In the world of buying and selling goods, there truly is no “one size fits all” solution. Companies have to consider many factors when choosing the best payment solutions for their employees and customers.
While a point-of-sale system – or POS – system is the most popular type of payment solution for thousands of retail stores both for brick and mortar as well as ecommerce. However, it is not always the most economical option for all businesses, especially those with more specialized operations. There is an option Red Maple offers called counter sales. Instead of using a typical Point of Sale, the merchant uses their ERP system to sell, retrieve inventory and fulfill orders all in the same location. Typically, a customer will request items that are fulfilled by staff rather than use a shopping cart and bring the items to a Point of Sale.
Typical counter sales operations are companies that want to implement a “cash and carry” location where items are not necessarily in a retail environment. An example might be a hardware show where salespeople need to assist in finding the right item for sale. Other examples might be businesses that do not utilize a traditional customer/cart scenario that you may find in other retail settings.
Counter sales is ideal for B2B counter sales and smaller retail operations. For example, it works well for parts counters or outlet stores. Others who could benefit from counter sales might be businesses that do not follow a customer/cart scenario that you typically find in other retail stores such as distributors or manufacturers that have a limited direct sales model.
There are a variety of benefits for retailers who use the counter sales option.
Provides a quick checkout process – One thing that can frustrate a customer is having to wait to complete a sale. They will appreciate how quickly counter sales will process their order. Using counter sales will enable your team to scan barcodes whether your customer is buying one item or 100 items. Your customers will not have to wait while your employees manually write and process the order. It is all quick and automated.
It works FOR your customer – Counter sales can adjust to your customers’ needs. One example is that you can accept a variety of payment types for any order. A customer could feasibly use both cash and credit cards to pay for an order.
Offers opportunities to increase sales and revenues by tracking lost sales – With counter sales, you can track lost sales. You can easily see and track what customers wanted to buy but could not because you were not able to deliver the product at the time of purchase. You can revisit those customers, make an offer, and increase sales opportunities.
Simple and effective end-of-day reconciliation – At the end of the day, the counter sales system provides an automated reconciliation report. You can quickly, easily, and accurately reconcile sales and payments and print reports with valuable information.
Track your sales to existing or new customers – When you have a new sale you can allocate it and connect it to a specific customer. This allows you to track past orders and generate reports and trends.
“One main benefit of a counter sales scenario is that a company can operate a card-present transaction without the full implementation of a retail Point of Sale system. The company can instead utilize the ERP sales order system to enter and price the sales of items while a card-present pin pad can enable a customer to pay as they normally would with a credit card or e-check in a “typical” POS system. This can save the company money without negatively affecting the customer’s experience,” explains Patrick Hodo, CTO of Red Maple.
With any system, there are also cons or drawbacks to the system. With a counter sales operation the main drawback is the lack of having a full point of sale system for transactions and sales. With counter sales, it can be difficult to use scanners, scales, and a variety of retail equipment. Another drawback is that counter sales software systems are not designed for high-volume checkout scenarios such as a typical retail store.
If counter sales software is something that you are interested in adding to your company it is a fairly easy system to implement, according to Hodo.
First – In order to utilize counter sales, companies simply need to utilize the sales order process they use for phone orders.
Secondly – It is recommended when using counter sales to add in a pin pad and Red Maple’s software to facilitate payment for a card-present transaction. That type of transaction typically has lower processing fees.
“It is very easy to set up and begin processing sales right away,” added Hodo.
Red Maple provides counter sales to customers and says it is a growing trend with many companies. By working directly with Red Maple, there are three distinct advantages.
- Easy Transition – Red Maple has set up and implemented counter sales in both large and small locations. Because of this experience, Red Maple’s team can make the transition easy for customers to accomplish.
- Ability to Work with Your Current Processor – With support for a variety of devices, Red Maple can support whatever processor you are currently using for sales which saves you time.
- Better Customer Experience – With Red Maple’s customer payment portal, you can also implement click-to-pay and curbside delivery to enhance the experience for customers.
Counter sales is a growing trend in the industry where customer sales rely on a knowledgeable staff and goods that are “behind the counter” or made-to-order. With the full power of the ERP at the sales’ person’s fingertips, merchants get a powerful tool for sales while also providing immediate payment options. It is ideal for a company that has very few terminals and is NOT using Microsoft Retail.
Red Maple Success Story: Red Maple currently works with a large, national motorcycle company. This company also has a division that sells parts. They use counter sales which provides them the lower “card present rate” and streamlines their service. They don’t have to buy additional licenses to process sales which saves them money.