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Man and woman working behind the counter in a clothing store
The need for bookkeeping and accounting will never die. They are the two most basics needs and goals of every business, regardless of size, scale, or industry in which a retail business operates. Since businesses need to keep track of their income and expenses to improve their chances of increasing profitability, they need to implement sound bookkeeping and accounting practices to help their business grow in such a fierce environment. The slightest financial miscalculations or projections can cost significantly and can even kick a business out of the competitive race. For better financial decisions, businesses need to collect the necessary financial information as well as document and review their bookkeeping records accurately.

What Is Bookkeeping?

In simplest terms, bookkeeping is the process of recording business transactions as they occur, which means documenting daily transaction in an accounting system. It helps businesses track their finances, cash flow, income, and expenses and come up with a sound game plan to increase profits. In short, it reveals the financial status of the company that can further be matched against long-term intended goals.

Most small to medium-sized retail businesses prefer to do their own books as it saves money. However, the idea that hiring the expertise of professionals is costly is just a mere perception. There are many individuals and agencies who offer unique bookkeeping and accounting services at competitive rates. Therefore, it is recommended that small to medium-sized retail businesses search for professional, yet affordable, individuals or agencies who can help them achieve their intended financial outcomes.

The Use of Advanced Software in a Retail Setting

There is no denying the fact that advanced accounting software can be as helpful as hiring a professional accountant to do the job. For a small to medium-sized retail business looking to maintain and manage its accounting in-house, accounting software is one of the most convenient and cost-effective ways to record, handle, and manage important business books and financial records. Some accounting software used in retail businesses can be purchased for $300-$800 dollars. Businesses can even buy monthly subscriptions to record transactions, manage their payroll, sales, inventory tracking and have a clear picture of their finances.

Why Is Accurate Record Keeping the First Step towards Success?

As someone rightly said, accurate financial records lead a business to make ideal assumptions and wise decisions. Whether you are using a credible accounting software or not, you must always keep backup of important financial documents like receipts, sales records, bank statements, loan status, past tax data, etc. A tangible file and hard copy of financial records as well as bills and invoices need to be maintained properly to handle situations such as data loss.

According to accounting veterans, it is ideal to plan for the worst scenario to happen to your business. The records of a retail business need to be backed up properly in order to avoid problems that miserably drag you into a severe financial crisis.

Accounting Expertise

Hiring someone with the proper accounting knowledge and skills can help you reduce your tax season troubles and save you a lot of money and time. For retail businesses that consider investing in accounting services as troublesome and expensive, the investment made on hiring an expert will always pay off in the long run, with accurate results. 

It is important to remember that acquiring an accounting service tailored to your business needs can be extremely helpful to your business in many ways. You can leverage more control over your company by concentrating more on core affairs of running your business and allow your accountant to ensure accounting and financial data is handled properly.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Top down view on single cash register drawer stocked full with pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters, various American dollar bills over wooden table
Cash Management is the process of efficient collection, concentration, disbursement, and investment of cash in any business establishment while assessing and maintaining the company’s liquidity. Business managers and cash handlers are responsible for maintaining an order in cash schedules (inflows and outflows) in order to remain solvent and keep things running smoothly. In other words, it is the way in which a business keeps a record and manages its financial operations, such as investments in different short/long projects, a collection of receivables/revenues, payment schedules (expenses, debts, and liabilities).  It also ensures that the business has sufficient cash to keep the business afloat financially.

Why do Business Start-ups Fail to Create a Long-Term Impact?

Without a doubt, effective cash management is critically important for new and growing businesses. Entrepreneurial business ventures across the globe face extreme level difficulties in managing their cash flow effectively. According to research, 83% of the total start-ups fail to create a significant impact in the market as they lack financial management skills, knowledge, expertise and experience that are necessary to keep the business afloat in its ideal capacity. This reflects that maintaining a healthy cash flow bears a paramount importance in the retail industry as it keeps the business going—on and on!

No matter how great your business model may be, how effective your business execution strategy may be, how many investors are ready to support your business’s strategic mission—you can’t survive for long if you are not capable of managing your company’s cash flow. Another reason why small-scale retailers and business entrepreneurs fail to create an impact in tough circumstances is that they fail to understand the relationship between ‘managing cash flow’ and ‘cash management knowledge.’ The businesses that are able to understand and fill the gap earn huge rewards in terms of increased profitability and sustainability, which are the essential components of any successful business.

