Here’s another perspective on using technology to enhance the rewarding customer experience. Read more about how mobile retail apps become proximate concierges at media post.
Here’s another perspective on using technology to enhance the rewarding customer experience. Read more about how mobile retail apps become proximate concierges at media post.
A receipt should be a chance to say more than “Thank you for shopping!”
By Baratunde Thurstonl
“What if we see the receipt more as a publishing medium?” Square CEO and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey told retailers at their annual confab earlier this year. “A product unto itself that people actually want to take home, that they want to engage with, be fully interactive with?”
So it’s come to this: After encouraging us to communicate in 140 characters or less, Dorsey now wants us to tell stories via automated emails and tiny dot-matrix printers. Receipts are the next great frontier. And it’s actually not a bad idea. Dorsey’s comments were a relatively brief part of his keynote, but Square later confirmed that it is testing a new receipt design. “[Receipts] should be more than just a list of what they bought and the last four digits of their credit card,” says a Square spokesperson. “[Receipts] should allow them to connect better to the merchants they had this experience with.” [Slow clap.]
We now live in a world where everyone can more easily create, connect, and sell than ever before, but the actual transaction stands as one of the last barriers to extend tone, brand, and voice. There’s a way to make receipts more interesting that doesn’t also annoy everyone involved. A receipt can simply be a record of a transaction, something you search for when trying to categorize expenses or explain to a partner why you spent $46.30 on “Ben.” But a receipt can also be a platform for creativity to extend the relationship between customers and merchants into something more interesting.
I had this epiphany during my book tour in 2012. It was easy to connect with people on Twitter and Facebook, but when I wanted to talk to actual buyers–people spending money and not just clicks–I had to resort to inference and guesswork. Could I assume people tweeting with my hashtag also bought my book? No. Was it weird to publicly tap them on the shoulder and point them to a site with more content? Yes, yes it was. Why was I reverse-engineering a customer list via Twitter search?
The sad answer is that I had no other recourse. Amazon, iTunes, and offline retail bookstores put a wall between me and my most invested community. The generic tone of their transaction receipts felt like a missed opportunity.
What I’d love to offer, and what I think many buyers might like to see, is a chance to allow sellers to start a conversation. Whether via a marketplace platform like Amazon or a point-of-sale replacement like Square, a producer would have one shot–perhaps a link, button, or a short line of text–in which to say to a buyer, “Hey, thanks for the money! Here’s some other stuff I’m up to. Click if you’re interested.” It’s not an extra email.
It’s not an auto-enrollment to a list buyers will never shake. But if you’ve bothered to spend hard-earned (or easily stolen) money on something, there’s a decent chance you want to hear what the maker of that thing has to say or sell beyond your purchase. If you’re a seller with a story to tell, this feels obvious.
Sometimes commerce isn’t just commerce. It’s about what it represents: interest. Buyers have spent money, but they’ve often made a statement. We owe them a chance at something more interesting in return.
[Illustration by Jeric Pio Agustin] A version of this article appeared in the April 2014 issue of Fast Company magazine. Baratunde Thurston is the author of the New York Times best-seller How to Be Black and the founder of Cultivated Wit, a comedy and technology company that tells stories in engaging ways.
“Companies with the best teams set people up for success from the beginning,” says Victoria Downing, president of Remodelers Advantage and a REMODELING columnist, who developed and uses this form with new hires.
The checklist (abbreviated here) is part of an “on-boarding system” that helps immerse new employees into the company’s culture and offers short-term goals to be used as benchmarks for performance.
“When someone’s new, there’s so much to learn,” Downing says. At Remodelers Advantage, the process starts immediately — with a welcome sign, a workstation set up with all the equipment a new employee will need, and meetings scheduled with other employees. “We want new hires to know they’re part of the company, part of the future,” Downing says.
Checklist information is reiterated at weekly meetings, and job expectations and goals are taken into consideration at bonus time. —Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.
Download the full checklist.
More REMODELING articles about hiring:
Hire Power: A New Process for Interviewing Potential Hires
Test of Time: New-Hire Probationary Period
Welcome the new hire and discuss with him or her the history of the company and its core values and mission. Let him know why these things are important and what they mean to you as an individual. The first part of this checklist may take several days to complete.
