment rails, feature rails, dressed rails and many more. Your choice will depend on what garments you want to present and the look of the rest of your shop.
Garment rail should come in a variety of sizes and colours. Pick a colour that will not clash with the garment colours.
If you are thinking of buying large garment rails, then check that the wheels or castors are robust enough to take being pushed around a busy shop.
If you are looking for something more stylish to present your garments in the shop, then there are many options on the market. There are many different sizes and shapes of merchandising display stands, such as spiral, circular and multi-armed versions. These usually fit well in a boutique type setting.
You should have lots of choice when it comes to clothes and dress rails for your shop. The ones you buy, will be dependent on the products you are selling.
Clothes mannequins.
Close mannequins aren’t just blobs of plastic to hang garments from. They arguably have to be as appealing as the garments themselves to attract customers.
There are many different types to choose from these days. You mainly have the choice from male mannequins, female mannequins, child mannequins, flexible mannequins, sports mannequins, plus-size mannequins, dressmaker mannequins and display busts.
All the above mannequins are usually used in shop windows, but can be used anywhere else throughout a store.
A lot of people will look for realism in a mannequin. This will be dependent on your needs. Most suppliers will advise you on which mannequins are best suited for which garment types.
Portable displays.
Portable displays are important for presenting new products, special offers and anything else you wish to be attention grabbing.
If you’ve not used portable displays before, then visit your favourite store or boutique shop. See how they arrange their products and present their special offers. There will be most likely using portable display stands of one variation or another.
Portable displays are available as roller banners, tension fabric displays, pop-up systems, display plinth, modular displays and many other niche display types.
If you are not sure which ones will work for you, ask a supplier and they are sure to help you out.
A well presented shop that displays all its products in an appealing way and leads customers through the shop in a stimulating environment, will sell more products than the shop with no display appeal.
Look at all the display options then plan your shop accordingly.

The author would like to recommend as a great shop fitters and display stands seller – valentinosdisplays.com

 

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What Are The Biggest Factors For Business Success in 2012

 

Keep your business profitable and sustainable throughout 2012 with a free POS software download.

Today’s Challenges

There are a great deal of challenges facing the business world today and in particular those businesses whose primary revenue comes from sales, such as retailers. The costs of running these businesses are forever increasing, and as such, a business’ profitability will be reduced dramatically. Whether it is in the form of increased materials, distribution costs, or minimum wage increases, business owners everywhere have a constant headache in terms of minimising costs.

The biggest way for businesses so remain successful in 2012 is to produce an effective cost reduction plan. Not only will this see them remain financially healthy in the short term but it will also put effective business practices in place, enabling the business to remain strong through another global financial crisis, should one occur in the future.

Software Costs

Significant sums of money are spent by businesses each year on the upgrading and on-going maintenance of point of sale programs. By obtaining a free POS software download program, a business can take huge steps to dramatically reducing the costs associated with this. The beauty of such software is that it is entirely cloud based, so all that is needed is a computer terminal in a business in order to use the software. The only costs associated with a free POS software download come in the support functions. However, given the increased reliability and performance levels that you get with such programs, these costs are unlikely to be colossal. In a world where business leaders are forever fighting cost increases, this is much more favourable than paying for 24/7 support cover for an unreliable software and hardware package. This is before we even get into the additional costs of an engineer visiting your business to resolve the issue if it is something that cannot be resolved remotely.

How It Helps Your Business

In addition to the superb cost savings, a free POS software download can help your business in many ways. It can be a great time saver for the multi-site business manager, as they can simply log on to the cloud at home and view each site’s performance, rather than having to visit each site individually, or rely on communication from all of their managers.

A free POS software download can also drive significantly better employee productivity, as visibility of performance measures is dramatically improved. Other key business levers such as inventory control and stock loss can also be measured accurately.

Posterita provides free point of sale software to retail businesses. Moreover, they offer marketing and business advice to their partners and clients to help their business grow. If you want to find more about their free POS software download it from their website.

