By Lee Barter
By David Dougherty
WOMEN IN CARWASH CONFERENCE SPONSORS
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“So 10-15 per cent of your stock is dead, 30 per cent is making you a profit, and who really knows what’s going on with the other 2,200 items? You need to go through your store, pick up each little item and shout “what in the hell have you done for me today?” I’ll bet you’ve got $50,000 worth of junk in every store that doesn’t need to be there. Can you really afford to keep caring for it anymore? Non-selling stock is responsible for over 50 per cent of your cost. It would serve you better in a big hole in the ground behind your store.”
Harsh words? Yes. The reality is that today’s retail marketplace is a tough environment. Shoppers have unlimited options and your competition is tempting them every single day with aggressive pricing and persuasive offers. They demand compelling experience both in-store and at the pump. Their loyalty to you is either renewed or withdrawn with each transaction.
Your pricing strategy and what your customers value requires that you respond quickly and effectively. If you do not, then your ability to improve margins, increase your profits and increase your customer count is lost.
So how does the above effect the point of sale system that you are using or considering to purchase?
The point of sale system your business uses must have the ability and capacity to make it easier to sell the products that your customers want and demand. You need to be using a modern integrated system with back office capabilities that will allow you to improve and widen your margins, increase your basket size and attract new customers. The system must have the ability to supply you with actionable data so that you can make pricing and product decisions that will increase your customer loyalty and your profits.
The system must have the following major attributes:
Features in the system include the following:
In order for you to gain better control of your business, you must have reporting features. You can slice and dice sales data in a variety of ways to determine what products are selling best at what time and to figure out everything from optimal ways to arrange shelves and displays to what promotions are working best and when to change seasonal promotions.
Reporting capabilities should include sales, costs, and profits by individual inventory items, by salesperson, or by category for the day, month and year to date. Special reports can include sales for each hour of the day or for any time period. Additional reports include day-end cash reconciliation work sheets and inventory management. Examine a variety of POS packages to see which comes closest to meeting your needs.
Every business is unique; you may find that none of the off-the-shelf systems meet your requirements. Industry-specific POS packages are available for both gas stations and convenience stores. In addition, some POS system manufacturers will tailor their software to your needs.
Retail is changing quickly. Your ability to better manage your operation to meet the changing retail landscape is vital and should not be feared. You need the capacity to manage your inventory effectively, you need to be scanning your products and you must audit your items to curtail theft.
You have to collect the minute details of every sale, every receiving, audit and analyze them. If you do not, you will not survive.
Lee Barter is senior vice president of Sales & Marketing with Infonet.