We were recently asked to participate in a Q&A with CoffeeTalk Magazine about how technology helps coffee shops succeed. Here’s our take on it!
Q: As powerful as a good POS is as a way to collect money, can you provide other key tips for either generating more income. Please be as specific and creative as possible.
A. To generate more income, you need to focus on selling more to your customers during each transaction, bringing your customers back more often, or gaining new customers. Good technology can help with all of these challenges. First of all, a POS system will help to ensure that you charge for all the items you are providing your customers, so every extra flavor shot or other upgrade is captured. Using pre-paid cards is another way to increase income. Customer attitudes are very favorable to these cards, and operators find that customers tend to spend more when using cards, not to mention the advantages of the residual value of unused cards. To bring customers back more often, offer incentives. A loyalty program is a great motivator to make your shop the favorite stop – and a good POS system will build this in for you. You can supplement this with automated marketing tools such as e-mail or text messaging to your customers to encourage them to come back for their reward or to give them a special incentive if they haven’t been in for a while. Make ordering from your shop as convenient as possible by offering online and mobile ordering. If a customer sees long lines, they may choose to go elsewhere. But if your regulars know they can order and pay right from their phone as they are approaching the shop, then just walk up to the counter and grab their drink, the line is no longer a limiting factor.
Q: How does a POS system reduce operational costs?
A: Of course, everyone loves to save money, and technology can help with this too. Improved accuracy of orders helps to reduce waste and mistakes. Speed up ordering with an easy-to-use system, and supplement with self-serve ordering kiosks and mobile ordering apps to get more orders in with less people. Proper accounting and cash management tools help you ensure the security of your cash flow. Inventory software lets you keep track of purchases and monitor potential shrinkage. Employee scheduling and reporting tools help you manage your labor costs.
Q: How can a POS system help increase store traffic?
A: Running your operation efficiently and accurately, which a POS system helps you do, is going to help customers feel good about returning. Using the right technology to speed up service will help reduce wait times and keep customers coming in. A POS system lets you expand your business in new areas as well. For instance, make it easy to manage corporate accounts with software that tracks their orders and lets you invoice them, and online ordering that lets an executive assistant easily place a specialized order for a meeting – and remember that order for next time.
Q: How does a POS system related to a loyalty program?
A: Incorporating a loyalty program in your operation can really boost your business. Customers love reward programs and are increasingly growing to expect them in their favorite shops and restaurants. With a loyalty system that’s integrated to your POS, it’s easy to record specific transaction data. You can set up rewards based on specific items purchased or total dollars spent. Coffee Shop Manager has the option to tie the loyalty program into an automated text message / e-mail marketing system which will reach out and communicate to customers when they’ve achieved a reward, or if they haven’t been in for a while – which is a great way to personalize your marketing and keep customers coming back. You can tie the loyalty program to a pre-paid card, or just use the customer’s phone number.
Q: What factors should be taken into account when selecting a POS?
A: It’s important to choose a POS system that has your business in mind. Coffee shops do have specialized needs in the way drinks are ordered and customized, and the service customers expect. While general retail or restaurant POS systems may be adequate, the coffee shop systems have extra features that really go the extra mile toward improving your profitability. Of course you also want a system that is easy to use, reliable, and runs on hardware that will be durable and reliable in your environment. It is critical that any system you choose is PA-DSS certified for PCI Compliance, which means it handles credit card data in an approved way. Look for a system that offers good value, but is expandable with features you may want to add on in the future as you grow to multiple locations, or expand your food offerings. And consider the company behind the software who will be providing support and service – make sure they are responsive, reliable and focused on your needs.
Q: If you had to choose the number one reason operators should be using your product, what would that be?
A: I think the number one reason operators choose Coffee Shop Manager is because its a great fit for their operation. It’s specialized for coffee, backed by a great team of experts who specialize in coffee technology, flexible, expandable and affordable.
Q: Please describe how Coffee Shop Manager’s products contribute to retailers success.
A: Coffee Shop Manager is successful in the coffee industry because we really understand our customers. Our technology was designed from the ground up to focus on the needs of coffee retailers, and we provide a complete set of management tools to help you increase sales, reduce costs, improve customer service, and save time. From point-of-sale to online & mobile ordering, customer loyalty and enterprise management, Coffee Shop Manager is committed to the industry and to your success.