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Here's a Simple, Cheap and Effective Way to Increase Retail Store Traffic and Improve Your Business Image

- By Bob Twain


A surprisingly simple way to increase sales is to continue branding your retail business at the point of sale. Let me explain...

A primary goal of every retailer should be to brand their company name. So when your potential customers think of [whatever you sell], they think of your business. For example, when you hear the word "hamburger" --what's one of the first things you think of? There's a good chance you thought of McDonalds.

Now you can't afford to buy "top of mind awareness" by spending millions on television commercials (like McDonalds does). However, you can improve your name recognition by incorporating a few simple techniques at your point of sale.

The great thing about this technique is that it's cheap and effective! Just consider the "traditional" marketing methods to build your brand name. To name a few, they can include direct mail, newspaper ads, TV commercials, and radio.

These are all effective means of marketing but they aren't exactly cheap. Take direct mail as an example. This is a highly effective marketing method that all retailers should consider. In order for you to send a direct mail message you will spend (at the very least) 50 cents for each mailing piece.

To put things in perspective, the marketing method I'm going to share only costs a few cents for each message!

It's simple.

Give your customers great branding messages at the point of sale. For example, every time you print a receipt include a coupon with your business name, logo, tagline and the promo.

You could even configure your point of sale software to print different coupons depending what merchandise the customer purchased. In addition, some receipt printers allow you to print logos and catchy graphics on the receipt or coupon.

For example, most "thermal" receipt printers allow you to print graphics. And some allow you to add a color (like red) to stand out and catch their attention.

Let me explain why this method is effective...

You see, the great thing about coupons is that a lot of people will hang onto them for a while (just in case they decide to use it). So they'll probably take the coupon home and put it on their counter or somewhere they can find it again. If you have a good logo with your tagline on the coupon, they will see your business name when they put the coupon away. And when they clean up their house, they'll find the coupon again and try figure out what the coupon was for. So they'll see your name again and hopefully your tagline at least twice. This repetition is building your brand and improving your name recognition for just a few cents. This is cheaper than a 37 cent stamp for direct mail!! And direct mail is still considered a very cost effective marketing tool.

Remember... the more your potential customers see your name and hear your tagline, the more likely they will remember your business when they need to buy something. By increasing your advertising touches, you can build more brand awareness and increase sales for your business! That's why it's best to use multiple marketing methods and hit them from several angles.

Here are a few tips to put this method into action:

First of all, you could simply have the coupons printed professionally for a reasonable rate and hand out the coupons at the point of sale. The drawback, however, is that you will be stuck with the same coupon for a long time.

That's why I really like the idea of printing your own coupons.

A really great way to do this is with a good receipt printer. (Preferably a color printer)

This allows you to change your coupons and mix things up. If you give out the same things over and over, you lose the effect. And your customers are more likely to throw it away.

Using a receipt printer also gives you more flexibility. For example, you could change the coupon based on what the customer purchased from you. In other words give them a coupon for something that complements what they just purchased.

Not to mention, by printing the coupon at the point of sale, your employees will almost never forget to give it to your customers. Printing the receipt and everything together makes it really easy to implement.

In order to print the coupons, you have a couple options...

The first and most flexible option is to use your POS software. Many POS systems allow you to configure what will be printed on the receipt. So you can add graphics, logos, coupons, etc.

You second option is to use a special receipt printer like this:
http://www.starmicronics.com.au/default.asp?CategoryID=100011&SubCatID=100067

This printer will allow you to add the coupon or graphics through the printer driver, instead of using the POS software. This isn't as flexible as using your POS system, but if your software doesn't support custom receipts, then you might want to consider this type of printer.

If you want to find a good receipt printer, here are some great places to find them...

These two websites have some of the lowest prices for POS hardware. Even though I recommend finding a great company that can provide you with software, support, hardware and everything you need from ONE source... I realize some of you won't do that. So here's the cheapest places (that I know of) to purchase receipt printers and various POS hardware:
http://www.posworld.com
http://www.posguys.com

Once you determine the model of printer you would like, you can go to NexTag.com to find the website that will give you the best price. I noticed a few websites showing lower prices (than the ones above) but I haven't used them before, so I can't vouch for service or credibility. If you want to try it out, here's the website:
http://www.nextag.com

If you want to check out more options, here are some links to manufacturers that offer color and thermal receipt printers:
http://www.starmicronics.com
http://www.epson.com
http://www.ithper.com
http://www.cbma.com
http://www.posiflexusa.com

To Your Success.

Bob Twain



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