Archive for January, 2012
The following article is an excerpt of information compiled from The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by SEOMOZ. The in-depth tutorial covers everything you need to know about how search engines work and the fundamental strategies that make websites search engine friendly. View the entire guide for even more information about this important web practice!
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is the active practice of optimizing a website by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines. Firms that practice SEO can vary; some have a highly specialized focus, while others take a more broad and general approach.
Why Does My Website Need SEO?
The majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines – Google, Bing and Yahoo!. If your site cannot be found by search engines or your content cannot be put into their databases, you miss out on the incredible opportunities available to websites provided via search – people who want what you have visiting your site. Whether your site provides content, services, products, or information, search engines are a primary method of navigation for almost all Internet users.
Search queries, the words that users type into the search box which contain terms and phrases best suited to your site, carry extraordinary value. Experience has shown that search engine traffic can make (or break) an organization’s success. Targeted visitors to a website can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other. Investing in SEO, whether through time or finances, can have an exceptional rate of return.
How to Optimize Your Site:
Take a look at some specific technical aspects of building (or modifying) web pages so they’re optimally structured for search engines and human visitors. View the full guide for even more tips!
- Indexable Content: In order to be listed in the search engines, your content – the material available to visitors of your site – must be in HTML text format. Images, Flash files, Java applets, and other non-text content is virtually invisible to search engine spiders, despite advances in crawling technology. The easiest way to ensure that the words and phrases you display to your visitors are visible to search engines is to place it in the HTML text on the page. However, more advanced methods are available for those who demand greater formatting or visual display styles:
- Images in gif, jpg, or png format can be assigned “alt attributes” in HTML, providing search engines a text description of the visual content.
- Images can also be shown to visitors as replacement for text by using CSS styles.
- Flash or Java plug-in contained content can be repeated in text on the page.
- Video & audio content should have an accompanying transcript if the words and phrases used are meant to be indexed by the engines.
- Crawlable Link Structures: Search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their massive keyword-based indices. They also need to have access to a crawlable link structure – one that lets their spiders browse the pathways of a website – in order to find all of the pages on a website. Hundreds of thousands of sites make the critical mistake of hiding or obfuscating their navigation in ways that search engines cannot access, thus impacting their ability to get pages listed in the search engines’ indices. Below, we’ve illustrated how this problem can happen:
In the example above, Google’s spider has reached page “A” and sees links to pages “B” and “E”. However, even though C and D might be important pages on the site, the spider has no way to reach them (or even know they exist) because no direct, crawlable links point to those pages. As far as Google is concerned, they might as well not exist – great content, good keyword targeting, and smart marketing won’t make any difference at all if the spiders can’t reach those pages in the first place.
- Keyword Usage and Targeting: Keywords are fundamental to the search process – they are the building blocks of language and of search. In fact, the entire science of information retrieval (including web-based search engines like Google) is based on keywords. As the engines crawl and index the contents of pages around the web, they keep track of those pages in keyword-based indices.
Thus, rather than storing 25 billion web pages all in one database (which would get pretty big), the engines have millions and millions of smaller databases, each centered on a particular keyword term or phrase. This makes it much faster for the engines to retrieve the data they need in a mere fraction of a second. Obviously, if you want your page to have a chance of being listed in the search results for “dog,” it’s extremely wise to make sure the word “dog” is part of the indexable content of your document.
- Keyword Domination:
For obvious reasons, search engines measure the ways keywords are used on pages to help determine the “relevance” of a particular document to a query. One of the best ways to “optimize” a page’s rankings is, therefore, to ensure that keywords are prominently used in titles, text, and meta data.
The map graphic to the right shows the relevance of the broad term books to the specific title, Tale of Two Cities. Notice that while there are a lot of results (size of country) for the broad term, there is a lot less results and thus competition for the specific result.
That’s only the beginning, though! To learn even more ways to optimize your site, click here for information on meta tags, URL structures and much more!
