The first of two articles on an essential retail tool

By Rich Lindblom, AVB Marketing

COVID changed a lot of things in America and sellers of appliances, furniture, mattresses and electronics were not exempt.

An unintended side effect is that the way you run your business has changed quite a bit in the last four to five years … at least I hope it has! 

Because if you have not changed the way you are running your business since the pandemic, the odds are pretty good that you already have been or will soon be left behind.

One of the biggest changes you can make is to update your point-of-sale (POS) system, or for those of you who are still doing business on paper and pencil, to finally get one.

Believe me, I get it, it’s scary.  Adding to or changing your POS system is probably the most difficult thing you can do in business. Heck, it’s easier to open a new store, add a new product category, hire a new employee or buy a new truck.  You name it, it’s probably easier and definitely less frightening than completely changing the way you run your operation.

Over the past 3 ½ years in my role as business development manager for the SYNC point-of-sale system, I see it repeatedly: dealers who are seemingly paralyzed by the fear of making changes in their business. In fact, I recently wrote an article about it.

The old way is easy; it’s comfortable, kinda like your soft blue or pink baby blanket when you were little. It just felt good and it made you feel safe.  But eventually you grew up and you got rid of it.

The same should be true for the way you run your company; at some point your busniness needs to grow up and move on. And that means modernizing your operation by getting a new, modern, connected POS system.  It’s time to get rid of your current baby blanket.

Now, in adding or changing POS systems, there are three basic questions you must ask yourself:  Why, what and who:

WHY do I need a new POS system for my business?

WHAT can a new POS system do for my company?

WHO should I turn to for my new POS system?

Why do I need a new POS system for my business?

The best place to start with this question is by looking in the mirror and considering the pain points you experience every day. 

If you’re like me, you probably try to do everything yourself, wearing a half dozen different hats every day.  How many times in the past year have you said to yourself, “I wish I had another employee just like me?” 

Well, guess what … adding a new POS system can be just like having another one of you.  By creating time-saving processes and doing things automatically for you, a new POS system will save you untold hours each week.   

What other pain points are out there?  Well, from speaking with dealers every day, I know that managing and tracking inventory can be a real pain in the you-know-what.  In fact, I’d say it’s one of the greatest pain points a typical dealer faces. 

Let me ask you a serious question — and I would ask you to be 100% honest with yourself when you answer. Do you know exactly what you have in stock right now?  How much is it worth?  What is sold?  What is available to sell?  If you can’t accurately answer those questions, then you need a new POS system.

What are some other common pain points dealers share?

  • Quite often, older POS systems are not very user friendly. They can be difficult to learn and sometimes even cause employee unhappiness.
  • Typically, older POS systems are server based, meaning they can only be accessed onsite in your store.
  • With no POS system in place, or even an antiquated one, there’s lots of duplication of effort. Think about how many hands have to touch the same work order to complete it in your store today.
  • If you don’t have a connected POS system, it’s difficult to keep up with all of the pricing changes and you end up selling products at the wrong price, which costs you money.
  • Updating your catalogs is pretty much a full-time job without a good POS system.

Every dealer’s needs and difficulties are slightly different, so I’m sure I missed quite a few. But ask yourself, “What would I change about my company if I could?” 

Make a list of the things you need help with, things that you wish you could do better.  Don’t be shy about it, shoot for the stars, you can always settle for the moon.  If you’re going to make a change this big, you need to make the best change possible for your company.

Once you got that list assembled, then reach out to one of AVB’s Gold Partner Point-of-Sale Providers:  ePass, Profit, STORIS, SYNC, Windward or Whirlwind to find a solution.

Now you know the “why.” Next week in Part II, I’ll address the “what” and the “who.”

Rich Lindblom is a past principal of Advanced Maytag Home Appliance Center, a family business founded 64-years ago in Schaumburg, Ill. He now shares his 40-plus years of hard-won retail experience with fellow BrandSource members as a YSN columnist and business development manager of AVB’s SYNC point-of-sale system. You can reach Rich at rich.lindblom@avb.net.

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