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We’re in the midst of a golden age for software-as-a-service (SaaS), especially when it comes to business solutions. Today, there seems to be a never-ending parade of new apps rolling out that empower entrepreneurs to save time, increase accuracy, streamline processes, and even share data across platforms.
With tools like these, the opportunities available to you are opening up. Payment processing is no longer just about collecting funds. Indeed, today’s better transaction systems can do much more.
Not Your Grandmother’s Cash Register
For the savvy, contemporary business owner, investing in a digital point-of-sale (POS) system is a must. Here’s why:
No manual data entry is required, so there are no human errors. With a POS system, you can easily scan product barcodes to enter prices. This is not only faster but also more accurate, and many POS platforms have mobile apps that allow team members to use their own devices for ringing up customers on the showroom floor.
A POS system allows you to access more drill-downs into your sales processes than a traditional cash register. For instance, you can keep track reports concerning the items sold and even sort them by type, time of purchase, and price range. This type of data helps you understand your customer better in terms of buying patterns.
Flexibility and Scalability
Because it stores information in the cloud and the devices are modular, you can easily change the structure of your POS system and customize it as your needs change – all without disrupting the smooth flow of data.
POS System Integration
But these are just the basics. A superior POS system empowers you to do much more. However, as much as the benefits might make it seem like a POS system is all about the billing process, a really good POS system should do much more. The technology in place has opened up a diverse range of uses for this data. By integrating it with other processes, the data can be used to take your business to new levels.
Here are three types of business operations that should be integrated with your billing system, whether you’re using a comprehensive POS platform, a suite of apps, or individual tools that you integrate with each other for triggered automation.
1. Email List Building
A recent report by VentureBeat indicates that email marketing generates higher ROI than any other marketing channel. Whether your business is primarily brick-and-mortar or online, you have much to gain by keeping in touch with your customers. Here are some of the top benefits associated with integrating email list management with your billing system:
Any time you send a sales email without first syncing your subscriber list, you risk losing out on the power of repeat business. Integrating the two systems rids you of the hassle of having to review the list and update it manually.
An email list managed by your POS can give you a lot of data concerning your subscribers. This allows you to effectively segment your subscribers and engage with them based on triggered events, favorite product categories, or times of year to shop.
By including transactional information and triggers in your email marketing workflows, you’ll be able to offer people discounts on their favorite products when you haven’t seen them in several months, promote products that they may be interested in, and even thank them for their loyalty.
2. Loyalty Rewards
On average, it’s 5 to 10 times cheaper to sell to existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. Moreover, an existing customer is likely to spend 67% more on your products than a stranger is. There’s arguably no better way to make customers feel appreciated and inspire loyalty than an effective rewards program.
Apart from helping to keep your customers and get a greater share of their wallets, loyalty rewards help you gain insight into their behaviors and preferences. Just make sure to choose one that will actually generate results for your business. If you can’t learn anything from your customers, then maintaining high loyalty rates becomes difficult, if not impossible. Here’s how POS data helps.
Identify Top Spenders
Your billing system will record and keep data on individual customers, which can tell you how frequently they buy, how much they spend, and the type of products they buy. This data will help you know which specific customers are driving the biggest profits for your business, so you can offer them even greater rewards. It also allows you to build a profile of the type of person most likely to spend the most, which can help optimize your marketing strategies.
Understand Their Habits
When your billing system manages customer transaction records as well as loyalty programs, you have the power to experiment with different types and levels of rewards to see what motivates people the most.
One Data Hub
Data from your billing system and loyalty program is invaluable in carrying out all marketing in your business. Therefore, it makes sense to have this data at a single location where you can view it from one dashboard or within a few clicks. No syncing – neither manual nor automated – is required at all.
3. Inventory Tracking
When you have the ability to keep tabs on how many units you have in stock for each product you carry in real time, it’s easy to make sure you never run out and never over-stock. Sales, production pipelines, profit forecasts, demand assessments, price planning, and customer service all depend on solid inventory management.
Indeed, inventory management doesn’t begin and end with those dynamic tallies. There’s a lot more to it, and having the ability to cross-reference inventory data with transaction data helps a great deal. Here’s why.
Sophisticated Turnover Analysis
To maintain smooth operations, you have to know the rate at which each of your products is moving. Your billing system shows you not only how much is going through the cashier but also in what quantities, on what timetables, and any other parameter that can yield insight. For instance, if you sell the same product in multiple package designs,your analysis may inspire you to repackage the remaining stock.
What’s Hot and What’s Not
In a similar way to how much and in what quantities your customers are buying, integrating these two systems shows you the products that your customers like buying most at different times of year. This allows you to make crucial purchasing decisions to avoid losses.
Keeping Sales Teams in the Loop
Merging information on customer buying behaviors with the stock available is important to your sales reps, because it allows them to make order fulfillment promises with greater accuracy. If they can access this information from a single point, then their work becomes easier and more effective.
Over to You
Maintaining a contemporary business is extremely challenging. You can’t afford to cut corners on operational tasks like email marketing, loyalty rewards, and inventory tracking, especially when your competitors are automating everything they can. But with the right systems in place that allow you to leverage transactional data for these other operations, you can be extremely accurate, fast, and effective.