Point of Sale Software

Taking photos in business

POS SOFTWARE

Using smartphones in retail

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In today's business world, with smartphones, it is easy to take photos that can be shared and so communicate better than words alone.

Here are some of the key ways I leverage my smartphone camera in business for visual communication:

Examples of communicating visually today

  • Often we attach photos to emails when describing an issue or product to provide visual context.
  • Use the camera to quickly photograph signed contracts or other documents to send digitally.
  • Showing the product we are selling.
  • A visual catalogue for our e-commerce site
  • Pictures of the shop to showcase our business for social media
  • Photograph equipment, buildings, products, etc., to report issues that need addressing.

Tips for Taking Good Business Photos with Your Smartphone

  • Activate gridlines in your camera app to help frame and level your shots.
  • Take multiple photos and move around to get different angles and perspectives. You can delete the bad ones later!
  • Shine lighting on it before photographing products or other objects.
  • Turn off the flash to avoid overexposure and glare - use natural lighting when possible.
  • Don't strive for perfection - smartphone photos don't need to be works of art to serve your business needs!

While smartphone cameras have limitations, they can produce more than good enough visuals for everyday business needs. Following a few basic best practices goes a long way.

Don't let the quest for perfect photos stop you from visually communicating to improve your operations and marketing. It is said that “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Henri Cartier-Bresson

 

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Ensuring Staff Security in Your Shop

POS SOFTWARE

Running a retail business comes with many challenges. One key area that requires focus is staff security. While most employees are trustworthy, it only takes one bad apple to cause significant losses. It is a growing problem, have a read here.

The Importance of Deterring Theft

Implementing proper security procedures is necessary to protect your business and bottom line. In my experience, the mere presence of correct security procedures often deters such theft. If staff members see cameras and proper controls in the point of sale (POS) system, they are less likely to steal. So, it is essential to take retail loss prevention seriously.

Over the years, I have become cynical about this issue. Too many retailers have told me stories that start with "He was in school with me... his family and my family....he was very good, my best employee..." and something they start telling me how "He had been skimming my cash register for years." and how they only found out years later that a previous employee had problems with that person.

Some will take advantage if an employee sees you won't care about minor cash discrepancies. If they know a POS system is monitoring transactions, it makes them think twice. One client recovered almost $13,000 a year in extra revenue simply by having separate tills for each staff member and counting each cash drawer after every shift.

Configuring Staff Security in POS Software

It's straightforward to set up security features in our POS system. 

Please go to

Main menu> staff > staff maintenance

Then click the Security Level tab on the top

Now, you will see the user levels with our suggested functions for each level. Change them at will to suit your own particular needs.

Now click Staff Maintenance.

This screen appears

 

Now, set your staff with a suitable security level that they need to do their position. Make sure that you give them the functions and information they will need without compromising sensitive and dangerous functions and information.

The default settings are designed to work for 90% of shops. However, every business is different so that you can customise it for your needs. There are many options to choose from.

We can set these up, and then you can enforce them. Installing cameras facing the tills is also recommended.

Take Retail Security Seriously

Security in retail is often trivialised, but it doesn't have to be. With proper controls through your POS system and staff procedures, you can deter theft and protect your hard-earned profits. Don't become another cautionary tale - be proactive about retail security immediately. Your business will be better for it.

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If you Implement Computer Power Savings you must be Careful!

POS SOFTWARE

Power savings on computers

Reducing energy consumption is a smart, money-saving tactic but can backfire if not thoughtfully implemented.

Recently, The National Lotteries Newsagents Association provided tips to members for saving electricity here, which included implementing smart power settings for computers.

"25. Implement smart power management for PCs

‍Use power management settings to ensure computers enter standby mode when not in use, minimising energy wastage."

Unfortunately, before releasing this information sheet, they did not tell us, and we only found out when our users started ringing us up on how to do this. What worries us is those who did not ring us up, as while savings are possible, improperly configured power management could cause problems if this is done.

If you are going to do this, consider this before enabling power-saving policies on your computers:

Firstly, power savings can reduce the speed of your computers by slowing down the computer; slowing down saves power.

Workflow Disruptions

Computers entering standby automatically when briefly unused may prevent staff from resuming work. This can lead to:

  • Loss of unsaved data
  • Frustrated employees if unexpected logout occurs
  • Slower customer service

All people working on your computers need to be trained on how to handle computers on standby.

System Availability Issues

POS systems often rely on constant uptime of services like:

  • Backend servers for uninterrupted data access
  • Automatic backups
  • Print servers for receipts
  • Computer updates

Frequent sleep disruptions on these devices may cause problems with this.

Application Interruption Risks

Unlike standard shutdown procedures, power management settings may force applications to close before finishing tasks. This could result in data loss or file corruption. Most of your software does not have autosave features; if so, it will cause problems. Sometimes people who run software with autosave, turn it off as it runs slower and is unnecessary. 

Remote Access Limitations

One of the excellent features of our software is that it allows you to log in anywhere in the world at any time; if this is not done, you will lose this ability.

Recommendations

Please consult us first to avoid issues. 

Before deployment, thoroughly test power settings and roll out gradually to catch any issues early.

With careful implementation, you will find that your electricity usage will be reduced without negatively impacting operations.

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Make sure you have restorepoints set up

POS SOFTWARE

Using restorepoints in windows

As a business manager, you rely on your computers and software running smoothly to keep your business succeeding. But we all know that computer technology can be fickle at times. Everything is working fine today, but suddenly, your computer is causing problems. When this happens, having regularly scheduled restore points can save the day.

For example, just last week, one of our clients had problems with some software Slack after a Microsoft update. Although the issue didn't affect our POS software, the client couldn't use some of their other important business applications. What we did was reverse the update by restoring their system using a restore point created before the update. So we got them running immediately.

What is a Restore Point?

