BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

Tap and Go and the refusal by retailers to use Least Cost Routing

POS SOFTWARE

I thought this article here on a study from what the major retailer groups in Australia view on 'tap and go'  and the refusal of many retailers to use Least Cost Routing on debt is worth a read. What I find fustrating is that our clients have had this option "Least Cost Routing" for many years and many do not use it. 

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Two tips for scheduling using SMS

POS SOFTWARE

Today the best way of communicating with people if what you want instant communication is SMS. It tends to be read immediately. Often I find it takes up less time than a phone call. I saw a survey that showed that SMS tended to be read 98% of the time and almost all within seconds of being sent, in comparison emails gets about 22% reads and often not for days.

This in retail makes it invaluable for rostering. 

Here are two tips you can use.

1) People particularly if they are casuals tend to forget shift, you can use SMSs to remind them of shifts a short time before they are expected.

2)  One of my clients, when the shop gets busy and, needs someone immediately, what he does, is sent out a few SMSs to his causals. The first one that responds gets the job.  This he finds an efficient way of finding someone and takes only a few minutes to do.

 

I understand your point but I don't think the onus lies on the employer to remind the employees to make it for their shifts

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Bill payments today

POS SOFTWARE

Today Bill payments are a big market in Australia, Australia Post states in their 2019 annual report that they processed more than 75 million banking and Post Billpay transactions last year. While that does not give us the numbers on how much of that is Post Billpay specifically, it does indicate that there are a lot of people using it.

I know our network processed about 50,000 bill payments last year. That equates to about $25,000 in rebates. Looking at the network report that we got from Jan 1, 2020 to Jan  22, 2020, good shops were doing about 30 to 40+ Bill payments which works out to about three (3) a workday which is basically unchanged to what I reported in 2017. 

I would say that it still promises to be a big market for the next few years. It is not just the older people, but large numbers of young and middle-aged people who pay over the counter because they can do it in cash and there are also transient people such as people who are temporary residents who have limited access to Australia's banking. These people use phones, electricity, water and heating and even in this day of the internet much is paid over-the-counter ('OTC').

So despite widespread reporting about the death of cash and general digitalisation of the economy, there is a large segment of Australians who prefer to pay their bills in cash – or card – over the counter (‘OTC’). In fact, all the large utility companies providing telephony, electricity, gas, water and similar are mandated to provide an OTC payment option for the customers. It has to be possible to have electricity even if you don’t want to have internet. 

Over the past few years, POS Solutions’ network of newsagents has offered an alternative. Customers of any of the 45,000+ BPAY billers in Australia (big utilities as well as local tradesmen) can have their bills processed OTC while they are where they want to be anyway. Yours is a trusted place that they come. And it is a place which is open when they need them to be open: early and late.

A customer who comes in and wants to pay a, say, Telstra bill while buying a lotto ticket identifies themselves using a phone number and then simply plugs in biller code, customer reference number and amount. The bill is paid to the newsagent by cash or card and is paid to the biller that same evening as long as the transaction took place before 4pm (AEST). No delays. The next afternoon, having given the agent a day to deposit any cash. 

Of course it is not the rebates that most of my cliente that do process Bill Payments look too but the fact that it brings people into the shop. 

Now ask yourself, how much would you pay a sales consultant to get everyday 2 to 3 people into your shop who will buy something?

 

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Culling items

POS SOFTWARE
Reducing the variety of items on a shelf is a common way for retailers to a large number of items, that do not sell, that confuse shoppers, complicate the stocking of shelves and eliminate unprofitable items.  The technical term for it is assortment reduction, and most retailers have been doing it for years, for example, figures show in the packaged food and grocery lines peaked in 2014.
 
This is an easy way to cull items that do not sell in your shop. It should take you about 10 minutes to do.
 
Let us say you had a shelf like this with goods on it, so let us start.
 
 

 

Step one

I suggest that you do it by department  

Go to the Main Menu / Stock Systems / Supply Report

The first step is to check the Over Supply Report.

Put 100% in the box.

Select the option to show all

Select option Returns

Now click Show Report.

These are all the products you have received and never sold in the period chosen. I would suggest these are the first ones to cull.

Step two

Now if you need more room, select the Magazine Supply Report. Although the report was designed for magazines, it will work with any item.

Now I suggest you do this step by a supplier. 

Now select a supplier here and period and then click Get Data.

Now on the reports, you will see a listing of the items sold by numbers. Note the bottom selling items.

Actually it is surprising how much can be culled with little effect on sales.

See how you go and let me know how it went.

The idea here being is to be very surgical in your approach rather than blunt.

 

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Australia day 2020

POS SOFTWARE

As an Australian, it is lovely to celebrate Australia Day because it reminds how blessed we are to be in such a wonderful country.

For those that need support, rest assured that our support lines are all open today.

 

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Happy Chinese New Year

POS SOFTWARE

First of all, a very happy Chinese New Year to all our Chinese readers, we hope for your good health, good luck and much happiness throughout the coming year.