Who’s in Charge
Each step is overseen by a particular person, e.g., the “Company/Department Overview” is done by the president. “We schedule time for new employees to spend time with each of us in the office going over what they do and how they contribute to the company’s success,” Downing says.
Downing breaks down the on-boarding process into weekly increments to avoid overwhelming a new employee and to help them succeed by offering them small goals to accomplish. The on-boarding process could take several months, based on the complexity of the job.
Once you’ve discussed a task and the employee has a chance to try it out, follow up to find out how they did. “If they start on Monday … by the next Monday you should have another meeting. The department manager might ask: What did you like best? What did you learn? If I asked you to find “X” online, could you find it?
Run through scenarios with them. If a new hire can’t do what you want them to do in the weeks you set out for them, it’s clear they’re not the right person for the job.
Set It Up
Discuss specific goals for performing the job in question. Tell new hires about meetings they will be expected to attend. Break the information into what’s expected after 30, 60, and 90 days and even longer-term.
Victoria Downing mails an employee handbook to new hires and asks them to read it before they arrive the first day. Then she goes through it all with them. She also walks new hires through the company’s SOPs and tests them afterward. “This is all just the beginning of really getting started,” she says.
We all assumed technology would impact the quality of our lives and innovative ways to interact with the world are beginning to paint a picture of future opportunities.
The high street has been under threat for many years from the emergence of the Internet, but although many have predicted doom, people have continued to shop in the real world in surprising numbers. Roughly two decades after the Internet first starting gaining traction, a cruel combination of factors are emerging that will pretty much disrupt every retailer that lives on the high street.
Technology is at the heart of these changes, mainly a mixture of mobile, social media and cloud technologies are coming together to cause what I predict will be a year of huge turmoil for shops, brands and retailers that have been around for as far back as our memories stretch. Here is why the high street is about to change in front of our eyes over the next couple of years.
You know you are in trouble when all the tech entrepreneurs are starting to invade your space with dollar signs flashing in their eyes. The companies that are getting the biggest buzz in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs around the world are ones that are attempting to disrupt the connection between online and the real world. They are all getting massive funding and you only have to look at LeWeb conference next month – which is focusing on “the Internet of things” – saying that with 50 billion devices connected to the web by 2020, the real world is the next place open for disruption.
We are at the very tip of the iceberg with companies like Airbnb (Hotels), Uber (Taxis) and Fab.com (Designer goods) leading the way in real-world disruption, but the next wave will be companies who target the high street across every possible niche. The best entrepreneurs in the world are taking aim in 2013 and they are being incredibly well funded to do so.
So pretty much everyone will have a smartphone by the end of 2013 in the western world and there is a good chance that this holiday season will see those of us who don’t already have tablets getting one. We tend to use those devices when we are doing other things like watching TV, working, listening to the radio or going to the cinema. It’s called the second screen experience and it is going to mean an awful lot more items bought online.
Advertisers are spending an absolute fortune on trying to target us on our second screens and it is this simple change in human behavior that will eat into high street sales the most. If you are a company selling physical CDs, a retail giant selling sports jerseys or a high end fashion designer, you are going to be hit hard by this.
Online shopping was very linear and didn’t always have a great experience, which is why so many have not fully embraced it, but the highly visual nature of shopping on our second screens is going to be huge and only getting bigger as the apps and solutions get even better.
If the big movie rental, music shop and book stores weren’t already under enough pressure from the ability for consumers to download their products, things are about to get an awful lot worse. Streaming is nothing new, but with the emergence of the cloud, smartphones and tablets, the large high street names will completely crack.
Unlimited streaming packages and movies on demand are going to disrupt the market while digital book downloads have already been exploding and no matter what the book industry tries it is already too late. As the number of tablets increases, book sales will diminish in 2013 at a record level. If you are in any doubt about the speed at which it is increasing, have a look at the following chart from Amazon.
This has been bubbling under the surface for a while now and there are so many factors coming together now that it is absolutely inevitable that 2013 is the year where mobile payments finally start to hit the mainstream. Unlike the other items on this list, this is the one technology shift that we think is actually going to be a bit of a saving grace for retailers. Companies like Square, Google Wallet, Paypal and even banks like Barclays are fighting hard in this space because they all know that the ultimate winner will take home huge profits.
