A chatbox is a robot, that talks to you.
This chatbox growthbot is a free business information service specially designed to supply information for business and among other points, it can tell you about other companies and organisations. This is often extremely useful in business and retail in particular. It is I am sure you will find a great source of information for when you are starting to look.
It is now in early beta and its full of errors but it is getting better.
Let ask it firstly who are "point of sale software providers australia"
So it has us number one. Great stuff I like that score.
Now say for example I was research my company "POS Solutions", to make it work, I find it better to use the website which is possolutions.com.au which identifies us exactly.
So I ask growthbot here
Which is not a bad answer for a first attempt.
Now lets see what my competitors are
I would not say that most of these are NOT our competitors but it does have some that are right. All I have to do is press the number and I will have details about them.
Let find out our company structure.
Well it missed one but I am there.
Okay let us check our website
Well its good website but can be improved, actually we are currently working on a new website.
Lets see what google advertising we are using to push our website
This is true, currently we are not using any keywords but we are thinking about doing this so it may change very soon.
Let us see what was popular on our website
Well they are both very important function in point of sale, so I am happy about that.
Let see what tech my company uses on the web.
This is something, I am going to have to study
And so on you can go on, there are heaps of question you can ask.
Overall I will say that this is either something you will find very useful or totally useless. So give it a try and see how you go. You will need to have a facebook and messenger account to use it, and if you have these then click here to start.
Today every retailer needs to consider a website. What makes our system unique is that it works directly through the point of sale software so the person that knows the existing point of sale system can maintain and use the website. There is no new system to learn.
Here are some websites that we have just done.
This is a newsagent, Nextra Dianella click here. On their website as you can see they sell a range of art supplies, ink and giftware. They are only new, but they are already getting quite a bit of business through it.
This is a garden supplier, Frogmore Gardens they are a boutique plant nursery that specialise in perennials, shrubs bulbs and seeds.
If you want to know about getting yourself online please click here.
One big plus unlike other point of sale systems is that we are fully touch so you can run it without a keyboard.
There are many advantages to running touch plus some disadvantages some of which I will run through here:
Speed. It takes more time to use a keyboard and mouse as you have to look at the screen, see what you need to press and then do it. With touch, you see what you need to press and do it. Faster speed is not only good for playing fast games it is also good for entering data into your computer.
Intuitive. For a similar reason, I find it more natural to use a touch screen. There is much less thinking about it. This is often particularly plus with people who are not used to a computer with a mouse and keyboard.
Space: Since a touch screen does not need a keyboard and mouse, it can be mounted on a wall so needing no space. This also removes another big problem of a water or coffee split on the keyboard.
Wider variety of devices: Many devices like the tablet do not have keyboards.
Accuracy: Since you are always looking at the screen, you press much less the wrong button. When you do press the wrong button, you can see it. Sometimes with keyboards, you miss the error.
Future: In the future, I predict all screens will be touch, almost all smartphones and tablets are now so you will sooner or later have to get used to it. Why wait?
Price: Touch products tend to be dearer for the same product you will pay a bit more.
Dirt: Touch screens need more cleaning as they tend to suffer more from dirt, dust and grease is often a problem.
Screen size: Often you need bigger screens as the buttons have to be big enough to press.
Arms reach: You need to be within arms reach of the computer. This can be particularly frustrating when you are trying to fix a computer.
Hope this helps.
The recent power outage in Melbourne Northern Suburbs show that even places in safe areas you would think safe from power supply powers are not. Unfortunately, this problem of power outages does not appear it will be solved soon.
My view is if it happens once, okay but any more than you need to consider a computer electric backup unit as a point-of-sale system can be seriously affected by power. The problem can be much bigger than just everything turns off, although few shops with a point of sale system like their computers down for an extended period. If the outage is a surge, this surge can destroy everything. I have seen the result of a surge going through an old monitor, exploding it and sending glass flying like bullets through a room. Luckily, it was a store room, and the person in it was not in front of the computer, but behind a shelf when it happened. The problem is that nothing in a computer likes bad power.
If you are thinking of buying such a unit, here are tips to consider:
First point is to make a determination of how long do you think a reasonable power outage will be in your area. If you think, it will be for a few minutes maximum, all you will need is a small unit, if you think, it could go for say an hour, you obviously need to look at something better.
For the slight extra cost it worth getting surge protection. Currently, the surge is a growing problem. An old one that you are throwing out with surge protection can often be used somewhere else such as protecting a Hi-Fi at home.
Check the size, today you can get small units that work fine.
Check the date of manufacture, some units on special, I have noticed are very old units. That the unit being old is not the problem it's the battery. An old battery even if not used is generally no good anymore. So the unit is probably useless unless you can get a new battery. Note batteries are often not returnable.
Switch it on, I have seen some units that do not work, this is not an uncommon problem unfortunately with power units. Most of them today have a self-diagnostic which you can use. One problem is that often these self-tests are not reliable. I have seen units that fail on these self-tests but work fine. So these tests are only good as a guide.
