Thursday, February 28, 2019

4 Components to Optimize Your Sales Organization

The four components and main points discussed in this article are applicable to sales organizations in every kind of industry, so I want to share them.

As you read, keep this in mind. Focus on what is possible, not what doesn’t apply. Don’t say to yourself, “Yeah, but my company is different.” Rather come at it from the standpoint of, “How can we implement that to make us better?”.

First, what do I mean by optimize? The word, as defined by Merriam Webster, is “to make as perfect, effective, or functional as possible.” For a sales organization to be optimized, four components are needed.

1. Goals

The company must have a goal and a vision of where it’s going. Therefore, the sales organization must have goals, both near and long term that support that overall goal and vision.

That seems easy enough. Unfortunately, sometimes important goals, those that can transform the business, get lost in the day-to-day grind of activity. To avoid this, it is essential to implement a quarterly process that identifies just two to three big goals that will advance the sales organization to new heights. Then have the discipline to follow the process.

There are many smart folks out there that have written books and created leadership programs around this very concept, including Verne Harnish, David Finkel and Gino Wickman. I have adapted the concept specifically for the sales organization.

Each quarter focus on a maximum of three big, organization changing goals. Not the standard goals that address business as usual, rather those items that are big and transformative. Choose one goal that will address your biggest obstacle to sales growth. Pick another goal that will leverage your biggest opportunity for growth. Then your final goal should address a potential threat that could derail growth down the road.

If you can only address two, then address two. Just remember, DO NOT FOCUS ON MORE THAN THREE BIG GOALS.

A worksheet to guide you is available here and was adapted for sales from the book Scale, written by David Finkel and Jeff Hoffman. Another good book is Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish. Read at least one of these books to fully implement a disciplined approach to quarterly goal attainment.

2. Strategy

Once you know where you need to go, the strategy of how you will get there is as varied as there are people on the planet. Each company, and each sales organization must decide how they will accomplish their goals and the strategy must be driven by these elements:

  • Marketplace.
  • Ideal customer.
  • Resources (people, capital, and other assets).
  • Timeline.

Generally, where you want to go, and why, are the critical first steps. The strategy of how you will do it should be easier, but you will have to weigh your options.

A best practice is to highlight only those strategies that have a high probability of exponential success. Then look at these strategies and determine which ones can be implemented. Next, review them for ease of implementation and then circle back and review them against the four components above. Finally, pick one to start. This could be your first quarterly goal addressing your biggest opportunity for growth.

3. Process

Most companies have some processes, but frequently leave the sales organization to fend for themselves. For instance, it is not unusual for a company to have processes to bill a customer; to onboard a new customer; to install a new system or any other operational function.

However, the sales organization frequently does not apply the same systematized approach to winning business. Sometimes it’s because it is believed that the business is such a relationship driven one that it cannot be systematized. Other times, the belief is that “we are different and unique, and each solution is custom so we can’t have a selling system.”

The truth of the matter is that all aspects of the sales organization can and should be systematized. In fact, following a repeatable selling process (the selling conversations that take place) can improve closing success dramatically. Some say by as much as 15% by doing nothing else.

The sales processes that need systematization include:

  • Selling conversation process
  • Lead management
  • Lead nurturing
  • Pipeline management and review
  • Action planning and adherence to the plan
  • Onboarding of new hires
  • Qualifying scorecard for opportunities
  • Continuous sales skill development
  • Sales coaching
  • Conducting sales meetings

There are likely others as well, but you get the idea. Any of these would be a great “quarterly goal” as well.

4. People

Most of my presentation was spent on this section but because I write and blog frequently about the people aspect, I will merely hit the highlights here.

Sales Leaders –

World-class sales leaders spend 80% of their time on motivating, coaching and accountability. We polled the senior leaders at my presentation and most thought that the appropriate amount of time for sales leaders to spend on these three areas was either 30% or 50%.

A simple way to improve team sales effectiveness is to ensure sales managers are spending 80% of their time motivating, coaching and holding their people accountable for appropriate activities. But, let’s be clear, most sales managers need help in developing these skills. In particular, they need the following abilities:

  • Beliefs support motivation.
  • Develops strong relationships.
  • Takes responsibility.
  • Doesn’t rescue the salespeople (on a joint call).
  • Effective at getting commitments.
  • Consistently coaches and debriefs.
  • Beliefs support coaching.
  • Has a sales process.
  • Handles joint calls appropriately.
  • Manages behavior.
  • Manages the pipeline.

We have data on 45,000 sales managers from Objective Management Group and the above list are just a few of the traits that support the Motivating, Coaching and Accountability Competencies. I list these traits because fewer than 50% of the sales managers surveyed possess them. If you want to optimize your sales organization then sales managers and leaders need to be developed too.

