BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

How to start on a retail calendar for 2021

POS SOFTWARE

Well, it's time to start planning for 2021, so you can use this list of holidays to help plan your 2021 marketing.

 

For a full list click here.

If you need an explanation of the holiday, click on the holiday link to get a description.

You can fine-tune it to your situation by using the filters.

 

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What Accounting Software are retailers using now?

POS SOFTWARE

Every year we survey our clients to see what they think of our performance. While we do this, we ask a few questions about what software our clients are using. Then what they want to do with this software.  So we asked them about what accounting systems they use? 

It is a good time to look at it as a new year beginning.

As Australian accounting software standards have not changed much in 35 years, all major accounting programs do the same job. The significant difference was that few offer cloud. Now, most do. They all have their devotees. The difference tends to be a user preference. 

This is what we got.

We were quite stunned by this result. 

Running through them in turn.

MYOB has always been the most popular accounting system in our marketplace. It is easy to use. I find it too rigid in use for my taste, but many consider this a positive advantage. 

Xero is expensive.  It does have a bit of a learning curve. It is rapidly growing in popularity.

Quickbooks/Reckon used to be my personal favorite. I find it clumsy to use. I am not keen on their support. It is good, they always seem to answer my questions, but they often leave me unsatisfied. What I do like is its flexibility in reporting.  It does seem to need more training than other software packages.   

The last column, *NONE* is what caused us the most discussion. Today more people are no longer using any accounting system. What is happening is that online bank software has been getting better. Many SMB retailers now find that they can service their accounting needs with our software, and these bank links free. As such, they are dropping the accounting software. I am sure this trend with continue.

Like always let me know your thoughts.

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Managing the queues in a COVID world

POS SOFTWARE

Now we have to manage retail queues in a COVID world. 

These signs were all over a significant shopping centre DFO in Melbourne on Saturday.

What is happening is that shoppers in Melbourne were out in large numbers on Saturday. Yet shops can now, due to government restrictions, only have limited numbers in the shop at any one time, so queue management has become more critical than ever.

So one solution was that, in theory, they introduced maximum queue sizes. It does not look like the public went for it, though. Queues went way beyond the signs.

 


 


 

 

 

Also, what all shops had was a security guard doing queue management.
 

 



Still, I suspect it was a good boxing day in sales there.

 

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Hope the shoppers are eager today.

POS SOFTWARE

Boxing Day is the biggest day on the Australian retail shopping calendar.  

I hope it is busy in your world.

Many of my clients in a typical year expect to do about half their yearly trade in this season. For these, it's a speed test of how fast our system can be under pressure. I am sure most will be impressed with the recent increase in our software's speed in our new software.

 

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Wishing you a Merry Christmas from POS Solutions!

POS SOFTWARE

From my family to yours I wish you, I wish you all a great season.

 

Thank you for your continued support in 2020 despite all the problems. I look forward next year to continuing to enjoy and engage with you.

 

 

 

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Over Christmas, it will be business as usual here.

POS SOFTWARE

 

Well, the expression "Business as usual" isn't an expression I would use this year. Still, it seems right here.

We know that the period between Christmas and New Year is a crucial trading period for our clients. 

So for us, it will be "Business as usual." 

Our clients will be happy knowing they are getting their support as usual. 

We're always here to help. so if you have any questions or need additional advice please contact us as usual.

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I like this placement of a receipt printer

POS SOFTWARE

If you notice here in the photo above, in light blue is the front counter area for serving customers. Where the circle in green is, is the receipt printer. 

Once they served the customer, the receipt printer prints a receipt. To get their receipt, the customer has to leave the front counter area and go to the receipt printer.

This gives some advantages.

1) It makes the customer move away faster from the front counter, so speeding up the traffic flow.

2) The person serving now does not handle the receipt, a big plus in our COVID world.

3) It increases the size of the front counter so allowing more impulsive stock to be displayed.

It works.

Have a chew and tell me what you think?

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Using the Government QR tracking Services for COVID in practice

POS SOFTWARE

For many months, many businesses have needed to get details of visitors who stay for more than XX minutes on their premises. The exact details and requirements vary in different states. 

With this in mind, we tested the free COVID tracking apps available, found guestttrack worked the best, so we recommended it to our clients to use.

It saves a lot of time. What a business does is create a COVID tracking form. Then put it in a prominent place, e.g., the front door, so people who enter can scan their details. It then records the details and stores this as the government requirements. As such the business have zero work here.

Now some state governments have released their COVID tracking app, e.g., the Victorian Government which is about eight months late if you ask me.

 

From the comments of my clients, these apps seem to very programmatic in practice. For example, the Victorian one, people report it is complicated in use and it has scanning problems. This is similar to what people have reported with the ACT app to me although not as bad there. 

So we recommend to my clients if they want to use the state government apps to use it. But continue using guestttrack as a backup. 

We intend to continue with guestttrack, it works so why change?

