Point of Sale Software

POS SOFTWARE


Biometrics security is when you use peoples fingerprints, facial pictures, etc rather than passwords. Many mobile phones use it. Many of our clients use it on their POS Software for over four years since we first introduced it to our marketspace. 

One of my clients met a credit card, where the information was swiped. The owner of the card did not know it was swiped. Swiping leaves no trace. A girl with the info went on a shopping spree. She did not take long to spend just under $30,000. With the new biometric cards, this will be impossible. 

Soon I suspect all retailers will have no choice but to use biometrics as the banks move to this security. So if credit card details are known, even with the PIN without the owner's finger, it cannot be used.

In theory, whether in practice one hack is proposed for the most popular types of biometrics security, which most of us use. It is claimed that it can be cracked.

Now we use the fingerprint method.

This involves some new equipment that is not expensive. Its big plus is that even if others know the password, they cannot get in so its much more secure

Yet, although people talk about the advantages of biometrics, it does have some drawbacks.

Delay: This is the big one. It takes too long. You have customers queued up, and the operator, if they have to wait a few seconds to process, is just too long. That is why we currently do not use it on the cash register.

COVID, as fingerprints are contact-based, people do not want to keep pressing the same pad as everyone else. 

Errors caused by the sensors, which are not perfect, cause problems. Although a fingerprint is better than a pin, errors still occur. Some court studies show the error rate, fingerprints errors showed they vary from 3% to a dismal 20%.

Shops are dirty environments, so people have wet hands, dirty fingers, etc. Often the operator has to wipe their hands, then try again. This causes more delays.

Our system is often used by people with physical disabilities, e.g. MS. They can have problems using the fingerprint scanner. 

Have a chew and if you want to know more, let us know. 

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POS SOFTWARE

Have a look at this advanced offer which you may want to consider in your shop if you have our POS Software.

We did this based on a study here

Mix or Match? Consumer Spending Decisions in Conditional Promotions - Sokolova - 2021 - Journal of Consumer Psychology - Wiley Online Library

As it shows that it works better than "Buy two, 10% off both".

You would think that they are the same, what is the difference to a customer of

1) Buy two and get 20% off the cheaper one.

2) Buy two, 10% off both".

But the answer is no.

The study showed that the sales number were about the same in both cases. Yet shoppers, when offered the "Buy 2 and get 20% off the cheaper one" offer, tended to choose a second item that is more expensive. This increased their return from the 20% discount.

So for the retailer, the sales total went up.

Try it out and let me know how it went.

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POS SOFTWARE

After the stocktake, many of our clients discovered that they are carrying many old items. These items are clearly not moving fast so actions need to be taken immediately. If not, then you may be forced to make large discounts in clearance sales soon to free up cash and space as above.

There are two other points here.

1) There may be much more missed.

2) You may have overbought.

Say, for example, you had last year ten items. You sold eight. Then you purchased five more, so you have seven now. You have overbought as you did not need to buy the five.

In your Point of Sale system, we have a quick analysis in seconds to identify your old inventory on the shelves. Click here for a training video on how to identify such stock.

Please check immediately for any stock you are carrying that are over 12 months old.

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Most people say to wait until Windows 11 is bedded down, which is sound advice. Many cannot wait.

We all want to have the latest technology, so I have installed a few Windows 11 Development systems.I would say that about half the installs are good. On these, it runs well, although you can see that it is not yet a complete system. For the rest, I have been reversing the upgrade because of problems. The problem is often huge.

What after speed is the factor that most of us look at - SECURITY. 

How often do we hear nowadays of security problems on the computer, EVERY DAY?

Windows 11 is both faster and is based on better security. Yet on many computers after the upgrade, the security is off and cannot be turned on. Then I found that few antivirus software works on these computers, although I got a good run with Bitdefender. Then there is more than the security functions not working. Weird other errors happen on these computers. The security function not working is a symptom that something else is wrong. Then you often get on those computers the green screen of death.

So far, I have never had a problem reversing the upgrade going back to Windows 10. I then set the Windows Insider Program to beta, and in a month, we will try again.

Some tips if you can't wait and want to try out the latest Windows 11 as soon as possible.

Only install Windows 11 Dev version on a second computer lying around. I used my home media player first. Worst case, I thought, I will reformat it, then make a new media player. Although I do not know why the sound is much richer on Windows 11.

Windows 11, I can see, does have bugs. 

