The retail and restaurant industries are in the midst of major changes. Consumers, who have grown accustomed to the conveniences technology gives them in their daily lives, expect the stores and restaurants that they patronize to offer that same level of personalized, on-demand service. Your point of sale (POS) and payments clients in these industries need more than the ability to take orders, ring up a sale, and accept electronic payments. They need you to help them meet new consumer demands and stay competitive.
Fortunately, you have the ability to offer your clients a variety of value-added services that they need to create the types of experiences their customers are looking for. When you’re looking for additional capabilities to round out a solution to meet a retailer or restaurateur’s needs, you’ll find that there are a number of third-party apps, designed to be plug and play, that can allow you to easily give your clients the expanded functionality they’re looking for. In addition, they’re billed on a monthly subscription basis, which allows you to build a recurring revenue stream.
Must-Have Value-Added Services
These four value-added services are vital to success in today’s consumer-centric, digital world – and they can be easy for you to add to the solutions you provide:
1. Gift Cards
Year after year, gift cards are a popular gift to give and to receive. The National Retail Federation’s 2018 holiday shopping survey found 60 percent of consumers say they would like to receive a gift card – the most popular response in the survey. In addition, it’s becoming more common for people to carry gift cards when they don’t want to carry cash but don’t want to use a credit card.
Gift cards also have advantages for the merchant. They are an effective way to raise awareness and keep their brand top of mind – a gift card with a balance in your wallet is a great reminder to go to a store or restaurant. In addition, research by Blackhawk Network Holdings found that 59 percent of consumers spend more than face value when they use a gift card, which can boost revenue. And, of course, the merchant gets paid in advance for goods/services yet to be provided.
When you are looking for a gift card solution to integrate with your POS or payment solution, it’s imperative that it’s easy to use, both when their employees are issuing cards and when their customers are using them to pay.
2. Loyalty Program
Earning and maintaining loyalty is a prime objective in the current competitive climate. A loyalty program can be an effective part of a business’ loyalty strategy, rewarding loyal customers with discounts and comped items. But loyalty programs provide even more benefits. They provide information that helps merchants understand their customers better, including demographic data and insights into buying habits and preferences. This can help merchants not only optimize their loyalty rewards program, but their entire business strategy, to tailor experiences to their unique customer base.
The loyalty solutions you provide your clients should include analytics and reports that provide actionable insights from the data the loyalty program collects.
Adding customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing functionality to a POS system allows a merchant to use sales and customer history to precisely tailor marketing. Merchants can segment their customer list based on demographics or other information to send relevant messages and promotions that result in better marketing ROI. CRM functionality also gives merchants a way to easily communicate with their customers, engage them, and create a sense of community.
Look for a value-added service that makes targeted email communications quick and easy for your clients.
Merchants will also benefit from the ability to survey their customers immediately upon checkout. This allows them to gather actionable insights that can help them improve service and processes and grow their businesses. It can also provide them with insights into how they’re performing compared to their competition. Look for real-time surveying options that enable surveying as part of the check-out process to improve consumer participation.
By providing a solution on a monthly subscription or “as a Service” basis, even small merchants can afford to collect this data, leveling the playing field with larger enterprises.
The Value that Value-Adds Give Your Business
Providing value-added services along with your POS or payment solution can benefit your business as well as your clients’. It allows you to sell deeper into your customer base and maximize revenues – including the recurring revenue that cloud services represent. It also helps you create stickier relationships – your solution would be harder to replace if it’s integral to all of the systems that keep a business running.
Value-added services also give you a competitive edge over verticalized POS. You have the ability to perform proactive needs assessments for your merchant clients to determine their needs, then provide a total solution with the software and value-adds you provide. This will differentiate you as a trusted advisor – you will offer a true partner that helps merchants find answers to their challenges – not just a business that sells POS or payment solutions.
In this time of sweeping change, it’s important to realize that the solutions you provide need to change with the industry. Research the value-added services you can offer, form strategic partnerships, and provide everything your merchant customers need to succeed.