Highly capable new technology and functionalizes are constantly teasing small business owners with new and improved ways to run a business. POS software solutions are evolving at a frenzied pace, as are a variety of accounting, omni-channel, and workspace software solutions. Adding cloud-based applications and storage, along with smartphone and tablet apps, all work to drive a sense of confusion and fear into the minds of owners looking to improve. This is why you need to understand your unique small business technology priorities.
Prioritizing which processes need to be addressed is a key part of solving your technology problems. This can also be the most confusing and time-consuming portion of a technology refresh. Understanding the level of effort, as well as knowing what and where to look can add to the anxiety around this process. While we fully embrace the practice of engaging an experienced consultant to help you through this minefield, we have also devised a short series of case studies that can provide you with simple, business sector-based outlines to get things started.
Analyzing Small Business Technology Priorities in Retail
Small retailers have some unique challenges that must be addressed when looking to weigh both value and customer engagement qualities of any incoming technical solution. Retailers face looking at the POS terminal sitting on the counter, as well as improving inventory controls, understanding where their products stack up against competitors, boosting staff productivity, and developing or updating customer loyalty program.
A small clothing retailer we worked with considered themselves as being successful. The store was filled on the weekends, the till drawer was opening at a steady pace, and profits were good. They noticed that certain items in the backroom were growing dust bunnies and that some of the staff seemed disengaged, especially during the morning and evening shifts. Also, their POS hardware needed a refresh, as customers were more frequently asking to use tap cards and eWallets.
After a brief once over of the store’s operations, we sat down with the owners and determined that all of their priorities could be addressed easily in one go. By implementing a new POS solution that brought next-gen payment processing, inventory management, and staff performance monitoring functions to the table, all of its technical priorities could be met. The simplicity and flexibility of the solution used with this client enabled them to implement a proactive customer loyalty program that allowed the owners to customize the shopping experience for each individual customer.
Common Small Business Technology Priorities for Restaurateurs
Restaurateurs face many of the same challenges that their retail colleagues often face. Always on the search for the next big thing, restaurant owners are also looking for ways to leverage technology in order to gain a competitive edge. Slim profit margins and even slimmer amounts of minutes in the day make any technology refresh a daunting endeavor for any restaurateur. Previously, it was as simple as updating the space and the menus, but as consumer demands for new and fresh dining trends continue to accelerate, the pressure on restaurant owners will only grow.
We recently worked with a restaurant group that was looking to make a change. It had long depended on a family-style atmosphere, and its mixture of sit down family dining and QSR has been successful. Unfortunately, a recent civil initiative has driven up the amount of competition in their area, thanks to a push to make their avenue the hip dining district in the county. Facing an influx of fine dining establishments, cafes, and QSRs, the competition took a 40% bit out of this restaurant group’s bottom line. They needed help and needed it yesterday.
Examining their processes showed us some stark technology contrasts to the competition. While they could handle phone-in take-out orders, there was no ability for customers to order to pay online. They did not have a customer rewards program in place, were without a kitchen display system (KDS), and the wait staff was running around taking orders using pen and paper. Worse, only swipe credit cards could be accepted, and thanks to an outdated merchant account, they required customers to make a $10 purchase if they were paying by card.
The priorities here were many and their budget small, so we helped them to simplify their choices to get the most out of the least. We found and implemented a POS solution that gave them the ability to upgrade their till to accept a wide range of payments. This solution also gave them an app-based operating model, so wait staff could take orders on tablets and have them instantly relayed to the kitchen via their new KDS. The use of tablet-based apps allowed them to create a self-help kiosk in the QSR portion of their business and to take online orders. Through this, they were able to use local delivery services, which greatly expanded their potential customer reach.
Small Business Technology Priorities Include Omni-Channel Business Models
The technical priorities that omni-channel brings will still be relatively the same as they were before, except you are now looking at how your online storefront should operate. The enhancements you will need from your POS solution must not only improve how your business operates but must also improve the customer experience through an engaging interface. This means that any technical refresh you undertake must start and end with the customer in mind.
A small pet boutique owner was looking at not just expanding her customer reach at her current location, but was exploring the idea of opening a new storefront a few miles away in a newly vacated building. She had observed traffic in that area, as well as conducted a retail competitive analysis, and determined the site a perfect fit. She also had the idea of selling popular items such as pet food and kitty litter online for after-hours purchases, to later be picked up at the customer’s convenience.
After conducting an analysis of her existing and future small business technology priorities, we determined that an omni-channel approach would be a great fit to stimulate the growth she was seeking. Tying this all together into an all-encompassing, cloud-based POS solution was the recommended path. This would give her the online presence she wanted, via a smartphone and tablet app, and gave her the centralized storage and management she would need to effectively manage two locations at once.
Expertise in Developing Small Business Technology Priorities
Improving your small business technology priorities requires you to use enhanced POS functionalities that are only available in modern POS technologies. Determining where to start in developing your technical strategy requires you to know where your priorities are, and be willing to change them as the situation dictates. This presents you with door opening opportunities while minimizing the chance for costly mistakes.
Leveraging the experience and technical knowledge of a qualified outside consultant can be a game-changer in your efforts at a technical refresh. When selecting a consultant, you want them to be on top of the cutting edge technologies in the POS world, while having real-world business savvy in your respective business sector and marketplace. They will make sure that you are comfortable with your choices, and will never pressure you into choosing something that does not feel right.
Enlisting the help of a POS systems expert is imperative to your business operations when seeking a POS solution. The expert will help you to develop a concise list of technical priorities that all work to better your bottom line. Our goal at talech is to leave you feeling confident knowing the system you’re implementing gives you the results you desire. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.