Cash Keeps The Business Afloat Financially

‘Cash is king’—we have been hearing this during our entire academic journey. However, have you ever given intense thought as to why effective management of cash is considered the backbone of any business? No matter what one may argue, sound cash management is the real game changer for any business, which means it either makes the game or breaks the business into pieces.  In other words, without money, businesses will probably hit a dead end, which means they cannot survive. Money acts as a front-line guard that protects a business from impending financial threats or unforeseen business crises.

For effective cash management, businesses need to address three main questions 1) how much cash do they have 2) where is the cash coming from (influx of cash) and 3) where is our cash going (outflow of cash). The businesses that maintain and keep the right strategic balance in addressing all of these questions can expect to keep their business afloat financially, which means higher monetary gains in the future. We have long been told that profits determine the fate of any business and keep it going.

A Biased Perspective

A recent study has revealed that most businesses, especially start-ups, fail due to the absence of cash rather than the absence of profits. This indicates that effective cash flow management is significantly important for deciding the fate of the business – long-term sustainability and profitability. Besides giving financial control, it assists businesses to fight with impending financial dangers and helps them to plan for unforeseen eventualities.

What Can You Do To Maintain A Healthy Flow Of Cash?

Make a Budget

For knowing the exact status of the influx and outflow of cash, you need to make a financial budget. Cash management is not an alien job. It will require your time, efforts, and energy. Once you know how to control and handle your daily cash, then you can put your retail business on the right track.

Collect Receivables Promptly

It is important for any business to collect their receivables as soon as the sales are made. For maintaining a healthy financial life cycle, transactions must be reviewed, tracked periodically, and credited to your business account without further delays. The quicker you do it, the quicker you will become financially secure.

Manage Inventory Carefully

A smooth flow of business activities can be ensured if you manage your inventory carefully. Obviously, you must have a clear picture of your suppliers and vendor details for an effective payment and cash management schedule. According to studies, nearly 75% of your cash is tied up in inventory which indicates that you need to make careful judgments and analysis about how to stock your shelves.

Launch Loyalty Programs for Employees

Your employees are your real assets and investing in them seems to be a fair trade. Obviously, business managers will most likely be the one handling and managing cash, so you need to empower and reward all of your employees at their respective grades in order to motivate them to not to get involved in unethical activities.

Use Technology to Minimize Errors

Sometimes, managers or cash handlers will face extreme levels of difficulty in managing cash during rush hours. In order to avoid discrepancies, it is better to use technology, integrate POS software, or encourage customers to make wired payments. This will significantly help managers to manage cash easily and more efficiently.

Define Your Cash Handling Processes

Cash management may seem daunting at first but if you define a set process for managing your daily cash operations, it will be a big plus for your business. Some retail houses may use manual ways of handling daily management, paper trails, and tracking. The rest may use more advanced and electronic cash handling platforms, systems or software. In short, it is all about how well you can manage your cash.

Conclusion

Retailers across the globe have different levels of expertise, knowledge, and experience in handling their cash and disbursement schedule. For achieving success and a healthy financial life cycle, you need to learn the art of handling cash properly. Cash management may seem extremely challenging at first but the right cash order can be maintained once you develop those skills. You can also hire experienced and educated business managers and accountants for executing important cash-related tasks.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

shopping bags standing on cash register in shopping mall, boutique shopping concept
Despite the economy’s growth, hundreds of retail stores and shopping centers are closing. The last two years have been disastrous for the retail industry and it touched everyone – from small shops to large shopping centers. Moreover, more than twice as many boutique retail shops have closed this year compared to last year.

The reality is that the total retail spending continues to grow steadily, despite a slight slowdown. But several trends, including the growth of e-commerce, excess of shopping centers, and the unexpected consequences of the revival of other businesses have led to the fact that boutique retail shops are not doing well. There are several challenges faced by fashion and boutique retail shops. Five of them will be discussed below.

More Interest in Online Shopping

The most common reason for the demise of retail stores is that online shopping eats retail. Between 2010 and 2016, the sales of online e-commerce companies rose from $16 billion to $80 billion. The total revenue last year was about $22 billion. So, you could say that e-commerce companies have grown double in these past six years.

