The AMS Retail Blog: POS, Retail Automation, Company News

The Email Marketing – Point of Sale Dream Team

Posted by Matt Veland on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 @ 01:48 PM

Some of the greatest forces in history weren’t individuals – they were teams. Where would Lewis have been without Clark? What about Hall without Oates? Peanut butter without jelly? 

When it comes to business, one of the best automation duos is the Email Marketing – Point of Sale (POS) dream team.  

counterpoint pos

How does Email Marketing tie in to existing Marketing Operations?

Email marketing is part of a greater marketing automation program. Marketing automation yields many proven benefits. It can help a business owner save time and cut out unnecessary stress. One of the most efficient tools for retail automation is the use of email marketing. What began as a means of quicker communication is now one of the best marketing techniques out there. Email consistently ranks up there with the highest and most successful marketing techniques. Automating part of the marketing aspect of your business can and should be simple with POS email marketing.

How does a POS factor into this equation?

In a nutshell, customer information provided by the point of sale system during the sales process makes the connection seem more natural. One of the most important numbers in email marketing is the Click-through-rate (CTR) of the email – how many people open your email versus how many emails were sent out. Targeting emails based on customer history and preference increases the CTR of those campaigns.

How does it all work?

Well, any POS System that has an integrated email marketing program that interfaces with it collects certain pieces of information during the POS sales transaction. These pieces of information can include product choices, amount spent, birthday, or email (just to name a few). That information can subsequently be harnessed by the integrated email marketing software to create campaigns. Here are some campaign ideas:

  •             Time-sensitive sales: For all retail POS users (for example, Garden Center POS users, Apparel POS users, Gift Shop POS users, etc), even having the customer in a database can enable a company to alert customers to time-sensitive sales, whether they are related to holidays, seasons, or just general sales.
  •             Spending segmentation: Having a detailed record of the customer’s transaction history can enable businesses to target them for additional sales. A business could easily segment customers based on how much they spend, and offer additional discounts to the big spenders. In addition to offering sales, good email marketing software can also enable a retailer to send emails that contain suggestions to those big spenders.
  •             Recurring campaigns: Businesses can use recurring email campaigns for either ongoing sales or to specifically target certain customers. A common example of this is set up automated campaigns to target customers that haven’t visited the store in a certain amount of time. Automating these campaigns means that the initial time spent setting them up is an investment that will continually contribute to your business.

The relationship-building team

All of these tools enable businesses to build stronger relationships with their customers. Here the Email Marketing – POS team reveals itself as a bridge-builder. Integrating in-store data with out-of-store marketing operations heavily contributes to building rapport and long-lasting relationships with customers. Having the right combination can help you take your customer-business relationships to the next level while improving your bottom line.

 

If you'd like to learn more on how your business can utilize the Email Marketing - POS Dream Team to increase sales and save time, download our free brochure!

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Still want more? Here's a video on CustomerConnect, a POS-integratable email marketing program.


Tags: point of sale, pos system, pos, pos email marketing, retail, email marketing

POS 101: Point of Sale for Garden Centers

Posted by Matt Veland on Mon, Apr 09, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

Spring has come here in Virginia, and everything is turning green! We know that all you garden centers out there are getting ready for the busiest time of year, so we decided to do an intro article to Point of Sale (POS) for garden centers. We’ve separated this post into three parts: what is a point of sale system, basic benefits, and advanced benefits.

 

Garden Center POS

 

A. What is a Point of Sale (POS) System, and how can it help my Garden Center? 

A POS System typically consists of POS software, a computer, a monitor, a credit card reader, a cash drawer, a barcode scanner, and a receipt printer. Whereas an old-fashioned cash register merely records transactions, a POS system can track inventory in real time. A POS is here superior to a cash register – with the number of products in a garden center, seasonal deals, and need for a flexible method of tracking your business, a POS System displays its worth in gold. A POS System can help your garden center increase sales by optimizing both the sales process and inventory tracking.

