An email a day keeps growing strong. Every day for a week you’ll receive an eCourse email that provides tips or ideas that can help you implement and achieve your growth potential. Best of all, it’s tailored specifically for the wireless industry!
As a retailer, you’ve got to make a big splash in the pool of competition to capture the attention of potential customers. In an ever-changing industry like wireless, staying on top of the trends with the most innovative technology is a must.
iQmetrix has been an industry leader for 20 years, with a vast knowledge of all things wireless. To help your business grow, we decided to share our know-how. With the first-ever Growth in Wireless eCourse, you’ll find tips, tricks, and takeaways to optimize in-store processes and achieve your growth strategy. Read on this article for tangible, actionable ideas to start to optimizing your wireless store’s growth potential.
Increase Profits and Stay Competitive
The wireless industry is ever-changing which means profitability can ebb and flow. Dealers are constantly looking for new ways to increase profits, to stay competitive, and remain top of mind with consumers. The first eCourse email reviews 8 essential steps to increase profits and stay competitive for wireless dealers.
Many things make wireless retail different than other industries. Constant updates to products and item variety mean sales staff are always working to stay on top of ‘what’s new.’ Not only that but with long re-purchase cycles (1 – 2 years), the struggle to keep the customer’s attention is tougher than ever.
It’s becoming increasingly important for retailers to up the ante when it comes to beating out the competition. Here’s how you can make your store a retail destination for your customers.
Pre-Shop Online, Reserve and Pick-Up In-Store: Many shopping experiences for customers start before they ever walk into a physical location. This is no exception when the latest and greatest in cell phone technology hits the market; customers are scrambling to pre-order their device. Enabling these retail options is all about connecting e-commerce and in-store experiences. This is where a well-functioning website is needed to create a simple and streamlined pre-order and reservation system that makes customers get exactly what they want.
Endless Aisle and Fulfillment: When a shopper has just purchased a new device, it’s the most opportune time to add on upsell items like cases, chargers, and headphones. But what happens if you don’t have the peg space for all these options? Wireless dealers can use touch screen kiosks or tablets to offer an “endless aisle”. It’s where customers can scan inventory virtually cutting down peg space needed for inventory. Pairing this with a drop-ship fulfillment solution lets customers purchase inventory not carried in your store and have it shipped directly to their door. Not only does this increase your profits, but it’s also bettering the customer’s experience.
Smarter, Speedier, Friendlier Transactions: Having a POS that is integrated with outside systems is going to help to speed up transactions, and when a phone activation can be an hour-long, your shoppers will appreciate even a minute saved! Integration removes multiple entries and reduces the number of clicks while still allowing for the employee to be interacting with the customer. Having POS capabilities such as suggestive selling and prompts to remind your staff to ask important questions also takes the stress off employees and ensures the important things are not forgotten in the transaction.
Intelligent Inventory: Investing in the newest wireless device can be costly and, as a retailer, you need to be cautious that your supply will meet the demand. Having proper inventory management is a highly data-driven activity and using intelligent inventory—one that offers suggestions for store orders based on sales history—can help to keep inventory costs down. Also, having third-party vendors for accessories who have automatic shipment can help alleviate the risks of overstock. Just be sure these vendors have return policies that work with your processes.
Digital Assists: Using digital signage in a store helps to create a persuasive selling environment. Digital signs help to let customers know what your store can offer, whether they are passing by your location or are already in-store. It keeps customers in tune with your latest product offerings and time-sensitive sales. This information is also helpful to remind employees of what to offer customers and the important information to keep top of mind while working on the sales floor.
API Links: While your employees and customers may only see the front end of the POS, what is going on behind the scenes is what makes that seamless transaction experience possible. Having API access to let multiple vendors tie into the transaction and your back-end system saves you time and increases accuracy. And who doesn’t want that?
Device Fixes: We all know that cell phones aren’t indestructible. So by adding a repair service to your offering, your wireless store can increase profits and have a client base of, well, anyone with a smartphone! But having knowledgeable technicians is just the beginning. You need a streamlined process to ensure the fixes are fast as being without a cell phone can be a stressful time for your customers. Offer realistic repair costs and delivery times to ensure that your customers know their device is in the right hands.
Behind the Scenes: Areas such as accounting, ordering, reporting, scheduling, payroll, and commissions are just some of the back-of-house intricacies to a wireless retail management system. Having these accessible through one-stop-shop with your front-end POS helps to keeps the flow of information from the front and back-end, cutting out duplicate entries and unforced errors. With information all in one system ensures you can keep tabs on all aspects of the business and make strategic decisions based on accurate reporting.
It’s not rocket science! An effective retail management system enables employees to support customers at every point in their purchase decision. Not only will this provide the best outcome, but the most profitable one. Having a system that is designed to easily guide employees to support customers through the purchasing decision will provide the best outcome, being a profitable one.
Omnichannel, why it’s Critically Important
Customers expect a more interactive shopping experience from retail stores, and wireless is no exception. With expectations and competition on the rise, use these pieces of advice to keep customers coming back for more. Never again say no to a customer in need.
