Retail Management

5 Tips On How To Keep Accurate Count Of Your Inventory

It’s sometimes shocking when, after putting in so much work to make sure you have the correct inventory count, it still isn’t accurate. It starts making you question your employees, theft, or some other events that could’ve occurred under your nose. If you’re a business owner that gets frustrated with this occurrence, have no fear. We have 5 valuable tips on keeping your inventory count accurate at all times.

Start a fresh inventory count on your products that are popular and miscounted

This one is simple and straight to the point. Do a fresh inventory count on your most popular items and the items that seem to get miscounted all the time. This will allow you to have a starting point and a grasp of your most popular items and how it performs throughout a week’s time. Businesses like liquor stores have tens of thousands of SKUs. So having a starting point will be critical in gaining control of your inventory. Then you can proceed to move on down the list to re-capture your full inventory.

Run inventory count frequently

Inventory count should be monitored on a frequent basis. Even if you notice that your inventory count is fairly accurate, there’s nothing wrong with a simple re-count. Events out of your control occur from time to time. Having the latest accurate inventory count cam come in handy during those situations.

We suggest that inventory be counted on a weekly basis. This will strengthen the grasp on your business and gain a better picture to how overall sales are doing.

Make sure there isn’t a flaw with your POS transaction process

Some business owners lose count of their inventory due to flaws in their current point of sale system. The low quality POS systems will sometimes not scan properly and leave an item out of a ticket, which ultimately is the same thing as giving away a product. This will also result in your inventory count being inaccurate. If no one were to catch this, it can become a dangerous and costly mistake. So to fix this issue, you must go with a POS provider like iConnect that provides a tremendous transaction experience. It also has a flawless front end displays that provides items with images which will help employers and employees with an error free experience. Quality POS systems are also good for powering multi-location business. Systems like iConnect are connected to the cloud which relays messages to the other stores in your business.

Pictures to items

Mentioned above, iConnect offers pictures to items as icons on the screen. This allows you to make sure that you’ve rung up the customer accurately without mistakes. The pictured icons will verify that you have the right item for your customer and allow you to keep your inventory count straight.

Use an inventory scanner

Companies like iConnect offer SKU inventory scanners that allow you to scan in bulk. This modern technology saves hours out of the day of having to manually count items. It’s also quite accurate. So you don’t have to waste tremendous time trying to keep count accurate on a weekly basis. With a simple swipe towards the products at your store the scanner will document and relay the count to the POS system.

So when you are looking to keep accurate inventory count in the future make sure that you look through these 5 quick tips. It’s quite vital to the company to always have your inventory aligned.

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How To Set Up Early Preparations For The Next Holiday Event

The 2017 calendar year has just started but it’s not too early to start prepping your business for the next upcoming holiday. There’s many opportunities that companies fail to see early on due to constraints in ideas, marketing, and budget. Here’s a quick guide on how you can fix that issue and get your business ready ahead of time.

Recognize which holiday you can revolve your business around

Whether your business is old or new, you provide a product and/or item that can be marketed around a certain holiday, especially the holidays towards the end of the year. Floral businesses flourish during holidays such as Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and etc. Toy stores gain a lot of business during holidays such as Christmas and Black Friday. But what about retailers with specialty items such as razors or miscellaneous gadgets? Well, there’s an answer for that.

If your business, say for instance, sells razors, you can market that around multiple holidays and launch creative campaigns. You just have to put a twist on it.

Example: Is your man too scruffy to kiss around the holidays? Well, we got the perfect solution for that at “Blank” store located at “Blank.”

These types of campaigns are so easy to launch now on social media. You can hyper target your audience to get the most effective penny out of the dollar on platforms such as Facebook. Also, you can subconsciously expose your audience towards your product and item by branding the holiday theme around promoting the specified product at your place of business.

Also, talk to your customers about the upcoming holiday. Many customers forget and with a simple reminder, you can raise awareness to that special day. And as mentioned previously, the holiday doesn’t need to be as big as Christmas. Below is the full list of federally recognized holidays in order:

2017 Federal Holidays
  • New Year’s Day
    January 2*
    Monday
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
    January 16
    Monday
  • George Washington’s Birthday
    February 20*
    Monday
  • Memorial Day
    May 29
    Monday
  • Independence Day
    July 4
    Tuesday
  • Labor Day
    September 4
    Monday
  • Columbus Day
    October 9
    Monday
  • Veterans Day
    November 10*
    Friday
  • Thanksgiving Day
    November 23
    Thursday
  • Christmas Day
    December 25
    Monday

And these are only the Federally recognized holidays. It doesn’t include the socially accepted holidays such as Valentines Day. There’s days out there revolving around religion, different countries, and even food. There’s actually a national burger day here in America which is May 28th! So essentially, all you have to do is research the day and find the one that fits your business. Then build a creative campaign around the products you’d like to push.