 

B. Basic Benefits of a POS System 

1. Detailed Retail Inventory Control: Good POS Software can help track plants, hard goods and equipment going in and out of the store, something that can enable you to optimize the management of your inventory. Track popularity and demand by knowing fast moving and slow moving inventory and your least and most profitable items easily. This way you'll know what and how much to stock as well as when items need to be marked down, etc. This benefit is key when trying to keep up with inventory during the greenest months of the year and planning your purchases. 

2. Speed Up Check-out: Being able to use bacode scanning streamlines the sales and checkout processes. Having these handheld devices helps ensure accuracy instead of having to manually input items numbers and prices. Your system can automatically ring up sale specials, tag-along items and 2-fers, etc. which saves time during the checkout process. Having your lines move quicker will help you make the entire business run more smoothly, not to mention make for a better customer experience.  

3. Build Customer Loyalty: Customer relations management (CRM) can be one of your most profitable assets as a business owner. Most research shows that repeat customers spend more than new customers in addition to being less expensive to sell to. The trust and rapport that already exists between you and your customer are invaluable investments that have the potential to help your businesses grow significantly. 

 

C. Advanced Benefits of a POS System 

1. POS Email Marketing: Utilizing email marketing tools can boost your sales because of the connectivity it created with your customer. By emailing thank you's, receipts, alerting customers to specific deals, and using targeting tools, you strengthen the connection between the two of you. Comfort and trust are essential to building that repeat customer base. With all the buzz about email marketing recently, businesses should feel comfortable in utilizing every avenue possible to alert and market to their customers.  

2. Offline Ticket Entry: A truly useful and exciting benefit to a POS System is the ability to keep making sales through the POS whether you are connected to your internal computer system or not.  You'll be able to take the POS outside on a nice day and make sales in the yard and at the end of the day just plug it back into your internal computer system so that all data is updated. 

3. Mobile POS: Somewhat of a new innovative trend, mobile POS units bring more to the table in terms of marketing and on-floor interaction. Remember when we mentioned offline ticket entry? Imagine making those transactions in varied environments with a handheld device rather than a large system. Mobile POS units are also also of help on the floor – when employees are assisting customers, a mobile POS device can alert an employee to your special deals. Normally, those special deal alerts may go to customers on your internal customer email list and if the customer being assisted isn’t on the list, they can be added right on the spot. Capturing email addresses is crucial for follow-on marketing.

 

These POS tools separately make their own mark on the efficiency of a garden center during peak season. Together, however, the full package of a POS system with advanced features and benefits can help you move towards automating more and more of your business. With everything going on in the spring and summer, more automation can mean better planning for the future – and more relaxation time!

 

Want to learn more about POS for Garden Centers? Download our free Garden Center Brochure below!

 

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Tags: point of sale, pos system, pos, garden center pos, green industry

Mobile POS: The Future of Point of Sale

Posted by Matt Veland on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 @ 11:24 AM

Vacation Turned Blog Post

I was visiting some relatives in New Jersey last May when I ran across some new retail POS technology. On one particular afternoon my brother-in-law and I took a run up the street to a local garden center. After picking out a few flats of flowers and some fertilizer for his wife, we headed to the POS check-out area. I was amazed at how busy the store was, but how short the lines were. While standing in line, we were approached by one very kind sales associate who said she could check us out immediately. She then immediately started scanning items on our cart. But, what was really neat is that we were not actually standing at the POS check-out yet. She was running the entire POS sales transaction through an iPhone that had a barcode scanner built-into it and a credit card swipe to authorize my brother-in-law's VISA card. I had only heard about this sort of technology, but never actually experienced it first hand. It really made me think about how retail businesses are evolving, and how the transaction at the Point-of-Sale has changed with the wave of mobile devices that permeate our daily lives. Along with this wave of mobile devices comes a plethroa of new retail business opportunities. 

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Efficiency = Greater Customer Satisfaction

When employees have the ability to make the sale and swipe a credit card wherever they are, efficiency throughout the business improves. This efficiency contributes directly to an improved customer shopping experience and overall customer satisfaction.

