How Smaller Businesses Can Battle Tariffs

What started as a POS system to help small businesses fight back against bigger chain stores has become more relevant than ever. National Retail Solutions’ (NRS) was started, in part, to keep America’s culture alive by helping bodegas and delis thrive against the backdrop of bigger companies threatening to take over. Today, NRS’ solutions have broadened to include assisting these smaller stores thrive despite the negative effects of tariffs.

This past January, President Trump began imposing tariffs on imported goods. In a retaliatory effort, the nations affected are now imposing tariffs on items from the United States. For example, after President Trump threatened $450 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods, China assigned tariffs to a range of products including pork, whiskey, machinery, tobacco, and more.

This directly influenced big and small businesses alike, causing prices of certain goods to skyrocket. In early January, the price of aluminum was 10 cents per pound. By mid-March, after President Trump’s announcement that a 10 percent tariff would be placed on aluminum imports, the price of aluminum more than doubled. In early June the price of aluminum was at 21.5 cents per pound. The aluminum tariff hasn’t affected consumers in a big way yet – the price of a can of beer will likely increase by a penny – but it will affect those businesses that make the cans, that are now paying a premium for aluminum.

Although tariffs directly affect the manufacturers, and those buying from them, there is a trickle-down effect that will force small businesses to increase their prices. In today’s competitive economy every business is competing to have the lowest prices. Bigger corporations, however, generally have significant overhead allowing them to assign lower prices to their products and survive such tariffs. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, do not have this luxury.

Small businesses can battle tariffs by managing inventory levels. In this way, they can garner more visibility which allows businesses to make strategic moves. It is extremely risky for a business to grow when there are unstable factors affecting them. It is even more risky for a small business, since only about 25 percent of them will last more than 15 years. Therefore, small to mid-sized businesses are taking a more cautious approach by putting investments and hiring plans on hold.  In addition, small businesses are not hiring new employees.  This is a problem for the general population of the U.S. as well: more than half of Americans own or work for a small business.

National Retail Solutions’ (NRS) POS system for small businesses offers a user-friendly interface that helps track key aspects of businesses. NRS’s POS system tracks sales, manages expenses, configures products, and manages inventory levels. By tracking sales, managers are able to understand what customers want and what they don’t want. With this knowledge, store managers can stock appropriately and at a time where the price of goods is most likely going to increase, while wages do not, it’s important for store-owners to know what’s selling and what is not. That way, they do not end up with excess supply that will ultimately go to waste and create lost revenue. In addition, the NRS POS system is fully integrated with an app (iOS and android) for store managers that shows what is selling and who is managing the register, while also allowing the manager to add promotions.  Having promotions and advertisements displayed onscreen at the checkout register increases the amount of impulse purchases.  Impulse purchases are critical for small retail businesses: almost 80 percent of in-store shoppers will purchase items last minute.

In addition to robust hardware and powerful software to help merchants succeed, the NRS POS bundle includes its exclusive BR Club discount program to help build customer loyalty. Customers can sign up with a phone number to receive a special key fob to scan for instant discounts at checkout. NRS has negotiated pricing on many popular food and household items that enables small, independent retailers to effectively compete against larger retail giants.

By implementing a POS system that can track inventory and help manage stores to eliminate wasteful spending in Mom-and-Pop stores, and with a built in customer loyalty program offering membership discounts on regularly purchased popular items, these small businesses now have a fighting chance in what could otherwise be a crippling situation.

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