But, the problem of retail is much deeper. Simple return policies made online shopping cheap, light, and risk-free when selling clothes, which is currently the largest category of e-commerce. The success of start-up e-commerce businesses forced retailers in physical stores to offer similar conditions and aims for the same convenience as found online.

Previously, people made several trips to a shop before buying an expensive dress. On each trip, they probably made many other small purchases while they wandered around. But, today, many consumers can ask for and look at all the options, which means that there are fewer walks into shopping centers and fewer random shopping trips in neighboring stores.

The growth of e-commerce not only transfers some purchases to the online network, but also creates new behavioral habits. As a result, consumers gradually see the online network as a good substitute for their local shopping center.

A Shift in Spending: Retail Shops to Food

E-commerce and an overabundance of retail space is the main reason for the closure of thousands of boutique retail stores. The number of clothing stores decreased as consumers spent more on travel and restaurants. Before the Great Recession, people bought a lot of things, such as houses, furniture, cars, and clothes and retail trade grew dramatically in the 1990s. But, much has changed. Clothing costs are declining – its share of total consumer spending in this century was reduced by 20%. Secondly, while wage growth is obviously significant for workers and the economy as a whole, it does not affect companies with low margins that rely on cheap retail stores. Cashiers and sellers are the two largest categories of jobs in the country, employing more than 8 million people and the average income for both professions is less than $25,000 per year. But, recently, new minimum wage laws and a tight labor market have pushed up the wages of the poorest, creating problems for retailers who are already under pressure from the e-commerce industry.

Consumerism

In the modern world, consumers hold great power. Fashion and boutique retailers are forced to be updated on the needs and wants of the customer. The retailers of the boutiques are under pressure to offer similar e-commerce services and it is very difficult to fulfill these services with profit. The most common problem with fashion and boutique retail shops is that the customers demand new products with a huge range of variety, which is not possible all the time. 

Brand Name is Impacted

If the department of supply chain fails to deliver or fulfill thire services, the name of the brand will be affected. Most retailers and fashion brands involve a very long and sensitive supply chain. There are many factors that can impact the brand’s name and quality, for example, if the items are out of stock, people will go to another store.

Sustainability

Famous fashion brands display their sustainability and responsibility. These famous brands need to be seen implementing the sustainability strategy for the betterment of the quality of their products. If the name of a brand is related to any kind of negativity, it will be badly impacted. Customers are well-aware of how fashion and boutique retail shops are operating and the brand should never compromise on these, which is a challenge.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Team in a post room packing clothes orders for distribution
In today’s competitive industry of retail, the need and requirement for prolonged working hours grows every day. Retail shops are now taking steps towards arranging their employee’s schedules to involve multiple and/or longer shifts.

The retail industry has started to realize that it needs to address their worker’s issues of shift changes in their jobs. Recent months have shown an increase in unfair scheduling and scheduling abuse. Employees are intentionally called by their employees to work more hours. In order to cater to the employee’s flexibility in their work schedule, many shops have undertaken procedures to cater to the problems in shift changes. 

Procedures and practices observed by the retail industry have been shifting in the recent years. Retail shops have realized and understood just how much shift changes of their workers and employees are affected. Their work timing is found to have an impact on their productivity of their work.   

Different Shift Changes Followed In Retail Shops

  1. Schedule Format (Fixed or Rotating Shifts)

During fixed shift schedules, employees work one particular shift. It could be that they are required to work on different days, but their shift will always be the same. Employees that are required to work on rotating shift schedules will have to serve different shifts periodically. It could be that one day they might be working in the afternoon and another day at night.

Walmart has offered it’s employees the options of fixed shifts and flex shifts. Workers on a fixed shift are guaranteed their weekly hours, while flex shifts let workers form their own timetable from the hours that are left available. The retail store is now working towards launching an app that would help workers select their work schedules directly from their phones.     

  1. On-Off Work Pattern

Employees and workers work for consecutive days and then take a few scheduled days as their off days.  

