With spooky season right around the corner, retailers should be getting ready. Having a head start on marketing for a holiday is essential. The best retailers prepare at least a month in advance for most holidays. We have created a free resource page with Halloween marketing resources that any business can use!
On the page you will find various materials that you can use in your Halloween communications. This includes: Halloween hashtags, retail promotion ideas, over 20 royalty-free Halloween stock images, color schemes, a spooky Halloween font, and some inspiration for your Halloween displays.
Click here to access the TAKU Halloween marketing resources!
Some of the best marketing opportunities come during various holidays. Staying ahead of your holiday calendar and preparing is the key to boosting your sales. Check out our blog on year-round holiday marketing.
You may have heard of the retail term “guideshop” in the last several years. Brands such as Bonobos have had great success with guideshop stores. This retail strategy is a throwback to the idea of “showrooms” and works particularly well for retailers in the age of ecommerce. In fact, running a guideshop is also known as “showrooming”. But what exactly is a guideshop and why should retailers consider it for their physical stores?
A physical store where customers can experience the products before purchasing it. The physical store only showcases the product for customer experience but do not sell any physical items. Customers place orders in the physical store [that] will be delivered to their homes.
It’s easy to understand why guideshops are also known as showrooming. After all, showrooms are traditionally physical locations where businesses display merchandise so that consumers can engage with products before ordering. One of the best modern examples is Dyson’s demo shop. Showrooms and guideshops typically carry little to no inventory for immediate purchase.
Who should consider this store strategy?
Showrooming and guideshops are traditionally best for retailers who sell products which customers prefer to take a look at, try on, or test out before purchase. Typically these products don’t sell as well if only sold online. In particular, showrooms are great when the retailer’s products physically take up a lot of space or are of high-value, both of which makes it hard to stock inventory in-store. Think of things such as appliances, furniture, jewelry, etc. With furniture for example, retailers have limited warehousing space since their stores need a lot of display space. But their shoppers often want to physically see how big a piece of furniture is, how comfortable it is, and how it feels in person before purchasing.
The change today is that non-traditional showroom products are also able to use guideshops to offer better customer service with smaller, more cost-effective shops. This is exactly how Bonobos guideshops work. They are smaller stores where customers can go in and try on the entire product line for delivery at home. But Bonobos has made an effort to provide above-average customer service by training employees to help customers find the right fit and size.
Not only are guideshop stores easier and cheaper to operate without the cost of carrying stock, better trained sales associates encourage higher sales per shopper. And naturally, because customers will have a profile setup for their pickup or delivery, all of the shopping data in-store and online is stored for better customer service and personalized digital marketing.
Another key market for guideshops are retailers that manufacture or sell their own private-label brands. When you sell a brand that cannot be found anywhere else, there isn’t a risk that shoppers will try on merchandise in-store and buy the products elsewhere. In this case, guideshops offer a cost-effective way to run more smaller physical stores without the carrying costs of traditional brick & mortar stores.
What kind of customers does this appeal to?
Guideshops tend to attract shoppers that enjoy touching, seeing or interacting with products before buying them. The slower, discovery process involved with customer service-driven guideshops and the inconvenience of carrying products around while shopping makes guideshops more attractive to shoppers in urban centers or walkable main streets. The strategy generally works even better for high value items where shoppers expect superior service and delivery may be considered more secure than walking around with a bag from an expensive store. For example, people often visit the Apple Store to test out new devices since they are expensive. But oftentimes during checkout, Apple shoppers will have their purchase shipped home to avoid carrying a bag around with the Apple logo on it.
The benefits of retail showrooms and guideshops
Hopefully this article has helped you get a good idea on why showrooming is great. To recap, here are the benefits of using a guideshop store strategy:
Lower costs: Carrying less inventory is the easiest way to lower the overhead costs of your business. Keep in mind, you can also offer store pick up options to keep costs lower!
Better experience for customers: Employees focus on helping customers find the perfect product for them and even upsell additional ones.