Salespeople – Salespeople should be selected to fit the roles that are necessary to achieve the goals you set above, using the strategy you laid out to reach those goals. It’s simple, just not necessarily easy.

As the landscape changes and as your organization changes, different skill sets will certainly be necessary. If you stay true to the overarching goals, then it makes it a bit easier to identify the traits and competencies your sellers need to accomplish those goals. If you have had a difficult time identifying what you need in your people, this guide may help. Focus on their traits and competencies rather than on how much you like them, their personality or who they know.

Be as objective as possible when considering your people. Are they, or will they afford you an adequate return on your investment in them? Sometimes we let salespeople languish because they have been around the longest or service the biggest customers.

As you consider your goals and strategy, you must take into consideration your capital investment. Be sure to calculate the opportunity cost associated with having a seller who is not well suited for a particular role (either now or in the future). Either get them training on the skills they need to be effective (assuming they can change and adapt) or replace them with someone who has the right skills and competencies.

This may sound harsh, but if you truly want to optimize your sales organization you need people with the right competencies to succeed. If you would like to see how yours compare to other organizations is your industry use this nifty tool to compare.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

How to Effectively Use Facebook To Grow Your Small Business

Facebook for Small Business

Facebook has graduated beyond the incubation phase and has proven itself as a top trend in digital marketing. If you’re still waiting for that definitive, glowing neon sign on the highway to tell you that Facebook is legit, you’re already too late. Marketing small businesses on Facebook is no longer a question of “Should I?”, but a matter of “How do I?”.

The answer to this “How” is the skeleton key to the seemingly-impenetrable lock on achieving success with your social media marketing strategies. With posts from all of the businesses (both small and large), celebrities, news outlets, startups and your Aunt Sue’s propagating the social media landscape with their messages, it becomes increasingly hard to stand out and make your own Facebook marketing messages generate “likes”.

From the perspective of a small business, this may cast the shroud of doubt named, “Should I ever bother?“ The answer is and will remain, for the foreseeable future, yes. For a budding, small business, the challenge is only intensified. First, you have to prove you deserve a seat at the table at all. Then, you have to showcase why that seat should be near the head of the table.

The following list of strategies aims to answer this equivocal “how” of a small business looking to leverage a Facebook marketing strategy to improve their business practices.

Tip #1: Invest in Facebook’s Marketing Tools
Facebook Marketing Tools
Facebook is designed with a number of tools that help any business market themselves.

There’s a lot of strategies in Digital Marketing that require a substantial investment and thereby keep the small business world at bay, like the non-VIPs on the far side of the fuzzy rope at a nightclub. Social Media is not one of these exclusive clubs. But, that means it attracts more competition and, thereby, a higher need for brands to innovate and learn on their own creativity and ingenuity to stand out in the crowd.

The first strategy is to utilize the tools set out by Facebook itself. Facebook is designed with a number of tools that help any business market themselves. This tool set includes things like branded profile pages, paid advertising (which can target locals in your immediate area and even allow you to segment those people by their interests), data-rich metrics into how your social media efforts are performing and more. Each of these tactics requires little-to-no financial investment, but promise helpful lessons on how to improve.

Tip #2: Diverse Content Strategies for Social Media
Content Marketing
Some of content marketing’s most recognizable hits are things like helpful blog content on how to effectively use Facebook.

“Content Marketing” is a term that’s often used in Digital Marketing. Some of content marketing’s most recognizable hits are things like helpful blog content on how to effectively use Facebook, how-to articles on how to turn wood pallets into a rustic coffee table and top ten lists about the life-altering powers of kale. Playing these greatest hits is effective, just like we can still listen to the oldies and groove, but the modern customer is looking for that next hit track, which sometimes means throwing out some of the old handbook and looking at some new strategies.

A diverse content strategy means producing these blogs, how-to’s and other overused content types, while simultaneously blending the expected with the not-so-typical interactive videos, infographics, polls, surveys, contests and other content types. This will help your brand standout among the bustling bazaar of businesses sharing tired blog content.

Leveraging less common content types attracts people because it breaks up the monotony of their otherwise-routine, social media news feed.

Tip #3: Data, Data, Data
Facebook Data
Data allows business to gain a fuller picture of what consumers are saying and expecting.

Facebook is a treasure trove of data and failing to utilize this social media platform means risking losing out on valuable, data-born insights on how to improve business. Facebook is one of the first places consumers go to complain and raise issues about a brand and their products. Being present and active on Facebook means opening up a line of communication with your customers where these grievances can be aired, discussed and addressed.

