The Importance of Customer Loyalty Programs

Customers are now driving trends by demanding more for less and better value.

Driving Growth

Loyalty programs should be seen as a key cog in delivering on customer expectations as they are one of the most efficient and effective ways to deliver end users a value-added service whilst also increasing a retailer’s income. 

By using a loyalty program in conjunction with an integrated digital marketing campaign, stores are able to reach customers with more engaging messaging and a greater likelihood of increasing the purchasing propensity of a customer.

Research shows that retailers with rewards programs will develop a more loyal customer base who shop more frequently and spend more in each shop. 

60% of customers prefer stores with loyalty schemes 

(Deloitte, June 2017)

Intelligent Reporting

At the same time these businesses are gathering a mass of insightful customer data, allowing retailers to drilldown on emerging trends and shopping habits of their target market. 

Retailers can utilise this data to develop sales and inventory forecasts and to better shape multiple marketing strategies such as customised campaigns to target high value customer segments, incentivise disconnected customers to return or convert low value customers into increased spenders.

48% of consumers will spend more instore if they know they’re going to be rewarded

(Nielsen, Feb 2017)

Foodland SA Deliver Best Customer Satisfaction in Australia

The national Metcash awards have coincided with a recent report released by consumer research firm Canstar which found that Foodland customers are the most satisfied supermarket customers in Australia, dethroning German discounter Aldi for the first time in three years. Foodland was recognised for striking a successful balance between value for money and quality products in their consumer offerings, a balance which many feel has been lost in the recent supermarket “price wars”.

 

Other interesting information to come from the study includes;

 

$136 – average weekly supermarket spend

39% - The number of consumers who shop at only on supermarket chain

28% - Of consumers have switched supermarkets in the past 12 months

49% - Believe they could save money by shopping at a different supermarket chain 

Boost In-Store Sales with Afterpay for Brick & Mortar Retailers

Buy now pay later selling is nothing new for retailers or customers, yet the interest free, no deposit finance market has seen a number of disruptive business models emerge in recent times.

King of these has been Afterpay which allows customers to pay off purchases in four instalments with no upfront payment. All that is needed is to create an account and the payments are automatically deducted every two weeks. Afterpay don’t charge any interest or fees unless a payment is missed.

 

Online retailers have been using Afterpay to great success and have been able to drive serious sales growth for retailers, especially amongst millennial market segments. However, brick and mortar retailers shouldn’t feel left out as they too can reap the benefits as Afterpay is available instore.

More importantly retailers need not assume any risk by offering Afterpay either as, besides driving sales, Afterpay guarantees retailers up-front payment automatically and the company assumes the end-user non-payment risk. 

The importance of after sales support and service

When dealing with high involvement purchases such as retail solutions and equipment, owners and managers must look further than the initial purchase price in order to evaluate true value.

 

In the age of extended trading hours and 7 day opens, before examining costings, retailers should begin by dissecting the after sales service being offered complimentary to the purchase. Even the world’s best software and equipment is bound to have glitches and teething problems – especially in new stores – and it’s in these times of fault which the true value of an offering becomes evident.

 

Bearing this in mind we have identified the four key reasons why after sales support is one of the most important considerations of a purchase process.

 

1.     Business Continuity & Risk Mitigation

Every retailer knows of, or worse has, that horror story when equipment failed at the worst possible time. Whether it’s the bakery whose oven failed the week before Easter or the supermarket whose point of sale system failed Christmas eve. Unfortunately, these occurrences are unavoidable and all too familiar for many in the industry, yet the truth of the matter is all of these situations are manageable with a proper level of after sales service. Suppliers with adept service and support departments can swiftly move to install loan equipment or enact remote repairs in the case of software outages.

 

2.     Compliance & Best Practice

By maintaining an ongoing relationship with suppliers, retailers can be assured that not only are they protected from the risk of losses but also that their operations remain compliant at all times. In today’s heavily regulated market, ensuring occupational health and safety standards are met and maintained is not only a retailer’s responsibility it can also help drive company culture towards a more efficient and effective model which in turn creates a happier more energetic work force. Suppliers can assist in this area by providing training, manuals and documentation as needed and ensuring retailers immediately become aware of any issues that may arise with various pieces of equipment.

 

3.     Principled Suppliers

It makes sense that if a supplier is offering any level of after sales service and support they must believe in their product and trust its capabilities. The cost in absorbing warranty work for cheap and nasty equipment is enough to put anyone out of business and reputable operators simply won’t take that risk. By careful examining the terms of a products warranty or support contract retailers can quickly establish the principles of the potential supplier

 

4.     Long Term Cost Savings  

This goes back to what we said in our first point about risk mitigation and as the old adage goes a little short term pain will often translate into long term gains. Paying a little bit extra for the superior product then investing a nominal amount in regular service and support will deliver a far greater ROI then engaging in the endless cycle of buying cheaper equipment which suffers breakdowns and more often than not is cheaper to scrap than repair.

