BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

Rental of point of sale software

POS SOFTWARE

Rent vs buy

There are several tax and management advantages to renting rather than leasing a POS system.  Overall the costs are in my experience, a bit dearer with the rental. 

Generally, these rentals are done for a four year period. At the conclusion of the agreement, you have the following options

1) Return the system to us which we accept as long as it is in good working order.

2) Purchase the POS system at a fair market rate. This is normally agreed at the start of the rental. 

3) Continue with the rental on a month to month basis which is a very popular option particularly if you are unsure of what is going to happen soon in the business.

 

 

 

 

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Software support cost

POS SOFTWARE

Software support

This is to clarify that there will be *NO* increase in software fees to our clients despite what we have all seen that all our competitors have this financial year increased their software support fees, some quite dramatically, way beyond what I think is fair especially if you consider that many of them raised their prices last year too.  Based on some of the software agreements, I have seen their users are now paying 50% to 100% more than our users. If you have any of their software agreements, we are happy to supply a competitive quote.

As announced at the start of this year, despite that we have *NOT* increased these fees for many years, we have no plans to raise them. 

 

 

 

 

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Holidays - who's minding the store?

POS SOFTWARE

Holidays

You are planning a holiday. It going to be a great time.

Fair enough everyone needs to get their batteries recharged and stepping away for a week or two is I think a necessity. If you are like me, you need a week of holidays just to unwind enough to start enjoying the holidays. You start making plans, counting the days 

But hang on a minute...

Have you prepared the shop for your absence? Who is in charge while you are gone? Does everyone know what they are supposed to do while you are gone?

Of most importance to us, do they know how to work the computer system? If they do not, do you have support available while they are gone? 

Test runs

What I recommend is that you do some test runs, organise the shop, take a couple of days off and then see what happens.  

 

 

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Comparisons with previous sales figures

POS SOFTWARE

Our point of sale software reporting feature allows you to dive into your sales so you can get a better understanding of your business.

There is a common problem that we face almost every month is that some months have four Saturdays and some five Saturdays. This often makes it hard to budget. It also makes it hard to compare periods for sales analysis. The other problem is that making sales comparisons meaningful between periods is that different periods are different September month is very different than December.

That is why our POS software when it makes comparisons asks you what period do you want to compare to the nominated period you request. If you look at the above example, you can see that I put in some bizarre dates to show what you can decide what works for you. 

Many of the commonly used dates such as Last Fiscal Year, Last Year, Last Quarter, Last Month, etc. are already programmed in for you.

Some that are commonly used are the moving or rolling time frames such as the last 30 days and compare this result to the same period the previous year for 30 days. Another common request available is to examine how the current YTD versus the last year to this point.

For more ideas, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Make an event - marketing tip

POS SOFTWARE

Cosmopolitan magazine

I was stunned when I was informed today that Bauer Media is cutting Cosmopolitan Australia in December, as commercially it is no longer viable. In the process another eleven jobs have are gone, and another restructuring and centralisation are underway.

This magazine was an icon, and many will have many good memories of this product so why not make an event if you sell a product like this to get people to come into the store for an impulsive purchase of the last couple of editions.  While supplies last, the final edition, get your copy... collector's item (which I am sure it will be) ... 

Maybe when they come into the shop to buy this product, they will buy more too? All you need to try it is a small sign on the window to make an event.

 

 

 

 

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Retail apocalypse in Australia?

POS SOFTWARE

The retail apocalypse in the US is the closing of a large number of brick-and-mortar retail stores and shopping malls from 2010. Here are some haunting photos of abandoned shopping malls across America

 

The question being raised in Australia now is going to happen here too? It is difficult to say, but so far almost everyone agrees that it has not happened yet. 

I went to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and went to their page here on retail.

 Then selected chart number 8501011

Then using excel made a graph of yearly sales for every sector since 1982 to 2018.

Australian retail sales 2018

As you can see overall, it does look good. Overall retail sales and retail property overall in Australia have been healthy. Yes, there have been terrific changes in the retail landscape, for example, video rentals, books and newspaper sales are all down, but others such as food and footwear are up. This up and down by different sectors in retail has been going on since retail began.

Now some of the sectors in our marketplace look good.

ABS Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing

 

However when you look at the one that seems to be now creating the most concern in our market space - newsagencies.

Newsagency and books 2018

It does not look so good, and I have been to many discussions and meeting about this sector's performance that is concerning many of its suppliers, as you can see its high water mark was about 2010. 