  1. Morning Shifts

Specifically, in retail stores, workers and employees are generally found to work on a day or morning shift. The timing of morning work shifts are either 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  1. Mid-Day Shifts

Most retailers that are open for 24 hours or extended hours have employees working on mid-day shifts. The timing of this shift is usually from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

  1. Evening

Retail stores that are open late in the evening, has employees that will have to work from 4 p.m. till 11 p.m. or 5 p.m. till 12 p.m. Most retailers use more part-time workers to work their evening shifts.  

 

Why Shift Change Procedures are Needed

Retailers need to understand and realize that if they want to improve their store operations, they need to adopt certain shift change procedures.

  1. Calculation of Specific Workload Required

In order to fully utilize their employees, retailers must calculate the amount of time it takes for their workers to perform certain activities. This estimated calculation will help retailers to hire their employees per their need.

  1. Flexible Workforce

Retail stores often need a flexible and diverse workforce team comprising of part-time, full-time and temporary staff. The diverse staff members on different schedules will prove to be an advantage to the store as there will always be an employee present in the store.

  1. On-Call Scheduling

On-call scheduling is a common practice in many retail stores. Employees are put in an unfavorable position as they sometimes have to keep a selected time slot free, just in case they are called in for work. The disadvantage of this scenario is that there is no assurance if they need to show up for work or not. If retail stores set up a systematic procedure regarding on-call scheduling, it will benefit not only the employees but the store as well.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Business Concept - Young handsome bearded bartender, barista or manager working and planing in laptop at modern coffee shop.
The percentage of employees in a workforce that leave during a certain period of time is known as the turnover rate of a company or organization. This is mostly calculated during a fiscal or calendar year. Every business, large or small, has to keep everything in check. This post will enable you to work through your turnover rate effectively. 

Both voluntary and involuntary employee information including retirements, resignations, dismissals, and layoffs fall under the heading of turnover. Turnover rates affect profitability rates and define staff morale. Redesigning the human resource planning process is required in cases where the turnover rate is higher than the relative industry average. Calculate the turnover rate on an annual basis by determining the annual separations and the average monthly employment. 

Turnovers are expensive because you have to recruit and train new employees. According to The Wall Street Journal, strategies for reducing turnover include hiring the right people from the start, setting competitive salaries and benefits, fostering positive environments, recognizing accomplishments and providing clear career paths. 

Ways for Calculating the Average Turnover Rate Annually

1. Adding up the monthly employment for the previous 12 months and dividing it by 12 to calculate the average monthly employment. The monthly employment could simply be the average number of payrolls that have been deposited on a monthly basis. If your employees are paid twice a month, add the total number of deposits for each payroll and divide it by two in order to get the average employment for a particular or specific month.

2. Determining the total number of separations for the preceding 12 month period. You can add up the separations for an accounting period, a quarter for example, and project the total for the year. However, this may distort the numbers because of the variations in seasonal employment and layoffs.

3. The calculating ratio of the total number of separations to the average monthly employment for the preceding 12-month period which is expressed as a percentage.


Rules you Should Follow when Calculating your Turnover Rates

  • Know your Cost of Turnover

The initial step to understanding the cost of employee turnover is determining your total annual cost for an employee. Take your employees’ annual wages and add 30% in order to include benefits and payrolls. Multiply the number by 25% which will include the hiring costs, orientation and training costs, uniforms, benefit set up and administration, wages, etc.

  • Budget for Turnover

The turnover rate or the percentage of your employees that you lose in a year is an important number to know. This number is needed as a benchmark, especially if you are an owner/manager. In order to calculate your turnover rate, take the number of employees who have left in the year (for whichever reason) and divide by the average number of employees for the year. Your result is your turnover rate. The main reasons that employees leave any organization are:

  • Low compensation
  • Lower perceived amount of job security or room for advancement
  • Lack of proper training
  • Poor leadership or management
  • Bad hire
  • Not enough benefits

Your people are the biggest advantage that you have over all other competing organizations that are working in the same industry as you.

  • Offering the Best Benefits and Compensation in your Market

Often, small-scale businesses like retail stores have a limited financial budget due to which they complain that they cannot afford to pay more to their employees. This is a very negative point for any business and you just cannot afford not to pay the maximum amount of money possible to your employees.