Sell more things: With less space required to stock products, showrooming allows stores to showcase more products. Retailers can sell products without having to stock anything and can simply order for delivery after taking payment.
Now that you understand what guideshops are, consider whether this could be a good strategy for your retail business. It is definitely a retail trend which will continue to change the way people shop.
Learning the ins and outs of retail is a journey. But it doesn’t have to be scary. TAKU is here for you. Check out our retailer’s glossary to read up on the 100 most essential terms in the world of retail! Click on the image below to learn more.
Independence day is just 3 weeks away! This year is sure to be an exciting one. Lockdowns are over and much more people will be looking to celebrate than the last two years. While everyone is out celebrating with a heart full of patriotism, it is the best time for retailers to take advantage. Learn how to boost your 4th of July sales by reading more.
Independence Day promotions
Promotions are a staple for any holiday. If you are in the retail game, chances are you already know this. But a little reminder never hurts anyone. To get ready for the fourth of July, consider some special promotions you could offer.
Ideally these promotions should involve Independence Day related merchandise. If you don’t have items that relate, or you can’t offer promotions on those items, don’t worry. People will appreciate a good promotion regardless. Your 4th of July promotion could be a simple BOGO (buy one get one) offer, slashed prices on certain items, or even bundling some products together.
Free food for the 4th of July
To get customers to come to your store, you could host a barbecue. After all BBQs are tradition on Independence Day. There’s a saying: “nothing is better than free food”, and we are confident your customers will agree. Offering free food is one of the best ways to get customers into your store. Since your store might be closed on the holiday, you could host the barbecue the day before or a couple days before Independence Day.
Social media tactics for Independence Day
As a business owner in this day & age – you should already know the importance of using social media for marketing. So take a look at some of our favorite tactics to use this Independence Day.
An exciting contest will always garner interest. Now you can easily leverage this idea to build interest in your business. Having a giveaway or a sweepstakes would be a great way to get customers to interact with your business. Get shoppers to follow, and repost your post to be entered in the contest. While you’re at it, you could advertise your barbecue on the post; kill two birds with one stone.
Paid ads to promote
Even though paid ads can be competitive, they also deliver results. They work even better when you target local audiences as there’ll be less competition. It also saves you money as you are more likely to reach your target audience. Now you could do organic social posts as well, but paid ones guarantee that they actually show up on people’s feeds. So use ads to promote your 4th of July sales and promotions.
4th of July pricing strategies
Life is getting expensive thanks to inflation, so consumers are always on the lookout for savings. So offering consumers great 4th of July sales is an awesome way to get them to purchase stuff. There are a couple of different pricing strategies you could use this Independence Day – here are some of our favorites.
Sales on national products
Independence Day is chalk full of patriotism, so take advantage of it! Offer discounts on merchandise in your store that are made domestically. Support the American economy in these tense times, and also drive up your own sales! If this is doable for you, we highly recommend this pricing strategy.
Loss leader pricing
For a more in-depth look at loss leader pricing, check out our blog post on this subject. But you can easily use loss leader pricing as a tactic to get more sales in your store. Once again you can use 4th of July related items in this, or just use other products. For example if you sell sparklers in your store, you could sell them at a loss while having lighters/matches being sold at a slight premium right next to the sparklers. As usual, be sure to try and keep these items deep inside your store. This way shoppers are forced to browse your other merchandise as they make their way towards those items.
Bulk purchase discounts
Offering cheaper prices when customers buy in bulk is an age-old pricing strategy. Use this classic strategy with a 4th of July promotion. It’s classic to have bonfires on Independence Day. So let’s say you are a hardware store, you could sell fire wood and offer discounts when consumers buy in bulk. Since shoppers will be looking to buy fire wood anyways, you can make sure they buy it from you with this discount. As an additional tip, you could sell your fire pits right next to the discounted wood. This type of bulk discount could be applied to other items like one-time cups (since people will be having barbecues and picnics). Like we already mentioned, make sure you are placing these discounted items in the back of your store so customers browse through your products.