As pat-on-the-back worthy as a positive customer sentiment is, it’s the negative comments that allow a business to learn, improve and grow. In the Digital Age, consumer attitudes change more frequently than a snake sheds its skin (2-4 times a year, in case you were wondering). Businesses not only have to adapt to meet these frequent changes but do so quickly and effortlessly.

Data enables this. It allows business to gain a fuller picture of what consumers are saying and expecting, how they are reacting to current efforts and how those efforts can be improved to meet the most up-to-date expectations of audiences.

Tip #4: Learn When the Best Time to Post Is
Best Time to Post
Peak user activity does not necessarily correlate with the optimal time to post.

One of the most valuable insights you can gain from a data-informed social media approach is knowing when your target audiences are active on their social media accounts. Or, when is the optimal time to float your social media marketing messages onto the ever-flowing stream that is your audience’s news feed. This helps ensure that your social media-based messages reach the target at the time that is convenient for them and they are open to receiving branded content.

A genuine obstacle of this tip is understanding that peak user activity does not necessarily correlate with the optimal time to post. Again, social media is a crowded lagoon of businesses all vying for attention on an overpopulated platform. Many of your competitors are likely slugging it out for notice during the same time slot, which means the competition is thick.

Rather than focus solely on the peak times that your users are active, also look for periods of time where they are less active, but so are your competitors. This will increase the likelihood that you attract attention.

Tip #5: Pay Attention to The Competition
Competitors
Paying attention to your competitors’ social media efforts has a number of benefits.

Facebook and social media, in general, is a curious channel to market through because of how much access you have to your competitors and their tactics. This is a dimension of Facebook marketing that is often overlooked by businesses because their other tactics don’t have this exclusive look into the other team’s playbook. It almost feels like cheating on a final exam, except it’s not.

Paying attention to your competitors’ social media efforts has a number of benefits. First, it’s a comparable way to see how your individual strategies match up. Who’s better than who at marketing on social media? It’s also a glimpse at when, where and what your competition is posting. This will make it easier to target the types of content and time frames where competition is weak and therefore a greater chance to capitalize on these underrepresented areas.

You may even be inspired by some of their content and be able to repurpose their strategies within your own organization. For small businesses, this reuse and recycle mentality will help save money and allow you to take advantage of other companies and their research into effective social media practices.

Tip #6: Sync Social Media Based Promotions, Contests and Coupons to Your Retail POS System
Utilizing Facebook-based discounts and offers may require you to update your retail POS system or invest in a mobile-friendly solution
Utilizing Facebook-based discounts and offers may require you to update your retail POS system or invest in a mobile-friendly solution.

Facebook is a great outlet to promote your business, in particular through exclusive, Facebook-only deals and contests. These offers encourage customers to visit your store, even when they weren’t originally planning on it. Utilizing Facebook-based discounts and offers may require you to update your retail POS machine or invest in a mobile-friendly solution, as customers will typically use their smartphone device to redeem these offers and make mobile payments.

By syncing these promotional giveaways and coupons to your POS system, you’ll also be able to track how many of your customers are taking advantage of these offers and which types of deals are most attractive. This valuable information can help you make more enticing offers in the future and even bring more followers to your small business Facebook page.

Tip #7: Always Be Looking for New Facebook Marketing Trends And Strategies
Facebook Trends
By looking to the future of Facebook trends, you can ensure that you’re always on the cutting edge.

Once upon a time, being “good” at Facebook, as a brand, meant posting all the time. That is, thankfully, no longer true. Companies are encouraged to post often, but not at the rate that was once revered as ‘best practice.’ This shift was caused by Facebook changing the way that it displays messages in the news feeds of its users, in an effort to improve their experience by cutting down on some of this branded noise. The point is that Facebook is prone to change and knowing when a new change is coming, what that change will be and how you can adapt to it will help you improve your efforts on this social media channel.

By looking to the future of Facebook trends, you can ensure that you’re always on the cutting edge and providing the social media experience that your customers are looking for from a brand.

Conclusion

Facebook is a valuable marketing tool that is inexpensive and perfect for small businesses. Yet, many businesses struggle with using Facebook effectively, which means they aren’t able to make the most out of this social media platform. The tips included in this guide will help you avoid being another business struggling to stand out amongst the crowded Facebook environment. Instead, you’ll be front and center, right where customers, both new and old, can find you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

7 Retail Inventory Management Questions Every Business Should Ask

How would you like to create a retail inventory management system that will address every inventory maintenance and tracking need your company has? Inventory is the lifeblood of every business.