A restore point is a snapshot of your computer system settings and files at a specific moment. The Windows operating system automatically creates these restore points to allow you to roll back to that point. Often, this is set up automatically by Windows, but you can often set one up whenever you like.

Why Use Restore Points?

Here are some key benefits of using restore points for a small business:

  • Undo system changes or software installs that cause problems. If a new app or Windows update is causing crashes, you can revert to a restore point before installing it. This allows you to undo the changes.

  • Recover from malware or other system damage. If a virus or other malware infects your system, restoring it is often a quick way of getting rid of them. 

  • Protect against data loss. Restore points provide an added layer of protection against accidental or malicious deletion of files.

  • Peace of mind. Regular restore points reduce worries about system failures. You know you can often quickly revert changes if needed.

Best Practices for Restore Points

Here are some tips for getting the most out of Windows System Restore:

  • Set a restore point before significant system changes. Always create a new manual restore point before new software, or equipment.

  • Create restore points regularly. Setting up automatic weekly points provides ongoing protection. I set mine up to make one every week.

  • Name restore points meaningfully. If you are manually making a restore point, give it a descriptive name so you can easily find the right one if needed.

  • Test restores. Periodically check that they are working.

  • Delete old points. If you have only a small hard disk, delete old restore points to save disk space.

  • Make sure that up use technically good people for this work. You really need someone in your shop who knows what they are doing as you can cause problems if you do not know what you are doing.

Let Restore Points Keep Your Business Running

You don't have time to deal with computer problems. Using System Restore's restore points can quickly get your computer and software back up and running if problems start. Protect your business with this built-in Windows feature.

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See Politics and business do not mix

POS SOFTWARE

This interview deals with Woolworths and its values and the social conversation, woke, etc. I think it is a perfect example of how politics and business should not be mixed and why you should not do it.

Firstly, are the effects of Woolworth's announcement on Australia Day still with them? I suspect yes.

The Share Price Impact

ASX graph of Jan for Coles vs EWoolworths

 

When Woolworths went public with its decision to pull Australia Day products, there was an immediate backlash from customers and politicians alike. Looking at the share prices in the month since shows that this decision likely in part impacted Woolworths' bottom line:

The share price of Woolies vs Coles over the past month. Green Square is when Woolies went public over its decision not to sell Australia-themed merchandise on Australia Day.  As you can see, Wooly's share price on the graph was slightly ahead of Coles. Today, Coles is 2.90% up, and Woolies is -0.06% down. That is close to 3%. See the Black line.

You cannot claim that it is the supermarket business as Coles is up. Looking at the figures, I would say that the share market found something it prefers in Coles to Woolworths, and politics likely played a role in this divergence. Customers voted with their wallets; the share market will react to this fall in the customers' wallets.

So, let us go to the interview and see what Woolies' CEO said.

Banducci: Woolworths' CEO said in the article.

"Our customers are saying focus on delivering value for us and not getting engaged in conversations that are broader than that."

My views: If you find this comment offensive, what am I, some ignorant, uncaring person? Also, this statement ignores the genuine customer dissatisfaction with Woolworths' decision. Many customers made it clear on social media and in complaints that they care about these political issues and disagree with Woolworths wading in.

Overall, modern Australia is better informed than ever; we are politically aware and care. Issues are important to them. In an industry that Woolies is in, where Coles and Woolies often have almost the same products and are close together, it's easy for someone to create by walking into one or the other. Politics will affect buying decisions in such an environment, mainly when well-known and influential political leaders such as Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton say something. Let us face it: he has about 50% of Australia's vote.

Banducci: Woolies “could clearly have done a better job” of explaining its decision over the merchandise.

My views: That is for sure; Woolies could have done better by saying nothing, which is what almost all retailers did. Why antagonise people necessarily?

Banducc: said, “I do feel anxious about the impact this is having on our team. They are proud, hard-working Australians, and for them to be seen as anti-Australian or woke is fundamentally unfair,”

My views: I agree. It appears that most, almost all, the team members of Woolies were against the announcement; see here, here and here

Banducc: denied that Woolies was making a political statement with its decision, 

My views: There is certainly a smell of political involvement in this statement. Many retailers made a similar decision for commercial decisions, but I am unaware of any of them publicly announcing it before this happened. Once it broke out, it could have been fixed quickly, but it was not.

Once politics enter the conversation, separating business decisions from political perceptions is almost impossible.

A Lesson for Business

The fallout from Woolworths' choice shows why business is generally best served by avoiding political stances. Even if well-intentioned, politics are inherently divisive and risk alienating your customer base.

Focusing solely on business operations rather than wading into political debates is usually safest. Let your customers view your business decisions through an economic lens rather than an ideological one.

The Australia Day controversy provides a cautionary tale for companies considering taking a political stand. In our polarized climate, politics and business remain uneasy bedfellows at best.

If you have a subject you care about, say it as an individual. It's a free country, and you can do it and keep your business out of it.

Comments

I liked on the subject this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9QrQPM2ULo
Australians do celebrate Australia Day with food, we had a BBQ, grilling some sausages, burgers, and seafood. That food was on display, I am sure in Woolworths for Australia Day.

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How to manage unlimited bank accounts in your POS software.

POS SOFTWARE

Operating a retail business in Australia these days often means juggling between many bank accounts. With the big banks making it difficult for small businesses to get the services they used to give, many owners find themselves splitting finances between two, three, or even more banks. In each bank, they tend to have many different accounts.

The key is having a point of sale (POS) system that can handle as many bank accounts as you require. With the right software, managing multiple accounts is a breeze.