Another great benefit to mobile pos is the ability to take your store on-the-go. Now, retailers can virtually sell anywhere (on the sidewalk, at a trade show or under a tent, etc). Examples: a Garden Center can now make sales outside in the yard to a retail customer, or scan items as they are being loaded onto a landscapers trailer and charged to their account. The Sporting Goods store can sell running shoes at next week's charity 5K race. The mobility factor is invaluable as it creates a myriad of diverse and new sales opportunities. Even better, some businesses have started taking mobility to the customer side of the equation. Using a mobile app for your business can enable customers to make their purchases before they arrive at the store to pick them up.

Measurable ROI

Another great strengths of utilizing mobile technology is the ease of tracking Return On Investment (ROI). When applying a new campaign or promotion, an owner can examine how effective it is in bringing in additional revenue. For example, a Garden Center using a mobile strategy could implement a spring promotion using text messaging targeted to customers in their customer loyalty program (buy three perennials and get the fourth one free). Retailers can easily check how much revenue is brought in by that specific text message promotion or campaign. 

Marketing Benefits

Mobile POS units in the hands of employees enables them to access product information, store specials and coupons, etc. helping them to make suggestions and recommendations as they interface with the customer. Further, mobile POS is capable of emailing receipts to customers- not only does this speed up the checkout process, but it allows for another opportunity to add the customer email address to your customer database or or sign them up for the customer loyalty program.

Conclusion

Mobile POS allows for additional marketing opportunities, improved sales, easily trackable ROI, and increased business efficiency. Retailers across the globe are in the process of implementing them to increase their bottom line. Hopefully, you'll be able to take more vacations yourself.


Want to learn more about Mobile POS? Download our free brochure on CPMobile, Radiant's proprietary Mobile POS solution!


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Tags: point of sale, pos system, pos, mobile pos, retail

A Brief Introduction to Point of Sale Systems for Retailers

Posted by Matt Veland on Thu, Feb 09, 2012 @ 12:26 PM

Most (if not all) of today's independently owned retailers are familiar with the term “POS” or “Point of Sale System." Some have never heard of a POS System. Maybe you've never actually considered one for your retail business, or maybe you have. Regardless of your POS background, the AMS Retail Team wanted to share with you our thoughts on the modern POS System in a brief overview.

garden center pos

What is a POS System?

At its very simplest, a Point of Sale (POS) System is an upgraded version of the traditional cash register. A POS System generally includes the following components: POS software, computer, monitor, credit card reader, cash drawer, barcode scanner, and receipt printer. It performs all of the same functions of a cash register, but doesn’t stop there. What truly stands out about a POS System is the work it does during and after the transaction. After updating inventory changes in real time and capturing customer information, a POS System really shines in its ability to contribute to the overall efficiency of a retail store.

What are the benefits of having a POS System?

Any respectable POS System will update a retailer’s inventory in real-time. The benefit here is the ability to monitor stock inventory over time, enabling the business owner to optimize their future purchasing decisions. However, the very best POS Systems also have the added ability to connect with customers through integrated email marketing, and the use of built-in customer loyalty programs and customer gift cards, three proven methods of increasing customer purchases and retention. The amount of work an effective POS System does for you is invaluable – it offers a comprehensive and efficient method of running your business that frees up your time for more important tasks. For more POS System benefits, be sure to check out our blog post on the subject.

Is a POS System worth it?

Retailers that implement a Point of Sale System typically see 6% growth. Coupled with the ease of integration, customer interaction, and a smoother day to day model, many of our customers are glad they made the switch. Tal White of White's Old Mill Garden Center, one of our satisfied customers, tell us that his POS system "made [his] business run more efficiently" and that he "couldn't run [his] business without it."

The process of recording the exchange of currency for a product has come a long way. We’d like to think that the POS System is the pinnacle of that evolution. We’ve seen it help retailers time and time again in managing and improving their businesses and their bottom line. Maybe one day you’ll try one out.

 

Curious about something not mentioned here? Have other questions? Feel free to ask us and we’ll gladly oblige.

 

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Tags: point of sale, pos system, pos, garden center pos, green industry, retail

AMS Retail Team to Showcase POS Systems in 2012 Trade Shows

Posted by Matt Veland on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 @ 04:03 PM

AMS Retail has a New Year packed with events! We have two tradeshows where we will be sharing CounterPoint POS with garden centers and nurseries from all over the northeast. We hope to meet you there!