Yet, properly addressing inventory management in retail can seem impossible at times.

As your company continues to grow, you need to adopt an inventory management system that allows you to achieve efficiency.  After all, if you don’t have the items in stock, you are not going to do too well selling them.

Here are the answers to 8 retail inventory management questions every small business owner has.

1. How do you start an retail inventory list?

The first question is how to manage inventory. Due to the complexity of inventory management techniques, organization is key. Any easy way to get started is with a spreadsheet.

Once you have the software open, you will need to click on a new workbook and add inventory list headers.

Adjust the column widths for space and uniformity before entering the product number for the first item. The next column should contain the product’s descriptive name for the corresponding item.

Inventory Management technique
Organization is the key to any inventory management technique.

Next, to the item name, you will need to enter the price of the item in the following column. After you have determined the amount, enter the quantity of the item you have in inventory.

Repeat this process for all of the items you have in your inventory, this is the base of your retail inventory method.

Make sure to save early and often to assure that your information is not lost. You will also need to create an inventory map for your warehouse (retail inventory map definition).

An advanced point of sale solution, such as ZE POS, can handle the bulk of this work for you. Once your inventory is uploaded on a spreadsheet of your choice, you will have access to powerful reporting features that will allow you to view, filter and edit your stock or retail inventory information at all times.

2. What is the difference between Stock and Inventory?

While it is common to see the words inventory and stock used interchangeably, these words actually have two separate meanings. Inventory refers to the quantity of an item that a company has available for sale.

On the other hand, inventory is used to describe not only the quantity of an item available but also accounts for the materials and goods used to produce said item.

stock management
While it is common to see the words inventory and stock management used interchangeably, these words actually have two separate meanings.

Although these differences are subtle, these differences as it relates to retail inventory management should not be overlooked.

An example of this would be a factory that produces mattresses and sells them directly to the consumer.

The stock for this company would consist of the actual mattresses themselves, and the inventory would consist of the raw materials (springs, cotton, quilting, etc.) used to produce the mattresses being counted as stock.

3. What are the different types of inventory control?

There are two types of inventory control systems used in retail inventory management systems. Within those two types of inventory control systems, there are two different types of inventory management systems that support the control systems.

The two types of inventory control systems are called perpetual and periodic.

The two management systems that support these control systems are barcode and RFID (radio frequency identification) systems.

With perpetual inventory systems, the inventory and account information is updated continually.

On the other hand, periodic systems only notify the company of beginning and ending inventory levels over a period in time.

A perpetual inventory system will track when an item is received, moved from one location to another, picked from inventory, sold, shipped, and scrapped. This system is best used when inventory is updated in real time by workers tracking with barcode scanners.

Periodic inventory control systems track inventory by using physical inventory counts.

The setback to using this system in inventory retail management is that there is potential for accounting errors (which is the top issue in 46% of all warehouses) and fraud because the tracking isn’t done in real time.

4. Does My Store’s POS Sync with Online Ordering?

The point-of-sale (POS) equipment used by a company should match the desire of the company to achieve maximum efficiency.

When it comes to retail inventory management, it is no longer enough to merely have a register at the point of sale.

Modern logistics technologies provide solutions that were unheard of just a decade ago. In this era, having a POS solution that syncs with online ordering is the present and future of POS solutions.

Hi-tech POS systems include features like cross-platform retail inventory apps, can process voids and returns, provide discounts for any order, customize receipts, work online and offline, etc.

POS inventory
Having a POS inventory solution that syncs with online ordering is the present and future of POS solutions.

5. Am I tracking stock levels in real time?

Retail inventory management for small businesses in this era means having the ability to track stock levels in real time.

Real-time tracking of stock levels helps companies avoid overselling and underselling a particular item.

This eliminates the risk of human accounting errors.

6. Should I use a barcode scanner?

Implementing barcode scanners in the retail inventory management process is simple and adds to security and saves time.

Barcodes eliminate errors in the process of inventory tracking.

Barcode technology is a low-cost technology that is available right now for any company looking to improve their inventory control process.

Symbol ls2208 Barcode Scanner
Implementing barcode scanners in the retail inventory management process is simple and adds to security and saves time.

7. Can I Identify low-turn stock?

Low-turn stock refers to items that are not profitable. Many companies do not implement practices that allow them to identify when a product is not profitable.

A great way to determine whether a product is unprofitable is to locate products that have not sold in 12 months. An important question to ask yourself is, can my current POS system identify low turn stock?

If your answer is “no,” or even if you’re unsure of your answer, it’s time to consider an upgrade to your pos software.

ZE POS provides many features which can optimize your retail inventory management.

