Thought Leadership

Though leadership in retail technology

Are you thinking about CSR?

World map with protecting hands depicting CSR

courtesy of pixabay

Corporate social responsibilities. Well is it sounding too demanding?

CSR is not restricted to bigger companies, but each and every company right from a small size firm to mid-size to the bigger ones. It is our responsibility towards our environment.

Many multinational firms hire CSR consultants as it is a lot of media coverage and a lot of publicity which in turn results in larger revenues, however, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) always stay in the perception that it isn’t for them. They have nothing to do with CSR. Why? Aren’t you responsible for your environment?

We are into the 17th year of the 21st century.

We need to consider environmental factors as well. The big corporate companies hire consultants to face the demanding and ever changing climatic conditions and other factors like law, regulations, government, political issues, press release, global warming, pollution to name a few. However, SMEs often neglect and keep on focusing on the growth of the company.

CSR for a smaller business is of much more importance as they truly undertake changes for the environment and not only for the media attention. Many SMEs have started taking these social responsibilities on a sincere scale.

IConnect POS is a very proud practitioner of CSR.

At IConnect POS, we believe, CSR is not only for big companies but, for all and we need to do our best for the betterment of the environment.

IConnect POS pledges to be caring. Be it clients or environment. Keeping this responsibility into consideration, IConnect POS promotes CSR to their clients as well, in the means of using more of technology than of paper. The POS system has many features like email and text message marketing which highly promotes CSR to their clients. Inventory management is inbuilt in the system which keeps away the clingy paperwork and helps you focus on business growth as well as betterment of the environment.

CSR is definitely important for the SMEs as it benefits them the same way as it does to the bigger corporates i.e. it helps develop trust from their clients. It builds a feeling of prosperity into the company and motivates positive bond among the employees.

I strongly believe, every corporate company should undertake CSR. Even the minimalistic of effort will sum up to greater results.

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What are your plans for 4th July?

American flag with fire crackers for 4th July celebrations

courtesy of pixabay

Americans spend millions of dollars on 4th July!

We celebrate our nation’s independence day in the most American way possible and that is by spending lots of money. Be it on food, shopping or fireworks. We love to follow the traditional norms of barbecues, the American flag, and a lot of fireworks.

During the earlier days, 4th July was one of the critical days for small retail businesses. They used to plan for months for this big day. Planning up inventories, managing the staff and the crowd was a tedious task unlike now when a single point of sales system handles it all in just a few clicks.

Are you a business owner?

Look around you, be it a coffee shop, sandwich shop, grocery store or a spa and beauty salon; almost every street has one. My point is, there is competition. You have to always be on your toes to bring something new to the clients.

With 4th July around, are you wondering how are you going to manage your business and how will you cope up with the heavy competition around? Well this independence day, I have some handful tips to sustain and grow your business.

  1. Create a theme: Well foremost and the most important task is to build a background theme around your business. I personally believe in going the classic ways in this tech-savvy era that is by involving your entire team to contribute their thoughts. So, loosen up the work environment for few hours, discuss this with your team over a coffee or beer and create a theme and list of agendas.
  2. Make them feel independent: As we know it’s independence day, so let’s make our clients feel that. On this 4th July, let’s serve the feeling of independence. Now, you must be wondering, how can we serve independence? It’s simple, with goodies and discounts.
    Let’s not make everything business oriented, we can focus on being patriotic and creating awareness for a good cause. Speak with your team, what good cause will they like to work on and how can you implement all these great ideas? I know with the cutting budget it sounds all unrealistic. Well, not really, try with something as small as giving some part of the earnings from 4th July as a donation or maybe distributing small brochures with the information and importance about the day to children visiting.
  3.  Encourage flags: Flags are always the favorite part of the entire celebration. It gives us the feeling of pride and happiness. You can keep a surprise gift or discount for customers who visit you with flags with them on 4th July. You can promote this on social media and I am sure this will give some unpredicted contribution.
  4. Photo contest: We are blessed with social media and its impact on our clients is unimaginable. Plan up some small contest like discounts or goodies on posting their photos with the products. You can get as creative as you want. Use Instagram hashtags, tagging feature on Facebook and much more. You can use Twitter to promote such offers and fun things as well.
  5. Must haves on POS: There will be clients in your spa who would have planned for this day and this pampering session since months and I believe you should be fully prepared to provide the best of your service. Plan and introduce new special 4th July packages and schemes and place them right there on your POS screen. Talk about your special product of the day and its benefits. We are into impulsive shopping era. We love the idea of pampering, and special offers excite us.
    It is very important to have a good pos system. IConnect POS offers a wide range of pos customized for your business. They specialize in POS system for Salons, Spas, retail, QSR and have a wide range of features.
  6. Handouts: This may sound old school again, but we should never underestimate the power of classic marketing. The first thought we get thinking about 4th July is a parade. Focus on making the best of every opportunity you get to do good for the society and directly or indirectly, it will be reflected in your business. Distribute small samples of your product based on demographics or maybe just water. It will be a sunny day and idea of distributing any cold beverage works best.

