iVend Completes Three Training Workshops

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CitiXsys conducted five-day intensive training sessions for partners across three continents in Houston, Melbourne and Mexico City. Our trainings were carefully designed to provide information-packed sessions, accompanied by extensive learning opportunities. Training workshops were a great success for the attending partners as they helpediVend Completes Three Training Workshop them in improving iVend Retail product knowledge.

The objective of the advanced classroom training program was to help the candidates gain in-depth knowledge of iVend Retail applications, including Terminal POS, Mobile POS, Loyalty and Passes.

During the training program, the participating consultants learnt about module implementation, configuration and overall use of the application. The ‘Consultants’ also learnt valuable product enablement processes and methodologies, including best practice techniques. Through these intensive classroom sessions, the students sharpened their skills, which all acknowledge will ultimately lead to realization of greater benefit to the end-customers, helping them streamline their businesses for greater productivity and profitability.

Training Locations:

Melbourne, Australia | Houston, Texas, USA | Mexico City, Mexico

In Melbourne the training session was conducted by David Webb, who is the Director of Partner Enablement and Client Connect at CitiXsys Technologies and Sandra Callanta Cosejo, Local Product Expert (SE Asia) – Product Consulting. David also conducted the Houston training session, where he was accompanied by Sebastien Gutierrez, the Local Product Expert – Product Consulting for North America. The training in Mexico City was conducted by Izairis Avila Lopez, the Professional Services Consultant – Product Consulting and Adriana Ramirez Romo, Local Product Expert – Product Consulting for the region of Latin America.

Participating consultants from all the training sessions achieved Certification in Implementation of iVend Retail Applications at the conclusion of the 5-day training program.

Talking about the product learning session, David Webb expressed, “It was a real pleasure running the training in our solutions for all the consultants. It was even better to experience their enthusiastic interest in every topic and see such dedication in participation to all aspects of the training activities. The high level of professionalism shown by all of our attending partners is something they can all be proud of, and is worthy of recognition.”

These classroom sessions were part of several that CitiXsys has planned for 2015. Upcoming events for Dubai in the Middle East and Bangkok in SE Asia are nearing full capacity with an overwhelming list of registrations. It is truly uplifting to see so many of our valued partners signed up for these training sessions.

In the end, (as all candidates experience!) what emerges are smarter, sharper iVend Product Experts.

What to look for in an Online Storefront?

E-commerce is a valuable and often essential aspect to any business, regardless of what is sold and what services are provided. Allowing customers the ability to obtain goods over the Internet is necessary in this day and age, not only to offer the best services for clients and customers but also to stay relevant. Without these services the competition is more likely to move forward and take advantage of the lack of e-commerce business. From the overall importance of an integrated e-commerce system to the overall facets of a multi-channel system, this all is able to go to great lengths to ensure the business is running at its utmost capacity.

Having everything fully integrated into a single retail system is incredibly important, as it makes the entire system work flawlessly. All aspects of the business need to run through one main hub, otherwise it becomes difficult to know where all sales and products are coming from. The point of sales system, or POS, is the point of any transaction in which a customer actually pays for the product. Knowing where each of these sales comes from through the help of a single system makes it easier to track sales, which in turn shows what form of service is working the best, what product is selling best using online, mobile or in person sales services, not to mention it makes it easier for the client themselves to make and order. If they have an in person account it is easier for them to log into their account online, view past purchases and buy similar content without ever entering the store. These helps keep the client satisfied and you never have to look around wondering what products they bought during their last visit.

Having shopper engagement at the point of sales is very important also. They need to be directly involved, as it makes them feel appreciated and even a sense of ecommerce-blogappreciation. The customer must feel as if the store or website appreciates their business. Not only telling them this is enough, as producing effective loyalty systems during the point of sales contact helps promote your store, reward the client when they are shopping with you and even want to purchase more products from the store. The point of sales system can work through a credit card like service, or it can simply work through a clients log in information, such as an email account or phone number. This way, whenever the client logs in they receive points for their purchase, and eventually these points add up to discounts, free prizes or other gifts you wish to present with them. Having the ability to obtain new rewards and products makes it more likely for the client to return to the store and purchase even more goods and services from you. It is all about bringing the client back, whether it is through the in person store or via e-commerce. This way, they can buy from you in multiple ways, no matter the time of day.