Dedicated to offering affordable course materials, Kutztown University Student Bookstore gives away free textbooks each semester. But, to keep it fun for students, they find a new way to present this benefit every so often.
“We’ve always had an emergency textbook fund for students who might lose their books in a fire, flood or even burglary,” explained Amanda Schaeffer, public relations manager. “For years, we’ve taken donation books left behind during buyback and tried to get whatever money we could by selling them online. Over the years, there has been so much money left over, that we wanted to find a way to make it benefit the students.”
In the past, for example, the store initiated a ‘Begging for Books’ promotion, which allowed students to submit a brief essay on why they deserved free textbooks for a chance to be one of the lucky recipients. When entries began to decline, however, the store decided to try a new approach.
“We wanted to make it a little easier for students to participate and to offer them instant gratification for buying from us,” Schaeffer said. “So, this semester we decided to do something completely random by giving an instant reward in the store and the room where they can pick up their online orders.”
With five lucky winners daily, the store awarded randomly selected students by paying for their most expensive item during checkout!
“We predetermined all of the winning locations and times before our rush started on Monday,” she described. “When it was time for each winner, we started ringing a cowbell and took balloons to the register or web order room and started cheering for the winning customer. We let them know that they were a lucky winner, and that their most expensive item was going be free!”
The students’ reactions were just what the store had been hoping for!
“Some of them were immediately excited, and others needed to be convinced that we were serious; they were in disbelief!” she said. “It didn’t seem to matter if it was a free notebook or a $200 textbook, the students were genuinely grateful and thrilled to be saving some money.”
To publicize the event, the store reached out to students through both traditional and digital channels.
“We advertised with in-store signage and plasma TV screen ads within our Student Union,” she explained. “We let fans know on our own Facebook page, plus the University’s Facebook page shared our posts so we were able to receive some great PR and additional exposure. Each semester, we also send out a postcard to students reminding them to place their textbook orders early, so we included this promotion there, too!”
With excited students and steady traffic, the benefits of the promotion far outweighed the costs, according to Schaeffer.
“Overall, we spent $1,253.77 on 15 winners,” she said. “The average amount spent on
each student was $83.58. The goal of these back-to-school promotions is to take the surplus emergency fund money we make from donated books and give it back to our students, so we were very happy to see the excitement and the buzz that was generated around campus!”
To others who are looking for promotions to help enhance their image and exposure with students, Schaeffer has just one piece of advice:
“Keep reinforcing the fact that you’re here to offer your students more affordable options and then do promotions like this one to prove it,” she said. “The more you can spread that message, the better off your store will be!”
Sidewalk sales were a staple of retail in the 1970s and ’80s. Seemingly each Saturday, merchants would strategically place select merchandise on tables outside their doors to catch the eye of passing consumers and grab some extra sales. The sidewalk was about enhancing the buying experience for customers and making it convenient for them to buy.
Sidewalk sales also saw merchants lugging bulky point-of-sale systems and cash registers outside, or going back into the store to complete sales. Sidewalk sales may never quite return to their heyday — but if they do, the on-rushing mobile retail revolution will make them a snap.
“Mobility lets retailers work more intimately with customers through the buying experience and respond more quickly to either service issues or sales opportunities,” says Michael English, executive director of product development for Heartland Payment Systems, which offers a solution enabling merchants to swipe and accept card payments through their smartphones.
Mobile technology, in effect, allows the customer to be better served because store personnel “literally become a walking point-of-sale system,” English says.
The development of portable, encrypted point-of-sale readers creates the opportunity for store associates to improve the buying experience by serving customers anywhere in the store.
“During busy times, people will put merchandise down and leave the store when they have to stand around to get waited on,” English says. “The merchant misses a revenue opportunity, and that can leave a negative impression for the consumer.”
Take Advantage of Mobile Technology
College stores can easily offer this option through our suite of mobility products. For instance, the MBS iTouch POS, which combines the transaction speed of the Electronic Payment System application with the intuitive interface of Apple’s iPod Touch, serves as a great line buster during peak selling periods. Allowing employees to open checkout lines wherever space permits, this innovative product ensures you can get students in and out quickly, offering the utmost in convenience.
