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  • Finding marketing seasons

    In retail today, it's not enough to wait for the standard marketing seasons. You have to find them.

    While talking a few days ago here about a retailer who pushed Wimbledon

    and picked up a few sales, it suddenly struck me today that the "Game of Thrones"

    is starting up. There got to be from most of my clients a few sales there too for them if they market right as you can see there is a lot of interest in it and the market season is a lot longer than Wimbledon.

    If you try this please let me know how it goes.

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  • A video of our cash register functions

    An video of some of the functions in our cash register, something that I proudly say that it's the best in its market space, the very best.

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  • OVERCLOCKING your computer for maximum speed

    What some people and I am one of them like to do is overclock our computers to get more speed out of them turning them into a cheap, high-end computer.

    If you really do not know what you are doing, be careful as here is why.

    Computers are built to work at a certain range, what happens is that the manufacturers of the parts are given minimum specifications, often they exceed these specifications so what some people do is attempt to take advantage of this by trying to get parts to work at a faster rate then the designer of the computer demands. The reason the manufacturer did not do it, is because they had doubts about pushing the computer components that fast.

    Now if you want to do something like this, you need to be clever, often it takes a lot of time to get it going and making it stable as the results can be unpredictable although often quite satisfying.

    This computer where you see the green arrow processor is being cooled with dry ice. What the overclocker is doing every so often is putting dry ice there to keep the processor cool. To keep a processor running fast, you have to keep it cool.

    If you are trying to speed up point of sale software, you will get a speed increase on slow computers but not fast computer as most of the delay on the fast computers is due to harddrives and memory, which cannot be overclocked. The added advantage here is that the slow computer is not worth much anyway.

    Finally a warning to anyone thinking of overclocking, it will void the warranty of your computer, and it may wreck your computer. In my experience, people are reluctant to buy any computer that has been overclocked for this reason.

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  • Replenish method of stock ordering

    With most of our clients, a lot of capital is tied up in stock and not having enough stock will negatively impact customer loyalty. So you need an adequate safety stock level.

    So one of the common used methods by our clients for stock reordering is replenishment, it is not my favourite, which is using the AI in our software (the Focus figure), but it is popular. What happens is that you get the computer to order so many days of sales. Its advantage is that it is conceptually simple, makes sense and is very easy to use.

    Give it a try and see how you like it.

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  • Surcharging credit and debit cards

    With the recent changes with the bank interchange fees, you need to review your surcharges on credit/debit cards if you impose them. As to calculate what you can charge is not a simple matter like some costs are acceptable such as merchant service fees and terminal fees there are many others that are not acceptable. So I do suggest that you check with your EFTpos provider first and then document your findings in your diary before changing your rate in your point of sale software. I think too you should discuss with them the new situation with American Express (AMEX).

    I think to help you will find this page useful.

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  • We can never go back.

    This is a rant that came out of the GNS retail show that we recently attended and where we demonstrated the new automatic reconciliation report.

    Since only we have these advanced functions people came and several emailed me to discuss it. People also went onto our Facebook page to discuss it with others.

    Here is my rant, at present everyone is now working smarter. Here are some figures to prove it from of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Here is a graph of retail sales in Australia since 1982.

    As you can see its going up, up and up about six times.

    Here is the number of people employed in the retail sector

    It went up slower until 2008, during which retail sales to 2008 went up about five times, the employment figure doubled. After 2008, the employment stabilised but retail sales kept going up.

    If you do the figures based on these graphs you will see that the average worker in retail is now is about three times more productive, then in 1984. Note these figures do not include that people are working fewer hours and inflation.

    Still what I found more interesting was to see what percentage of the workforce is in retail. The percentage is now dropping fast. Something certainly and dramatically happened in retail employment after 2000.

    My first thought was that most of us started out in retail, but it does not look from these figures that our grandchildren will.

    I think it's partly technology, which allows people to do more, cost of labour so forcing retail shops to experiment with the use of fewer employees and somewhat Australia's growing living standards as the retail sector is not where the big bucks are, nor is the work easy and people are moving into industries that have easier work and pay better.

    Why do you think that traditional retailers are expanding their own on-line presence, partly as it requires far fewer workers? The labour in selling an item on-line through our web shop works out to being about 50 percent less than in the shop.

    As such I see the new technologies such as the improvement in efficiency due to improved and faster stock reconciliation as a necessary for retail shops to stay alive. A lot of jobs are going in retail and there is no way that the existing processes can do them without dramatic improvement. The "good ole days" are behind us. Believe me that they were not all such "good ole days." I remember spending half a day with a coworker counting stock returns manually. While most of the memories are great of that day, the actual work was hard, difficult and very unproductive. My eyes went blurry after hours of trying to match up stock. After spending hour counting we discovered that we had different figure, and we had to go over it again.

    Point of sale software must get better and we need to get better with it.

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  • GNS Show report

    The GNS show is looking a lot busier than we thought it would be. We have had a huge interest in the Gordan and Gotch Returns Reconciliation and what people have definitely noticed is that we are the ONLY POS company showing dedication to the Newsagency channel by exhibiting. We are all looking forward to today, and hopefully it will be as busy as yesterday.

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  • World Chocolate Day today

    A few of my clients realised too late that they had missed out on extra sales due to World Chocolate Day. One that did promote it, told me that the sales today are very good on chocolate, the public really got behind it.

    What it shows is that you have to follow the latest trends, it is not enough to use your reporting in the point of sale software with its low-stock alerts, because some days can if you push it, produce extraordinary sales.

    Here is a tip, this is a website here which has these sort of holidays listed, it pays to look at it.

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  • Credit and EFTPOS fees Update, down, sideways???

    Well finally, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has put a cap on the interchange fees. As such you should see on your EFTPOS fees a reduction on the card fees for the more expensive premium cards. Furthermore, check to see if you are going to pay more for the regular Visa and MasterCard debit and EFTPOS which some providers are passing on to the merchant.

    Most importantly I do suggest that you do check to see overall, what are your new Merchant Service Fee?

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