In the current world of retail, having an online catalog is essential. Customers are spending so much of their time on the internet, being able to reach them online is now crucial. Yet many merchants still rely on physical print catalogs. While this is still a great strategy, there’s no reason not to add a digital catalog on top of that.
Times are different now, physical marketing materials should be an add-on, not your main strategy. After all, online ones are much easier for consumers to access since most people always have their phones on them, and they can provide a lot more information. Not to mention, they are much easier and cheaper to keep up-to-date.
5 reasons you should have an online catalog
We understand that many brick & mortar stores may not have the resources or technical skills to set up an e-commerce store. However, it’s very important for all physical stores to at least start an online catalog for shoppers.
Here are 5 main reasons why you should:
1 – Shoppers buy more when they know what products you carry
Google’s research indicates that shoppers avoid stores when they do not know what’s available inside the store. After all, the majority of shoppers do research online today before heading out and stock availability helps shoppers decide which store to go to. Making it easy for shoppers to see what you have available on your shelves today drives more foot traffic to your physical store, which then increases your sales since impulse buys and upselling increase basket size.
2 – New customers can see what you offer
You’ll be able to attract more new customers if your products are showcased online. People who are learning about your business for the first time will be able to better understand what you offer, even before they step foot in your store. If you use a modern system such as TAKU, your POS will automatically update your product showcase on Google so that nearby shoppers see real-time stock levels that adjust in real-time even as you sell.
Having stock levels update automatically is a key difference with a digital product showcase vs. traditional print catalogs as shoppers today expect stock information to be accurate whether they buy in-store or online.
3 – Digital catalogs are easier to share
Digital catalogs are great since they are so easy to share. In the age of social media people are always sharing things with others. Where a physical catalog requires someone to actually hand their friend the catalog (which may be out-of-date), a digital one can be shared around the world in a few clicks. It’s easy to see why this is a good thing, the more people that see your catalog – the more potential sales you could get. Similarly, shoppers are more likely to consider retailers recommended by their friends or contacts.
4 – Digital catalogs offer 24/7 customer assistance
Having a digital catalog reduces the amount of time spent answering general questions. If you have a product showcase, your shoppers will have 24/7 access to photos and product descriptions. This eliminates the need to have employees repeatedly answering the same questions. This also relieves some of the burden on your sales team as they will spend less time answering explaining product details and more time selling. This will in turn improve your overall customer service.
It’s best to think of an online catalog as a marketing investment. There is a cost to set it up in the beginning, but once it’s up and running, it provides free sales assistance and will quickly pay itself off.
5 – It will help you understand your customers better
Since an online catalog will be on your digital channels, you will be able to collect data that will be useful for digital marketing. The collected data will help you gain better insights into your customers and even answer a few questions along the way. Analyzing data collected from your digital catalog could help you answer questions such as:
Which of my products have the most views online?
Are people aware of my business? Are they interested?
How many people are making purchases based off of my catalog?
Do I need to change the products I am carrying?
How can I get more people to sign up for my email list?
Do my customers research products before purchasing?
Overall, a digital catalog helps to enhance your customer service. It allows shoppers to conveniently check what is available, find out information regarding products, and even share with other potential customers.
With an online catalog you will be able to reach more shoppers with less effort. It will also allow you to save money over time compared to physical catalogs. It is an investment which will quickly pay for itself. As a retailer you should consider adding or improving the digital catalog for your store. Happy retailing!
Want to start displaying your products online? TAKU’s Google SWIS integration allows your to showcase your inventory on Google in real time! To learn more click on the banner below.
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.