This integrated system works throughout a multi-channel retail system, so no matter what store or department the client purchases products from, it is all connected to a single system. This way, if the client buys a product in a different store, they are still able to return to your current store, without a loss of profits or merchandise to your store. On top of this, it makes it easier to track rewards points, thanks to the e-commerce system. With the integration of this system, it is far easier for the entire company to work well together.

How integrated eCommerce application can help you expand?

When it comes to the world of Retail business, it is important to have all of your services integrated. This way, it is easier to recall information, send out data or perform other iVend eCommercenecessary tasks and virtual management of entire business. This is true when it comes to sales, as it is the driving point behind expansion and every other service imaginable inside your Organization. An integrated e-commerce application is capable of helping you expand not only through the in person retail store, but also over the Internet. This way, it is far easier for you to reach new customers, all through the help of the integrated e-commerce application. This ties up the in person, mobile and Internet based selling points together, so no longer do you need to log on and search through different accounts in order to see what sales were made where, but also to see where these sales are proving most profitable. All of this information is there to help you run your businesses easier, giving you more time to focus on expanding the company to fulfill the needs of more clients and customers.

For growth of your Retail business, you need to take advantage of every available selling point. If you don’t, you are reducing what your company is able to be and eventually just going to suffer setbacks to your competition. Due to this, you need to always push your company in every possible angle, but also utilize the easiest possible method available to you. If you don’t, you’re going to find it is rather difficult to survive, regardless of what the economy is doing and what you need to do to sell your product. E-commerce allows you to reach more people through the Internet, and with this Internet connection you can drastically improve your sales, but it all starts with integration and how it works with your business.

For any retail enterprise, the e-commerce service must work hand in hand with the in-store sales operations. This means, everyone is able to access the same information, the same content at any given time. This way, it is possible to increase and improve sales, as the system gives precise information and retailers have complete control on store inventory & merchandise management. It also works to benefit the customer also.

Integrated loyalty and customer rewards program ease the process of reward accumulation & redemption at online as well as physical store. This keeps their account up to date and allows them to earn points and rewards faster, which drives them to increase their basket size and come back to your store for a repeat purchase. This leads to overall growth and helps you expand faster.

Reaching more customers is the key towards expansion, and it all begins and ends with the Internet. Although selling in person products is important, selling online is essential, as it opens up your business to millions of users with no geographical boundaries. The e-commerce application integrated into the company allows you to track clients online, what they are buying from you and what is selling faster during the given year. All of this allows you to provide your clients with similar information and material they might find useful. The more items they see the more they buy, and the faster you’ll expand your company.

Benefits of eCommerce for Small & Medium Retail

Integrated retail systems are hugely important for your small business if you want to stand the test of time in this ever expanding digital world. Having an eCommerce Go Onlinesystem for your company will open up new sales avenues and can drastically increase your exposure. Not only could an eCommerce systems increase the overall performance of your business, but they could also positively aid the efficiency and and profitability of your business by making the operational processes much easier.

Integrated promotions-

Integrated Point of Service (POS) application can be a very effective tool when dealing with eCommerce. A good application will be able to customize to your own specific requirements. When sales are generated the checkout application will automatically create your receipts, remind discounts, list available promotional offers and assist user to complete a transaction.

You could also configure the system itself so that your company logo or graphics are displayed when the automatic receipts are emailed to the buyer. This can drastically increase your overall look of professionalism and could increase customer engagement.

Integrated Loyalty solutions

Loyalty redemption is an excellent way of retaining customers and getting them back to store whether online or offline for repeat business. eCommerce systems allow you to have greater control over these programs. You could have special days and discounts; for example you could set the system to allow customers to have greater discounts during the holiday period, or on their birthday.

Integrated Loyalty point redemption with an eCommerce application is great way to engage shoppers and make sure that they do not wander and continue to stay loyally tied up with your Brand.

