Point of Sale Software

POS SOFTWARE

 

One resource that has exploded now as a result of this pandemic is online learning. There are many lectures and course on almost any subject currently available. Universities, various education institutes, companies, organisations, professors, private people, etc., now do talks, lectures and courses on any subject. We have too. Currently, we do almost all of our training online. Heaps of our clients' now book in for training sessions. Besides being the only way now, it is efficient. 

I am finding some of them helpful eg the Victorian Chamber of Commerce (VCCI) has been running some practical talks, which I have attended. Often it gives me an understanding of the issues. Plus an appreciation of what the authorities are looking at with these issues. I also did an SEO course run by a leading SEO company and an online course on SMB marketing which was excellent.   

Overall the importance of disseminating knowledge has been highlighted through COVID-19. 

Here are some tips which I use.

1) Unless you have some career *resume* reasons, do not worry about doing the course tests or diplomas. 

2) Check first if you can do it when you want. We are not students with the time to fit our lives into a course. We need something we can do, stop at any time and come back too when we have time—no point in signing up for something that is done on a schedule. The kids will scream about something, an important phone call will come through, or some goods will arrive and needs your immediate attention.

3) Try short talks because the odds are we will not have the time or interest to finish. Often what we want is one good idea and then time to digest it. 

4) Try varying the talks. A change is as good as a holiday.

5) I do like YouTubes, as I can listen when I want and stop when I want. I do not know how kids have the strength to keep going for hours of education. I need a break. Forty-five minutes is, for me, the maximum. Then I will often stop, then I have a break and only then come back to it.

6) The other point good about youtube is the comments. Read them as it lets you know what others think about the ideas presented.

For many of us stuck in this pandemic, this online learning has kept us sane.

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POS SOFTWARE

I have now clients that are doing much of their business with a Buy Now, Pay Later  (BNPL) service. They have little choice as most users of BNPL have stopped using their credit card to spend goods. It makes sense if you hold a BNPL account and say you buy $20 in a shop on EFTPOS, they get surcharged 50 cents, so it costs him $20.50, and they have to pay now. If they buy the same product with a BNPL card, they get it for $20 and gets up to eight weeks to settle. 

The retailer's problem is that the current business model of the BNPL is to charge the retailers the fees. Then demand that the retailer does not pass on these costs. So to the retailer, the immediate problem with BNPL is that they are losing between 3 to 7 percent.  Many products my clients handle cannot afford these fees. 

For some items like Lay-by, most retailers, I see, will accept this loss. This is cheaper than monitoring the Lay-by, plus it avoids the current legal minefield of Lay-bys.

This is about to change with the Big Banks coming in. What the banks will be offering is a much bigger mass distribution of BNPL. According to the CBA bank, they will do a check on someone. If that person is seen as a reasonable risk, which seems to be everyone with an income source, they will offer them a BNPL option. If your customer uses this option, which I believe will work on your existing EFTPOS system, you have no added fees to you, the retailer. I am not sure whether you will know your customer is using BNPL.

If so, the retailer is looking at the BNPL market doubling in size and the fees coming down massively.

It is going to be big!

I did bring up with the CBA but did not answer is many products are not allowed with BNPL, e.g. live animals. We had to change our systems to make BNPL work because of this. Will they be permitted with commbank BNPL? Who knows? If the retailer does not know BNPL is used, how do they enforce this ban?

 

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POS SOFTWARE

 

Cloud computing is incredible.

As this woman above shows, you can be anywhere. This picture was taken at the snow. As long as you have a decent internet connection, you can get into your system. During the COVID lockdown, many clients ran much of their business using the cloud from home. It works great. It is also great for linking if you have several shops into one system. 

Conducting your computer activities through the cloud is now getting more popular. 

Yet, cloud computing depends on your Internet connection. Here are some notable problems with the internet now.

Few people buy high commercial grade internet. I have seen $5,000 a month quoted. For most, it is not worth it, so they buy a cheaper system trusting the claims, which often dubious. If you are our clients, you can call us, and our internet people can help you here. 

