BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

Future of resturants

POS SOFTWARE

This report from the US is fascinating. 

In 2015, Americans spent more money at restaurants than at the grocery shop. Forty percent of all new leases in Manhattan this year, more than clothing stores, banks, and health clubs combined, according to data from the real-estate company Cushman & Wakefield are moving into restaurants.

Based on the current trend in 2020, more than half of restaurant spending is projected to be “off-premise”—not inside a restaurant but in deliveries, drive-throughs, and takeaway meals which will be over  80 percent of the industry’s growth in the next five years.

It so the grocery shop may soon go another example of how delivery is becoming much more important.

 

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Colour monitor

POS SOFTWARE

If you want to improve the look of your front counter, then this idea is sometimes done and it is quick.

Replace when its time the old computer screen like this one.

Old monitor for the tip

 

and put in a coloured monitor like this.

 



 

It takes less space as the printer as you can see is under the screen. 

This will enhance your shop. 

If you go this path, what you need to consider is that you are not looking to create the most beautiful shop in the street, but one that has coherence so pick a colour that matches what you have so it can match your company colours. 

If you have not thought much about colour or you want to review what you have, click here for a quick introduction on this subject.

 

 

 

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Epay cutoff

POS SOFTWARE

Many of you yesterday were cut off e-pay. Many of these people got a shock when it happened. I was surprised as we received no official warning either even though we have heaps of clients on this platform. 

This could surely have been handled better by e-pay!

I can understand why so many of them are upset and find this quite serious. Here is a graph of Telco sales in an average client of ours in my benchmark study, which I did a while ago month by month.

 

Although I found the profit is not particularly good, but what it did do is bring an average of 120 customers a month into their shops. Based on that, now this month, many of my clients will have 120 upset customers. What did surprise me when I did this study that the retail market in physical shops for Telco and Giftcards was growing at about 8% a year. The clients it brings in are a fair range but some of the overseas tourists particularly the Chinese are great customers to get.

The only immediate solution we can offer our clients is an Afterpay touch solution which has almost the same products, of course, there are some pluses and minuses, but for most people, it should do the job well. 

I think, looking at both systems that the Afterpay touch system is better. It is easier to use, which is very important if you have casuals and works better. I also prefer the Afterpay touch team and support better. 

If you are affected or are interested and need to know, please let me know by clicking here.

We should be able to fix you up fairly quickly.

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World Wide Web today

POS SOFTWARE

It's World Wide Web Day or #WideWebDay for computer people.

It's staggering when you think that its 30 years since they came up with it. Remember the dodgy telephone connections we used to use?

Click here for a video in 1981, of the first newspapers online. It had a few pictures, no videos and was about an hour to get the paper on the computer. We unquestionably have come a long way since then so I wonder what'll be next?.

Do you remember your first introduction to the web? A friend came down to see me and then started to talk of surfing the internet, and I had no clue what he was talking about with this. So he then took me to a cyber cafe, with great fanfare. Only when we arrived, the computer in the cyber cafe was dead, so I still had little clue what it was about, but I knew I had to investigate this further.

Looking at our records, it was in 1998 when we had our first website, that was impressive and remarkable technology then. Few companies then had a website and none in our marketspace. Then in 2000, we dropped our individual internet accounts for work and introduced a company email account. I can still remember our receptionist, telling me proudly that "I emailed an enquiry", he had never done anything like that before.  

Can you imagine what the world would look like without the internet? 

Our software is now completed embedded in it. 

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Tablets in point of sale software

POS SOFTWARE

A lot of people like to use standard computer tablets in retail POS systems which work beautifully with our system.

The immediate problem is that people, including staff as well as customers, have been known to steal them. As such what they need is some way of protecting them so what retailers do is have strap like this

 

 

or stands for them. This works but does cause a loss of its most significant advantage of the tablet, its mobility.

The big plus of the stand is that those on the strap can still be dropped. When it drops, the glass in the front sometimes cracks. Unfortunately, this is not covered under warranty as accidental damage generally isn't covered by the supplier warranty or by consumer law.
 

In my experience, if you want to use tablets in retail, the best tablets are windows based. The costs are generally cheaper, and they do more as they are designed for a business in mind.

