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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Handling Multiple Facings with a POS System

Do you have new plan-o-grams coming from the June market? Did you order in a clip-strip assortment to do some cross-merchandising? These always look good at the market, until you’re back in the store trying to figure out how to manage one SKU on multiple pegs or in two different locations. From a logical standpoint, it’s tempting to eliminate the duplicate locations to avoid the inevitable challenge of managing the inventory in your POS system. Don’t give in! We are in the retail business, and multiple locations sell more product.

Here are a few ideas for handling items that have multiple facings and/or multiple locations:

1. For shelved items (i.e. motor oil), invest in some colored plastic strips that fit the shelf rail. For each SKU, cut a length of the material and install it where you are merchandising the product. Slip your bin label in on top of the material, and center it under the merchandise displayed along the plastic strip. Be sure to use colors that enhance your display and don’t clash with the actual product on the shelf.

2. A second way to handle shelved items is to use the same concept as in #1, but instead of using plastic inserts in the rails you can use white (or another complimentary color) electrical tape on the horizontal surface of the shelf, up close to the front rail. Center the bin label on the rail below the area that the tape spans, and spread out your merchandise along the tape.

3. For items that hang on multiple hooks or are merchandised in multiple locations, try using a small colored dot on the bin label to indicate the product has multiple locations. They should be inconspicuous to the customer, but serve as a flag to your employees that the item has multiple locations. This technique also works for overstock items.

Once you’ve developed a system that you like, train your employees to understand it and use it. Everyone who merchandises new items, stocks shelves, maintains the presentation on the sales floor, and counts inventory needs to be on the same page.

Do you have other ideas? Click the comment link below and share your thoughts!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

If You Dislike CHANGE… You Are Going to Have a Hard Time Coping with Irrelevance


Maybe Charles Darwin, the great British Naturalist and author of the Theory of Evolution in the mid 1800’s, holds the key to our success. He said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

This week Rick Segel did a webinar on the power of Inbound Marketing and it made me think of the changes that have already occurred and those changes that are yet to be.

Read these facts and you might be in awe as well. Many of these are just subtle shifts in behavior that we have all become part of.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Social media principles existed long ago

For centuries, humans have participated in 'social media' in one form or another. We've always recommended businesses or products and shared photos just in a different manner.

Harvard Business Review looked into the archives and found a 1966 study discussing the principles of "social media."

Now, the vehicle has changed. Without question, Facebook and Twitter make it easier to share and recommend certain products or brands, but social media principles have been least four decades ago.

So, if it helps, realize that the vehicles have changed slightly (Facebook, Twitter), but social media has existed for centuries.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Get connected to gain POS expertise

Take a minute to think about how you and your employees gain product knowledge. Maybe you attend seminars once in a while, or even use a formal training program. Both provide an important foundation for learning, but there is no substitute for experience. Most of what you learn, both inside and outside of your store, comes in bits and pieces from your own experiences combined with the others’ experiences. Your hardware product knowledge grows each day as you solve problems with customers, and talk with vendors.

When it comes to your POS system, the situation is different. You might have a user manual, and hopefully you’ve attended some user group meetings at the Markets. At times you may contact your vendor’s support line if you have a specific problem. However, despite the fact that your POS system is the information backbone of your store, your knowledge doesn’t grow very quickly if you’re not connecting with other users.

The opportunity to connect is just one click away! There are numerous blogs and online forums that can connect you to others who may have the same questions you do, or who can offer their expertise in solving problems. On the other hand, you may hold the answer to someone else’s problem. Most importantly, it doesn’t take a lot of time. You can usually sign up to receive emails when there are new posts, so you don’t have to visit a web site regularly. You can read when you have time, and delete or ignore when you don’t.

Blogs and forums administered by vendors (like this one) are usually monitored by the vendor, and often times they will answer questions and participate in the conversation. Independent forums, such as the Hardlines Digest, deal with POS questions relating to many different systems along with other topics. You may have to be a customer to use some of the vendor-specific forums. Here’s a short list to get you started:

AgVantage Forum: Private vendor forum for AgVantage users

ARS Blog: Public Blog sponsored by ARS, mostly related to ARS system features

DBMS User Forum: Private vendor forum for DBMS users

Pacsoft User Forum: Private vendor forum for Pacsoft users

Hardlines Digest: Public forum, requires registration. Content covers all aspects of hardware retailing including POS systems. Recent posts relating to Activant and RockSolid POS systems.

Do you know of other online resources for retailers with POS systems? Click the comment link to share them!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Consumer behavior online

Pinpointing consumer behavior is like trying to catch a fly with chop sticks; however, occasionally, statistics provide insights.

Via, administered a study looking at consumer behavior and attitudes toward 'social commerce.' They broadly defined commerce to include not just purchasing, but also posting comments or conducting product research on a variety of social media sites.

It's interesting research and something to think about as you wade into social media.

- Brian Sonnenberg