Protecting your business against ransomware

Since the new year a spate of businesses has reported unprecedented levels of attempted ransomware intrusions. In 2016 nearly 3,000 businesses fell victim to ransomware and some estimates suggest one in every 30 businesses will be targeted each year. Sadly, at GaP we are seeing a growing number of business falling victim to these scams which could be easily avoided through simple security protocols.

 

What it is

 

Commonly known as a crypto locker virus, it is a ransomware file which accesses a computer or network through and .EXE file disguised as an authentic .PDF file, usually a bill or letter from trusted brands such as Telco’s, utilities providers or Australian Post. Once opened the virus will encrypt and lock every file it can access then display a message demanding payment to unencrypt the files. Top IT experts agree that in most cases it is impossible or unfeasible to ignore the malware and attempt to unencrypt the files manually. Unsurprisingly many victims state that even after paying the ransom their files remain encrypted

 

How to avoid being infected

 

Whilst the software which encrypts your files is incredibly advanced the method in which it infects is almost rudimentary. Without someone opening the malicious file the ransomware cannot gain access to a computer or network. To avoid falling victim to a crypto lock scam businesses should follow these steps;

 

·      Regularly back up data to an external location such as a backup service or external drive. Importantly the drive must not be assigned a drive letter or be connected when not performing backups.

 

·      Ensure all operating software is updated as required and your anti-malware software is current.

 

·      Educate all employees with access to email accounts on the dangers of ransomware, how they work and how they are disguised.

 

·      Ensure employees who handle accounts are aware of accounts which will send invoices and correspondence vis email

 

·      Avoid suspicious downloads, especially torrent downloads, even from apparently “safe” locations.

 

·      Re-enable the ability for your mail account to show hidden file extensions. Microsoft’s default behavior is to hide known file extension, meaning suspect looking files can be masked. Furthermore, you can set your email to filter and block specific files, such as (.EXE) executables

 

Ensuring Staff Embrace the Efficiency Mindest

The efficiency mindset is vital in the adoption of your POS solution.

Humans are naturally resistant to change; however, when your staff can see the benefits of the change such as less errors, less time troubleshooting problems & overall quicker processing they are open to learning something new, something beneficial.

GaP Solutions ezi-pos is very easy to learn, we researched and went back to the drawing board time and time again because as former retailers we know what it takes to motivate organisation wide adoption and how easy a POS should be to operate.

Thankfully, our user friendly UI means staff can be trained and using the POS within minutes of install.

GaP Solutions offers POS training and service support across hardware and software, every call is logged and attended to in a tracking system.

 managers and workers must work together to ensure efficiency targets can be realised 

managers and workers must work together to ensure efficiency targets can be realised 

4 Reasons Retailers Need to Invest in Technology

Like it or not retailers are operating in a tech driven society, whether you’re a high end boutique or the local corner store these days a retailer can’t afford to be living in the dark ages. From grass roots social media brand awareness campaigns to influencing in-store - purchases technology has forever altered the consumer experience.

 

There is a plethora of benefits we could highlight from embracing technology in your retail space but for now we will focus on the core reasons every retail MUST invest in technology.

 

1.    Payment Security

As we move to an increasingly cashless marketplace the emphasis on store security must also swing from the physical to the digital. At the very least retailers should all by now have embraced EMV “chip” readers for eftpos terminals but further consideration must be given to the network integrity, point to point encryptions and even the security or your communications. Of course if you also offer an ecommerce platform then a whole other world of variables must be considered.

 

2.    Time Saving

For a long time, software has focused on a silo model, doing what it does well but not allowing information to flow between different business processes. Now as cloud based SaaS’s (software as a service) proliferate and RESTful API’s become the norm, retailers can now enjoy the benefits of having a POS system which updates an inventory control system which than auto restocks based on previous sales data. A loyalty or rewards system will share customer data with a marketing automation system to curate custom offerings based on a shopper’s behavior and previous purchases. Giving owners and managers more time to step out of the back office and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

 

3.    Interactive Everything

Now days seemingly every device, from fridges to coffee machines feature internet connectivity and whilst some may say it seem likes overkill, this prevalence of technology provides for greater levels of interactions with consumers. By capitalizing on new technology, any consumer facing device can now be utilized to enhance a consumers instore experience by personalizing offers, identifying repeat customers and contributing to a word of mouth buzz.

 

By embracing emerging augmented reality (AR) technology these retailers have been able to differentiate their offerings from competitors through value added services.

·      Cosmetics chain Sephora launched AR technology which enables customers to view different styles and shades of makeup on them without the need to physically apply it accompanying this are customer facing iPads which display product tutorials.

·      IKEA launched a digital AR catalogue for tablets which enabled customers to experience what different pieces of furniture would look like in their homes.

·      London based Topshop unveiled a virtual reality dressing room which removed the need for customers to enter the change rooms.

 

4.    Insight Rich Data

The beauty of interactive technology is that not only does it entice increased customer engagement but it is also capable of capturing rich data on consumer behavior. The same wireless technology which can be used to interact with customers on an individual level can also interact with the customer’s mobile devices to track browsing and shopping habits and then send targeted messages via Beacon transmitters placed around a store. By capturing such rich data, retailers will gain greater customer insights, providing more effective identification and realization of opportunities. The technology will significantly increase a retailer’s acquisition marketing levels and will provide a far greater overall ROI on marketing activities through enhanced information.

