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Are you spending any effort on marketing your shop?

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As a pawn broker, you know better than anyone that time is money. You may have a dedicated budget for marketing. Or you may have a website that was created two or three years ago that hasn’t been updated since it was uploaded to the web. Perhaps your niece posts something to Facebook a few times a year for you. No matter how little or how much effort you put into marketing your shop, you probably would like to know how that effort is affecting your business.

In PawnMaster, there are a couple of reports you can use to measure your marketing success. But if you aren’t capturing the data, you can’t quantify it. It is imperative that you and everyone who works at the counter, ask the customers, “How did you learn about the shop?”

Now track every response. If several people say, “I drive by and see your sign every day” you will know your signage is working. If they say, “I googled pawn shops near me.” you will want to make sure your Google directory has the most current information. This is free to do. Here are some other ideas for marketing your business for free. Record every response on the customer screen in the additional info tab.

Add every response your customers provide as a referral type under Admin, Store Setup, Customer Characteristics. Once you add all the responses you are hearing and begin easily tracking those responses.

Some of the best marketing reports are all in the Customer category. If you want a list of every customer who said they saw your Facebook page, run Customer Report #3, Referred. If you want only those customers who mentioned Facebook this month, run Customer Report #8, Referral Report. The most exciting report is Customer Report #20, Summary Referral Report. With this report, we can see what types of transactions are being driven by each referral type.

When you are spending time, money, or both on marketing your business, you need to know that your efforts paying off and not being wasted. You will be able to determine where to spend more or less time/money as you gain more information.

Believe it or not, the US government wants to help you to be successful too. The link bellow is for the Small Business Administration’s training website. The courses provided here are paid for by your tax dollars. Why not take advantage of what you already paid for? There are even courses on Market Research and Understanding Your Customers.

https://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center/search/training

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Tips for Marketing Your Business for Free!

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Social Media

Having a social media presence not only gives you an opportunity to engage one-on-one with your customers and prospects, it also helps optimize your business with search engines. In other words, it makes it easier for people to find you. It’s not enough just to start a fan page though. You really need to be active on it. One of the first things you should do is fill out your profile and add a logo and some pictures of your shop. Under “Page Info”, be as thorough as possible to include your contact information, location and the services you perform. Be sure to talk about what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s also important to list your hours of operation.  Click here for 8 Ideas for Marketing Your Pawn Shop on Social Media.

 

Make Sure Your Online Directories are up to Date

Another thing you can do that doesn’t cost anything is “Google” yourself. Claim your business and make sure all of your information is complete and current for all your locations. Here is a list of 50 Online Business Directories you can add a listing to. If there is a section for reviews make it a point to read them on a regular basis.

 

Ask Your Customers to Give You a Positive Review Online

Consumers love reviews. If you have a satisfied customer in your shop, ask them to go onto Facebook or Google and leave a review for others to see. Conversely, you can turn negative feedback positive. The best way to get ideas on how to improve your customer experiences is, in fact, from your customers. If you do ever receive a negative review or comment, be sure to respond and try to resolve the situation. People will appreciate your responsiveness.

 

Image Management

One of the most important things you can do is make sure your store is inviting – inside and out. Nobody wants to walk into a crammed, disorganized store. Make sure it is clean, well-lit and dust-free. Keep items together that belong together. Once people come inside, greet them and treat them like you would want to be treated. Ask them how you can help and show them around, if they’re looking for something in particular. If they’re just browsing, let them browse. Feel them out and go with your gut.

Also, if you sense someone needs a break, be compassionate. Yes, you’re in business to make money but if you sense someone may be desperate, you may want to consider cutting them a deal. They’ll remember it and they’ll become a repeat customer.

 

Host Events in Your Store

Take advantage of retail holidays and offer sales, raffles, etc. Okay, this isn’t free, but you can offer coffee or sodas during the event to give your customers a memorable experience. We have clients who will have tent sales, and give away hotdogs, which is always a crowd pleaser. Remember, it’s okay to get cheesy too. Have a jewelry sale for Valentine’s Day. Call it a “Sweet Sale”, or refer to your “Hot Deals”! Have some fun with it.

