Retailers know that their best-selling products today will eventually find their way to the clearance rack. Being able to anticipate product life cycles is a key to success in retail, but it’s also important to understand that retailers have life cycles of their own. The retail life cycle was first described in the 1970s by researchers William R. Davidson, Albert D. Bates, and Stephen J. Bass. Its four stages are innovation, growth, maturity, and decline.
It stands to reason that a retailer’s POS needs will change considerably as it shifts from stage to stage. In particular, small startup retailers in the innovation stage of the life cycle will be best served by an affordable micro POS whose basic functions and features can be easily scaled up as the needs of the business change.
Making that initial POS purchase is a big step for any new retailer, whether you’re planning a flea market stall, launching a food truck, or opening a storefront on a busy downtown corner. Today’s cloud-based POS systems provide the scalability to meet the needs of any size of retail startup, today and for years to come.
Start with a Micro POS that Will Grow Along with Your Business
Modern POS systems serve as the technology foundation for every part of a retailer’s operation, no matter how large or small the business may be. As the store evolves from startup through maturity, the POS system evolves along with it. That’s why it’s so important to start off with a system designed with scalability and flexibility in mind.
There’s more to a retailer’s success than offering the products and services that customers crave. Small retailers in particular have to provide their clients with an enjoyable and rewarding shopping experience. The store’s POS system can make the difference between your customers leaving with delighted smiles on their faces or exiting frustrated and frowning. Ask yourself:
- How long do my customers have to wait to complete their purchases?
- Are they able to make changes to their order quickly and simply?
- Are my marketing efforts reaching my target demographic?
- Do customers enjoy the same pleasant shopping experience when browsing my products online as they do when they visit the store in person?
When selecting your initial POS system, it’s important to keep in mind the features your business will need in the future as well as those it requires from day one. For example, you may start by selling only a handful of different products whose inventory you can track manually, but before long your store’s product catalog and sales volume will grow to a point that requires real-time inventory updates to ensure you have sufficient stock on hand to meet customer demand.
Determine Which POS Use Case Best Matches Your Operation
Just as no two retail businesses are identical, there’s no single POS approach that will meet the needs of all small retailers who are looking ahead to the eventual expansion of their operations. Before shopping for a POS system, consider which POS system use case most closely mirrors your store’s characteristics:
- The small boutique retailer: Staying ahead of women’s fashion trends is job #1 for a specialty clothing boutique. A POS system that tracks inventory and integrates stock levels with sales data in real-time provides the boutique with the insight it needs to adjust product orders and pricing in response to up-to-the-minute sales figures. The store’s mobile app running on employees’ smartphones improves the level of service they’re able to offer customers on the sales floor.
- The busy salon or spa: Few services are more personal than those offered by spas and salons, where making clients happy is the business model. Nothing will sabotage the businesses’ efforts faster than glitches in appointment scheduling. These services need a micro POS system that lets customers book appointments with their favorite employees at appropriate times while avoiding schedule conflicts or overbooking.
- The family restaurant: Even an established neighborhood business can start to feel pressure from competitors that are more technically savvy. To keep up with potential new rivals, the business needs to offer the dining and payment options that young customers in particular prefer. The sales data collected by a modern POS system allows a restaurant to tweak its menu in response to changing customer tastes and complete orders more quickly. Customers also appreciate being able to use the restaurant’s mobile app to make reservations with their preferred servers and otherwise interact with the restaurant.
How POS Systems Even the Data Analytics Playing Field
No matter what size, every modern business depends on accurate and timely analysis of its sales and other data for its success. Modern POS systems deliver many of the advanced data analytics tools that enterprises rely on. Cloud-based POS solutions integrate the data generated from sales transactions, inventory tracking, and customer interactions to give store managers greater insight into market trends and changing consumer preferences.
By combining sales and inventory data with customer purchase histories and other information, store employees are able to offer your customers personalized discounts and other promotions. The POS system’s reports indicate which combinations of products are most likely to resonate with your store’s visitors. The reports also help store managers determine which capital investments are most likely to boost revenue and profit.
Small retailers with big plans are challenged to keep one eye focused on the here and now, and the other looking to the future. Modern cloud-based POS systems offer the affordability and scalability to support the micro POS model that nascent retailers need through their startup phase, and then grow with the business by adding functionality and enhancements that keep the operation vibrant as it realizes its expansion plans.
When you partner with talech for your retail technology needs, we devote our time to identify the challenges your business faces today and tomorrow. We use this information to work with you to apply an innovative POS solution that supports your business’s growth plans.
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