The smart retailers will be the ones that embrace the technology as early as possible because we are going to be seeing a lot less cash in the world and a lot more digital transactions – probably all powered through our phones. The opportunities here for retailers are endless, but the disruption will be savage and brutal as consumers change from using the oldest form of transacting (physical money) in favor of a digital alternative.
Every big technology company in the world from Google and Facebook through to Yahoo and Microsoft have a laser like focus on local at the moment. They all know that the company who gets there first with really good solutions will make a fortune. Forget about Foursquare. That is only a smokescreen about what is to come and that arrived to the game far too early.
The big guys have all the data they need about us and now that we are walking around with our phones telling them where we are, it is inevitable that local is the next big tech advance. Like mobile payments, this could be used especially well by retailers who embrace it, but you fear it will only be the big brands who get their heads around this quickly enough for it to make a difference.
This massive disruption that is about to happen does bring some good news for high street retailers, but for the most part, it spells trouble. The danger is that many laugh it off in the same way that the Internet was dismissed, but the forces are much stronger this time. Sitting in front of your computer shopping still doesn’t appeal to a large percentage of the world, myself including, but the convergence of these new technologies is a completely different story.
The real world simply won’t be able to keep up and it’ll happen a lot quicker than people realize. Many retailers have their eyes pinned on a good holiday season in 2012 followed by the economy picking up again in 2013, but there are stronger market forces than that about to kick in.
Bob Phibbs gives a great drill down into metrics that matter in terms of retail success. Staff training focusing on engagement with customers show that an interaction with an employee has a 50% more likely chance of that interaction resulting in a sale.
Moneyball, the movie with Brad Pitt showed how one baseball team began winning by picking players based on their averages rather than a gut feeling how a player “could do.”
As a retail consultant, I always run six financial reports when working with a new retailer. There are two retail sales reports in particular that detail the averages any retailer must look at to increase their sales: Your Average Sale (also known as the average check in the restaurant industry,) and Your Average Number of items.
Here is why each is important and how to increase. These two metrics are most able to increase your retail sales and profitability.
This report shows the value of each customer that day. If you have a lot of part-timers, they might not have the highest retail sales because they work in the “off” shifts. Average sale shows you when they do help a customer, how much – on average – a customer purchases from them. This can help you spot the bright stars who might be hidden.
This is the most immediate report you can use to grow retail sales because this report measures how well your sale crew can move your products. The more people like your employees, the more trust employees will be able to create and use to upsell each order. This is what raises your average sale.
Every business calls it a different thing, from average ticket in a restaurant to the average daily rate in hotels.
Whatever you call it, it is the closest we can get to how many sales you received in a day. Careful Analyticals don’t get caught up thinking of exceptions that can bring your average down like ringing up a piece of candy vs. your usual sale. Using your POS report averages everything so you have a true number to work with.
This is your total number of items sold divided by number of transactions. Tracking this is another way to measure how good a job your sales crew is doing, and if your displays and signage are tempting customers to add-on.
The higher you can move this, the more profit you will make. You make profit on the second item so your goal should always be an average of two.
For example, if you are having a big sale, employees should be suggesting, “Since this is such a good price, how about getting two?” That simple suggestion builds the unit sales without any additional marketing costs.
When managaing your retail sales crew, you must utilize your computer printouts religiously to monitor how your crew is actually doing, not just your merchandise. What tips do you have to increase average sale or average number of items?
Your custom motorcycle and you hurtle down Wilshire Boulevard. You turn around at the intersection and stop in front of an apartment building.
You grab your precious cargo – two extra large meat lovers’ pizzas with extra cheese and extra sausage, and hurry into the building.
Within moments you have bounded to the second floor to knock on your friend’s door 20 minutes before the start of the game – the semifinals of the NCAA Division I basketball tournament. No one answers.
You can hear the TV on but no one comes to the door. You wait, then cautiously enter and see two of your friends talking. They stop and notice you, but go on talking.
