POS For Fun and Profit
You’ve probably had this happen at the grocery, and that makes you sure you don’t want to give your customers the same experience: they just want to pay for something and go home and it becomes an episode of Seinfeld. Press red, press green, swipe, insert, show three forms of ID, she’s writing a check we’ll be here forever! A two-dollar bill, where does that go? I don’t know how that works yet. That should work with our system, but it doesn’t.
We asked Ward Partridge, co-president at CBC, what he thinks about this top down frustration. He’s frustrated too. “It is critical all paint retailers have a proper EMV-capable credit card processing system,” he said. “Payment is normally the last interaction a customer has in the store, so it’s important they leave with a good impression.”
That doesn’t always happen. “Unfortunately, credit card processing over the last two years has been a real mess as EMV was implemented across different systems with different rules from different card issuers and providers,” said Ward. “Many providers and retailers had to rush to implement EMV as the new rules from the Payment Card Industry (PCI) forced liability onto retailers who continued to swipe cards that were EMV enabled. This resulted in flawed systems being rushed to market and placed into retail stores without being properly tested or debugged. As well, many retail staff were not trained on how to use new EMV equipment or what to expect. These problems frustrated both the store staff and their customers.”
Rob Joesfs, marketing operations manager at Cam Commerce (designers of the RetailSTAR system), agrees that payment can be a tossup. “Processing credit card transactions are no longer uniform across all companies, especially since the EMV (Smart Card) era,” he observed. “It’s important for paint dealers to adapt and give the impression they are modern and more secure.”
His company will help you get up to date and stay there. If you’re as up to date as Kansas City is in the musical Oklahoma, you’re not really up to date, you’re transacting in 1907. “CAM Commerce (RetailSTAR) integrates with EMV devices and accepts Android/Apple Pay, and various tender methods including house charge with signature, coupons, gift cards, custom tenders and others,” said Rob. “You can pre-set commands in your POS, prompting staff to enter needed information based on the tender type your customers select.” Still confused? Let them help. CAM Commerce provides one-on-one training, live tech support and a library of ‘how-to’ training videos for POS, EMV and…wait for it…more!
It’s Fun—For Real!
Maybe you don’t want to talk to your POS provider because frankly, it’s boring. It’s not paint. “I am not sure how much ‘fun’ a POS system can really get, after all, accounting can only be so much fun,” Partridge admits. “There are, however some real time, interactive features that can improve your interest in the system and, if used properly, the store profitability.”
Fun for your staff can be SPIFF tracking. This means you set up bonus programs to provide a strong incentive for them to sell certain sundries and higher end products. “If the clerk can easily see the extra monies they make, it makes the system more interesting for them to use and makes the store more profitable,” said Partridge.
Another tool that makes a system more fun is online, interactive ad-hoc reporting, he said. “Decor Fusion enables you to drill down into a report and see what makes up the detail. Also, Decor Fusion features an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) tool that allow you to dynamically design reports on the screen and instantly move different data on and off the report. This makes reporting a creative process and empowers you to quickly mine your sales data to understand what’s happening with customer and product sales.”
Josefs notes that he’s gotten a lot of compliments from CAM users, who have time to talk to him because the system is easy to use. “That makes your job easier and allows you to focus more on the customer and less on the technology itself,” he said. “The POS is designed so you can be more efficient and improve the customer experience.”
Three’s a Crowd
From Cam Commerce, the fun begins by keeping your good times in-house. RetailSTAR eliminates the need to integrate with 3rd party systems, Josefs noted. “Instead, the POS communicates with the accounts receivables and house charges, inventory management, CRM (customer relationship management), E-Commerce, tools for EDI, job tracking, rentals, pricing, sales and promotions, fulfillment, and it has a QuickBooks interface for AP/GL (accounts payable/general ledger),” he said. There’s more fun to be had by learning and understanding acronyms associated with POS…er…point of sale.
Upshot of all that is it all helps your customers have a good experience. “From the POS screen,” Rob explains, “you can easily email invoices, accept payments on accounts, create special orders, lookup prices and inventory, accept loyalty rewards, and lookup a customer’s historical data (i.e., what color did Barth paint his living room in 2007?).” Because Barth won’t remember even though he’s seen it every day for a decade.
Things Aren’t “Looking Up”
A lot of customers are too busy looking down at their phone even look up at the cashier. Sir? SIR are you ready? Many stores have apps where customers can order ahead of time and pick up product, but paint is different as compared to commodities like chicken soup and lotto tickets.
Some contractors might be able to order ahead of time, truck on by and load off the dock, but if either a customer or contractor doesn’t know enough about the bases, colors and sheens needed for a job, it won’t do you any good to have them order without talking to you first. “An app that doesn’t take these factors into account will result in ordering errors and customer issues,” Partridge said. “Also, credit management through an app may create problems with house accounts if orders are declined inappropriately or without proper consideration.”
That’s why that good ol’ personal service still marks the independent as a worthy destination. You probably want to offer that, even encourage it, versus trying to shunt everything to an impersonal online click. We have airlines for that.
“Nothing is better than personal interaction by knowledgeable staff to ensure customers gets the right colors, products and tools for their jobs,” said Partridge. As well, properly trained staff can steer your customers towards quality products and away from online bargains that don’t work. If you want to sell after hours, Partridge suggests, it might better serve your customers by having a staff member taking orders over the phone from a home/mobile office instead of having people order by computer with no help and get all the wrong stuff.
Cam has several features you can use to help move sales electronically. “Paint stores should have a mobile friendly E-Commerce website to showcase their merchandise, promotions and in-store events, and allow customers to place orders (online or phone),” Josefs suggests. “RetailSTAR offers E-Commerce integrated with the POS so your sales/customer/inventory data is consistent across all channels.” In a nutshell, get a POS system that enhances, rather than complicates, your store processes from product selection to final purchase. “A properly designed POS system should free up the staff, enabling them to spend more time with customers,” Partridge concluded.
New Features from CAM
Below are some new features they developed by Cam Commerce at the request of its dealers:
• Vendor communications: Automate purchasing/receiving with your vendors via EDI, and communicate the availability to ship
• A/R and statements: Customize and send statements (via email or mail), easily apply house charge payments, report on delinquent accounts, charge/manage late fees
• Product imports/price updates: Browse vendor catalogs and import the products you want to sell; import products from Excel; adjust prices as needed
• Flexible product pricing capabilities: Tailor your business with unlimited pricing levels, cost plus pricing, discount percentages, contract pricing, case pricing, unique pricing by contractor, tax exempt items, promotions for bulk/cumulative purchases, and more
Check out the comany’s promotion! Save 20% off initial software licenses and e-commerce at www.camcommerce.com/PaintDealerMag. You can also call (714) 338-0200, or write the company at email@example.com and mention The Paint Dealer’s Cam Commerce ad for the discount.