Thrift stores are unique retail environments—inventory is varied and sometimes unusual. “Thrifting” is a sport for customers who love to deal hunt, and while searching for prized items like designer bags or rare pottery is fun, sorting through piles of disorganized items is not. The right thrift store point of sale (POS) system can mean the difference between a well-managed store and disorganized chaos.
If you don’t have a thrift shop POS system or are on the fence about implementing one, here are four ways that will convince you POS for thrift shops will keep your store on track:
1. Inventory management
Thrift shop inventory is different from typical retail inventory because products are donated. Every day is a new adventure—you never know what’s going to come in the door. Depending on the types of donations your store accepts, the inventory of sellable items can range from knick-knacks to clothing to furniture, so a POS system with basic inventory management capabilities isn’t going to cut it in your thrift store.
Instead, look for a thrift shop-specific POS solution that gives you the ability to easily track inventory in and out of your store. It’s important to have multiple ways to categorize and label items, whether you are adding kitchenware or shoes to the inventory. Reporting capabilities like sales tracking, mobile reporting, donation trend monitoring and customizable items (for those interesting collectibles) gives you more visibility into what’s coming in, what items people want, and which ones should be discounted to sell quickly.
2. Pricing and discounting
Your customers are especially thrifty and cost-conscious—so sales and promotions are going to draw a crowd. Some stores have different discounts by the department or tag color, so pricing can get complicated when you’re running several promotions at the same time. A thrift shop POS system can help you manage different sale and promotion scenarios and should allow for member or non-member pricing, quantity discounts, mix and match, and more.
Thrift stores carry so many individual and unique items, it’s important for every product to have a price tag or bar code. The right thrift store POS system makes pricing the donated odds and ends and non-bar-coded items easy by allowing you to generate item tags and shelf labels directly through the system.
A well-organized shop with exciting promotions and inventory will draw in customers, but a loyalty plan gives them a reason to come in and poke around for fun. Frequent visitor discounts, birthday coupons, and anniversary rewards encourage shoppers to return more often. A thrift store POS system that prints coupons, sale information or promotional messaging on the receipt also helps encourage repeat visits.
Mobility is something that gets talked about in traditional retail settings, but it’s the effective use of technology that your managers, store associates, and customers will appreciate. Incorporating mobility means employees can come out from behind the counter and interact with customers on the sales floor. If you plan special sales events like sidewalk or tent sales, you can easily move the checkout outside with a mobile application. Be sure to ask whether or not the thrift shop POS system you’re considering supports mobile functions.
Thrift stores are havens of affordable goods and quirky collectibles. These retail outlets with unique inventory require a specialized thrift store POS system– run-of-the mill retail systems aren’t up to the task. Look for a thrift shop POS software that tracks inventory, seamlessly deals with promotions and generates customer loyalty, so your shop will be the go-to when people are looking for a sweet deal.
To learn more about the benefits of point of sale specifically designed for thrift stores, download our Thrift Shop POS Buyer’s Guide: Getting the Most from Your Point of Sale Software Investment.