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MANTS 2012

In its fourth decade, MANTS helps to unite Green Industry professionals over several days in early January. After the first trade show in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1971, MANTS has grown large enough to be accommodated in the Baltimore Convention Center. The show currently features a large marketplace for the green industry that includes green items, products, and equipment. AMS has attended MANTS for nearly a decade, and we look forward to another great show!

 

WHO: AMS Retail and 10,000 other professionals

WHAT: MANTS 2012 Trade Show

WHERE: Baltimore Convention Center, Booth #339

WHEN: January 11-13, 2012

WHY: To unite Green Industry leaders and learn about Point of Sale for Garden Centers

 

 

NEW ENGLAND GROWS 2012

The AMS Retail Team will attend the NE Grows 2012 trade show as well. NE Grows features thousands of industry professionals uniting over products, technology, and horticultural seminars. A younger trade show, NE Grows was founded in 1993 with both a commercial and educational focus. Today, NE Grows boasts over 13,000 attendees and was identified by Tradeshow Week as the fastest growing association-sponsored show in North America. AMS is extremely excited to attend its first NE Grows show. Come visit us!

 

WHO: AMS Retail and 13,000 other professionals

WHAT: NE Grows 2012 Trade Show

WHERE: Boston Convention and Exhibit Center, Booth #2905

WHEN: February 1-3, 2012

WHY: To unite Green Industry leaders and learn about Point of Sale for Garden Centers

 

We hope to see you there! If you can't wait to talk to us about Point of Sale for Garden Centers, feel free to download our kit below!

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Tags: mants, point of sale, pos system, pos, green industry, negrows

The 5 Best Cost Justifications for a POS System

Posted by Matt Veland on Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 04:11 PM

In our day and age, retail automation has reached a new pinnacle of efficiency with the POS system. It is the harder, better, faster, and stronger version of its predecessor – the cash register. One of the most important questions we hear from people, though, is the question of cost justification – will it be worth it? Will it improve my ROI? We’ve put together five of the best reasons that justify the cost of a POS system:

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1. Increased Sales Potential

The nature of a POS system’s features vastly increases sales potential for businesses. Integrated Customer Loyalty programs and Customer Gift Cards both boost raw sales and help grow return customers. Integrated Email Marketing also enables you to target specific customers. A POS system’s speed of checkout helps overall efficiency while its inventory software can help optimize business decisions. One of the most important things about these features, however, is an increase in overall customer satisfaction, the key to developing customer connection.

2. Decreased Costs Potential

The biggest decrease in cost with a POS system is time. Combining information from multiple POS stations, automatically posting invoices to business accounts, and streamlining inventory ordering help save time. The most important of these is the impact on the inventory ordering process. A POS system can highlight which products are selling the most, the quickest, or the slowest. That these statistics are updated in real time means that purchasing decisions are easier to make, which means you don’t waste money ordering slow-selling product.

3. Employee Efficiency

Implementation of a POS system reduces the need for older cash registers numerically, resulting in a decreased need for labor. This is where the automation factor kicks in – simultaneously automated organization, inventory control, and ease of transaction processing optimize the checkout process for employees. Whereas an old-fashioned cash register system requires noticeable manual labor, a POS system eliminates tedious hand entering and speeds up the retail process, not to mention better accuracy. Running your POS system with a barcode scanner makes the process even quicker.

4. Customer Connection

A good bond with customers is essential in developing returning and repeating business. Shorter lines, quicker checkout, and the customer connection created through loyalty programs and gift cards all help build a better relationship with customers. Email Marketing features will also help you keep in touch with your most valued customers. This is both better for short term ROI and long term business stability.

5. Overall Business Efficiency

Whether it’s speeding up the checkout process, encouraging return customers, or optimizing inventory, a POS system helps improve your business in many ways. You’ll spend less time checking your inventory and your cash registers. You’ll spend less time trying to get customers to come back. Hopefully, you’ll spend more time counting your profits.

 

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Tags: pos system, cost