What Independent Retailers Can Learn From Prime Day

Prime Day 2017 is here. Our offices are slightly less productive and we never knew we needed a device that makes vegetables into twirly noodles but here we are and it should be here on Thursday. I imagine this is the same for you and some of your friends. Quite a bit goes on a sale and every media outlet is talking about it. All in all, it's a win-win for customers and Amazon. 

But Prime Day has a lot to teach independent retailers. Let's face it, the game is changing and you need to play the new game. Small businesses can take the same ideas and grow their businesses too.

Generate a Buzz

The biggest thing for Amazon through Prime Day is the buzz it creates. People will join Prime and that will create a customer through the year. For you, this means you need to find a way to create a buzz around your business and use those new customers to create repeat customers. Try this: Offer MAJOR discounts on some sought-after items, add a more steep discount when they share your sale on Instagram. This will bring awareness to social circles that you couldn't otherwise reach and you now have some customer info to retarget for future items they could be interested in. You may not be on New York Times but you can be all over Instagram in your city. 

Drive Both In-Store and Online Traffic

You may not notice this but have you seen how much the discounts vary from product to product? For the most part, the sales are actually pretty small with a few major discounts spread throughout the day in limited quantities. Those steep discounts keep people on the site and checking back often. For you, offer steep discounts on several items and a small discount on others; you still have the appearance of a major sale but your bottom line takes less of a hit. Want to increase revenue a little more? Offer an in-store discount that goes in conjunction, especially if it's only for online shoppers. 

Think Big Picture

Not every transaction is about making money. I know this sounds absurd because the point of business is to generate a profit. The problem is that we can be so focused on immediate profits that we can fail to see a sale as a great marketing opportunity for more profitable future sales. As you know, the most expensive marketing is focused marketing. The more you know a person would be interested, the more you will pay for that marketing. By offering steep discounts, you draw people into your store or onto your site that are interested in your products. You can take that information and draw them back into the business throughout the year to create a loyal customer. 

About Streamline: Streamline is a technology and retail consultancy that provides retail consulting services by refining workflow and implementing new technology to make running a retail business more efficient and profitable. We aren't tied to any particular solution, just the one that's right for you. 

 

FAQ - Square POS

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Question:

We're a small retail business and are just getting started. We really don't have a lot of money to spend on an expensive POS solution. Square looks like a really appealing solution because it's free and the processing rates are pretty close to what I'm seeing everywhere else. Do you think we could use Square, at least while we're just getting started?

Streamline: 

This is a really good question and one that we get a lot. We love Square. It's beautiful, super functional, easy to use and their hardware is gorgeous! When you are on a budget, I really get why you'd want to go with Square. Allow me to offer you with some things to consider before making the commitment to a solution like square. 

Things to Consider:

Inventory Control

Let me tell you: If I start a coffee shop tomorrow, I'm using Square. You can't beat the transaction fees and the user experience is phenomenal. If I start a retail store tomorrow in Houston, I'm probably using Lightspeed Retail. The difference? Inventory Control. With square, you can track quantities, cost and selling prices but you can't track when things were received, see the unique receiving history of that item or gather more complex reports based on that information. Generally, if you need more details than cost, selling price and total quantity then Square isn't enough for you. If you are a serious retailer and don't understand why you need more than that, I can't emphasize enough the importance of understanding a proper retail process to lead to more revenue. 

Scalability

You might be small now but if you have multiple locations on the horizon and inventory (you might gather this is a big deal to us) control is a part of your business, you'll want to consider something more robust. 

Ease of SetUp (aka, are you tech savvy)

If you don't have the money to work with an IT company or Retail Consultant (plug, we are unique and do both.... end of plug), then Square is great. The hardware is so easy to setup and they practically do all the work for you. 

But we're just starting out, should we get started on Square and transition to something else?

This is understandable. We get that it's not cheap to get a point of sale. However, the real question is about how quickly you want to grow and how confident you are you will. If you are on a budget, you should consider signing up for something like Lightspeed or Vend and using their online resources to get setup with the system you'll use in the long-term. You might hire someone later that can teach you the best process but you'll at least have experience using your long term solution at that point. 

We're already open and on Square but know we need more, do we have to switch?

You are not alone in this question. It's a pain to switch systems and we, of all people, get that. You can a few options here: 1. Switch. Get another POS that's more scaleable and can do more. It's really the more ideal of the scenarios. 2. Use a "Cloud Ecosystem" to create a more robust process. Groups like "Stitch Labs" have created some great plug-ins that work with Square, Shopify, Xero among many other tools that can piece together a great inventory solution for you. Ultimately, it's pretty pricey but can be scaleable and useful. 

Need Help Deciding? The Streamline helps small to medium sized retailers with their technology and business process. We can refine your process and help you do what you do best with much better data.