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Tips

How do we sign and witness documents in a pandemic?

POS SOFTWARE

How can we sign and witness documents in a pandemic? This is getting to be a real problem in this pandemic.

 

Business must go on, and documents must be signed. How do we do this as many of us often now are not near a printer or fax?

 

This is what I do. I convert the electronic document to be signed into a pdf. Then I use a free website, pdfescape

I import the pdf to that site.

 

 

Then I put in the details required by the document electronically and then sign using my mouse instead of a pen.

Then I add under my signature with the following note. 

This document was electronically signed in accordance with the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Electronic Signing and Witnessing) Regulations 2020.

Note this is allowed in Victoria, looking at several states, I found that they all I found have something very similar but you need to check for your state the exact wording if you are not like me a Mexican.

So far only one supplier has made a fuss over to this to me, most now from what I can see are aware of the problems and accept this solution. 

Hope this is of help.

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Why do Click and Collect if you have not done it yet

POS SOFTWARE

I have spoken about click and collect a few times here over the past years. 

If you have not already done so, this is why you should look at Click and Collect!

Near me is a small strip shopping centre. I walked down the shopping centre what I discovered that every single shop in my centre had a sign in their window advertising their click and collect service. Looking at the cars coming and going, I could see it was in use. Some of the shops, its the only business they can have. 

Now, this is not a notable centre. Although new it is ordinary with a range of shops having small to large retailers. Clients are not computer savage or sophisticated. 

Let me start by saying that our POS system makes it very easy for you to set up and do click and collect, more about that later. 

Here are some reasons why you should consider doing this if you have not already done so.

-Many people now do not want to come to your shop because of COVID-19. To service these people as a retailer, you now have to look at alternatives or lose these people.

- Here is a costing from the USA costing out the alternatives by options. If you go through the list, you can see significant operational costs savings compared to delivery by click and collect. 

 

-For many small retailers, delivery in Australia is not worth it. You need as a rule orders of about $100, to make it worthwhile delivering. 

-Click and collect is much faster. Your customers can have their goods often in minutes. 

-In the click and collect model, the customers come to the shop to collect their purchases. Many, studies state that between 49% to 61%, make new unplanned purchases. These are often impulsive or forgotten items. You are not going to get much of this business from a delivery model.

-People are comfortable buying on click and collect, as they know you. They know if anything goes wrong with their purchase, they can go to your shop immediately. 

My advice is to try click and collect and see what happens. You can make adjustments as you go on, if it does not work, you can stop it.

If so, you want to do it. 

You need to make a clear strategy for your program! Go out of your shop, see what others are doing, check out the opposition and make a plan. 

- Do you want to introduce a fee? Can you?

-What packaging are you going to use?

-Where is going to be your collection point?

- How will the customer warn you that they are here?

 etc. 

Now once you are on your trial. 

Advertise it boldly in your window! There is a question often raised did "A tree did not fall if no-one heard it!", if you do not advertise "Click and Collect" you do not have it.

This is how I recommend doing it in our software. I would suggest using business invoicing with an A4 receipt in the cash register. It is easy to do. 

Look for the item, to click and collected. 
Click on the "Receipts" button. 
Find the receipt you would like to print.
Then select the "A4 Print" button as here.
 

Out will come an A4 receipt:

As always, please let me know your thoughts and how it goes. 

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Try having in your shop several special areas

POS SOFTWARE

Most of your sales floor is never seen by your customers. So it’s up to you to bring your merchandise to their attention. So in modern retailing, I have noticed is that shops now have many special areas. Not one but many! In the supermarkets as well as the regular area, you will find the same product at the ends of a shelf, the entrance and cash register area. So rather than have one big section dedicated to a product or line they have several. There is often is no correlation to these items in this area but people look at it. 

Try this

Reduce some of the area of a department and move some of these items into a special area. Make it noticeable put a nice sign advertising this area

This will maximise the reach of these products so giving you more opportunities to market your products.

And of course, tell me how it goes.

 

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Well consider how to do things differently

POS SOFTWARE

Now you are collecting information for your business for the end of the financial year. In the business world, the clock has been reset so many will talk to you, for example, your suppliers, accountant, bank and insurance broker etc.

It is time to consider what happened this year, see what has gone well and what has not gone well. More importantly, it is time to start planning for the new year.