There are so many different types of deals, promotions, and advertisements you could use to boost your 4th of July sales. We named some of our favorite tactics in this blog, but if you come up with other tactics – be sure to share them in the comments below! We are wishing you all a happy Independence Day this year.
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Canada Day this year is looking to be an exciting one. Now that lockdowns are over, people are looking forward to celebrating the holiday in large numbers. Holidays are always a great way to create some marketing buzz for your store. It is an ideal time as a retailer to boost your Canada Day store sales. Read more below to find out how.
Tips for boosting sales on Canada Day
There are many easy ways to increase Canada Day sales. Take a look at some of the best tips below.
Canada Day promotions
This first tactic will probably make you go “duh!”, but sometimes it’s worth it to point out the obvious. Prepare special promotions related to Canada Day. These promotions could include offering a free gift with purchase, or buy one get one (BOGO) free promos.
The promotions should ideally be for products related to Canada Day. However, it doesn’t HAVE to be only Canada Day related items. Find ways to get people in to your store with the idea of Canada Day. However if you have products that are popular for Canada Day, be sure to include them in some way for your promotion or event. This could be anything as simple as offering a holiday bundle, or simply discounted pricing for those items.
Hosting an event could be as simple as hosting a barbecue. Having a barbecue with free hot dogs is always a great way to get customers to drop by your store. Since most stores are closed on Canada Day, we would suggest hosting any promotional events the day before Canada Day – or the whole week before. Just make sure you are doing something exciting to get shoppers in to your store.
Social media marketing
If you have a business in 2022, then you already know how important it is to have social media as a marketing channel. Check out the social media tactics below to boost your Canada Day store sales.
Paid ads on social media can be pretty competitive, but they deliver results. You should be advertising your Canada Day promotions and events for the entire week before they happen. The reason to go with paid ads, is that it guarantees your message will appear on people’s feeds. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that organic social media posts will reach shoppers.
If you are a local business, make sure to target nearby locals with your ads. This way you aren’t spending money to reach consumers who aren’t likely to come into your shop anyways.
Social media contests
A good contest always gets people excited. Naturally, you’d want to use this excitement to boost your Canada Day sales. Make sure to advertise your other promotions when you promote your giveaway as contests are a great way to get people to share your posts. This tactic is a great 2-in-1 as you can both generate awareness for your brand, and communicate your promos to your audience.
With inflation on the rise, people are looking for the best deals. And the best way to get them is during holidays. And, of course, Canada Day is no exception. Here are some some tried and true tactics.
Volume based Canada Day sales
Giving discounts when people buy in volume is a classic pricing strategy. Why not add a little Canada Day flair to it? Sell items people are likely to buy around Canada Day with a volume discount. For example, if you are a grocery store you could offer discounts on hot dog/burger buns when people buy multiple units. It is likely that many people will be hosting barbecues on Canada Day, and will be looking to purchase these items. Offering a discount on a bulk amount will ensure that these buyers are purchasing from you. The same type of bulk discount could be offered on things such as decorations.
As always, with any in-store promotion, make sure that you put your discounts deeper into your store (ideally at the back), to encourage shoppers to walk your entire store.
Domestic product sales
To leverage the patriotic energy of Canada Day, you could offer discounts on merchandise that is made in Canada! Not only is this a great marketing tactic to drive up Canada Day store sales – but it also supports the Canadian economy. This is a great way to really engage in the patriotism related to Canada Day while also providing great deals for consumers.
Loss leader pricing
We have written a whole blog on loss leader pricing, what it is & how to use it. Not to overuse the barbecue example, but as a grocer you could sell condiments (mustard, ketchup, etc.) with loss leader pricing. Consumers will want to come buy the condiments from you for their barbecue, and will most likely pick up higher priced items for the event at the same time.
There is an abundance of promotions, marketing and pricing strategies you could use this year. It is important to start planning for Canada Day promotions in advance. Make sure people have time to actually notice your offers. And be sure to mix up some of these tactics together to boost your Canada Day store sales.
