Everyone wants to lower costs and increase sales, but sometimes we try too hard. New initiatives and ideas can result in over-engineering, high expenses, and rules that hurts sales, rather than boost them.  

Here are five things we have gleaned from our more successful customers:

1. Talk to your clerks. Listen to what they have to say.

Your clerks and reps interact with customers more than anyone else and their feedback can give you great insights into how your stores are operating. To uncover what could be improved, use anonymous surveys, regional management or an outside consultant that won't threaten day-to-day staff relations.

2. Replace your commercial hardware with best-in-class consumer technology.

Consumer tech has come a long way and often represents the leading edge of innovation. Consider Google Wifi as an example, with mesh technology for low-cost, super reliable and super-simple setup. Another example are Apple or Android based tablets and mobile devices - readily available and easily upgraded. For POS, this comes with a much lower price tag and lower maintenance than traditional, specialty hardware.

3. Establish a single system of truth.

Data is more valuable when you have one system of truth connected to all of your sales channels. Extend that to CRM, marketing, financials, HR, and other business departments and reap the rewards. Instead of operating disparate, siloed solutions, pick a platform such as NetSuite, Salesforce, SAP, Infor or Acumatica and then build around it with native add-ons to meet your needs.

4. Focus on speed and simplicity over complex processes and systems.

Retailers sometimes struggle with leaving behind legacy systems due to layers upon layers of features they’ve become dependent on (and slowed down by). An example of this is the historically popular, but rapidly aging Retail Pro, which is stuffed with bells and whistles, but misses the boat when it comes to the efficiencies and depth of newer solutions geared towards the modern way of retailing. Embrace change and simplify processes in order to use a modern, more powerful, and lower maintenance solution.

5. Incentivize your staff to sell more.

Give your employees low denomination gift cards which they can give to their friends and they will surely visit and shop. Provide clerks and reps periodic and seasonal coupon codes that they can spread socially on their own networks for use online or in-store.