However, there are several points to keep in mind. The first point is that many shops move across sectors. A shop that is doing poorly in newspapers can switch to other fields e.g. I have had clients that have turned their shop into a cafe, gone into art supplies, become gift shops and toy stores. Soon it is no longer a newsagency but something else. 

The problem is that most suppliers cannot move so quickly. A newsagent once he moves partly to becoming a cafe, soon loses interest in magazines (profit margin 25%) because they have more valuable stuff to sell like cake and coffee (profit margin 55%). The magazine company soon gets very upset.

The other issue here is that just because a sector does poorly does not mean that an individual shop in that sector does poorly. I have a client that is bookshop nearby a large bookshop closed down, and their sales went up dramatically as many of the customers of the large bookshop came to them.  

Which is moving to an interesting point that often what we see in a sector as the sector drops the players inside that sector do better! 

For example in 2013/4 according to IBIS, 2500 newsagencies did about $1.9 billion in turnover about $760,000 each, in 2017/8 1960 newsagencies did about $2 billion in turnover about $1,020,408 each in turnover. Probably what happened is as the newsagencies consolidated, they kept enough of the clients, so individually they gained and then sold these customers other products to them.

 

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Disadvantages of direct bank deposit

POS SOFTWARE

Direct bank deposit

In an effort to reduce banking costs, some people have asked us instead of Zippay can they offer a direct bank account system as cash is slowly declining.

Payment methods Australia

The short answer is *YES*, maybe and no.

The first point is you do not want to create what we call any type of friction if someone wants to pay with a particular payment method then I suggest you give them that option, particularly as it is an easy and cheap option plus it does offer what every business needs to provide a fee-free way to pay.

The problem is that today people want an immediate solution, that is the problem with laybys nowdays too which is on a steep decline. 

A direct bank deposit takes time, while the other methods like PayPal, Credit cards, Afterpay or ZipPay are instant.

 

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Pet Shop Software on display at AusPet 2018

POS SOFTWARE

AusPet trade show 2018

Our Pet Shop management software considered the best in Australia will be on show at AusPet 2018 at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Friday. It has more users than any other Pet Shop Software in Australia.

Its market share has also grown this year thanks to Pet Shops upgrading to our software. What I found interesting is that none of the old-time software companies that used to go to these fairs are there now. We are the last ones left. 

What at the fair, we will be showing off the very latest in Pet Shop software.

As what will be on display is the new software version that is not yet released so even if have our software it is your chance to see what is coming up. 

So if you do get to the fair, do visit our stand #128 and say hello. We are right at the exit so there is no excuse not to come and visit us.

AusPet Stand of POS Solutions

 

Visit us at AusPet 2018 - Booth 128

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Aldi slams loyalty programs

POS SOFTWARE

Reward cards

Aldi, here has made an extraordinary attack, on Coles and Woolworths, claiming that they are not worth chasing.  They have made a calculator here to show how small the benefits of these people's rewards program.

I think they are right.

However what the article goes on further to say is that "60 per cent of Australians saying it influences where they shop and 36 per cent of people admitting they spend more because of the schemes" so for such small rewards people are being influenced.

To me what it says is that your loyalty program offering does not have to be much to get decent results and there is no denying that it does have an effect.

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Barcode scanner range

POS SOFTWARE

Scanners are explicitly made for use in mind. Some are long range. Some are short range, middle range, etc. It certainly is not the case that dearer scanner is the best one for you to use in all circumstances.

I have seen scanners that can read a bar code as close as few centimetres away and some that need at least 300 cm to scan the same barcode. 

So when you are ordering a scanner, you need to specify to the seller (like us) exactly how far away a typical barcode will be read. 

What I suggest you do is make a fist with your hand, grasping a long ruler at the 10 cm line and imagine that this 10 cm point is the barcode len. Now with the other hand put some typical items and measure out what to you is a convenient distance to read the barcode. This is what this new scanner will need to scan a barcode. It is not an advantage to have too much range as what you tend to get then is misreading from other barcodes that are nearby. 

If you require some long range scanners, then it is not as simple as a ruler. This video will show you how to measure the distance.

Then tell us the range you require.