How to Set Up Accounts in Your POS

Adding a new bank account to your POS system is quick and easy:

  1. Go to the main menu and select "Bank Accounts"
  2. Click the green "+ Add" button
  3. Enter your account details like name, BSB, and account number
  4. Repeat for each additional account

That's all there is to it! The POS stores these securely and allows you to access any linked account on demand. With the ability to add unlimited accounts and switch between them at will, your POS software makes managing your business banking easier. You get complete flexibility to structure finances across institutions in the way that best benefits your business. That means more options, better rates, and easier accounting in the long run.

 

 

 

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Keeping your Terms and Conditions Current in your Business

POS SOFTWARE

Updating your terms and conditions

Running a shop requires ensuring your terms and conditions accurately reflect your policies. It protects your business practice; failing to update it can lead to costly problems.

Let me share an example that recently happened with one of my clients:

My client owns a newsagency where they now sell various household goods. They had written up his terms and conditions, which they put into their computer several years ago to print out when they sold items. Recently, they sold an expensive kitchen appliance to a customer. The customer took it home and put it on their account. 

When my client could not get payment from the customer, they sent the account to a debt collection agency after a while. The agency told them there were no fees to them, but only to their customer if they paid, and then they sent a letter demanding payment. At first, the customer stalled, requiring the agency to do more work. Then, the customer took my client to the small claims court. Now, the debit collector dumped my client and gave them a bill for their services, claiming that my client had not followed their instructions, which was true. My client paid the bill, thinking they would get it back from the small claim tribunal.  They now found themselves in the small claims tribunal. Well, they settled with the customer for much of the value of the goods that they had sold, but because my client's terms and conditions didn't mention anything about debt collection fees, the mediator told them that the debt collection fees they could not get it. So, my client was able to recoup much of the cost of the appliance itself, but not the fees from the collection agency. 

My client has updated their terms and conditions to include the right to claim third-party debt collection fees if the goods are not paid. 

Why You Need Up-to-Date Terms and Conditions

Outdated terms and conditions can create many problems:

  • They may not comply with current laws and regulations. Laws and regulations related to sales, returns, privacy, and more are constantly evolving. Old terms and conditions may no longer be legally valid or changed clauses.

  • They may not address new market conditions. If you now accept PayPal, your old terms won't cover the fine point of these transactions. 

  • They may not reflect your current policies and practices. As your business grows and changes, your policies likely do too. You'll run into issues if your terms and conditions don't align with your real-world policies.

  • They may not protect you in disputes. As the example with my client shows, old terms and conditions may not give you the legal protection they need in the case of a dispute.

Critical Sections to Review and Update

Review your terms and conditions regularly to protect your business and update them as needed. Here are some key sections to pay close attention to:

Payment Terms...

Delivery and Shipping...

Product Details...

Privacy Policy...

Liability and Disputes...

A helpful tip is to review the terms and conditions of large, reputable retailers as a starting point when updating your own. Large retailers likely have robust terms and conditions that legal experts have vetted, so their documents can serve as valuable templates and give you ideas for sections to include in your terms and conditions. All you have to do often is customise their language to fit your specific business needs and policies.

Add a Debt Collection Fee Clause

Most importantly, in this example, include a clause stating you have the right to claim any third-party debt collection fees from the customer. For example:

"If Customer fails to pay an invoice and the account is sent to collections, Customer agrees to pay all third-party debt collection fees incurred."

This simple statement strengthens your ability to recover all costs should you involve debt collectors for unpaid balances. Don't make the same mistake as my client - update your terms and conditions today!

I am not a lawyer, so if you have any other questions about keeping your terms and conditions current, I am happy to help!

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Measure your Valentine's Day Sales 2024

POS SOFTWARE

Valentine's Day Sale

Valentine's Day is considered an excellent marketing day. So it is worthwhile to see how your business went on that day. You need to measure and analyse your sales to improve your business.

I did a brief market survey yesterday, with a wide range of results, from terrific to little. Everyone would agree that something is better than nothing. Now, here are some tips on how to measure your Valentine's Day Sales and get your score:

Use Sales Reports

The best way to track your Valentine’s Day sales using your real data is by using your point of sale (POS) system's sales reports. Here's how:

Compared to Previous Years

Computer reports for Valentines Day Sales

Run a sales report for 14 February and compare it to the same date in previous years. This will show you growth and trends over time. Pay attention to:

  • Profit
  • Number of transactions
  • Average transaction size

Analyse by Department

Break down the sales data by department. See which products and product categories performed best. One point you may find interesting is the colour red, did items of this colour sell well?

Spot Top Employees

See which employees rang up the most sales. 

Review Inventory Levels

Analyse how your inventory levels changed before and after Valentine's Day. Look at bestselling products. Did you sell out of any items? This helps you know what quantities to stock next year.

Check Customer Traffic

Beyond sales data, also look at customer traffic trends. Did you get more traffic than normal? Did you get more sales? Higher traffic but no improvement in sales shows you probably had the wrong goods in the shop.

Compare Promotions

Review any marketing promotions or campaigns you ran for the holiday. See which ones worked best.

Ask Customers and Employees

One point I also suggest is to talk to your customers and staff to get feedback. What did they like about your Valentine’s products and service? What could be improved for next year?

Taking the time to measure and analyse your Valentine’s Day sales will provide insights to help improve planning and boost sales in the future. With the right POS reporting tools, like ours collecting and learning from your holiday sales data is easy.

Comments

I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
Thanks for excellent info I was looking for this info for my shop.

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How Hard is it For You to do well Locally on Google? Easier Than You Think.

POS SOFTWARE

Many clients look at the net, throw their hands in the air, and say they cannot get there. 

Now, I admit that a small retailer to rank well in local Google search results may seem daunting. But it is not really. The way Google makes the rules now, David can compete with Goliath. You can gain visibility and attract more local customers searching online with some effort.

The Local Opportunity

  • About 28% of all Google searches are looking to buy products or services from local businesses. That's a massive number of customers.