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Learn how to check your Retail Protective Key Performance Indicators

POS SOFTWARE

Your Retail Protective Key Performance Indicators can show you what your people at the point of sale terminal are doing. It is a security check.

By far, the most critical indicator is the number of voids. 

Now I will take you through it. 


Go to cash register reports. (see orange arrow)



Now select Staff and click on "Sales security indicators" (see blue arrow)

Please select the required period you wish; most do it monthly, so pick this month.

Now, this report comes out with lots of indicators.

Check the individual to the collective.  What you are looking for is some indicator that is way different without a good reason.

I find it useful to rerun it with the same dates last year and then for the previous month and check against this month.

With COVID and the increase in electronic money usage, I am sure that the theft rate on cash is up. A thief will tend to take the same amount, but the pool of cash is less.

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Make sure that everything is working and you are ready

POS SOFTWARE

Are you ready for Christmas, have you tested that all you need is working?

 

Yesterday, a customer rang up at about 5 pm. One of the computers does not work where he needs it to work. I am sure it's the cable.  

Great stuff with less then a week to go, the business is not prepared. 

Right now, that retail business should have been concentrating on sales, not maintenance.

Still, it did give me a chance to say another quote. I love them.

Anyway if you have not done it, you need to check everything. Make a checklist and go through it.

In my experience, almost all checks find something.

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Points to be aware for friendly fraud with Credit Cards

POS SOFTWARE

What is happening now is both EFTPOS/Credit card usage, and fraud rates are way up.  What fueling the increase in fraud rates is that more EFTPOS/Credit transactions are not done in the shop.

Of the EFTPOS/Credit fraud, by far the biggest category, 71% is friendly fraud.  

Friendly fraud started when a customer queries what looks like a legitimate item on their account.  If it proceeds, what generally happens is that the bank will cancel the transaction. They will then debit the merchant. These people tend to prioritise consumer rights over merchant rights. Still, they do not like it, and since the rate is going up, we participated in a meeting to see what could be done. 

The responsibility to prove friendly fraud is on the merchant.

Here are some points you can do to reduce the risk.

1) The new DTI system that we are rolling out can help a lot the merchant. If you have not yet, signed up, do it while it is free. If it costs you nothing and can help, why not use it?

Details here.

2) If they are in the shop, process all transactions under the camera. Video evidence is something courts do accept.

3) Check the order, if the transaction amount is higher than usual. 

4) Another often larger order comes from the same customer after delivery. A fraudster who gets away with it will often try again.

4) Save delivery documentation. Signed documentation is a big help. 

5) If in doubt, contact your EFTPOS/Credit provider.

 

Hope this is of help.

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Have detailed Business Reports sent automatically

POS SOFTWARE

This has proven a godsend for many of our clients during this COVID crisis. What they could do is get detailed Business Reports automatically sent to them by SMS or email. 

Let us start!

Go into End of Day.

Now in the Options, you can see (red arrow) where you have plenty of options and pages so you can specify the report to your needs. 

Now see the brown arrow. Press that.

Now out will come out more reports option, don't worry about them yet we can cover them in another post. Let just get started now, and we can build later.

Click on the blue arrow. This is where you can schedule the report. I recommend that you set it up daily and archive it in your email folders if you do not need it that day. If you want, you can set up a filter in your email. It is rare for someone looking in their data to complain that they have too much information.

Now in the green arrow area, put in your email details and save.

Now you will get detailed business reports sent to you automatically.

This gives you the power of data on the fingertips that only big retailers' executives had until recently.

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Tip for your business

POS SOFTWARE

Although this tip came out of a Facebook page one of my clients set up and uses, it applies to all advertising that you do.

Do not make your customers hunt for your phone number. Today, it is all well and good to use email, but often people want your phone number. 

I would suggest that you put it right in front.

 

 

 

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This is how to quickly search in your reports!

POS SOFTWARE

Sometimes what happens is you print off a big report, and all you want is one small piece of information. Our software has a simple and easy-to-use set of features that will allow you to search through your reports. Here is one of them.

This is the problem. I ran this report, which, if you look at the red arrow, you can see that it is 13,533 pages long. It is all great stuff, but what if all I wanted is one item off the report? Say one greeting card details.

Well, it's simple to find!

 

Press the search button marked with a brown arrow above, up comes a box shown with the blue arrow.

Now since I want to find a card that has "heart" in the title. So I entered here "heart" and then pressed "Find next"

Out popped out immediately the card on page 312. If not right, I press "Next"

Now that is a lot faster than manually searching through 13,533 pages!

It's lovely how our software has useful benefits like this.

 

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Items to add to the Christmas checklist

POS SOFTWARE

Here are some items to add to your checklist

Analyse Your Sales information

Go to Register reports

Now select "Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period."

 

Selected a period like what you want to check this year

Out will come a report with the top sellers for last year, this time.

