Tips

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Tips

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 here for android and from apple here

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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What suppliers do you do business and which you don't.

POS SOFTWARE

People if you are close often, as a retailer in a shop lose sight of the big picture and stare at the details. It is easy to do.

Here is a quick report that can instantly show you what people/companies are essential in your business. In register reports go to > stock sales. Now you will find the following report

Click on it. Now although there is a lot of options here, let us make it simple and just put in last financial year

Now, will pop out a report showing which suppliers contributed the most to your business. Often they stand out as it is not uncommon nowadays for two or three suppliers to give you 80% to 90% of your business. I suggest the figures you concentrate are the number of sales and profit. The number will show why people are coming into the store and the profit will tell you where the money is being made.

An interesting exercise here is after studying this report say to yourself "I am a ..... seller"

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How to Clean a Printer

POS SOFTWARE

 

After a while in any retail point of sale system, you are going to get on your print smudges and lines appearing. Also, the number of paper jams will start to increase. If allowed to continue the printer will become unusable. Cleaning your printer is required.

Here are some steps.

What you will need

I recommend you make a solution of white vinegar and water rather than any of the prepared cleaning solutions.

Some cloth, e.g. a cleaning cloth or an old cotton rag

If you have a small vacuum cleaner which you can get in most electrical shops.

Some small brushes again which you can get in most electrical shops.

Some mechanical attribute

Please do not use compressed air; if you do not know what you are doing what you might end out doing is blowing the dust and moisture into places it should not go. It is just adding problems.

Steps to do:-

Turn off the printer, take all wires off it before attempting to clean

Wait a while some five (5) minutes before starting to clean. 

Dim the lights, as in some printers the internals do not like bright light.

Now throughout the clean, avoid any electrical items and all electronics. Only there use a dry cloth. Do not touch anything electrical. You can damage it.

Remove and open what you can, eg the toner cartridge and clean those items.

Look for dirt and gently lift it. The brushes and vacuum cleaners can help here a lot.

Where there is nothing electrical use the moist cotton cloth, make sure that it is not wet.

The spilled toner, dust, hair, and built-up old paper fragments can gum up your printer and sometimes will need some real elbow grease to remove.

Do not worry if you have only done say 70%. It should be enough. Better too little than too much.

Now put it back together again.

Now clean the outside, with a moist cloth, I find for hard to remove stains AJAX very good. 

However, make sure that nothing is wet.

Now dry the outside.

Wait a few minutes to let any residual water dry off and only then turn on the printer.

A clean printer beside being less of an eyesore in the shop, will print better and also last longer.

I hope this helps.

 

 

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Naming a business and its ventures

POS SOFTWARE

This is a problem that crops up a lot in business.

You are going to try something new in the market, so you need a name. It is one of the first problems you will have in your business. It crops up, again and again, e.g. you are running a lotto synidicate this week, you want an online webstore, say you are going to start a new product line selling vitamin pills in the shop, etc well what are you going to call it?

I read an interesting article on facebook, by a professional who for a living advises people on what to name their business ventures. I am sure he charges thousands of dollars for doing it, but he sparked a lot of peoples interest on the subject.

Here are my steps for doing a naming and some observations  

Write down some ideas that identify your proposed products, some immediate ideas on a business name, eg a butcher shop on North Rd might think of "North Rd Butcher", competitors names - it worked for them why not for you, etc. Now several websites that can help you. My current favourite is here but there are many more sites so pick the one you like. Now put into the search box one by one these ideas and flick through the options and its proposed names and write down the ones you want. I am sure there are many good ideas here. 

For a website, try and link it to your actual name if possible. Your new website should feed the shop, and your shop should feed the new website. Why re-invent the wheel, so use the resources you have.

Now talk it over with people but trust your judgement, as you will have to live with the name. So pick a name that communicates your business.

Shorten the proposed name and see if you like it because, over time, it is the short name that you and everyone else will be using. Invariably I do not tell people I work for POS Solutions. I say POS if they ask its Point of Sale.

There is no excuse not to check the proposed names and grammar in google translate  with several languages that will be used by the locals. As you do not want every few days someone telling you cafe name means this "*gh^%@!"  in their language or your French grammar is wrong. At best, you look unprofessional, at worst it can be pretty bad. I had a client who discovered that his business name based on the street he was on, translated into English meant something like a castrated pig store which is to Eastern Europeans particularly nasty. The guy that named the street, I am sure had a really good laugh when the council adopted it. So I would strongly suggest that you check your proposed name with several languages. At least Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Greek and Italian.

It is worth taking some time as a good business name can go a long way to making your business and/or website.
 

Note: Sometimes you get only a limited choice. For example, when we were starting up, I wanted POS (Point of Sale) Software because that is what we were marketing. My partner wanted Positive Solutions because he was a positive fellow and we had a Point of Sale Solution, so I compromised it and made it POS Solutions.  Everyone liked it, so we ran with that. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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