Technology is rapidly taking hold in every aspect of our daily lives. As the technical expectations of consumers grow by leaps and bounds, small business owners are feeling the pressure to stay current on tech trends. Regardless of if you are operating a small retail boutique or a fast-paced eatery, your customer’s service tastes are evolving as more innovative functionalities hit the mainstream and become the de facto norm. That’s why you need a guide to using technology in small business.
How Innovations in POS Provide Benefits to Restaurateurs
Gaining a competitive edge is a challenge for restauranteurs. Managing shifts to coincide with meal rush periods, manual table assignments and reservations, your waitstaff scribbling barely legible orders on pads, and your head chef tracking inventory on a clipboard are all manual processes that can be bettered through technology. This not only saves you in the long-term but introduces key technological advances that serve to deepen customer relationships.
We have found that when examining potential technologies, it is important to look at what they offer each aspect of your operational model. Here are some examples restaurateurs should examine in key aspects of business when considering advanced POS functionalities.
- Financial management. This is a far-reaching aspect of running your restaurant and goes beyond just tracking sales and managing the books. Utilizing next-gen innovations allows you to determine customer trends, protect your data through cloud-based storage, and easily determine sales trends and financial bottlenecks in your restaurant.
- Staff Management. Punch clocks, calendars, and time tracking on paper and in spreadsheets have long been accepted methods for managing staff hours. Modern POS solutions provide rich features that allow for touchscreen or “tap” shift changes and hours tracking. Scheduling is a breeze when tied into your financials as you can adjust your floor and kitchen staffing levels in response to changes rush times or holiday specials.
- Inventory Management. Next-gen POS systems give you real-time inventory tracking, eliminating those embarrassing moments of not being able to fill certain menu items. This timely knowledge of stock levels makes reorder more effective and reduces the likelihood of overstocks and product leakage due to expiration. When tied into reporting and CRM tools, you can easily change digital menus as based on menu demand or slow-moving items.
- CRM Tools. These leverage today’s technology against your customer’s data and provides the opportunity to deepen customer relationships. CRM functionalities allow you to develop customer loyalty programs and gift card programs, both of which have been proven to drive business in restaurants. The great benefit here is that the technology handles the heavy lifting while you enjoy the time savings and revenue boosts.
- Reporting and Analytics. Modern POS systems present valuable opportunities to gain insights and understanding around how menu item performances are trending while seeing where your cost points occur. This provides you with real-time reporting and analysis in simple dashboard formats without the need for retaining the services of an accountant. Inventory, staff performance, and tracking customer responses to meal specials are just small examples of innovative gains which next-gen solutions can offer you.
Utilizing the clout that technology can deliver introduces better performance results for restaurants, from truck-based QSRs to fine dining establishments. Restaurateurs must consider streamlining operations if they are to remain competitive in today’s rapidly evolving technological world. It is worth noting that these areas of focus apply not just to restaurants, but to small retailers as well, with a handful of key differences.
Applying Modern Tech Solutions to Boost Small Retail Performance
Small retailers face similar challenges when looking to improve process performance. Like restaurateurs, retailers utilize many of the same manual processes that have been in place for decades. On the retail end, this includes manual timekeeping and staffing, clipboard or spreadsheet inventory management, while also including manually generating shipping labels or product return procedures.
These manual processes are overdue for an upgrade utilizing the innovative technology that is now available. Deep cost reductions can finally be realized, and you will gain the time to invest in treating your customers like VIPs. Here are a few key areas that retail owners must take into consideration before starting down the road to high-tech solutions.
- Financial management. Balancing your books via spreadsheet or bounded ledger is not a realistic option anymore. Analyzing this data to detect trends is next to impossible, as is identifying aspects in your operations that are hemorrhaging money. Leveraging technology to track sales, transactions, and expenses give you a concise, real-time window into where the money is flowing and presents opportunities to identify and cut unwarranted expenses.
- Staff Management. Punch cards, while once serving a purpose, should now take their rightful place in antique shops. Manually tracking hours, while tediously creating a shift schedule, accounts for a significant portion of time for retail owners. Taking advantage of state-of-the-art time-keeping and staff management functionalities in POS solutions gives this time back to you while reducing payroll and scheduling errors.
- Inventory Management. Controlling inventory for small retailers can be more challenging than it is for restaurant owners. Retail inventory doesn’t “go bad,” and unlike food ingredients, poor-selling retail items can’t be as easily repurposed. Taking advantage of today’s technology can give you a next-gen approach to effective inventory management. This can be tied into customer and transactional data to present a clear picture of which items are trending upwards or downwards, allowing you to adjust your ordering on the fly.
- CRM Tools. Customer information is a gold mine in today’s data-driven business world. The information you need from your customers can be effectively managed by an appropriately executed and monitored CRM tool in place. Customer loyalty programs, gift cards, and transactional data give you the information you need to create in-depth reporting around shopping behaviors and product trends while deepening your relationships with your clientele.
- Reporting and Analytics. Modern POS solutions provide real-time, dashboard viewable insights into all transactions, customers, inventory, and even staff productivity in one simple to use location. You can quickly identify sales trends, customize your rewards programs to best align with customer desires, and improve your loss prevention efforts by identifying points of product leakage.
When considering these aspects of your operations, you will be armed with the basics necessary to select the right mix of technology and process improvements. The opportunities that result from integrating next-gen POS functionalities into your business flow makes you a trendsetter and improves your chances of long-term success in a hyper-aggressive industry. This becomes easier when you enlist the help of a third party with a proven track record of starting small businesses down the road of technological success.
Using Technology in Small Business Operations Requires Additional Expertise
Deepening the levels of technology within your small business can quickly become intimidating. Matching product features and capabilities to your operations is difficult enough, but then you add secondary challenges, such as your network or internet ISP. This all contributes to add more layers to the technical onion that you may not be fully equipped to handle. Recruiting the assistance of a valued third party will make all the difference in the world. In addition to deep layers of technical knowledge and experience, they will bring with them the lessons learned from multiple engagements of moving small businesses to cutting-edge technical solutions.
Modernizing your business requires cutting-edge technology to be involved, all of which can typically be found in a next-gen POS solution. Regardless of if you are in need of an entirely new POS solution, or just need to implement updates to your current solution; talech is ready to help modernize your business operations through the utilization of a modern point of sale system. Contact us today for a free demo and more information on how to bring cutting-edge technology to your customers.