3 Tech Tools to Grow Your Pet Business
In today’s highly competitive pet industry, running a business smoothly can mean the difference between success and failure.
Advances in technology are providing opportunities for businesses to streamline their operations and accelerate growth. By keeping up-to-date with these innovations and implementing them in your store, it can be simpler than you might imagine to gain an edge over competitors.
The right tools have the power to increase your productivity, save you time and money, improve your customer relationships, and ensure your business is operating as effectively as possible.
Here are three tools that offer these benefits and more:
1) Customer Relationship Management Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps you manage the connections that are key to your business.
Much like social media, a CRM system is built around people and relationships. Every business needs a way to manage customer connections and information, but many businesses still use a makeshift system of index cards and customer files or basic tech tools such as Excel spreadsheets and electronic documents.
CRM software provides a solution that collects your business data in one place and makes it accessible to everyone within your organization. Many CRM systems store data in the cloud, which means your data can be accessed remotely.
The benefits of CRM are far reaching, and you don’t need to operate a big business to take advantage of them. A survey by software review site Capterra.com shows that CRM software offers benefits for businesses of all sizes. In fact, small to midsize companies are the fastest-growing group of CRM users today.
So how can CRM software help grow a business? It’s all about scaling to position yourself for faster growth. With a good CRM system in place, your customer relationships are tracked and managed in the most efficient way possible, freeing up time for you to focus on building your business.
A CRM system can be used to track all kinds of important business data—from billing records to customer service statistics. One huge benefit is the ability to track your sales cycle, from a lead to a sale and beyond. And with all the data accessible in one place, your staff can quickly assess the status of each customer and their previous interactions with your business.
CRM doesn’t need to be complicated. There are some great choices for all shapes and sizes of businesses, and many systems allow you to start off with the basics and upgrade the functionality as your business grows. Capterra.com offers a list of the best CRM software on the market today.
2) Point of Sale System
Entrepreneur.com defines a point of sale (POS) system as a computerized network operated by a main computer and linked to several checkout terminals.
The roots of modern POS systems can be traced back to the mechanical cash registers of the first half of the 20th century. As technology progressed, they evolved into electrical systems, and by the 1970s, registers operated by computers were introduced. Since then, the functionality of POS systems has continued to improve as technology advances.
Modern POS systems simplify vital business operations and help day-to-day business transactions run smoothly. But with so many systems and features to choose from, it’s important to do some research to find the best solution for your business.
SoftwareAdvice.com has a useful list of 5 Must-Have Retail POS Software Features to Streamline Your Small Business. Here’s a quick overview of its recommendations:
Sales Reporting & Analytics
This feature allows you to keep track of your company’s sales data and analyze that data to identify the revenue margins for each product or service you sell. Knowing these numbers helps you make informed business decisions about what to sell and when.
Insights on the spending behavior of your customers are invaluable to your business. This feature enables you to collect data on your customers and analyze it to find those who purchase from you most frequently.
Identifying these customers allows you to organize loyalty programs around them, which increases their satisfaction with your company and makes it far more likely they’ll continue to do business with you in the future.
A well-run business needs an organized staff. This feature helps you effectively manage your employees—saving you time and increasing efficiency. Basic functions include shift scheduling and tracking of worked hours. Some systems also allow you to keep track of individual employee sales, and easily manage sales commissions and incentives.
Inventory management provides a system for you to organize and monitor your stock in real-time. This is a huge time-saver for most businesses, and it goes a long way in increasing the professional image of your business and overall levels of customer satisfaction and retention.
Point of Sale
The technology at the checkout combines software and hardware that automates tasks such as item lookup and price calculation. A POS system also speeds up the customer transaction process and minimizes mistakes. Two basic capabilities you’ll want at checkout are the ability to create receipts and scan barcodes.
3) Accounting Software
Software products that improve upon traditional paper-based accounting processes are useful tools for businesses of all sizes. Accounting software can help you run your business more smoothly by saving you time, reducing the frustration and complexities of traditional bookkeeping, and allowing you to easily track your expenses.
As with CRM and POS systems, the variety of products on the market can make it a challenge to find the best solution for your business. However, the benefits associated with implementing a good system mean it’s worth considering your options.
Some of the most commonly used features are invoicing, income and expense tracking, and automatic billing and recurring payments. More advanced accounting software can also include a raft of features such as tax preparation, payroll processing and third-party integration with your CRM and POS systems.
The huge variety of options means you’ll need some basic knowledge of the requirements of your business before arriving at the best solution for you. It’s often worth consulting with an accountant when deciding on the right product to buy.
The good news is that accounting software can be both affordable and simple to use. For smaller businesses, there’s no need to invest in a bloated system that will complicate your accounting process.
Programs such as Quickbooks offer reasonably priced solutions that include the basic features you’ll need. And as your business develops and grows, new features can be added to the software when needed.
Richard Rowlands is a writer and marketer for the pet industry, and a keen pet enthusiast. He works with pet businesses to improve their marketing and increase profits. To find out more, visit richardrowlands.com.