Your storefront can now be a truck, a booth, a kiosk, a website, or all of the above.
Additionally, clunky equipment such as cash registers or time card machines are no longer necessary for a store to run. Thanks to the advancements in mobile devices and apps, retailers of today can start, run, and grow their businesses using just their iPad.
If you’re thinking of getting into the modern retail fun, here are some tips to get you started:
Select the right payment solution
We’re assuming that you already have an idea for your store’s concept and products. The next most important thing you need to figure out is how you’re going to sell them. That’s where your point-of-sale system comes in.
Your POS system will enable you to ring up customers and process payments. It’s a cornerstone of any retail store, so pick yours wisely.
Fortunately, there are a number of iPad-based POS apps you can choose from. How do you pick the best one? Do your research. Determine the needs of your business, find out what other retailers are using, and connect with POS vendors to see if they have the right solution for you.
You should also determine the additional hardware or software that you need for your checkout process. Will you be processing credit cards? Do you want to accept mobile payments? Do you need to scan product barcodes? These are some of the questions you have to ask to figure which POS peripherals you need.
Some of the common ones include:
– Receipt printers
– Barcode scanners
– Cash drawers
Find apps to help you manage your store
The tools necessary for you to manage your store will of course depend on the type of business you have. Think about your retail needs then scout the App Store for solutions that can help you out. The good news is, with the wide range of iPad apps in the market, there’s a great chance that you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Here are a few areas where you can start:
Staffing – For managing employees, coordinating schedules, and keeping track of time, you can use apps like Deputy or When I Work, which let you manage your employee calendar right from your iPad. They’re easy to use and they eliminate those bulky time card machines.
Managing customer appointments – Do you need to schedule appointments with customers? Skip the pen and paper. There are plenty of mobile-based scheduling solutions that can automate the process.
Accounting, inventory, integrations, etc. – For matters like stock-taking, accounting, or reporting, you can usually turn to your iPad POS. Most solutions have built-in features to let you handle the above. Additionally, it’s best to ask your vendor about their integrations, so you can connect your POS with other programs and keep your store humming.
Beyond apps though, also be sure to educate yourself through retail resources and learning materials, so you can have a better idea of what you need to successfully manage a store.
Don’t forget about customer service and experience
Again, the finer details of your customer service strategy will depend on the type of store you have and your customers. Generally speaking though, you may want to look into the following:
Customer support – Aside from training your associates to be customer service rock stars, consider looking at mobile tools that can help you provide better assistance to customers. For instance, there’s Zendesk, an online help platform that also offers native apps to give you real-time alerts and capabilities to view and reply to tickets. You can also check out solutions such as SmarterTrack or Parature, which enable you to run a help desk right from your mobile device.
In-store experience – Ensure that your customers have a great time in your shop by investing in store-enhancing apps such as Spotify (for music), RetailNext (for analytics), or PayPal Here (for check-in and mobile payment capabilities.)
Loyalty programs – Loyalty apps are definitely worth looking into. Apps such as Collect and Perka enable you to run a loyalty program that rewards repeat shoppers and shows customers just how much you value them.
Do you use an iPad to manage your store? What are your favorite apps? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Francois Bondiguel is from Vend, a point-of-sale, inventory, and customer loyalty software that helps over 8,000 retailers manage and grow their business. Connect with Vend on Google+ and LinkedIn.