When you started dreaming up your idea for a retail store, you were probably thinking about what products you would sell, where you would be located, and maybe the design of your store. Your vision may not have included something that is key for every successful retailer: technology.
The right technology makes your life easier, keeps you and your employees organized, and helps you plan for growth.
Here are four that you need, and two that will help take your store to the next level.
1. Point of sale
Think of your POS system as the mothership for your business. All your data (from sales, from customers, from employees) runs through that system to help you manage and grow your business. Ideally, you want a retail-focused POS that can be a powerhouse for you. Some features you should look for are:
- Inventory tracking with an easy-to-use interface and that alerts you when inventory is low, before you run out
- Purchase order management and other vendor tracking to manage your retail providers
- An interface to manage customer feedback that also provides outreach tools for marketing your business
- For businesses with multiple locations, POS software that can manage multiple locations and lets you access information for every location in one place to help you manage your business as a whole
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2. Payments system
Accepting payments is an important part of running a business, especially a retail store. The best payment systems integrate with your point of sale so you can run your day-to-day operations efficiently. You want a payments system that:
- Takes all forms of payment, including cash, magstripe, EMV, and mobile payments
- Processes payments quickly, especially if your business is prone to long lines
- Keeps all your and your customers’ payment data secure
- Transfers money into your account quickly
- Processes payments even if you’re not connected to the internet
3. Employee management
If you have multiple employees, you need a service that helps you keep track of their schedules and timecards. Look for a service that also lets you track individual employee sales and create custom reports. This helps you identify who your best employees are and who may need a little more guidance. It also helps you project staffing needs and see if it makes sense to add more employees.
Ideally, your payroll service works with your employee management software to transfer employee hours seamlessly. Having a dedicated payroll service for your employees can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. To choose the best payroll software for your business, look for a service that:
- Generates and files your state payroll taxes
- Integrates with your POS and timecard software so you don’t have to manually enter your employees’ hours
- Allows you to set up and facilitate direct deposit for your employees’ paychecks
- Has an interface for employees that lets them access pay stubs and update their contact information easily
If you want to take your store to the next level in terms of technology, these innovative ways that retail stores are incorporating technology into the customer experience may spark some ideas for you.
Digital dressing rooms
While most consumers go into a retail store to touch and feel items, we are still moving toward a more digital shopping experience. That applies to everything from how customers enter your store to how they try on your clothes.
Some stores, like Reformation, have installed touchscreen televisions to add clothing items into your dressing room. After you’ve chosen clothes to try on, they are placed in your dressing room without you having to even touch a hanger. Reformation has also installed different lighting filters that can customers can choose from to make the trying-on experience more enjoyable.
While online shopping is definitely on the rise, customers still enjoy the in-store experience. Especially when it comes to shipping costs. TEighty-six percent of consumers would consider purchasing online and picking up in store if it meant they could save on the items or on shipping costs.
Having an in-store pickup option lets customers shop from the comfort of their homes but still gets them into your store to continue browsing.