BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

How to quickly change your sale price

POS SOFTWARE

When ringing up items in your point of sale software, what you can do is modify quickly the amounts being charged up or down by using the discounts and surcharge buttons. 

Note that the discounts can be set up to be preset so its one button handling.

 

If in the process of changing the prices you much it up and just want to start again, a quick way of changing the prices back is to press F7 button here or click the spot marked by the red arrow here and it zeroes off all the discounts instantly and does let you try again.
 

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Why is my cloud backup taking so long?

POS SOFTWARE

 

One question, I get asked a lot is why does a cloud backup take so long?

The big problem is that the initial point of sale data is so big and there is a lot of data to back up.

There does not seem to be a pattern as sometimes it goes quickly and sometimes it takes forever. Part of the problem is that few SMB have commercial grade internet. So in my experience, the backup times are at least double the times quoted by the salesmen for cloud backups.

This seems to be what others report too.

https://www.cloudwards.net/how-long-should-my-backup-take/

So if you the most backup software says it's six hours for the initial backup. I would suggest you budget 12 hours.

After that many of the cloud backup software can take advantage that it has a copy and so only requires a smaller amount of time to send down, this is what we call sending the changes. How big are these changes depends on many factors including your software, whether you use encryption on your database (note you should not do this if you intend to use cloud backup which is a security issue to many people in itself), how much work you do and your cloud backup software?  Still, I would budget about double the quoted figure times quoted as a first level approximation.

All this is often not the problem in itself as the computer is just left on till its done what the problem usually is, is that while it is doing the backup the internet in the shop runs very slow. People complain that they cannot get an email, they cannot order and that if they are using EFTPOS, it does not work.

One option I do suggest is that you set your cloud backup to only work when the shop is closed say your shop runs from 6 am to 9 pm, have your cloud backup only operate between 10 pm and 5 am. This also has advantages as far as ransomware is concerned too.

Note most of our clients that use cloud backup software use it as an emergency backup to their regular backup. 

 

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The future of cashdraws, SmartTill

POS SOFTWARE

A new range of cash draws are coming on the market, with some very neat functions in them. This is the SmartTill.   

One functions that they have that I particularly liked is that this one has a weight scale inside of them if any unauthorised cash is taken out of the till, the till instantly sends an alarm. 

Check out this video at 2 minutes 50 seconds to see it in action.

I expect in about a year we will have an Australian version available for our clients.

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Researchers Identify a 2-Minute Trick That Stops You Craving Fatty Foods

POS SOFTWARE

I have often wondered why our clients in cake shops, restaurants and pizza parlour are rarely fat. If you put me in such places, I am sure I would get into real trouble. 

Well, researchers may have found the answer. It seems that the body is fooled after a long period (2 minutes) of smelling the fatty foods to eat something else. Here is the article have a read.

I am going to try it out to see if breathing in fatty food smells for more than two minutes is enough to put me off some high-calorie foods. See how you go.

 

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Stop dead stock coming in

POS SOFTWARE

Often dead stock comes into the shop because someone has accidentally ordered it. If it gets in, what it will do is take up space, hurt your cash flow and not pay any of the rent. This is how you can mark stock so that you and others do not accidentally order it.

In your point of sale software go to the stock maintenance, and/or stock received.

Now edit the item, see image below.

How to censure  a magazine

 

See where the red arrow is pointing too, mark it as discontinued.

From now on it will show it as NOT WANTED. If by some chance it does come into the shop, our point of sale software will put it on a list to be instantly returned.

 

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Allpay

POS SOFTWARE

Alipay

Alipay is the preferred payment method for Chinese people visiting Australia. About 1.2 million Chinese tourists come to Australia each year and they spend an average of $8,000 per visit making them in dollar terms our number one tourist trade. Also, there are many Chinese nationals and students living in Australia that would like to use it,  so giving many of our clients' a good reason to offer this preferred Chinese method of payment. 