 

Word-of-Mouth

The best kind of free advertising there is. Have you ever heard the phrase, “A happy customer will tell a friend about your business and an unhappy customer will tell 10 friends about your business.”?

 

Flyers

Print off flyers to use as signage. You can do this with any equipment you already have in your store. Add images that are related to your message, to catch the customers’ eye. It’s always good practice to make any numbers stand out on your flyer. If you’re offering a percentage or dollar amount off of an item or category, make the number larger, and even a different color to attract attention.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s post on low cost ideas for marketing your business.

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How to Combat Inventory Turnover Problems

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How to Combat Inventory Turnover Problems

Save more, make more.

What is inventory turnover?

Inventory turnover is a measurement of how many times the retail inventory is sold during a twelve-month period.

While total store turn rates are important to know, turn rates are much more meaningful when viewed at the classification level.

  • Jewelry
  • Firearms
  • Electronics
  • Art

Inventory turn rates are a measurement tool and turn rates vary according to:

  • Class
  • Individual Store’s Geographic Locations
  • Store Personality
  • Customer Demographics
  • Merchandise Mix
  • Marketing & Advertising

How do you calculate your inventory turnover?

Turnover is calculated over a continual twelve-month period of time. It is twelve consecutive months of retail sales divided by the average retail inventory for the same twelve-month period.

Turnover = Sales ÷ Average Inventory

How does turnover affect cash?

Surplus inventory collecting dust means, too many items were purchased, defaulted, or are priced too high.

On the flip side, not having enough inventory results in stock-outs or insufficient selection. This will likely result in lost sales and future foot traffic which has the same impact of less cash in your bank account.

The best situation is to have an inventory selection that is just right, and a fine tuned level of turn is the result of this balance. It comes from knowing what to expect for each inventory category.

Increasing turn without sacrificing lost sales is the science of merchandise planning.

Why is optimizing inventory turns important?

Too much inventory ties up working capital and creates an over inventoried position.

A pawnbrokers most important piece of inventory is cash, without cash they are secondhand dealers.

Improved inventory management not only can reduce the capital tied up in the inventory itself, but also reduce the carrying costs associated with that inventory, both of which will improve the bottom line. Categories include:

  • Facility costs
  • Utilities
  • Insurance & taxes
  • Labor
  • Physical counting of inventories, cycle counting
  • Obsolescence
  • Lost opportunity costs
  • Deterioration

How much can one turn affect cash on hand?

ABC Company Information:
Total Inventory Value (Cost) $ 50,000.00
Resale Price of Inventory $ 250,000.00
Inventory Turns equal 2
Annual Sales $ 500,000.00
Days in Inventory 180
Reduce Resale Price by 20% increasing turns by 1
Total Inventory Value (Cost) $ 50,000.00
Resale Price of Inventory with 20% Discount $ 200,000.00
Inventory Turns would equal 3
Annual Sales $ 600,000.00
Annual Sales Increase $ 100,000.00
Days in Inventory 120

PawnMaster helps clients optimize inventory turns

PawnMaster has 14 integrated reports that give you the information you need to optimize your inventory turns.

Also available are software modules and hardware devices to help you and your team become more efficient and minimize costly mistakes.

If you’re not using these tools, call us today to learn exactly how they can help you.

1-888-949-7296

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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Holiday Season?

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Each year pawn shops can expect a spike in sales from Thanksgiving Day and throughout the Christmas season.  This is a special time of year indeed, as item and jewelry sales spike on any given day as bargain hunters are out to fulfill their holiday obligations.  Are you okay with the status quo or are you looking at last years’ numbers and trying to blow the doors off of them? This is a unique time of year to pull out all the stops; the choice is yours.  Shops can generally see upwards of 30% of their total annual sales revenue during the holiday season each year.  Do you have the data points available to you to capitalize on this unique opportunity that you have in front of you?  Here are a few things to think about as you ramp up for this holiday season.

Customer Demographics

  • Were you tracking who your holiday shoppers were last year? If not, make sure you do this year. This is a must to capitalize on this season.
  • You should be tracking race, sex, age and zip code for your targeted marketing efforts.