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There is a big labor shortage in North America right now. Tons of small and big businesses are being affected by the lack of workers. Being short-staffed can lead to frustrated employees & customers, and even lead to losses on sales. In fact, a study found that 6% of potential sales are lost due to a lack of service. Retail store owners need to learn how to reduce the chances of employees leaving and maximize operations while being short-staffed. This blog will give you a guide to managing retail while understaffed.
Why are stores understaffed?
Firstly, it is important to understand why there is a labor shortage in the first place. If you can understand what is going wrong, then you can take the steps to fix the problem. The low staffing problem boils down to the following: jobs don’t feel worth it anymore, demographic issues, and a disconnect between workers and employers.
Is this even worth it?
Many workers are coming to realize that they are no longer fulfilled by their jobs. Worse yet, the people who feel no satisfaction from their job are also not being paid enough. Would you want to work somewhere that drains you and doesn’t even compensate you to make it worth it? Well, many people are starting to say no. The COVID-19 situation opened up this realization for many. Millions of people decided to quit their job during the pandemic. But even though the pandemic is over for the most part, these attitudes have become permanent. Many people are feeling burnt out from their jobs, and the companies they work for needlessly add to this. Employers should be seeking to make work something their employees don’t hate if they want to win the battle against low staffing. If possible offer flexible work schedules, better pay, better breaks/off time, and check in on your employees’ mental health.
Demographics in the labor shortage
There is a large number of workers who are at retirement age. This number is bigger than the number of people entering the workforce. This surely creates a shortage in workers: leading to short-staffed businesses. On top of all of this, immigration slow-downs have created bigger gaps in labor. As a business owner there isn’t much you can do to combat this problem. However you can try to start appealing to younger demographics in your hiring practices.
The disconnect in the job market
There is simply a problem between the communication of employers and employees right now. Poor hiring practices are leading to many people missing out on jobs, and growing anti-work sentiments are leading to companies missing out on employees. Wages and expectations are not keeping up with each other. Many people are finding the jobs that they are qualified for do not pay enough. On the other hand, people are finding jobs that pay well but the requirements are not realistic.
These three factors seem to be some of the biggest contributors to businesses being understaffed. So what can you do as an understaffed retailer?
How to manage retail while understaffed
Better working conditions will lead to less low staffing
Did you know more than half of the people who believe their work schedules are inconsistent end up quitting their jobs? It is essential to make sure your employees have a consistent schedule which will give them a sense of security and fulfillment. Additionally, as we previously mentioned – giving workers some flexibility will help them want to work more as well. Things like offering better lunch breaks, days off, or even providing your employees lunch every now and then. When an employee feels like their company cares about them then they will care about their company. Also make sure you aren’t overworking your employees when you are short-staffed. When you set realistic expectations for your workers, and they will deliver realistic results.
Take advantage of your online channel
Why not reduce some of the work load by letting your online channel do a lot of the grunt work? Making sure your website, ecommerce store, or social media accounts can advertise and sell products will give your employees more time to take care of other tasks. Things like buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) can help speed up the closing of sales. Make sure you are using an omnichannel system to take the advantage of BOPIS. Being able to offload work to your online channel will be a great help in times your store is understaffed.
Understand your store
If you are a store owner and can’t tell us when your peak days are, then you got a big problem on your hands. In order to make the best scheduling decisions you need to be able to understand when your store is the most busy. Once you do, you can schedule more workers during that time and less during off-peak hours. This will help you to make the most out of your payroll budgeting. You should also be able to understand which tasks are higher priority for your store. This will help you increase efficiency in store operations. Omnichannel systems like TAKU provide business owners like YOU with this type of data. Bringing us to our next and final point:
Managing retail while understaffed with efficiency
Efficiency is all about making the most with the least. If you don’t have that many workers, you need to make sure that workers you do have are taking care of the essential stuff. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. Workers and managers should dedicate 80% of their time and effort to the 20% of work that matters the most. Things like serving customers, and keeping shelves stocked.