Similarly, the MBS Event POS allows you to go even further beyond the confines of your store by running a full MBS Point of Service terminal and server wherever you need. That means you can sell merchandise at your football stadium or even a local event with ease, creating an easy and efficient way to increase revenue!
To learn more about either of these exciting products, talk with your MBS Representative!
This article offers great advice to keep in mind as your store enters textbook rush. Your store will likely receive the most complaints during this busy time of the year, so remember that responding to criticisms that occur after a student has left the store can be just as important as offering good customer service in the store!
For many social network users, Twitter is both a water cooler and a complaint department. Although most are there to engage with peers, many consumers are using Twitter to talk about their experiences with brands—and from time to time share their grievances. As more and more brands have joined Twitter, consumers’ expectation for interaction with brands has risen.
According to customer experience research company Maritz Research, nearly half of consumers who tweeted a complaint directed toward a brand expected the company to respond—or at least to read their tweet. However, only a third of those consumers received a tweeted response from the mentioned brand.
Consumers ages 55 and older are particularly expectant of a company to read their complaint on Twitter. Gen Y and Gen X consumers, who tend to be more active on Twitter, were less hopeful that a company would read their complaint—perhaps because they believe those expectations will not be met.
Despite the gap between consumer expectations and brand delivery, consumers are overwhelmingly positive when brands take the time to actually respond to them on Twitter. The Maritz study indicates that 86% of Twitter complainers would have liked or loved to hear from the company regarding their complaints—and out of those who heard back, 75% were satisfied with the company’s response.
Many brands are responding to tweets and mentions in order to maintain their reputations and sustain important customer relationships. According to a Forrester Consulting social media report commission by Dell, 58% of US marketers believe that listening and engaging with consumers through digital media will help with customer perceptions of their brand. Also, 56% said their social media efforts would aid in building long-term customer relationships.
Responding to customer complaints, although often thought of as a customer service function, can help increase positive branding—and therefore work in a marketer’s favor. Social media-savvy airline Virgin America has found that engaging with consumers via social networks helps build loyalty.
When consumers tweet @VirginAmerica during their travels—whether it be a question about the airline’s in-flight entertainment or a complaint about a flight delay—the airline does its best to respond.
“People are surprised that anyone there is listening, especially in the airline category,” Abby Lunardini, vice president of corporate communications, told eMarketer in a September 26, 2011, interview. She added that the engagement bolsters positive experiences and helps the airline improve its services. It also leads customers to fly with Virgin America again.
“Engendering loyalty is really important and definitely has a strong economic component,” Lunardini said. “Because once people fly with us, they usually stick with us.”
Designed to spread a love of reading and books, World Book Night originally started in the U.K. and will also be celebrated in the U.S. this year on April 23, 2012. The goal is to generate thousands of people going out into their communities to share their love of reading by giving out free World Book Night paperbacks. The event will also promote the value of printed books, and of bookstores and libraries to everyone year-round. Check out how you and/or your store can get involved in the following article by Bob Minzesheimer, of USA TODAY.
Organizers of the American version of World Book Night, who plan to give away 1 million books on April 23, are still searching for passionate readers to serve as “book givers.”
Since announcing the program a month ago, organizers say they are about one-third of the way toward a goal of finding 50,000 “book givers” who would each give away 20 books to people who are not normally readers.
The campaign, modeled on a British book night last March, features 30 titles chosen by booksellers and librarians. It’s a wide range of titles, including Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, and, in English and Spanish editions, Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
The coalition of publishers, booksellers and others organizing the event is accepting online applications to be one of the “book givers.” The application asks a few questions: Which book would you give away and why? To whom? And where? The deadline is Feb. 1.
Speaking at a meeting of the American Booksellers Association in New Orleans Thursday, Carl Lennertz, director of World Book Night, said that based on the early applications, “the public got the idea right away.”