As well, do the same report for the last few weeks this year.

In this report, you will get current stock figures for each of these items. Check that you have enough as you don't want to run out of items check you have enough.

Organise Your Staff Rosters

Make sure you have enough coverage at peak hours and schedule staff breaks. Check your traffic analysis report by the hours, which you will find marked with a green arrow below.

 

You do this by putting in dates from a previous period here that you feel will give you typical results for the roster you are trying to create.

Now what you will get is a colour-coded analysis which shows the activity in the shop. Look at those periods marked in red as these are expected to be your busy period.

Promote Your Extended Hours

Some businesses now are shut. Some are open. You need to communicate with your customers to let them know your opening hours, even if it's just a sign like this on the window.

 

Also, ensure that opening hours are up-to-date on your website and all social media.

 

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Bad barcodes will cost you money without you even knowing it?

POS SOFTWARE

Your cashiers need to process transactions quickly and accurately to keep your lanes moving.  Yet bad barcodes slow down the lanes and cause errors.

Here is a quick and straightforward way to determine the problem

Go in cash register reports.

Select in sales

Dissection Sales /Profitability for a given period

Now place here, say the past three months and run this report.

You will get a report that looks like this one. Now, look at the last row marked.

Now run down the list.

You are looking for dissections with high quantities, and low scan rates as these are the big problem here.

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Do Fake Security Cameras need legal notification?

POS SOFTWARE


It's a good question which I am not sure. One of my clients got into a little trouble about this as the camera was pointing into a private area. Nothing serious happened, but it may be something worth considering.

I would say that the safest action is to assume that fake cameras have to adhere to the same laws as the real ones.

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Notes on the best free office software 2020: alternatives to Microsoft

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

A study of Seek listings showed that a top skill required by employers today was the use of an office suite.  In business today, it's a must-have. The days of secretaries and personal assistants are long over. 

Microsoft Office is so familiar today that almost all software will link directly (natively) into it, including ours. Microsoft no longer supports the old versions of Microsoft Office, yet they work. They also continue to work with our software. Since they are out of support today, you can buy a Microsoft Office Suite 2010 for about $30, which works fine. I use it, and I have not bothered updating it. 

In my experience, the essential functions of a business today are word processing and spreadsheets. I have marked in yellow above these. To me, the rest is a bonus.  

If you want something else, there are plenty of free office software here. All seem to be relatively easy to use, all packed with features, and most importantly, fully compatible with Microsoft Office documents. I  admit I have not used many of them, but I do like OpenOffice, which is there. It's a case of working through them and finding one you like.

They should all will work with our software, although some not natively. So if you decide to use one of these, you may need to do three extra steps, save it in our software, and then open their office suite and call it up. 

Saying this I do recommend that all businesses today use at least one such software.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Tabcorp link, rolling it out to you?

POS SOFTWARE

We are clarifying here the situation now of linking the Tabcorp machines into POS software like ours. 

This is a project that is being administrated by XChangeIT and shows much potential.

 

 

So for months now, we have been linking Tabcorp machines into our software. Directly many of our clients are now connected.  This is saving them a lot of time.

It allows sales through the Tabcorp system to get into our software electronically and semi-automated. It is:

- Faster
- Means less work for you to do.
- Has less chance of errors 
- Gives you better independent reconciliation.

As a bonus, if you want more control and/or do loyalty marketing, you can assign the Tabcorp sales to a person.

It is free to all XChangeiT customers.

*BUT* and there is always a but 

It is only available currently in South Australia. So we have for months have rolled it out to our relevant South Australian customers.  We have been waiting for the word to link in the rest of our customers.  

Yesterday, I asked for clarification and information from XChangeIT about rolling this out to all our clients. 

They told me this. 

"We await some Tabcorp material and it should be available for the January effort. This is because it looks like we will only be piloting in SA until then. If we get it sooner, I’ll pass it on."

If you want more details, click here.

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Delivery issues, why you need click and collect now?

POS SOFTWARE

The public is demanding free delivery, yet everything has a cost not necessarily fair as many larger firms can negotiate cheap delivery costs. Then there is the packing of goods which adds costs. So as delivery cannot be charged often the goods must be dearer priced.

Also, currently, delivery times are causing havoc. 

Solution why not have a click and collect service?

It is free, fast, and convenient. So you can save on shipping costs. A significant advantage here, unlike delivery, the goods are inspected before acceptance. 

If so, here are some steps:

Have a standard form to email your customers with the steps outlined for collection. 

Make a formal pick-up point with accessible signage, hopefully, under security camera viewing. Many retailers share such a spot with other retailers nearby.

Email order details and confirmation with pick-up details and instruction form attached. 

Have your items pre-sorted and ready for pick up aligned with the customer pick-up notices. 

Why not review the customer experience? Send them a thank you email as this will both advertise your shop.

Finally, why not request feedback from your customers; this will allow you to improve in the future.

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