The holiday season will soon be upon us, so it’s the perfect time to deck the halls in preparation for record numbers of customers and transactions. Your POS platform needs to be ready for the onslaught of sales, returns, gift cards, and loyalty rewards that accompany the holiday season.
And there’s reason to expect a mad rush: 2018 saw one of the best retail holiday seasons in years, both at brick-and-mortar outlets and online. Spending ticked up 5.4 percent to $998.32 billion, with brick-and-mortar inching up 3.9 percent to $874.42 billion and online zooming up 16.7 percent to $123.90 billion. That trend is predicted to continue in 2019, with overall growth of 3.7 percent to $1.035 trillion.
You’ll roll out your best products, give your storefront a shine, and hire extra staff to handle the traffic. But without a connected POS solution to handle it all, you may feel as if your profit margins were sabotaged by the Grinch.
So here are six reasons why the best time to upgrade your payment systems is before the holidays.
You’ll be fully stocked (with stuff people want)
You need to have what people want when they want it. A system that can analyze sales patterns from past seasons and predict inventory levels is essential to capitalize on the window of Black Friday through Christmas.
Past sales patterns are useful, but don’t ignore what’s selling now and what’s being released in the coming weeks. And keep a close eye on when people buy, because that information will allow your inventory management to be that much more responsive. An integrated POS platform will be able to overlay current sales over past trends to create a powerful, predictive tool.
You’ll be fully staffed (with the right people)
From Dollar Tree to Macy’s to Target, retailers are hiring for the holiday rush. And it’s not just the big brands—businesses of all shapes and sizes will scale up, from salons to coffee shops to restaurants.
For these new hires to most efficiently serve your customers, you’ll need to accurately track their hours and cross-reference that with sales numbers. Some may thrive on a certain shift, some in a certain department. Your POS platform can be a useful tool to monitor hours and generate reports on employee performance.
You can meet customers where they are
When your POS goes wireless, it opens up a world of possibilities. If your checkout line on a snowy December Sunday afternoon is three deep, send staff into the crowd with mobile checkout terminals. You’ll keep everything moving and customers smiling.
Your customers want to hear from you (no, really!)
Effective e-commerce integration means you can customize email or text messages based on purchase history. A connected POS platform tracks click-throughs and online browsing to see what items are more likely to be needed once customers hit the store to close the deal.
And they are showing up to close the deal—online holiday spending in the U.S. hit $123.73 billion last season, a year-over-year increase of 16.6 percent.
“But won’t customers get annoyed if we contact them more?” Make no mistake, they are looking for holiday gifts, and they’re hungry for ideas. They expect to hear from you. They want to know what you have to offer and why they should buy it.
Gift cards are your new best friend
When a shopper enters your store, they might be looking for the hot new thing that’s flying off the shelves. But it’s just as likely that they’re looking for something much simpler: a gift card. This is a no-brainer for your business—when customers return to your store with that card, most will spend more than its value.
And gift cards represent big business, to the tune of an estimated $160 billion in 2018, up from $91 billion in 2010. Another no-brainer: integrating gift cards into your POS platform.
Cash in on loyalty
Even your most loyal customers may have their fidelity tested during the holidays. Every brand will target them with marketing messages and special offers. You can counter this by stepping up your loyalty emails, which get click-through rates of up to 35 percent.
But don’t forget all the non-members out there. The holidays are a great time to bring them on board. Once they join, they’ll make a second purchase up to 47 percent more often.
An integrated POS platform gives your audience incentive to use those loyalty points (or stars or ponies or whatever) and earn even more. Kick their rewards into high gear and award them double or triple value for their purchases.
Don’t wait—upgrade now
An omnichannel sales and retention strategy needs to touch the customer as they move from interest to consideration to purchase to loyalty. Poynt’s connected payment solution can simplify this process and keep patrons and employees happy during an otherwise hectic season.