Taking Other Avenues

Business is always competitive. In order for your small business to stay in the game and be ahead of your competition you should always be looking to utilize new avenues when it comes to; promotion, getting new customers, and re-selling to old customers. Multi-channel retailing is a great way to achieve this.

By using eCommerce you may be able to aid sales when it comes to mCommerce, mobile marketing, telephone ordering and other forms of multi-channel retailing. This is because you will be able to collect crucial details about your clients. For example you could:

  • Collect and opt-in email address to send out newsletters and offers.
  • You could ask customers for their address and phone number.
  • You could provide telephone details for people who would rather conduct business over the phone.

By using all of the multi-channel retailing methods you may be able to drastically increase the overall success of your business.

Other Benefits of eCommerce

Small businesses that are online have unlimited possibilities. Analytics is one of the most recent innovations in the retail sector. It allows you to view valuable statistics from not only customers, but visitors to your website. This means that you will be able to pinpoint flaws in your business. For example, if a large number of people are leaving on a certain website page then analytics will show you that information; or it could show you information about where your main bulk of visitors are from. This information can be very valuable and could help you to make decisions that could drastically increase the success of your company.



Retail Management to Control Pilferage

Retail business owners certainly appreciate how busy and complex operating a store can be on any given day, but how often do you really think about the huge amount of Pilferageinformation that needs to be tracked? Every piece of merchandise, every customer transaction, every time a cash register drawer is opened – all of these hold the potential for profit or loss. Multiply that by your number of locations, and you have an enormous amount of data to record and process. A comprehensive retail management software system can gather and process that data for you, putting the information you need to run your business most effectively right at your fingertips.

With the iVend Retail Management Software, you can track inventory, observe the buying patterns of individual customers and customer groups, find the availability of an item at one of your other locations, manage your online store, and so much more. One of the most critical benefits to an integrated retail management software system, though, is the ability to know what goes on in your store. One of the most common problems faced by retail stores and chains is the issue of pilferage; responsible for close to half of all retail losses, internal threats are the biggest source of loss for retail stores. Your POS system can help you keep those losses from pilferage under control.

Your iVend  monitors and records every transaction that the cash register processes – every sale, every return, every voided transaction, every time the drawer is opened. It records till counts, at the beginning and end of the day and periodically throughout, tracking variance. You can set up separate logins and passwords for each employee, so you know who was responsible for the register during which transactions. Biometric login strategies, supported by iVend, prevent employees from stealing one another’s passwords. By reviewing the logs of these transactions every day, you can identify any unusual activity – the drawer being opened an excessive number of times, several small returns or refunds, or anything else that stands out. Unexplained, anomalous behavior at the register can be a sign of theft or fraud.

Tracking your inventory is another way that retail management software helps you control pilferage. By keeping a regular, accurate count of your stock – and making sure employees know that your inventory is tracked by the software – you can reduce the chances of your merchandise walking out the door when it shouldn’t. Having the ability to track inventory offers advantages beyond loss prevention as well; retail management software allows you to check the inventory of other stores in your chain and for your online store, and to observe what sells well and what stays on the shelf, which can help you make future inventory purchasing decisions.

You can keep track of customer purchasing data with iVend Retail Management Software as well. You can analyze the buying habits of your customers, create discounts and sales, and develop and manage customer loyalty programs to keep your customers coming back. You can view customer contact information, balances, and credit limits at the POS, and record multiple billing and shipping addresses for your customers. These features allow you to improve your customer service, but they also have important loss prevention applications. Reviewing POS transaction logs with an eye to identifying unusual numbers of large returns and comparing them to inventory shortfalls at other store locations can help you identify potential fraud.

Our iVend Retail solution allows you to improve the efficiency and quality of service at your retail stores while controlling potential losses due to pilferage.

To know more about our iVend Retail management Suite Contact Us or mail us on [email protected].

How do I manage Retail operations to delight customers?

There’s just no getting around the fact that in today’s retail environment, keeping past customers, and attracting new ones, increasingly revolves around an operation’s
buying Integrated Retail ability to engage, and enchant shoppers across an ever expanding spectrum of contact points.