  • For most suburb searches, Google initially suggests three local businesses. You want to be one of them!

  • Many suburbs don't have much local competition online for your type of business.

The Bottom Line: It is very achievable for a small retailer to do well in their local Google.

What Impacts Your Local Ranking Difficulty

  • Competitiveness of your industry in the geographic area

  • Strength of existing competitors' SEO and online presence

  • Size of the area - suburbs are relatively small

  • Your online presence.

The Best First Steps

Do some searches for your key products/services + your suburb name. See what the competition is doing. For example, if you are a newsagency in my suburb, Keysborough you might try. 

"lotto Keysborough"

Search for lotto in Keysborough

There is not one big company here; I know some of these people personally; they are smart operators but not major. 

"newsagency Keysborough"

Search for newsagencies in Keysborough

It is the same story with the others I check

"Toys Keysborough"

Search for toys in Keysborough

I decided to look at other products.

"dog food Keysborough"

Search for dog food in Keysborough

One big retailer out of three.

My research on the local competition in my suburb shows one small retailer would have a real chance to rank well!

You can gain more visibility and customers in local search results with the right local SEO tactics! It is very doable for small local retailers who put in the effort.

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The Hidden Costs of Accidental Sale Items in your shop

POS SOFTWARE

New price labels

Many of you currently have items on sale that are going out of sale. The problem can be that although you take the sale down, some items you may have missed in the point-of-sale system are still being marked as being on sale even though the sale is over. As such, you could accidentally sell items at the wrong price.

Running promotions and sales events can be a great way to boost revenue and clear old inventory. Failing to end discounts promptly can lead to significant losses for stores. Here's an overview of how accidental sales can quietly eat into your margins.

A Few Mistakes Can Cost Thousands 

Studies show that, on average, 3-4% of items scanned at registers are wrong. Every $500,000 annual sales translates to $15,000-20,000 in possible lost sales. A handful of significant mistaken markdowns per day can easily total thousands of dollars in losses over a year. It can also cause legal problems.

Solutions to Stop Erroneous Sales

To avoid leaving money on the table from incorrect prices, retailers should:

- **Set expiration dates on all sales and promotions.** This ensures your point-of-sale system stops discounts promptly once a sale ends, but as sale labels may remain on shelves and products after promotions expire. This can cause problems with label showing incorrectly an expired discounted price.

- Staying vigilant to end sales on time and audit pricing often can help retailers stop losing profits to erroneous discounts. Just a little prevention goes a long way to bolstering margins.

Here is a quick way of finding many of these items.

What you can do is this.

Go to the stock system.

Select Sales Promotion here.

 

Which pops up a screen like this.

 

Select reports (marked with Green)

Now put in the dates in this case marked with a black arrow, I selected January and out pops a report of all items that in this period that are affected. Now you can investigate.

Staying on top of removing old sales and auditing pricing is often the best way to stop losing profits from products ringing up wrong after promotions end. A little vigilance goes a long way.

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Naming a business and its ventures

POS SOFTWARE

This is a problem that crops up a lot in business; for example, a newsagent sets up a house syndicate and a shop decides to enter a new product line selling vitamin pills in the shop, etc. Well, what are they going to call it? It needs a name as a name adds to the offering. 

Business name

Naming a new business or product line - it's one of those things that always crops up when you're in business! You've got an idea; now you need to come up with the perfect name to match. 

It may seem simple, but finding a name that really captures your idea can be tricky. I've been there myself many times! I read an interesting article on Facebook by a professional who, for a living, advises people on what to name their business ventures. He charges thousands of dollars for doing it, but he sparked many people's interest in the subject.

Here, I'll walk through the key steps for brainstorming and evaluating potential names for your brilliant new business venture. With the right name secured, you'll be that much closer to promoting your brand to future customers!

Brainstorm Possible Names

I think it best to write down any words or phrases related to:

  • Your products or services
  • Your brand identity or values
  • Your location or community

Look at competitors or businesses you admire for inspiration. Use name generators or dictionaries to spark additional keyword ideas.

Look at some ideas for a business name from overseas. I find a search on a similar country to Australia, like Canada, useful. Now, if it works for these Canadians, why not for you in Australia? Now, several websites can help you. My current favourite is here. I have used it for years. But there are many more such sites, so pick the one you like. Now, put these ideas into the search box individually, flick through the options and their proposed names, and write down the ones you want. I am sure there are many good ideas here. 

Check Availability

If it is a one-off, which is not going to be used much except for inhouse, you may not need to worry much about checking, but if it is something that is going to get legal,  do not get too attached to a name yet; verify first:

  • The website domain name is available to buy
  • Suitable social media handles are available on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • Trademark searches on IP Australia don't reveal conflicts

For a website, try to link it to your actual name if possible. Your new website should feed the shop, and your shop should feed the new website. Why reinvent the wheel so use the resources you have?

Now, talk it over with people, but trust your judgment, as you will have to live with the name. So, pick a name that communicates your business.

Check social issues

Shorten the proposed name.

See if you like it because it is the short name you and everyone else will use over time. For example, people rarely say my company's name, "POS Solutions" when talking about it, but say "POS". Make sure the shortened name looks good. If for example you called it Cheap Books, well people talking about it will say Cheap, its not a good image they are conveying.

Check foreign languages

This is to avoid embarrassing or offensive meanings in other cultures so check the proposed names and grammar in Google Translate to see if your name works well in their languages:

  • Check the languages spoken by your customers
  • Also the most commonly spoken languages in your area. 
  • I would also check Italian, Greek, Chinese, Hebrew and Arabic in Australia. For this, as the spelling is difficult use the search by voice. 

You do not want someone telling you the cafe name means "*gh^%@!" in their language every few days. I had a client who discovered that his business name, based on the street he was on, translated into English, meant something like a castrated pig store, which is, to Eastern Europeans, a particularly nasty word. The guy who named the street, I am sure, had a terrific laugh when the council adopted it. So I strongly suggest you check your proposed name in several languages. 