 

 

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Difficulties of Succeeding in Online Retail

Retail in the real world is a tough place. As an independent retailer, there will no doubt be some big competition sitting only a few shop doors away, drawing customers away from you. An independent retailer has to be incredibly strong to survive, particularly during a period of recession when customers are already holding back on how much they spend.

And online, things aren’t really that much easier. So a small retailer online needs to ensure they offer a very attractive proposition to online searchers, one that stops them going over to big, trusted names they already know. A smaller retail website needs to stay very niche and choose a large range of products within a small area of trade.

Staying Niche

I see so many independent shops online trying to be an entire department store, selling all sorts of things. It might work in a physical shop if they have one, but rarely translates online unless you’re a well established store. Stick to something you’re really enthusiastic and knowledgeable about. If you have a shop that sells all sorts of gift items, homewares, collectables and trinkets, your website doesn’t have to exactly reflect that, so choose a few, very strong product ranges and have a website tailored around that. For example, if you sell kitchenware in your shop, you don’t need to have a general kichenware shop, joining all the other sheep out there. Be different, be quirky! Have a website tailored to colourful kitchenware, high-end kitchenware, the list goes on!

Strong Products

Another thing independents will rely on is direct product searches. If their website appears high in Google for specific product terms, you’re going to get a lot of quick wins that way, as long as your pricing is right. If you have the right products, ones that are widely sought after, you’re going to find online retailing much easier. But profits are still a worry, particularly if you’re trying to be the very best on price. You’ll be much better off buying a very rich and diverse product range from your supplier if you can afford it, and your while initial costs will be high, you should be able to achieve a better profit margin.

Be Attractive

Once someone has landed on your website, you need to show them exactly why you are trustworthy and just as good as the major retailers. Show them how quickly you dispatch items, whether you have free delivery and what payment methods you offer. Eliminate all the reasons why people might come off your website, to keep them there and buying from you. You have much more powers of persuasion on the internet than in the real world, as you can show something everything they need to know in one go.

So, be niche not broad. Choose a strong selection of products and give people reasons to buy from you rather than elsewhere.

Saswa is an independent jewellery store in Wales, selling niche ranges such as Carrie Elspeth jewellery.

 

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Shop Shelving Versus Display Cabinets

For those that are not involved in the retail business the area of shop shelving and display cabinets could easily be confused as being the same.  Both are essentially storage and display items that are used to show off products to customers.  However, whilst their role is the same, the requirements that shop owners need from their shop shelving and display cabinets can vary greatly.  Here we consider the fur key areas of shop shelving and display cabinets that make them completely different beasts and touch on which option best suits which kind of shop.

Products for sale

The first consideration to take into account when deciding on shop shelving or a display cabinet should always be the products that your shop sells.  If you have a shop that sells quite low priced items and that has a high turnover rate then you should be looking for a display solution that offers easy access to products.  Where items are priced higher and you sell a lower quantity then display cabinets tend to be the most sensible option.  One thing to consider with display cabinets is that they are available with inbuilt lighting; which is a great way of showcasing items.

Considering security

The higher priced your products are the greater impact there is to your business if they are stolen.  In order to protect yourself from shoplifters you can continue to use shop shelving in unison with security tags.  However, if your items are of great value, such as antiques or jewellery, then you should consider the extra security that display cabinets with locks provide.

A quality solution

The longevity of the display and storage item solution that you are looking to purchase should also be a factor.  Display cabinets tend to be built to a higher spec than shop shelving and therefore usually last a lot longer.  That isn’t to say that good shop shelving won’t also last the test of time, but the display cabinets do tend to be more durable.

The ever important price

The final factor and possibly the salient one in most cases is the price of shop shelving and display cabinets.  Having considered the previous three points it won’t surprise you to learn that display cabinets do on the whole tend to be the more expensive of the two options.  This is due to the quality of the materials used and the security features involved.  However, the extra outlay is always worth the money if you are selling expensive goods and may even be a necessity for insurance purposes.

Having recently helped one of his children set up a retail outlet, Paul Banburry is happy to share his experience on how to select the right shop shelving for your business.

 

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