The playing field of retail operations is changing rapidly in response to the many revolutionary technological advances that have impacted every aspect of commerce over the last decade. Successfully staying abreast of these advances, and creatively integrating them into an overall retail marketing strategy, has become vital to capturing customer attention and maintaining commercial viability.

Be There Waiting
Managing a retail operation in a way that maximizes a customer’s user experience is increasingly the key to pleasing and keeping shoppers. Especially in an environment where your competition is often a simple computer keystroke away. Two of the biggest factors influencing shopper decisions and loyalty are ease of use and variety of choice.

Creating a dynamic and successful marketing strategy today hinges on understanding how existing and emerging technologies are shaping customer behavior, and incorporating this knowledge into an integrated retail plan that engages shoppers where they really are.

  • Point of Sale one of the latest trends in retail is giving the customer the ability to pay for products with a smartphone app. – known as mobile wallets. This brings added convenience to the shopping experience – and customers love easy.
  • Enhanced Loyalty Component – mobile wallet technology expands loyalty programs beyond a membership card, and sends attractive promotions and discount offers to customers via the electronic payment application of their choice. And every customer’s chief loyalty is to value.
  • Networking via the Customer – incorporating easy to use social media components into every venue where customers access your operation is crucial to a successful integrated retail plan. Giving your customers a concrete vehicle for spreading the word makes them happy – and your bottom line too.
  • Mobile Apps – shoppers use their phones to search, and buy, more and more each year. Having your own smartphone app simply puts your operation where the shopper is increasingly likely to be too. When they see your app – they’ll smile.

All for One
One of the key, and somewhat hidden, aspects of the increasing complexity we’re witnessing in the technological bells and whistles available to retail operations today, is the pervasive simplicity and ease of use it delivers to your customers. With each addition to a modern plan of integrated retail components, another layer of customers is incorporated into your network.

What seems rather confusing and complex when viewed as a whole is actually the picture of simplicity from the customer’s perspective. They don’t care that you have several elements to your marketing web that do not apply to them – they only care about the one that does. And since each one of these components delivers increasing ease of interaction to someone – your integrated retail plan constitutes a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Keeping an engaged and delighted customer base is one of the keys to the success of any retail operation. Developing an intelligently designed plan of integrating tools customers already love into the very structure of your retail operations will provide a steady stream of shoppers, and sales.

Retail 2012 Exhibition and Conference

From 24th September at the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre, Retail Expo 2012 will be hosting its illustrious Retail Conference, for the 13th Retail Expo & Conferenceyear running. Delivering an outstanding line up of guest speakers, 20 of the world’s leading authorities on innovative retail solutions, channel integration and e-retailing, retail reinvention and in-store environment, will grace the stage. CitiXsys Australia shall be present at BOOTH# E-13, meet us to know more on End-to-End Retail Management Suite for modern retailing.

This year’s theme ‘Analyse, Innovate and Implement’ will be addressed by some of Australia’s authorative retail analysts, store designers and social media expert. Paula Goncalves – Director of Operations for CitiXsys Australia Pty Ltd is among eminent speaker panel and will be speaking on 25th September on the topic – Smart Merchandising Solutions for Successful Retailing.

CitiXsys’s iVend Retail Management Suite designed specifically to manage end to end needs of modern retailers  shall be showcased at the event with an objective to take organized Retailing to the next level.
Most retailers need an agile & scalable retail management solution, which provides them a real time view of their operations with centralized control and enables them in faster decision-making. Meet us at our Stand C-15 to choose from exclusive retail solutions like Loyalty Management, Promotions, Inventory Management, Inventory Planning, Business Intelligence, Mobilty, eCommerce, integration with good backend solution apart from having a great Point of Sale and In-Store Management.