Check grammar

I get this a lot as my wife is French and tells me this shop's name is bad French grammar but I have also seen shops name that are in bad English grammar. Your shop looks instantly unprofessional.

It is worth the time, as a good business name can go a long way to making your business and/or website.

Note: Sometimes, you get only a limited choice. This site was handy.

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Consider free delivery from your store

POS SOFTWARE

Free delievery service

Have you asked yourself if my retail store should offer free delivery? Consider running a retail store that serves a local customer base. Your regulars are the bread and butter of your business. Keeping them happy is vital.

One great way to add value for your customers is by offering free delivery on orders. However, covering the delivery cost can quickly eat into your slim profit margins, so you need to do your figures. Some studies have been done, on the advantages of offering it, click here. Here is an interesting quote from the study.

"Speed of delivery is now the decisive factor behind over one-quarter of abandoned carts, second only to pricing among customers who intended to make a purchase. Lack of same-day delivery and in-store pickup options were also seen as key reasons for cart abandonment as customers sought faster and more convenient fulfillment options...“Customers want shipping to be free and fast — and they’re willing to abandon carts and walk away from brands that fail to deliver on both fronts,” says Kirthi Kalyanam, the L.J. Skaggs Distinguished Professor and Executive Director of the Retail Management Institute of Santa Clara University, which conducted the survey in partnership with X Delivery. "

Here are a few factors to consider:

Offering free delivery has some clear advantages

Offering free delivery has some clear advantages:

  • Your POS System has a delivery system, so it's free - You can use your POS Software to handle deliveries. 
  • Increases customer convenience - Customers love the ease of delivery. This can encourage larger basket sizes.

  • Encourages customer loyalty - Free delivery shows you value your customers and care about keeping their business.

  • Businesses/government and customers often require it - Many demand delivery. For example, I often have the pharmacy deliver my orders as it is convenient and complimentary.

  • Provides faster delivery - As a local store, you can often deliver orders faster than anyone. Getting purchases to customers quickly is often a significant plus. Leveraging your speed and proximity to customers is smart when promoting free delivery options.  

The Downsides of Free Delivery

However, there are also some potential pitfalls with free delivery:

  • Higher costs - Paying for delivery services will cut into your profit margins. This may not be sustainable in the long term.

  • Staffing requirements - You will need dedicated delivery drivers or outsource this function. More staff means higher overheads.

  • Geographic limits - Offering free delivery beyond a specific area may not be viable. This could disappoint some customers.

Smart Compromises on Delivery

Given the pros and cons, offering unlimited free delivery likely isn't realistic for most small retailers. But you can look for intelligent compromises:

  • Offer free delivery on orders over a minimum size, e.g. $50. This has the added benefit of encouraging larger orders.
  • Provide free delivery within a limited local area, e.g. 5km radius
  • Offer customers free in-store pick-up as an alternative to home delivery

Conclusion

Finding a delivery model that adds value for customers without blowing your budget is vital. Getting this balance right takes some trial and error. Be prepared to tweak your delivery policy as you grow.

Keeping loyal customers happy is the lifeblood of any small retail store. Providing options like free local delivery helps show customers you value their business. A sustainable delivery strategy will keep your customers satisfied without hurting your bottom line.

Comments

When we offered delivery, we quickly realized it was not sustainable for our business. The logistics of having an employee leave the store for hours to do deliveries significantly disrupted our operations and cut into the valuable time that was better spent serving customers. We also found it difficult to rely on contractors who were not always dependable in fulfilling deliveries as promised. When we tried removing the delivery option, it upset many customers who had come to expect it. Now our delivery policy is to offer it free to customers who place larger orders, about $150 and charge a small delivery fee to cover our costs if under.

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Increase Sales with Targeted Happy Hour Loyalty Promotions

POS SOFTWARE

Happy hour in a shop

 

Every customer counts. One strategy to attract more customers during typically slow periods is offering happy hour specials with loyalty incentives. This encourages business from your customers in times when the shop is not busy and often marginal in profit. Here's how our point-of-sale (POS) system makes setting up and managing happy hour loyalty promotions easy.

- Happy hours are a win-win for customers and your business.

- It creates a sense of urgency for your customers to buy.

- When customers like they’re saving money or getting more value from their purchases, they tend to spend more. 

 

Activating Happy Hour Mode

The key to running a successful happy hour is making it simple for staff to switch on the special pricing and points. With our POS system, you can quickly turn on "happy hour mode":

  1. Go to the Main Menu and select System Maintenance.
  2. Open the System Setup page and click the Loyalty tab.
  3. Find the Redemption Value Per Point and update the value to match your promotion (e.g. 0.10 points per $1).

Setting loyalty points score

That's all it takes! Now, customers automatically earn extra points with purchases during happy hour.

Now spread the Word.

To drive traffic during slow periods, promote your happy hour specials across different channels:

  • Create fun flyers to display, e.g., double points between 3 pm and 4 pm today
  • Post on social media and email loyalty members

The more you promote the deals, the better.

Conclusion

Running targeted happy hour promotions is a proven way to drive traffic and increase sales during slow periods. Combining time-limited specials with loyalty incentives creates an urgency for customers to visit your venue more often.

Our intuitive POS system makes it easy for staff to activate customized happy hour modes on the fly. You can set special pricing, update loyalty point earnings, and track results with just a few clicks.

Say goodbye to sluggish afternoons and engage customers with compelling happy hour deals. You can maximize loyalty and sales when needed with the proper promotion and POS technology.

Contact us today to learn more about how our POS can help you run targeted promotions to increase visits and revenue. Let us help you take your happy hours to the next level!