 

 

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Impulse marketing

POS SOFTWARE

I was reading an article in better retailing here. It certainly gave me something to think. Pepsi has a Head of Impulse category, and he explained how the PepsiCo system works and that in one trial it increased sales by 17%.

Well, it is straightforward to do with our system, will not take you very long to set up, and if it works why not try it?

And its easy in our point-of-sale system to do it.

Go to Register reports.

 

 

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

 

 

You will want about 40 items with say the last three months of sales so on our listing which will look like this.

 

Checked that the top 40 items are right in the front with good facing, so they are noticeable by the public.  

Give it a shot and see how you go. 

If it works, I would suggest going over each department and making sure that the top 40 of each department are with good facing. 
 

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SHOPLIFTING STATISTICS

POS SOFTWARE

The following are a selection of points from the newest US study on loss prevention; you can read the full list here.

 

The average shrink rate is now 1.33%, which is slightly up on previous years.

41% of retailers surveyed reported increases in overall inventory shrink.

36.5% of shrink is external, due to shoplifting and ORC, outpacing shrink caused by employee theft, vendor fraud and administrative errors. 

44% of shoplifters interviewed said that if an employee paid attention to them while they were committing theft, it would deter them. 

Here is one that was quoted to me not on this list one in 34 retail employees have been in the USA charged with shop theft. 

 

 

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Wasted discounts

POS SOFTWARE

Technically a wasted discount in retail is a discount that you give for an item that you would have sold without the discount because consumers would have bought the products at a full price so the discounts didn’t generate extra sales or volumes. This is a big problem in loyalty marketing as the first ones, in general, to take advantage of discounts are the regular customers the business has.

So with this in mind, a well-known management company  Nielsen Pacific, looked at the food and grocery marketing in Australia, which is worth about $51 billion a year. They estimated that now about 38% of all products sold this year were discounted, and of that, about 20% of the discounts in total were wasted discounts. 

Reading their report I decided to do a calculation of the effect of discounting, particularly just how much extra one would have to sell to generate the loss of income due to the discount. Now I will do the calculation without GST as it changes nothing here.

So let us imagine you are selling 100 of a product a month at $1 with a margin of 30%. 

Turnover = $100

Cost  = $70

Profit  = $30

Now say you give a discount of 10%, what you need to do is now sell 150 products as your turnover now is 150 x  $1 x (1-10%) = $135. Your cost is 150 x  $1  x (1-30%) = $105. Your profit is $135 - $105 = $30. So you have had to sell 50% more to get the same profit without a discount.

In reality, you will need more as handling costs, storage costs, display costs, etc will be more too but let us leave that point for another day's discussion.

Now if I do the same calculation for a discount of 15%,  you have to sell 200 products or 100% more to get the same profit before the discount was issued.

So what I decided to do was to make a graph of what it looks like which I think you will find interesting. 

 

The blue line is for a product that has a 25% margin, the red line is for a product with a 30% margin, and the green line is for a product with a 50% margin.

As you can see the low margin products are much more affected by discounting but even here once you start hitting 15% discount a product with 50% margin, needs a lot more sales to justify the deduction. 

As a rule of thumb in retail, every 1% discount needs at least a 3% increase in turnover to breakeven.

This is why wasted discounts in loyalty marketing are a big issue.

If you want to know what your discounts are, check your end of day reports.

 

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New EFTPOS monitoring

POS SOFTWARE

What the recent outages which brought almost all EFTPOS terminals down in Australia have shown is that it is very hard for a retailer or for us to determine what has gone wrong initially. 

We all know something is wrong, but what? Could it be the terminal in the shop, the connection or the EFTPOS network? What I find worrying, is from these recent outages, it became clear that many people working on the EFTPOS network for support did not know initially that something was wrong either. Then as the support lines overloaded, soon we all knew something was happening.

So what I  do like about the Westpac Presto Smart terminals is they have real-time monitoring.

What it does allow is the EFTPOS escalation team to have real-time monitoring on your terminal. So it allows them to check terminal battery level, transaction errors and the most important the connectivity status that your terminal sees.

Plus it also means that they can receive alerts if terminal issues are occurring as well, so they know more about what is happening.

This all will save us a lot of time if something goes wrong. 

Click here for more details.

 

 

 

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Mesh WIFI

POS SOFTWARE

What is proving very useful in many retail shops now is mesh WIFI. What is happening is that it is excellent to rig a computer and use it around the shop. Some uses are free cash registers and stock control units where it is convenient to be able to move the computer to the point where it is needed. 

