Between Pinterest, Instructables, and NBC’s Making It, there’s no denying that we are in the middle of a DIY revolution.
Millions of Americans are eschewing mass-produced goods and getting their hands dirty. All over the country, people are making their own decor, jewelry, clothing, and even deodorant.
Some of these DIY makers have gotten so good at it that they’ve decided to join the more than 15 million other Americans that are self-employed.
And if you’re reading this, that might even include you. You may have started out selling things for your friends through social media, then upgraded to an online marketplace like Etsy.
And now, you’ve decided to make the plunge and open your own retail shop.
There’s nothing more exciting than striking out on your own. But it’s no picnic.
In order to succeed, you need to have the right tools.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the retail software that you need to make your store a success.
Point of Sale System
Obvious statement time: in order for your retail store to succeed, you need to make money. That’s going to require a Point of Sale system.
A Point of Sale, or POS, system, encompasses everything that facilitates the transactions between you and your customers. This includes barcode scanners, credit card readers, cash registers, cash drawers, customer displays, and more.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a POS system.
Whatever POS you use, you’re going to have to accept debit and credit cards. Studies show that fewer and fewer customers are paying with cash. If you don’t adapt to accommodate, you’ll lose more sales than you can afford.
Studies also show that digital wallets such as Apple Pay are also growing in use, however slowly. Before you choose a POS, consider whether you would not to accept digital payment options.
In order to accept debit and credit card payments, you need to have a merchant service.
Every merchant service will charge a processing fee for every payment. But as mentioned before, not accepting card will result in fewer sales, so you might as well pay the fees.
Not every merchant service is compatible with every POS. Newer companies like Square or Stripe have their own POS and card readers that they supply for free in exchange for slightly higher processing fees.
These are popular choices for new businesses due to their low start-up costs and user-friendly software. Some of these POS systems can run on a smartphone and a free card reader.
In order to effectively run a retail shop, you need to keep a careful eye on your inventory.
If certain items aren’t itemized, it can cause chaos when a customer tries to buy it. Or if you run out, you can miss out on sales while you wait for a shipment.
At the very least, your inventory management system should keep track of every item in the store and update automatically when an item is purchased.
A more advanced inventory management system can automatically alert you when your stock is getting low.
Some even include an EDI, or electronic data exchange, which can streamline communication between your store and your suppliers. You can visit https://www.microdinc.com/electronic-data-interchange/ to read more.
Whether you use a simple inventory management software or something more advanced, you will want to make sure that it can integrate with your POS system.
Online Store Integration
It’s no secret that online shopping has exploded. Surveys show that 79% of Americans now shop online. 15% reported shopping online every week.
Opening your own retail shop, you want people to come through your door and peruse your wares in person. After all, why else would you spend so much time decorating and staging?
But if you don’t have an online store, you can miss out on a lot of customers.
Having an online store allows you to reach customers who don’t live close enough to your store to visit. It even allows local customers to see if it would be worth making a trip.
You don’t even need to develop your own web store. You can set up a store on an existing marketplace like Etsy or Shopify.
These marketplaces are easy to use, and they connect you to a wide market of existing customers that are already looking for products similar to yours.
One important thing to consider when adding an online store: make sure that it is compatible with your inventory management software. Otherwise, you will need to update inventory manually–which can be a headache.
Customer Relationship Management
One of the most important aspects of running your own shop is your relationship with the customer.
Believe it or not, that relationship is more than just transactional.
If you treat your customers well, it increases their loyalty to you. They keep coming back to your shop not just because they like what you’re selling, but because they value your relationship.
So it’s important that you find a software that allows you to manage that relationship.
A good Customer Relationship Management software–CRM for short–can do a variety of things.
- Track individual customer purchases
- Record customer data, such as birthdays
- Send personalized offers
- Identify customer behavior, i.e., time since their last visit
- Manage email lists and social media posts
In short, a good CRM can help you give individual attention to your customers.
For example, let’s say Bethany came in on two separate occasions and bought two separate scarves. When you add a new scarf to the shop, your CRM might remind you of her purchase history, allowing you to let her know about the new inventory.
Or, you could set up a CRM that automatically sends out a discount code to customers on their birthday.
And needless to say, if your CRM can integrate with your POS and inventory systems, that makes it even more powerful.
Get the Retail Software You Need to Succeed
The software you use to manage your retail shop can have a major impact on your success. Choosing the right retail software from the get-go can give you a massive advantage.
Another thing that can help a new business is your marketing strategy. Check out this article about five digital marketing tools that can help your business.