You shut the door, take off your leather jacket and go up to them. “Hey,” one says and looks past you. The other looks at the counter and yells, “Hey the pizza is here!” and they all run over as if you weren’t there.
How would you feel?
Well that’s how first timers might feel entering your store or showroom when they are ignored.
That’s how many salespeople ultimately lose sales opportunities.
If a friend knocked on your front door, how would you answer? “May I help you?”, “I’ll be with you in a minute?”, “Finding everything ok?”, of course not! Yet, the curt actions of poor clerks often give that message. As their excuse for not greeting a customer, some trainees tell me, “But I don’t like to be bothered when I shop. I like to be left alone.”
Well introvert, retail is not about what you want. It is about what customers want. Leaving the customer alone costs your company big money. 80% of customers never return to businesses due to perceived indifference from staff. 80% want to be noticed. 100% want a friendly greeting.
Greeting anyone with “Good afternoon, welcome to (your store name) feel free to look around and I’ll be right back,” is not pushy, it’s good manners and the first step to making a successful sale. Doing it within 15 seconds is the best (that’s not that long – try counting as you walk in to your store.)
Sometimes employees size up the customer long before they actually say anything to them. I used to have an employee like this – he felt he could “read” everyone and if they were just looking, he’d let someone else wait on them. It would be like the hostess of your local diner giving the Prime Rib menu to only those she felt could afford it, while the others got the menu with hot dogs. That comes from their personality but that’s another post…
If you’re with a customer and another walks in, first ask the person you’re helping, “Would you mind if I greet this person, I’ll be right back?” Any reasonable person will say, “Yes.” When you meet the new customer, greet her with, “Good morning! Welcome to (your store name). While I’m with another customer, please look around and I’ll be right back.”
No reasonable person will be offended and you can go back to your first customer. The person who entered can relax and look around and the first customer doesn’t feel you abandoned them.
The best salespeople make big sales by developing warm relationships that start with a friendly greeting. Whether they are white, black, straight, gay, single, a couple, a mom, etc. They’re all purple and their money is green.
If you don’t perform this first step of a sale properly- greeting them like they are coming to your home, you often make your job as a salesperson much harder.
Order Sales RX: The Five Parts to a Successful Sale video training program by Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor to learn all the steps to making more sales more often.
Amen Bob! It never ceases to amaze me how many ‘experts’ preach the Golden Rule. But you are right, it’s not about how WE want to be treated. It’s about how GUESTS want to be treated. Good post.
Love your intro here – it was very catching and illustrated the point perfectly. I can’t tell you how often this happens (well, maybe I can, since you know all about this!). A friendly greeting makes all the difference. I normally like to be “left alone” when I shop, but I LOVE friendly salespeople. I bought a lot of product at Lush Cosmetics about a month ago when the sales gal was so incredibly friendly and helpful. And I had come in to look. I never felt like she was selling me – just being a friend. It’s amazing what a good personality and warmth can do for retail sales.
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Here’s an update on what’s new with point of sale systems.
While the last few years have witnessed new opportunities and tools to advance media and client engagement, the period also has been marked by tumultuous economic conditions. During that time, many PR agencies, especially small- and medium-sized firms, have struggled to maintain clients, and attract new ones.
With strong signs of a pick-up in business activity, the climate now is right for PR professionals to develop strategies and tactics that can help them bring in new clients as well as hold on to current accounts.
The following are tips that owner-practitioners can use to boost their chances of profiting from the economic upturn.
1. Think locally. Local business can provide a source of clients both in terms of the PR and marketing services the businesses may need and the networking opportunities they can provide. They may also offer the chance for cost-effective advertising for you or your current clients, such as the potential to rent prime window space for campaigns and promotions.
2. Invest in the right tools. Widgets (small, stand-alone applications you install within a webpage, blog, desktop, etc) can enhance your efforts and help automate much of the marketing and sales process for you. By investing in widgets for email marketing, blogging, idea generation and other online marketing endeavors, you should be able to improve efficiencies. This automation will help free up time, so you can focus on prospect and client relations.
3. Go mobile. Smartphones, tablet computers, and mobile applications have practical uses for PR owner-practitioners. These devices can help you manage client and prospect relations both remotely and in-house, since they place the technology right at your fingertips nearly all the time. Mobile applications provide various capabilities conducive to next-generation marketing and PR.