Among the locations proposed are veteran hospitals, Native American reservations, nursing homes, women’s shelters, food pantries, military bases, prisons, Little League fields and New York’s Staten Island Ferry.
Lennertz said some local events are being organized, including perhaps a bookish flash mob under the St. Louis Arch, but “mostly, it will be done privately, one person handing another person a book that they love.” He said he’s avoided the word literacy, “although it is about literacy, but that sounds too impersonal.”
Special paperback editions of the 30 titles are being printed. Costs are being underwritten by publishers, printers and paper companies. All 30 authors have waived their royalties.
Oren Teicher, chief executive officer of the American Booksellers Association, said he’s never been involved in a “more collaborative and inclusive” effort, which he described as an “unparalleled celebration of physical books in physical places.”
In Britain last year, he said, World Book Night “triggered an avalanche of publicity for books,” which then led to a boost in sales of the same titles that have been given away.
Do you plan to participate in World Book Night? Tell us how by commenting below!
When you’re testing new business ideas, a focus group can provide valuable insight into your target market. Focus groups gather participants in one room, where they are asked questions at the same time to encourage an active discussion.
This strategy could be beneficial to a college store before each rush or buyback season. Ask students for their feedback on several promotional ideas and see which would most entice them to shop for or sell back at your store. By determining what truly motivates your target audience, you’ll be able to gain more traffic and ultimately more revenue!
Here are four considerations to bear in mind when holding a focus group:
1. Recruiting participants
Crystal Kendrick, president of The Voice of Your Customer, a marketing firm in Cincinatti, says to start with individuals who fit your target market among employees, friends or family members. If you’re afraid you won’t get honest input from people who are close to you, post an ad for focus group members on social media sites. You can also recruit on your website and in your actual store location with advertisements. Try offering a reward for participants such as extra loyalty points or a small prize pack of assorted merchandise.
2. Refining the methodology
Linda Rink, owner of RINK Consulting, a Philadelphia-based marketing company, says you should hold more than one focus group because each discussion’s atmosphere is unique and one opinionated person can sway it. She recommends doing two or three sessions with eight to 10 people in each group to give you multiple opportunities for feedback. If, for instance, the first session’s reaction is very positive, but the second’s is negative, then at least you know there isn’t universal approval.
“You could do a third group to see if [preferences] leaned positive or negative,” she says. “But if you only did the first group, you would come away with a false sense of optimism about the product’s appeal.”
3. Hiring a third-party moderator
If you’re on a tight budget or have experience running a focus group, lead the group yourself. But a third-party moderator can provide an objective authority, and respondents will likely be more honest with him or her.
Find a moderator by searching online for “qualitative researcher” in your area or through the Qualitative Research Consultants Association website. “A professional moderator is trained to facilitate the groups: to draw out the opinions of all participants, to prevent any one individual from dominating the discussion and to make sure all topics are covered,” Rink says.
4. Developing questions
Ask open-ended questions to garner specific feedback and prevent bias. For example, Darlene Tenes, owner of CasaQ Ornaments, an ornament retail company based in San Jose, Calif., usually asks, “What are your feelings on this product or decision?” or “What do you think can be improved here?” Stay away from questions that elicit a yes or no response. They tend to influence people’s preferences and discourage detailed feedback, which is what you’re after.
True to form, Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image and Author of Six Pixels of Separation, delivered a thought-provoking Shop.org First Look session at NRF’s BIG Show, discussing the paradigm shift going on in retail right now. The retail world no longer needs to ask itself if consumers want mobile or social or apps – consumers want all of those things. The question is, how should retailers proceed going forward? What’s going on in the next five years?
Joel offered five ideas to get retailers moving in the right direction:
Direct relationships. Retailers are at war with brands. Brands and retailers are actively competing against each other in social media spaces for those all-important direct relationships with consumers. As Joel described it, it’s the battle for “likes.” He recommends turning the problem around by transitioning to the idea of liking your customer. Interesting note: this is exactly why Apple decided to go retail.