So we are pleased that sometime about February be offering a direct integration of Alipay. It will work through Tyro EFTPOS which as Tyro has no fees or contracts so it is easy for any of our clients to add this payment type if they want it. If you are interested let me know.

 

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new i9 computers

POS SOFTWARE

i9 intel

Point of sale software has to be fast, so people are switching over their old processors to the new i9 processors because of the speed increase. In retail speed is everything and the i9 is a fantastic piece of hardware.

So even though our system is the fastest point of sale system, I know, check out the transaction speeds in yellow below 

Transaction speed raw data

the big issue in business is that old computers run slow and employees are paid for in time. A shop assistant costs you $19 hour, once you include holiday, sick pay and superannuation, that comes to about $24 an hour and that is the cheapest you can get. Currently, if an old computer say with slow processors, without a touch screen or an SSD drive costs an employee about 10 minutes more a day. Over a year that works out to costing you over a $1000 for that employee just in salary! Now add in that many people will work on overtime rates. Then there are senior staff members costs on the computer! Now add in the cost of your customer service being 10 minutes per employee worse a day, your own time etc. With probably even the cheapest employees from a business point of view, a computer upgrade can be justified as it's false economy to hang on to old computers in business.

If you are looking to upgrade let us know. 

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Lottoland Australia still kicking

POS SOFTWARE

  The government outlawed betting on "synthetic lotteries" which are now in effect which we were told would effectively sign the death warrant for gambling companies like Lottoland in Australia, but Lottoland isn't going. I doubted they would as there is too much money involved.

Check out the lottoland site. Currently the US power at $571 million looks interesting, plus they have a new product "Jackpot betting." 

In April 2018, I wrote my personal views

-The medium to long-term for many of my clients on Lotto is worrying, and for point of sale suppliers like us, this is alarming. 

-The existing commissions from TABCORP are not enough?

-TABCORP continuing strategy is growing its digital business, and it is affecting my clients.

-The reality is that the Australian lotteries products in the days of the internet are now being outclassed.  My clients do not have access to many products that the internet offers, e.g.  $A571 million US Mega Millions jackpot here that the internet consumer does. 

-My clients have been hit by huge and unreasonable demands for shop fits. To support these shopfitting demands many have been presented with estimates of its benefits that I question.

Today I do not see despite what some claimed would happen once Lottoland was stopped from selling synthetic lotteries that my clients would be getting a share of the online sales, much better commisions and there would be a reduction in the demands for shop fits. 

Finally, I do not see that those of my clients that supported the move to ban Lottoland got much in exchange for their support. 

Note I am happy to take back all or any of these comments if someone can show that any are wrong.

 

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Thermal receipt paper

POS SOFTWARE

Here are some more tips for buying thermal receipt paper.

I do suggest buying decent paper if only as it does not give a professional impression if you use some paper that looks cheap.

-Buy a roll first to test before buying a box. Too many people get burnt with thermal receipt paper that is not suitable for their needs. I have seen people having to unwrap a roll and wind it on a spool of a previous roll as the new one did not fit. Imagine if they had a box?

- Make sure the paper is what you want if you want double, make sure that it is double.

- I like the red/pink mark that shows you are starting to run out, some rolls do not have it, and some only show this mark right at the end so you little or no warning.

- Buy what you need, a typical problem is that as quality varies greatly even in the box you can return the bad ones but... For example, I have seen boxes of 50 rolls which have almost half bad rolls. If you are buying large quantities to use internally, it can take a long time to go through 50 rolls to discover all the bad ones. Good luck say over a year later trying to return all the bad ones.

- Be warned sometimes people report to me that the rolls are no way in length to the quoted length.

- Often advertisements do not show thickness. Make sure you do not get some that are too thin.

See my previous posts about buying thermal receipt paper here  and here.

 

 

Hope this helps!

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PDF vs Word

POS SOFTWARE

File formats

Our point of sale software gives a lot of flexibility for sending invoices, statements and reports by email. All are very quick and easy to produce. The main formats people use are Word and PDF to send documents.

There are some points you should be aware of in your selection.