Offering the best compensations and benefits is compulsory and very critical to hire effective employees. Charge the correct selling price in your business and determine what the best compensation price is. When you offer a high rate of your product or service, customers expect better services which is a positive effect on any business. The bottom line is that the market doesn’t have to determine the pricing you set.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

 

 

 

Women fashion store

Visual Merchandising

Visual merchandising is a practice in the retail industry that is absolutely necessary for any brick and mortar store to follow in order to compete in the fierce retail environment. However, developing floor plans and three-dimensional displays is no easy feat. You either need to be on the top of your design game or you have to hire an experienced retail merchandising expert to get things going for your business. The primary purpose of retail or visual merchandising is to generate a positive vibe, attract and engage new customers and encourage prospects to make a purchase. In short, creating such an environment that would be loved by the shoppers, which would eventually lead customers to make more purchases.

Store Designs

The interior of a retail store actually defines the fate of the business. An alluring, yet comfortable store environment would make customers extend their stay, which means they would eventually end up buying more products than planned. Visual merchandising is one practice that is widely followed by retailers to maximize sales volume. Retailers around the globe follow and embrace different store design models to create favorable buying experiences for the customers. A suitable interior has the power to change the entire image of the store. In short, it’s all about improving store aesthetics to attract customers towards purchasing a product(s).

Visual merchandising is a secret tool that is used by brands to build in-store environment and brand communications. Gone are those days when retailers used to simply place things or position items to be picked by customers themselves. This has significantly changed and now brands strategically place products or items and display images and signage to influence a customer’s decision. The decision power has now partially been shifted to retailers, as they can improvise decisions.

Retail Merchandising Helps Businesses Grow!

To create effective store designs with high-converting displays, either you must have an adequate knowledge of visual merchandising or you must know a retail merchandising expert who can create a perfect environment or shopping experience. It is a proven fact that high-converting displays encourage impulse buying and people often find themselves trapped. After all, it’s all about educating your customers and creating an opportunity for maximizing sale growth potentials.

Techniques

In order to secure and gain a competitive business advantage amid fierce competition in the marketplace, retail or visual merchandising is an effective way to add more value to your brand. By keeping your store organized and items well positioned, you would see significant changes in the consumer buying patterns. They would probably buy more products, which would eventually increase your sales volume and, hence, profitability.

Store Designs or Displays

The ultimate purpose is to capture the attention of the consumers while they are in the store. For that, retailers must strategically place products in the right spots to get noticed. In-house store design includes store designs, store’s layout, POP (point of purchase displays), signage, etc. Store designs must always meet the expectation levels of consumers or else they won’t consider you ever again.

Store Layout

A store layout is one of the major aspects of visual merchandising that can help advance sales profitability. A careful placement of products as consumers proceed deep into the store is vital to business success. Confused or poor product positioning can ruin the entire shopping experience for consumers. Therefore, in order to make things work in the store’s favor, you must choose those layout styles or grids that would influence consumer buying for the better.

Mannequins

For apparel retailers, mannequins are considered ideal for luring customers inside a store. They work like an important CTA (call to action) as they are placed inside the boundaries but visibly exposed to the outside world i.e. in malls or shopping centers etc…

POP Displays

Customers only buy products in a retail store that are visible to them or displayed on racks. As it is said, ‘customers buy what they see.’ Therefore, POP displays actually improvise consumer decisions and make them believe that this product is exclusively meant for them. They are usually inspired by marketing campaigns or sales promotions offers.

Atmosphere

The store’s atmosphere plays a critical role in influencing consumer’s buying decision. By creating a consistent atmosphere, you can expect to influence consumers in buying more products. The atmosphere is probably one of the top visual merchandising tactics used by retailers on a very wide scale. This not only includes strong lighting, POP, or 4D displays but also other elements such as music and consistent scents.

Floor Map

Undoubtedly, this is one of the best things to lead customers towards a specific section of the store. Most retailers, who know its significance, have seen a dramatic surge in sales over the years by using this tactic. An effective floor map would definitely lead consumers to the right direction, which would ultimately draw more sales. Hiring a visual merchandising expert is probably the safest and the smartest option for designing an image of your retail store.

