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The threat of losing customers to big box stores is often on the mind of small business retailers. However, consistent with the perseverance that often defines the entrepreneurial spirit, small business retail can adapt – and turn its size into its selling point.

Unlike big box retail, you know your shoppers, and you likely cater your product or service to their interests. By personalizing the experience at critical touchpoints, you take the teeth out of lingering threats posed by big box stores. We offer a few ideas:

Use your online catalog to enhance the in-store experience.

Arm in-store staff with mobile retail point-of-sale (POS) systems on which they can access your online product catalog quickly to help customers identify items to consider, right in the aisle – without leaving the customer’s side. That way, customers feel like they’re purchasing the right product and getting personalized service.

This also works for customers shopping online. They could use the catalog functions to get more product information and decide if they want to buy online and pick up in-store.

This flexibility enables them to do their research the way they want to, and have a tangible experience once in your store.

Person shopping on a laptop

Don’t underestimate the easy checkout.

Check-out is a coveted moment; it’s your final touchpoint before customers leave your store. A POS system for small business should enrich that customer experience, instead of adding to clutter and confusion. Thanks to ever-shrinking technology, small business POS systems can have big functionality but a small footprint. Whether it’s dual-facing device screens that encourage customer interaction, or a mobile POS device that allows you to take check-out to the customer – that final connection will be between you and the customer – instead of being shared with a pile of screens, machines and cords.

Using a mobile phone at a point of sale

Go social with your gift card and loyalty programs for small business.

You’ve caught customers’ attention with product purchases. Now help them get to know you better and find common interests between your business and their shopping preferences. Start by integrating gift card and small business rewards programs with experiential marketing and social media tools, so that your interaction can potentially extend beyond the initial transaction.

By creating a personal experience that is strongly service-oriented and thought-driven, you can create meaningful moments from which a customer relationship can grow.

Man carrying bags while shopping

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