27/05/2015

How You Can Run Your Retail Shop from a Smartphone

Starting a successful retail business may be easier than you think with advances in technology and software changing how businesses and consumers interact. Regardless of whether you have a physical location for your storefront or are looking to start and run your retail business online, choosing the right apps to help you manage your business can help you earn money and save money, even while you're on the go. A large part of managing a business on the go is the software solutions you choose. Below, we'll discuss a few ways you can use something as low-impact as a smartphone to do everything from the tracking of inventory to your marketing and sales.

Stocking Inventory

Whether you have your own storage or are contracting with a third part for storage and distribution, there are apps available to easily manage and track your inventory. Notifications of activity can be sent automatically, and you can even scan and update your inventory using mobile apps.
Reading Barcodes

A barcode reading app will allow you to scan UPC codes. These identifying numbers are unique to a single product. This comes in handy for two reasons. First, a barcode reader allows you to easily manage your inventory, whether it is being increased or reduced. Second, when a customer makes a purchase, you can easily collect data about the purchase patterns and have the item automatically removed from your inventory.

Point-of-Sale App

A point-of-sale (POS) app allows you to complete transactions on your mobile device. For example, if you meet up with a customer who is interested in buying some of your handmade craft items, you can easily lower your inventory and complete the sale, in one easy step. Many companies also offer a credit card reader that attaches to your smartphone, giving you the ability to accept debit and credit cards with almost no investment at all in equipment. The ease of money transfer is similarly convenient for customers who do not always carry cash, especially if you do not want to accept checks. You may also find merchant service providers like Fattmerchant, who offers equipment and POS support to clients who use their fixed-rate payment processing.

Syncing Your Inventory

Some business owners sell across several platforms, including in-store, online, and using their mobile devices. Apps exist that not only help you track and manage inventories, but can allow you to do so seamlessly regardless of where and how the transaction took place. This can keep you from being oversold by integrating your inventories and sales platforms.

Email Receipts

One thing that most customers request, especially with debit and credit transactions, is a receipt. You may be thinking that printing a receipt off of your mobile phone is impossible. Well, yes and no. Instead of printing a receipt, you can conveniently send out receipts for each transaction via email. These are instantaneous, meaning customers can easily access their email to be sure their receipt has been received almost as soon as the transaction has been completed and unlike paper receipts, they're easier to keep a hold of.

Automated Email Marketing

Still other great software solutions allow you to automate email marketing -- a critical business tool for companies looking for both new and repeat customers. When you make a sale, a unique profile for each customer or client account can be created. This gives you the option of letting either some or all of your customers know when you have new products or pro. You can also choose to send out automatic emails weekly or monthly to keep customers interested in your business.

Lautaro Martinez is a freelance writer and professional student who contributes articles and insights on a variety of issues affecting student life and the challenges faced by the aspiring entrepreneur.
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