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.
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!