September is here…which indicates it’s Back to School season! Not only is Back to School significant to students, but it is also a lucrative time of year for retailers of office supplies, stationery and youth clothing. Needless to say, back to school sales will definitely help retailers overcome a summer lull with a spike in sales which would be characterized by bustling point of sale systems in shops across the country.
Point of Sale Systems
Point of sale systems (POS) are typically comprised of cash register stations which today most often include computers, monitors, cash drawers, receipt printers, customer displays and barcode scanner, in addition to a debit/credit card processing terminal of course. In fact, the terminology of Point of Sale systems and the debit/credit card reader are often used interchangeably although technically incorrect. Point of sale systems are employed when a customer wants to and is ready to make a purchase, where the merchant scans the item to be purchased, the computer logs the info, and the monitor display informs the customer how much it is. After the customer pays at the point of sale terminal, the receipt printer prints out a receipt for the customer to retain. Moreover, modern day point of sale systems have additional features to cater for advanced functionality, such as inventory management, CRM, financials, warehousing, etc.
Businesses are increasingly adopting point of sale systems as a key benefit of point of sale systems is that they do not require price tags. The prices of the merchandise are linked to the product code, so all the cashier has to do is scan the code and process the sale. If there is a price change, all the cashier has to do is modify the item via the point of sale systems components. Other advantages include the ability to quickly implement various types of discounts, a loyalty program for customers and stock control.
Back to School Facts
According to an article written by Huffington Post Canada, they’ve conducted a research study across major cities, determining school supply requirement lists to garner how much spending is dedicated to school supplies for Grade 5 students. The team at Huffington Post searched for items on Staples.ca and Walmart.ca, buying generic or store brands and taking the average of the two prices.
The result they found was that the average spending for school supplies was $108 per child but this only accounts for school supplies alone, and did not include clothes, extra-curricular fees, and other lessons or activities outside of school. The researchers and writers relayed the following tricks to enable parents to stick within a reasonable budget:
- Buy items in bulk, such as pens, pencils, typical stationery
- Be resourceful! Look around your house, there might be items you already have lying around that are still useful and even brand new
- Shop around. Don’t be confined to one shop, because a lot of stores will feature aggressive promotions as they will be competing for your business. Browse around and you are bound to find great deals
- Dollar stores sometimes offer liquidation of quality brand name products at unbeatable prices
- Most importantly, if you have a plan and a budget, stick to it. Don’t let other tempting offers distract you from your plan.
Trends that Retailers Should Watch Out For…
For the 2016 Back to School season, a new report from Ernst & Young, has shown that Canadians will be shopping online and using their mobile devices to shop more than ever. Therefore, it has never been more important to leverage online content and multi-channel strategies to reach Canadian shoppers of all ages. Statistically, Canadians are expected to be spending 4.5% more than last year, and they will undoubtedly be utilizing E-Commerce services and their mobile devices to find the best deals. However, traditional brick-and-mortar stores would still benefit from back to school sales because parents would rather shop in a department store or the mall to physically see the items being purchased. Consequently, having efficient and effective point of sale systems would be beneficial for any retailer that wants to maximize their sales during the rush.
How to Utilize Social Media Channels to Gain Traffic
Social media offers numerous high traffic platforms that will assist marketers in maximizing their revenue during back-to-school season. There are two target groups that retailers should watch out for: parents and students. Parents’ buying decisions are more influenced by practical factors such as free shipping and flexible return policies.
The second group is obviously the students, who are in their teens or tweens. Since more kids are active on Instagram, Pinterest plus Snapchat, their buying behavior and decision making will be heavily based on their friends’ and followers’ Instagram pictures. Since teenagers chat with their friends on Snapchat, they might be heavily influenced by what their peers want to buy and think about their school supply selections. Pinterest is a great place to look for visual inspirations; parents can utilize this social media tool to find out the latest trends on what to buy for their children.
In terms of the retailer’s perspective, it would be a smart move to leverage Pinterest and Instagram to attract their customers so they will be able to increase the visibility of the types of merchandise they have to offer via social media platforms.
Tips on Maximizing your Back to School Sales
Based on the findings of Marketing Tech Blog, the following are helpful tips that E-Commerce sites and retailers should apply when brainstorming back to school ideas:
- Mommy Bloggers – Mommy bloggers are great way to build awareness and drive sales
- Cool Kids – All kids want to look cool, so focus on your showcasing your products that are cool or present them in a cool way, so kids will pay attention to it
- Emotional Context – It would be ideal for your product to elicit emotions. Since product features aren’t enough to drive sales, your content needs to build emotional context because kids will be drawn to that
- Get Visual with Social Media – Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are all great platforms for youth and parents to find shopping ideas
- Discounts – Nobody is going to say no to discounts, so the more discounts you can offer the better. But be smart about it, make sure you satisfy margin requirements or think of it as a Loss Leader strategy
What are the benefits of partnering with MONEXgroup on Point of Sale Systems and Payment Processing Solutions ?
MONEXgroup’s Integrated / Semi-Integrated payment processing terminals offer a compatible solution that is “plug and play” with the leading and popular Point of Sale Systems in the market. These user-friendly solutions are facilitated via an EMV & PCI compliant terminal communicating with approved third party point of sale systems seamlessly. The ECRi (Electronic Cash Register Interface) integration allows merchants to securely process Debit and Credit card transactions at a consistently rapid speed with absolute accuracy. Integrated Payment Solutions provide the business owner with greater visibility into finances, inventory and operations management. At MONEXgroup, we always take the time to recommend and demonstrate the most ideal and compatible point of sale systems and terminals for our merchants’ business needs. For example, if a merchant runs a retail business that has a physical store such as spa, clothing store, or hair salon, we suggest the Clover Mini which has the Tap & Go feature and can be operated on a Phone Line & Internet. If your business is a restaurant, bar, nightclub, or you own and run a delivery service, or work outside as a contractor, then the long-range Clover Flex is the solution for you which connects on a 3G/4G network. But it’s not all about the point of sale systems or our terminals – it is actually the outstanding level of service that separates MONEXgroup from other payment processing providers.
When partnering with the number one Canadian merchant services in Canada; MONEXgroup payment processing will increase your efficiency and quality of service and lower the related costs. Request a Cost Comparison Analysis today.
Author: Lindsey Lu, Marketing Communication Specialist, MONEXgroup
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