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Small Business Tips

How Grocery Stores Can Prepare for the Holiday Season

grocery store holidays

Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, the end of the year can be very hectic for grocery stores. But this time of year can also be very lucrative for your business. Your customers need food supplies for their parties and family get-togethers. Try these strategies to get ready for the holiday season:

Train Employees Ahead of Time

If you have a holiday sales plan, your employees should understand it well before the holidays begin. Once the holidays arrive, you and your team won’t have time to go over your business strategy. Even if you plan to do everything as usual, a quick overview will ensure that everything goes well when it gets busy.

Schedule Shifts Around Busy Hours

When you plan your holiday shifts, make sure to staff enough people for busy times. If you have a point of sale (POS) system like POS+, you can see how many sales you make during each shift. Check these numbers to see when your busiest hours are. It is also important to keep in mind that several of your employees may want to take off for the holidays, so you’ll need to come up with a fair way of deciding who can go.

schedule holiday shifts

Check Vendor Availability

Food suppliers may or may not take the holidays off. Before you end up without necessary inventory items, remember to plan your orders around their vacation days. If you need to deliver something by mail, check your service’s cut-off dates. Schedule your orders and deliveries ahead of time to avoid unexpected closings.

Clean and Organize

You want to know where to find everything when holiday traffic comes in. If you haven’t organized and cleaned your store, do it while you still have regular business. These tasks will keep your business running smoothly when you only have time for holiday customers.

Hire Extra Help If Necessary

If you know that sales will become overwhelming during specific shifts, why not get temporary help? Holiday workers can manage some of the extra work for you so every customer gets served. Stores that see a big increase in sales during the holidays may find that temporary workers are well worth the extra cost.

Manage Your Inventory

check your inventory

Before the holidays begin, check the stock of all of your popular items. Especially those items that sell best during the holidays and when the weather is cold. Order as much as you can in advance, and remember to schedule additional orders around your vendors’ days off. If you plan on selling holiday products, make sure they arrive well ahead of time. If you have a POS+, you’ll be easily able to track your sales and manage your inventory before – and during – the busy holiday season.

Get a Point of Sale (POS) System

A POS system helps you manage your store more efficiently so you can handle busy periods like the holidays. POS+ has an affordable price so any grocery store can take advantage of its benefits. Plus, the NRS POS+ has a built in loyalty program for customers, who are members, to enjoy instant holiday discounts at check-out. Visit our website to buy one online today or request a quote to learn more.

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Small Business Tips

How to Make Your Grocery Store Succeed

successful grocery store

Small grocery stores have more competition than ever from nearby chain convenience and grocery stores. Big supermarket chains have plenty of money and resources to serve their customers. However, you have a strength that they do not have. You can listen to your customers’ needs and create a store just for them. These tips will help you run a modern store that customers are going to want to visit again.

Personalize Your Customers’ Experience

Your customers like some products and services better than others. You have control over your inventory and store layout. Pay attention to the items your customers buy often and the parts of the store they go to the most. Make your community feel at home by selling prepared foods that are  unique to their culture. Try moving your customers’ favorite sections to the front of the store. And keep as many products as possible at eye level. Tall gondolas with products that can’t be reached or seen are detrimental to your store layout.

Become a Part of the Community

A small grocery store brings the community together. Become a prominent member of the community by participating in local events and hosting events at your store. Help local organizations with food donations or volunteer work. Offer to put up flyers in your window for things that happen in your community. If many people in your neighborhood speak a different language, use signs written in their language.

bring community together

Work Together With Other Neighborhood Stores

If your community has other small stores, you can help each other out. Advertise other stores’ products and services in your store and request that they advertise your business as well. There are technologies that allow you to run your own in-store ads. You can also organize group coupon programs where you offer coupons to your customers for other stores and vice versa. You can work together to succeed!

Offer Exciting Coupons and Promotions

Customers love to save money. Encourage customers to buy more by putting your items on discount and by offering special deals. There are Point of Sale systems that offer the ability to create promotions that will automatically be applied at checkout.

Some small stores use punch-card systems to offer rewards to their customers. Every time a customer buys an item like a hot coffee, a hole is punched into their card. Once they reach a certain number of items, they get one for free. This type of program does not cost much money and brings in customers.

Join a Loyalty Program

offer select discounts

Big chain stores have customer membership cards that provide discounts on select items. Programs like the BR Club help small businesses afford to give their customers discounts without losing money. Customers can provide their phone number to sign up for BR Club membership and receive a key fob to scan each time they visit the store, to receive instant discounts on popular items at checkout.

Use the World’s Greatest POS System

A point of sale (POS) system has tools and software that help you run your store. Our POS+ system helps you check-out customers quickly, track your sales, offer promotions, and manage your employees. It has many of the benefits that big supermarkets have in their technology, but at a price point that’s within reach for smaller businesses. To learn more about the cost and benefits of POS+, request a free quote. You can also buy the system right now!