The problem can be that often people have dead spots or areas of horrible reception. You can get an app on your smartphone to identify these spots.

What you do is move around the shop with the app going seeing where there are spots with lousy coverage and then try is to avoid those areas with WIFI. If its an area that you have to have what you can try to do is try to move your internet WIFI router around so that it can reach those areas, but often this has limited success. Plus in a shop, it can be an eyesore. What we did in one shop is put the WIFI router high up on the ceiling with the security camera. Looks great there but the problem here is if someone has to change a setting on the router, it is now impossible.

The most popular way today to extend the WIFI around the shop is to use now mesh WIFI. You get boxes like this.

These you place around the shop to improve the WIFI signal, so you tend to get better speeds as well as less dead zones.  Plus you get a more extended range. One client of mine now can use his WIFI in the coffee shop over 100 metres away.

The other big plus is that most of the good ones also give you better management of your WIFI, e.g. you can set someone up with WIFI for a limited time, e.g. 2 hours and then it automatically cuts off their WIFI. You can also restrict people from accessing sensitive equipment. 

If any of this interests you, please let us know.

 

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POS Solutions in the Top 10 POS Solution providers in APAC 2019

POS SOFTWARE

 

We are delighted to confirm that POS Solutions has been selected in the Top 10 POS Solutions providers in APAC 2019.

Today they notified me that 

"With immense pleasure, I would like to let you know that our evaluation panel has shortlisted POS Solutions for the "Top 10 POS Solution providers in APAC 2019", an annual listing of 10 companies that are at the forefront of providing solutions and tackling the challenges. The 10 honoree companies are poised to be the next generation of leaders in providing solutions to influence and create a significant impact. Being named as one of “Top 10 POS Solution providers in APAC 2019” is certainly a recognition and honor which will further the public relations and marketing opportunities to strengthen the growth and market share of POS Solutions."

Unfortunately, as this is not our marketspace we will not be putting in a submission but we are really pleased that we were considered. I think it says much about our software and offerings.

 

You have the best POS software for computer, watch and jewellery

Edited Waleed "There is something wrong with your URL again" give me a call and I can fix it.

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Bill payments, to do or not to do?

POS SOFTWARE

 

The number of bill payments over the years have dropped over the counter, but it is still a big market, so many of our clients do process Bill Payments over the counter. The big plus is that it brings people into the shop. 

I would say in it promises to be a big market for the next few years. It is not just the older people, but large numbers of young and middle-aged people who pay over the counter because they can do it in cash and there are also transient people such as people who are temporary residents who have limited access to Australia's banking. These people all use phones, electricity and heating and even in this day of the internet much is paid over-the-counter.

When I did a benchmark study of our clients, I would say taking out the people that do very few, probably just their own bill payments, that left the average shop doing about 2 to 3 bill payments a day. So clearly it does bring people into the shop. How much would you pay to a Facebook consultant to get that numbers of people into your shop and buy something?

Looking at sales history, it does appear that they do buy more, although how much tends to vary a lot. 

The time taken to do a transaction is minimal. My benchmark study shows what I saw seconds. 

You get paid instantly.

On the other side, quoted fees for each transaction are small, but with our system, you are under no obligation. You can charge more if you want, by introducing a service fee. No-one can stop you because we are not an agency and we are not telling you how to run your business.

Finally, there are no commitments. If it does not work for you, you can stop using it whenever you like. 

PS If you are doing Bill Payments now, contact us as far as I know our offering is best as unlike others we do not charge or take anything out of your commission. Most importantly we probably have more billers - Australian Post, for example, I saw in a post with BPAY had about 2,000 to 3,000 billers while our Bill Payments service has over 40,000 billers. From a marketing perspective, there are many advantages in this larger pool of billers as our clients as in many areas will have a monopoly on many products as they are the selling long tail and niche products. Also, in practice retailers today make most of their profits from items that few others have. Someone needs to pay an obscure bill, and they need to pay in cash, where are they going to go? They cannot go to a post office as they do not handle it. So hopefully, they will come to our client, once a month.

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Stock you do not want.

POS SOFTWARE

Sometimes you are so happy to get rid the last of a certain stock and somehow it comes back. There are many reasons eg someone else puts order in this week or a supplier sends it out to you thinking you want it.