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Our first estimate for Valentine Day 2024

POS SOFTWARE

Valentines_Day chocolate

Valentine's Day is almost here. Many of you are wondering how sales might go this year. Roy Morgan has put out their first estimate for Valentine's Day 2024 spending, predicting $465 million - down 4.1% or $20 million from 2023  here.

However, remember these are early predictions and are often way off. Last year, Roy Morgan predicted $485 million in spending, but the NAB after Valentine's Day showed Australians actually spent over $849 million - up 7% from the prior year!

So take any early estimates as a guide only, as Valentine's Day spending often exceeds expectations. This is because many people buy on impulse at the last minute. A few years ago, I remember being thrown out of the house and told not to return until I had flowers for my wife.

What Are People Buying for Valentine's Day 2024?

Roy Morgan's data shows the most popular Valentine's Day purchases this year will likely be:

"• Flowers (mentioned by 48% of respondents), chocolates (33%) and dinner or a trip away (11%) are set to be the most popular purchases.
• Intimate gifts remain sought-after, with lingerie (5%) and adult toys (4%) ranking within the top cohort of gifts.
• Of those who are planning to purchase a Valentine’s Day gift, almost a quarter say they will be spending more, while 57% will spend around the same and 19% will spend less.
• About 12% of those Valentine’s gifting will be purchasing a present for someone other than their romantic partner.
• The majority, a total of 70% of respondents will celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic celebratory meal."

Key Takeaways for Retailers

  • Don't wait until the last minute to order. Sales for Valentine's Day last week started the week before.
  • Expect customers to shell out more per gift - an average estimate is $135 per person this year, up 14.4% from 2023.
  • The most romantic suburbs outside major cities for sales include Armidale (NSW), Bunbury (WA), Kotara (NSW), Ballarat (VIC), Mackay (QLD), Modbury (SA), Torquay (VIC) and Toowoomba (QLD).

Research sales data from the previous year.

To see what sells in your shop on Valentine's Day and what stock you have, It will take seconds to discover and give you some good ideas. Remember, unlike other marketing holidays, many products on Valentine's Day are still marketable afterwards if you select wisely. 

So, in your POS software, look at the Top N stock report, which gives you the top-selling items.

Go to Register Reports marked in green.

Report for sales on Valentine's day

Select stock.

Now, you will see two reports. Click the one on green first. It would be best if you held the purple in memory as you may need it before placing an order.
 

retail analytics for Valentine's day

 
Now select last year's Valentine's Day and the top 40 items, which should be plenty. I suggest doing it by quality sold.

You will get a report with top sellers over Valentine's Day, plus your current stock holding, to see how you stand for Valentine's Day.

We now have a list of the products sold well in your shop. That took less than a minute. Now, make sure you have enough stock.

Create a Valentine's Day-specific section in the shop. 

It is creating such a specific section in the shop increases sales dramatically. It doesn't have to be spectacular; it does not have to be big. Put your Valentine's products on the stand.

Put cute messages on signs to decorate the front of your store to attract the attention of passing shoppers. Spread the love. 

Conclusion

You can have a significant chance to boost sales and connect with customers on Valentine's Day. 

> Prepare for the holiday by using sales data from the previous year, taking into account changes brought on by the pandemic

>Stocking up on merchandise related to Valentine's Day

> Embracing the new trend of buying gifts for friends and pet 

> Creating a special section in the store

The key for small retailers is being prepared for strong Valentine's Day demand. Have plenty of gift options stocked up, and go the extra mile with gift wrapping and romance-focused promotions. With the right preparation, your shop can delight customers and make this Valentine's Day your most profitable ever.

 

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Better Customer Flow in Your Store

POS SOFTWARE

customer flow in a shop

 

In your retail store, carefully considering customer flow can greatly impact sales. Customers tend to explore your store in a clockwise pattern, usually turning left first when they enter. With this in mind, here are some tips for improving customer flow in your store. This takes in most shops about 15 minutes to do.

Make the Most of the Decompression Zone

I suggest you make your way to the front left of your shop. I find it a good idea to go with someone on your journey and discuss it. This is called the decompression zone of your shop.

This is where your customer mentally shifts from the outside world to your store. Upon entry, they take stock of your store, develop an opinion of your brand, and even subconsciously judge the pieces and prices they expect to find.

Since this left front area is the first thing customers see, use it for promotional displays to grab their attention. This prime real estate is perfect for showcasing new products, sale items, or seasonal offerings, but since people are not ready to buy, do not count on them buying here. Here they are thinking about your shop and its products.

Check the Aisle Space

As you move clockwise through your store, people do not like to feel cramped when shopping. So, you should allow for ample space for movement. Aisles must be broad enough to invite customers to browse, not bump into other shoppers, and—most importantly—pick up and carry items for purchase.

No Escape Routes on Your Journey

Be careful not to allow any "escape holes" for your customers to avoid going to the back of the shop. You want them to go to the back wall and then move forward to the front.

Draw Customers In

If you have staple items that people are coming in specifically to buy, like milk, place these in the back of the shop to draw customers inside.

Checkout Placement

Generally, the front right of a retail store is the best location for the checkout counter. This placement doesn’t distract people from shopping or occupy prime product display space.

By keeping these tips in mind as you lay out your store and place merchandise, you can optimise traffic flow to maximize sales. Let customer behaviour guide your design. If you want to know more of the theory click here

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Key retail dates in Australia 2024

POS SOFTWARE

Calendar of retail events in 2024

Retail Marketing Calendar for 2024

Welcome to 2024! As a retailer, having a solid marketing calendar is crucial for planning promotions, sales, and events throughout the year, in my experience good retailers plan well in advance. Here is an overview of some of the most significant retail marketing opportunities in 2024 that you won't want to miss.

As there are a few amendments I had to do so we are starting from now here.