Get creative, look beyond the regular ideas and agendas you normally plan.

Play with the numbers. Introduce discounts based on the year, day etc. for instance, cell phone numbers ending with the numeric 74 gets a discount and so on. There may be thousands of articles and ideas on managing and planning your big day, but, it depends on you and your team to find originality and connect with your audience by selecting wisely of which plan suits best for your business.

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The Valentine’s Day Business

Valentine’s Day is finally upon us! Hopefully everyone’s business has geared up for this love filled day. iConnect has many features that makes businesses run a lot more efficient on busy days such as today. One way that we make things a little smoother for business owners is through our point of sale system. With our technology, you’ll have the right tools to enhance marketing, keep accurate counts of inventory, time-clock management system, end-of-day business reports, and many more.

On top of our highest rated POS systems, we have the hardware to go along with that. iConnect iCR register system provides the sleek looks to go along with your business. Our devices were engineered to take up little space and function in various settings. iConnect currently empowers businesses in many verticals such as retail, food, salons, and many more. If your business requires a self-checkout kiosk, iConnect can provide that system for you as well.

We’ve recently covered the basic tips on how to set your business up for success during Valentine’s Day. With our modern tools, you’ll have the power to generate more business during the other busy days during the year. Be sure to talk to one of our experts and find out if your business is ready to take the next step with iConnect.

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Interacting With Your Community

A community is the life support for local businesses. They buy, interact, and market your business on a daily basis. And to keep your business going you must be able to provide them with the essential points of growth. Here’s an impactful plan that can help your business keep a good reputation in the local community.

Being friendly

Let your community and local customers know that your business is a place that provides great customer service and friendliness. This is a paramount point to make to the people shopping at your store. Statistically speaking, a dissatisfied customer is three times more likely to tell friends about their negative experience. It takes 12 positive experiences just to make up for that one dissatisfied customer. On top of that, 80% of people will not buy from a business with negative reviews. Overall, unhappy customers add up to $537 billion in losses every year.

However, happy customers contribute 14 times more revenue than a “mixed feeling” customer. With great customer service, you’ll see happily satisfied customers contribute 2.6 times more revenue than a normal customer.

Retention

You want to do whatever is in your power to retain your currently satisfied customers. It statistically costs 6-7 times more to acquire new customers that’ll be satisfied of your business. There was a funny story reported about a guitarist named David Caroll who was flying with United Airlines. During the unloading process an employee tossed his guitar on to the tarmac which resulted in his $3,500 guitar breaking. United Airlines refused to pay for repairs so David Caroll wrote a song about his dissatisfaction with the company titled “United Breaks Guitars.” The music video got 14 million views in a short span of time which resulted in its stock falling 10%, the equivalent to $180 million dollars. While this is an unusual case, it did happen. If you have to, make sure that your customer receives a good experience at your place of business.