So, when you’re looking into ways to strengthen your customer loyalty and improve the retail experience, does omnichannel really matter? Our next headline might answer that question…
Why Omnichannel if Critically Important to Wireless Retailers?
Omnichannel retailing is not just for wireless—it’s for all industries. Through trial and error, operators learned many lessons on how to implement omnichannel-enabling solutions and what they’ve learned is how to create that seamless shopping experience no matter where a customer is browsing.
Digital selling techniques have been around for a while and with the rise of online retailers like Amazon, the digital platform progressed into a multi-channel approach to retail; an approach that encompasses both digital and physical avenues. Due to the possibility of having many different systems in order to offer a multi-channel experience, retailers are faced with the trouble of finding ways to create a connection on the back-end. Basically, crafting a make-shift API that facilitates conversation between systems that ensure that interconnected retail experience.
Omnichannel’s Present Impact
Cross-device shopping, or using multiple avenues to fulfill a shopping experience, is becoming the norm for customers today. This can make it difficult to differentiate where a sale was made to be it online or in-store. And with so many ways to buy from your store e-commerce sales can be influenced by physical in-store experiences, meaning that retailers need to see the whole picture when bettering their retail processes.
Where Wireless Retailers Stand
While omnichannel initiatives should be woven into any retailer’s strategy, we still see many wireless dealers, not on par with their carrier or brand counterparts in terms of an omnichannel implementation. While there are sometimes restrictions from the carrier or anti-spam laws that limit aspects of a true omnichannel, there are workarounds that empower wireless retailers to maintain their connections with customers. Why not try out an opt-in SMS text messaging platform?
What Wireless Customers Need
There are some over-arching traits that make wireless stores different than other retail environments. When a customer walks into a wireless store, you know there’s a good chance they are there to upgrade or replace their device: at the very least, they’re looking for a wireless related accessory. The high transaction values that accompany wireless devices (with prices now up around $1,000, we know cell phones aren’t inexpensive!) mean that purchases have a slow cycle with shoppers only getting a new device every 1-2 years.
But when you’re looking to keep shoppers satisfied, issues arise when your limited peg space can’t quite match the demand of variety. One other trait is the time spent in-store for an average shopper. A device renewal and activation can take maybe an hour—or longer—with complex options, high costs, and a lot of signatures needed, a customer needs to remain engaged or they’ll see the experience as a less-than-desirable one.
In order to deliver superior customer experiences, wireless retailers should be sure to include the following specific strategies:
- Use messaging for interaction: Messaging customers between purchases helps your business stay top of mind.
- Begin your omnichannel: Using both an endless aisle and dropship solution to enhance the in-store experience lets you offer more products to delight the customer. It also lets them easily browse and order items you may not have on your shelf.
- Make shopping with you easy: Having other features such as appointment scheduling, order-online-pickup-in-store, and per-order devices are a must-have feature for your POS.
- Insights galore: Make use of all functionality in your retail tools to provide in-depth reporting and analytics to help make better business decisions.
All in all, wireless retailers have some unique traits that differentiate them from other retailers. For them, the focus needs to be on winning through both digital and in-store experiences that surprise and delight customers and offer a seamless omnichannel experience, even if it’s not on the back-end.
What to Know When Looking for a POS
Whether you are looking for a POS right now or you’re noticing your program is lacking and are thinking about browsing around, you need to know what to look for. The whole process starts with you (and your team). What will it take for a new POS to be successful for your inner workings? Ask yourself these questions and you’ll know what a new POS has to have to empower your business.
Now we’ll dig into both the internal steps you should take to evaluate a new point of sale and the questions you should ask that will ensure you’re picking the right device for your business.
5 Steps to a Profitable POS
Let’s get that ROI! When you’re looking to make the leap away from your legacy POS, it can cause some internal ruffled feathers. Avoid this by making sure your ducks are in a row and the flock is aware of the coming changes by following these steps.
- Commit to the Update: When you’ve chosen your new system, it might be easy to reflect on all the good times you and your legacy system had together. But rest assured, you’re making the right choice by changing to different software. An outdated system doesn’t meet the needs of a business looking to grow, so say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.
- You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Randy Newman said it best, and just like the Toy Story gang, the partnership is essential to help facilitate growth. So, when choosing a new POS, ensure you’ve got a partner ecosystem to support your every need. Integrated into your POS, these partners will enable you to rev up revenue potential and let you say goodbye to the swivel chair effect.
- Cloud VS. Local: A year’s old debate, both a cloud-based software and a locally-hosted program will get the job done when it comes to performing the point of sale tasks you need to be completed. The real test is in the other stuff like automation, efficiencies, and streamlined processes. Make sure you evaluate the pros and cons when weighing these two options.
- Insights are Key: Without an eye on data and analytics, you could be left out in the storm, trying to navigate the retail high seas blind. With access to expert insights from a POS provider, you’ll experience smooth sailing through launch, the first month of operations, and beyond.
