We know there are some store supervisors who actually prefer pencil and paper, spreadsheets, and duplicate receipt books! They don’t necessarily eschew alternative software solutions; they argue that manual procedures make it easier for student helpers to grasp the basics of commerce.
Kids live in a software driven app environment. They catch on to systems very fast. They run rings round most of us with complex gaming! And they’re very unlikely to leave school and find a sales or accounting job based around leather bound ledgers and adding machines! The old-fashioned methods are gone in favor of products like the familiar Square point of sale (POS) terminal sitting on the counter of chic new shops. Software solutions automate the manual, repetitive, and tedious tasks of running a store. And most importantly, modernizing the school store contributes to a school’s ecosystem of a nurturing environment where students can learn and get engaged with real-life skills.
There is a variety robust school sales systems on the market, some of which are integrated into the main school information system (SIS). In this blog, we’re going to address the scenario where a school wants to supplement its SIS, or change up from a manual system, with dedicated POS software.
Here are 10 reasons why you should use a software app for your school store – especially if you’re still in the old days of physical systems, supplemented with spreadsheets. Our understanding of a software app means a system that runs in a web browser and utilizes a scanner and (optionally) a cash drawer. The ability to use a touch screen is a huge added advantage. It is powered by a good database on a secure server providing protection for your data.
- Manage and Control Inventory
Managing and controlling the school store’s inventory has never been easier when using software apps as compared to the manual process. Store 4 Schools, for instance, has a system of Groups and Categories whereby you can readily tag items that are for sale, for example; or products that can only be sold by some users in certain locations. For instance, you could specify that Year Books are only to be sold from the ASB office rather than the Store. Specific products may be tagged for sale only when the student ID is entered; other products could be tagged such that they may not be purchased online. These are only examples; the possibilities are endless.
- Monitor and Track Student Sales
With the use of software apps, monitoring and tracking student sales is possible in real-time. In just a few keystrokes or mouse clicks, your school store’s supervisor can view a student’s account info and purchase history on their computer screen or tablet. The software also enables the sales staff to complete purchase and payment processes really fast and thus greatly reduce queue wait time.
- Create Reports
Most software apps include reporting tools that quickly analyze inventory to show purchasing trends which in turn determine ongoing purchasing decisions. When you can distinguish slow from fast moving stock your cash flow will likely improve. With more sophisticated apps, like Store 4 Schools, you have the ability to create a full range of financial reports (profit and loss, balance sheet, sales, multi-day sales, tax collected, etc.) all of which will pass muster with district auditors.
- Minimize / Eliminate Fraud
Store solutions automatically maintain inventory, sales receipts and the giving of change with each transaction thereby minimizing mistakes caused by human error. The logic that controls who may open the cash drawer, and when, provides additional security. With Store 4 Schools, sales staff only need press a few buttons, scan the product barcode and (optionally) the student ID to complete the transaction. Product exchanges and returns can be done just as quickly by checking the student’s transaction history, validating the exchange/return, and completing the transaction.
- Well-designed for versatility and ease of use
A good school store app should be ready for use almost right off the bat. After loading student data and inventory it should be easy to learn and use. The layout should be intuitive, thoughtful, and well-organized with the end users in mind. These apps should be able to run on any web browser and, even better, on mobile platforms (Android, iOS).
- Can Be Integrated With School or School Organizations’ Drive/Campaign/Event
One major consideration in choosing a software program for your school store is versatility. It should not be restricted to managing store items but could also double as a tool to efficiently support school activities like a fundraising campaign or donation drive. Store 4 Schools, for example, can process payments for winning bids at fundraising auctions. It can also accept and process donations and event-branded merchandise.
- Parent Portal and Student Credit
Store solutions ideally allow parents or guardians to control their student’s spending by applying credit to the student account. And when the credit has gone, the candy stops! Furthermore good store applications will have a Parent Portal whereby some purchases can be made online; and all the student need do is collect the items from the store.
- Streamline Ordering of Items Sold Within School
There may be instances where your school store partners with other departments to streamline the ordering and release of purchased items. Software apps like Store 4 Schools can process advanced payments, much like the parent portal, and then the department releases the item to complete the order. Ordered textbooks, for example, can be paid in advance. Once the shipment arrives, the student picks up his/her order at their college or department.
- Learning Lab for Students to Understand and Apply Business Principles
Some schools use their school stores as learning labs as part of the curriculum for financial literacy and business classes. Under the guidance of their teachers, students gain firsthand experience in the management and operation of a small business using the school store technology. By allowing the store to be a learning lab, the school encourages its students to develop and hone entrepreneurial skills, and encourages them to be more proactive in other school-organized activities.
Software apps provide cost effective means to ensure your school store’s profitability, streamline processes and minimize inefficiencies. Store 4 Schools provides a digital solution, reducing dependence on printed paper including sending receipts by email and distributing free software updates automatically. (No DVDs.)
In summary, using software apps for school stores is highly encouraged in order to simulate real-life business scenario. These tools allow school stores to be managed just like their small to medium sized business counterparts, in an efficient and cost-effective manner while providing excellent customer experience.
The contribution of a good software app to the school store can be broken down into two key areas: secure data collection, and the streamlining of processes. The collected data allows you to track/manage inventory and sales, and create financial reports. The software simplifies and automates previously time-consuming and tedious repetitive tasks, thereby minimizing cost. Adopting these tools is a long term investment, one that will pay huge dividends not only for the school store itself but also for the future student entrepreneurs who help run the store.
If you are still running a store “the old way” we hope that these 10 reasons will convince you to make the leap after seriously considering the above benefits.
We welcome your thoughts and feedback, so please contact us. We love to hear from you.