Running a business is rough, everyone knows that.
You need to carefully juggle the books, marketing, revenue/profits, investments, and of course running the actual business. When one mistake can put you under things can get really intense, and this goes double for small businesses which often struggle day-to-day.
If you work retail, chances are you’ve had days or even weeks in which a single decent sale was what marked the difference between being in the red and turning a profit.
When you’re doing that balancing act you really need to be earning money in any way you can. So beyond the obvious ways of minimizing losses and maximizing profits, are there any other methods of earning a little bit extra to make up for the bad days?
Believe it or not, there actually are!
1. Get Rid of Old Merch
Regardless of what you’re selling nobody likes old merchandise.
Customers don’t think it’s worth the price, manufacturers don’t want to take it back, and you’ve got no place to store it and ultimately need to throw it away, suffering a massive loss on whatever items you literally dumped in the trash.
But what if you don’t need to?
There’s no guarantee for success, but there are actually methods you can employ to make sure that at least you don’t suffer a loss when getting rid of old merch.
One such method are, of course, bargain bins – grab all of those useless items, put them all in a bin or on some shelf you’re not currently using, slap a 50% off sticker or one saying “buy 2 get 3” and look at them go!
Many customers wouldn’t buy older items at full price because they can get newer ones for a comparable amount, but if you discount them then at least you minimize your losses and don’t need to worry about storage or disposal (which cost money).
2. Employ Mystery Boxes
Another method that some stores have recently started to employ are the so-called mystery boxes.
Basically, take a bunch of random items, put them in a bag or box, close it shut so no one can peek in, then sell that as a “mystery package” or “mystery box” at a discounted price.
You may be wondering why anyone would want to pay for an item when they don’t even know what they’re getting, but these mystery boxes have proven to be a huge success, with large companies like “Loot Crate” and smaller shops alike employing the technique.
It appeals to the sense of adventure and discovery that a lot of people have, reminding us of our childhood when we got random prizes from snacks and cereals.
And besides, it’s just a banging good deal. Imagine that you’re selling DVDs and you have hundreds of discs of movies no one wants to buy.
Usually the average movie costs about 20€, but package 5 together in a “mystery box” and sell them for 30€. Even if the movies are terrible, what movie buff could possibly resist?
3. Increase Your Online Presence
Last, but not least, it might benefit to list your unsold merchandise online.
You can do that in one of several ways – perhaps you can create a website, or an online marketplace using a service like Magento, ZenCart or PrestaShop, platforms designed specifically to assist merchants who may not need a standalone site.
Another option is, of course, to simply sell off items on Amazon, eBay, OLX, Craigslist or whatever platform is currently available to you.
That process is slow and frustrating, but it’s better than nothing. You’re trying to squeeze every cent out of the old merchandise, after all.
When creating your account and posting your ads make absolutely sure that you’re making it clear this is a business selling the items, not an individual.
The purpose of this is three-fold. First, you guarantee a certain level of professionalism not always found in private sellers. Second, you would automatically deter many people who may want to trade or haggle the price down. Third, it’s free exposure for your shop.
With the right approach and a whole lot of luck, your online storefront, wherever it may be posted, could grant you a very recognizable brand name.
4. Create Customer Loyalty
When you’re a small business – regardless of whether you’re a retailer, provide services or something else – your #1 method of staying relevant would be to simply ensure you have a loyal customer base which can grow at a decent rate.
Once the profit your loyal, regular customers bring exceeds the cost of running the business then you can finally breathe a sigh of relief and consider yourself somewhat financially secure.
But how can you, at no or low cost, retain customer loyalty?
One potential idea is to offer customers gifts or discounts simply for being loyal, which, in all honesty, you can implement in hundreds of ways.
For example, some stores (such as coffee shops or sandwich delis) offer their customers loyalty cards that get stamped after each purchase. Get 9 stamps and your 10th coffee/sandwich/whatever is free!
A much simpler form is also the so-called “baker’s dozen”, where bakeries in small towns often throw in, say, an extra cupcake or baguette to regular customers who buy a dozen of them, making a “baker’s dozen” 13 instead of the usual 12.
If you’re willing to go the extra mile you could always have stuff such as awarding customers with points or cashbacks when they purchase items or services which they can later redeem, or perhaps offering loyal clients with discounts. Most of the time these are too hard for a small business to implement, though.
5. Don’t Underestimate Gift Cards
But one of the simplest, and yet most effective methods of retaining clients and converting new ones is through gift cards.
“What? Gift cards? You mean those things that big stores offer and nobody buys?” You may be asking, and yes, exactly those gift cards!
It’s actually not true that nobody buys gift cards – as a matter of fact, the current market for gift cards exceeds $300 billion and is expected to double by 2024.
