Hardware Retailing

SEP 2016

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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Payment The future of payment can be summed up in one word: mobile. Whether it's mobile payment or mobile checkout stations, as technology continues to develop, the checkout process should be faster, and lines should be shorter. With mobile payment, customers can use retailer- specific apps to pay for their purchases. One company making the most of their own app is one you may visit daily: Starbucks. Many Starbucks customers pay for their coffee and other drinks through the app, with no cash or credit card needed. They can use the app to pre-load money into their Starbucks account, and then scan their phone at the checkout counter. If you don't have your own app, or don't want to create one, no problem: You can use one like Apple Pay or Android Pay. Both allow customers to pay via their smartphones, simply by scanning their phones at checkout. Not sure if you are on board with the idea of mobile payments? The reality is that customers will soon be demanding it, even in the next year or two, says Kirkland. "When the consumer is educated on the security of mobile payments, they will demand it, and will drive changes in retail." This method of payment is more secure than other types of credit card transactions and allows more flexibility and protection to both retailers and customers. Mobile pay stations continue to be popular as well. There are a variety of apps—one of the most popular is Square—that allow customers to swipe their cards somewhere other than at the checkout counter. Many point of sale (POS) systems may come with a mobile pay station program, which allows you to provide mobile payments. Check with your POS vendor to see if it has one you may be able to use. Mobile pay stations can be particularly helpful in lumberyards, where customers want to load and then pay from their vehicles, or for customers in the lawn and garden department, who may have larger purchases to load. "This is all about customer service, too," Kirkland says. "For that customer, the price of the bag of mulch isn't as important as the fact that you're loading it for them and they don't have to leave their car." Eventually, he says, POS systems could steer away from PCs and turn into docking stations for tablets. "Tablet technology is advancing such that the need for laptops is going down and tablet use is going up. You can use the tablet as a monitor, and it will give you the information you need." September 2016 | HARDWARE RETAILING 59 Apps and software have made consumers' lives easier, and they can make your work life easier, too. Here are brief descriptions of some of the programs mentioned in this article. Apple Pay/Android Pay Smartphone users can enter their credit card information into the Wallet app. Then, when it's time to pay, a user simply holds the phone near a reader at the retailer's checkout counter while using their fingerprint to allow access to their card information. The card number isn't transferred to the retailer; rather payment is made via a number that is unique for that specific purchase. This makes the payment secure. Apple Pay is for iOS users, Android Pay is Google's version. Datto This is a cloud-based data backup system designed to keep your company's information safe. If you are hit by a hacker or other disaster, Datto will allow you to keep running your business while it fixes the problem. It can help even if your physical hardware has been destroyed. Datto also provides recovery services. Producteev This software helps you manage tasks through a variety of features that include organization, collaboration and tracking. For example, you can create a project with a task list, assign it to a group of employees to complete, then get notification when it is complete. Slack Slack is a messaging app designed to help teams communicate. Individuals can send messages to each other, or to specific groups. You can share files through the app, too. The goal is to get employees to collaborate more, and then be able to reference those conversations later. (The free version of Slack stores only the latest 10,000 messages a team has sent; a paid version allows for unlimited storage.) Tools You Can Use

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