Now the internet is under strain since COVID hit. Traffic has skyrocketed. I have clients whose internet often now comes to a halt when it gets busy online. 

When something goes, wrong technicians are harder to get them out to fix the problem. The days of the internet going down and a technician coming the next day is over. It is so frustrating. I know people who have now been waiting for a year to connect to broadband despite being told it was available. 

With the cloud, sometimes it goes quickly and sometimes it takes forever. Get used to that, because it is not changing soon.

In many places, the internet is not up to scratch. 

To make it work, you need all the business-critical software you run on the cloud to have *offline syncing*. If there is a network problem, at least you can work. When the access is restored, the software will automatically sync the files. This way, you run your system on the computers where you are *local mode*. So you have the speed of local computers and the benefit of the cloud.

To do this, you need cloud architecture. It involves emergency internet connections and computers that can handle the replication of data.

We call this hybrid cloud. We have it.

Also if you are running email over the cloud, consider using off-line mode eg Gmail.

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POS SOFTWARE


 

Business Interruption Insurance pandemic

Many insurance policies now have a business interruption clause. They sell it to cover a business if it has to close because it cannot function, e.g. fire or flood. Many people thought it covered their business over COVID with this clause. Well, it appears that some insurance companies dispute whether COVID is covered here. A meeting was held by newsagents, to which I was invited about the knock backs on claims by insurance companies on their business claim here. This problem, of course, is not only affecting newsagents. I would say almost all retail was affected. 

The situation now is unclear. We had a case on this in the NSW High Court. The insurance company lost, but it was both a narrow claim and it probably will be appealed to the High Court. The problem is that many insurance policies contain several exclusions. In particular, here for infectious diseases and the question of whether COVID is a *quarantinable* disease. This is yet to be finalised in court. Considering the cost to the insurance companies, I am sure they will test every bit of it.

The other issue is that onus on proving the value of your loss will rest with you. I hope you have your financial figures and documents in order.

Still, if you operated a business covered then under business interruption insurance policy, you have a valid claim even if the insurance company has knocked it back.

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POS SOFTWARE

 

During this pandemic, I think my company support staff and the IT industry, in general, has done a remarkable job in keeping our community going and functioning.  In challenging circumstances, they have provided quality professional service under some extraordinary conditions 24 x 7. 

We kept every single one of our clients open. As a result, the public got from our clients, newspapers from newsagents, medicine from its pharmacist, pet food from its pet shops, garden supplies, plumbing goods etc.

 

 

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POS SOFTWARE

One trick often used by bargain hunters is looking for items that were on sale years ago. Sometimes the old codes still work, and so they can pick up a bargain. Occasionally in bargain sites, someone will pop up noting such a deal. That is how I got a good price on some software. 

The same trick can occur in your shop. You may have items that were on sale long ago in your system. This is because someone has incorrectly not taken out the deal. So these old prices are still active despite the sale being over long ago. This is a big problem if you import from a supplier their prices directly. 

It was often not picked up as you had no stock, but this stock if it creeps back into your shop and you have an old sale price.  

You can use many reports to find these items, but we have a special report to combat this. It is specially designed to find such items. 

Go to register reports>Stock>Stock on Sale between a given period

Put in the relevant detail and see what you have.

I suggest that you do run it now. Rarely, it does not find anything.

 

 

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POS SOFTWARE

Fortunately, most of our users took our advice and have set Windows 10 to delay its upgrade by a few days. This is to give Microsoft time to work out the various glitches in its updates.

Some of those that have not have found the latest update has been affecting some computers connections to specific printers. This has resulted in system crashes.

If you are affected, please contact us as we have a fix for our printers.

Your other alternative is to remove the update and wait till the okay from Microsoft come.  The problem here is that this update includes some critical security patches, which you should have. Knowing Microsoft, there can be a month delay before the fix arrives.

 

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POS SOFTWARE

 

Local SEO is the term we use to use for online searches. This gets people to come to their business in a local area - this includes newsagents, pet shops, chemist, etc.  

So, how important is it? Today, the answer is significant: today. 60% of Australians, before they buy something, search at least once a day online. If you do a search as my sample above, you miss an opportunity every time you are not there.

