The Heartbeat of Your Business

How many times have you walked into a store, look at items for sale, interacted with the salesperson and then left? Of those times, how many did the salesperson ask more than simply your first name? Did he/she get your contact details? More times than often the answers to those questions are no, so how does the retailer follow up with you?

In my last article, I talked about Up in the Cloud. As a refresher, the Cloud as it is called is basically an electronic storage center that is offsite and away from one’s business environment. Business continuity or basically back up plan is in place regardless. When you use a Cloud, you are outsourcing for that service to a third party service provider.

How does the cloud help you identify your prospects better? That is what we will focus on here today in this article. As software providers started shifting from downloaded versions to cloud based, the features of it expanded greatly. Retailers were able to get timely updates and as their business requirements grew, the software providers were able to offer solutions that scaled to the retailer’s needs. Yet we live in the mobile environment today. People are more dependent on smart phones and tablets, using them to access the internet. In recent reports over 43% of internet activity is done via mobile apps today than via browser. Yes access to the internet is shifting to what you carry. So software providers have started adapting to the mobile environment!

Walk into a Verizon Wireless or Apple Store lately? Their staff greets you with tablets in hand. They can check you in, look up items, showcase, etc. via the tablet. Walk out without purchasing no sweat; they have your contact details. Now your world isn’t that simple. Buying jewelry can be a very complex decision process for your customer.

Take for example, a prospect walks into the store, looks at a number of necklaces. She cannot decide which one or possibly needs to think of it. So what generally happens?

• She tried on a number but one at a time out of the display case.

o Can she and your sales clerk remember each? Maybe
and maybe not!
o She walked out, what was her first & last name?

o Got her contact number and/or email?

In most cases the answers seems to be no.

• What necklaces did the clerk show? Do you know?

I have heard jewelers say, my door counter tells me how many came into my store, so I know count. True, how many came in but what and who were they? Was it UPS delivering or a customer coming in needing a new watch battery? How about the kids who are with their parent and run in and out of the store? Got those figured in?

If the above mentioned did not give it away, I am recommending you to look at mobile aligned POS solutions. With the cloud, some solution providers offer you the mobile peripherals to tie into your POS or stand alone. Have a number of clerks at one location or multiple stores, all the more reason to have a pulse one what is going on the floor.

With nearly 2,000 plus skus in the typical store, the average jeweler has to retag their merchandise 2-3 times annually. The amount of time invested in retagging is significant. Add to it when sales occurred and ended, yet the item is priced incorrectly. What if your jewelry was simply bar coded? No more tiny details on each tag. Need to check on the item, know its details and convey such to the customer, simple scan and it pops up on the mobile devices screen. Every item scanned with that prospect, the mobile device saves. Going back to the example mentioned earlier in the article – the woman that is looking at necklaces, now you can simply show her every one to recap. She wants to think about it, no problem, let me send them to your email. Now you know who she is and how to stay in touch! Knowledge is power and does your current business environment offer this capability today?
When you shift to the cloud generally two business models exist.

• Per user per month fee

• Per click (transaction) fee

The two types listed above all fall within the software as a service model (Saas). Basically with SaaS you are licensing the right to use the software. The software vendor owns it, must maintain it, make updates to it, and insure up time through what is called a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

The financial investment on SaaS is generally limited to setup costs if any apply. If they do, you can expect the cost to be typically a few hundred dollars rather than thousands and that alone becomes easier to digest. The benefits of SaaS are seen right out of the gate. If you need to purchase mobile devices, there will be a hardware cost in the acquisition of those devices. Your cloud POS provider can provide you the details on what is required and you might already have compatible devices in hand!

I almost forgot to mention a crucial point here; you will want to consider a cloud based software solution that can make your operation more efficient. I would encourage looking at solutions that have reporting tools, can drive offers to your clients and generally remind them when a repair job is completed.

To sum this up and recapping where we started in this article, knowing your prospect is invaluable. You spend significant sums in driving customers into your store and maintaining the retail space. Having a cloud POS which preferably is mobile, intuitive enough for the clerks will enable your staff to us it and that will provide critical data from start to finish. Data that you can track with a few taps and/or clicks and probably something today you do not know. In my next article, we will dive deeper into CRM – Client Relationship Management. Having a CRM tied into your POS provides a solid pulse reading on your business. JBA

Joe Radest HeadshotAbout the Author:
Joe Radest started his career in card payments in 1998 working for the industry giant First Data. During his tenure at First Data he was responsible for launching & managing a number of their bank alliance.  Since FDC, Joe has worked with other notable processors – TSYS, Global Payments and Chase Paymentech. Nearly 3 years ago, Joe branched out on his own; providing complete end to end business process management and secured payment technology solutions, which affords business clients the ability to securely transact payments without having sensitive data touching their environment. He can be reached by phone at 770-731-0414 or by email at [email protected]

Author:Jewelry Business Advisor