Also, be aware that there will be incompatible driver issues. Many of you may, in the upgrade, will lose a working peripheral, such as a printer. This is as many manufacturers have stated that some of their models will not get Windows 11 drivers. 

Acknowledge you are upgrading only for fun and experimentation now. 

Also would you please not buy any computer that cannot run Windows 11? I know some of these are at a good price, but still, you want something that will give you many years of service. 

A good way of checking is using this Detection Script to help identify why your PC is not Windows 11 Release Ready

Microsoft hasn't yet revealed the actual release date of Windows 11, but it is generally expected in October if nothing goes wrong. Then give it six months before the business community starts to buy it, so we are looking at about April 2022.

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A person takes an item in the store and then presents it to get a credit. This is one of the most common scams that target retailers.

You have this nice policy above, now watch it abused.

 

​In my experience, here are three common scenarios.

1) The person has no documentation, like this guy here.

2) A customer purchased the product. They give, use or often find a receipt often thrown out in the rubbish bin by the purchaser. Now someone comes into the stop with the receipt. They take the same product from the shelf and then request a refund.

For this reason, receipts should always be put in the packaging of the purchased item.

3) People fake your receipts to return stolen goods for cash refunds. It is easy to do with a smart camera and some image editing software.

To stop this you need

a) A good return policy

b) A POS System that can track sales. Always look up the item sale into the POS System to verify the original sale.

c) You need a good security camera.

 

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This Delta variant is spreading. It now is the dominant variant. Now South Australia will go into lockdown too from 6 pm tonight. It joins much of Australia already in lockdown.

If you want to know what lockdown looks like in Melbourne, I took some pictures of the Parkmore shopping centre. This is a large shopping centre with 128 shops. It should be packed now.

 

But in shopping centres, there is no monkey business as shopping centre management enforces the lockdown immediately. The shops open were mainly shops classed as essentials. Although I did notice some in the essential list did shutdown, probably as the owners do not think it's worth opening. Some shops sort of stayed open as they use Click and Collect or do repairs. Most shops that were open were only available for a limited time.

If you want to know how your suppliers are affected in different states, I find this helpful site COVID-19 Restriction Checker. This is because they frequently update the information.

If you want to know how COVID is playing out, try this site COVID LIVE.

Keep safe, I like this quote by Mahatma Gandhi when he stated “It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

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Pepper is a robot that they told us would revolutionise the retail market is a semi-humanoid robot designed to read emotions. Using this it could they claim chat to customers in a grocery shop. So one company in Scotland hired a one to direct people to where various products are. Pepper was fired soon because no matter what product people asked for, it told them to "look at alcohol." Now some here may  like such a robot but not the owner of the grocery shop. It was also suppose to do stocktakes that apparently did not work out either.

It was also hired by a Japanese nursing-home company to keep residents company and lead group singalongs. Peppers was fired thereafter for taking "unplanned breaks" at work. Plus the residents did not like them. It got fired from a funeral home and schools for similar reasons too.

It's being used now in a vaccination centre in Wyndham, Victoria. Anyone see it, please tell me about it.

Here is an interview with pepper the robot, its very interesting.

POS Solutions was invited to attend an Australian launch of a similar product which was very interesting but at the time we felt that this technology was not moving as fast as we were told.

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If you’re a retailer not running a loyalty program, what does it cost you?

Let us do a guesstimate.

Say you collect a 1,000 email addresses of your customers.

Say you send out a monthly email newsletter to them. This costs you nothing.

At a super conservative value of 1% effectiveness, say with $20 profit per hit. That is a $200/month profit on 1,000 members of your loyalty club.

In one year, you have about $2,500. Its paid its way.

Plus, it puts your name out in front for no cost.

 

A card promotion advertised through a loyalty program resulted in

-No of transactions increased 20.7%

-Total average weekly increase (overall) on cards was 44.5%

-Average card basket size increase 19.8%

Plus, there were extra purchases as customers bought more than cards.

Read more here.

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POS SOFTWARE

Now we have another five-day lockdown. Currently, I reckon over half our clients are under Lockdown.   If you are under Lockdown, we know how you feel as most of us in POS Solutions are now on our 5th Lockdown.

Software support will be as usual 24 x 7 by phone, email and online even though our Melbourne office is now closed.

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Screens get dirty in a shop. They can also get easily be damaged. Then even a tiny flaw on the screen stands out.

For deep cleaning, you need some household or commercial grade disinfectant that states on the label it is viricidal or listed with specific COVID-19 claims. So first wet a microfibre cloth. Now wipe the screen with this damp cloth. Do not use force.  Now wipe with a dry microfibre cloth.

