Marketing Tips for 2020
Have you started a marketing plan for 2020 yet? Valentine’s Day is already upon us. Why not start with this simple blueprint for success every holiday and special occasion. Each year you will look polished by taking it to the next level. We can help you make all these ideas flow together with one easy-to-use system.
Decorate Your Website, Social Media Sites and Physical Location
Decorate your website, social media, or storefront to draw attention to your business during the holidays and special occasions. It doesn’t take much effort to add a banner, adjust your store window design, or incorporate festive packaging into your sales. Small acts of festivity will make your customers feel they are acting on a time-limited opportunity.
Create a Holiday-Focused Marketing Campaign
Using videos or holiday-themed campaigns can be extremely useful and should not be overlooked during the season. Thanks to modern technology, creating a short video or online poster can be done in no time.
Stock up on Gift Cards and Place Visual Everywhere
Gift card sales in the United States were approximately $160 billion in 2018, and sales continue to increase every year. It’s essential to stock up on gift cards and make them available at your customer’s reach.
Invest in a New Point of Sale System or update your old one
According to the National Retail Federation, Holiday sales during 2019 were expected to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018. Overall, holiday sales represent approximately 20% of annual sales per year, which means that if you don’t know what your percentages are, its time you invested in a POS System! A Point of Sale System not only tracks your sales, inventory, and employees but also gives you a complete ordering history to make future purchases faster and more intuitive.
Give a Holiday Gift with every order
A great way to inspire customer loyalty is to offer a gift with each purchase. This can be something as small as a coupon, information, product, or even a token of your company. The idea is to make your customers feel included in the celebration.
Offer a Sale
An easy and smart way to encourage company growth is through holiday sales. Days such as Cyber Monday are great opportunities for companies to increase profit through sales. All you need to do is plan what you will put on sale before the holiday is upon us and start doing some Digital Marketing or even some print mailers. Some companies also go the extra mile and offer presales to exclusive club members. Yet another perfect reason to use a POS System to capture valuable customer information. These kinds of loyalty perks inspire potential customers to invest in your company and keep customers coming back for more.
Remember we don’t plan, to fail we fail to plan!
Customer loyalty programs are smart, innovative ways to increase revenue and create repeat business. These easy to implement programs not only create loyal, happy customers they give you a method to reach out to those customers with specials and new products. Also, 69% of consumers say they make their shopping decisions based on their loyalty programs or lack thereof. Studies also reveal that although finding new customers is crucial for a thriving company, it is far less expensive and better to maintain your current customers.
Loyal customers advertise for you
Loyalty programs are not a new concept, however, they can be very versatile. They can be in the form of an app, an email, or a simple letter in the mail. Having an app on their phone offers your customers a convenient shopping experience, and increases company awareness for potential customers. Appreciating your customers will draw them to your company, as well as maintain their interest. On average, a loyal customer can be worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase with your company. Personalized loyalty programs are very appealing to customers, such as a customized email with their name.
There are many ways to use loyalty programs. Most companies use points by tracking purchases. Companies such as Starbucks and Tarte use this method. For every purchase customers make, the business gives them the value spent in points. Customers save their points and redeem rewards or discounts exclusive to the company’s loyalty program. Some programs even encourage customers to positively review or share their products on social media in return for additional points. Turning their customers into advertisers for the business.
Easy to implement and inexpensive
In addition, loyalty programs are not expensive and can be set up a few different ways; using a POS or terminal to capture customer data and track purchases or a simple app customers can download on their phones. Decide which method you prefer, choose your reward and watch your profits grow. Most programs will track and reward your customer and the newer loyalty systems may even text or email you to notify you of the reward with beacon technology. Many systems just keep track of benefits and work only when a customer asks to use their card.
The small amount invested will be worth it when your profit increases. On average, companies will spend up to eleven times more on finding new customers than maintaining the ones they already have. Reaching out to your current customers is simple once you have the data. Also, sharing on social media has never been easier.
As technology continues to advance, so do company reward programs. It’s always a good idea to revisit your existing program and keep up with current trends to maximize company profits and maintain your customer loyalty. Whether in the form of an app, an email, or a letter, customer appreciation stretches far. Loyalty and customer reward programs are extremely efficient in inspiring customer loyalty and maximizing profits. If you do not have a program in place it’s time you looked into one.
Could this be happening at your restaurant?
How many times have you used a credit card at a restaurant, added a tip and signed for the total, and then just threw it away?
For most people, that’s the regular occurrence, but on occasion, servers are changing the tip amount to put more money in their pocket. This is stealing from your guests and guarantees they will never come back. Tip bumping may also make people avoid your restaurant altogether. If there is a known restaurant or establishment has staff that is stealing, guests will not be coming through the doors and worse yet, they are spreading the word. The sad thing is you may never realize it until someone complains and by then the brand damage has been done.
How does it happen?
Tip bumping in a restaurant is simple to do without check systems in place. All a server has to do is make a few slight modifications by changing a 1 in front of a 2 or by changing a 6 or to a 9. They can also reprint the slip, adjust and sign it themselves. How many times have you requested a copy of your signature? Some waitstaff only target foreign tourists as the currency conversion is complex and it is a safer way to steal. Others feel entitled after they feel they have been slighted by a small tipper.
To remedy tip bumping there are three main strategies: audit, automate, and watch. These three options are the most effective when used together and help eliminate tip bumping and angry guests.
The restaurant manager or owner closing out should always verify the recorded tips and totals on each server’s checkout with the actual tips and totals on the credit card receipts. This method seems tedious but is the only way to ensure accuracy and guests check amounts are recorded properly.
