Selling product in your liquor store takes more than a well-placed, enticing advertisement. Once your customers have made it into your store, there’s still a good chance that they’ll struggle to find what they’re looking for, become frustrated, and even abandon their shopping basket in the middle of an aisle!
When you're opening a liquor store, it's important to choose the right POS system. This is because it can help you boost your sales and create an exceptional customer experience. Moreover, it will save you money over time. You can also use it to streamline your operations and increase productivity.
Some of the essential features you need to look for in a liquor store POS system include the ability to track inventory across multiple locations and robust reporting. Also, it should come with features that promote customer loyalty. Aside from that, you should take advantage of available demos to determine whether the software suits your business.
Another feature to consider is the option to create custom loyalty programs. If you want to reward customers with discounts and digital gift cards, you can choose a liquor store POS system that offers this.
Other important features to look for are payment processing and employee time clock. These features will help you manage your staff and track their performance. The POS solution should also offer 24/7 customer support.
You should consider a POS system that's PCI-compliant. This will ensure security when you accept payments. Additionally, it should be able to process EMV transactions.
Lastly, look for a liquor store POS solution that has a variety of features that cater to busy customers. Among these features are a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) function, which allows you to run a variety of discounts and campaigns.
In order to complete the sale, you need to have systems in place that make the shopping experience as smooth and streamlined as possible. Follow these simple steps to sell more product and avoid churning customers:
- Track and analyze your product and sales data.
- Offer the best deals.
- Streamline your transactions.
- Upgrade your security.
Not all POS systems are made alike. Today, there is a POS system for nearly every industry. But a local tennis camp wouldn’t know what to do with a system made for a grocery store. For best results in improving your sales, start by choosing a POS system that is specifically built for liquor stores.
1. Track and analyze your product data.
The first step to take for improving your liquor store’s sales figures is to determine exactly what you have in stock and what you’ve been selling. If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. You might be sitting on a large stock of wine that isn’t selling or be experiencing a severe shrinkage of single bottles of beer.
A robust POS solution should be able to help with both tracking inventory and analyzing sales reports from a single dashboard—even when working across multiple stores. With the right POS tools, you can:
- Offer more products. Your store can attract a diverse base of customers with different needs and interests by offering a wide range of products. Use a POS solution that doesn’t limit the number of items you can import into the software and allows for an unlimited number of SKUs.
- Price products accurately. Don’t make your customers play an impromptu game of Supermarket Sweep. If they have to guess how much a bottle of wine costs, there’s a good chance they won’t purchase it. With barcode printing and scanning hardware, you can quickly track, price, and print out custom labels for items that are missing a traditional barcode.
- Keep products in stock. When it comes time to actually take inventory, you may find that high-traffic items are regularly out of stock. Instead of tracking inventory by hand and manually placing orders with vendors, use your POS system to set inventory minimums that automatically trigger reorders when product stock drops below a set threshold. This way, the products that your customers want will always be on your shelves.
In addition to keeping your stock and sales data automatically updated, your POS solution should also give you access to real-time, customizable reports on everything from peak business hours to most profitable products that will help you measure and assess your business’ successes and opportunities. Leverage these reports to make the best-informed decisions for your business. For example, knowing your busiest hours will help you determine the appropriate number of employees for each shift to better serve customers, prevent staff overload, and retain your employees.
2. Offer the best deals.
Consider the following two statistics:
- According to POS Nation’s guide to liquor store business plans, only 25 percent of sales come from the top 50 liquor store companies.
- Moreover, 91 percent of consumers shop with businesses that remember them and make relevant offers and suggestions.
Taken together, these stats spell great news for small liquor stores. They lay out a clear process for how to attract customers to your business with competitive discounts and an irresistible loyalty program. Consider implementing the following approaches with your POS solution to increase customer loyalty and direct them to the products you need to sell:
A loyal customer is one of your best assets. This means you've got to keep them around to keep your profit margins healthy. Keeping customers from churning is a no brainer. If you've got a stellar customer retention rate, you've got a leg up on the competition.