But do not clean the monitor while it is on as it is hot. Let it cool down. A good time to do it is in the morning before you start it up. What can happen is the evaporation of the cleaning material can cause streaks. 

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Today PayPal has started in the Buy now, pay later (BNPL) market. This will compete with other BNPL such as Zip and Afterpay. I am sure you will find their merchant fees are cheaper than these.

I recommend if you offer a BNPL payment term that you look at this offering.

 

 

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If you have a dispute over an item that involves your supplier, you need to have the invoice number that you received the item.

Sometimes what so often happens here is that you no longer have the in-house barcode to track it down. Assuming you ever had it. 

What can make it often quite tricky to find as many of the item's details you no longer have. I had a client that got from a customer a pair of returned shoes without the box. So, where can they get it? They knew the style and the colour but little else. Well, it was easy to get the invoice number and so the invoice details. It only took a second. 

Go to Reports > Stock Purchases > Purchases by invoice for a Given period

Put in the likely supplier, if possible. Then put in the possible date ranges. Generally, the warranty period from the supplier is fine because if its outside that you are in trouble. 

Now on the top of the report, press the little binoculars on the top. See where the green arrow is pointing above.

Now in the blue arrow region, put what you know of the item. It can be just about anything, e.g. white, and press "Find Next". Keep pressing "Find Next" till you get it. 

Now you have the invoice and its date.

It is also worth examining this whole section fully as you will find a lot of information for searching.

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I think we all have come across this scam, I have as a kid while working in my grandfather shop but it is only recently that I discovered that it had a name.

The scammer tries to confuse the cashier by paying for an item with a low price with a large cash bill. Then the scammer gives back the change. He then tries to confuse the cashier with a series of money exchanges. The idea is to get a lot more change than he should get. People like me a little inexperienced kid of seven, then, on the cash register was a perfect target.

Check the video here.

The best thing to do is make sure you simplify the transaction. Tell him you gave me $X. I gave you the item and this amount of change. What helps here is to have cameras pointing on the counter so you both can review the transaction. We sell such cameras. 

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Local mode EFTPOS means if your internet line or telephone goes down, the EFTPOS can still work. Today's problem can be in various systems, e.g. Telstra, NBN, the bank, etc. and any one of them can cause the EFTPOS to stop. Then there is nothing anyone can do to help till it's fixed. The problem here is that every minute of downtime means to you much of that minute of lost revenue.

Make sure your EFTPOS has local mode.

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This post will show you how to test if your computers can run Windows 11

Generally, a computer most people, banks, government, etc., see as a five-year investment. So they expect that a new computer, will run the latest stuff for a few years. Then almost everything for a few years after that.  After that, what you get is considered by them a bonus.

Not surprisingly, we now know that Windows 11 will not officially support all computers. What is surprising is how many modern computers it will not support. So many people are disappointed that their expectation of a quick and free upgrade is wrong. What they now have is a computer that will become obsolete in a few years. This isn't very pleasant to someone that just brought a new computer.

Conversely, now is an excellent time to buy computers. This is as you know if it can run Windows 11, you will have about five good years with that computer. 

The good news for our clients is that we checked most of our recently marketed computers. We are happy to say that so far, all these computers have passed the Windows 11 test below. It pays to do business with a company like ours with a Microsoft connection. 

Now is Windows 11 worth it? 

The answer appears to be *YES* for commercial purposes. POS Systems need speed, and Windows 11 is fast. 

Testing whether your computers will run Windows 11

Unfortunately, Microsoft has removed the official Windows 11 test. Yet, an unofficial test with the current known requirements is available here

On this page halfway down, click on *Download latest testing release*

Now run a script (WhyNotWin11.exe) to help you determine if your computer can run Windows 11. If it cannot run, it will tell you why you cannot run it. So it is an easy way to determine if your computer is ready to support Windows 11 based on current requirements. 

If your computer fails the Window 11 test.

You need to check further as sometimes you need some items in the BIOS activated. Would you please not play with the BIOS unless you are a *power* computer user? Playing around with the BIOS can cause significant problems! 

So other people have been saying that they have a hack that works. I might recommend it on a games computer, where you do not care if it has problems but not on a business computer. 

Please let me know how you go.

 

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It appears the next major gift show in Australia will be next year in Sydney.  

This is not unexpected, but it isn't pleasant, although we can all understand the many challenges of holding this proposed show.