In our system, it is possible to mark an item say like a magazine and a book (where it happens a lot)  so if that item arrives is already marked. We call this "Do not receive." You can either do it in stock maintenance, and in-stock received. See the red arrow.

If the item comes again, the system knows not to process it. If it was a magazine, it will be automatically instant return.

 

Donotget[1]

 

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Using PLU and SKU numbers

POS SOFTWARE

 

PLU (Price Look-Up code)   and SKU (Stock keeping unit) numbers are used to sell items at the cash register without scanning.

Often they are used because many items are not easy to put on a barcode such as alcoholic drinks at a bar, fruit, vegetables, cardboard sheets etc 

I do suggest that if you do use PLU or SKU that you stick to the following convention. 

PLUs generally, are a 4-5-digit number that are supplied by your supplier. On fruit or vegetables at the supermarket, you have probably seen this code on the little stickers on your items as such they are what we call universal as they can be used by many stores, not just your own. There is a series of numbers between  3170–3269 that you can use if you want for your internal use, but our clients do not need to do this as they can use SKU. 

SKU are generally 1-3 digit numbers which you assign yourself. They are as such applicable only to your products and stores. You can customise your SKUs so that you can quickly tell specific information about a product by looking at the number if you want. In my experience, this works very well at the start but after a while gets very messy. So I would recommend you use 1,2,3 etc.

Setting it up is very easy.

1: Open Stock Maintenance and look up the item.
2: Click on the "Prices" tab
3: Scroll to the far right on the pricing grid, and you will see the "PLU" field.
4: Click EDIT and enter a number here (for example, 101 for an SKU and 4152 was the PLU for the apple above)
5: Click SAVE

Now, in the cash register, when you are ringing up a sale enter the PLU into the "price entry" box, and press ENTER and our point of sale will find the item immediately!

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Warning on discounting below cost

POS SOFTWARE

Our Point of sale software can be set up to issue a special warning if a stock item being scanned price is under cost. This warns people scanning that item at the cash register that something is wrong and needs to be checked.

If you feel that you may have a problem here or you just want to check if you are selling too many items that are excessively large discounts,  I suggest you do is run the following report. 
 

Press transaction enquiry as highlighted in red, now select the relevant options, it actually, a good idea to do it once and then do it again with different departments that appear and check out the results.

 


 

 

 

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Plan for EFTPOS outages

POS SOFTWARE

A few days ago EFTPOS went down, almost every point of sale software support bay like ours was hit by our clients ringing up asking what is happening. Yesterday Westpac went down in many places because every other EFTPOS provider was working we go even more calls what is happening. Unfortunately, there is little we can do once the EFTPOS goes down.

The reality is that a retailer cannot assume that their EFTPOS will suffer an outage every so often.

Note in England; they have a pretty good fix that seems to work well to stop these outages, they fine banks for outages.

What can be done when it is happening?

What I do suggest you do first is check whether it is your POS system or whether its a bank problem. Some banks, e.g. tyro have a status page here that tell you whether it is their bank's error. Also if you want you can subscribe so at least you will get a warning if a tyro scheduled maintenance is coming up.

Now also test, whether a payment can be accepted by another channel e.g. sometimes people's credit accounts, do not work but their debit accounts do work.  

What can be done before it happens?

You may be able to do something before it goes down so contact your EFTPOS provider and check with them if something can be done.

For example, many EFTPOS providers can supply you with a unit that has an Electronic Fall Back (EFB) mode. If so, this will allow you with some limitation and conditions to continue to process EFTPOS even when their network is unavailable.

Some EFTPOS units do allow a backup internet so you can switch either to a 3G mobile network as a back-up and/or can use WIFI. So if your internet goes down, the unit can switch to another internet provider. Just make sure it switches back with the outage is over.

Note WIFI is not generally considered secure so you may want to discuss this option with the bank in detail.

Hope this helps.

 

 

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Retailing by the weather

POS SOFTWARE

Retailing by the weather

The recent cold and wet wave sweeping across Australia show how weather can affect retail sales. The effect is stated to be 3.2%. 