Today Australians do not go on shopping trips, they go on shopping missions. So it is imperative to improve your local SEO if you want to increase your shop sales.

Say I am looking for stationery as above, where you want your business to sit.

It is not only for big businesses. Small local business can do a lot to get good results from an online search. 

What Google does is look basically at three things. Proximity, prominence and relevance.

Note two of the factors, proximity and relevance, do not depend on your business's size, 

Prominence is only partly dependant on your size.  If you are active online, your prominence goes up. 

As a guy who has helped many SMB with their websites, I can assure you that it is not that hard to rank well locally for your product.  If you are in a niche market, it is often not hard to rank well nationally either.  

If you want to see where you stand currently, you can check through a Google and Bing search.

-Put in your business name and see what comes up. 

-Then put in your main products and see what comes up.

Note the business that crops up and record their name. Now, look at their websites.

If you want something better and feel that you have better than average software knowledge, I use this product. Give it a try as it is free on the demo and that demo is quite useable.

Please have a run on it first, learn to use it a bit and only then give me a call, and I can take you through some stuff.  

The full product itself is here again. let me know first before buying as for our clients. I can get you a good discount.

 

 

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POS SOFTWARE

Many business people wonder if opening their shop at some times is worth it. This is particularly true now, as shopping has changed. This is driving our hairdressing shop clients crazy but every business now affected.

The problem is that there are many variable costs with opening extra hours. Beside these utilities and salaries costs, there are also issues like quality of life. On top of that, there is often the law of diminishing returns. Many customers will come when they know you are open anyway. 

If you are using our point of sale system, we have reports that will help you make an informed decision. Using them, many of our clients have gained efficiencies by adjusting their trading hours by determining if the sales justify the increased costs?

Now there are many such reports in our POS software. This one, in particular, you should look at is sales traffic analysis. It will give you a visual picture based on days and times.

Note its colour coded to make it easier to see.

Now do not pick a short period to determine the report for this as sometimes sales can be deceiving. What can happens then is that one big customer may be skewing the sales information. Check the number of sales too.

This is not about working harder. It's more about working smarter. To do this, you need to sit down and look over your figures. Then make an assessment.

Our software can give you those figures.

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POS SOFTWARE

If you wanted to increase your computer speeds, these M2 SSD hard drives were the answer. Unfortunately, until relatively recently, these were not an option. Few were available and very expensive.  Yet, this has changed. Prices have dropped, and supply has gone up.

Here is a speed test.

Based on this, you are looking at a 25 times increase compared to your existing HDD hard drive. If you have an SSD drive, then you can see here a five times increase. 

Here are some more benefits.

- What I particularly notice is that they are so much quieter as they produce no noise. The constant background noise of a computer, I find it very annoying.

- They should last longer than traditional mechanical hard drives as they have no moving parts.

-Less cable inside as it has no power cables and no data cables.

-It is smaller, so you get better use of space.

Replacing your hard drive will give you a massive performance boost to your PC. It’ll be like having a brand new computer.

Interested let us know.

 

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POS SOFTWARE

I will show you how to set up and use your location dashboard in your shop.

This form of analysis is called Same-store sales and is frequently used by many retailers. I will show you how our system can do it. 

A bit of background first. Most consider in a shop different parts of your shop have different value to the business. In places in the front, a product to justify itself in the front needs good sales. While in the back, often much lower sales results are acceptable. What professional marketers do is set a budget for each area of the shop. Then what they do is compare usually monthly sales in that area. This they displayed on a dashboard. Anything significantly different raises flags.

Let us start, so first, we need to set up.

Look around your shop and divide the shop into locations. Generally, a shop is divided into departments already, so this is not hard so use departments. 

Now check that your stock has location entered. If not, then go to stock systems> stock editing> stock level editing. 

Give all your stock a suitable location. Although this will not take you a lot of time, it may take a while for the computer to process. Nothing we can do about this as we need to get locations going.

