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Trust is earned, not given.

Consumers no longer merely accept a business at face value. With so many options at their fingertips it is becoming increasingly important for merchants to differentiate themselves. But even this is not as simple as it may once have been. With the proliferation of fake news and unreliable advertising the traditional avenues of consumer outreach may not be the best options.

In fact, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, only 48% of respondents in the United States trust businesses. Worse yet, a study conducted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies in 2015 revealed that only 4% of respondents believed that advertising industry behaved with integrity.

Considering this information, businesses are depending more and more on their POS to help them succeed and connect with their customers in more meaningful ways.

Consumers are looking for brands they can trust. They are happily going out of their way to spend money at those businesses with whom they feel a connection of some kind. Let’s examine a few ways that the Point of Sale can play a central role in joining merchants and consumers.

It all centers around the ability to connect true and relevant data with outgoing communications.

1. Audience – 

According to findings released by Salesforce “Sixty-one percent of millennials are happy to share personal data if it leads to a more personalized in-store or online shopping experience, while 58% will share personal data to power product recommendations that match their needs.”

Understanding your audience and their needs is the first step to being able to build a meaningful relationship with them. This task has been made significantly easier in recent years as consumers have become more comfortable with technology and with sharing their information in exchange for relevant offers and communications.

This important information is often being collected and stored in the Point of Sale. By offering an integration to a powerful Customer Data Platform, the POS can significantly increase their value to the merchant as they help build this foundation of a more-well-defined audience.

It is then up to the merchant to craft a message that is not only meaningful and useful to the defined customer, but that also reflects who the merchant is.

2. Trends and Patterns –

Knowing the customer is just the beginning. As Millennials continue to represent a greater percentage of the consumer base, it is increasingly accepted and even expected that merchants monitor purchase trends and behavior.Sixty-Four percent of millennials consider an anticipated and customized experience based on their individual transaction data to be valued over their privacy concerns.

Again, this all centers around the interaction at the Point of Sale. Sure, decades ago in the era of the corner store in small town middle America where everyone knew each other by name, the store manager might remember off-hand the last time Sally came in for milk. This is not a realistic scenario in today’s market, yet customers still expect a fairly similar level of personalization. Everyone wants to be remembered.

If the POS can connect a purchase to a human, then it can increase the value of that initial customer data by that much more. Knowing that Sally has not been in the store for over three weeks, when she normally comes in every Monday, means that the business can reach out to her with an offer or a question about how she is doing, rather than letting that relationship fall through the cracks.

3. The Customer Experience –

Having all of that consumer data stored in and accessible by a Customer Data Platform and an Automated Marketing API is powerful, but it is not everything. According to data published by KPMG, brands delivering the best customer experiences see 54% higher revenue growth than brands ranked poorly for their customer experience.

The customer experience occurs in innumerable places. The website must be easily navigable; Communication outreach must be relevant and easy to interact with; the staff must be friendly, knowledgeable and responsive whether via chat, phone, email or in-person; the checkout experience must be as seamless and smooth as possible.

This is obviously not all in the hands of the POS, but for those parts that are, your merchants are counting on you. The POS can provide a secure place to complete transactions smoothly, start conversations and collect customer data. With integrations to relevant tools, the Point of Sale can help elevate merchants to the next level of customer interaction.

Most of what happens in a business revolves around the Point of Sale. Purchases are made, returns and exchanges are completed, data is collected, reviews and testimonials are solicited, and appointments are scheduled. It is important for the merchant to stand out and to differentiate themselves, and part of that comes from having you as their Point of Sale. The services you offer your merchants become part of how they are able to connect with their customers.