Data. We all know analytics are important. Heck, we’ve been trying to use them for years! But Joel predicts a massive transition in which retailers combine their current very linear relationship with data with the more cyclical silo that comes from gathering data from many different places. Social CRM is imminent (and we probably won’t be calling it that for very long!). The problem Joel foresees is that retailers just aren’t staffed for this kind of analytics yet.
Utility (or death). So you developed what you thought was a really good app, a lot of consumers downloaded it and then … no one used it. Your app can’t just look cool, Joel cautions. It has to offer your consumers something useful while still connecting them with the brand. For example, Nationwide, the insurance company, offers an accident app. When you get into a car accident, you open the app, and it prompts you through the correct steps of dealing with an accident, such as telling you your location, suggesting you take photos of the event and exchange insurance information with the other driver, and even offering to help you file your claim right there. This is the ultimate in utilitarianism. The app provides a service for the consumer. This should be your goal.
Passive vs. active. This is probably the biggest shift of all for retailers to come to terms with. First, you need to accept the fact that a lot of consumers are simply passive by nature. That’s why TV is still as popular as it is. But the active customers? You can’t react passively to them. Your brand needs to interact with them aggressively. And those passive customers? Start thinking about how to persuade them into being more active.
One screen. The only screen that matter is the one in front of the customer, Joel asserts. Whether it’s a mobile device, a tablet, a TV, or a networked screen on the wall of the living room, you need to be on it.
Google Analytics has recently revamped its design, giving it not only a cleaner look but also updated data sets. You can now find everything from real-time stats to details about which mobile device your site visitors come from.
Though the data possibilities seem endless, Google Analytics product manager Phil Mui says the design reflects three core metrics: acquisition, engagement and outcome. Let’s take a closer look at what these numbers mean and how you can track them with one of the most widely used web analytics platforms.
The lowest-hanging fruit of web analytics is counting metrics. This data encompasses the number of visitors that come to your site and can be filtered to show what sites they’re coming from and how many of them have or haven’t been to your site before. In Google Analytics, this is described as “Visits.”
The tool has long provided information about where your visitors are coming from (geographically and on the web), what language they speak, how often they visit your site and what computers and browsers they use to get there. More recently, Google Analytics released mobile reporting. As people increasingly access the web from smartphones and tablets, this information is key to optimizing your site for those looking at it from a mobile device. This and most visitor-specific information can be found under the Audience tab. On report pages, the Visits metric can be found in the upper-left, while New Visits — the percentage of visitors coming to your site for the first time — is second in from the right.
Measuring how many people are coming to your site is the most cut and dried — but it’s only one piece of the metrics pie.
These numbers consider the quality of your site traffic. Once visitors come to your site, they’ll do one of three things: read the page they came to, click to more pages beyond their entry page, or leave. Engagement metrics focus on these actions visitors are taking once they get to your site — and how good you are at keeping them there.
The three key engagement metrics in Google Analytics are:
- Pages per Visit: This is the average number of pages a visitor views when coming to your website. The more engaging your site is, the more inclined visitors will be to continue clicking beyond the entry page.
- Average Time on Site: This refers to the typical amount of time visitors spend on your site, despite whether they continue to stay on the page they came in on or navigate elsewhere within your domain.
- Bounce Rate: This represents the percentage of single-page visits to your site. It gives you a sense of how many visitors left your site from the entrance page rather than clicking further into your site as compared to total visitors. Like Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate can help you determine the performance of your entry pages based on the actions visitors take (or don’t take) after they’ve arrived on your site.
Engagement metrics are especially important for reports created in the Traffic Sources and Content tabs. On report pages, Pages per Visit and Average Time on site are located at the top middle of report pages, while Bounce Rate is at the far right.
So, how do you know if your site is “engaging?” Ask yourself: Is your site user-friendly? How simple is it for a visitor to click to the next page? Is there interactive content in which your readers can participate? Does landing page content match the keywords in its title? Considering these questions when designing your site is a surefire way to improve the quality of your web traffic.