Which I can believe as a while ago, I did a study of my clients sales data and the weather. What I showed was that changes in temperature much more then the rain made impact sales of many products. I guess that people can reschedule in the day when they go shopping or pick a place which is covered if it is raining but if its too hot or cold many will cancel going shopping today.  Also, I found that specific products do sell well if the weather is appropriate.

This a smart retailer can take advantage of, for example, have a stand filled with goods that are suitable for a hot day, another if it is raining, etc.  In the appropriate weather, bring that stand to the front and move the inappropriate one to the back.  Also, they can check that their drink fridge, is full on a hot day. I have seen figures of 200% increase in drink sales during a heat wave.

This is all too easy to do as seven-day forecasts are reasonably accurate nowadays.

Here is a step by step plan to take advantage of the weather.

Create a list of your products based on the weather; all you need to do is check the days that were unusually hot, cold, wet, etc. Now see what happened using your sales report from our system and your experience to see what sold well on those days.

Now bundle these products together by hot, cold, wet day etc.

Now every week, get the seven-day forecast here, select your area and see what coming days are abnormal.

Now you have a coming sales window, make sure you are prepared as by matching your product to match the appropriate weather conditions, you can increase conversions and sales. 

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Amazon prime day sale

POS SOFTWARE

 

It is Amazon Prime Day today in Australia, which is an annual shopping event on Amazon exclusive to Amazon members. It is their big push for sales today, so its a good time to review their Australian operations. Now if you want to see if Amazon affects you today is the day.

Worldwide, Amazon is a vast global online retailer with close to 232 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 net sales. So big that when Amazon decided to physically come to Australia, as Amazon already had a firm hold on the Australian market and with a physical presence in Australia, many Australian retailers were terrified. So many of them spent fortunes on developing a competitive online product. 

Well, Amazon came here, and the results seem to be mixed.

They have achieved a lot of growth in Australia. Current figures were at 1500% in 2018 but it is only about A$300 million which although is a lot of money is only a small fraction of the Australian online shopping which last year was estimated then at A$28.6 billion and brick and mortar stores do about ten times more than that so as a result few currently pay much attention to Amazon here. 

Many here, including myself want Amazon Australia to close down as it restricts us from buying much directly from Amazon US. However, I doubt that it will not close down even though Amazon now report that it is losing money in Australia soon as large companies like that are quite prepared to run at a loss for an extended time to make a viable product. So we are all going to have to learn to live with it.

Australian retailers must see that in the online space the competition is up, and the two immediate issues are they need to look at their e-commerce and their delivery options. This is where Amazon is powerful.

Where we are unique in our market space is that our point of sale software is a unified commerce solution which brings together both of these issues into one platform in your POS system. Pieced together systems, that our competitors offer cost more money and lead to problems as different systems both in use, training and the need to talk to each other. Plus there is no long-term as who knows what the individual and separate parts are going.

Our unified system gives you long-term as well as a day-to-day business solution. Click here for more details

PS If you want using our system you can sell through Amazon too.

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Yesterday EFTPOS outage

POS SOFTWARE

Signs like this went up yesterday, as ATMs and EFTPOS machines on Thursday afternoon, went down. Our call centre like so many others took a hammering. There was little we could do. It appears that the big problem was in the debit card transactions if it had been credit, it would not have been that bad as almost everyone with credit has a debit account too. The only workaround that sometimes worked was to use the card manually.

Today a Telstra spokesperson said all services had been fully restored and apologised for the incident. In the process, it is estimated that the cost of this blackout by the National Retail Association, will be over 100 million dollars. The bigger retailers will be less affected then the SMB as they have websites where people could that evening buy later, many SMB do not have such a website. Anyway I am sure this is a gross underestimation what about non-retailers like us with our extra costs? 

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Staff passwords

POS SOFTWARE

Too often we see the passwords in our client's shops ignored and treated like a joke. It does not have to be and let me point out that many of you can be held responsible for misuse of the system. If you treat the matter lightly then so will your staff.

What you need to do is give your staff the resources to do their jobs, which means giving them access to your point of sale software. However you do not have to give them access to all the system. What out system allows you to do is select exactly what they can have access too.

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 making sure that you give them the functions and information they will need without compromising sensitive and dangerous functions and information.

This is not only a matter of protecting yourself but if your customers see that you treat the information they give you lightly they will remember that. What may be interesting to you is to read the Woolworths privacy statement here. It might give you some ideas

 

 

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