Next you need to check that they are good as soon as you get them, I have seen some with bad batteries that are lemons. What you do is charge it up, then switch off the power and see how long it lasts. Now check if it recharges when you turn the power on, I have seen some that do not recharge. It's the battery, and batteries are noxiously unreliable.
What I really hate is some of these units have a bell or buzzer which working while it switches to battery and for extended periods, this sound is very annoying. I would not recommend such units.
Lastly, these units seem to have very variable life cycles, we give a year warranty on the one we sell so you are safe for a year with us, but many only give three months. In any case you need to test, these units say once a quarter.
Hope this helps.
What I do say about my company and what I am very proud of and what I say is that many people can sell you a computer, but we do know what we are talking about. I personally have not come across a point of sale company that has as much professionalism as ours.
It's not accident either and I practice this myself by keeping up to date and studying computers and software continuously too.
We have a fantastic report in the register reports > stock titled "Old Stock on hand by Date last received"
This gives you a listing of your stock based on when you received it. You can use this report and recommend supplementing this report with a manual method of going down the shelves and while you are cleaning and vacuuming them up, pulling out the old stock.
The old stock itself is not going to do you much good. In accounting, what we tend to do is depreciate between old stock at about 30% a year, so after three years, it has just been written off. Of course the insurance, rental on the property, staff costs, etc. to keep it are not written off.
Once you have identified it, here are six tips to get rid of old stock.
1) Move it around, maybe it was just in the wrong spot. It is actually a good idea to move stock around anyway in the shop as people are creatures of habit. Once they get used to your shop, they go only to the places that they are used too and do not see the rest.
2) Bundle it, this is my favour. Put the old stock that does not sell with something that does sell and make a bundle. It works.
3) Make a concession bin and put the old stock in this bin. Then offer these products at a good price. Bargain hunters like to go through these bins.
4) Gift promotions, by offering your customers, a gift if they buy over a certain amount.
5) There is no excuse not to have a stocktaking sale once a year to get rid of old stock.
6) You can try to sell these items on sites such as eBay.
Readers here may be interested that my post yesterday on these "Buy now, pay later" services generated much discussion and comments.
What I do agree with is that these services are a credible alternative to Lay-by if the merchant is willing to lose 3% to 4%. Although I do not see any legal problems with the merchant adding these charges on top, although I am sure these services and the public will not like them doing this, but if they did this, it would cost them nothing.
However, it is important to realise that these services also target a different market, the market where people require goods now. For example, lay-by do not work for a girl with a hot date tonight who needs a pair of shoes. It will not work for a person who needs a toy and card for a birthday today or tomorrow, a person who needs stationery now, a person who needs medicine now nor will it work for a person who needs now a new filter for his fish pond. By having these services, a merchant can open up his shop to these *NOW* people too.
Even so, I do believe what I said was accurate. The reason is because we did much research on this market space, did a lot of net searches, spoke to several of our clients where we found that the principal issue most of our clients was how many members does a payment method have as they did not see much difference in the offerings to them from all these services, so we decided that we would go initially with the biggest which is Afterpay. I always say you have to walk before you run. You try one and if works, then you go further. So we feel that if we should pick one, why not the one that is clearly the biggest.
Yesterday, I showed of the interest with Australian public as measured by google of all three offerings over the past 12 months. Here is a graph of the past 90 days, as you can see it the same story, I still say Afterpay is the market leader as measured by interest, and as you can see this is true in all states.
The other point that I liked about Afterpay is that they have promos to their members and push customers onto their merchants. If the others do this too, I have not seen it.
But that does not rule out that we will not expand our offering as time goes on, we now are currently in discussions with the senior Partner Account Executive at Zippay, which are the next on our list, and I will say we were very impressed with their product offering too.
As far as Oxipay, what I said was true. I have only had one enquiry from a merchant in Tasmania, and that was not much of an enquiry and at present; I have little knowledge about their product but after zippay, its next on our list.
I thought then, and I still think now is that we got it right.
The big trend in retail now, are the newer cards that allows a customer to buy and use a product immediately, and then pay for it later with no interest. This market is dominated by three main players Afterpay (which is by far the biggest), Zippay (which is the talk of town at the moment since Westpac put $40 million dollars into it) and Oxipay (which I know little about other then it is in Tasmania). Paypal is unknown whether it will enter this marketspace. As you can see from this graph, there is as much interest in Afterpay as Paypal in Australia now.
To give you a feel of the size of this market, Afterpay in the second quarter of 2016, had over 375,000 customers who spent $100m and to give you a feel of the growth of this market, that was more than double the $42m people spent with Afterpay in the previous quarter. Growth is expected, for example, overseas in Sweden such cards have about 60% of the market.
With our Point of Sale Software, you have the technology to get Afterpay.