The Goals area is where your data tracking can really help you make a difference. These outcome-oriented metrics help you dive deeper into your site performance and learn whether you’re achieving what you want with your website.
The first step is defining your business objectives: Are you driving visitors to make online purchases? Getting them to view a specific piece of content? Aiming for more newsletter signups? Once you’ve pinned down your site goals, make sure your site administrator enables Goals in Google Analytics in the Account Settings page. Then you can choose one of four Goal types to track:
- URL destination: This metric is best if your goal is to get visits to a key page of your site, such as your homepage or a post-purchase message page.
- Time on Site: If you’re looking to measure engagement, this will track visitors spending a defined amount of time on your site.
- Pages per Visit: Also important for engagement, Pages per Visit will keep tabs on a defined number of pages visitors view in a session on your site.
- Events: Released in the most recent version of Google Analytics, Event Goals allow you to track specific actions visitors are taking on a page. This includes anything from downloading a PDF to watching a video.
Goals reports can be found under the Conversions tab, which will provide information about goal completions and conversion rates. You can opt to track goal value and abandonment rates (the percentage of visitors who fail to convert on the goal) as well.
If you’re an online retailer, it may make more sense for you to set up Ecommerce in Google Analytics, which allows you to track transactions and order values. It’s a more complicated setup process, but will provide more actionable metrics for visitors’ purchasing behavior on your site. For Google Adwords users, linking your account to Google Analytics goals can help you keep a closer eye on your marketing campaigns.
The following excerpt, from the article, How to create News Feed-worthy Facebook content, was written by Chelsea Hejny, social media writer at ShortStack, for SmartBlog on Social Media and gives great advice on how to ensure you effectively reach your fanbase on Facebook. View the full article.
Getting your Page’s content to appear in your users’ News Feeds can prove to be challenging. Facebook uses two sophisticated algorithms called Edgerank and Graph Rank to determine what content is shown in the News Feed. To bypass the complexity, here are some tips to improve your Facebook Page’s News Feed presence.
- Content is not always king. The logical thing to assume is that the more content you produce and share on your Page, the better opportunity there is for your posts to be seen in the News Feed. But this tactic can quickly backfire on a Page’s Like count. Posting too often is one of the top reasons for a Fan to unlike a Page. The idea is to post quality content that receives high user feedback, as opposed to having a lot of posts with low user feedback, as this could in turn hurt your Page’s chances of getting into the News Feed. As a simple rule of thumb, limit your Page’s daily content to two to three posts that you think will receive high rates of engagement.
- Vary your posts. Often it’s not what you are saying, but what you are sharing that makes a post worthy of a comment, share or Like. Facebook posts that include photos, videos and polls receive the best engagement rates. By accompanying text posts with interesting, trending or funny media content or poll questions, you’re optimizing user engagement, as well as claiming a space in your users’ News Feeds.
- Timing is everything. There have been several studies done that provide great recommendations as to what day and what time content is most viewed by Facebook users. These recommendations should be interpreted loosely. Facebook log-on and engagement tendencies vary across Facebook user groups. To determine the optimal posting time for your targeted Facebook audience, you’ll need to experiment a little. Break from your regular posting schedule and see what results come of the change. Once you think you’ve discovered your optimal posting time, take advantage of Facebook’s real-time content stream, Ticker, to post content during that time.
- Post about a trending topic. In August, Facebook introduced Aggregated Topics. Through Natural Language Processing, Facebook is able to cluster words in status updates to brand Pages. This means, during the holiday time, for example, if you post something about Christmas, that status update is more likely to show up at the top of the News Feed along with other posts mentioning Christmas. Use this tip to include trending words relating to upcoming events or holidays in your status updates to land your content at the top of the News Feed.