Choose the right products to build the holiday around

There are products out there that wont go too well with certain holidays. For instance, don’t try to sell a meat dish during World Vegan Day (maybe it’ll work as an anti-vegan movement for those meat lovers). If you do, be prepared to feel some backlash from the vegan community. Don’t be insensitive during religious holidays or an awareness month like October which promotes the fight against breast cancer. That’s bad practice and can definitely lose customers. Revolve your business planning ideas around things that make sense.

Overall, owners and retailers can make all the excuses in the world to not promote their products and business. But with some creativity and ingenuity, marketing your products ahead of a certain holiday will definitely help grow your business. Pre-plan and execute this year!

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A Guide On How To Make Your Retail Business A Little Easier To Operate For New Entrepreneurs

Operating a retail business can some times be pretty daunting, especially if you’re new to the industry. You must have great products that customers enjoy and display it in a manner where they can easily get to the items. Being a new retail business owner will also require great knowledge in accounting, reporting, and management of products and SKUs. While all of that can start to get complex and intimidating, there’s ways to simplifying those tasks.

In the new age of entrepreneurship, technology and software that include features such as inventory management, data reporting, analytics, and scheduling will be your greatest friend. The old days of hand written reports and notes are gone and the new day in age is upon us where we’re given the opportunity to track our business online and through the Cloud.

Running your business through a smart point of sale solution will open up a new world for young entrepreneurs. People sometimes dismiss POS systems as simple register software and don’t understand the importance of the technology. The new systems actively keep track of your inventory and sales to create smart reports for your business. You’ll have access to inventory tracking of products at your store, knowledge to what items have been selling at certain times throughout the week, keep track of employee’s hours, and even have access to EOD (End Of Day) reports for accounting purposes. And that’s only the beginning of what smart POS systems like iConnect can provide for a young retail business.

Entrepreneurs are usually hard workers but have a tendency to overwork themselves with multiple programs rather than simplifying it to one solution. Having a platform where it automates the heavy work and saves you more time will allow you to invest your focus in other aspects of the business.

If you want to learn more about what a POS system can do for your retail business, feel free to reach out to us.

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Finding The Right Franchise POS System

Many companies are currently on the hunt for the right Franchise POS system. The current market requires franchise companies to become smarter and more efficient in running a business. You might require specific data reporting, inventory management, automated checkout systems, intuitive register processing, and even business intelligence. iConnect has recognized the pain points of growing a franchise through working with some of the largest successful franchises in the nation. So we’ve developed some of the most powerful features that a franchise POS system can offer.

The first big feature that many franchises require is the smart reporting. When it comes to reports, employers want and need data in a specific format. So we included hundreds of different reports that your business can choose from. This makes it a lot easier for franchise owners to understand their business in-depth and pin point where they need to focus on when it comes to their store. Many multi-unit stores still use POS systems to a minimalistic sense when they need to be utilizing the incoming smart data. Technology makes data a lot more powerful and useful for your business and can help push sales on products that might’ve been slow to move. It also helps identify strengths that you might’ve missed.

Inventory management has also been a keen point for growing franchises. With the use of some of the finest technology, iConnect has created a simple feature where every item can be easily tracked and maintained without the hassle of manually counting. The featured technology was created to help assist employees and help improve efficiency at a store location. In combination of iConnect’s SKU scanner, items can be counted at a rapid pace.

Multi-location companies and franchises have also been coming to iConnect for self checkout kiosk solutions. Many are looking towards the future and understand that automation is becoming a big factor. With the use of self-automation, you don’t have to worry about human error. It also helps mitigate the linear customer service and create balance to how all customers are treated equal at your company.