With iVend Retail management suite, retailers get every aspect of IT needs under one umbrella, mail us at [email protected] for an exclusive invite at Retail Asia 2012

Customer Loyalty – Reward & Engage

The times sure have changed. We live in a connected world. The future is now, so to speak. Technology allows us to have a video chat with a friend across the globe.Loyalty Social media gives you a 24/7 news feeds focusing solely on the comings and goings of your friends and family. Technology has now even brought us beyond the Moon, to Mars, as of this past week. As breathtaking images pour in from the surface of the Red Planet, the wireless technology that makes it all possible is affecting daily life for you and yours in a far more practical manner.

What does this all have to do with retailers doing what they can to inspire customer loyalty? Good question. Simple answer: for a retailer, staying connected to your customers is just as important as friends and family staying connected to each other.

Technology continues to become a mainstay in people’s lives, retailers are elbowing their way towards you trying to reel in your business. However, earning a sale is only one part of a much larger picture. The goal of every retailer is to not just earn a sale, but to keep that customer coming back for life; the only way a business can truly achieve organic growth.

The first and most essential step in satisfying a customer’s needs is having a well-oiled machine of integrated retail systems. If a customer cannot find the product in-stock in your store, you should have several contingency plans in place to combat this. Most customers are aware that a store can only stock a specific amount of inventory on the premises. Having a system in place to order the product to your store specifically for your customer, or have the product delivered to the customers home, all with a guaranteed date of arrival, will satisfy your customers and avoid disappointment.

Customers have more choices than ever for where they take their business, whether it be for electronics, cars, or clothes. One way for your company to motivate a consumer to shop with you is by giving them an incentive. Let’s face it, incentives make the world-go-round. The economy itself is now built on incentives, more than anything else. Give a customer an incentive to shop with you, and you will have a decisive advantage over your competitors.

With a rewards program, such as Reward Zone at Best Buy, customers earn a small percentage of their purchase total back in Reward Certificates, which is essentially the same a gift card that can only be used at their store. For example, spend $1000 at Best Buy and you will earn $20 in Reward Certificates. It may not seem like a lot, but its free store money to come back and spend, and when you are already giving your customer the best price in town, rewards can leave the customer walking away happy, inspiring customer loyalty that will not only bring them back to your store, but inspire them to recommend your store to their friends and family. Growing from the customers you already have is essential.

Coupons and sales can only do so much. Retailers will now react to the sales of their competitors and lower their prices accordingly. Even when prices aren’t officially lowered, consumers have a great grasp on utilizing the now very liberal price-matching policies. Having a customer loyalty program that gives the customers something back for choosing your business, on top of coupons, sales and price-matching, shows the customer how much you value them and may result in a customer for life.

e-commerce challenges in the age of Integrated Retail

eCommerce banner

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, said about e-commerce, “Any company, old or new, that does not see this technology as important as breathing could be on its last breath.” A global meme has swept every market place, transforming it into a virtual one. Retailers which don’t compete in this modem-controlled land are missing out on a universe of potential customers. Today it’s no longer necessary to limit trade to the locales of your brick and mortar stores. The American retailer has the capacity to tap into 44% of the world’s internet users by venturing into the territory of over a million online Asians and 22.1% of the online market by targeting another million living in Europe. These users only form three quarters of the global online population, which serves you a total of 2.2 billion potential customers on a golden platter, salted and spiced with an annual growth rate of just over 500%.
With the world online, your challenge has ballooned drastically and you now need to provide your clientele with a point of sale experience, at both the actual and virtual point of sale that is seamless, loyalty-inspiring and prompt.

