POS systems are a treasure trove of customer data

Question: Now that consumers are starting to spend again, what’s the best way for me to ensure my sales growth in the new year?

Answer: There is an adage about how to grow sales—the three ways to grow sales actually. First is to get more customers buying from you. Second is to increase the frequency with which your customers buy from you. Third is to increase the average ticket size of your customers’ purchases. What do these three things have in common? Your customers!

Do you know how many new customers you are getting in a month? How about in a week? How about each day? Which days are best? What about which hours are best? Are you looking at that information and staffing accordingly? You should be able to get it out of your POS system.

Let’s back up one step: Are you collecting customer data at the POS at all? The most recent study I saw showed that 44 percent of retailers collect customer information but don’t do anything with it; 25 percent don’t collect it at all. Specialty retailers live and die with their customers. After all, it costs five times more to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. For a specialty retailer it shouldn’t be “know thyself,” it should be “know thy customers!”

If your process consists of a clerk asking customers if they’re on your mailing list, you won’t be too successful. Instead, create a patter at the register for the staff to say, “What’s your name so I can look up your account? Oh you’re not in the system? Well, we offer invite-only events, special pricing, and advance notice on new items to our preferred clientele. What’s your name so I can make sure you have access to that?” Then have them fill out their information on a clipboard while the sale is ringing up, so that you don’t waste their time at the register but can still capture the information and update it after the sale.

Okay, let’s say you know how many customers you’re getting and are capturing information on them. Now, are you looking at how often they’re coming into the store to buy and thinking about ways to increase that frequency? Again, all this information is available in your point of sale system. Do you know who your most frequent visitors are? Do you treat them special? Do you call them or send them thank you cards, or offer special promotions to their friends if they want to refer them to you? These are just some quick ideas, but the point is to know this information and use it as an asset!

Lastly, how do you increase your average ticket? Do you know what your average ticket amount is? Do you know which of your sellers has the highest average ticket? Why not look at that information, and then find out what he or she is doing differently than the other staff and duplicate? Shoot, make it even easier than that and offer them something special to have a little training session for the other sellers.

All of these ideas take advantage of the assets you already have. Customers are the biggest one. Simple reports and charts are another. Use the technology you have in your store to increase your knowledge about every aspect of your business. I see people all the time looking for the “new thing” that’s going to save the day when challenges arise. In fact, it’s often the old thing that’s proven to work, but just needs to be reinforced.

Have a successful and prosperous 2012!

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avatar About Kevin McAdam

Kevin McAdam, Vice President, One Step Retail Solutions
Kevin is the author of the eBook “Succeeding in the Retail Business During Economic Stress," and Vice President of One Step Retail Solutions, the largest solution provider of POS software to specialty retail on the planet. Kevin has consulted retailers for One Step for the last seven years, bringing a diverse knowledge of management, marketing and retail industry research to his clients. He has overseen the decision process for major retailers investing in POS / Inventory Management / IT systems. His understanding of the “big picture” of the retail industry is what sets him apart in the world of technology service providers.

Ask Kevin about point-of-sale systems and inventory management

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  1. “Then have them fill out their information on a clipboard while the sale is ringing up, so that you don’t waste their time at the register but can still capture the information and update it after the sale.”

    We used to do this all day long at Santoni Shoes…worked like a charm with 95%+ of clients.

    After they’d say, “Okay, I’ll take these [shoes],” we’d literally hand them a leather (clip) board, pen and client card, and human nature compelled them to just…take it! “He’s handing me something…I’d better take it.” And then, they fill it out…we ring the sale, they leave, we plug the info in to POS, and presto: Management by Data Measurement. We have their name, address, phone, email, size, style preference, assistant’s name and email, secondary address….whatever! Easy as pie. Or, as George Carlin would say, “Cake’s easy too: Piece of cake.”

    It’s astounding how many sellers – let’s not even mention the stores employing them – are brain dead when it comes to this stuff. You’re a salesman making commission on items sold and you’re not managing client data on your personal trade? Outlandish. A seller I worked with once said to me, “Selling, for me, is like sports. I make a sale, I score a point in the client’s goal. The customer walks on me? He scores a point in mine. It’s all sports.” This guy managed his personal trade like Elias Sports Bureau: Averages, percentiles, walks, hits, home runs, etc…genius! He transcended sales and created his own little major league on the sales floor…his one man team against all the other one man teams in his “league”: The Customers.

    There are dozens of ways to slice, dice, broil, bake, poach, simmer, stew and roast a client’s actions and data so that clients can be made to spend again and again.

    It’s sport. Have fun. Make something happen. George S. Patton once said when he played football as a young man, “When you don’t know what to do on the field, throw a fit. Something will happen.”

    Point: Just do something, and something will happen. Do nothing and something will happen too: Nothing.

    james rarus

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