Implementing a Pay-at-the-Table POS or Kiosk eliminates the old paper receipt system and the tip is entered into the POS by the guest, ensuring the correct tip is recorded. The server only handles cash transactions and tips with this method.
Install a camera system within your Restaurant POS for firsthand recordings of the theft being committed.
Most of these types of crimes go undetected until the customer complains. Some merchants have even had servers arrested if they are caught tip bumping. Nothing sends a better signal to the rest of the staff, that this is a real crime and it will not be tolerated. It is also encouraged to do background screenings on new hires as incidents like this or others will appear on their record protecting employers from theft and brand damage.
Fortunately most servers are honest but you if you suspect this is happening at your restaurant, it probably is. Protect your business, patrons and reputation by taking precautions. If you don’t have systems in place, we will be happy to help.
Your business security depends on the information that you retain and how you monitor your everyday transactions. There are many ways to do this both with internal measures and technology with the new Point of Sale Systems available today.
Too many times, you (the business owner) are left in the dark as fraud and theft happens right under your nose. Thieves are getting more experienced every day with the various tools they have to violate your business and thus rob you of what you’ve earned. The steps to prevent this are many but vary according to your business type. One of the most common areas of concern, unfortunately, is from your employees.
One suggestion is to find out the what, the where, and the when. What are your current and future employees skills, where have they worked, and when did they work there? A detailed background report is easy to get and inexpensive compared to the potential financial loss.
Another method of prevention is employee training, which can and should include process training and data security procedures. Many times we are so familiar with the processes ourselves that we forget or skim over them when training a new employee. To solve this, have a written “New Employee” checklist and USE IT. Also, use the security awareness policy & training available in your PCI Portal.
Do you receive Email or Text alerts from your POS when specific events happen in your store?
- A payment, refund, tip, or discount exceeds a specified amount
- An item or an entire order is deleted, the alert message will indicate whether it’s a PRINTED item/order
- An online (or any other type of) order is paid
- A custom item is added to an order
- The quantity available for an item falls below a specified threshold. (Stock app required)
- An item has expired or is expiring soon (Stock app required)
- Cash in the drawer exceeds a specified amount (Cash Track app required)
- Partial payment is made
- Cash is removed from the drawer
- The cash drawer is opened without a transaction
- An item is deleted from Inventory
- An order stays open too long
Now Available with the Ping Me If app from Clover. It is integrated with all your information in your Clover System.
Prices available on request.
Point-of-Sale Fraud Alert
Recent incidents in the U.S. in which criminals are committing fraud through processing fraudulent return transactions. As part of the fraud scheme, criminals obtain Point-of-Sale (POS) devices—either from an acquirer or agent while posing as a merchant, from online resellers or auctions, or through theft—and program the POS devices with the credentials of a legitimate merchant, thus effectively cloning the unsuspecting merchant’s actual POS device. Criminals use the cloned POS devices to complete returns to gift cards, often in the range of $2,000 – $6,000 per transaction. After the returns are posted to the gift cards, the cards are cashed out at ATMs. Criminals prefer gift cards and in some instances debit cards. These products fund rapidly, allowing fraudsters to get their hands-on cash immediately.
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Always verify anyone calling you posing as your merchant provider
- Monitor your transactions often, especially credits
- Make sure your terminal or POS doesn’t allow credits without a corresponding sale
- Educate your employees
- Never let anyone other than your merchant provider, touch your terminal or Point-of-Sale System
- Change passwords often and use caution if you are working remotely
As a business owner, you can never be too cautious. These crimes happen primarily on the weekends (especially long holiday weekends). Criminals will choose to take advantage of the operating hours of the merchant and financial institutions. Protect your business this holiday and throughout the year!
Is your Credit Card Terminal causing you to lose valuable transactions? It may be time to update the programming in your terminal or even time to look for a new solution.
Ingenico Credit Card Terminals
The clock is ticking on the Ingenico ICT220 and ICT250 terminals. We recommend that ALL Ingenico devices be updated to the new Trust certificates. Certificates begin to expire in May 2019 on Models V2 and older.
If the Trust certificate expires before it has been updated, your equipment will need to be replaced. The download of the new file extends the Trust Certificate’s expiration date to the year 2029.
The certificates in these terminals are nearing expiration, and it is only a matter of time before you will experience issues or lose processing capabilities altogether. It is imperative you update these terminals now.
Pax Credit Card Terminals
Your terminal may need an update to accept debit cards. The new EMV chip and PCI Compliance regulations allow the card issuing Banks to determine whether a PIN number is required. The merchant and/or cardholder will no longer be able to choose how the transaction is processed. Entering a PIN is always the most secure method for processing credit card transactions, and is the best way to verify the transaction is not fraudulent.
Credit Card Terminal Updates or a new POS System will Save Down Time and Money!
Downtime and outdated equipment can cost your business dearly. Make sure you update your credit card processing terminals when needed. If your Merchant Processor hasn’t reached out to you to update this certification, call us, and we will be happy to help.
It may even be time to think about replacing your current terminal to a smart terminal to collect data or even a POS (Point of Sale System). A POS System can track your inventory, keep time and attendance for your employees, and also track customers and their spending habits. The newer POS systems can calculate and pay sales tax and ping you…yes ping you, when someone is opening a cash drawer without a sale occurring. Imagine the possibilities, increased profits and the time you will gain with these new simple to use systems. Isn’t it time you consider what a new POS system can do for your company?