The front-end checkout system for iConnect is unparalleled to any system out there. With the beautiful design and customizable colors, it blends perfectly with any theme. The icons and images displayed for the products also make it easy to find items. We’ve gathered the feedback from franchise companies and have developed a front-end display that works perfectly in any environment.

iConnect is also on the journey to create the perfect business intelligence system that’ll help your company predict future sales. With big data, it’ll help judge when items should be sold and what items will do good throughout a season. Big data will play a big role in the future and iConnect will have your multi-location business covered. Our team is dedicated in your success so reach out to us and learn why so many businesses are turning to iConnect’s franchise POS system. There’s many benefits that your business will see.

 

 

 

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The All New Kiosk POS System

Kiosk POS systems are being deployed all over the country at some of the biggest franchise restaurants including McDonalds. Many companies have found that Kiosk POS systems are more cost effective than hiring employees to run their daily operations. There are also additional benefits that these companies are finding with the use of a self-service checkout system.

Constant Level of Service

The level of service with the use of self-checkout kiosk POS systems will be constant. Automated systems provide the same constant service to any customer whether their shape, color, or size. There will be no bias when it comes to serving your customers at your restaurant. But having employees can sometimes cause confrontations and negative experiences. Every employee is different, whether they’ve been trained for 10 or 100 hours. They’ll have different attitudes and different responses dependent on the customer. Kiosk POS systems will maintain the level of service and have a generous attitude for your customers.

Honest Transactions

Humans are prone to making errors. We make mistakes all the time and have a hard time staying “perfect” in any reference. When we go through our daily routines, some practices become so automated in our heads that we forget to double check. There is a specific term called, “Technique For Human Error Rate Prediction” (THERP) which takes into account the probability of a human error occurring throughout the completion of a specific task. When employees take actions such as accepting cash payments or entering in a credit amount, there is always a room for error. That’s why some businesses even have the strike rule to control the level of THERP happening at businesses.

Another problematic thing that employers face is theft. From time-to-time employees can take the dishonest action and steal from a store location which affects time, trust, and the process of replacing an employee. Kiosk POS systems will allow all of that to be properly maintained and relieve employers from that stress. Automated systems won’t have the capabilities to steal or make human errors. iConnect’s Kiosk POS system is designed to maintain the highest level of qualities when it comes to processing and transactions.

Kiosk systems such as iConnect’s is also trustworthy. Trust comes at a high price as many factors determine the quality of employee. One of them is pay. Most workers in the food service industry are paid hourly plus tips. If they aren’t happy with the amount they are making, there’s room for distance to grow between the level of employees. Kiosk POS systems are just a 1 time pay where it’ll maintain the level of trust for you. There are no emotions involved between the owner of a restaurant and an automated POS system.

This is why many business owners are turning to automated Kiosk POS systems that create a linear standard for service. They won’t make human error, will provide a constant level of service, and create honest transactions with the customers. If you’re curious to learn more about Kiosk POS systems, simply reach out to one of our team members to learn more.

 

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How To Improve Your Business With A Smart Retail POS System For Your Business

Through many circumstances, POS systems can be brushed under the rug as a “non-important” factor to a business. Many believe that point of sale systems are simply a solution to create transactions. But that is not the case. In today’s society, data has become a big denominator in improving efficiency when it comes to business. Retail POS solutions such as iConnect have created internal infrastructures that create smart analytics and data that can help improve sales.

With iConnect’s retail POS solution, you can log in to the back end of the system and find valuable information to your business that you might’ve never seen before. Different reports will provide you with information such as the hottest selling items during a certain time period or when some products aren’t moving as quickly as you wish.

 

Reports, Sales Management, Back office management Point of Sale POS system

There are other reports that take inventory into consideration such as when to re-order products or data that helps you identify which products need to be moved around in the store to help sell more. In today’s retailing world, your business must become smarter and more efficient. Items need to be changed around and problems must be identified in order for your business to sell more.

iConnect also provides retail businesses an outlet to become mobile. With the state of the art POS solution you can check your business on the go. iConnect has a highly functioning Cloud based system that allows your business to be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world (as long as you have internet connection). This way, when you are on travel or at home, you can log in to your business and see how it’s performing on a day-to-day basis.

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Another amazing thing about iConnect’s retail POS solution is the fact that it makes things a lot more easier. When it comes to ringing up your customers, the POS system scans and recognizes every product to where things are easily recognizable. The icons on the screen allow your employees to easily recognize particular items and help identify it for accuracy. Humans make errors from time-to-time and this allows your employees to double check for accuracy. Also, you are able to instantly access a sale remotely after syncing the system.