Otherwise, there can be problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heavy items

POS SOFTWARE

In your shop, what is strongly suggested all things being equal that you keep heavy goods on or near the floor! Although there is no limit as such, as a general guide anything over 45 kgs needs to be looked at ASAP.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg

Legally a heavy item depends, on many factors eg if the item is wet or slippery if the items are stored in a cramped area so that people had to assume awkward positions to lift them etc. Here is a guide for retail that explains much of it from a legal point of view.

 

The other issue is forgetting the legal problems, do you really want anyone to get hurt?   Everyone is trying to do the right thing here.

So what can you do about it?

So once you have identified the heavy stock, move them to safe areas.

What I further recommend is that you mark in your software these items so that people will just by looking at the item on the screen know that they are potentially looking at a lifting problem and these items require special handling.

You’d do it like this:

Go to stock maintenance in your point of sale software -> Edit marked them as in the red box.

 

 

Just another example of how our software has useful items that you can use.

 

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Australian retail sales up a bit

POS SOFTWARE

Overall most retailers are pleased with the latest retail figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). It shows a moderate increase. The report itself is available here.

 

Now since this is coming out in excel, what you might want to do is merge your figures with an appropriate set of figures from this report to see how you compare with an average appropriate to you.

This you can do as unlike most point of sale software that can only produce standard reports, which works about 80% of the time. Ours has ad-hoc reporting so all you need to do is export your information into a spreadsheet and put it into the Australian Bureau of Statistics report. 

If you have Microsoft Excel, you can use that, or you can use the free OpenOffice available here, both as very good.

If you are unsure how to the export here is a training video which shows you how to do these exports.

Enjoy

 

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Australia's best shopping days

POS SOFTWARE

Retail sales

 

Anyone in retail here in Australia these are the most important based on marketing surveys in descending order

  • Boxing day
  • The day before Christmas
  • The day after Christmas
  • The Saturday before Mother's Day
  • The day before Father's day
  • Valentine’s Day (if you handle these products)
  • Black Friday, seems that we are rapidly adopting this date 
  • Easter Monday
  • Easter Saturday

Source: ShopperTrak data

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Information and the growing importance of 1%

POS SOFTWARE

What is driving retail today is information. A few days ago, I talked of the 1% rule. Let me show you another example. 

Taking from the ATO benchmark study they give what I consider the best benchmarking figures for typical businesses in Australia today, so I picked a stationery shop just because it is something most of us can quickly get our head around.

Putting in typical figures for their figures, I made this chart.

ATO benchmark figures for a typical stationery shop

So here what I am saying is that on the first column So on 150,000 turnover a business from the chart would have about 78% expenses leaving it with about $33,000 profit and I did the same on the other rows.

Okay now let us say that these businesses make a 1% improvement, so they sell 1% more and they reduce expenses by 1%. What do you think the effect will be? I think you are going to be surprised.

Stationery shop with a 1% improvement

Look at 1% did?

What is clear is that you do not need much to do dramatically better. All you need is 1% better.

So how do you get 1%? 

    Information, here are some ideas in no order
  • Speed up the queues by making your point of sale faster by increasing your POS sale scanning.
  • Find out your best sellers and move them into your best selling locations.
  • Better and more accurate buying.
  • Getting a better loyalty program going just using a simple customer birthday marketing offer helps a lot.
  • Monitor your theft rate
  • Speed up your computer processing by getting your suppliers to automate 
  • Controlling your debtors better.

All this is available from your computer system now.

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Day light savings tomorrow

POS SOFTWARE

Daylight saving time adjustment has come again. 

Although today most computers automatically adjust the time some for some reason miss this update so check tomorrow that our computers' clocks have the correct time. Last time we had a client in Queensland which should not have adjusted but did as the location was wrongly set to NSW time. So even if you are in say Western Australia which does not change it is a good idea to check.  

Based on experience over the next few days, the number one support issue we will have is that some of the times in the POS system will be one hour off.

 

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Chinese tourist and Alipay

POS SOFTWARE

Alipay Australia

That is how it looked in 2016, in 2018 we now have about 1.4 million Chinese yearly visiting Australia and they spend about $10.4 billion here. For almost all of these people, the preferred payment method would be Alipay because with cash or other credit cards they have to pay extra fees plus it is on a platform that they are familiar with, and they can see their transaction in their own language.

The other big market is Chinese nationals living in Australia who have relatives overseas and students.

So if these Chinese customers are of interest to you, I do suggest that you look into getting Alipay into your shop.

