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Tips

Coronavirus retail tip

POS SOFTWARE

This is a community service and marketing tip that you may want to consider that is now being tried overseas and now in Australia.

To help people that are in the high-risk category for the Coronavirus e.g. elderly, some shops are announcing special hours for these people scheduled just after the shop is cleaned and disinfected. In the USA, it is being done in many stores now.

In Australia, Woolworths will be open for such people starting Tuesday, from 7 am to 8 am for such people before the general opening at 8 am.

It would be easy to implement as most of us have a regular cleaning service time, so introduce the special opening straight after that of course if you have a Woolworths nearby you probably want to piggyback on their times.  

If you try it out, let me know.

PS

I found this movie that seems now almost too real about what an outbreak of such a disease Coronavirus looks like which I do recommend, It follows the path of a spread of a disease and the attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease and its effect on the public. I enjoyed it a lot and I think now it is well worth a look.

 

 

 

 

 

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Coffee

POS SOFTWARE

I was asked today by one of my clients about coffee as we used to have a strong association with a large coffee machine distributor. Plus this is also a subject that I do claim much expertise. I am a certified barista. I worked as one during my university days and am an avid coffee addict. 
 

Coffee is a huge market in Australia and its not a hard market to enter. Years ago, when I was a kid, if people wanted to talk about business, they went to the pub. Now they go to a coffee shop.

Here are some basic economics on what if you are thinking of going into the coffee. Now firstly let me say, I do believe that if you are going to do something, you need to do it properly. 

The first point is to check whether you can have coffee, some shopping centres may not allow you to have it. I know people that have looked into coffee machines and had an argument with the landlord as it was mucking up another tenant they had nearby so the landlord said *NO*.

Now you need to determine what is your selling price. Coffee prices vary today from a $1 to about $4.50 a cup. You will need to investigate what you can get. If you can give people a place to sit and drink in your shop, do you have free wifi available to them and can you provide them with something to do e.g. read magazines as long as they buy coffee you can charge a little more or whether you can only do takeaway? Ask yourself what you would pay for a good cup of coffee in your proposed settings. It has to be good as Australians are serious about their coffee and have a high standard for their coffee.

Now, what sort of coffee machine are you thinking of getting?

Now the machine, the minimum, I think you could get away with commercially would be a $1,000 for a second-hand machine and a decent grinder (if you are going to do it commercially I do recommend a separate grinder). That one would probably get you about $3.5 a cup. If you are looking at new you are looking at about $7,000 to $12,000 and if you want something and those will get you about $3.50 to $4.50.

An automatic machine is about $2,000/year but you are not going to get as good a price for coffee from these machines probably about $1 to $2.50.  The big plus here is you can often negotiate a trial period to test it out.  

I do recommend that you get a machine from a place which fixes them as these machines frequently break down. You will need to check how quickly their support is and who pays for it. One of my clients told me that if they were not close to the service bay for the machine, he would have pulled out of coffee. The machines break down often.

The unit profits are excellent. 

A kg of coffee will vary in price, on the bottom end is the caterer's special which I would avoid. I brought some a while ago and threw it in the bin as it was that bad. In the supermarket, you can get decent coffee for about $20/kg. You may do better but let start with that for a first-level approximation. Now it depends on how much coffee you use for a cup, I use double most use single, but I would say for a 1kg bag of coffee beans, you will get around 60-140 cups of coffee, so that is 20 cents a cup. 

Milk is now about $1.20 per litre, as you need about 150 mm, so that is about 20 cents a cup.

Then there are cups and cleaning costs, about a third of barista time is taken up cleaning, you always have a rag nearby, just for the machine I would say every 200 coffees you are looking at about $2.50 in cleaning agents.so you are looking at a few cents a cup just in cleaning.

Then there is cleaning cups, tables and the rent on the area. There is some work involved.

Now in your costings, you need to add a bit because of lost coffee, people demanding fresh cups for some reason, e.g. not enough milk, the taste is not right, etc.

So a typical scenario here would be a fixed cost for the hardware, labour, rent and a variable cost of about 60 cents a cup.

Now you need to do your figures. People who charge a $1 are doing okay in coffee as the margin it there so if you can get $3.40/cup that is almost $2.80 profit. Plus there are heaps of addon sales if you want it eg cakes and biscuits. 

 

Finally, I do suggest that if you are going into it that you do a course. There are plenty around, the one I did years ago was 6 hours, is overkill as most barista today do much less, but it did give me a good rundown on coffee, so I suggest that you do it.

 

As far as your software is concerned, do not worry as our point of sale system is widely used in coffee shops so you have the perfect software to handle a cafe now.

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Consider whether you are underinsuranced

POS SOFTWARE

 

I was speaking to an insurance assessor over one of our clients who is working in the region.

Its quite weird the damage they suffered, the shop is generally fine but they have some cows as an investment, the cows are fine but the farm is an almost totally burnt out. How did the cows survive unharmed when everything was burnt is a mystery?

Anyway, what it does appear is that many people in the area devastated by the fires were underinsured. My client is too. So they are likely to get enough money to pay to rebuild all the damage. Part of the reason is that building costs have gone up a lot recently.

This is a tip. You may, when the insurance is due, look into this.

 

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VIP points an idea

POS SOFTWARE

Over the years, VIP points have proven the most successful way of running a VIP system. It is by far, the most cost/effective.