In order to help maximize efficiency in your store consider using TAKU’s new self-checkout kiosk. This amazing new channel for your retail business will open up more time for your team who are following the 80/20 rule. Once customers can complete transactions on their own, less employees are needed to do so. This allows you to assign other important tasks to your staff. There is a reason why so many retailers have implemented self-checkout during the pandemic.
These tips will help you manage retail while understaffed. Remember it is important to keep your employees as happy as you can. Be sure to also use tools which will further optimize your operations. This will lead to better customer service and in turn sales.
TAKU Retail uses state-of-the-art retail technology to provide one of the best omnichannel systems for retailers. TAKU’s omnichannel offerings allow retailers to optimize their business for efficiency and continue to manage retail while understaffed. Learn more by tapping on the banner below.
Like any other job, having the right tools to run your retail business is important for success. It is essential to have a computer to run a business in the modern age. An affordable laptop that meets your needs as a retailer can increase your productivity and make operations run smoothly. Through intense research, the TAKU team has created a list of the best laptops for small businesses. These laptops will be able to run software like QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, and TAKU Retail with ease. Since this is a list of laptops for small business owners we’ve kept the list to laptops under $1000 USD.
Before we dive into the list of laptops we should go over some of the basics of computer specs (specifications). Computer specs refer to the pieces that make up the computer. The specs are also a good indication of computer’s potential performance. Here are some of the most important specs to be looking out for when shopping for a computer/laptop.
Random access memory (RAM)
RAM is one of the most basic specs one should look at when purchasing a computer. To simplify things, think of RAM as the shelf size in a store. The bigger your merchandising shelf is, the more products you can display nicely. The more RAM a computer has, the more programs and windows it can have open at once while still running things smoothly. RAM is measured in GB (gigabytes). 8 GB of RAM is the standard these days, and will be enough to keep up with the standard day-to-day operations for a business. It is important to keep in mind that Google Chrome is well known for using a lot of RAM. So if you are someone who likes to have a bunch of tabs open, you may want to spring for 12-16 GB of RAM. For a deeper explanation of RAM check out this article.
Central processing unit (CPU)
The CPU (also known as a processor) is the brain of your computer. It is arguably the most important piece of the computer because it does most of the work. A strong CPU will usually mean a fast computer. Now CPUs are not measured in a metric (like how RAM is measured with gigabytes). CPUs require a bit of technical knowledge and research to understand which ones are the best. To keep things simple, we recommend that for business purposes you aim for an i5 or i7 processor. The i5 and i7 models are only with the Intel brand, but most of the laptops on our list contain Intel processors.
The storage capacity of your computer is the amount of data it can contain. This is also measured in gigabytes. There are two options on computers these days when it comes to storage. There are solid state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives (HDD). HDDs are generally a lot larger (in storage & physical size) and cheaper but are not as fast to load your data. SSDs are much faster but cost more, this is why they’ll tend to have smaller storage space. SSDs are pretty much the standard now as they allow your computer to load Windows (or Mac OS) a lot faster (this means the computer starts up quicker). All the laptops in our list contain SSDs. For a full breakdown between the two check out PC Magazine’s article.
Now there are a bunch of other specs one can look at when shopping for a laptop, but the three mentioned above are a good starting place. So let’s dive into the best laptops for small businesses.
8 of the best laptops for small businesses
The HP 15-dy2924nr is a great laptop at its price tag (priced at $659.99). The computer has the standard 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and an Intel i5-1135G7 processor. The processor is quite a powerful chip and will ensure your programs run smooth. The laptop also has quick charging, letting it repower from 0% to 50% in just 45 minutes (not to mention its 8.15 hour battery life)! This ensures you waste no time and can get to serving your customers quicker. Purchase it from Amazon today!
