Americans love convenience, especially for retail, and, according to convenience.org, 148,026 convenience stores are operating in the United States, with 89,336 (2021) single-store operators. National Retail Solutions (NRS) is what one might call a “hidden gem.” The company offers these hard-working independent retailers and bodega owners nationwide, who are providing for their families, solutions for more profitability, and digital resolutions for smaller supermarkets, convenience stores, tobacco, liquor, and gas station marts. These operators can utilize NRS products and services to process transactions and manage operations more effectively.
Elie Y. Katz, president and CEO of National Retail Solutions co-founded NRS as a startup through its parent company, IDT Corporation, in 2015.
“We care about our customer base, the independent convenience store operators. I stress the word ‘independent’ because this is our community—the blue-collar, working, and middle-class that is not backed by corporate America with a lot of money, resources, and data. So we came in to fill that void and give Mom ‘n’ Pops a competitive edge,” Katz explains. “We provide a POS register that is very robust, feature-rich, efficient, and easy to use; many bells and whistles at an affordable price.”
One significant function of the NRS point of sale is sales tracking and inventory management. With challenges in the supply chain, knowing precisely which items are selling fastest and needing to be restocked, adds to profits and productivity. Reports generated on the POS system offer the merchant critical insight into sales trends and helps keep them prepared and ahead with ordering and avoiding empty shelves. Built-in POS features also include remote store management via app and web, a free customer loyalty couponing program, 1-touch Boss Revolution® pinless recharge, and the ability to run in-store promotions on the customer-facing screen.
Other NRS POS add-ons include e-commerce, Tobacco Scan Data, ID scanning, POS-DVR camera integration, employee time clock, advanced data (cost v. profit reporting), customer tabs, and item modifiers with a separate kitchen printer. NRS recently also introduced its patented Panic Alarm Button feature, a silent alarm right on the merchant touchscreen to silently call for police. While these services could typically be cost-prohibitive for many independent owners, NRS packages them together within the POS at affordable costs with a significant ROI, leveling the playing field for independent convenience operators.
Competitors include brick-and-mortar with corporate backing as well as e-commerce, since NRS also offers an established e-commerce program. The feature includes an online ordering site plus a presence on its customer shopping app, with both platforms linked the store’s POS system. “We want to turn the 18,000 stores we service into 18,000 distribution points,” explains Katz. “This will be another way independent operators can reach their community so they can offer the residents fast, convenient service. With independent store owners, there is no common denominator except they all decided to become entrepreneurs and risk their money opening their store to support their family. They demonstrate grit as they fill roles such as human resources director, head of marketing, and other vital roles. These independent operators do it all,” says Katz. “Using our NRS POS register is a life-changer. It frees up their time, reduces the number of employees needed and helps keep store management stress-free.”
There are hundreds of different types of POS registers. National Retail Solutions has specifically developed its POS registers for independent convenience store operators, a niche that is hungry for solutions to help them survive and grow, amidst Goliath competition. While an NRS register could operate in many types of businesses, its state-of-the-art technology offers features specially-designed for single-store operators, including gas stations with multiple pumps and a c-store. The POS integrates seamlessly with NRS Pay credit card processing. To help build loyalty, the POS includes a free couponing program for stores to be able to offer discounts on popularly advertised items at checkout. Customers sign up with their phone number to participate and are given a key fob to scan each time they check out, to get discounts at the register. This enables small retailers to benefit from pricing that would otherwise only be available in larger stores with higher budgets. NRS has relationships with the couponing companies and takes care of refunds of coupons, saving the store owner time and effort.
Customers tend to purchase on impulse, and NRS helps stores increase sales at the point of purchase. With a state-of-the-art digital-out-of-home network, NRS Digital Media is the next generation of retail media, the only dedicated advertising network for the independent merchant arena. The NRS Digital Media network allows brands to reach consumers throughout the USA, running customer-facing ads on the POS register in over 18,000 retail outlets. Because NRS ranks No. 1 as the largest POS company serving independent c-stores in the country, NRS Digital Media offers ideal reach into a target niche.
“NRS Digital Media is the largest, digital in-store ad network facing the customer in the country, for the independent convenience store space, in the digital out-of-home ad world,” explains Eli Korn, COO of National Retail Solutions (NRS), including NRS Digital Media. “The customer screen at checkout and register are eye-level, influencing shoppers with their wallets in hand, when they are purchasing. Over 75 million customers see our ad network each month.”
Advertisers can access the terminal’s digital display network to reach retailers’ massive customer bases. In addition, suppliers of consumer-packaged goods (CPG) can leverage the NRS platform to provide promotions, coupons, and special offers to independent retailers.
“Our range of consumers is very broad since income is not a determining factor for who buys something in a convenience store,” Korn explains. “We can offer the gamut when it comes to advertising. Our largest advertising partners are typically in the telecom space, CPG space, and insurance. Those are our three largest categories.”
CPGs include endemic brands such as spirit brands, sodas, and other recognizable products. However, NRS Digital Media partners with a large range of advertisers, making the network the leading point of sale media platform offering CPG brands unique reach into the independent retail niche. CPG advertising partners include brands such as General Mills, Gatorade, Entenmann’s, Diageo, Smirnoff, Rockstar, Bud Light, and Budweiser, as well as e-commerce businesses such as Amazon. Other advertising partners include telecommunications companies like T-Mobile, Metro, and Sprint; finance and tech companies such as Chase, Visa, and American Express; and ads for health companies and government agencies.
As for how it works, first think of advertising consumers “see,” whether driving (billboards) or walking (bus stop benches). An ad comes up while watching YouTube with the ability to “skip” after five seconds. However, these potential customers are not engaged in buying mode. However, when paying for purchases in a store and an ad is played at eye level at the POS, customers are enticed to purchase more, especially if they can save money. They are buying products, and it is both convenient with possibly a savings if they are already in the store waiting to check out and pay for their purchases. NRS Digital Media is very effective because advertising engages during the path of purchase as a more impactful blast.
Case studies are conducted, and one recent one was for a well-known vodka. During the six months the vodka was advertised in their stores using the NRS Digital Media network, there was a 24 percent increase in purchases with an increase of 27 percent in revenue. Another case study involved a food product brand with a 9 percent increase in purchases of the brand during a three-week ad campaign.
NRS Digital Media identifies the network of stores that carry the selected products, then targets the ads to purchase level. At the time of purchase, they scan data to analyze the millions of transactions and analyze, test, and control categories such as brand, flavor, and package size efficacy. NRS Digital Media is the only company that engages customers at the point of purchase with advertisements at the point of purchase while capturing targeted, daily point of sale statistics and data.
Katz developed NRS to help the independent single convenience store operators succeed and thrive. “Yes, we want to make a profit as well, but we wanted to support this backbone of convenience stores and all of the independent operators. That is why we created the technology with the POS system at an affordable cost making it mutually beneficial for the company and the operators. We sell our POS systems for probably 25 percent of the cost of our competitors. This helps them run their business, bringing many up-to-date technology, apps, and several programs. The advertising helps offset the cost, and it is a win-win for everyone.”
To learn more about National Retail Solutions, visit nrsplus.com. To learn more about the NRS Digital Media network, visit nrsdigitalmedia.com. Follow on Facebook @NationalRetailSolutions, Instagram @nationalretailsolutions, and Twitter @nrsplus.