If you are sending to someone else and you do not wish them to change it, then the best format is PDF. Some advantages are that you will have fewer problems in your the other person reading the document. Unlike Word, PDF looks the same on all computers. The PDF format is trusted, many for example will be reluctant to accept a word document because of the danger of virus being transported in Word.  PDF is free to read and is widely available. The PDF gives you a professional look. It is also better legally.

Word and Excel, I would only use if I wanted the other party to have the ability to change the information. Sometimes your clients have a legitimate reason for wanting to change it so its good you can provide it. The problem here can be is that different versions of Word change the look of the document. This is one of the reasons why professional writers complain that Word is unstable. I have seen professional invoices in Word looking messy and unprofessional as the look changed.

As such unless someone specifies Word or Excel, I recommend you use PDF option in our software.

 

 

 

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Loyalty marketing and price cannibalization

POS SOFTWARE

 

VIP members customers marketing promotions

 

I was reading an article that I thought was very interesting here and I think retailers will find it an interesting read even if like me they have some doubts about some of the points.

Here are some points I agree with

) Customers don't want or need loyalty Customers are not loyal.

) Why should customers want to be loyal? Why would people limit their range and options voluntarily? Unlike your pet, they have all the power anyway, so why should they give that up? The average customer can extract as much value from a retailer as a loyal customer, so there is not much benefit in being loyal anyway.

) Loyal customers are demanding customers.

) There is a cost in satisfying the demands of an existing customer. Give a loyal customer 10% discount, and after overheads, you got nothing out of the customer. Few of us can afford even 5% discount.

Here are four observations that I have noticed with loyalty marketing

) Since the economic incentive of most rewards programs is small, few customers are going to go well out of their way to take advantage of a rewards program. The main benefit is the information that the retailer gets on their customers. The information benefits are estimated at 1% of sales so almost all rewards programs work on 1% of sales. This is the retail benchmark. It is not as many think the increase in sales as such.

Most importantly they want their customers' email address to market too. If I send out a thousand emails every two weeks and I get a 1% response rate, I have 10 sales every two weeks.  If my basket size is $50, over the year, my newsletters have generated $13,000 extra income. 

) Most loyalty programs in my experience end out being taken up by people that were going to buy anyway at full price so offering people in the shop already discounts is very dubious. What you want is a loyalty program that will bring them to your shop.

) Many successful retailers like ALDI do not have a loyalty program. Conversely, Coles and Woolworths are more successful and they do have such programs.

) Very few customers that come or leave you do so because they are dissatisfied with the product or service they are receiving. Give them bad service or faulty goods, yes they will leave you but that is another story.

Hope these observations help at the very least give you food for thought.

 


 

 

 

 

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Adding notes to a transaction

POS SOFTWARE

It often happens that a transaction has an exclusive deal attached to it because something is not normal. The list can be endless for example the item may have a malfunction, has missing parts, the packaging is damaged, its past the expiry date, end-of-season merchandise, you are overstocked, etc.

In case there should be some possible dispute later of this transaction, it is a good idea to add a note to the transaction so that others or yourself if the item is queried that you can instantly explain what happened.

Luckily our point of sale has an extremely sophisticated transaction tracking system and this how you can use it.

When ringing up the transaction, in this case, a return there is an item on screen *Change Description* If this is pressed, you can see on screen another option *Attach as Note*.

 

Now in this case I wrote, "IT WAS BROKEN"  see where the red arrow is.

Once the return or any transaction is saved, you have a full reporting and analysis available. For example, in find register transactions in the cash register.

I am looking for this refund done today.

 

I was able to search for this transaction by a wide range of filters.

 

And here is a report of the books with the broken covers. Now I can find the one I am looking for.

The person looking at the transaction history will see that the book was broken probably torn.

 

Just another example of how POS Solutions software is giving retailers more in their software.

 

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Watch the EFTPOS transaction

POS SOFTWARE

This is an EFTPOS problem that we have been working with a few EFTPOS providers recently without a solution yet available.