Inspiron 15 3000
The Inspiron 15 3000 is quite a solid laptop. The laptop goes for $759.99with the current pricing on Dell’s website. The laptop has 12 GB of RAM, and a whopping 512 GB SSD! Furthermore it uses a 10th generation Intel i5-1035G1 processor. These specs at this price seem like a steal! The physical build quality of this laptop is in the mid range, but this is expected at this price tag. It is built from plastic, but a durable sturdy kind. The battery can last up to 11 hours in some use cases, making it more than convenient for a full day of running your business. With the specs offered and that price tag, you really can’t go wrong with the Inspiron 15 3000.
This HP laptop is the only laptop on this list to have a big 17.3″ screen. This is a great option for those who have a bit more difficult seeing things up close. This device also boasts a modern Intel i7 processor. The other specs are standard as it has 16GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD ON TOP of a 1TB HDD! This means fast start up times, while still having a lot of space for storage. Now it is a really bang for your buck laptop as it sits at $699.99 with HP’s current holiday sales.
Refurbished 2015 Apple MacBook Pro
The cost of a brand new MacBook is way beyond the budget of this list. However, if you are still itching for a Mac computer – you can’t go wrong with a refurbished MacBook. This refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro is going for $528.99 on Amazon right now. With 16 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and a powerful Intel i7 processor, you’ll be able to accomplish any of your business needs! Apple computers are well known for their top class build quality, so know you’ll be getting a sturdy and beautiful laptop. Even for a 7 year old laptop, this machine still runs all the software a small business would need wonderfully!
Acer Swift 3
This is one of the smaller laptops on the list with a 14″ screen. But the small body of the computer in no way impacts the performance. This computer has an Intel i5-1135G7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and a large 512 GB SSD. One of the benefits of the smaller screen is that it allows the batter to have a whole 13 hours of charge! The laptop is very light too at 2.56 lbs. A really sleek computer with a decent price point ($799.99).
Lenovo Yoga 7i (14”) 2 in 1 Laptop
Lenovo makes some the best quality Windows laptops on the market, and their Yoga series is definitely a contributor. The Yoga 7i is a 2 in 1 laptop, so it can be used as both a traditional laptop or a tablet. The base model comes with an 11th generation i5-1135G7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 SSD. All of that is priced at $764.99, upgrades to some specs can be chosen on their website for additional costs. Since this laptop is also a 14″ screen, it can run up to 13 hours with full battery life. Even though the specs seem similar to others on this list, the higher price point comes from Lenovo’s super high quality craftsmanship. These machines are similar to Macs in the sense that they are very durable and sleek. The durability is thanks to the use of high quality materials for the device.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The surface laptops blur the line between tablets and laptops. Surfaces don’t come with a built in keyboard (those can be purchased separately). But they are very sleek, modern, and powerful machines. The specs are as follows: 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, and an Intel i5 8032. This machine is probably the least bang for your buck (especially at the $779.00 price point) compared to the other options on this list, but it is still a really well-built and a decently powerful machine.
2020 Lenovo ThinkPad E15
Lenovo ThinkPads have been a staple in almost any business sector for a long time, and there’s a reason why. The ThinkPad series have some of the best security features in the industry. This specific ThinkPad has 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, a 15″ screen, and a powerful Intel i5-10210U processor. All of this comes at a price tag of $808.99. Although this is the most expensive option on this list, it is also one of the best value laptops. At that price point the specs almost seem like a dream! Pair that up with Lenovo’s top notch build quality and premium security features, and you have a top of the line laptop! If you are not constrained by tight budgets, we recommend this laptop the most out of everything on this list.
There you have it! TAKU’s list of the best laptops for a small business. Now it should be mentioned that laptops in general don’t have long lifespans compared to regular desktop computers. So if your budget allows it, you might want to invest in an even more expensive laptop. This way you can ensure your device will have a longer lifespan. You now have some computer knowledge to get a basic understanding when doing some laptop shopping. We hope you use the information provided to find the best laptop for your small business.
Now that you have a new laptop, why not learn about some of the great technology of tomorrow? Metaverse shopping will set new standards for the retail game. To stay ahead of the curve and learn more about shopping in the metaverse click here.