 

Advertising

  • Did you ask your customers how they heard about you last year during the holiday season?
  • As every customer and sale is entered you should be making a single click in your POS to track how a customer was referred in to your store.
    • Understanding your where your customers are coming from gives you the ability to understand which channels are the best for advertising your business.

 

Sales Trends

  • Sales trends should be directly related to your Inventory Control.
  • What items were hot, which ones were not?
    • This is so important on so many levels:
      • Are you stocking up on these “hot” items prior to the season?
        • Do you have the specifics stored and accessible for you to be purchasing wisely?
          • Make, Model, Style, Color, Size, Designer and so on?
        • Who were you selling these hot items to?
        • Are you using up showcase and shelving space on items that were not selling?

 

Inventory Control

  • Are you running Aging reports?
  • This is directly related to your inventory turns.
  • What are you doing to increase turns?
    • Discounts are not necessarily a bad thing when trying to improve your inventory turns.
    • $150,000.00 in inventory moving twice per year only gives you $300,000 in revenue.
    • Let’s say at a 20% discount you increased you turns by 1, now that same inventory at $120,000 X 3 increases sales to $360,000. A gain of $60,000 in revenue.
    • What’s that look like if those turns increased to multiples of 4 and 5?
    • Now you are not only increasing cash flow but profits as well.
  • What are you doing with items that have been in the showcase or shelf for more than 90, 120, 180 days?
    • Your inventory control should alert you to these data points. You need to be aware of items that are tying up cash so that something can be done to get them sold.
  • Mass Markdowns
    • Do you have the ability to markdown entire categories or areas of your store easily and without retagging all of the merchandise?
      • At a moment’s notice you should be able to mark down lagging inventory without the burdensome hassle of retagging all of this merchandise. Set an area up on your sales floor where signage indicates the discounts given. Your POS system should recognize the barcode scanned and automatically ring the selected item with the discount already included.

 

Marketing

  • Assuming you have tracked your sales and customer information from the prior year there are several things you can do to bolster you holiday sales revenue.
    • Mass marketing
      • Targeting to the proper customer demographic is key.
      • Who bought what type of items and when did they buy?
      • Automation is also key in reaching you customers effectively
        • Sorted mailing lists and labels
        • Text blasts
          • Wishing Happy Holidays
          • % off certain types of items
          • Event text coupon for % off
          • Closeout special
          • Buy one get one at a % off
          • This week only % off certain item
          • Don’t miss out on our sale for % off, expires XX days

 

Signage

  • What does your holiday signage look like?
  • Is it inviting?
  • It is worth the minimal investment to maximize return.
    • Ask customers if they noticed it.

 

Sales

  • All the above is driving sales but what else can we do to take full advantage of this season?
  • e-Commerce
    • What are you doing to drive more traffic to your storefront?
      • List on Craigslist on a regular basis to not only increase sales but to gain new customers who may have never stepped foot in your shop otherwise. Do you have this automated?
      • List on eBay so that you have millions of prospective customers looking at your inventory
        • Do you have management dashboards to easily manage your e-commerce activity?
      • Website – Are you showing your holiday special sales and events?
      • Stay active on Facebook, list items to “Friends”

 

Protection Plans

  • Have you considered offering Protection Plans on hard goods or electronics?
    • Did you know that the increased revenues vs. repair/replace cost is heavily in your favor?
    • So not only are you providing a service to your customers that comforts them during the buying process but also you are showing them that you are standing behind the merchandise you are selling, all while you are increasing profits. The numbers behind these plans are staggering and can be automated through your POS.

 

If you have questions or would like training on any of these topics, give us a call at 1-888-949-7296.

Did you know that e-foro is much more than just a turbo lister?

Save time and money by integrating your eCommerce sites into one marketplace management portal within PawnMaster. e-foro pulls item descriptions and details from your PawnMaster program to eliminate having to re-type the info on the eCommerce sites. You can also add additional detail and images for all items before posting them live.

With e-foro, you can manage all of your marketplaces on one screen and allow PawnMaster reporting to help better understand where you’re getting the best results.