 

Imagine a customer goes to pay for a transaction with EFTPOS or Credit. He swipes the EFTPOS terminal, and the transaction is rejected. The EFTPOS terminal gives a beep, but it is not a loud beep. Sometimes the customer just assumed that it went through, picks up his goods and goes.

The operator on our system, unless they are carefully paying attention to the screen might miss for a few seconds that the transaction has not got through yet and by the time someone in the store reacts the customer is up the street and gone.

The staff at the counter need to pay close attention to the screen.

What we have done is on behalf of our clients submitted a request that the beep needs to be made louder and/or the terminal needs to do something dramatic to show that the transaction has NOT been accepted.

 

 

 

 

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Instant sales analysis

POS SOFTWARE

Analysing cash register and sales data, employee sales and stock performance are the make-or-break of running a modern retail business.

Sometimes you need these figures instantly, eg how much money is in the till NOW, what departments are NOW selling, are items being scanned NOW, etc. Here is how you get these figures and more

In your cash register, there are function keys, look for the one called "Sales Analysis", it generally is on the second page at the bottom. Now click it.

Where to find the sales analysis button

Now you get a screen with heaps and heaps of analysis. Say I was interested in sales analysis today. So on my screen here,  I pressed the button marked with the orange arrow below.

Sales analysis by graphical

Now I get an instant analysis.  

But here’s something exciting

Press each of these light blue buttons marked with green, these are filters and what you will see is that my graph changes as I press the buttons.

It is worth experimenting to work out what is happening.

And this is just the beginning

Once you have done that check out the buttons marked in the dark blue marked with the green. These give you other types of information.

This gives you a massive database of instant reporting information that provides you with insights into your shop situation right NOW.  Try it.

 

 

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Taking photos in business

POS SOFTWARE

It is said that "A picture is worth a thousand words". So as the modern smartphones today have a decent camera, I find it very useful in business today. Some examples that I use pictures for

) When I am sending an email to someone of something, I will attach photographs.

) Many of our clients when they have a problem often they take a snap of the screen and then share it with us together with their query. 

) If you are using our point of sale software and need a photo to attach to a stock item in our software, the smartphone can quickly get you that image.

) If you are making a website, you need photos, the smartphone can be a low-cost tool for getting snaps of your shop. 

) Sending signed documents by email

Let me make a few tips that work for me.

1) Activate gridlines on your smartphone.

Image removed.Image removed.

It will make it much easier to position your image if the grid is on.

2) Take a few photos, move around a bit and take a few more and then select the best one. The big advantage an amateur photographer has over a professional is that the amateur can take as many photos as he requires, the professional only gets one shot. 

3) If you are taking pictures of objects, find the best spot in the shop first to position the item. Read more here

4) Turn off the flash, it just seems to create problems, if you need to use a light.

5) Remember it does not have to be art, it does not have to be perfect.  It is said that “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Henri Cartier-Bresson

 

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Hey do you know your numbers?

POS SOFTWARE

Know your numbers

Amazingly few retailers do, in our point of sale software our clients have their business information immediately, does yours? Do you have to go into another system to get some of it?

Every retailer needs to know what they are selling each month:  what are their best sellers and where the money is coming from in their shop? 

What are your top ten sellers yesterday? As a rule of thumb in retail, yesterdays 70% of the top ten sellers yesterday will be top sellers today? Do you have enough stock today? 

If you cannot measure it, you cannot fix it.

Retailing today is about information.

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Open rates of email receipts

POS SOFTWARE

Have you ever wondered why when you go to some shops they ask you if you want an email receipt after they have printed out for you a receipt? It is not saving paper as they have already printed it.

It is marketing, something you can do too.

Here are some figures that show the marketing potential 

  • While open rates are at a staggering 70.90%, Mailchimp’s newsletters were measured at 17.19%.
  • The engagement rate is 8.93%, compared to 2.70% for regular emails.
  • The Average Attention Span is 185% higher than regular Emails

Read more figures here

People do read these emails.

