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Industry news

Afterpaytouch patch error update

POS SOFTWARE

They have released information on how to fix the problems caused by this month’s Microsoft security update.

I recommend that if you do this that you make sure the person doing it is very knowledgable on all computers that run the afterpaytouch software. It is much better to do these things on site. It has to be done on all machines running their software.  

The information on how to do it will be found here and a PDF version is available here.

If you have any queries, Afterpaytouch have a hotline service here 

Afterpay Touch Group

Phone: 1800 286 824

 

 

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Signage when its a problem

POS SOFTWARE

A person owns a chicken shop. When he comes to work on Friday morning, he finds this big sign from KFC plastered on the side of his store. Pointing to a KFC store 800 metres up the road. 

He thought this went too far, as clearly from the reaction of people on twitter here so did most people.

It is not a new problem. I had a client that had a family general store and a massive quite sexual explicit sign went up, and they did not like it at all, The problem is that many people have leases on the shop but not on the signage. To the landlords, the signage is often worth more then the shop and this signage are usually operated by an advertising company that has signs everywhere. As such, what goes up on these signs is often something that the people nearby do not approve of although generally there is little they can do, although I have heard of people going out with a can of paint at night to fix the problem.

Although this is being portrayed as a small businessman vs large company, which it is, the same problem I have seen happening with large corporations. In this case, the problem was fixed quickly as the sign was removed promptly. You can read more here.

It does show a problem that if you are taking a lease on a property that you do need to consider, the signage and who has control over it.

I had a client that was not allowed to put a sign up advertising his cafe as it was felt that it would intrude on the commercial environment in the office block that the landlord was trying to create. They argued that without such a sign, how can their cafe exist? They lost the argument and soon moved out.

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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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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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Uber VISA

POS SOFTWARE

I am wondering how these new ranges of VISA cards which I expect will be open to Australians soon will go?  Here is one such card.

Uber VISA

 

As it is only available to residents of the United States, so you will not see many of them right now.

One problem with the current VISA/Mastercard point system is they basically work on frequent flyer points which to a significant percentage is of minor interest as you need to buy a lot over a long time to get a reward. These cards most compelling feature is often the discounts of the services on offer; for example, this card offers a 4 percent rewards rate on dining out. Now if that is Ubereats and its restaurants that could be huge for many.  I know of millenniums that use Ubereats almost every night. Another plus for these millenniums is with these cards they can get 2% back on such products like Amazon, Best Buy, Netflix, Apple Music, etc.

The problem from physical merchants is they can in Australia only charge fees based on VISA and Mastercard as a group. Not that it matters as there is no way of knowing in advance that it is a premium card often we do even have a card, just a mobile and all we get back electronically is very general details, e.g. VISA or MasterCard. What is going to happen is that the rate on regular cards is going to go up as these premium cards rate goes up. Then these fees will go up for everyone. This is going to put pressure on merchants.

This problem needs to be addressed soon as already. I hear that Facebook announced that it is going to soon really push these cards. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Toys ‘R’ Us returns to Australia

POS SOFTWARE

Toys R Us

Almost a year ago, Toys ‘R’ Us Australia went into voluntary administration after its parent company collapsed into the US. Now an Australian company Hobby Warehouse has the license to market under the Toys ‘R’ Us brand which you read about here. The toy market in Australia is just too big to ignore. 

The marketing model they have adopted is the Omnichannel retailing with a combination of a few physical stores and the bulk being online shops, which is a change from their existing model of only being on online.  

This move confirms to us that a modern retailer needs both an online and physical presence and its not hard for our POS software to be activated to do that, and it handles the toy industry well.

 

 

 

 

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VANA Industry Awards 2019

POS SOFTWARE

It is our pleasure to say a massive congratulations to our clients who won the prestigious VANA Industry Awards at the divine Plaza Ballroom on Saturday night and who basically took up all the awards.

I know most of these people personally, and I know they worked tirelessly in their businesses. 

