Hobby and craft shops are in many ways the epitome of specialty retailers, providing unique materials and hard-to-find items for a dedicated, loyal, do-it-yourself clientele. But the hominess and deep customer connections that build such a business are only part of its pattern for success. These retailers can also benefit from a modern point-of-sale (POS) system, particularly one that offers features specific to such a shop’s inventory, pricing, and customer relationship requirements.
Following are four key features that hobby and craft retailers should seek out as they consider installing or upgrading a hobby shop POS solution:
Ability to sell items by length/volume as well as by unit: Much of hobby and craft retailing involves selling materials (fabrics, yarn, paper, etc.) that customers use for sewing, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, and model-making. A hobby shop POS needs to smoothly incorporate pricing and sales by the yard or square foot side by side with the unit sales that are prevalent in other types of retailing. The hobby shop POS should tightly integrate with the retailer’s inventory system, deleting the proper amount of fabric when it’s sold as easily as it removes a box of buttons from the store’s available stock.
Customer loyalty and purchase history tracking: Knowing your customers is beneficial in any retail setting, but it’s absolutely essential in the hobby and craft arena. Many customers seek not just products but guidance and expertise from these retailers, particularly those new to the hobby who have the potential to become long-term customers. Many hobby and craft shops offer classes, competitions, and seminars as an integral part of their services. All these factors mean that a hobby or craft shop POS should be equipped with extensive – and highly flexible – customer loyalty capabilities. Retailers should be able to track not just who the shopper is and what they bought but also the type of projects they are interested in. Armed with this information, the retailer can follow up on the progress of a long-term project as well as alert customers about educational and organizational events specifically related to their passions.
Flexible pricing for sales and promotions: Craft retailers often need to be creative themselves in order to build store traffic or stimulate sales. A hobby shop POS system should be simple to modify so that it can handle unique sales and promotions. For example, a hobby shop might offer free or discounted attendance fees for a model-making seminar with the purchase of a certain amount of raw materials. Paying for a series of classes held in the shop might qualify a customer for discounts on materials, tools, or accessories. Contests and other promotions should also be easy for a hobby shop POS system to manage, with a minimum of special coding by the retailer.
In addition to these functionalities, a hobby/craft shop POS should also provide standard retailing features, which offer a number of business benefits:
- Faster transaction speeds
- Improved transaction accuracy
- A centralized location for all sales and inventory data
- Ability to track individual employees’ performance and productivity
- Better loss prevention safeguards
A hobby or craft shop may be a small business – or want to maintain a small-business feeling – but that doesn’t mean it won’t benefit from a sophisticated POS system, particularly one that’s designed for the special inventory and customer relationship requirements of these shops.