mobile payments

We're Excited About Next Generation Payments

nextgenpaymentsRetailers large and small are adopting new mobile payments systems all with the goal to make everyone’s lives easier. For both the customer and the business, payment will be faster and the experience customized. A customer becomes more than just a walking wallet and, perhaps one day, he or she won’t need to lug around plastic and cash.

Mobile payment systems have typically been found in small businesses or scattered amongst pop-ups, but you may be surprised when you find the new PayPal in-store payment options in retail giants like Home Depot or JC Penney.

PayPal’s payment tools are moving toward improved customer experience. With PayPal Here, local and mobile businesses can process credit cards easily and from anywhere. Larger stores may gradually be implementing in-store payments, which just require your phone number and PIN. Finally, PayPal is partnering with Vend, Shopkeep, Erply, and Leapset, four POS software companies that suit well to small business needs.

With PayPal’s partnering with these companies, payment is fast and sales are organized. With a check-in app that opens the path for loyalty program options, customers are recognized, connected automatically, and encouraged to visit more often. Additionally, combining PayPal with the POS software consolidates almost everything into one system, making the retailer’s life much less hectic.

But if businesses take it a step further with organization, they can’t track the quantities of their products they sell. Business owners’ lives are still chaotic when they’re stuck keeping tabs on inventory manually. What sells the best? How soon before you run out of this or that? What isn’t selling well enough?

While two elements of the equation are solved, they need one more to optimize their business management. Using a program like Shopventory that integrates with what they already use can make a small or mobile business excel beyond what they originally thought possible. It keeps track of inventory quantities and provides reports on your sales to help with your business strategy, all while integrating with your POS and payment system. A business trifecta, if you will.

Maybe one day all customers can rely on their phones as their preferred method of payment. For now, the mobile payments industry is growing more innovative and more businesses are adopting next generation payments to accommodate their customer and management needs.

Have you experienced any next generation payment methods? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter (@Shopventory)!

A Guide to Pop-Up Shops

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Summertime is the perfect time for pop-up shops. With everyone out shopping and dining, putting up your own pop-up shop in the midst of this traffic can help you sell more this season. Here are some tips to set yourself up for success in your pop-up endeavors.

1. Take Advantage of Festivals, Events and Trade Shows

Festivals, fairs, and exhibitions are consumer treasure troves for pop-ups. Manning a pop-up shop at one of these can wrangle tons of customers and keep them coming back for more once the event is over. Summer is the perfect time to set up shop at these events, but how do you find out when and where they are?

2. Understand Your Ideal Target Customer

It's an important step because of two reasons:

1) It helps determine which events you should focus on attending 2) Determines who and how you target the people who are most likely to buy from you

For example, if your business is selling a product-line of yoga pants, so your target crowd will most likely frequent healthy lifestyle festivals. Check the local Chamber of Commerce websites for festivals and fairs or alternately, use BizTradeShows.com to find tradeshows you can participate in.

3. Set Up Temporary Seasonal Shops

Pop-ups are short-term, and you should use this fact to your advantage. Landlords would rather have their spaces filled than vacant for a lot of reasons. Reach out to any unfilled locations and negotiate with the landlord; it's possible you may not have to pay rent aside from utilities (water, electricity, Internet, etc.). See if you can work out a deal with mutual benefits. Once you've found the perfect location, make sure your budget can handle any other fees. Business rates and insurance are some to keep in mind.

Sidenote: If you reside in the UK as a vendor, Appear Here is a handy tool for looking up landlords listing vacancies for pop-up shops.

4. Experiment With Merchandise

It may not be readily obvious but pop-ups are a great way to test out whether the new merchandise will be successful. If you made an ideal customer profile and selected a relevant event to participate in, you get to observe the purchasing behavior of  people who share essentially identical characteristics to your usual customers. Use pop-ups shops to check whether your gut feeling about pricing, merchandise or package deals are validated by customers.

5. Get a Mobile Payments Reader

The days of paying with cash are dwindling and almost everyone pays by card now. Make it more convenient for yourself and your customers by getting a mobile card reader (ie. Square, Intuit GoPayments, or PayPal Here). It works with your Apple or Android smartphone and tablet, processing cards quickly and easily. It will save you a ton of time and hassle, plus your customers will find it convenient.

6. Increase Traffic with Social Media

If you already have a strong customer following through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc., flaunt your pop-up initiative. Tweet your location and any specials to get them into your shop or to visit the festival you're selling at. It should NEVER matter whether or not you have followers. You're never too early to start telling your story, sharing your experiences and building up a brand.

Get on your social networks, start listening to what  people are saying and get in on the conversation.

7. Create Drama, Attract Attention and Make it an Experience

Put thought into how you're going to attract customers to your stall. It could be simple, such as through great visual merchandising or it may involve more such as having giveaways.  Add splashes of color, movement, lighting, music, or aromas to make your pop-up memorable and welcoming.

Running a pop-up shop can be a labor of love. Yet with the right preparation, your pop-up can flourish wherever you plant it. Best wishes!