4. Enhance employee engagement. PR, perhaps more than many other fields, is susceptible to fluctuations in work cycles, wherein agencies bounce between overloading and underutilizing the in-house communications teams. This constant shifting in work flow wreaks havoc with employee morale and retention, which in turn can seriously compromise an agency’s profitability and future. In fact, studies have shown significant links between employee tenure and client satisfaction and retention. Tracey Bochner of Paradigm Public Relations shares some insights into employee retention and agency growth in this video interview with BurrellesLuce‘s Johna Burke at PRSA’s Counselors Academy.
5. Make goals measureable. Smart goals are ones that are specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and timely. To ensure that you’ve expended your efforts most profitably, you need to be able to measure your goals and demonstrate how your efforts translate back to your business and key objectives. By making your measurement a priority you are better able to counsel your own clients on its importance.
6. Look to the winners. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you do need to be creative in your PR activities. Look to current campaigns or materials that can be repurposed for new audiences, outlets, and verticals. And search beyond your own company’s experience so that you’re timely with your own initiatives and aware of other successful campaigns.
Networking is one of your most important tools as a communications professional. With the proper thought and effort, PR owner-practitioners can capitalize on a strengthening economy by forging bonds with prospects, clients, vendors, and employees — and utilizing digital tools that help them meet the objectives of core constituents.
Taking control of every stage of your media planning, monitoring, and reporting needs is simple and effective with BurrellesLuce. Our comprehensive suite of affordable services is fully integrated in one convenient and easy-to-use portal, BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™ . Incorporate and review your traditional print, broadcast, online and social media results in one report. Research and engage journalists and bloggers, and intelligently plan future campaigns. Build and manage social media communities. WorkFlow gives you everything you need to start organizing and managing your media relations and public relations results.
As per our conversation, I have put together some brochures of various hardware and software for POS system need of your client. Just click on the links below to view them. I recommend Keystroke POS because of inventory control, time clock, customer tracking, history tracking, reporting, sales/sales tax reporting, label printing, database maintenance, time clock and etc.. In addition, as I explained we use a remote access software to help you on training or questions that may arise in future.
Keystroke Brochure (Software): http://www.cashandcredit.com/brochures/Keystroke.pdf
Cash Register Express (Software): http://www.cashandcredit.com/brochures/CashRegisterExpress.pdf
All in one Touch Computer: http://www.cashandcredit.com/brochures/PioneerPOS_SLine.pdf
Scanner Orbit: http://www.cashandcredit.com/brochures/Scanner_MS7120.pdf
Scanner Voyager GS: http://www.cashandcredit.com/brochures/Scanner_MS9590.pdf
Scanner Voyager: http://www.cashandcredit.com/brochures/Scanner_Voyager.pdf
Cash Drawer Image: http://www.cashandcredit.com/images/CF-405.jpg
Zebra Label Printers: http://www.cashandcredit.com/brochures/Zebra_2824.pdf
Credit Card & Gift Processing
Gift Card acceptance program delivers everything merchants need to generate new revenue, increase brand exposure, and easily manage gift card sales for one store or an entire chain.
Credit Card Processing with MPS: http://www.cashandcredit.com/creditcards.html#mps_cc
FREE Gift Card Processing with MPS: http://www.cashandcredit.com/creditcards.html#mps_gc
Please confirm the receipt of this e-mail and let me know if you have any questions.
AD Business Solutions has been serving customers in Southern California since 1964. We at AD Business Solutions have been able to install & support thousands of customers both in our local area, as well as nationwide. Since inception of company, we have established the reputation and customer base that proves we have what it takes to get and keep your business. Quality Customer Service is our number one priority!
So, how’s it going so far?