For example, ZE POS allows retail merchants to set notifications which lay the foundation for proper inventory management.

With ZE POS you can:

  • Set recommended and minimum stock quantities for each of your stores.
  • Receive a notification when your products reach their minimum quantity level.
  • View reports with minimum stock quantity, recommended stock quantity, and product quantity sold.
  • View current quantity of each stock item.

Using these tools, if a year has gone by without selling a particular item, you’ll know it. Even better – you’ll know if an item has not sold in a week, a month, or a quarter.

By keeping closer tabs on your retail stock levels, you as merchant will have a complete grasp of low-turn stock in real-time!

ZE POS stock management
ZE POS stock management features allow you to identify low-turn stock in real time.

Once you have identified low-turn stock, the next step is to make adjustments to move your stagnant products.

You might want to consider different strategies to get rid of the remaining stock before ceasing to carry the item.

Offering the remaining stock for a special discount or promotion will help save space and profit—since excess stock wastes time and capital. It might be time to consider upgrading your retail inventory management software.

Conclusion

The 10.4% increase that the warehouse sector saw between 2013 and 2017 is a reflection of just how much the economy and demand for goods are expanding.

It is time for your company to take advantage of the many advancements that have surfaced in POS inventory system over recent years, and adjust your retail systems inventory storage.

If you’re ready to streamline your business operations and beef-up your retail inventory management, start your trial of ZE POS system for retail store today!

6 Ways to Prevent Employee Theft in Retail

6 Ways to Prevent Employee Theft

Are you a retail owner struggling to prevent employee theft? Businesses often implement various security measures to protect against theft from their customers. Yet, many of these organizations fail to realize that the most common and severe sources of theft are actually internal, from their own employees.

Employee theft costs businesses $50 billion each year, with the average company losing around $1.13 million.

And, a startling 75% of workers admit to stealing from their employer or workplace on at least one or two occasions.

If you want to protect yourself from retail employee theft and fraud, then you should follow these 6 practices!

Perform Background Checks And Screen Potential New Hires

In retail, the first line of defense against employee theft is hiring the right, altruistic individuals with clean backgrounds and employment histories, as these people are less likely to commit fraudulent acts.

The more rigorous your hiring process is, and the more thorough you’re are at vetting potential employees, the better protected you’ll be against accidentally hiring an individual with weak morals.

The first line of defense against employee theft is hiring the right, altruistic individuals with clean backgrounds and employment histories
The first line of defense against employee theft is hiring the right, altruistic individuals with clean backgrounds and employment histories.

While most organizations perform background checks, these typically only turn up criminal wrongdoings that have been officially charged.

However, a lot of incidents of employee theft and fraud do not result in a prosecution of the culprit. Often, the employee is let go on suspicion.

Thus, it’s essential to investigate the employment history of every new hire and check in with their references.

This can be a time-consuming practice, but it will provide the best insights into an individual’s morals.

References and past employers will be able to share critical details about a person’s attitudes and integrity, which may not come up naturally during the interview process. These details may influence your decision.

It’s also good practice to make sure that their employment timeline is accurate. If there are significant gaps or discrepancies in that timeline, you’ll want to bring this up.

They could be purposefully leaving out past work experience because there was an issue at that particular job, like suspicion of theft.

Draft A Digital Policy To Keep Online Activity Safe And Secure

If your company operates online at all (which is to say the majority of organizations), then you want to draft a digital policy.

This outlines the guidelines and protocols of acceptable and unacceptable behavior when using the company Internet and computers.

This is a valuable practice because it has many benefits. Not only will it keep your employees safer when browsing the Internet, which leads to fewer data leaks and other security issues, but it also gives your network security and IT staff an understanding of what employees can and cannot do on the company network.

digital policy
Digital policy outlines the guidelines and protocols of acceptable and unacceptable behavior when using the company Internet and computers.

From a theft perspective, this is really important because it will allow the people that monitor your network to know what to look for to detect and prevent potential employee theft and fraud cases.

Develop Internal Security Procedures

A digital policy is just one of the many internal security procedures a company can implement to help reduce the risk of employee theft.

There are other steps you can take to help tighten your internal security, such as:

  • Update passwords and login credentials regularly.
  • Restrict access to sensitive areas/documents and record who accesses, when and why.
  • Closely monitor activity on company credit cards and expense accounts.
  • Lock up expensive items and valuables.
  • Install employee-facing cameras, particularly in areas with valuables or POS systems.
Update passwords and login credentials regularly
 Update passwords and login credentials regularly.

Know Potential Warning Signs For Employee Fraud And Theft

Another step for improving your internal security is to create a company culture that understands the warning signs for employee theft.

