Many retailers originally seek cloud software because they need a system for checking customers out at the point of sale.
They know that using a modern POS can save hours of manual work on accounting and inventory management. Plus, it can eliminate costly mistakes and provide lots of helpful reports and insights in the process.
But these days, cloud systems can handle much more than the nuts and bolts of checkouts and transactions. They also can help retailers craft a pleasant customer experience, and put all the pieces in place to maximize your sales.
Here are a few of the tools that come in most of today’s POS cloud systems that can help retailers boost their sales.
Discounts and Promotions
Most retailers occasionally discount their slow-moving stock, or host special sale events to increase foot traffic or awareness.
Your POS system should make running a promotion easy by automatically calculating any combination of the discounts you’ve specified at checkout.
Of course, there are the classic promotions run by most retailers, such as buy-one-get-one-free, buy-one-get-one half off, standard percentage discounts, dollar discounts, or even percentage discounts that are contingent that increase with the number of products purchased. Retail cloud systems should also be able to limit the promotions by the date, the type of customer, the customer’s purchasing behavior, and more.
From a transactional perspective, these systems can eliminate mistakes and provide for a smoother checkout (which can keep customers happy). But POS systems go beyond that to integrate with email marketing software, pushing out promotions to your customers at the right times and tailoring your offers to their needs.
POS software also makes it much easier to track which types of promotions performed the best, controlling for factors like the time of week or year.
When customers know they’ll earn loyalty points with each purchase they make at your store, they’ll feel more comfortable shopping with you — and spending more with each purchase.
Retailers can reap big benefits from loyalty programs. Loyalty program members have been shown to spend up to 18% more than non-members, for example. And keeping your customers engaged and happy with rewards can keep customers coming back and telling their friends about your store.
There are many ways to structure a loyalty program, and there are many types of rewards to consider, from points to bonus gifts to birthday coupons.
However, the best programs make it simple for customers to enroll in the program, whether they’re live in the store, on your website, or checking out online. Good loyalty programs also make it easy for customers to see how many points they’ve earned (ideally, along with their other purchase and account info), and make it easy to contact rewards members about special opportunities.
Custom Offers and Messages
It’s easy enough to blast your entire audience or subscriber base with announcements or general promotions that anyone can take advantage of. But the real value comes with more targeted offers and personalized messages.
When you can tailor discounts and perks for specific customer groups, you can really boost your value to customers and deepen your relationship with them.
The best cloud systems for retailers allow store owners and managers to analyze customer data and behavior so that they can tailor their content and offers to their needs.
Other examples of personalized offers and messages that can boost sales include abandoned cart reminders or notifications when “favorited” items go on sale.
Hopefully, your sales staff has been trained to understand your products and your customers’ needs enough that they feel comfortable making product suggestions to customers who come into the store.
They might suggest a pair of earrings to complement the dress that a customer has tried on, for example, or remind a customer to buy some batteries to go along with a new electronic device.
Your retail cloud system should be able to play a similar role automatically, both with online transactions (showing related items or items that other customers bought with a certain product) and with in-store transactions (reminding sales associates to suggest other products upon checkout).
Product suggestions can also be great when combined with carefully timed email marketing. For example, if you sell goods and services that naturally run out after a certain amount of time (such as cleaning products or personal care products), your cloud system can reach out to customers automatically asking if they’d like to re-order (and showing them a few other items that are relevant to their interests based on what they’ve purchased already).
Selling in More Places
The more places you can make your products available for sale, the more potential money your store can make.
For some stores, selling in more places will mean finally getting a robust online store up and running in addition to their brick and mortar location. For others, it means being able to sell your products on sites like Amazon or Etsy in addition to your own website, or even directly through social media sites like Facebook.
These sales channels don’t have to bring in a lot of revenue for it to be worth listing products. In fact, having your stores and products listen in more places online can boost your visibility and improve brand awareness, which can go on to boost sales from all channels over time.
Plus, with the right cloud system for retailers, you can track your inventory and sales across all of these channels at once, and streamline your messages and customer experience, as well.
Mobility for a better customer experience
While this isn't a tool as such, I feel that this is the one point that gets missed by most business owners when they compare cloud based systems to on premise and traditional systems. On premise systems require expensive infrastructure like servers, pc's and databases which not only have an upfront capital expenditure but also long term and ongoing maintenance and generally lack mobility. These days, modern systems can offer tablet and phone based hardware that makes it a breeze for the staff as well as create a better customer checkout experience.
Choosing a Retail Cloud System
As we’ve discussed, cloud systems for retailers can be powerful tools for saving time and boosting sales. They can also integrate with other specialized software, such as POS, CRM, HR, and accounting programs to create comprehensive solutions for your business.
However, it takes many hours of research to vet program options, get them set up, and train staff on how to use them.
Retail cloud systems are super valuable, but it can take many hours to get them up and running.
If you’re currently trying to decide which ecommerce software fits your needs or how to prioritize your ecommerce budget, we hope you consider teaming up with our cloud-based software specialists.
At Cloudscape Technologies, we work with retailers to streamline the job of finding and implementing the best software on the market. We enable owners and managers to continue the hard work of running their business without any disruption from the software search. We’re certified in the best retail software on the market, and we cater to the needs of small and medium sized retail businesses.
To learn more, click here to request a free, no-obligation consultation.