For each location you adopt, calculate the area it takes up, which is simple to do by pacing it out. Now decide what weekly budget you would like for each location to have. Generally, your till rolls at the end of the day will tell you. You need both figures area and budget to get this to work.

Now go to system maintenance> Dissection maintenance > Location

Put in the location and give it a weekly budget.

Now go to register reports>stock>weekly location targets.

Put in an appropriate date and outcomes a very detailed report, full of comparisons for each location. 

Now on the first few shots, you need to fine-tune it somewhat the figures. This is expected but once bedded down, it will work well. 

You will get a lot of relevant information on your shop from this report and it will be something you can use.

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POS SOFTWARE

 

One result of this COVID disaster is that usage of card-only transactions has increased. Many of my clients have seen a significant reduction in their cash transactions. According to some figures, I have seen about 30% of Australians now no longer use cash. Some are saying that within three years in Australia, we will ditch notes and coins. Here is an interesting video on some of the issues.

I doubt it. Many of our clients have tried card-only transactions. They quickly reverted to accepting cash. The Reserve Bank of Australia in December reported that, while cash has fallen, it was not plummeting. I remember similar statements said about cheques a few years ago, well cheques are still used today. Still, there are many signs that Australia is moving into a more cashless society which does not mean cashless.

I expect that with lockdown ending, cash will go up. Conversely, cashless will go up as our Social Security will be offering large numbers of Australians a free debit card CDC. I have been told that only our clients are using CDC in our market space now, but I expect this to change soon.

BNPL, e.g. Afterpay, is growing and now makes up about 10% of cashless transactions. The worry here is the high added cost to retailers as they pay with BNPL much of the fees. 

These cashless transaction fees are a long-term problem for retailers. Particularly smaller retailers, as their fees are proportionally bigger.

The question here is, what are you going to do about it?

Many of my clients have introduced EFTPOS fees, then claiming it did not affect their trade. I doubt it; when I look at their sales using big data, I can often see an impact. It is small but its there.  

I have noticed that many of my clients when asking me, have not done much research. So I have been able to get them significantly reduced fees on cashless transactions.  

Note: I am not saying that fees are the only criteria. For example, the quality of service is also important, as recent events with outages have shown. 

The other issue is that large organisations enjoy card payments analysis with detailed reports on their customers that smaller retailers cannot get unless they have a DTI system installed.

 

 

 

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POS SOFTWARE

The unfortunate fact is that we all have old stock sitting in the shop. As a rule, they say that you should look into cull the bottom 20% of your stock. 

You can look at the sales by GMROI, profit and numbers as I showed earlier. But you can also look at those products that are just sitting on the shelf. This is very easy to do and will take you only a second to do.

Go to register reports> Stock> Old Stock on hand.

Now pick a department and get a list of when this stock arrived and the quantity you have on hand.  I am sure you will find some are very old; this will be costing you by just sitting there.

Now please decide what to do with this stock.

Note: You can also run this report by a supplier, which sometimes is handy as some suppliers will allow you to return old stock.

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POS SOFTWARE


 

Suddenly yesterday, a few people asked me how to get each item's actual stock sales over the last 12 months. 

What they want to see is how many items they moved each month in a department. To do this, you need two years of history. So although we have a report that shows 12 months, I showed them the 24-month sales history report. This is because of what required when looking at sales is to see what you sold last year about this time. For example, Easter is coming up. Say you sell Easter items. With the previous 12 months, you will miss all the sales leading up to Easter for these items. That is why large suppliers often work with figures for the last two years. They then tend to quote you such statistics as this time last year, you sold ...... 

Plus if you are looking at Easter, you may want to look by a selected supplier with these Easter items or a selected range of items marked for Easter. So you rarely need the whole department, as it is too big. 

Well, it is all easy to do and will take you a second to find out.

To get started, go to Register Reports > Sales Stock >  Stock Sales Details 24 Month Trend.

Now put in the criteria you want, and you will see the above report.

You get a lot of detail, the stock on hand figure, two years of history, the total sales, etc.

This report can help you to get helpful insights into the stock that you sell.