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Small Business Tips

How to Start a Small Liquor Store

small liquor store

If you want to open your own liquor store, you may be worried about competition from nearby chain convenience stores with large beer refrigerators or from large liquor warehouses. Large chain stores have more resources than small businesses like yours. However, you have a strength that larger businesses do not have. You know your community, and you can open a store that’s unique to the neighborhood and your tastes. Remember to consider these actions when you start a liquor store.

Decide What Makes Your Store Unique

To make a profit in the current market, you must set yourself apart from other stores. You need to have something unique for customers to remember you. Think about your talents and what you can offer your customers. For example, if you are knowledgeable about wines and spirits, you can focus on providing an extra level of service to your customers. Engage your customers in discussions about the history and unique tastes of your more eclectic liquors, and provide suggestions on what liquors work best for cocktails.

 

set yourself apart

Determine Your Spending Plan

Liquor businesses require startup capital to open, and the amount you need depends on many factors. Remember to include the following costs in your budget:

  • Inventory: Your initial inventory may cost more than you expect if you want to start with a fully-stocked store because of alcohol’s high prices.
  • Lease: If you rent your store space, you need to pay your landlord and utility companies every month.
  • Staff wages: Consider how big of a team you’ll need to manage your business and account for everyone’s wages in your budget.

Once you establish a budget, you can search for an investment or take out a business loan.

Get Licenses From Your City, County and State

The United States has liquor laws that change by area. People often do not realize how many licenses they need to run a liquor store. You must research your city, county and state liquor rules and get the necessary licenses. Remember to look up rules for business hours too. Other legal considerations for starting a liquor store business include:

  • Liquor license quotas: Does your state limit the number of liquor licenses issued at one time? Some states and municipalities have a maximum number of licenses to issue based on an area’s population.
  • Classes of liquor licenses: Do you need a specific type of liquor license to own a small liquor business? In some states, you need a retail liquor license, not just a general liquor license.
  • Application requirements: What documents and information do you need to provide when you apply for a liquor license? Your state’s application guidelines determine what to include.
  • Fees and overall costs: How much does it cost to have the appropriate liquor licenses for your area? Fees vary by region, and you may have to apply for a license at multiple levels of government.
  • Defending your license application: Will you need to defend your license proposal? Your community may have the option to contest your application, requiring you to defend it.

Establishing a liquor store involves many legal considerations, but taking these steps ensures you have a reputable business. When in doubt, you can hire a lawyer to help you understand what you need to do.

Find a Good Location

When you open a store, you can buy an existing business from someone else or you can build a new business from raw space. Look for people selling their liquor stores near you before deciding to open a new store from scratch. Some owners who want to sell their stores have extra inventory that they will sell for low prices. If you decide to build a new store or adapt your store from a different type of business, read your city’s laws. Some places have laws that keep liquor stores away from schools and churches.

Keep Track of Your Inventory

Liquor has a high cost, so you need to be careful when you stock your inventory. Try to focus on getting items that you sell often. You can buy these items in bulk to save money and make a higher profit. Customers like full shelves, so you want to buy as much stock as you can safely afford. If you have a smaller budget, arrange your shelves so they don’t look empty. In order to avoid running out of top-selling products, make sure to use a Point of Sale system with inventory management software.

Want to give your liquor store a unique flair? You can try selling products that complement your alcohol, such as:

  • Glassware: Special glasses for alcohol enhance the drinking experience, and selling them saves your customers a stop at another store.
  • Drink accessories: Preparing wine and cocktails requires accessories such as shakers and aerators you can sell near relevant products.
  • Mixers: Drink mixers provide a convenient way for your customers to make their favorite cocktails.
  • Food and snacks: Many alcoholic drinks pair well with gourmet food and snacks such as cheese, crackers, nuts or pretzels.
  • Homebrewing kits: Let your customers brew their own alcohol with a complete kit.

Curating your inventory to include the alcohol and accessories your community wants helps you market your store to your target audience.

Advertise Your Store

classes and taste testing

Before you advertise your liquor business, you must research whether the law will let you. Some areas do not allow you to advertise liquor stores. If you can advertise, place an advertisement in the newspaper or on radio or television. You can also create a social media page for your store and ask customers to follow it. Try having events like classes or taste testings to bring in customers too.

Get the Equipment You Need

Buying a point of sale (POS) system will help you manage your store more effectively. The POS+ from National Retail Solutions works like the technology that big stores have, but it has a price that small businesses can afford. You can use the POS+ Point of Sale system to:

  • Check customers out quickly: Speed up checkout lines with lightning-fast scanning technology.
  • Count your inventory: Monitor the number of items in your inventory and get alerts when certain products get low.
  • Manage your cashiers: Give each of your employees an account so you can track sales for their shifts.
  • Review your sales numbers: Gain critical insights on your overall profits and sales trends.
  • Remember to check for ID: Receive a reminder to ask for a 21+ license whenever you ring up an alcohol product.

To learn more about how the POS+ can upgrade your business, start by requesting a quote, or you can buy the POS+ today!