- Go manual. Using third-party applications to schedule and post content to your Facebook wall may seem convenient, but there’s a downside. When deciding what content gets in the News Feed, Facebook shows preference to manual posts made while logged into Facebook. It might not be a great enough reason to ditch your third-party app, but it’s something to take note of.
What strategies do you use to increase your exposure on Facebook’s Newsfeed? Share your experiences by commenting below!
The following article, Recognizing and Preventing Hidden Loss, was written Andrew Wren, chief executive officer of Wren Solutions, a loss-prevention technology provider helping leading retailers reduce loss and increase profits. The article was published on IndependentRetailer.com.
While loss prevention (LP) professionals are usually very focused on highly visible causes of loss such as shoplifting, organized retail crime and administrative error, they are advised to also consider ‘hidden losses’ that occur without being noticed or tracked. For instance, a shopper does not receive adequate customer service and leaves the store. Merchandise isn’t replenished on the shelves, driving customers to shop a competitor. Or worst of all, lost sales from a customer for life due to a bad experience in the store. While not classified as shrink, these losses, triggered by poor customer service or lackluster operational processes, are just as detrimental to the retailer’s bottom line as theft.
Common Areas for Hidden Loss in Your Retail Store
A focused effort on a few common areas in which hidden loss may result:
The Checkout Line
A poorly managed checkout line can be hazardous to your health. A long, slow line quickly yields unhappy customers who may drop their merchandise and walk out of the store. Time is precious and customers may decide they don’t “need” the merchandise that badly or are simply unwilling to waste more time in line. Checkout lines can be especially angering to customers if they spot seemingly-idle employees in the store. This is no epiphany. Retailers know how to avoid checkout bottlenecks: all hands on deck! Enlist store managers, idle employees, anyone who is available to assist at the point of sale. Even if employees are restricted from operating registers, they can still move things along by helping to bag merchandise, manage the line, or remove EAS tags.
How MBS Can Help: The MBS Point of Service (POS) system makes a positive impact on your customers’ experiences with the most efficient transaction speed. Our system uses an Electronic Payment Solution (EPS) that not only reduces credit card processing time, but also uses a redundant dial-up modem to ensure all transactions are processed without user intervention in the event of a network interruption, so that the lines in your store are always moving quickly.
The MBS iTouch POS, which combines the Electronic Payment System application with the intuitive interface of Apple’s iPod Touch, can also be a great line buster during peak selling periods. At the end of a transaction, from any location in the store, the MBS iTouch POS Terminal can wirelessly print a receipt and even support returns, too! Use it to free space and keep students moving quickly through your store.
A hollow “Can I help you?” or no greeting at all means little to a customer. How often do customers give clear, unmistakable signals that they are looking for something they can’t find, but associates are too busy performing administrative tasks behind a counter? Providing true customer service requires employees to go the extra mile. It may mean calling another store to see if they have the merchandise in the size needed, going to check inventory in the back room, or escorting the customer to another part of the store. Is it convenient for the employee? No. Is it critical to avoiding lost sales? Yes.
How MBS Can Help: The MBS Event POS allows you to run a full MBS POS terminal and server wherever you need. That means you can access all MBS hosted applications, as well as approve inSite orders. Essentially making your POS mobile, this tablet PC is the perfect way to equip your staff with the information they need when helping customers on the sales floor!
One of the most significant causes of lost sales is simply merchandise missing from store shelves. This is particularly common with quick-turn merchandise, consumables and clothing. If customers can’t find what they are looking for, they will usually assume the retailer has run out and will go to another store to find it. All the while, the desired goods are likely sitting in inventory, causing a lost sale.
These simple steps can make a huge difference in ensuring that customers get what they came for and actually complete their transactions. By minimizing lost sales due to poor processes and customer service, retailers can better mitigate the risks of unseen and undetected losses.
How MBS Can Help: Foreword Online has a wealth of resources on how to connect with your students in the aisles using QR Codes. Read our article on how to create and implement these 2D barcodes and then add them to shelf talkers that link to your inSite page as an easy way for students to access more information!