Current Catholic Retail News
Amazon has announced a program called Kindle Unlimited that lets Kindle users have access to 700,000 books and audio books for only $9.99 a month. While the list does have some popular titles, the program doesn’t seem to be a way to read all of the NYT bestsellers right out of the gate. I’m guessing that they will add a premium version of the program later for access to “prime” content.
When the Kindle first came out, I saw it as a device similar to a printer or a razor. The device wasn’t going to be where the money was made, the money was going to come from the consumables. The device was just how the manufacturer got you locked in to their consumables.
The fact that the Kindle is so inexpensive combined with this latest program, pretty much proves my initial thoughts. Oh, and Jeff Beezos admitted the same back in 2012.
As Catholic stores, we are going to have to figure out how to keep our customers while admitting the reality that physical books are going to become a smaller part of our businesses. I think we are definitely going to have to focus on events and education and change the way we think of our stores.
Christian Retailing Magazine had an article in its August issue highlighting a workshop about how to attract Hispanic customers to stores. They talked about promoting Spanish products and advertising in Hispanic media. After more than ten years running a retail store, I don’t have a solution for getting Hispanic people to shop at a store.
Both at Aquinas and More and my previous Catholic retail job, we tried to attract more Spanish-speakers by adding large amounts of Spanish products with little success. I added many items on the recommendation of the pastor of the Spanish parish in Colorado Springs and we almost never sold anything locally. We couldn’t even get permission to do a book fair at that parish.
Have you had success with Hispanic Catholics in your area? What worked for you?
Point of Sale System Essentials
Okay, let’s get to the main topic of the show – choosing point of sale software. If you are in the market for a new point of sale system, there are three primary tasks that it really must accomplish. I say must because all of them are critical to running a healthy Catholic store.
First, your system must be able to process sales. This one is obvious and really, there isn’t a system that doesn’t do sales. Where your point of sale system needs to differentiate itself from a cash register, is that it needs to be able to keep an order history and integrate in some fashion with some sort of accounting software to make that part of your business easier to manage.
Second, your system needs to manage your inventory. You may think that you can keep track of everything that sells in your head but you are lying to yourself. You need a system that can tell you what sells best, when and in what categories so you can properly stock your store. On the opposite side, you need to be able to find out what isn’t selling so that you can clear it out for more popular merchandise or so that you can add more inventory to specific seasonal or popular categories.
Finally, your point of sale software needs to be able to keep track of your customers. Your customers are the life of your store. If you don’t know them and what they need and want, you aren’t going to have a successful business. Some of the things your system should be able to tell you:
- Who are my best customers? You should be able to tell your system what best means to you.
- Who hasn’t been in the store in X number of days, weeks, months, etc.?
- Who are your best shoppers for ____?
- Who responded to your last post card mailing?
- What customers only buy when you have a sale?
Once you have these main requirements covered, you’ll want to see what other benefits the system offers. Here are some features that will definitely help your store even if they aren’t absolutely essential.
- Website integration
- Customer loyalty program
- Up sell and cross sell
- Quotes (that can be turned into orders later)
- Documents related to product (When you sell a rosary, can your system print out a how-to guide?)
- Integration with Spring Arbor or other distribution websites
- Best customers
- Lost customers
- Slow product
- Low profit product
What other features do you consider a necessary part of your point of sale software?