Sometimes, employee fraud can be prevented by noticing the behaviors and situations that heighten a person’s likelihood to steal.

These are some of the prevalent attitudes that can make a person more likely to commit employee theft:

  • Money problems, particularly if there is an underlying issue like gambling or drug addiction.
  • Angry or disgruntled as a result of a recent event at work, like not receiving a large enough raise or being disciplined for performance or recent actions.
  • Personal problems are hardest to detect and could be caused by some problems in an employee’s at-home life.
Money problems can make a person more likely to commit employee theft
Money problems can make a person more likely to commit employee theft.

It’s good to encourage your employees to communicate when they notice these types of attitudes and behaviors in their coworkers.

It will yield time to detect troublesome employees and help alleviate their negative attitudes.

The more communicative your company culture is, the easier it will be to share what’s going on in each individual’s life, especially the problems that could lead to employee theft.

Invest In The Latest Point-Of-Sale System Technology

For retail companies that have employees working at POS systems, the temptation for theft can be even higher because they are physically and directly handling money.

If your POS system is out of date, it can be nearly impossible to detect theft, unless you physically see an employee stealing cash or purposefully overcharging a customer.

The best innovators in the POS space understand that combating internal theft is a real issue for businesses.

These newest systems and software are designed to close loopholes that fraudulent individuals can exploit to steal money.

Some systems are sophisticated enough to monitor and track inventory and sales data to detect anomalies that could be the result of malicious behaviors.

A proper POS system will also be able to track inventory coming into and out of a store location.

Remember, employee theft doesn’t have to be money; it could also be inventory.

With advanced inventory management software, you’ll be able to track where every item in the store is, which makes it easier to determine when the product has gone missing and from what location.

If a product is disappearing from the back-of-house, instead of on the sales floor, then it is a clear indication of employee theft.

A proper POS system will also be able to track inventory coming into and out of a store location
A proper POS system will also be able to track inventory coming into and out of a store location.

These types of systems will not just protect you from theft. They include many features and sales reporting techniques that can help you better optimize your business and its ability to drive revenue.

Integrated Payments

Another potential scenario where your employees could be ripping you off: A customer has an open tab, or even a credit card on file, yet intends to pay with cash.

However, your employee can always pocket the cash, yet processes payment on the credit card. Unfortunately, this situation is all-too-common.

With an integrated POS system in place, you will be able to trace every transaction or order to the employee managing the sale
With an integrated POS system in place, you will be able to trace every transaction or order to the employee managing the sale.

However, with an integrated POS system in place, you as the business owner will be able to trace every transaction or order to the employee managing the sale.

With integrated payments on your POS you effectively prevent employees from pocketing cash while processing credit cards.

If your business is lacking the proper POS features to prevent such fraud, you’re exposing yourself to a potential avenue of employee theft.

Conclusions

It’s a hard idea to swallow. You’ve put a lot of trust and faith in your employees, to be honest, and hardworking, but, sadly, not every person is going to follow the same moral compass. Sometimes, people are negatively influenced to make the wrong decisions, and those bad choices could be costing your business thousands of dollars, possibly even millions. These employee theft prevention tactics will help any retail business reduce losses caused by internal fraud.

5 Time-Saving Tips for Using Point of Sale Systems

5 Time-Saving Tips for Using Point of Sale Systems

Many business owners are looking for time-saving tips for point of sale systems. In today’s world of instantaneous gratification and streamlined shopping experiences, a slow POS can spell disaster.

Not only does a slow POS system simply waste time, but it slows down the customer experience, which can disenchant them from wanting to shop at your business again in the future.

The good news is there are plenty of options on the market that can speed up transactions and keep queue times low.
Better yet, these innovative systems are designed to integrate seamlessly into an existing framework. So, there’s minimal hassle involved in making the switch to a modern, easy-to-use POS system.

The benefits of investing in a new and easy-to-use POS system are felt by both customers and the business itself. Let’s explore these perks and how a POS system can save you and your customers time.

#1 Use All-In-One POS Integrations

One of the biggest perks of a modern POS system is the ability to integrate with other software to create an all-in-one view of your company.

An integrated system is capable of normal POS function, like processing payments and completing transactions, but it can also serve as your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, an inventory tracking system, loyalty program coordinator and so much more.

Sophisticated systems even include detailed analytics and reporting capabilities that allow a business to make better, data-informed decisions.

Having an all-in-one system provides a lot of convenience for a business.
 Having an all-in-one system provides a lot of convenience for a business.

Having an all-in-one system provides a lot of convenience for a business. All of your essential processes can be handled from a single machine; there’s no juggling between multiple screens. It’s also helpful for customers.

