As an independent uniform or scrub retailer, there is no shortage of competitors – other local scrub stores, regional or national retail scrub store chains and mass market retailers. With all this competition in the market, independent uniform retailers have very little margin for error and needs top scrub store POS system. This article if part two of a two-part series where we look at ten strategies that independent uniform retailers can adopt to survive in this competitive and fluid market.
# 6 – Streamline Your Operations to through Use of Technology from your Scrub Store POS System
Chances are that your largest operating expense line item is labor. With the ever-increasing cost of labor, its critical to efficiently manage your employees. Be sure to appropriately staff your business based on daily or hourly sales. When bidding group accounts, be sure to consider the fully loaded labor costs in your pricing. Eliminate any inefficient tasks that consume time and staff resources. Keep your receiving and stocking processed efficient. Organize your special-order items so that they can be located quickly.
Technology can be a critical tool to reduce labor costs. Be sure to use a top scrub POS system or specialized uniform point of sale software. There are many tasks in a uniform store that are much more efficiently managed using a specialized unform-central POS system vs a generalized POS system, including checking-in vendor shipments, managing vendor price and cost updates, managing of special orders, overseeing group sales, synchronizing store and online sales, billing credit accounts, and many more tasks. Given the cost of labor, using a generic POS system could be a very costly mistake. It is a sound investment to purchase one of the top uniform POS systems, such as MicroBiz.
#7 – Take Your Store to Your Customers
If you have group sales accounts with nearby medical clinics or facilities, offer to host a ‘pop up’ sales event. This can be managed relatively efficiently with a cloud-based scrub store POS system. Just load up some inventory in a car or truck, set up the pop-up store, log into your mobile POS system and start selling. Be sure that your scrub store POS system offers the ability to quickly create special orders for the sale of items that you did not bring with you to the pop-up store.
Pop-up sales are also a great opportunity to work with the hospital or clinic to offer their employees special payment methods, such as the ability to charge purchases to the credit account of their employers or through a payroll deduction. These special payment methods are a great way to differentiate your business on something other than price – and drive repeat business.
#8 – Sell Products that Drive Repeat Business
Focus on selling scrubs and associated products that will drive repeat business. Sell items that are of high quality and attractive modern design. Carry scrub styles that cannot be easily bought elsewhere – so they must come back to your store to purchase more. Leverage the work done upfront on documenting alterations and embroidery to make reorders much easier than going elsewhere. The goal is to get your customers hooked an products and services that are easiest to purchase through you. The reporting capabilities of a top scrub store POS system can help you identify the best selling items in your store as well as slow moving items.
#9 – Differentiate Your Business Though Superior Customer Support
Use your physical location as a competitive advantage. One of the challenges of selling online is that there is no universal size and fit across vendors. Additionally, there are many types of fabric feel and materials. It’s hard for scrub customers to buy new products across different vendors with trying them on and feeling the fabric and fit. Encourage your customers to try on scrubs in clean well-lit private changing room with mirrors where they can try on scrubs rather than guessing fit based on website images. Make sure that the dressing rooms are sufficient size and quality to provide a private and comfortable experience for your customers.
Employ knowledgeable and enthusiastic employees that proactively sell your most profitable products. Incentivize your employees to offer superior service and promote the items that you want to sell.
Create an easy way to returns and exchanges. With the ubiquity of social media, word will quickly spread if you have return policies that are viewed as unfair by customers.
Drop shipping is another way to add convenience for the customer – while making your business more efficient. Rather than have your customers make a special trip to your store to pick up an item – have your vendor ship the items directly to your customer. However, be careful not to rely too much on drop shipping. Overreliance on drop shipping may cause the customer to start directly purchasing from the vendor’s website. Some of the top scrub store POS systems allow you to electronically submit POs to vendors such as Cherokee and Barco.
#10 – Keep Inventory Lean
Given all the different brands, styles, colors and sizes available at a typical uniform store, your inventory can quickly consume a lot of capital. This is another area where a uniform store POS system can be valuable. Aggressively use your scrub store POS system’s inventory management capabilities and reporting to identify fast and slow-moving items during the ordering process. Use the sales reports to identify which products generate the highest gross profits and which are money losers.
Keep track of return on the investment that you have made in your inventory. One helpful measure is Gross Margin Return on Inventory. To calculate the Gross Margin Return on Inventory, two metrics must be known: the gross margin and the average inventory. The gross profit is calculated by subtracting a company’s cost of goods sold (COGS) from its revenue. The difference is then divided by its revenue. This will show you how much money you are making on the capital tied up in your inventory.
Avoid over ordering or carrying items that do not sell quickly. It’s better to invest time upfront to prevent tying up capital on slow moving items than to order blindly subsequently resort to discounting to clear out slow-moving items.
About MicroBiz POS – and its Uniform Store POS System
MicroBiz is a leading POS software developer of retail management software for small businesses, including uniform store POS. The MicroBiz Uniform POS system includes many features required for uniform retailers, including uniform catalog integrations, special orders, inventory management, credit accounts and matrix products. MicroBiz integrated with vendor catalogs of leading scrub manufacturers such as Cherokee and Barco. For more information, see www.microbiz.com.