Total US retail sales are predicted to pass the $1 trillion mark this Christmas holiday period, and to the best-prepared retailers will go the spoils. A point-of-sale (POS) system is an essential tool for any retail business, and doubly so during the holiday shopping season when high volumes of customers visit your store. That’s because the modern POS system does far more than what its name suggests. These days, POS systems are complete retail management systems that let businesses track and analyze things like item sales, inventory levels, and employee performance. In other words, POS systems give you all the information you need in order to maximize sales and efficiency and make this Xmas shopping period a success. The best POS systems can help you do the following this holiday season:
Know How Much of Each Product to Stock
Any POS system worth its salt should include full inventory management, with no limitations on the number of products you can enter into the system. The best POS systems provide alerts when a product is running low on stock, as well as analytics on which products are selling well, at which locations, and at what times. Retailers can prepare for the holiday season by checking out which items have sold well in recent months or which typically sell well during the Xmas shopping season.
During peak shopping times, retailers can rely on their POS to send them alerts about items that are low on stock, in order to avoid being stuck without their best-selling item just when there’s a large flow of customers coming through the door. Some POS systems let you zoom in even further on your inventory. For example, Revel lets businesses see inventory for different variations of the same product, such as color and size.
Christmas is the perfect time to focus on maximizing your POS system
Set up Xmas Loyalty Programs and Rewards
The best POS systems integrate loyalty programs and gift cards, a feature that can be particularly useful during the busy holiday shopping season. If you’ve had your POS system for a while, it should already contain information about existing customers and their buying habits, allowing you to tailor rewards accordingly. But even if you’re just setting up your POS in time for this season, you can use it to set up a new loyalty program or integrate new customer information into an existing one.
Once your POS system is set up, it’s really simple to have customers enter their contact details if they wish to receive special offers. Most retailers double their traffic in November and December. With a points-based program—such as the AppCard for Shopkeep app, which comes with Shopkeep’s POS system—you can ensure customers that purchased something before Christmas keep coming back to your store in the new year.
Plan for Your Top Sales People to be at Work During Peak Hours
Employee management systems have become an integral part of POS systems in recent years, with retailers increasingly understanding the power it affords them, especially during the busy Christmas period. Let’s take Square’s employee management tool as an example. It lets businesses assign different levels of access to the POS and dashboard. Businesses can have employees clock in and out at the register, with the information sent straight to payroll. And with Mobile Staff, employees can take payments and issue refunds from their own device. But the best part is the analytics, which lets business owners see which employees are performing best and at what times. Using this information, businesses can make a more-informed decision about which salespeople should be in the store during peak hour, which would be better utilized at slower times, and which need more training or a pre-holiday pep talk.
Sell in Store or Online
These days businesses need a cross-channel solution, and the top POS systems make it easier to sell across multiple channels by integrating your in-store, mobile, and Ecommerce sales. If you already have an online store, then it’s worth shopping around and reading reviews to find out which POS systems can support your site. For example, Revel uses a program called Kosmos eSync to automate the transfer of product and order data to shopping carts such as Magento, X-Cart, and BigCommerce.
Other POS providers, such as Vend, actually help you set up a new online store and integrate it with your existing brick-and-mortar business. The importance of having an online presence can’t be emphasized enough. According to a study of 46,000 shoppers conducted by the Harvard Business Review between 2015 and 2016, 73% of people are omnichannel shoppers, meaning they use online and physical stores during their shopping journey. And this figure is likely to continue rising, given that the survey was 2 years ago and research firm eMarketer predicts that Ecommerce sales will grow 16.6% this Xmas period compared to 4.4% for in-store sales. A well-integrated omnichannel solution integrates data about products and sales, making it easier for your business to track stock and performance across all channels.
Set Goals for the Holiday Season
When it comes to setting sales goals for the holiday season, what you need is data—and lots of it. With a POS system, you can look at your business’s performance the same time last year and use the data to establish goals for this year. Good point-of-sale systems let you take a deep dive into the data to figure out things like which days and times are best for sales, which items sell best, and which employees sell the most items. With this sort of data at your disposal, you can set ambitious sales goals and plan your strategy accordingly. Know exactly how much you sold last year? With a good POS system at your disposal, and with the knowledge that this holiday period is predicted to see record sales across the country, your business could realistically aim for 10%-20% sales growth compared to last year’s holiday shopping period.