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Merchandising/POS Software Success Plan

 If your first question is “how much”, instead of what can your POS Software do for my business, you are setting yourself up for failure. Many software companies can give you a bunch of lists, but how do you sort those lists to give you business valuable information? Apple Computer did not invent the mobile music player or touch screen wireless phone, they took existing products and refined them until they were the category leader. ProphetLine did the same thing in refining inventory reporting with the “Easy Retail” plan.

ProphetLine was developed as an integrated POS, inventory and small business financial solution for retail stores. We noticed that when retailers purchased some systems, they usually expected higher profit margins, lower inventory investments, lower shrinkage and better control on procedures. After a few years, however, they often find that little has changed on their financial statements. While most systems only focus on shrinkage and procedures, we designed ProphetLine to help you obtain the more important benefits relating to margins and investment. We call this the “Retail Easy” way of merchandising. We do a multitude of formulas and algorithms behind the scenes and come up with an easy to understand way to run your business and control your inventory, which is the life blood of retailers.

 ProphetLine automatically produces a department/class comparative that gives you the percentage of inventory in each department and the contribution of that department to the overall revenues of the business. If twenty percent of your inventory is in department “A”, but it only contributes ten percent to the overall revenue, you have a problem which can easily be corrected. The “Retail Easy” report is sorted by the best department, best class and best vendors in order of their contribution to your retail business. Normally this is a lot of work and time consuming, but the ProphetLine “Retail Easy” method does everything for you and promotes what you do best, sell your products.

Cheap or Free POS Software

When you see competitors advertising their POS Software prices at extremely low prices, don’t you wonder how they can do this and still deliver good service and good quality. They try to win your business solely on price and hope you never need a flaw fixed or a helpful person to talk to. We constantly replace the number one selling cheap POS software on the market because they only offer basic functionality and bad service. We are seen as a serious software company selling to retailers that have most of their net worth tied up in their business and want answers when they have questions.

All POS software companies have costs associated with their business and need a decent return to continue developing and serving their customer base. Offering cheap POS software says you don’t consider your POS software to have much value to the customer.  This falls in the analogy of the retailer selling T shirts at Times Square. If you have a quarter million new people walk by every day, all you need is glorified, cheap software that can act like a cash register. Your replenishment is taken care of by measuring the height of the stack and ordering a foot of shirts. Remember there is a difference between cheap POS Software and value based, reasonably priced software.

I Love New York Retailing

POS software is not a recent invention but rather a discovery to better use the information gathered at the time of the transaction. Cash registers gave you cash counts and an end of day Z tape with dollars and cents, but where is the data that allowed a small business person to grow. If you don’t care who your customers are, I always use the analogy of selling T-Shirts at Times Square when you have a quarter million new potential customers come by every day. You don’t care who they are or what they really want as long as you have a shirt with “I Love NY” on it. Replenishment is as easy as seeing the stack has gone down a foot, so I order another foot of shirts. Good Retailing is not something that comes to you accidentally, but when you discover innovative ways to use the information gathered at the inception of the transaction. Select the POS software that you know will give you an advantage on your competitors that use the Times Square method of retailing.     

POS Software That Can Prevent The Sinking Ship

I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship building has gone beyond that.
– Captain Edward J. Smith, HMS Titanic

 
Good inventory control is critical to ensure the survival of a retailer during these difficult times. Adequate levels of inventory in relationship to the anticipated sales can’t be accomplished without a plan, preferably an open to buy plan. Having too much or the wrong type of inventory during certain seasons can drastically hurt your cash flow and reduce profits which lead to markdowns and on sale items. Using your departmental comparatives, vendor comparatives and your open to buy planning will ensure you have the best mix to maximize your bottom line. Make sure your point of sale software has these features built in to simplify the inventory management.
 

Mobile POS Software

Some POS Software vendors are promoting a lite version of their software which will do remote sales. ProphetLine POS Software has been able to do this for years. Our POS software is a full functioning version that can be used anywhere to enable sales from trade shows to line busting. When a laptop PC is used in your company network, you can tell the laptop that you are going off-line and it syncs with the server and is its own self contained system. When off-line usage is finished, the laptop is reconnected to the network and it syncs up to the server again and all data is then shared. This is just another usage for retailers that need to squeeze every available dollar out of their potential clientele.  Why buy two systems when one can do it all.

POS Software is Not About How Much, But ROI

If a potential customer’s first question is “How Much”, it’s usually useless to go any further with them. Inexpensive is different from cheap and the way you evaluate that is by the potential return on investment of the POS software. When you are trying to figure out good ways to increase your business in these trying times and go for the cheapest product, you will probably end up with a glorified cash register. The first question you ask is which software can I buy that will transform my business and increase my profitability within the current framework of my retail establishment?  POS software can help you become an efficient retailer by knowing which departments, classes and venders give you good margins, turn rates and sell through percentages. Capturing information at the point of sale is essential to determine these merchandising points and mine more business from your existing customer base. Your customers will gladly give you some personal information if they know that preferential treatment or special pricing is the end result. Notifying them of new product arrivals, private showings or a pending sale are a few of the ways to build your customer loyalty and keep them shopping with you and not your competitors.

Controlling your inventory through reliable reporting within your POS software will allow you to stock less inventory, turn faster and keep better margins.  These are the least expensive and risky ways to keep your business going in tough times. With ProphetLine POS Software, all of these objectives can be met with a low cash outlay. When the client asks “What can your POS software do for my business”, that is the potential customer we are looking for.

POS Software That Competes With the Big Retailers

Small retailers can purchase POS Software with features comparable to those used by their larger competitors at a fraction of the cost. Most large retailers use two to three percent of gross sales as the dollar amount that they will invest in technology each year. A small retailer can do much better than that if they find POS software that is so easy to use, intuitive and does not require an IT staff. Find a POS software company that will be your IT staff and answer questions about procedural issues as well as ongoing support issues.

 
Support staffs at POS software companies need to treat a retailer’s issues as mission critical. If your POS software is down, it can cost you money and disrupt your business flow. Insist that the point-of-sale provider you select offers a “real time” support model. Real time support means that the technician will pick up the phone and answer most of the calls immediately. Another positive that a good POS software company offers is ongoing remote training when new releases are available or the client is not getting the most from the product.

That Fork In The Road is Gone With Good POS Software

Yogi Berra once said; "If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else." If you don’t have a roadmap for your business, you’ll probably end up at that fork in the road that Yogi talks about and it’s a fork that you have no idea where it’s leading. Your POS Software should watch your inventory and help you make purchasing decisions by using the POS transactions and showing you logical actions to take to be a well informed buyer. You don’t need a technical staff and professional buyers to make good purchasing decisions. You just need information that is simple to obtain and easy to understand. If your POS Software does not have open-to-buy and a Retail Stock Ledger, you are not maximizing your revenues. You don’t have to be brilliant to make good purchasing decisions, you just need the right POS Software.