Conclusion

Visual merchandising plays a significant role in designing the image and fate of any retail store. For generating high sales, you need to use smart ways to lure customers into buying more and more. The right placement of products and a store’s ambiance would probably encourage consumers to revisit.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Woman in shopping. Happy woman with shopping bags enjoying in shopping. Consumerism, shopping, lifestyle concept
Visual merchandising is the act of making retail spaces more attractive and pleasing for customers, entice foot traffic, and encourage impulse buying. Retail businesses have seen a decline in recent years as customers have moved to online purchasing. This has made it even more important to incorporate visual merchandising strategies in order to improve retail sales and customer walk-ins. Visual merchandising encourages consumers to buy from your store. This will improve sales and encourage repeat sales. Visual merchandising is all about the look, feel, and culture of your store and brand. If it’s done perfectly, it will help increase your customer brand loyalty.

Importance of Visual Merchandising

Visual merchandising is necessary in retail outlets that depend on heavy foot traffic. It is an effective way to attract your customers. Following are some major benefits of visual merchandising.

Components

The appearance, uniforms, lighting, menus, signage, color, point of sales material, textures, shapes, ticketing, packaging –  all of these terms together make up what is called visual merchandise. When these elements are combined, it allows a customer to better understand your brand. It leads to a positive shopping experience and increases the number of sales.  

Brand Loyalty

Improving the customer experience in retail stores with the use of visual components can lead to greater sales and more customer satisfaction. Suppose you are promoting a beauty product. Enticing the younger generation to purchase your products, through the placement of banners and beautiful product displays, will help generate awareness and brand recognition. Contrary to this, if you own a cosmetic brand and your target customers are of a mature age, then tailoring visual merchandise in a manner that appeals to them becomes extremely vital. Using specific strategies, your customer will better understand your brand. Brand loyalty will lead to repeat purchases and a loyal customer base.

Avoid Overwhelming

Overwhelming your customers with visual merchandise is also not a good strategy. Offering too many choices can often back fire, as it confuses shoppers. Selecting the proper products to appeal to your desired target audience is essential for improving retail sales. Not every product needs to displayed. The products that may have the most appeal need to be displayed in the front and center to attract customers into the store. Analyzing your retail store in detail can help in determining what products are to be displayed more affluently than others. If a product is placed in a way that it’s not giving a high margin line, you need to change this arrangement. Learn, understand, and implement what users want to see.   

Themes

Adopting particular themes that pertain to your product or brand displays can further improve customer interest. A theme is all about a back-end story that relates the product to the customer. The use of themes allows brands to reinvent themselves with layouts, colors, fonts, design, and imagery.  The idea of a theme is all about combining colors together, giving them a unique contrast, and grouping products to individual motifs.

Marketing

Marketing is the backbone of any business. Effective marketing can lead to increased sales and improve brand recognition. Your marketing should convey the look and feel of your brand while encouraging a call to action. Marketing strategies such as flash sales, customer loyalty discounts, social sharing incentives, and capturing customer information are all beneficial when it comes to improving retail sales and encouraging repeat purchases.

Conclusion

In order for retail stores to stay competitive in this largely online world, proactive visual merchandising has certainly become of key importance. Retail stores need to understand that a bulk of their sales are generated from impulse purchases. Therefore, a perfect visual merchandise strategy can be the difference between a highly profitable retail store and one that is barely breaking even.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

PLYMOUTH, MI - JULY 17, 2016: Culinary outlets, shops, and businesses line the sidewalk along South Main Street in this quaint suburb of Detroit.
Recent times have not been very favorable for retail stores. There’s a consistency in the kind of news we get from such stores these days, like Sears, expressing uncertainty about their future. Toys R Us, Ralph Lauren, and The Limited are shutting down their stores. While JC Penney has also announced the particular stores it will be closing.

With such news, it does seem that retail stores are dying. Shopping malls might not remain the way they are today in a few years time. Looking at the current generation, brick and mortar retail isn’t what they are particularly looking for. These days, people prefer to relax at home, ordering the products they need through the internet.

We can relate to this, in the busy schedules of today, that shopping online is considered a much better option rather than walking around in a mall and getting tired going from store to store.

This also poses a problem for the owners and stakeholders of brick and mortar stores. Can they survive? If so, then how will they survive these changes? Below, we have some tips on how you can save your brick and mortar store from having your customers snatched by online sellers.