The point of sale, at its best, is where customers are transformed into clients. At its worst it’s where loyal clients are permanently lost. Long queues, scanning errors, a POS system that confuses staff and lengthens transaction time all have potential to pound down those profits through vanishing clients. In the universe of e-commerce this caliber of transaction comes instead under the guise of insecure payment structures and forms that are difficult to locate and crawling with bugs. Here, clients click out of your site with the ease and speed of a breath, taking their credit cards with them. The point of sale is where customer service is at its purest because here, clients have no suspicion that service excellence is happening under the mask of an attempt to make a sale. When a retailer excels at the till point, both online and in store, he earns the kind of brownie points that clients don’t easily forget having awarded.
Loyalty programs in retail are now a norm rather than the exception. Another meme has spread gloom over global markets, in the form of a recession, is herding customers’ platinum cards towards the retailers that offer the discounts. Following customer service excellence, the most likely facet to draw repeat business from customers is a loyalty scheme. One that can morph customers into loyalists needs to be relevant to their needs and desires. It also needs to be judged by them as sufficient. Anything less renders a possible gold mine futile. Most loyalty schemes do precisely this by offering rewards that are too small, not well targeted to their markets and unrealistic expiration dates. One that delivers what the client wants is rare and thus deeply appreciated. An impressed customer then becomes what is still one of the most valuable forms of advertising: old fashioned word of mouth. In the planet of e-commerce this brand of publicity will be offered to you in the form of the online review, which inspires more confidence in 97% of consumers than even the most flamboyant sales clerk is capable of. Of course, that review also has a reach of a couple of billion working credit cards.
For the retail CEO, all these channels can be controlled powerfully by an innovative and integrated POS system that manages front and back end business on and off line. iVend systems give you a fluid experience that operates across loyalty programs, POS and e-commerce–exceptionally.

Five ways to make loyal customers

Multi-channel Retail Strategies with iVend retailIf you’re selling a product and you want to maintain customer loyalty one of the most effective ways to increase return business is through a loyalty program for your customers.  It seems as though everyone has a customer loyalty program nowadays.  The scheme may be managed by issuing a key ring, a specific membership card, or simply electronically  through a series of continuous marketing email blasts. Loyalty programs are an important tool for todays retailer; here are five (5) key features of an effective loyalty program.

Importance of an integrated retail system

When you’re operating a customer loyalty program your retail systems need to be integrated. That is, every time a valued customer swipes their identification card you need to know as much about them as your loyalty program allows. You need to know who they are, when and what was their last purchase with you, what their personal shopping preferences are, who they dealt with last , and if there are any red flags that require attention.  Ideally your customer loyalty program should be tightly integrated with your point of sale solution from the store to head office to provide visibility through the company, including at the executive level.

Shopper experience at the POS

Integration is the key and in keeping with this theory your sales assistants at the store need to be able to engage customers through an effective loyalty program. Capturing your customers attention and making a positive impression is key to making a difference to their shopping experience with you.  Simple gestures like referring to your customer by their name, acknowledging their shopping preferences, inviting them to special promotion evenings and a happy birthday greeting on their special day.  All simple measures that only a loyalty program can help you effectively implement. Your loyalty program could capture such specific information including keeping  track of all purchases made to date and even a wish list of products your customer may be  interested in purchasing in the future.

Effective loyalty systems

Your loyalty system needs to offer value to your customer without it being perceived as spam or a vehicle to constantly push your product. An effective loyalty program acknowledges your customer for continued loyalty by giving something in return.  Examples of such value added activities may include; special ‘VIP member’ shopping days, special ongoing discounts, advanced notice on upcoming promotional events, store credit offered on their birthday to redeem on any product in store or any other special perks you can offer your customers.  Its a partnership that creates a win win for both parties that will achieve the end result, continued customer loyalty.

Multi-channel retailing

Todays customer does not just shop in the same way or same fashion every time they purchase from you. So by embracing multi channel retailing you are able to adapt to todays customer and their shopping preferences.  The same can be said about an effective loyalty system in that it has to be flexible enough to capture information on the customer’s preferred shopping experience including keeping track of sales made in store, online or by mail order and providing rewards for purchases made via all channels.

New innovations in retail sector

An effective loyalty program needs to keep up with the latest technology and industry best practices and constantly evolve and respond to such market changes.

One of the biggest pitfalls of some of todays loyalty programs is the overflow of constant information from the retailer to the customer.  Customers are often bombarded with too many emails leading to customers unsubscribing altogether from the loyalty scheme.  Soon enough retailers find that  the loyalty system designed to increase customer loyalty is discouraging repeat business.  The famous saying “less is more” reigns very true with an effective loyalty program, too much communication can be perceived as intrusive and therefore counter productive. As a retailer your customer loyalty program should embrace the above five (5) key points for effective loyalty management and a positive experience for your customer.