However, one problem with VIP points is that many potential customers cannot use them for some reason. So offering in your VIP system, points will not tempt them

If this is your problem, here is a solution that may help. 

Let your VIP customers use the points they collect for charity. Select a charity to support and make a clear message that your customer can elect to donate their points to this charity. It works better if its that charity official drive as the charity advertising will drive your business too. It will also give you something to talk about.

If so please select a non-controversial charity, the last thing you want to do is offend someone. So I would suggest a medical or child charity.  Who is going t complain about medical rehabilitation? I can guarantee you will have problems with climate change as one of my clients found last week.

 

 

 

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Special orders

POS SOFTWARE

If you are doing special orders in your shop, what I suggest you do is put the special order into the computer and bill from the computer. Here are some reasons why:

1) Your pricing is transparent and everyone can see how it is calculated,

2) You charge the right amount for it, one of our clients told us that since he put a computer in, they have picked up a lot as they were often not charging for some options.

3) It makes it easy for the person working the till to run through the current options to the customers.

4) The computer makes a professional worksheet for the person doing the job to follow.

 

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Air quality

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

It looks like now the worst of the bushfires are over. Although most of us were not directly affected by the actual fire, the smoke was everywhere. Although we have all experienced plenty of bushfires, I have never know the smoke to be so bad as this one. We did here what most people did, double-checked that the air conditioners were on at work. 

Today almost all the smoke is gone although people today in Queensland told me that there are still problems with the air there. They then asked me if there were any detectors that I knew that could monitor the air quality as I had spoken about it earlier. I thought if they are interested others might be too. 

The one we use is Airrater, and although I am not sure how good it is, it seems to give good results. You can get it on both android and from apple.

It is very easy to set up. You put in there, the places that are important to you, eg work, home, etc. and as long as your mobile phone has an internet connection, it will report the air quality in real-time and also you can set it to give you a warning if the air quality in one of those places goes bad. 

It is also good if you or someone you care about suffers from asthma, hay fever or some other lung condition that impacts their lives.

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Items no longer on sale

POS SOFTWARE

It is estimated that about 20% of all retail loses come from faulty and bad data entry. Here is one of the biggest item. Items that are no longer on sale but still marked as being on sale. If you visit the bargain hunters sites online, you will notice this is frequently what they are reporting. This sale is over but if you go here, you will find that these item although marked at $X will show on the till this 50 to 80% reduction.

The problem is that many of you will have so many items in the shop that although the sale is over, some may be missed, so they are still marked as being on sale either on the label or in your point of sale system. As such you could now accidentally have to sell items which are at the wrong price.

So here is a quick way of finding these items.

Go to the stock system.

Select Sales Promotion here

 

Now out pops up a screen, put in the appropriate dates say from the 01/01/2020 to 31/01/2020

You will get a report of the items that you can investigate.

 

 

 

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Marketing holidays coming up

POS SOFTWARE

As unbelievable as it seems, 2019 is almost over and its time to start detailed planning for 2020.

 

The problem here is that many of the next few holidays are traditional, which means many use the old lunar calendar, not the solar calendar we use now. This all means that they move every year and you are going to look pretty stupid if you advertise a holiday and its the wrong day.

This happened to one of my clients last year, who ordered in cards for Chinese New Year thinking it was the same as last years date, so he got his cards alright a week too late.

So I suggest you click here. This site that has a great list of holidays in Australia, what I particularly like about it, is if you require an explanation on the holiday, all you need to do is click on the holiday, and you get a description.

If you have clients from other countries, you can select these to see when their special holidays are too!

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Google Photoscan

POS SOFTWARE

Here is a tip.

I was with a client, and we had to sign some documents and send them off quickly. So we signed them. Then I went to the post office to send them. Once at the post office, I realised that we had no copy of what we signed. If the letter got lost or was delayed, there would be no evidence that we had signed or sent it.  

Standing in the queue in the post office, I could see it was a lousy environment to take photos, so I decided to experiment with the free Google PhotoScan app. So I took pictures of the documents, the addressed letter, then the documents partly in the letter and then the sealed letter. Overall I was stunned how good the quality of the scan of these documents produced considering the bad lighting and lack of space. So I thought that if it was useful to me, that many of my clients here who need to scan documents and do not right then have access to a flatbed scanner would find it useful too. 

It actually what it does is get you to take five pictures of the document from different angles and using its smarts to fix the photos to make one good scan. What stunned me was how well it reduced the light spots that regular photos so often produce.

It is the best app, I have come across to scan documents via phone.

If you want to investigate, click here.

Note I tried it on photos with mixed success.

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Using Price Changes

POS SOFTWARE

In your point of sale software, it is straightforward to change prices.

What several of our clients do, eg cafes and hairdressers have specials at certain times of the day! For example, after 2 pm, a cafe starts offering the remainder of the sandwiches and a coffee on a special deal. The sandwich that is not sold today, will probably be in the rubbish bin tonight. 

A hairdresser if she is quiet in the morning often offers a special on haircuts for seniors.

Make a Happy Hour 

If you want to experiment with such a limited-time promotion which last on a few hours, then it is worthwhile looking into the price changing facilities in our POS system as it can handle such changes effortlessly on the fly. 

Just a few taps and you are ready to go. 

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Note the Image is by Gerd Altmann

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