We wish them our good wishes.

The newsagent of the year was won by our client - Mentone Newsagency, check out their website to see what they do and what they do.

VANA Mentone newsagency award

The lifetime achievement award was won by our client John Blames

Colav newsagency VANA awards

 

Rookie of the Year by Somerville Lotto

 

Somerville lotto Vana awards

The Lottery Agent of the Year recipient was won by our clients at Wandin Newsagency

The Community Newsagent of the Year which was won by Jodie & Adrian Grzeschka our clients from Corryong Newsagency.

 

 

 

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Tabcorp commissions to its agents?

POS SOFTWARE

the lotto

The Lott is changing their commission structures, the following organisations

Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA)
Lotteries Retailers Associations (LRA)
The Victorian Associations for Newsagents (VANA)

are now busy explaining to their members what is happening.

The best one explanation, I thought was the one done by tatts and distributed by VANA

Retailer_Information_Pack_Tatts

I would suggest if you want to know what is happening, have a look at this one. This is the one I am going to quote here by pages.

Here are some more documents that have been released

Explaining-the-new-retailer-model-for-ALNA-members_FINAL.pdf

New-model-for-lottery-retailers_12-March-2019.pdf

New_model_for_the_Lott_12_March_2019_FINAL.03.pdf


So here are my thoughts, on the first reading, it is clear that lotto sees a tremendous future online 

Here is there retail only customer vs a retail and digital customer chart.

Digital comparsion

 

That is a big increase alright.

The new commission structure is to help this movement by rewarding the agent for helping this move.

What is not explained is what is the effect on the retail agent shop sales as the Retail Registered account becomes a Registered & Digital Account?  Does it based on current figures goes up or down? It is not stated. This would be my first question! It is an important question as almost all of the commission increase is in shop sales and the figures supplied assumed in the Tatts and ALNA documents that it is as in 2018, something I am not sure it will not be.

Now it clearly does have some immediate positives, e.g. the DigiPOS fee will be removed, and for those that have brought it, that money will be refunded, but it does have some negatives, e.g. the player card commission is gone.  Overall it did appear to give the agent more in fees. According to the ALNA figures, an agent doing $22,000 a week in sales can look forward to $220/week extra profit based on the financial year 2018 figures. 

Reading further however it that it works on cycles which are about 17 weeks. What an agent needs to do is every cycle is to carry out a lot of new conditions to get the increase in commissions. This increase is not automatic. Most of these new conditions are reasonable and I think fair and I do not see them being a problem. I would agree that it is the responsibility of a Lotto agent to keep up to date with what is happening and to inform Tatts of what is happening.

Some, however, seem harsh, for example, if accidentally in your nominated account one time it does not quite have enough money for settlement which can happen, then you have blown your increase in commissions this cycle.  Better luck next cycle.

Another condition is very puzzling listed on page 8 and which I have no idea of how hard or easy it is to do, here it is and I will let you decide.

 

Extra conditions

Now 1% in a stable established market is not easy to get.  Worse if you are an agency in a tourist or sporting area, where you have almost no control over your players so I would not be surprised if some agents go up and down on this figure every cycle. Maybe an agency should make a rule only registered players can buy in this agency.

Lastly, on page 14, I would like to see the calculation sheets on how these were derived. I cannot get all these figures, so I am not sure what they are telling me. 

You have my thoughts overall, I will say that I am not against it, but I do have concerns. 

 

 

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Newspapers continuing slump

POS SOFTWARE

Years ago here because of the importance to many of my clients, I used to analysis newspaper sales. In those days the newspaper companies ruled a large slice of Australia's retail stores. Milk bars, newsagents, lotto agencies and small supermarkets would go into a panic after a threat of a newspaper rep to cut off their newspapers as newspapers brought in a significant number of customers every day to them. Well, those days are long gone. 

The latest report by the Audited Media Association of Australia, for the last half of 2018, reported most major newspapers publications fell around 10% about the same decline like last year and slightly higher on what I reported here five years ago.

