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Home for the Holidays (Instead of Reconciling the Register)


{#/pub/images/HomefortheHolidays.jpg}‘Tis the season that most retailers anticipate and dread in equal amounts. The run-up to the holiday season and the one-two punch of Black Friday and Cyber Monday often leaves retailers and their staff anything but merry and bright. Solutions are hard to come by, but there is one change that you can institute right now to help you all bring in a happy new year.

Getting a Jump on the Big Guys

The big deals of retail are already preparing their Black Friday battle plans. In some cases, this means opening on Thanksgiving or at oh-dark-30 on Black Friday morning. If you could get a jump on all the big box stores and major retailers without sacrificing a pumpkin pie – or the goodwill of your staff – you would take the opportunity to do that, right? While it is not a simple process, it is a very worthwhile one. Moreover, it will stand you in good stead and give you valuable return on investment throughout the year. So, what is it?

The answer is a modern point-of–sale system. With the increased availability of affordable cloud storage and cloud-based software, a solid POS system is well within reach of even a business operated out of a swap meet or farmer’s market stall. The technology, much like mobile phones, flat screen TVs, and other formerly high ticket items has decreased in price while increasing in availability. For instance, an out-of-the-box system from Shopify will run you $499 plus the expense of purchasing an iPad. With the addition of a modestly priced barcode scanner, you will find that the work involved in setting up the system and coordinating a live inventory is more than repaid by eliminating redundant, repetitive, and frustrating tasks from your store’s workflow.

Five Key Benefits of a POS System

The economy is tight, and the recovery can seem terribly slow. But people are spending more money, and they’re planning their holiday expenditures well in advance. Getting ahead of the curve will allow you to realize five of the key benefits of implementing a POS system before Black Friday.


  1. You will know what you have in stock, and where it is in your showroom and stockroom.

  2. You will be able to set minimum reorder quantities that will trigger an automatic order for your most popular items.

  3. You will be able to more efficiently receive, put into stock, fulfill orders, and reorder so that you are never out of stock.

  4. Shrinkage is always a concern at any time of year, but more so the prevalence of shoplifting around the holidays. Employee theft is also a concern. According to the Houston Chronicle, small businesses implementing POS and live inventory information systems can shrink their shrinkage – and sometimes even eliminate it entirely.

  5. You will be able to tie your sales your inventory, accounting for every item sold. In addition, you’ll be able to generate daily sales reports, and export the data to your back-office and accounting systems.


Added Benefits


There is little that is more frustrating to your staff then repetitive tasks such as reconciling the register, constantly counting the stock, or otherwise servicing the inventory. You’ll notice that with a live inventory system and your POS in place that most of these duties no longer need to be performed, according to Microsoft. In the absence of these tasks, your staff will have more time to spend interacting with your customers and creating customer focused service. In a world of point, click and buy, creating value rich interactions with your customers opens up a world of possibilities. With a tablet in hand, why can’t your staff get out from behind the cash wrap, and bring the cash wrap to the customer? Completing the transaction by sliding the credit card through the tablet’s card reader busts up one thing everyone hates about holiday shopping – waiting in line. Other innovations could extend to shipping the goods to the recipient directly from the store or taking an order through your online retail site for later pick up at your store. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Get Ready to Stuff Your Stocking

This year’s holiday shopping forecast, despite weak summertime spending, calls for 4 percent growth according to CNBC and Deloitte and Touche. While that represents only a modest improvement over last year’s 2.8 percent gain despite the slow recovery, income, wages, and job growth are rising while much of the debt accrued before and during the recession has been paid down. In fact, overall consumer debt is at historic lows. This goes for retailers as well who, in the absence of traditional bank-based financing during the recession, turned to credit cards in order to finance their business activities. Even though people are still spending cautiously, retailers are positioning themselves early in order to lure shoppers and their dollars through the doors.


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