Become an Expert

You need to know the specifics of what you are dealing with – everything related to your product, from the perks offered to advice regarding the precautions necessary to be taken while using it. You need to make sure that customers are aware of the fact that you know the answers to their questions and queries. Providing knowledgeable support to your customer at your store is a great way to showcase yourself as a business offering something that is not offered by competitors. One of the most important doubts that a customer has when purchasing products online are the details of the product other than those mentioned on the webpage. In such a situation, consumers prefer to head to a brick and mortar store in order to get a hands-on experience with the product they are interested in. They come with questions and, if you can answer them clearly and accurately, customers are sure to buy from your retail store instead of an online counterpart.

Build an In-Store Experience

Unlike in the past when retail stores could sell enough just by displaying their products for sale, these days you need to define an experience that sets your brick and mortar store apart from something that customers are able to find online.

You need to provide a unique experience relevant to your brand in the store. This might be displaying your products in an interactive way, including details about your products that would otherwise not be found online. Try to increase the interactions that your store staff has with customers. This should not be any kind of interaction as emphasized above, it should offer knowledge. Another innovative idea is to engage a customer’s five human senses (smell, touch, sight, sound, and taste) during their interaction with a product. Of course, you can’t engage all senses at the same time, but any kind of engagement gives you an upper hand over online shopping. For example, bakeries can offer taste samples to their customers, a mobile phone brick and mortar store could offer a live interaction with different smartphones. It is recommended that you do your best to increase tactile interaction, which online shopping lacks, in order to help your retail business survive.

Going Online

It is commonly said; if you can’t beat them, join them. Similarly, it is an extremely good decision to transition your brick and mortar store into a hybrid between regular retail and online selling. After all, online selling has multitudes of benefits. Make the setting up of an e-commerce unit within your brand one of your priorities. Creating an amazing experience at your store along with offering a quick convenient online option will get you the best of both worlds.

Conclusion

You need to be aware of the needs of your customers and be quick in addressing them. In the current world of innovations, it is crucial for your brick and mortar business to adapt to different changes in order to retain and get new customers, sustaining its existence in the process.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

Customers and staff in a busy clothes shop
Not so long ago, the e-commerce platforms exploded and took the industry by storm, forcing more retailers to initiate their online operations. It seemed as though the good and lucrative days of brick and mortar retail stores were numbered. A global shift towards online stores has been dramatic in each and every sense. It has forced many multinational retail brands to go out of business, raising serious concerns for the entire industry. E-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay were a viable threat to physical stores which is the main reason why so many multinational retail brands such as Walmart and Macy’s began closing physical store locations.

Stats Reveal An Exciting Story

There have been many ups and downs in the retail sector, especially over the past decade when e-commerce shook the industry. There is certainly no denying the fact that online stores have captured a significant market share and have become a direct competitor to brick and mortar stores. However, you might be surprised to know that the brick and mortar retail business model still leads the retail industry at the front. According to a Harvard business review, 92% of total retail sales worldwide are still accumulated through brick and mortar store channels. According to the study, with a staggering 14.5% increase from 2016, total retail sales worldwide are estimated to be $26.29 trillion by 2019. 

How Can Retention Of Shoppers Be Make Possible?

Despite the significant increase in online shopping, most customers prefer the brick and mortar business model. Stats indicate that the doom around the retail industry is temporary and that the brick and mortar setting will continue to thrive and prosper in the future. One thing is clear, physical stores will need to enrich the buying experience of their customers and offer more than just their products in order to survive. In the era of unlimited opportunities and buying options, it’s your temperament to deliver the best to your clients that matters—not just a physical store. The truth is, shoppers expect to visit brick and mortar retail stores that offer a unique overall experience to them. Retention of shoppers is only possible when you provide them what they want under the shades of exceptional servicescape and ambiance.

It’s safe to say that the future of traditional brick and mortar retail store is safe, predictable, and secure. Here is what you can do to future-proof your brick and mortar store.

Create an Experience-Rich Servicescape

Today, the retail world has realized the significance of providing an enriched shopping experience to their customers. The aim of every retail store is to convert first-timers into regular visitors and turn them into brand loyal. This is the sole motivation behind creating an experience-rich brick and mortars store. In older times, physical stores were more or less used as a place for holding inventory and a dumping house for stocking non-essential items. Now, display and theme-based customization of a brick and mortar store setting, coupled with providing exceptional shopping experience has become the tools of the retail trade.