The catalogue, although helpful, is not going to provide much of an opportunity to develop relationships with suppliers, but at least it will allow you to research industry trends.

 

 

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It's time to see how your shop went this year and it is easy and quick to do with a bird's-eye view of your sales performance. 

Go to Reporting Documents > Dissection Family Class Period Sales Comparison.

 

Now put in the financial year dates, put down a report for all products. 

As there are many options here, I suggest keeping it simple now but I do suggest that you experiment later.

 

Now even on this basic version, you get a detailed comparison by department and class.  I suggest you look in particular at the Qty which are the number of sales for each department and the $ Profit made by each department. 

Because of COVID many of you may find as a comparison with the year 2018/2019 more useful.

 

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We now have extensions of COVID-19 lockdown in NSW with new restrictions.

As a Victorian who has gone through a few lockdowns, I can assure you that these snap suspensions are wearing everyone down. It starts its stops, etc. It has a name now *lockdown fatigue*. We all feel it.

Now as a person in retail, I can assure you that click and collect are excellent. You should have it. An online shopping website is also great. Again you should have it. As our software is has a unified commerce retail platform, there is no reason why you do not have both now. No one else in our market space can make such a claim.

The problem here is that most retail needs people contact.

So the big question is, when will these COVID lockdowns end.

A reasonable guesstimate based on this terrific tracking site for Australia is COVID LIVE here

So far, we have done 8,255,473 vaccinations.

Our current rate of vaccinations is about 800,000 a week.

On world figures, governments are looking to get about 2/3 of the population vaccinated. This seems to be their herd immunity figure. We have about 25.36 million people.

So we need to do 25.36 million people x (2 vaccinations) x 2/3 = 34 million vaccinations.

That is about (34 - 8,255,473) = 25.5 million left to do

So we need in weeks (25.5 million / 800,000) = 31 weeks or Jan 2022

This is not good enough for retail as most retailers want at least Nov 2021 so we can have tourists! 

To do that we need 1.5 million vaccinations a week, can we do it that high? I doubt it so I would not count on a great Christmas tourist season this year.

Some points here to consider:

- Covid variants are a real wild card. 

- A significant limiting factor now in vaccinations is the Pfizer vaccine. Its availability should increase, so maybe the vaccination rate will go up. I hope so because no one wants to go through another six months of this.

- The first shot gives about 70% immunity so that we may open up the country earlier. 

- We do not know yet how long the COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts. Clinical trials are currently underway. If so, this calculation may be way off as we all may need a booster shot too.

- The kids need to be done, but these can wait till we get the adult population done.

What is clear is that the vaccinations will continue for a long time.

Let me know your thoughts.

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After you do a stocktake, it's time to do something with it. You will need the following numbers for your financial figures.

1) The value of your stock (Perpetual stock value) that your computer thinks that it had before you did the stocktake. Print out a report of your stock valuation before starting the stocktake. 

If you do not trust the figure in your point of sale software, then you can, or your accountant can give you an estimate. This is NOT recommended.

2) The value of the stock (Physically Counted Inventory Value) you have at the end of this financial year that you. 

Now do the following calculation.

Shrinkage% = (1- (Physically Counted Inventory Value))/(Perpetual stock value)) x 100% 

A familiar figure here is about 1.4%, but it does vary a lot. I have seen figures between 0.1% and 6%. What COVID will do to your figures is anyone guess.

3) Value of the damaged goods you counted. (Damaged stock value)

It would be best if you looked at is your damaged goods too. These have a different story, and it can be an exciting story to tell.

Damaged% = (Damaged stock value)/(Sales of stock product) x 100%

Once you get these figures, please let me know as I am interested in this stuff.

 

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The potential bomb is the inflation rate. Those of us that lived through the massive inflation of the 1970s can relate to how destructive inflation can be. Current at 1.1%, it looks alright now, but I am sure we will hear much about it soon. The reasonably strong Australian dollar will help here. The Chinese GDP growth figure is impossible, no way it is going to be anything like that. It is pleasing that we are doing much better than our peers like Canada, France, Italy, UK, etc.

The unemployment rate is higher for retail than we would like, but it is going down fast. Average weekly earnings are slightly up. Household savings are up. So we can say the Australian public has money to spend. This should help retail as the number of new customers will be going up.

These figures are better than we would have forecasted at the beginning of the year. 

Still, it would be nice to get those tourists back. The earliest we can start to see them back if everything goes well is the end of this year.

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