Alipay sign

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Stock know your 1%

POS SOFTWARE

There is a rule that seems to show up all the time that 1% of the population participate, 9% occasionally participate and the other 90%  do nothing. It is called the 1% rule although a lot of people call it the 90/10 rule. 

We see something like this is stock.

Here is a graph of a reasonable size shop with sales in order of the top selling items to the worst selling items based on retail turnover.

Top selling stock lines in ranking order

The shop sold in a year exactly 20,060 different stock lines.

Here are some figures, slightly less then 1% actually the top 220 stock lines did 50% of shop sales. But it does down further out of the top 220 stock lines, the top 10 stock lines did about 33% of the shop sales and the top two lines did just over 15% of the shops' trade.

When I first saw this, it hit me like a brick

I think you would have to admit that this is quite amazing. Now what the retailer should do is concentrate most of there efforts on the items that are really making the money.

Now let us find your top 1% stock lines.

Go to register reports and select the top stock report as marked with the red arrow here

You will get this screen

Now select your criteria, note there is also a tab called "More Criteria" which has more options plus the traffic (which is people in the shop) option but we will discuss that later.

I do suggest that you do this by overall shop sales and then research in depth for each department.

Here I used the stationery department. In red, I put in 32000 to make sure I get everything and as I like to get a long-term view, I selected a whole year as small periods can have major fluctuations.

Then you will get a report with all the figures.

It’s that simple

It can be done in less than a minute.

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Software on Change of Business Ownership

POS SOFTWARE

Under new management

When you buy or sell a business, one point that you need to consider is the ownership of the software you think you are buying.

What most likely this business has a license that gives them the right to use that software, on a non-exclusive and non-transferable basis. Legally the business cannot transfer this license to someone else without the consent of the software owner.  

Whoever does the transfer of the business should do a careful examination of software licences before the transfer takes place. 

Some points over the years, I have seen 

1) After the business has been sold, the former owner demanded more money for the software as it was not covered by the sale.

2) People demanded refunds for software that they have been charged for a transfer but never got. 

3) Arguments over past debts relating to the computer and/or software.

4) Software companies delaying helping the new owner until the old owner okays the transfer. Generally, this becomes a major problem when the old owner is long gone. 

5) Software companies do not know who to contact if they have not been notified of the changes. So the new owner is not informed of some important details.

Here are some FAQ which I have put together as far as we are concerned about the change in ownership.

• Do the old owners or agents need to sign the transfer forms? 

We certainly prefer this but it is not required as long what we consider reasonable proof can be provided that a change in ownership has occurred.

• Do you do changeover during a weekend?

We do not change customer details during weekends. Should your settlement occur over a weekend please inform if you wish for your details to be changed on the Friday or Monday. 

• Credit Application

We do not require a credit application to be completed.

 

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Christmas is coming

POS SOFTWARE

It is October now, and already we can start to see that retailers are getting ready for the holiday season. 

As the economy is doing well now and the public mood seems positive, this looks like it will be a good Christmas. 

Christmas trends over 5 years measured in 2018

Measured interest using Data Source: Google Trends (www.google.com/trends).

As you can see the public interest has not changed over the last 4 years.

It certainly now the time to start planning your stock ordering, so you need to estimate your stock requirements which is something our point of sale software can help you do. You also need to start looking at roistering again something our point of sale can help you with all this. I will be talking about all of these soon.

Before we go any further

You need to check is all your POS system ready for Christmas?  

So let’s get to work

If you are planning to bring in some of the old POS computers “out of the closet” to accommodate the rush period, tested it to make sure it works? If it has been in the closet for a year, who knows what state they are in now?

Here are some other points

Have you checked that you have all the cables to connect to this equipment?

Do you have a connection into your network where you need it?

Can this equipment be linked into your system, it been a year since it is been used?

Now try it now to see if it all works if you plug it in?

The closer it gets to Christmas, the harder it gets to repair in time.

Here’s the kicker

What is going to happen if you have extra staff and the computer register does not work over Christmas? I have seen this happen all too often. 

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International Coffee Day

POS SOFTWARE

International Coffee Day

 

If you are interested in some marketing idea for today, what about trying to market coffee today as today is the International Coffee Day? It should be good for a few sales. 

Such things are easy to set up in your receipts in your POS system. If you have a VIP club it is easy to send email newsletters out.

International Coffee Day 2018, celebrates the most popular drink in the world. According to recent research, it is good for you too.

An example of how these marketing days are good for business.

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