Usually whenever a shop is unable to sell their gift cards it’s because they’re either not promoted enough or just aren’t all that useful to consumers (for example, nobody needs a €50 gift card when all the good items in the store are €60 and up).
But when you think about it, gift cards are a fantastic way of both retaining customers and gaining new ones.
When someone purchases a gift card from you then they’ve already made the transaction, they won’t let the card go to waste. This means they’ll either give it to somebody else to use (hopefully converting them into a customer) or they’ll return and use it themselves.
We humans are a creature of habit, and the more familiar someone is with your store and the more frequently they visit, the likelier they are to keep coming back. What better way to help that process along than gift cards?
6. POS Terminals – Your New Best Friend
Yep, you heard correctly – POS terminals will, above all else, help you gain extra revenue from your clients!
After all, place yourself in the shoes of a customer. Imagine going to a store to shop, picking out a few items, and then realizing you only have enough cash for some of them, forcing you to return the rest.
We have a word for the returned items, and it’s “lost sales”.
Now imagine if you don’t need to rely on the cash in your wallet to decide how much you buy. Imagine that you could use your bank card or even your phone at even the smallest businesses, paying instantly from your bank account.
It may seem impossible for a small enterprise to ever qualify for a POS terminal from a bank, but fortunately, it doesn’t need to.
Allow us to introduce you to myPOS, a company dedicated to providing any business with its very own POS terminals!
The Story of myPOS
In the early 2010s, a Bulgarian man called Christo Georgiev noticed that many small businesses in his country were going under because they simply weren’t taking full advantage of the opportunities that their customers provided.
The biggest one, of course, was that they continuously turned away customers with no cash due to a lack of POS terminals, but it wasn’t the only one. Those venues simply weren’t providing their clients with services that they desired, thus missing out on potential revenue in many small, but very important ways.
That’s what ultimately prompted him to found myPOS, a company dedicated to helping out the small and medium businesses in a variety of ways.
The main one was to provide affordable and easy to use POS terminals which have no monthly or annual fees or any sort of minimum income requirement. The plan was a great success, with hundreds – and eventually thousands – of small businesses not only in Bulgaria, but all across the world, adopting the myPOS solution.
And as the company expanded, so, too, did its ways of helping their clients grow.
But which of the aforementioned ways for small businesses to earn extra revenue can myPOS help with?
Gift Cards Made Simple
First and foremost, one of the simplest to pull off methods are the gift cards, which are incredibly easy to use, and, as previously mentioned, very successful in retaining clients.
Let’s imagine that, hypothetically speaking, you’ve got a small shop and have recently purchased a POS terminal from myPOS. You want to start offering gift cards, but how would you go about it?
Well, you can order them directly from myPOS, purchasing whatever number of cards you like!
Not only that, but each card you get can be fully customized with your store’s branding and a unique design, just to make it stand out.
You create and upload a design you like, the cards come to your store, but what next?
What if a customer wants to buy a card for a very specific amount, like, say, €72? Don’t worry, all you need to do is input the sum into the POS terminal through its built-in gift card menu, touch the card to it, and that’s it, it’s been loaded with exactly €72 to fit your client’s oddly specific tastes!
Later on you can log into your merchant account, through which you can monitor all of your POS sales and performance, and quickly check on how many gift cards you’ve sold and how much capital remains in each one.
The Future of Online Marketplaces
What about the other big problem we discussed, though, the unsold merchandise?
Luckily part of the myPOS solution is seamless online integration, allowing you to place a checkout button on your website, online marketplace, even Facebook page!
This benefits both you and your customers:
The myPOS checkout is different from many forms of checkout, requiring no more than the bare minimum of information needed to actually process the transaction. Your clients will no longer need to input their mother’s middle name or any silly nonsense like that when all they want to do is buy a lamp online!
Not to mention the transactions are highly secure, given that the myPOS security is a level above that of most banks, and the chance of your clients’ personal information leaking is so incredibly small it may as well be rounded up to 0%.
You also have an advantage with this method of transaction, since any sum transferred to you through one of the myPOS checkout buttons goes directly into your myPOS account, the same one which is connected to your POS terminal.
This ensures that the revenue from all of your sales, be they physical at the store or online, will remain in the same spot.
Instant Transactions – Instant Profit
And would you like to know the best part, and what really distinguishes myPOS from banks and competitors?
It’s that all the transactions are near-instant, taking less than 3 seconds to process.
This means that you may sell an item in the morning and then instantly ship it to your client so that they get it the very next day, without having to wait for the bank to clear the charge and ensure that you’ve actually been paid, which could waste an entire day or even two.
That is a non-issue with myPOS.
Whether you’re a small shop that seeks to sell a little bit more, a Bed & Breakfast which seeks to offer its guests a bit extra, an up-and-coming taxi company or any kind of store or service provider, myPOS is always the best solution for your needs!