Written by Richard Protheroe
29th April 2016 • 12 min read
Whether you’ve already exhibited your products at a trade show or event, or you are planning to, there is a lot to consider before you rock up at the venue.
Planning and preparation is everything with events and the benefits can have a lasting effect on your business.
Events are a cost effective solution that puts you at a level playing field with companies who are far bigger than you.
Trade shows put you on a level playing field with your bigger competition
You are able to meet people who are interested in your niche, who can provide invaluable feedback on your products.
Additionally it gives you the creative freedom to run giveaways and provide promotional items to promote brand awareness.
The benefits are therefore very clear, but many retailers fall foul of turning up and then descending into a blind panic when their booth gets busy.
When it comes to selling at trade shows, there are a few questions that might spring to mind…
[color-box]How can I take quick card payments and give receipts?
What happens if two sales people make reciprocal sales?
What happens if I sell an item at an event, but then someone buys it online as well?
How will I know how many items to take out of my stock to bring to an event?
Is there a way to quickly link all of my sales to my accounts software?[/color-box]
Throughout this article i’ll show you the tools you need to make sure your event passes completely stress free.
Consumers are almost expecting shopping to be cashless now, therefore debit and credit cards are becoming the primary way to pay.
Developments such as contactless payment has transformed the speed in which we shop. The days of swiping and pin codes are a thing of the past!
As a result of this, there has been a particular boom in credit card processors. They essentially allow you to connect the processor to an app (which will contain all your products), so you can quickly take payments.
Very convenient, highly intuitive and with the option to add a receipt printer they are a great solution for trade shows. Let’s have a look at a few on the market…
I recently attended Pure London fashion event to see how retailers were taking payments and this was a very popular choice.
iZettle is arguably the market leader in this position. Unlike most card processors it is free, you are then charged by each transaction.
What iZettle does well is that those transaction fees will decrease even further based on the amount of money you are taking.
Additionally they have a Contactless reader available for just £59+ VAT which will support the popular Apple Pay.
Like most other processors they support the majority of cards and as another plus point they have the shortest settlement of payment of up to 3 business days.
A printer will cost extra and if you can’t afford this expense then perhaps consider using an email as a valid receipt. If you do want to use a Printer, iZettle has the best selection of compatible printers.
Payleven were the first mobile card reader solution on the market. The first point to note initially is that Payleven’s reader comes in at £49 + VAT, despite iZettle’s being free.
However, Payleven’s lowest transaction fee of 1.5% is met when you have any month reaching £7,500 in transactions, whereas you have to reach £13,000 to take advantage of this low fee with iZettle.
Another point is that the card reader has the option the take payments over the phone. This may not necessarily be relevant at an event, but you can then also use it in any store or pop-up in future.
In regards to payments clearing it can take around 4-7 days, which in comparison is pretty poor compared to others.
When attending Pure London and speaking to retailers I was aware of how many events people attend abroad. Unlike iZettle, Payleven will work outside the UKif that is important to you.
Sum Up is a great option for entrepreneurs and small businesses who take up to £5,000 a month.
This is due to their 1.95% flat rate transaction fee, so if you are just starting out this is ideal as iZettle and Payleven’s fee is initially around 2.75%.
Similar to the others there are no monthly fees and the one off fee of £59 is the same as Payleven for the reader.
At this present time they do not have a contactless option, so this will rule out Apple Pay.
However, like Payleven this can also be used outside of the UK.
Avoid stocking issues
What smart retailers are doing with their payment processors is linking it to their inventory management system.
Let’s use an example here, let’s say you have 5 of dress X and you take 2 to the event.
You sell the 2 within the morning, hooray!
However, somebody has seen your dress online and wanted to purchase it from you at the event. Not a problem, you take the payment and say you’ll ship it to them by tomorrow.
However, during that time the other 3 dresses you had back at your warehouse have just been sold across your Amazon, eBay and webstore places!
[color-box]Article: How Inventory Management helps 3 British Boutiques[/color-box]
You are now having to disappoint that customer and tell them it’s out of stock. Bad news.
Stocking issues are a massive problem for retailers, in fact it’s a $1.1 trillion problem every single year. This is due to items being out of stock or stocking too many.
As retailers increase their channels and expand into events, stocking issues can become complicated so being in control of your inventory is essential.
Point of sale terminal
All of the above payment processors will also integrate with modern day Point of Sale systems.
The days of having a cash register sat in a central part of your store or booth have long gone. Approaching customers with a tablet, with an intuitive point of sale system that helps them browse products and prices is key to customer satisfaction.
Enabling them to pay there and then with something like iZettle as well, further speeds this process up.
As most POS systems integrate with your inventory, this will then update your stock across all of your channels. Avoiding the issue I mentioned earlier.
With a good POS system you’ll be able to email the receipt to the customer there and then.
If you do want to go more old school, you could possibly use a Printer. However, even big chains such as Argos are now seeing this is slightly outdated.
I’ll be writing a CRM comparison article for e-commerce retailers, so watch this space.
From this you can log all the sales you made at events and mark them accordingly. That way, the next time you attend an event you can send them a ‘Hope to see you again’ email.
A personal touch like that can go along way.
So if you are looking to attend an event here is the essential toolkit you need:
- Credit Card Reader
- Receipt Printer
- POS which links to inventory management
Written by Richard Protheroe
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