The system works like this. A customer buys and gets an item immediately from a retailer paying with Afterpay. The retailer gets paid straight away minus a fee of about 4%. Then the customer pays Afterpay over an eight-week period with no interest. Zippay is slightly different in that a person has 30 days to pay with no interest, and if they wish, they can take longer to pay but with an interest rate which is a fraction that VISA charges.
Afterpay also runs promos for their merchants which have been very successful, The Afterpay Day on the 30 August, broke retail trade records with $15 million of sales with more than 70,000 orders were processed. See here for more details.
If you want to know more let me know.
After so many years of being involved in SMB, I have seen many write a business plan. I have also seen many give up on writing one because the amount of work involved they felt was more than what they got out of it. However everyone I know who has done a business plan said that they got much out of it. I think it is not essential but its a good idea.
I warn you it will be a lot of work. You will be running back and forwards to your point of sale software to get figures, probably talking it over with many of your staff and others. In general the more you put into your business plan, the more you will get out.
In my experience, there are two major factors in people writing a business plan. The first is if some want to formulise their business, as they like to be super organised and the other if they are trying to get finance. In finance, it's great as someone who does not know your business can pick up your plan and see where you are at and where you want to go.
It is also an advantage internally as it makes everyone think on the same wavelength which is particularly important in retail as it is a service industry and unlike many other industries, the retail business really depends on many small facts like services, atmosphere, image, etc., For example, heaps of people can buy magazines in many different outlets, why do they come to me? Possibly I have a bigger range of magazines, maybe I give faster service, perhaps ...... ? Now how do you think this will be in the next few years?
If you decide to go ahead, the next question is decided if you want to do it yourself or get a consultant. As many people don't know the first thing about writing such a plan, some people use these consultants once and then as they figure out what these guys are trying to do, do it themselves. I would say you are looking at a consultant budget between $800 and $2,000 for a typical SMB business. The big advantage here is that they do have industry insights here that you do not, and their business experience will help you. As they write the plan, they review your thoughts. Plus finance people think more of their plans.
If you want to do it yourself, there are several good resources available to you from writing a business plan, for example, the Australian government has free business plans and guides here.
Generally many of the books, from what I have seen are way over the top, probably because they are really written with insights from large companies and organisations.
In all likelihood, the best solution is to use business planning software, if you are doing it yourself as it will guide you through each step of making a plan and do much of the work for you. You are probably looking at $100 to $300 although Enloop has a free service here which is very good. At the very least with this free version, you can test it out, and if it does not meet your needs, then at least you will have some experience and know more about what you do require.
Here are some really good points with using business planning software based on the cloud.
1) It is easy to change.
90% of it will be the same as time goes on but that 10% will change dramatically. With software, you can print it out now, close the book on last month, then examine what went different and store it away for future examination.
You can also edit your figures and see what effect it will have on your plan. For example, you might say: I am budgeting for $1 million-dollar turnover and $220,000 gross profit, then you might say if I drive the business and push it to $1.5 million so producing a $280,000 gross profit, what will be the effect?
2) As it works on the cloud, you can be anywhere and when you get the urge, you can work on it. This is not a small factor as you need to be updating your business plan continuously; whenever things change, monthly as you do monthly reports and yearly as you review and plan for the next year.
Probably the biggest disadvantage is that these software have standard plans so you do not have much flexibility if your business requires something different there will be problems.
Hope this is of help.
This is a tip, if you are doing deliveries, something that today is becoming more and more important in retail, so I think you will find this app useful.
Voyager is available here on the android. I am not sure about IOS.
What happens is when you get a list of delivery points, what you need to do is organise your route. To do this can take some time and much of the information like traffic and road repairs you probably will not know. That is why I like this app. with this app you enter your starting and ending position, and the delivery points into it. It then will optimise your trip to give you the fastest route accounting for the latest real-time traffic. Next it links into Google Maps, so Google Maps can direct you.
This type of productivity software is used by large transportation companies for a long time but is only now available for SMB businesses. The maximum number of delivery spots is 100, but it may run very slow at that level. We normally run it at about 20 spots. One big advantage I find is that it gives me a timetable with travel times, so I have a good idea how long the route will take to be done.
We find it saves us quite a lot of time.
Hope it helps you too.
PS If we get enough call for it, we will probably link it into our POS software.
Favourite Blog Post: No content items.
Embertec SmartSwitch, details are here.
Tell you what worked for us was getting a switch that turns off all the …
Another point is that at least once a week all windows computer should be …
Helen, I made some enquires and what they suggest is that you need a new AUSkey. …
I tried this morning to use it and had problems agian but it was intermittent. …
In December, it was down for days, and we only realised this when we got a …
Mark, according to the dashboard of this site you posted this comment on …
Mark Fletcher on 'Warning a data breach '
Bernard, you are wrong. Nothing was taken as nothing is stored at the site …
Mark please you have no idea what was taken; you probably have no idea what was …
Mark Fletcher on 'Warning a data breach '
Bernard, Thank you for your concern. However, I offer no thanks for your …