January 5, 2011
The U.S. retail scene in 2010 was mixed. While the country was technically not in a recession, American consumers nonetheless remained skittish as uncertainty about the economy and jobs persisted. For retailers, this meant finding new ways to get shoppers into stores and retaining the loyalty of those already patronizing outlets. While the economy is expected to grow at a higher rate in 2011, high unemployment and rising commodity prices (including gasoline) are likely to negatively impact consumer confidence and spending patterns. In 2010, winning retailers didn’t sit on the sidelines, they innovated. In 2011, we can expect more from those areas where innovation occurred as retailers evolve their macro strategies in three key areas:
Collaborative Formats: Why invest in reinvention when you can leverage expertise from others? Significant opportunities exist for retailers to evolve and take advantage of current consumer trends, particularly when it comes to collaborating with partner organizations. Over the past several years, many coffee, donut and fast-food retailers have collaborated with grocery and other retail channel operators to expand their reach via co-branding efforts. And last year, a large grocery chain and a large drug chain announced the launching of a new format, which included significant features from both, enabling the two companies to test a co-branding and integration strategy.
Flexible Formats: Brick & mortar retailers are giving shoppers greater flexibility to choose where they want to shop – online, in-store or both. They are also offering customized technology featuring discounts, product alerts and other tools to make the shopping experience more convenient and personalized. Look for pop-up retailing, which exploded this past holiday season within toy stores, to find its way into other retail channels.
Store Brand Focus: The explosion of private label goods is one of the big stories of the last few years, and consumers – who have come to accept that these goods as high-quality – continue to view them as offering great value. This is good news for retailers as private label products are profitable and with commodity prices on the rise in 2011, expect another strong year for store brands.
Continuity-Based Shopper Engagement: Loyalty cards are a treasure for retailers – provided they are mining the data effectively. It is critical to deliver the right promotions to the right shoppers to keep them coming back. Providing kick-backs on credit card purchases or gas rewards are the incentives that keep on giving. Expect to see more retailers leveraging the shopper insights from these data to create up-selling opportunities and shopping list and home inventory management tools, which provide shoppers with reasons to keep shopping without pushing the item sale button as often.
Win Ethnic Consumers: Retailers can also win more shoppers by appealing to ethnic consumers as African American, Asian, and particularly Hispanics will post strong population growth over the next several decades. Look for new retail formats and modified assortment along with increased advertising and promotions to appeal to population growth segments.
Compete in the Digital World: To effectively reach today’s media-savvy consumers, it is critical to develop expertise in the online space. Retailer-specific mobile apps save time and provide self-service options for consumers – tools like these are win-win strategies for both shoppers and retailers. Using technology to enable more efficient shopping is key as more consumers are using their smartphones to help organize their lives. Look for an explosion of computer and mobile-based videos, which teach shoppers how to lead healthier lives, become better cooks and find more savings. They will demonstrate how connected shoppers interact with retailers who are best-in-class in this area.
Solution-Based Formats and Promotions: Consumers choose their stores on more than location: a good experience is critical. By devoting sections of the store to areas such as beauty care, home cleaning and meal solutions and by using promotions, retailers have the opportunity to build baskets from across the store. There has been some good work in this space where retailers (and in many cases due to the collaborative efforts with their manufacturer partners) have enhanced the center and perimeter of the store experience, but look for a few retailers to blow-up the store and create dramatically new formats based on shopper-centric mission-based shopping behaviors.
Enhancing the Shopping Experience: Big and small retailers are using technology to enable more efficient shopping. They are also modifying formats to make the shopping experience more enjoyable to increase trips and build baskets. And while some grocers have launched self-scanning devices to help shoppers avoid lengthy lines at check-out, when will check-out lines disappear altogether, allowing shoppers to avoid the part of the shopping experience they dislike the most? Mobile apps designed for shoppers to locate products in stores will provide smaller retailers (who may not have the space on budget for wholesale changes to their store formats) with a means to provide a more convenient shopping trip. Some retailers have added in-store dining options and broadened carry-out meal options. And some retailers are even creating formats that serve alcoholic beverages with live entertainment. In 2011, retailers will create radically new formats to elevate the shopper experience and enhance the connection between store personnel, the retailer and the shopper.
The year ahead is not likely to see any sea changes in terms of retailers’ strategies, but rather an expansion and refinement of tactics launched over the past year or so. These moves can, however, drive solid growth – even in a continually challenging market. Longer term, winning retailers will look much different than what we see today as we see store formats created to fulfill consumer demand.