February

February 10 - Chinese New Year (Year of the Dragon)

A good sign is that dragons are associated with power, leadership and wealth; this is a very promising year where business and career ventures should thrive. Make sure to use some red and gold  like display prominently red envelopes, decorations with dragons, etc. If you sell cards, these suppliers will have such products.

February 14 - Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is an opportunity to boost sales of cards, candy, flowers, premium chocolates, and more. Decorate with hearts and cupids and promote gifts for him and her.

March

March 29 - Good Friday

Good Friday signals the start of the Easter weekend. Promote Easter baskets, candy, egg decorating kits, gifts, spring apparel and more.

March 31 - Easter Sunday

On Easter, continue promoting Easter merchandise. Stores can host Easter egg hunts, brunches with the Easter Bunny, and spring flower shows.

April

April 25 - ANZAC Day

Poppies, Flag merchandise, Military memorabilia, Commemorative items, Cookbooks, Drinkware and books. One of the problems with such goods is that the items are often difficult to sell after  ANZAC Day.

March 31 - Easter Sunday

On Easter, continue promoting Easter merchandise. Stores can host Easter egg hunts, brunches with the Easter Bunny, and spring flower shows.

 

May

May 12 - Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a peak time for flowers, jewellery, brunch events, spa packages and gifts focused on moms, grandmothers, and mother figures.

June

End of Financial Year Sales

For many of my clients, this is one of the most important marketing seasons, tax benefits, clearing stock before new fiscal year, etc.

Start of Winter Sales

If you are doing anything in clothing, this is when people start to look for winter clothing.

July

Stocktake sales

This is a terrific time to get rid of unsellable stock. The public is looking for bargains then, and after the stocktake, the odds are that you have bargains for them.

July 24 - School Holidays Begin

The start of school holidays means increased family travel and focus on kids. Promote toys, children's apparel, family activities, luggage, and travel necessities.

September

September 1 - Father's Day

Target gifts to dads, grandfathers, husbands, and father figures. Promote grilling supplies, tech gadgets, apparel, sports merchandise, and experience gifts.

October

October 31 - Halloween

Halloween brings sales of costumes, candy, home decor, pumpkin carving kits, and more. Stores can host costume contests or trick-or-treating events.

November

People are buying Christmas presents today in November; in 2023, retail sales increased dramatically this month; click here. Please do not wait for Black Friday.

November 29 - Black Friday

Officially, this is the start of the Christmas shopping season. In 2023, Black Friday was one of the most significant retail events of the year, with major sales that started before and continued long after.

November 29 - Summer season begins

It is getting hot; people need to start getting summer goods.

December

December 24 - Christmas Eve

Highlight last-minute gift ideas for the holiday celebrations.

December 26 - Boxing Day

Boxing Day it was used to be big for post-holiday sales in Australia. It did go up in 2023, but not a lot. Still, there are good sales to be made here.

December 31 - New Year's Eve

You can promote party supplies and goods for the New Year's celebrations.

Additional

Depending on the people you serve, there will be more, e.g. if you sell books, consider promoting 2nd March – World Book Day and April 2: International Children’s Book Day.

 Anzac Day, worth having a chew about, I do know retailers that sell some goods then. 

I suggest you add the birthday of your shop, so make it as old as possible.  If you bought the shop from someone else, ring up some of your suppliers and ask them when your shop first got an account. Often an online search can help too. Once you have a date, make a shop birthday sale. Its a great excuse to have a sale.

 

Planning your promotions around these key retail events will help drive traffic and boost your bottom line in 2024.

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Tonight's Powerball Jackpot is a $200 Million!

POS SOFTWARE

Powerball jackpot

Odds buying a Ticket?

I was doodling with some figures on the Powerball tonight, and I think tonight might be a good investment.

Now, it's fun to dream, so let us keep going. 

With $200 million on the line, let's break down the math:

  • A Powerball ticket costs $2.
  • Assuming the ticket cost is $1.35 per line, every combination is $182.5 million. This would guarantee a win.
  • The prize is $200 million
  • Assume only one winner 

Therefore, a ticket tonight is a good investment.

For retailers selling tickets, this represents a great opportunity to engage customers and spread lottery excitement.

Just How Big is This Jackpot?

To put $200 million in perspective:

  • It's enough money to buy over 200 median-priced homes so that you can get a lovely home
  • Pay off all your debts, quit your job, and retire in luxury.
  • Then go on that trip of a lifetime, get that luxury vehicle, and still have plenty left over.
  • Invested wisely, the jackpot could generate millions per year in interest alone.

Or do what I would probably do: come to work the next day and basically keep going as usual. I like my lifestyle, and I am too old to change. 

Quick tip to increase odds.

The key is to think differently than most players when selecting numbers. Obscure patterns and overlooked numbers can give you better odds.

- Avoid obvious patterns like consecutive numbers (1-2-3-4-5-6). These tend to be commonly played.

- Stay away from the number 1. It's the most frequently picked number.

- Don't play numbers from recognizable date patterns like 7-11, 20-24. People gravitate toward dates.

- Don't pick the quick-pick option. This randomly generates numbers with no better odds than the average.

- Do play identical pairs like 11-22-33. Again, it is too commonly picked.

- Numbers under 1 to 31 are commonly picked as its people's birthdays; numbers over have slightly better payout rates. 

- Do not bet on numbers that have come up recently a lot or numbers that have not come up recently; people tend to pick those.

Let's Get Someone a Big Win!

As a retailer, a huge jackpot is excellent for business. Use the excitement as a chance to connect with customers. And who knows - you might sell the winning ticket and make someone's dreams come true, right?

Good luck to all those playing tonight!

Bring some Powerball excitement into our community.

 

 

Comments

Thanks for magnificent information. What trips can you recommend in 2024? Astro tourism, eco diving, home swapping, train stations are the new food destinations,sports tourism, coolcationing, gig tripping, private group travel?