Why not send an email receipt and include a marketing notice together with the receipt to advertise specials, discounts, upcoming events or other messages?

Here are some more advantages 

  • Receipts do not get lost.
  • It helps you gather customer email addresses so allowing you to contact them with email and hopefully gain visits and purchases.
  • It puts your shop in front of the customer again when they read their emails.

 

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Law on issuing a receipt

POS SOFTWARE

Receipt_message.png

There seems some confusion over when a receipt must be issued. So I decided to check on behalf of our clients.

In some places eg Victoria under consumer law it states that a receipt must be issued if the transaction is over $75 EX GST, which is where people are getting confused.

So if someone purchased $80 worth of goods in Victoria, the merchant would probably be okay under Victorian consumer law not to issue a receipt.

However, if they purchased the same $80 worth of goods in QLD, the merchant is required under their consumer law to issue a receipt as it is over $75. 

However, in all of Australia, the retailer under ACCC it is required on all sales over $75 to issue a receipt

So I think that our software is right.

You need to issue a receipt is someone purchases an amount over $75.

Another point to consider here is that regardless of the amount all states consumer law and the ACCC agree that a receipt must be issued on any transaction if the customer demands one. 

Hope this clears up the confusion.

 

 

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A business plan

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

If you are like me about now is the time of year that you look at your business and your business plans. It gives you a chance to access how you have done, what you did right, what mistakes you made in your planning and where you want to go. So I think it is not essential, but it is a good idea.

In my experience, there are three reasons SMB will do business plans, none of which are mutually exclusive

1) To clarify their thoughts

2) Get stakeholder and key staff on the same page

3) They need money from banks, lending institutions or investors.

The closer to (3) the more likely, I find that the business plan is professionally designed and written up.

A business plan generally takes about 10 to 20 hours of work, and it tends to be a lot of work. I know I am going back and forwards from our financial and helpdesk software to get figures and asking heaps of people for what they think. 

Now there are three main ways of doing it.

1) Use a template 

This would be my recommendation for starters, and if it does not work out at least, you know something about it and have an idea of what you need.

Most of the banks do provide their customers such a template free. The big advantage of using their one is that you will find their loan officers tend to think in the same terms.  

The Australian government does provide a free one too here.

2) Use some software

I used to recommend this as it does reduce the time to write a business plan by half. However what I discovered is that unless you are writing a lot of business plans but happened was that what the user gained in time using the software, they lost it in the time required to learn to use the software. The other issue as it only used occasionally, once mastered it has to be relearned the next time around.

3) Get a professional to write one up. If you are getting a professional, say 15+ hours of work at $250/hour is about $4,000. Remember although a professional knows what they are doing they need to get the information out of you, and they need to understand the business, this will take them many hours. 

Once you have a business plan, what you will find is that as time goes on, it does not take long to adapt it to the current date. 80% is the same, and it is only 20% that changes.

Finally, do not worry about it not being perfect, nothing ever is.

“A good plan now is better than a perfect plan next week.” ― General George S. Patton 

 

 

 

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Your sales performance

POS SOFTWARE

Now is the perfect time to assess how you went over the last quarter and last year in comparison to the year before. This will help you to determine your growth or decline rates. It will show you where you are going. 

Although there are a few such reports with slightly different emphases, the one report I would like you to look at now in your point of sale software is the dissection comparison report. 

You will find it

Main Menu > Cash Register > Register Reports > under the Select Report tab, expand the Stock folder > select the report “Dissection Family Class Period Sales Comparison”.

 

Then you will see this screen, this is what you will get

 

 

Now put in the left side

  • From dates 01/01/2017
  • To Date 31/12/2017

 

On the right side 

  • From dates 01/01/2018 
  • To Date 31/12/2018

 

Now see what it says

 

Now check the last quarter, so go back into it and put in

Now put in the left side

  • From dates 01/10/2017 
  • To Date 31/12/2017

 

On the right side 

  • From dates 01/10/2018 
  • To Date 31/12/2018
  •  

Now check this and see what worked for you and what did not.

Knowledge is power.

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