 

 

GaP Solutions is an industry leader in retail POS software and hardware, offering tailored solutions for industries such as grocery, fresh produce, fuel and liquor amongst others. Visit ezipos.cloud for more information on point of sale and back office systems.

 

How to reduce theft at self service checkouts

Regardless of technological advancements & security measures, self-checkout systems often found in supermarkets and convenience stores solely depend on the honesty of customers for scanning, and paying for their shopping.

 

In a recent study, it has been revealed one third of all customers “cheat” the self-checkout machines.

Some technological security measures built in to the self-checkout machine utilize scales in the bagging area. However, shoppers find these measures are easy to get around.

 

Shoppers carry out all kinds of tasks to cheat the self-checkout, including:

    Swapping barcodes on items

    Scan more expensive fruit & veg as lower cost varieties

    Avoid scanning an item all together and simply placing it on the floor in an already packed bag.

     

Emmeline Taylor is a criminologist and comments shopper’s attitudes toward supermarkets as massive corporations makes it okay to cheat the self-serve checkouts.

 

Others believe their actions are justified because they are forced to do the work of a checkout attendant, or that they’ve had to put up with problems in the checkout process and the mis-scanning of items is simply a mistake or accident.

 

Solutions to reduce theft and cheating at self-service checkouts include a simply login screen at the start of every self-checkout system’s sequence, where the shopper must agree to be honest and not cheat the system – research suggests this could play into the minds of the human psyche.

 

Another popular solution is to schedule a staff member to greet shoppers entering the self-checkout service area, reminding them they are there to help them.

 

The presence of the staff member can also act as a deterrent to shopper’s considering cheating the system.

GaP Solutions can tailor yourself serve checkouts how you want them, talk to us now about all your point of sale equipment needs

Why pick a cloud based point of sale & back office system?

 

In today’s tough retail market vendors must actively embrace cutting edge technology to ensure business viability and success. Cloud based point of sale and back office systems provide the greatest return on investment and “bang for your buck” by embracing the resource pooling concept to allow retailers far greater efficient and effective options compared to traditional systems. The following aspects of cloud technologies distinguish the benefits of installing such a system.

 

Mobility

 

Cloud based software was born out of the increasingly mobile society of today. The recent advancements in e-commerce and retail technology mean that businesses have been able to vastly expand their geographical reach. By employing a cloud based back office system, retailers can manage every aspect of trade from off site, or from a head office for multisite vendors.

 

With a cloud based POS system, owners and managers will find a far greater level of flexibility by being able to utilize countless wireless devices, such as tablets and smartphones, as mobile points of sale. With enhanced options for POS retailers can expect to see improved customer satisfaction, especially in peak service times.

 

Integration

 

The integration of loyalty programs and the ability to capture consumer information gives owners and managers the power to identify real time opportunities and create campaigns, rewards or incentives with a few simple clicks to realise and maximise the potential of the opportunity.

Cloud solutions with RESTful API’s will easily integrate with third party software and apps to streamline and simplify accounting, ordering, marketing and forecasting. By automating and integrating across all aspects of a business, owners and managers can spend less time on tedious yet necessary tasks.

Security

 

Contrary to popular opinions cloud infrastructure can be as secure as legacy systems, in fact 64% of IT professionals reported that cloud solutions are actually more secure. Data breaches relating to cloud systems are almost always related to human error and usually result from entry via a third party vendor. The heightened concern relating to cloud security has actually seen vast improvements in security, meaning cloud based solutions will almost certainly provide you the greatest bang for your buck security wise.

 

Greater ROI

 

As mentioned earlier, by utilizing resource pooling to mitigate costs, cloud solutions have been shown to provide a 2.1 return on investment compared with on premise solutions. Lower initial and ongoing costs as well as a 91% drop in energy usage costs for a comparable on premise system make it hard to overlook a cloud based system.

 

Less Downtime

 

By choosing to go with a managed cloud solution, retailers will benefit from greater consistency and reliability. On premise IT infrastructure is expensive to maintain and extremely costly in periods of outages. Most cloud providers offer Service Level Agreements which stipulate 24/7 availability, whilst outages may still occur with a cloud solution, failover mechanisms on servers can quickly transmit hosted applications via other available servers.

 

Questions to ask?

 

When exploring your options for cloud based POS/BO you will invariably discover numerous providers. To help choose the right solution here are the four questions you must ask before making your selection.

 

1.     Can the cloud solution be scaled up to meet increased demand and business growth?

 

2.     What support and after sale service does the provider offer?

 

3.     What is the provider’s history of downtime, have any major issues occurred with their solution?

 

4.     How secure is my data and what happens in the event of a disaster?

 

GaP Solutions is an industry leader in retail POS software and hardware, offering tailored solutions for industries such as grocery, fresh produce, fuel and liquor amongst others. Visit ezipos.cloud for more information on point of sale and back office systems