If you are successful in creating a dynamic and experience-rich shopping culture, you will be able to grow and expand your business operations in other cities and countries at an unimaginable pace. If you expect to empower and keep your customers coming back, you need to provide them with a unique shopping culture. Attracting shoppers to your store again and again requires you to build a healthy relationship with your customers, perhaps by thinking beyond the typical scale.

Bottom Line

Brick and mortar stores are here to stay. Retail businesses around the globe are investing significantly to future-proof their retail businesses. It’s time for the retail industry to do something unique and come up with ways to sell things differently in to ensure the longevity of their brick and mortar store.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

The businessman chooses on the shopping cart on the touch screen with a futuristic background.The concept of online . Auctions.online store. Shopping cart icon. Ecommerce.

What Is a Point-of-Sale System?

A POS or Point of Sale system is essentially a system that eases the payment process of a company or retail store. It is made up of a software that is used for recording all of the details of each sale as it occurs, all the while updating the inventory records and providing customer management features which enable easy running of your store. It generates reports for you to analyze your sales data easily. The hardware of a POS system may consist of a bar code scanner, cash drawer, receipt printer, order puncher, and other peripheral equipment based on your particular needs.

How to determine the best Point Of Sale Systems?

The best POS System is affordable, user friendly, and capable of more functions than simply processing your sales and accept payments while printing receipts. A good POS system is inclusive of features that save your time and help you manage your enterprise or business much more easily. These features may allow you to analyze your sales data in a click. It helps you in managing your inventories as well as your staff and customers. A good POS systems would also include integrated email marketing and other features to enhance sales and support you in running your operations by saving your time and growing your business.

Features to Look for in POS Systems

It is necessary that you buy the most efficient POS system in order to benefit your business and help it grow. Though the features of a Point of Sale System may vary from one industry to another, the basics of the features remain the same. Have a look at the top features that are necessary for you to look at before you buy a POS system for your business.

Employee Management

Your POS systems should allow you to set up your employee’s schedules, assign them duties, permissions, and keep track of their tasks as well as allow them to mark their time in and time out using the software.

Inventory Management

The inventory management feature allows you to keep a regular check on the levels of your stocks, while all the same receiving notifications and alerts when the stocks are replenished and ending respectively. Especially in restaurants and cafes, the inventory trackers in Point of Sale systems prove to be very helpful as the system reduces your time wasted in manual counting of the stocks available.

Offline Mode

Almost all POS systems are cloud based. They come with a feature that allows access to the POS system even when it is offline and when the internet is down. However, the amount of functionality that can be used is limited when the system is offline and varies between POS to POS.

E-Commerce Integration

The best POS systems come with the capability to connect to an e-commerce platform at the backhand. This ease depends on the type of e-commerce platform you are connected to.

CRM Capabilities

Almost every new POS system is now available with a feature that allows adding related customer information and other marketing tools to maintain contact with customers and keep a check on customer feedback and recurrence to your business.  This information could be used to build strong business to customer relationships and enhance your business through effective customer interactions.

Purchase Order Management

Point of Sale Systems also come with a feature that allows customers to submit their purchase orders (PO), which are similar to the invoices that a buyer would usually send to its seller. The PO management system would further allow you access to process all of the orders and maintain a clean digital record.

Bookkeeping

The Best POS Systems comes with built in bookkeeping features providing you one glance reports to analyze the current standing of your business situation.

How would a POS System Benefit your Business?

Your business would benefit from a good POS System in more than one way. Not only does it makes your transactions and sales easier, it allows you to manage things better with great ease by saving your time of going through long procedures and helping you to make timely decisions.

Following are some ways that you and your business would benefit from a Point of Sale System.

Saves Money

A POS System helps you to multitask and tend to your sales, accounting, customer engagement and store management all from a single place, saving you money from different charges and resources you would have otherwise hired.

Saves Time

Do things quickly and efficiently by performing all important tasks from a single POS System.

Reduces Waste and Theft

The Best POS systems provide detailed insights on all of the important things that may concern a business owner. The tracking of inventory and financial records vastly reduces waste and theft.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.