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POS SOFTWARE

As I stated, GRMOI is one of the foundations of modern inventory management today. This is why we have supplied our clients with this powerful tool. 

Hopefully, now, you have been trying out Gross Margin Return on Inventory (GMROI) in your shop. If not, look at my post a few days ago and only then come back to this post.

What GMROI incorporates in one figure, stock turns and profit. It allows you to focus on margins and turnovers.

The significant advantage of GMROI 

1) It is consistent and widely used. Other systems, such as Direct Product Analysis (DDP), need you to make assumptions. They take much longer to work out. Different people using it come out with other figures. So their analysis will give various figures depending on who runs the report.  I will show you DDP in our software in another post soon because it is also excellent. 

With GMROI, everyone is looking at the same figure.

2) It is quick and easy to use. All you have to do is run a report. The computer can do the calculation.

GMROI is simple.

3) It allows you to compare widely different products quickly.  

Using it, you can compare every item in the shop in seconds.

4) Overstocking is highlighted.

This is one of its best functions so it will cut your stock levels.

Let us discuss the problems.

1) A minor product can have a terrific GMROI, but its effect on the shop can be zero. For example, if a product that turns over a lot has a decent margin, it is pretty useless if it made you a profit of $2/week. It would not even pay the handling and rent that it takes up.

So you are not going to get out of using our profit reports, which need to be considered.

2) If you understock, you can often drive the stock turns up, so giving you higher GMROI. Yet that will cost you sales.

High GMROI is not always good.

3) It does not consider other costs, e.g. handling and shipping costs or suppliers terms.  


4) It does not take into account that often you need a range of products. For example, people may come to your shop because they know you have an extensive range. If all you have is one title or brand, they may decide to go elsewhere else. After all, they can buy in a supermarket which also has a common brand. 

Range often sells.

5) It may show you problems but not what you can do to fix the problem. There may be only so many you can sell. There may be good reasons why your low margin items are low: price-sensitive, set by suppliers, etc.

Often its conclusions are not actionable. 

As a rule, I recommend looking at the extremes of the GMROI, both the high and low results, first.  Once used to GMROI, you will find it an indispensable tool.

Enjoy and let me know how it goes.

Comments

Thanks for sharing this blog. Restaurant Management can be made easy by simply installing your restaurant software. Handling various aspects of your restaurant like the front desk, kitchen, menu updates, and table allocations can be done easily.

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POS SOFTWARE

CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management.

You all have a CRM software written for retail that we supplied to you *FREE*.

Why not try it out?

Consider this if you go to a corporate and talk to their retail executives and experts there. What you will find is that these people know about retail. Often they have heaps of years in retail. Behind them are many experts that are giving them scientific information. They know retail. 

These people do not think its enough to have a shop and then wait for people to visit them. This is, unfortunately, is what so many SMB retailers do. What they feel is that people need to be enticed to come to their shops. So they look at how to give these people a reason to visit and shop with them. This can be expensive so what they need is a way of measuring how they are going. What they want is to make changes and then see how it goes. Then they want to know if these changes did or didn't work and also why. This is partly why they need CRM. 

Also, they want to build up loyal customers as it is said, "Good customers are as rare as latinum (Gold) - treasure them". A retail CRM system is required to find and build loyalty. A customer that comes regularly is worth much more to your business than the big buyer who comes once.

CRM today is the key to managing business communication in modern retail. 

Shops that had a CRM are doing much better during our COVID world than those who did not have one. I bet they will continue to do better in the POST-COVID world too.

Why not give it a try?

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If you are serious about selling products like gifts, you need to buy much of your products directly.  This means overseas. 

If you are not what you will find, your supplier buys it for X and sells it to you at X plus extra, so you have to sell it to make a profit for X plus a lot more.  Then what you will often find is that the gifts you have are not particularly difficult to get. Many other shops are selling what you have.  So you do not get much margin. 

The ones that make good profits in the gifts industry specialise in a product line and import direct.  

Now it is a bit harder to buy overseas, but it is also more profitable. This is because of the recent movements in world currencies. It also depends on when you or your supplier has paid for the goods. Plus how much they have in stock and their movements etc. This is why the difference in prices on offer for the same goods often are now huge.