Ask questions

Make sure that you ask your customers about their shopping experience. This is critical in the education process and also gauging their level of satisfaction. If the customers feel as though that they aren’t being treated “well,” make sure they get the proper attention and service. Also, understand their shopping habits. If a customers comes in frequently, shopping for the same product/good, make sure that it’s kept in stock. When customers find that you are missing a certain item, this can lead them to venture elsewhere and become a loss for your business.

With these tips, you’ll have a good starting point for your business to hold support in your local community. Remember to keep your customers happy and provide them with the best customer service possible.

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How To Increase Foot Traffic To Your Business

A lot of entrepreneurs have a hard time grasping why their business isn’t seeing much foot traffic come through their stores. It isn’t magic. It isn’t some hocus pocus. It’s actual work to get people to come through your business. Here’s how you can increase foot traffic.

Social media presence

You want to create an influx in foot traffic to your business. What do you have at your disposal to instantly create awareness about what your store? It’s social media. With platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat you can reach a wide audience in a short duration of time. By using their business backend platform you can schedule events, promote posts, and strategize campaigns to reach a large audience base. The concept and idea is quite simple but manually configuring everything can be quite time-consuming.

Say for instance that your business serves ice cream. Well, you can geo-target your audience base and make sure that people who are interested in ice cream can see your advertisement on the three social media platforms listed. Snapchat even gives you an option to create a cool filter in a geo-targeted area. So if someone was to come into proximity of your store and was on Snapchat, they can use that filter to snap a picture and video to their friends. This creates awareness and almost works as a word of mouth tool.

Events

Another amazing way to increase traffic to a store-front location is to hold special events. It can range anywhere from Barbeques, slip n’ slides, educational sessions, to even having someone famous come through your store. You want to make sure that people are aware that your business is throwing an elaborate event and that they are welcome to join. From there, the goal will be to convert those visitors into loyal customers.

Giveaways

Have giveaways. This is a big deal. If you want to attract new customers, you need to create an incentive for them. And it has to be a rocking deal that’s relatable for your business.

For example:

You own a restaurant. You are seeing a lack of customers. You want to increase your customer base. Put together an awesome giveaway such as free burgers for a year (It must be huge like this). Then you advertise this on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Most of our partners have been seeing a lot of success using this method. You can too. If you want to see growth in foot-traffic towards your business, you must take actions such as these.

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How To Set Your Business Up For Success During Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us where couples rejoice in their affection for one another. But there are also individuals that celebrate Valentine’s Day for being single. A lot of businesses cater specifically for couples, yet forget that there are many people out there who just want to enjoy the day for what it is. So today, we come to you with some direction on how to set your business up for success during this upcoming Valentine’s Day for 2017.

Remember to think about your loyal customers

Valentine’s Day can be played out in the general sense that it’s an occasion for love. What if we were to embrace our customers and thank them for shopping at our store? Provide your loyal customers with little giveaway such as candy, notes, coupons, gift cards, or anything else that customers will enjoy receiving. It can’t be said enough how important customer loyalty is. A brand is only as strong as its loyal customers.

Every industry must cater in a different facet. If you own a retail store, make sure to thank your customers with something they’d enjoy. Don’t provide them with irrelevant gifts (meaning something that they wouldn’t use or like). If you operate a service based business, make sure that your customers are being thanked with coupons and gift cards to your service. Treat your customers with care.

Create a special environment

Decorate the heck out of your store. Whether you put up hearts, cupids, or color bomb your store, make sure people understand that you support Valentine’s Day. And make sure that the decorations are done as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last second to set everything up. Make sure the decorations are set prior to Valentine’s Day to raise awareness and increase sales to catered items.

Have products, services, and gifts available for Valentines Day

Make sure your products are directed towards the specific holiday. Develop a marketing strategy around products you want to promote on the special day. If you are selling products such as food, make sure to iterate its importance for Valentine’s Day. Say for instance that you were selling beef jerky. Reaffirm customers that it’ll be a great gift for men and women who enjoy premium jerky. Let them know that it’s a quirky gift that’s sure to bring some laughs and memories, along with good taste.

