Going paperless isn’t just about helping the environment. There are big advantages to be gained by moving your retail business away from pen and paper. For instance, having electronic copies of your finances and invoices makes information retrieval a lot faster and easier. If you’re searching for a particular invoice, you can simply look it up on your computer instead of rummaging through piles of paper. With digital timesheets you and your staff can accurately keep track of hours worked, and, electronically tracking your inventory can save huge amounts of time and money by making your stocktaking faster and more accurate.
Having electronic files also has several benefits for your customers. Rather than cluttering up their wallets with paper receipts, you can send receipts via email where customers can access and search for them anytime. And that has other knock-on effects, for example email receipts mean you then have your customer’s email addresses on file, so you can contact them about upcoming promotions and products to encourage them back to your store.
The benefits of going digital are significant, so it’s worth seeing how you can ditch the paper in some (if not all) areas of your business. Below are six key ways to achieve this:
#1. Eliminate paper spreadsheets and clipboards when counting inventory
Physically counting your inventory can be a major chore. The last thing you want is to make the task even harder with manual tools like a pen and paper. Do yourself and your staff a favour and opt for digital solutions such as barcode scanners and inventory counting apps. Check if your POS or retail management solution offers stock count functionalities, and take advantage of such features. Doing so will save you time and reduce the chances of human error, helping you keep an accurate record of your inventory.
#2. Send receipts via email
If you haven’t done so yet, adopt a POS system that lets you send receipts via email. Once you have that setup, start introducing email receipts to your customers. Instruct cashiers to mention it at checkout, so shoppers have the option to have receipts printed out or sent to them digitally. You can also use email receipts to build your database. When customers provide their email address, ask if they’d like to be included in your mailing list. If they say yes, then you’ve got one more person to engage on your list, and you’re also helping the environment. Win-win.
#3. Use a paperless system to manage your calendar and appointments
If you sell services and need to schedule in-store customer appointments, consider looking into digital solutions to handle your calendar. Rather than literally penciling in client bookings and handing out appointment cards, you can just type the customer’s information into your system and send them reminders via text or email. You and your staff will be able to stay on top of your calendar easily, and your customers won’t have to worry about missing their meeting or losing their appointment card.
#4. Use an online employee management tool
Replace paper timesheets and manual scheduling with a staff management solution that can solve how employees pick up shifts, log their hours, and request time off. Modern staffing systems don’t just reduce paper use; they also help you run your business more efficiently. By digitising certain staffing procedures, you can spend less time worrying about schedules and instead go back to growing your business and delighting your customers. Having an online staffing app is also a win for your team. Such solutions make it easier for them to request holidays, make changes to their shifts or request additional ones, and that can result in happier more productive employees.
#5. Go paperless when dealing with financial tasks
Consider going paperless in your finance department. Instead of printing out invoices, see if your clients and vendors would be willing to doing business digitally. And if you’re still reconciling financial records manually, get yourself a good accounting app that can automate these tasks for you.
#6. Manage your loyalty program digitally
If you’re still using printed out application forms and physical cards in your loyalty program, you’re wasting a lot of resources. Replace them with a POS-based or mobile-based loyalty program instead.
A loyalty program that is managed directly from your POS system, or links in with it, eliminates the need for physical cards. All customers have to do is give you their name or email address and you’ll be able to track purchases and rewards using your POS. Mobile-based loyalty programs are also convenient for shoppers. Since they work on smartphones, customers won’t have to add yet another card to their wallet. They can just scan their phones to earn and redeem points.