So my tip is now is a good time to shop between suppliers. 

One site I recommend which has everything is Alibaba.  Look at what you are buying now and see what you can get it there. Do not be afraid to bargain with them over quantity and price. That is why the site is there.  Try a few orders and see how you go. 

A tip I recommend is always buying from overseas suppliers with PayPal or  Alibaba. That way, you get a guarantee if something is not right, the fact is that you do not know them. 

I had one client that decided to buy mobile cases. He contacted a few overseas suppliers and decided on a few. Over time, he built up his purchases. He now sells a lot of mobile cases with decent margins.

 

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A few days, I showed you could improve your shop sales by examining the item (granular) level the quantity, profit and sales.  It produced a lot of comments. These are important, but they are not considered the most crucial measurement in modern retail.  

The most crucial measure today is the Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI)

I will show you here what it is and how to get it immediately from your system.

Using GMROI you can get shop profit up, often dramatically.

What it measures is for every dollar invested in an item by the retailer, what profit did the retailer get back. It combines sales,  margins, stock turns and investment theory into one number.

The calculation is.

GMROI = ($Gross Sales -$Cost)/($Ave inventory at cost)

Example 

-Consider an item A with an annual sales of $1000 at a Gross Margin (or Gross Profit) of 30%

Gross Margin $$ = $300.00

Say my stock holding on an average over the year was $200

My GMROI = $300.00 / $200.00 = $1.5

What you get with this product is $1.50 back for every $1.00 you invested in that item.

- Now say we have an item B with an annual sales of $2000 at a Gross Margin (or Gross Profit) of 25%

Gross Margin $$ = $500.00

Say my stock holding on an average over the year again was $200

My GMROI = $500.00 / $200.00 = $2.5, so for every dollar, I put into this item, I get back $2.5, which is much better.

Based on this, you should push item B more even though its margins are lower. This is because it has a higher stock turn. So in theory what want items B.

Unfortunately this is an impossible calculation for a person to do for all the items in most shops manually. But it is no problem for a computer.

So what we have made is a training video to show you how to get these figures.

Please get a feel of what your items GMROI are and I will in a couple of days show you some of the benefits and limitations of it. 

Enjoy

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Protecting your information in most retail shops is hard. This is as generally, many people in your business have access to your system. We used to set up all our clients with a secret VeraCrypt drive to get over this problem. No-one can read that drive unless they have the password. To get your information, they need your password to log into your VeraCrypt program. This makes your information secure on an open network. 

This is one of the best and trusted encryption software for Windows. 

You can get a copy of the software here.

For an explanation on how to use it and set it up, look here.

If you are going to use it, here are some tips.

1) Never use AES+SHA-512. There are many other options, so select something else. This is because if someone is trying to break into your system, they will assume you are using it.

2) Do a complete shutdown when you finish with Veracrypt. You can do this by hold down the SHIFT key on your keyboard and then click the "Shut down" option in the Start Menu. This is because your password is in RAM, and the hibernation file 

3) Use a new password and make it long. Almost all cracked systems are because someone knows or guesses your password, e.g. your child's birth date. 

4)  Make a "Hidden VeraCrypt volume" for your sensitive information. 

Doing this is another advantage too if your computers are lost or stolen, no one can read your private information.


Enjoy your privacy.

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My post on the need of item sales information caused a lot of inquiries. 

-The problem is that besides sales, many people want to know the items that sell the most.

-The items that give the most profit, stock turns, etc., in a category, department, location, etc.

So go to Register reports > Stock> Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period.

Let us say you want to know, for this range, what sells the more by quantity, well it is easy to find out. Click "Select Top By" above and click "Units Sold". Retail experts call this the vote. They consider that the shoppers are when they buy they vote on that item. That is considered to be why people are coming into your shop. 

I think a more meaningful measure is the profit item below it. This shows the things that are producing money for you. 

A useful idea that works is to put near the best selling item, the most profitable items.

I do suggest that you try out these options above now and experiment with them.

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