I am thinking of something less ambitious: a high-quality Caribbean cruise on one of those big ships. Some friends went on one and told me that they had a great time.

 

 

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Free Music for Your Shop's Commercial Videos

POS SOFTWARE

royalty free music for commercial videos

A client recently asked us for advice on finding music for his small shop's commercial video that they wanted to put on Facebook. What they wanted was something catchy that would give a vibe to the images of the camera shots of their stock on display in the video. Which I did. Thinking to myself that if it helped them, it could help other clients of mine, here are a few tips I shared that can help you find great tunes on a budget:

Use Trusted Free Music Libraries

I told them to avoid sketchy sites and focus their search on reputable free music libraries

Pixabay

StreamBeats

StreemTunes

CreatorMix

These carefully vet their songs so you can feel confident using them commercially. This saves time from having to dig around.

What I do like is that these have libraries organize music by genre and mood, too, making it easy to find the perfect style to match your shop. I suggest that you pick something upbeat and quirky.

Also, check out YouTube's Copyright-Free Section.

They also have tons of free tunes. It was full of unique genres, giving you lots of options, but you need to be careful about whether you can use them commercially free.

Set the Right Mood

Music sets the tone. An upbeat, quirky track amplifies your shop's fun vibe. Energetic songs engage viewers. With the right legal, free tunes, you can soundtrack killer commercials that make your shop shine!

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Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Dec 2023

POS SOFTWARE

ABS retail sales to Dec 2023

Well, everyone seems to be stressed on the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures, which show retail sales fell 2.7% in December 2023. But what seems forgotten is that we had a strong November, plus December had a 0.8% year-on-year growth that exceeded many analysts' expectations given broader economic pressures.

Key Takeaways:

  • Retail turnover rose 0.8% year-on-year in December to $35.1 billion
  • Discretionary categories slowed but the overall result beats the forecast
  • Food services still face margin pressures from surging input costs

As Ben Dorber of the ABS noted, November's surge was partly consumers pulling forward holiday spending for Black Friday. A December decline was anticipated but it did not happen as it is up on last year figures.

Moderation in Discretionary Spending

The data shows discretionary categories slowed in December after November's peak:

  • Household goods like furniture and appliances fell 8.5%
  • Department stores declined 8.1% despite a solid 3.7% annual growth
  • Clothing and footwear dropped 5.7%

This aligns with most expectations of consumers tightening non-essential spending heading into 2024. Retails need to concentrate on essentials and items such as children educational items which people are not cutting back on.

Ongoing Pressures in Food Services

Concerns remain around food services, with turnover up just 1.6% year-on-year.

This is clearly not enough, as we have seen in all retail rising input costs like labour, rent, and utilities. So, this margin squeeze is worrying.

Key Takeaway: Cautious Optimism

Despite headwinds, December's better-than-expected retail sales provide some reasons for optimism. Retailers should promote necessities and focus on providing value amidst household budget tightening.

The full ABS data shows the actual figures here with its insight into consumer behaviours, category trends and state, which stunned me as Tasmania is just so solid. So click here for more details on how it affects you.

 

Update: I got a query about this, of which I still stick to my conclusion; if you look at the quarter, it is if you add it up 0.5%, which is certainly not brilliant, but it's still positive. 

 

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Mind Mapping for Retailers in their shops

POS SOFTWARE

The Power of Mind Mapping for Small Business Retailers

As a small business owner, you likely juggle countless ideas, tasks, goals, and data points on a daily basis. Keeping it all organized in your head can quickly become overwhelming. This is where mind mapping comes in handy!

Many are now taught mind mapping in school. In my experience, most people do not like them often, claiming it gives them headaches, but some use it a lot. Some like me only occasionally when the thinking gets tough. This mind map took me about twenty minutes to write but I am a perfectionist.

What is Mind Mapping?

A mind map is a visual diagram of your thoughts on a subject. Most use lines, colours, images and keywords to represent their ideas. Where there are a lot of ideas, keeping it all straight in your head can be a challenge! This is where mind mapping comes in handy. It can help provide a way to visually organise your thoughts on strategies, systems, products, and more. You start with an idea and think of other ideas that come from this idea. Its great for brain storming with others.

We looked at many mind mapping software, then selected AXON 2001, which was a brilliant piece of software. Then we organised a group buy of mind mapping software, AXON 2001. Unfortunately, it is no longer on the market. Although it's still very good, the problem is that it's been over 20 years, and as we cannot get more copies for our clients, plus it is old, we looked at an alternative for our clients who want to do mind mapping.

The one we are suggesting now is Miro. It has an excellent free program, it has functions that paid versions do not have. If you do not like it, well at least you will know better what you need. 

Here is a brief explanation of the product

Mind Mapping in Action

Let's look at some ways a retailer would use mind mapping:

  • Planning a promotion: Map out objectives, tasks, timeline, budget, marketing tactics

  • Developing new products lines: Brainstorm possibilities, identify customer needs, map manufacturing process

  • Optimising inventory: Analyze sales data, plan ideal stock levels of top-selling items

  • Improving customer service: Identify pain points, explore solutions, implement training

  • Streamlining operations: Examine workflow, identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies, implement changes

Start Mapping Today!

You don't need any fancy software to start mind mapping, a pen and paper can do it often better.  Nowdays most use software as its faster and cleaner.

Some tips that work for me:

  • Write the topic in the centre

  • Put in some pictures to help you think, I find colour pictures work better. (See the mindmaps above has pictures of a shop)

  • Use lots of colours, I find putting related topics with the same colour helps a lot. 

  • Use the AI, it saves heaps of time

  • If it starts going too big, over 40 items, split it up into two mindmaps. 

If we get enough interest in the product, we will be adding hooks into it too.

 

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