 

What works for me is you do a SWOT analysis of your business? I am sure to you that it will be useful and rewarding to sitting down, hopefully with someone, reviewing your business in a formal method.

 

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Cleaning a touchscreen

POS SOFTWARE

 

Current conditions have created a significant challenge in keeping touch screens clean. 

Firstly I suggest that you shutting down and unplugging the screen before cleaning but due to the urgency and frequency few do this now.

Check with your screen supplier, but I suggest that soap and a little water should be okay, although better still would be a suitable glass cleaner liquid. Do not use kitchen cleaners, bleach, ammonia solutions and vinegar as these can damage the sensitive coating on touchscreens. Alcohol is a maybe some screen manufacturers are saying that it is okay and say are saying this is a no-way.

One point I have noticed is that supermarkets do not care in the long-term, but most of us want our screens to last as long as possible so do not assume that because a supermarket uses it that it is okay.

Now disinfect by spraying the screen with a fine but thorough cleaner mist. Do not soak the screen or allow moisture to get into any of the openings on the table. Leave the cleaner mist on the surface for one minute.

Now wipe it off with a microfiber cloth or soft rag. Do not use abrasive cloths or paper towels as these can scratch the glass.

If required to remove dust and smudges from your screens, use water for the heavy lifting.

Now allow it to dry.

Now if your screen does not work, I am not trying to tell anyone how to suck eggs, but please check your power lead as it may be slightly out of its socket either at the back of the monitor or the PowerPoint. Also, check that the monitor cable is secure and in correct. We get all very annoyed now when our support line is flat out, and a person calls and the problem was that the power cable came out of the plug. 

 

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COVIDSafe app

POS SOFTWARE

 

The Australian government has just released its COVIDSafe app whose aim is to assist with the process of identifying those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so we can take measures to help stop the spread of the disease.

It aims to speed up the process of identifying people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed, quickly stopping the further spread.

Details and download links are available here.

I admit that there are ongoing concerns about the privacy of those using this app, considering how badly the government has treated our privacy online, I doubt this issue is that important and with the dangers of COVID-19, I think we have to get our priorities right.  So I recommend that you get it and request that every one of your staff get it as it may help. 

People with Android smartphones should have no problems, but users of iPhones on low power mode may have issues. If you use an iPhone on low power mode, you may need to turn this mode off while in public if you wish to use this app.  Google and Apple are working on a better app, but it's not ready for release yet, so this app is the best we have now.

 

 

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Communicate with your customers

POS SOFTWARE

Managing your customer expectations is now critical with Coronavirus. People are concerned and confused and need reassurance your shop is acting on the current events and that you are taking their health seriously. 

Now your customers know that much is happening and are looking for information. They are also looking into contingency plans. When this is over, you want to be in those contingency plans. 

You can start by making sure you communicate with them your opening hours.

Put your current opening hours on a sign on the front, update your google business profile etc.

Also, let them know if your deliveries are affected, whether you do backorders something very easy to do with your POS software and if you provide delivery and/or Click and collect services.

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Tip: If Your shop is temporarily closing?

POS SOFTWARE

 

Quite a few of clients are in the city and in malls and unfortunately have made a painful decision to make a temporary close.

If so here are some tips for your Point of Sale system and a bonus one for the shop.

Unlike many other POS systems, it is quite safe to turn off our equipment with our system

1. Make sure that you have a backup of your system which you are going to take home.

2. Note down all your passwords, in a few months. You may be surprised what people can forget.

3. Put labels on everything before you disassemble it so you can reassemble it later. Some pictures here are a good idea.

4. Any electronic items that you intend to store in the shop, cover with something to keep the dust off except for the cash draws. Leave them open and in plain view so some undesirable people can see that it is empty.

5. Turn off everything electrical you can.

6. With social media, you have a perfect tool to keep your clients informed, you need to tell them what you are doing.

Customers will likely have many questions and take to social media to get answers — keep up with your accounts to not only react to customer inquiries and concern but also proactively provide updates on your business' current situation.

Bonus tip

Finally, take photos of everything in the shop after you empty it from inside and outside. That includes the front windows, doors, toilets, etc. everything. If possible email some of these to someone else so you have these pictures dated and time-stamped. You may need this if something goes wrong.

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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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