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KEEPING YOUR TRADITIONAL RETAIL BUSINESS MODERN AND PROFITABLE

Online businesses have forever changed the way we purchase products and services. Virtual shopping is fast, convenient and cheap, but that does not make it superior to the traditional retail model. In fact, the majority or consumers still do most of their shopping in brick and mortal stores. However, there are many things traditional sellers can learn from cyber sellers that can help them compete in this ultra competitive environment.

The most famous anti-technology movement in history occurred in England in the nineteenth century. The Luddites were a group of textile artisans who had lost their jobs during the Industrial Revolution. They feared that increased technology would eventually put everyone out of work, so they protested by smashing machinery. We mention this brief historical episode because many retail business owners look askance at any suggestion that they introduce new technology. No, they don’t go around trashing mechanized looms like the Luddites, but they often refuse to embrace new technologies that would allow them to compete.

More often than not, anti-technology owners use the excuse that their customers like things the way they are. But the truth is that they are often the ones who fear change. After all, more than eighty percent of US shoppers have purchased an item on the internet and more than ninety percent surf the Web. In short, the overwhelming majority of Americans have accepted and embraced this new technology. Now it’s your turn. The best way to start embracing new technology is to accept your customers’ credit card payments.

The most obvious advantage of retail stores is that consumers like to see, touch, and sometime even try a product out before they buy it. No matter how far the technology advances, an online store can never offer a tactile option. Traditional retail establishments also offer (or should offer) superior customers service. Experienced salesmen should be able to answer any question the shopper has. There is also the fact that buying goods on the internet can be dangerous. Virtual crimes like identity theft are at an all time high and most online shoppers worry that a cyber crook will intercept their credit card information and access their accounts. Obviously, that is not an issue at a regular retail store.

But one area of immediate concern is waste and inefficiency. You see, the only way a virtual business can hope to compete with a traditional one is by being far more efficient. And they are. Huge online retailers like Amazon.com and Apple are virtual models of efficiency (no pun intended). They excel by offering competitive prices, state-of-the-art logistics, and superior customer service and support.

Now, we are not suggesting a complete overhaul. Most traditional businesses have certain areas where they excel. Perhaps they have a knowledgeable staff or they do a good job getting the word out when there is a sale. But where most of these stores fall woefully behind is in basic in-store technology.

No, we are not taking about creating a website or selling products on the internet. That may be an attractive option down the road, but before you offer your wares to the world, you must get your own house in order. And that means implementing a few contemporary technological systems, standards and techniques.

One of the most popular strategies traditional business of all sizes can utilize to improve efficiency is to open a merchant account. We know, it sounds complicated. But today’s merchant accounts are easy to apply for, and come with state of the art hardware and software. When you open a merchant account, you can accept your valued customers’ credit card and debit card payments, making it less likely for them to turn to a competitor. Cash only establishments are headed the way of the horse and buggy. So one of the most effective ways to stay competitive is to start exploring your merchant account options today.

No matter the size, all stores must keep a close eye on inventory, expenses, and the staff. Modern technology can help any business monitor all three. Of course, there is no need for an overnight change. We suggest that you introduce new technologies gradually so that the staff can become comfortable with them. If you are having trouble correctly implementing a new system, it may be a good idea to contact your merchant account provider’s customer service representative. These trained experts can provide the support and help you need to implement your new technology.

The author invites you to visit: http://www.nabancard.com. This informative article brought to you by the number one magazine for wholesale merchandise in the USA, Retailers Forum Magazine.