Imagine a shopper with a question about the availability of an out of stock item.

A cashier doesn’t have to make a call to distribution or the back-of-house to check inventory, they can access it right on their screen and answer that question promptly.

This all-in-one, complete view can really simplify running a business.

You can see all dimensions of the operation in one location, which makes it much easier to determine how smoothly the company is running and even detect potential problems that need to be remedied before they evolve into a bigger issue.

#2 Invest in Faster Employee Training

The older POS systems, which you still see on a lot of store counters, were once cutting-edge systems with interfaces designed to function like the latest computer systems. But, as computer technology sprinted ahead to the future, POS systems crawled.

Thus, these outdated dinosaur systems have become very counter-intuitive and challenging for beginners to learn.

Some systems have a very sharp learning curve that even experienced cashiers struggle with sometimes.

A lot of point-of-sale software is run through tablet computers, which are easier to use and almost universally familiar to employees.
A lot of point-of-sale software is run through tablet computers, which are easier to use and almost universally familiar to employees.

New POS systems, on the other hand, are designed with modern technology in mind.

A lot of point-of-sale software is run through tablet computers, which are easier to use and almost universally familiar to employees.

Thus, there’s no sharp learning curve, and new employees can learn the systems very quickly. There are fewer roadblocks that halt the transaction process, so customers experience seamless checkout every time.

#3 Start Accepts More Payment Types

Once upon a time, businesses only had to worry about the three C’s of payment types: cash, cards, and checks.

Now, mobile payments and NFC (near-field communication) transactions have really begun to explode in popularity.

Business Insider speculates that by 2020, 56% of in-store customers will be using mobile payments. This means there is a very short window (that is getting shorter by the minute) for businesses to adapt and invest in the POS technology capable of receiving and processing these payments.

NFC (near-field communication)
Mobile payments and NFC (near-field communication) transactions have really begun to explode in popularity.

Mobile payment apps (Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, etc.) are on the rise because of the supreme convenience they offer.

Shoppers can pay with just a quick tap on their phone. Alternatively, NFC-enabled devices can just be held up the POS system’s reader to complete the transaction instantaneously.

There’s no swiping, inserting or having to deal with making change. These abbreviated transactions help keep lines short, which means businesses can service more customers in an even amount a smaller amount of time.

#4 Offer Integrated Online Ordering

One of the best ways to save you and your customers time at the point-of-sale is to enable shoppers to complete the transaction online and pick up their items in the store. Starbucks and their mobile app have raised this to an art form.

Their customers can create their order online, pay from their device and then just walk into the store, grab their items and go.

This means no waiting in line for that customer (which can be a nightmare at a busy place like Starbucks).

Starbucks online ordering
Starbucks customers can create their order online, pay from their device and then just walk into the store, grab their items and go.

For Starbucks, this saves a lot of time and hassle because fewer people are physically lining up to place orders. Because the entire transaction is completed online, the employees don’t have to spend any time swiping that customer’s card or giving them change.

Thus, they can spend more time completing drink and food orders and helping other customers.

#5 Use Cloud-Based Technologies

Cloud technology has also begun to appear in POS system technology.

In terms of better time management, this feature is hugely beneficial to business owners.

With a cloud-enable POS system, you can access your company data and software anywhere, at any time (as long as there is Internet access).

You can check in on store sales from a beach in Maui or approve an emergency store transfer on your day off.

Cloud technology has also begun to appear in POS system technology.
Cloud technology has also begun to appear in POS system technology.

Access to this kind of information used to require a manager or owner to be in the store at a computer physically.

Now, with smartphones and mobile devices, we have access at all times. This kind of feature is a favorite of those owners that never want to be too far from their business and operations.

Conclusions

If your business is still operating with an outdated POS system, it is imperative that you begin thinking about investing in a new one. If your business is on a budget, there’s a lot of affordable POS options that cater to small businesses.

You no longer have to break the bank to invest in a new POS machine.

So, there’s no reason for continuing wasting your time, and the time of your customers, by continuing to rely on a slow and dated system. If you’re ready to increase your businesses’ sales by saving every-valuable time.

5 Simple Tips to Get More Customers Online

5 tips to get more customers online

One of the most significant challenges business owners face is driving traffic to a company website and converting that traffic into customers–and ultimately revenue. Nothing is more frustrating than spending the time and money to develop a site for your business only to see it struggle to generate new customers or even attract visitors at all.

Typically, business websites struggle because they lack certain key elements. Luckily, these components are relatively simple to implement. This guide will help identify these factors and supply actionable advice in utilizing them on your own web pages.