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Small Business Tips

How to Run a Successful Deli

successful deli

Your deli brings fresh and convenient food to your local customers. Many delis even function as community gathering locations where locals eat together and have a chance to catch up. If you recently started a deli or have plans to build your deli into the top local eatery, we’re here to help! We have put together a list of proven methods that will help your deli stand out:

Create a Smart Store Layout

The layout of your business is important for deli employees and for customers. Your employees behind the deli counter must be able to easily navigate the space so they can prepare food quickly. If your employees don’t have room to move, or there is not enough space for multiple employees to prepare food at once, you will lose time and business. A good strategy is to have your employees stand at the counter in the order they do work. For example, your cashier is the last step in the process and should be placed at the end of the counter.

You can also sell more buy placing popular impulse items in highly visible areas of your store. Try moving popular snacks to the front of your store near the cash register so customers are encouraged to add a bag of chips to their order at the point of purchase. We often see the beverage refrigerator stuck in the back of the store behind tall gondolas. Make sure your beverage refrigerator is lit up and highly visible to your customers.

deli counter employees

Make a Unique Menu

Your deli gives you many creative opportunities. You can create a menu full of food that only you can make. However, many delis only sell basic menu items and products. Buy paying attention to food consumption trends (Avocados are Hot!) and inserting your own creativity into the menu, you can put yourself ahead of the competition.

Even small personal touches create a big difference. If you have a menu creation you feel proud of, you can sell it as your “famous recipe.” Give this item more attention on the menu and advertise it in a promotion so people can enjoy your best work. Think about making more ingredients by yourself instead of buying them already made. You can make your own bread, sauces, pickles and more.

Who knows? Your special ingredients could even become popular enough to sell on their own!

Provide a Fast Checkout Experience

Deli customers move through the store in one big line. You need to take orders and ring them up as fast as possible in order to keep your line moving quickly. Paying attention to the layout, like we discussed before, can help you have a faster checkout process.

You should also have a fast and easy-to-use point of sale (POS) system.

Running a Deli With POS+

deli counter pos

We offer a Point of Sale bundle called POS+ that helps small business owners succeed. A POS system like ours will let you:

  • Ring up products quickly: You can create quick buttons for menu items and add-ons that let you ring them up with just one touch.
  • Accept popular payment methods: Cash payments force you to count the money and exchange it. Payment methods like cards work faster and make check-out quicker. Accepting more payment methods means you can cater to customers that don’t carry cash.
  • Count your inventory: Tell POS+ the number of items you have that you want to track. It will count them as they sell and save you time looking through your stock.
  • Create your own special promotions: The NRS POS+ is unique in that it lets you run your own custom ads on the customer facing screen. The system also has loyalty software that allows you to create special promotions on products.

Besides making checkout faster, POS+ helps you manage your store more effectively. Learn about its features and affordable price when you request a quote. You can also buy it today.

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Small Business Tips

Technologies Your Small Business Should Use

technology for small business

If you do not know much about technology, you might feel confused about what you need for your business. Some kinds of technology help small businesses more than others. When you use these technologies, it will be easier to keep up with larger stores. These technologies are often simple to use and affordable.

Affordable Cloud Phone Service

When we talk about “the cloud” in technology, it means a service that works using the internet. A cloud phone service sends your phone calls using the internet instead of a phone line. Using a cloud phone costs less than a traditional phone and lets you place calls all across the world.

Utilize Your Email!

It costs zero money to get an email address. Customers can send messages to your inbox when they cannot make a phone call. You can use your email address to send official company newsletters to your customers and notify them about new products and sales.

Website or Social Media

Many people search the internet to learn more about a business. When you make a website or social media for your business, potential customers can find the information they need. There are online services that allow you to create your own website for free without any coding. Creating a social media page is even easier, and can be a great way to stir up grassroots interest in your business. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are all important social media channels to consider.

create business website

Security Systems

A security system helps you keep thieves away. You can buy a security camera or alarm for an affordable price. To further deter would-be thieves, put a sign up to let customers know that the area is being watched by cameras or that the store is protected by your security company.

Time Clock

Time clock software tracks the time that you and your employees spend at work. A POS system can effectively track your cashiers’ shifts in addition to monitoring the sales that were made during each cashier’s shift.

Mobile Applications

There are mobile applications that can help you manage your business and interact with customers. You can find an application for almost any purpose. For example, wholesale distributors have mobile applications that allow you to quickly order more inventory by scanning the barcodes of the items you need to re-order. Some POS companies have mobile applications that allow you to track your store’s daily sales and monitor your business from anywhere.

Inventory Management Tools

It’s very valuable to be able to track your store inventory. A store owner needs to know which products sell best, which products are running low and need to be re-ordered, and which slow-selling products not to order again. Keeping track of your inventory is easy with inventory management software. A Point of Sale device tracks every item sold in your store and can alert you when items are running low. You’ll never have to worry about running out of items and being caught by surprise.

Modern Payment Methods

modern payment methods

If you only take cash, customers who do not have cash cannot buy anything from you. When you take modern payment methods like cards, you get more business. Some credit card readers can even accept payments directly from mobile phones.

Point of Sale (POS) System

A point of sale (POS) system works like an assistant for your business. POS systems help you ring up customers, track your inventory and much more. Our POS+ system has many features and an affordable price for small businesses. Learn more about how this technology can upgrade your business when you request a quote, or buy it today!