Contact your Sales representative for more information.
1-888-949-PAWN

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Ecommerce Strategy

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What is e-commerce?

Electronic commerce, more commonly known as e-commerce, is the buying and selling of goods and services electronically – primarily over the Internet.

Why E-commerce?

According to eMarketer, retail e-Commerce sales growth will continue to outpace brick-and-mortar sales growth by more than a 3-to-1 margin over the next four years. By 2019, global retail e-commerce sales are expected to exceed $3.5 trillion, by which time they will comprise 12.4% of total retail sales.  That is over $9.5 billion per day, every single day of the year.*

Sell Anytime, Anywhere

Listing your goods online enables you to reach customers from across the country, or even across the world. It also turns your shop into a 24/7 retail organization. Your customers can buy items right from the comfort of their couch, at any time of the day.

Outside of Making Money, there are Other Benefits

Selling online can help you gain some great ratings online. Be sure to ask your satisfied customers to rate your shop and leave a review. The more good ratings you have, the better! This helps build credibility as more and more people look to buy items from you both online and in your store.

eBay and Craigslist are good platforms for getting started with e-commerce. You can list your items, and leverage the millions of users that are already visiting those sites on a daily basis. Starting here can also help you build up a loyal customer base, as well as develop your process. Once an item sells on eBay, you’ll need to package and ship it in a timely manner to keep your customers happy. Craigslist is more of a hybrid platform. While you’re posting an item online, the sale itself typically happens in your store. Using Craigslist will bring new customers into your store, where you can upsell them in person, and gain new loyal, local customers.

Building a Customer Base

Just like in your brick and mortar store, every customer you gain through e-commerce is a potential repeat customer. Be sure to capture your every customer’s information such as e-mail and cell phone number. This way, you can reach out to them in the future with special offers to bring them back to your shop or online store to buy more. Once you’ve made them a happy customer the first time, you’re more likely to have gained their trust, and any hesitation they may have had with their online purchase the first time around will likely subside after the first transaction.

Download our Free Guide to Developing Effective Online Strategies
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Source:
*eCommerce: The Crucible of Customer Engagement

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Did You Know that Data Age is a certified EMV solution provider?

Being a victim of Credit Card counterfeiting is soon to be a thing of the past with EMV chip technology embedded into all new Credit Cards. With Credit Card fraud on the rise, being certified as an EMV compliant merchant shifts any liability of fraudulent transactions away from your business and onto the Credit Card issuer.

 

Speak to your sales associate today to learn more!

1-888-949-PAWN

Section 179

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What is Section 179?

 

“Essentially, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment or software, you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income. It’s an incentive created by the U.S. government to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves.”(1)

PawnMaster Software

 

Throughout the last several years, the various Stimulus Acts that have affected Section 179 have had a large impact on our customer’s bottom line.  By purchasing qualifying hardware, software and other equipment for their shops, they have had the opportunity to take full-advantage of the deductions available.  *See your Accountant for full details.

 

As of today, the Section 179 limit is $25,000 for 2015.

 

If you’ve been waiting to purchase software, upgrade the equipment you use to run your shop, or even replace the vehicle that you use for your shop, all of these are qualifying purchases that can have the Section 179 deduction applied.  Why wait until next year?

 

Go to the website www.section179.org to learn more about qualifying purchases, or for questions or any other information to be sure you can take full advantage of the deduction. Successful businesses all take advantage of legal tax incentives to help lower their operating costs. Taking the Section 179 Deduction will help your business keep more capital, while also getting the needed equipment, vehicles and software to grow your business.

 

Keep in mind, though, that this is allowing you to deduct the full purchase price of financed or leased equipment, up to the limits provided, for the current tax year.  This is important to remember as you get closer to the end of the year.

Make your purchases before December 31, 2015 to qualify for 2015 tax deductions.*

Call Your Sales Manager Today 1-888-949-7296

 

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EMV Smart Cards for Dummies

If you’ve noticed a new breed of credit cards coming through your doors, that have a small metallic chip in them, this is only the beginning. These chips are known as EMV, which stands for Europay, Mastercard, Visa – the companies that created the standard for credit card processing. Notice I didn’t say this was “new” technology. EMV technology has been reducing crime at the point of sale for almost 20 years.