If you are promoting massages, pedicure, or some sort of service, make sure to iterate to customers that it’s a great couple’s gift. Both partners will be receiving a great time on this wonderful romantic occasion. Make sure to show them great quality service.

And as previously mentioned, there are going to be a lot of single people. You can cater to those people by making creative marketing campaigns to capture that specific demographic. Example, “Single on Valentine’s Day? Make sure to stop by our store as we are geared to celebrate those of us that are single!”

Gear your business up for February 14th, the day of love; Valentine’s Day. Make it one of the best days for your business!

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Here Are The Reasons Why Franchise Companies Are Turning To iConnect POS

iConnect has been seeing tremendous amounts of inquiries in regards to the franchise POS system for multi-location businesses. The company offers many features and flexibility when it comes to point of sale. Here are some of the reasons why companies are turning to iConnect’s robust system.

The value

iConnect POS was designed to deliver a quality experience for businesses. The companies’ value relies on strength in partnership and the belief in growth of franchise businesses. It is iConnect’s duty to arm companies with the best point of sale system that can help better serve franchises. The value and importance relies on experience and delivering the important data in an easily readable manner. And with that integrity, many franchise and multi-location companies have been turning to this specific point of sale system.

The program

When it comes to business, iConnect doesn’t want companies deterred by costs of hardware and software. Recently the company has announced the launch of a new initiative called the “Franchise Upgrade Program.” This new endeavor by iConnect allows businesses to trade in their old systems for the modern hardware and software. iConnect offers some of the latest features that take franchises to the modern platform for data and analytics, along with business intelligence.

The technology

The last point leads to the amazing topic of technology. iConnect has built an amazing end-to-end layout for franchises to easily navigate. The front end displays a beautiful register system where employees can easily identify an item with pictured icons and a navigation bar. The software for the POS system was built for minimal errors and mistakes for clerks and cashiers. The back end office is comprised of everything including access permissions, daily reports, scheduling, employee management, booking, import and export of SKUs, data analytics, matrix system, and a lot more.

If your company was ever interested in upgrading the POS platform, the time would be now with iConnect point of sale.

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What You Need To Know If You’re Starting A Franchise

Franchising your business can be a difficult journey. On the exterior, you see many successful and accomplished companies such as McDonald’s, Subway, Chipotle, and etc. But in reality, more franchise businesses have failed versus succeeding. SMBs (small to mid-size businesses) will have growing pains on the on this particular journey of franchising. We’ve seen it first hand with major franchises and would like to offer up advice for those individuals on this path.

Recognizing Your Market

In any major market, you’ll have some strong competition. Whether you’re in the food industry, retail, or some sort of service niche, there’ll be someone with similar ideas. And this is what some of our SMB customers have noticed. There’ll have to be multiple factors to separate your business from the competition.

Critical Branding Methods

  • offer them special deals,
  • have a unique product
  • Unique service

By offering these things to your customers, your competition won’t be able to easily copy your brand of business.

Location

Location will be another critical point for success. You must have knowledge of where your business model will succeed. For instance, you can’t have a surf rental shop outside of coastal areas. That just doesn’t make sense. You can’t be selling winter apparel in warm weathered areas, which is another given. The hard part will come down to how your customer base reacts to your products in locations that you believe will succeed.

Common businesses such as burger shops and common food restaurants will be up for a big challenge. With so many well established franchises and businesses in the food space, it’ll take tremendous work for your growing business to stand out. Franchising calls for your business to be highly desired and deliver a quality experience. And on top of that, you must have demand outside of your territory for this certain vertical. If you and your business are up for a challenge, then you must establish your brand to be highly desired. A quality example of this would be franchises such as Chick-Fil-A and In-N-Out.

Make sure that your business is well established in the community before trying to take the franchise route.

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