There are many ways to go about this task. Some of the more common methods include hiring a team of customer service representatives, making use of technology and marketing strategies that encourage customer loyalty.
One of the best ways to keep customers from churning is to offer a compelling reward. For example, offering a gift card or cash voucher for signing up for a newsletter is a great way to encourage customers to stay engaged with your business. It's also a good idea to tailor these offers to the customer's habits. Similarly, you can encourage customers to make an online purchase by offering a free gift in exchange for their email address.
Having a customer retention strategy that's both smart and effective is the best way to make sure you're always on top of your game. The most successful companies are those that have an aggressive plan to retain their best customers. That way, you don't have to compete on price.
One of the easiest ways to get started on this front is to do a comparison of your existing list of customers to see who hasn't purchased from you in more than a year. You can then restructure your processes to ensure you're doing things right.
- Rewards program. Rewards programs can take many forms, but the basic premise is generally the same: After a certain amount of purchases, frequent buyers are rewarded for their loyalty with in-store credit or discounts. Your point of sale solution should keep track of your customers’ contact information and purchase history, and make it easy for them to track and redeem their rewards.
- Cash discounts. Credit card processing costs can quickly accumulate and be a large expense for your business. You can use your POS system to automatically give customers who pay in cash (instead of card) a percentage off their purchase. Not only will this keep credit card processing costs down, it also incentivizes customers to buy more product and return to your store in the future.
- Mix and match pricing. Customers often want to try new items, but they don’t want to be saddled with a big purchase if they end up disliking them. With mix and match deals, your customers can create a six-pack of craft beers of their choice or select three different bottles of wine for a discounted price. A liquor store-specific POS solution should have built-in features that allow you to quickly sort and label these items.
As you utilize these tools to develop a memorable loyalty program, leverage data marketing strategies to effectively tailor and send relevant deals to the right consumers in the right places at the right times.
3. Upgrade your security.
Loss prevention is one of the less glamorous aspects of running a business, but it goes hand in hand with selling more product. Inventory that is lost or stolen is inventory that you simply aren’t able to sell. Take advantage of built-in POS features to reduce inventory shrinkage:
- Exception reporting ties any discounts, voided sales, and unusual activity to specific employees. Staff can also flag returned damaged items, stolen or missing items, and transactional errors.
- Blind cash drawer counting requires employees to count their cash drawer at the beginning and end of each shift without knowing how much cash is supposed to be in the drawer. As a result, all discrepancies are tied to specific employees and can be quickly addressed.
- Choosing a trusted POS vendor will give you confidence in your system and offer support if you do face any issues. Look for vendors that have positive reviews and are trusted by other liquor stores. For example, both Catapult, Heartland, and POS Nation’s liquor store POS solution are used by thousands of liquor stores and wine shops across the U.S. When you’re considering solutions, ask: Will support representatives help install the system and train my staff? Do they offer 24/7 service? How can they help if something goes wrong?
But security doesn’t stop there. Today, 43 percent of cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses and the overwhelming majority of those businesses close within six months of the attack. Thus, you’ll also want to use a POS system to protect both your business’ and customers’ sensitive data. Your solution should follow top data security protocols, including card encryption, secure, multi-factor password standards, and the ability to assign levels of user permission.
Don’t let your POS system hold your business back. If you’re ready to jump on the POS system bandwagon, make sure the solution you choose will support each of the strategies discussed above. If you’re already using a POS system, take some time to explore your system and the features it offers for your liquor store sales, product, and employee management. Determine if it meets your liquor store’s needs. Otherwise, it may be time to choose a POS system that doesn’t hold you back!
About the Guest Author
Will Atkinson – Vice President, Customer Success
Will has been around retail POS all his life, growing up in the family business with CAP Software. He’s held roles in shipping and receiving, equipment staging, sales, marketing, product development, and partnership management. He took over the company in 2008, and recently managed the acquisition by POS Nation in 2020. He has extensive experience as both a VAR and an ISV. Away from the office, Will is a father of two and enjoys spending his hours outdoors hunting and fishing with the kids, driving race cars at the track, and traveling with the family.