Why is this Change Taking Place?

Two words: Fraud prevention. Last year 31.8 million consumers in the United States were victims of credit card fraud. That’s three times the number the prior year.

What the Chip Does

Instead of storing data on a magnetic strip, it can be stored on a chip with integrated circuits. The goal of this technology is to reduce credit card fraud. These chips reduce fraud in a couple of ways.

  1. The card doesn’t have to leave the consumer’s hand for swiping, so the likelihood of a dishonest employee stealing data is much lower.
  2. The chip creates a unique code for each authentication, making it difficult to replicate. Data on a magnetic strip is much easier to copy.

What are the New Rules?

By mid-October, all of the major credit card companies will be transferring liability for any fraudulent credit card transaction to business owners if they have not upgraded their credit card networks. Previously, if a fraudulent transaction took place, the bank was held liable.

Merchants can still accept cards using the magnetic strip. For now, even the new EMV cards that are being distributed by the banks will have magnetic strips on them so consumers can still use the card if the merchant hasn’t yet adopted the technology. If fraud occurs on a transaction where the magnetic strip is swiped on a card that is not EMV-equipped, the bank is still responsible.

How is Processing Going to be Different?

Most banks are in the process of reissuing all their cards. You can expect most of your customers to have their cards by now. If not, they will soon. The difference in processing is that the card is inserted into the payment terminal, rather than swiped. This is called “card dipping”. When the card is “dipped”, data is sent to the financial institution for processing. The transaction may take a few seconds longer to process, as information is being transferred. The customer may be required to enter a PIN rather than signing the receipt. The card does not leave the consumer’s possession. Other than this, no additional action is needed.

Accepting EMV Cards

You will need a new EMV-enabled terminal to begin processing these “chip and PIN” cards. You will also have to coordinate with your credit card processing partner to upgrade your processing agreement. The cost of upgrading your terminal can be minimal with the right program.

PawnMaster has partnered with Mercury Payment Systems to offer an incredible security bundle. Make sure you’re “Locked and Loaded” with EMV-compliant card processing and DigiShield backup storage.

Click here to learn about PawnMaster’s partnership with Mercury Payment Systems to provide an affordable solution.

Click here to read more about EMV from our partners at Mercury Payment Systems.

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All Eyes on EMV

There is an enormous amount of uncertainty within the payment space…and all eyes are on EMV payments. With the October liability shift, EMV has become a hot topic of conversation and for good reason. EMV payments (chip holding cards dipped at the point of service) help protect businesses, in the event of chargebacks, during card-present transactions. But what most businesses (and the media) overlook are the critical technology solutions that play a bigger part in securitizing business. This is exactly where the Mercury and PawnMaster technology stack comes in! Our approach is simple…to educate the payment community on our technology stack and highlight risks that businesses are exposed to in the marketplace. Along with EMV, the Mercury and PawnMaster product partnership offers an entire suite of security-enhancing solutions to protect your business.

 

End-To-End Encryption secures transactions in transit, masking credit-card data directly at the card-reader. What’s this mean? No card data is hitting the PawnMaster system. Tokenization secures card data at rest, truncating card information that is saved on file With Mercury decoding this truncated block or “token” to uncover card data, this allows merchants to securely perform recurring payment! Our OmniShield Secure solution assists businesses in becoming PCI compliant and honoring best practices, along with covering merchants for up to $100,000 in the event of a PCI breach! As mentioned above, EMV eliminates duplicate or fraudulent cards at the point of sale.

 

As you can tell, there is certainly more to securing your business than just EMV. Please take a look at the below infographic to see just how susceptible businesses are without the Mercury/PawnMaster technology stack!

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By Brandon Dieter I Channel Development Manager – Software Partnerships I Mercury Payment Systems

Click here to learn about PawnMaster’s partnership with Mercury Payment Systems to provide an affordable solution.

Click here to read more about EMV from our partners at Mercury Payment Systems.

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