- A-OK APIs: Your business is unique and likely has different needs from any other retailer in your industry. For this reason, ensuring a POS can connect with APIs is essential to the optimization of your retail software. This connects your retail management software with any other programs that will elevate your growth potential.
8 Questions to Ask When Choosing a New POS
Now that you’ve investigated what your team needs in a POS, there are some critical things to consider when you’re looking at the many software options available. Ask yourself these 8 questions and you’re sure to find your point-of-sale soulmate.
- Improved Inventory Processes: Inventory is the lifeblood of any retail business. If you have too little, customers will go to a competitor that can satisfy their needs. If you have too much, you’ll risk products turning stale and your investment going to waste. Your new POS should help you improve inventory processes and help you analyze what and how much is needed to satisfy demand. Features like real-time product tracking, stock balancing, and auto ordering are just the tip of the iceberg, and must-haves for your new system to be effective.
- Numbers Matter: Dig into what reporting and analytic options are offered in a new POS. Being able to house, store, and easily filter data is essential to the strategic running of your business. Having access to relevant data, in real-time, can help you make decisions that keep you on top of the ever-changing wireless industry.
- Got Integration?: Will your new prospective POS play well with others? Because this is a must. Collaboration with other providers enables your business to partner with a number of vendors that play a critical role in the lives of your employees and help enable a next-level customer experience in-store.
- Employee Commissions: Associates live to sell and the incentive is a great way for them to understand where they’re excelling and where they need to improve. Allowing employees to access their commissions will be a huge motivator and giving them access to sales targets, KPI’s, and milestones will keep them on track and feeling in control of their day-to-day. They’re on the front-lines of the sales floor and when they’re motivated to do their best, profits increase. It’s a win-win!
- User Experience: When you’re checking out a new POS, be sure to ask about the setup process and the user experience. This should be customizable to your business, and since no two wireless stores are alike, being able to set up your point of sale how you want will help your business flow.
- Up the Engagement Ante: A holistic point of sale should enable your employees to better engage with your shoppers. Suggestive selling, in-store signage, product training, and effective retail software will band together and empower associates when speaking with customers and ensure they feel confident in helping shoppers in any situation.
- Go Mobile: On-to-go technologies aren’t a passing fad and mobile solutions are a pivotal piece of the retail puzzle. A wireless POS system should offer a mobile user experience to allow employees to satisfy customer needs without leaving their sides.
- Counting Coins: The accounting team is a silent hero in any retail business, quietly operating in the background but making it so things can keep running. A desirable point-of-sale solution should not only have an integrated accounting system, but it should also allow access to profit and loss statements, tax reports, and high-level overviews to increase efficiency.
Whew! That was an info-packed third installment to the Growth in Wireless eCourse! We hope this gave you some tidbits that help to choose a new POS system just a little easier. When it comes to a POS, your business deserves the best, and that means a point of sale that is a full retail management system. Following the 5 steps and asking the 8 questions will help you keep on track and pick software that will help you grow.
Components of a Successful POS Rollout
You did it! You found the POS that your team will harness for success. Now you need a plan that is going to make your point of sale rollout as smooth as can be. Getting your ducks in a row is a must, for you, your employees, and your customers!
7 Components of a Great POS Rollout
Let’s ensure the rollout to your brand-new POS is smooth and streamlined (it’s possible, we promise!). While we know it’s not going to be as easy as flipping a switch, a well laid out plan is all it takes to simplify the transition for everyone involved.
- Have a Vision: Every great milestone or goal begins with a vision and the rollout of a new POS is no different. Aim high and plot the course, ensuring that your goals are attainable and measurable.
- Necessary Integrations: Create a list of what integrations you can’t live without. Look at what can be done through a built through in-house integration and what needs an API to get the job done.
- Data and Reports: Grab the data and reports needed from your legacy program that you need the new software to have. Check-in with all departments to see what they track because if your new POS reports don’t work for your team, they don’t work.
- Functionality for Customers and Employees: What are the best customer and employee-facing functionality you want to see? How do these tie in with your brand experience? Reach out to your employees for feedback since they are on the front-lines of customer satisfaction.
- Training: Practice makes perfect and with a detailed training plan, your employees can hone their skills and make the rollout smooth sailing. Set up multiple pieces of training, with dated milestones and benchmarks to ensure all staff is ready for the switch ahead of time.
- Go Live: Location by location or all at once? Knowing how widespread rollout will be is essential. Be flexible to refine as you go along, allowing for extended training or troubleshooting.
- Circling Back: No matter how many strategies and careful consideration can go into rollout planning, we all know things can change. So, circle back at every stage of implementation to see if changes and improvements need to be made.
Being prepared is all it takes to make your new point-of-sale system rollout a huge success.
Work With a Team of Experts
Teamwork makes the dream work and when you have a team of experts on your side, you’re set up for success! A partnership with your new POS provider means a smoother and stronger implementation process. Knowing that they care about your business’s success is a must-have for your new point of sale.