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Developing digital reflexes

Words of wisdom | Oct 6, 2020

For better management and automation of your daily work, PME MTL recommends that you develop your digital reflexes. Digitizing your business will greatly simplify your life! But how far can you go? We’ll give you the whole story!

Build a transactional site

Operating an online site is a significant asset for any retail business. Although not necessarily essential to survival, this option will broaden your scope of action, add to your sales channels and attract new customers.

I don't have a transactional site yet

A new store that is open to the world!

If you want your website to be a store in its own right, that's what it will be. A new physical branch involves sales space that requires leasehold improvements, qualified personnel, inventory and advertising investments. The same is true for an online store. However, instead of investing in the layout of a location, you will invest in a website and personnel who can operate it at its full potential.

There are a number of platforms that anyone can use to create their own online store in just a few clicks. They provide a number of templates that can be easily modified and the means to quickly automate the calculation of your store's costs, inventory value, taxes, shipping costs, etc. The creation of the business is often free, and the trial period covers the time needed for design, or approximately 10 days.

Before putting your store online, you need to test, test and retest to make sure everything works! Shopify is currently the leading platform for easily designing an e-commerce site, but many others also work very well, including Woocommerce or Wix.

If you want to support local enterprises, Dvore or Panierdachat are very complete platforms that offer turnkey website creation and support in French.

I already have a transactional site

Are you using your transactional site to its full potential? How can you optimize it? To find out, take a look at programs such as Digitization - merchants  (powered by the City of Montréal) or E-commerce logistics (powered by PME MTL). They will guide you through optimizing your management so that you can focus on sales. It's free! Don't neglect opportunities like these that can really make a difference!

Marketplaces: An alternative to transactional sites

In 2020, a retail business can sell online without owning an e-commerce site using options like marketplaces.

These are the perfect alternative for selling online without complicating your life. In only a few clicks, you are online and selling. All you have to do is create your account, present your products with their prices, and you're done! You delegate the sale to a third party that offers more name recognition than your local store, and in return, they receive a share of your sales.

For example, small local merchants can design their own store on Etsy. Those looking for a higher volume of sales can go through Amazon. For food products, LUFA farms is very efficient. Once affiliated with a marketplace, you will also be able to sell your products through Instagram and Facebook.

Multiplying your sales channels allows you to quickly increase your sales volume and offer your customers a way to purchase your goods without having to leave their homes.

Using an adapted Point of Sale (POS)

In the 1990s, the emergence of point-of-sale (POS) systems made life much easier for merchants. Large cash registers were replaced by powerful, ergonomic and easy-to-use software. Several merchants opted for this solution and entrusted their cash register management (in particular) to a POS. This approach can raise questions such as “Is it being used to its full potential?” or “Is it adapted to your activities?”

Advantages of a POS

A POS is a software application that automates the management of a retail business and/or restaurant (e.g.: inventory management, loyalty cards, personnel, sales, customer data, etc.). A POS also makes it very easy to produce analysis reports, and therefore, to take stock of the financial health of the business. The monthly cost of a license is approximately $100, which often not only includes the use of the POS, but also training to help you get the most out of your management tool.

Disadvantages of a POS

There are few drawbacks to using a POS. For French speaking users, one drawback is that the technical support is generally only available in English. Another issue is that you must be meticulous and patient when changing a POS system, because all of your product and inventory data must be imported.

Currently available smart POS systems include Clover (suitable for neighborhood boutiques and cafés), Touch bistro ( for restaurants) and Lightspeed (large physical and digital store).

There are also a multitude of other POS systems available to meet the needs of every niche. To ensure that you make the right choice, keep the following in mind:

  • Get a POS that is adapted to your needs. Don't pay extra for a product with loads of features that you won’t use.
  • The size of the community: The more businesses use the product, the more updates and new features will be available to you.
  • The compatibility of your POS with your website or management system. The more effectively your systems “talk to each other”, the simpler your management will be.

To overcome challenges related to your e-commerce logistics, remember to contact us at PME MTL. Our experts will be delighted to be part of your success!

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