Ready for Christmas? – 9 tricks for POS performance

Post first published on The Retail Bulletin here.

Christmas ShoppingThe busiest time of year for most retailers is upon us once again and with sales during the festive period accounting for a considerable proportion of annual revenues your preparations for merchandising, shop displays, and festive marketing should be well underway.

Optimising performance at the till is also crucial and there are a number of areas to think about as the big shopping events of Black Friday and Christmas approach. Here are 9 tricks to get you started.

Make till receipts work harder

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can make a difference and, if your software allows, modifying the text on printed receipts to include festive greetings and other information, can be very effective. It’s something that’s normally simple to achieve but often overlooked.

For example, you might want to edit the header and footer text to add a Christmas greeting, alert customers to festive opening hours and special offers, or provide information on your exchange and refund policies (which may be more lenient over the holiday period.) You might also want to set up different header and footer text for specific branches and different types of transaction.

Add a QR Code

A QR Code is another simple way to customise receipts. Use them to direct customers to a specific web page for special offers, competitions, or a sign-up page for newsletters and other promotions. It’s another way to extend the interaction with your customers after they have left the store.

Enable Gift Receipts

If you are set up to offer gift receipts, make sure the facility is enabled at the till and that staff are trained to use it. It’s something that customers value, but not if it means longer queues. A good system should allow you to create different gift receipts for different purchase items, all within the same till transaction – a big time-saver when the store is busy. Again, the ability to include tailored marketing, product return or refund messages in your receipt text can be really useful.

Add queue busting barcodes

Product Returns will inevitably increase during the Christmas period and queue busting here is essential. The simple inclusion of a barcode printed on the receipt, which can be scanned at the till, will make all the difference, increasing both speed and accuracy.

Offer Email receipts

Digital receipts are catching on fast and it’s one of the simplest ways to add value and convenience to your customer experience. With a positive impact on marketing opt-in rates, you’ll have more customers who are willing to be contacted after they have left the store and it helps you turn the tide on knowing who your customers actually are.

Futura’s preferred partner is yReceipts and brands like 73 Retail are already benefiting. The solution you chose should integrate seamlessly at the till and you’ll want features that allow fast customer search and capture for email data and marketing preferences. ‘Wizard’ style navigation with Post Code validation will help you quickly identify existing customers at the till and speeds the process of account creation, with minimal duplication.

Choose Promotions that hit the mark

With Black Friday fast approaching now is the time you should be thinking about setting up the promotions and discounts you plan to offer and whether these are to be applied automatically or manually at the point of sale. Your EPoS solution should provide different options for creating different types of promotions, for example, offers based on total spend, percentage off, quantity and price, or fixed price. With so many options it might a good time to refresh your skills so revisit tutorials, dig out your user manual or ask your POS supplier for help.

Set User Permissions

With additional temporary staff and busy stores to manage till security can be an issue. With this in mind you should review and update User Permissions for your tills, so you know who is authorised for specific tasks. Check with your supplier if you are not sure how you can restrict functionality or set up user profiles and above all avoid blanket permissions as this is open to abuse.

Get a handle on till behaviour

Understanding till behaviour based on real data is another great way to monitor what is going on and to spotlight issues and security concerns. POS Audit Reports put you in full control with detailed insight as to when and why the till drawer is being opened – essential for monitoring voided sales, and for correcting habits that diverge from the normal store operating procedures. Check what reports your POS solution includes or ask your supplier.

Use Hot Key Functionality

Finally, use your Hot Key functionality. Its standard with most EPoS solutions, but often underused, and the perfect way to speed up transactions for Christmas goodies and those difficult to barcode novelty items and stocking fillers.

So, there’s plenty to keep you busy in the run-up to the festive season and lots you can do to optimise performance at the till. But don’t delay and whatever you do here’s wishing you a profitable season!

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