See the latest figures for the decline in newspapers here. 

 

Weekday circulation from ABC

The figures are worse then they look as electronic subscriptions are included which have less profit then printed copies and as the newspapers' financial paying readers who I suspect are now almost all 50+ go, so will the printed newspapers in Australia. 

In retrospect, I am sure that much could have been done better by the newspaper companies, for this I blame personally poor management and the editors. 

Although I liked very much the people personally in News Corp and thought they were really trying to help, I always felt that they needed solid modern marketing professional help which they never got till it was too late.  

When I went to meeting at Fairfax and News Corp which was frequent to discuss circulation. I and I think almost everyone at the meeting would leave thinking that we were talking to a brick wall. It did not matter what anyone said, as nothing was appeared to being listened too and nothing was being acted on. Here is some example from submissions that we put in:

-When the newspaper companies were talking about getting on subscriptions, we pointed out that the only result would be that people paying full price for newspapers would get used to paying only a discounted subscription. Once they got used to paying a discounted price, it would be impossible to get them to pay full price again. We were right because that is what happened.

-Our research showed that many people were buying newspapers just to do the crosswords, so we suggested changing the crossword every edition. Great idea I was told by the News Corp, nobody got back to us about our research and nothing was done.

-We offered to link the computers across Australia to their computers to improve handling of newspapers. Again nothing was done till years later.

-We pointed out that many of the newer statistical software programs and mathematical methods could be used to calculate potential demand sales better, yet nothing was done.

-We pointed out that as smaller companies were dropping unprofitable circulation, so a marketing opportunity was being opened for the larger newspapers that were still serving those areas. The local newspaper sellers should then be armed with leaflets with an offer to promote the other newspapers again nothing was done.

-When we pointed out that repeatably the newspaper companies were making changes that were difficult or impossible for the newspaper sellers to do, no-one listened. The changes would come, and there was no way it could be done. As a result, the public is getting one message from the newspapers advertisement and when they went to collect it was a different message.

Soon we and others just stop making suggestions as nothing was done which is probably what the newspaper companies management preferred although I am sure the shareholder and newspaper sellers lost millions of dollars as a result.

As a person who has been involved in newspapers in Australia all my life it is very sad and overall I doubt that much could be done for newspapers. The newspaper companies although they were huge then and their product was popular was already on a decline for 30 years as electronic media was taking even then a large chunk, and the recent development of the internet speed up this decline.


 

Great article but nothing new here other than stating the obvious.

What I want to see is the percentage decline from 2008 to 2018. This is the number that will surprise and shock. As you say they are counting digital subs in their numbers which just adds another dimension to the inept management and arrogance of Newscorp.

Steve, a few years ago I did such a calculation here which I hope helps, take off another 20% and I think you would have what you want to show here 

Newspaper Circulation on July to September 2008 to 2016

 

I might agree with you about the inept management in newspapers although Newscorp did very well out of some of their online purchases however I never found Newscorp arrogant. I really liked my association with them. Often they were extremely helpful. 

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Shoppers today were eager taking on Boxing Day

POS SOFTWARE

It is expected today that retailers will bring in about $2.3 billion sales today and about $18 billion in the following three weeks.

 

I spoke to a few of my clients and generally, they were happy with the trade this season although many told me that this season started off slow but built up. This slower but longer pattern appears to be a long-term trend. 

Some of my clients will be doing half their yearly trade in this and next month. One of them told me, he was doing an actual speed test of just how fast our system can be under pressure. 

From what I could see, people were queueing up, it is not often that you see shops with barriers in the front and a guard managing a queue to restrict public access to a shop. I took some shots at the DFO Moorabbin, they are actually bigger then they look as people were lining up in a snake queue

 

DFO Moorabbin Boxing Day queue

 

DFO Moorabbin Boxing Day queue
 

DFO Moorabbin Boxing Day queue

 

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