Today’s retail POS systems aren’t just a simple transaction machine. It’s actually more. It provides you with smart data and access listed above that can help improve efficiency and sales at your store. Many franchise and corporate businesses have been turning to iConnect for this reason. At technology improves, so do POS companies such as iConnect. Find out more on how iConnect can help improve your retail business today.

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Visual Merchandising Guide- Fall 2016

Hey Retailers! Prep your store for Fall!

Now that September is here and fall is barreling at us, it’s time to reconsider your store’s visual merchandising. The right use of visual merchandising will make your customers feel comfortable and ready to shop! It’s important to carefully consider who your customers are, their values, and what makes them enjoy shopping with you. Play to your strong points. Consider music, organization of inventory, layout of furniture and displays, lighting, textures, and ambiance. We’ve developed some themes and ideas for retailers to stay on trend with their visual merchandising for this upcoming season.

Selecting a theme will make the processing of choosing décor so much simpler. Themes can revolve around color or events, or they can be related to other ideas. It’s very important to make sure that whichever theme you want to encompass in your visual merchandising, that the theme is consistent with your businesses’ brand and image.

fall visual merchandising

 

Color Palette for Visual Merchandising 

When considering reworking your décor to reflect a more “autumn” look, it’s important to stay true to your brand. Most retailers, especially if you’re in the fashion industry, should opt for a more fall color palette. In general, a fall color palette might consist of jewel tones, holiday colors, and a more rustic palette. If you have a few key items you want to use in a main display or even a window display – use those items as your color inspiration to avoid any conflicts of interest. Consider the following Pantone palette for Fall 2016:

fall color palette

Photo courtesy of Colourandtrends.com  by Pantone. 

Fall Events

Holidays and special occasions drive sales. Be it, an upcoming Christmas party, Halloween, Election Day or Black Friday the fall season has many events that you should consider when planning for this season’s upcoming visual displays. If you’re anticipating a big sale for Black Friday, it’s a good idea to have your holiday décor on hand and ready to be displayed well in advance.

fall table display

 

 

Layout and Organization

When considering or reconsidering your store’s layout, it’s important to try to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Image viewing every aspect of your store, viewing your entrance and window display, navigating the aisles, changing in the dressing room or making a purchase at the point-of-sale. Make sure your entire store experience is consistent and neat. Keep merchandise organized as best as neatly as possible. We recommend color coating and sizing each item. Think outside of the box and try to incorporate your theme with your inventory displays -like in the example below. This creates a unique shopping experience. The rustic look of the baskets attached to the wooden pallets quaintly shows off the inventory. 

visual merchandising ideas

Photo courtesy of letthechildrenplay.net

 

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Clienteling: Personalize the customer shopping experience.

clienteling

How does a retailer achieve genuine and meaningful relationships with their clients? While eCommerce is convenient – it is highly impersonal. When it comes to retail fashion, most customers prefer a personal and familiar experience. This can be achieved with clienteling

Clienteling

As Wikipedia defines clienteling, “Clienteling is a technique used by retail sales associates to establish long-term relationships with key customers based on data about their preferences, behaviors and purchases. Clienteling is intended to guide associates to provide more personal and informed customer service that may influence customer behavior related to shopping frequency, lift in average transaction value, and other retail key performance indicators.”

Let’s say your top sales associate builds a strong bond with a new customer, as they make a purchase. The customer mentions to the sales associate that they are attending a wedding in the next six months. The sales associate makes a quick note in your system about the upcoming wedding. Your customer is on their way. When your customer returns to the store, your sales associate will be able to mention the upcoming wedding. The sales associate can open up the lines of communication with customer. The sales associate asks the customer if they need to find a gift, a dress, or maybe even a new pair of shoes. The customer is delighted that your sales associate remembered them so well, and does indeed need to find a gift for the wedding.

 

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CRM Software

Many retailers have been using customer relationship management systems for years. But what brings Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to the next level of service that clienteling requires? Features such as notes, appointments, tickets, and a personal lookbook add to the ability of retailers to start truly clienteling. Provide your sales associates or stylists with the ability to document the nuances about each client that they converse with throughout the day. When sales associates write a small note about each customer they are much more likely to remember the uniqueness of each customer. With clienteling technology, notes and data can be documented for the future and used by any available sales associate, when the customer returns to your store. With iConnect’s lookbook feature, sales associates are able to add photos to each customer contact. This feature is necessary for personal stylists who want the ability to document their customer’s sense of style or reference looks that will be of interest to the customer.

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