Use the Right Keywords

If you want to attract online customers to your website, then you need to use the right keywords in your copy. This will allow your site to be present on the results pages when potential customers search for terms and phrases relevant to your business. Google, Bing, and other search engines comb websites for these keywords to understand what a site is about, the products it is selling, what information is available and so on.

Use the right keywords
Google, Bing, and other search engines comb websites for keywords to understand what a site is about.

Finding the right keywords can be a difficult task for many reasons. First, it is an ongoing process; people routinely change how they search. This means that the keywords that once worked for your website may not be so popular in the future, which means they won’t drive the traffic your site and business needs. Secondly, ranking well for specific keywords is a very competitive game. No matter how niche your business is, there are likely hundreds of other companies selling very similar goods and services online and looking to capitalize on the same keywords.

Investing in a keyword research tool is an excellent idea because it will provide you with significant data and insights into how your website is ranking for your target keywords, ways to improve those rankings and even new keywords to target.

Create Useful Content

When it comes to online websites, content is king. The more content you have, the better you can incorporate your target keywords. This will make your site more visible on search results pages.

Content is also valuable to the customer. If you create engaging, useful content that your customers can benefit from, then they will keep visiting your page. Content is especially powerful when it helps a customer with their shopping decisions. For example, a retail company may create buying guides or gift giving guides that give customers ideas on which products to buy. This is really useful if the products or services you are selling are particularly complex and need to be explained.

Content can also just be for fun. Some websites are able to attract customers by using their content to create a brand voice and persona that helps them stand out and be unique from the other businesses offering the same type of products.

Make Mobile Friendly

As mentioned earlier, how and what people search for changes. One of the significant shifts in search lately is the move from desktop to mobile. Mobile devices have exploded in popularity to the point that more people perform searches on their smartphones or tablets than on a desktop or laptop computer. Google is also following this trend. They are starting to treat mobile versions of websites as the primary one.

Make Website Mobile Friendly
People perform searches on their smartphones or tablets than on a desktop or laptop computer.

For business websites, this means making your web pages mobile friendly is an absolute must. If the site takes too long to load on mobile devices or is challenging to navigate, visitors will quickly click away and find a different page. This means you’ll miss out on valuable revenue!

You should start by investigating how each page of your website appears and functions on a mobile device. If there are issues, you should remedy them immediately. The easiest fix is to adopt a responsive design to your website. This allows the site to adapt to the device of the user, whether they are browsing on a computer or mobile device.

Optimize the ‘Contact Us’ Page

One of the primary reasons that customers will visit your website is to find the necessary information about your business, like the address, hours, directions, etc. These are often local customers that may not be interested in shopping online because they want to visit the store in person. You don’t want to make it difficult for these individuals to find the information they are after.

Contact Us
One of the primary reasons that customers will visit your website is to find the necessary information about your business, like the address, hours, directions, etc.

A lot of websites have a ‘Contact Us’ page, but they often don’t include the right SEO markup for Google to correctly display that information to searchers. Schema, as it is commonly referred to, is what search engines “read” to understand how to present and structure

With the right schema markup, your contact information will be available to users right from the search results page. Some of the items you should include in this rundown are:

  • Company name
  • Website
  • Type of business
  • Address
  • Logo
  • A short description
  • Social media accounts

Display Products so Google Can Find Them

You can implement schema markup for your products as well. This will allow Google to display them in results when users choose to perform a “Shopping” search. You’ll be able to showcase your products, prices and even a small description for each item.

Google Shopping
The right schema markup will allow Google to display your products in results when users choose to perform a “Shopping” search.

Remember, it is all about creating a shorter customer journey. The faster that you can connect an online customer with the information or products they are after, the more enjoyable that shopping experience will be for them. And, the more likely they’ll want to return and shop.

Your product pages are also a valuable space for implementing keywords, so don’t be afraid to get detailed with your descriptions!

Conclusion

By leveraging these tips, your online website will start to see an increase in traffic, which means you have more shoppers browsing the digital aisles of your e-commerce store. Then, it is just a matter of convincing them to click the ‘buy’ button.

That said, it’s important to remember that running an online store, just like running a physical shop, is a constant learning process. You should always be looking at ways to improve your website and attract more visitors. These tips are a great start, but there’s still more information out there to digest and use to enhance your online shopping experience!

Friday, December 28, 2018

ZE Point of Sale 18.0 Released!

We are proud to announce that ZE Point Of Sale 18.0 has been released and now available.

Visit our website at: https://zepointofsale.tk.
Try our demo at: http://demo.zepointofsale.tk.
Download at: https://zepointofsale.tk/buy.php.