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Business strategies for specialty retailers: How software integration can improve operations and sales

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By Rachael Pritz

Integrating the two systems not only gives staff more time to share their knowledge of water chemistry, but also gives them the opportunity to learn more about each customer’s unique backyard needs and focus their attention on selling additional products and services to fulfil them.
Integrating the two systems not only gives staff more time to share their knowledge of water chemistry, but also gives them the opportunity to learn more about each customer’s unique backyard needs and focus their attention on selling additional products and services to fulfil them.

 

In today’s competitive marketplace, pool and spa professionals need to make the most of every customer interaction—especially those that take place at the water testing station, as some of the most valuable exchanges take place here. As such, savvy retailers are continuously looking for ways to improve their customer service. One such method involves integrating water testing software with business software, in order to save time at the testing station and the register. Further, this allows staff the opportunity to improve the overall consumer experience, market additional products, generate more sales, and increase profits. In addition, those retailers using an integrated mobile app within the store can provide faster and more efficient service while, at the same time, earn customer loyalty.

Database integration

Businesses can take advantage of the printouts from water testing software to help recommend products to customers—which is especially helpful during the busy summer months.
Businesses can take advantage of the printouts from water testing software to help recommend products to customers—which is especially helpful during the busy summer months.

Today, many specialty retailers are operating their business with two different databases—one for water testing and another for point-of-sale (POS) software management. However, managing the two systems simultaneously can be very time consuming. That said, it is likely employees are spending too much time doing double the data-entry as opposed to interacting with customers and selling more products. Not only is this a waste of time for the retailer, but also for customers who often have to wait while the staff enters the information into the database for a second time. By integrating these databases, both systems are updated automatically.

In fact, today’s software integrations give staff the ability to import a customer’s water test results directly into their unique profile in the database.

Integrating the two systems not only gives staff more time to share their knowledge of water chemistry, but also gives them the opportunity to learn more about each customer’s unique backyard needs and focus their attention on selling additional products and services to fulfil them.

Sharing chemical knowledge at the water bar

Talking to customers while their water is being tested gives employees ample time to get to know them and get a better understanding of what it is they might need.
Talking to customers while their water is being tested gives employees ample time to get to know them and get a better understanding of what it is they might need.

Many retailers agree a store’s water testing station can be likened to the local pub where clients sit and have a conversation with the bartender—in this case it is the water care specialist. Talking to customers while their water is being tested gives employees ample time to get to know them and get a better understanding of what it is they might need. In addition to being a great opportunity to share expertise with the client, it is also an ideal time to get to know the customer on a more personal level, which helps build customer confidence and loyalty.

Indeed, many specialty retailers who use these software tools agree the time saved by eliminating redundant work helps them sell more products. In fact, specialty retailers can not only increase product sales, but also charge more for the items—even if they are available through other sales channels. Further, having the time to educate customers and discuss adequate water treatment solutions is another way a specialty retailer can establish the business as an expert supplier of pool and spa products. The ability to engage with clients one-on-one is a great way to set the store apart from mass merchandisers and other competitors, too.

Additionally, businesses can take advantage of the printouts from water testing software to help recommend products to customers—which is especially helpful during the busy summer months. In fact, retailers are taking these reports to the next level by also adding the ‘related items’ feature into the program, which prompts staff to check with customers if they wish to purchase other items that correspond with the product. Integrating the two software programs not only helps to streamline the overall process, but also gives retailers the ability to learn more about specific sales trends, which further enables them to manage inventory more efficiently—all of this results in improved customer service.

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