Surprisingly for non-Chinese, the rat is actually in traditional Chinese legends considered to being quick-witted, resourceful, and smart but lack courage. With rich imaginations and sharp observations, they can take advantage of various opportunities well. As a person who has involved in a few rat hunts, I can confirm that they are all this.

For those that do not realise it, this festival is celebrated by about 1.5 million people in Australia now and here is an article on how to attract Chinese tourists

 

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How to create a register shortcut key

POS SOFTWARE

Say you have a spare spot (See the orange button above) and you want to set up a register shortcut key for a department so you can press a button to quickly process a department sale. It is even faster with touch but that is another point.

Well, it is easy and quick to do.  

1.       From the Main Menu, go to Cash Register and then Register Setup.

2.       Click on the Quick Links tab.

3.       On the layout on the left, click where you want the shortcut to go. You should see the green plus symbol on that square now.

4.       In the department list on the right, click the department you wish to add to that location.

5.       Click on the Insert at Location button.

6.       Click the Save button.

Now the changes should be there.

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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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Social media today

POS SOFTWARE

I have clients now that are on social media all day. Today any retail business that wants to reach a broader target audience and attract new customers needs to go on social media, particularly if it is not in a centre. A centre will drag people in for you.

That is why often you will see cashiers in small businesses on Facebook on the front counter typing away, answering customer enquires.

Today many of your clients are using social media sites like Facebook frequently throughout the day. If you connect with them on these social networks, you help keep them engaged and interested in your business while they are outside the shop. 

It also allows you to get real-time feedback from the people who are most interested in your goods and services. This is vital if only because of the damage now bad reviews can do to your business.  A nail parlour near me got a few bad reviews and was begging its customers to say something nice about them because they were losing business as people were reading bad reviews and then not coming. 

Getting involved is not hard, try by sharing some cool photos of new stock items, if you have 10 major suppliers they odds are you will get at least one new photo or news item from one of them a day for you to share, then there is also news to share, eg your support for a bushfire appeal, worst case you always have the weather, etc. 

This will result in you having a loyal, engaged audience.

If you are thinking of growing your social media presence, you are probably wondering which social network is the best for you. It depends on the specific products you sell, but I would say Facebook first and then ask your customers.

If you want to learn more, click here

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Find your actual margins

POS SOFTWARE

Often a supplier will tell you the gross margin on their products. Do not believe it? Do you think you should check?

After all, this is a key indicator  in your shop

One big problem here is that in the real world often, this margin they give varies. The other problem is that this margin depends on you getting their price.  Maybe in your area, you cannot get this price. Perhaps because you have too much stock you, you need to discount to get rid of some of it? I am sure you can add many reasons why the theoretical margin is not what you get, and it is easy to find out what is the actual margin you are getting.

 

Go to the menu

 

Now in sales select  the "Discounted Item Sales Summary."

Pick a period, I suggest the last 12 months and now check, I would recommend as a first attempt by the department

Now you will get a detailed report of where you are discounting both by quantity and price.

Knowing which products lines are your most profitable in your shop can lead you to actionable advice.

 

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See VAAKEYE the lastest shoplifting technology

POS SOFTWARE

The problem is monitoring the security camera in shops. Something like this could warn you that a suspicious person has come into the shop or that someone has done something questionable. 

Under Beta, it has detected some shoplifters in a Japanese convenience store.

I can see such technology having a dramatic effect on reducing shoplifting.  As it uses face recognition, a shop keeper that knew from his tapes that this person is a known trouble maker could get a warning that this person is in the shop.  It would also serve shop keepers to sell more as by using face recognition it knows the average spend amount, the number of visits, and frequently purchased items. It could give the shop keeper, the name of many of their clients too. 

What we are discussing is that our optical people counting system can already do much of this, if anyone is interested and using or thinking about our optical people counting system we could *NOW* do something like this! 

If we get enough interest, why we could do something like this too! 

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Cash register look

POS SOFTWARE

This is our cash register. If you look at the screen, not the girl, it is from a publicity shot that we did what you will see is buttons all over the screen. Also, every one of them is user-definable. What this means is that you can change them, or move them to match exactly what you want it to look like.


 

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"Better mac" when big organisations and small business collide

POS SOFTWARE

 

I have seen this happen a few times when a big organisation and a small business collide. When the big organisation is the government, they sometimes talk a bit nicer (although not always sometimes they are incredibly rough). If you have not followed the story about "Better mac" what happened is a small burger shop "Burger head." released a burger that they called "Better mac."

It looks like an excellent burger which I am sure is very tasty.

Still, as you can see above, McDonald's did not like the name.

Although it could be argued that the name 'better mac' is different McDonald's burgers name, eg 'big mac'. Also that there is nothing deceptive about the name since I doubt that anyone could be tricked into buying a "better mac" thinking that they were buying a McDonald's burgers, still the burger shop decided in a smart move to cash in on the publicity and comply in changing the name.

I said smart as the amount of money now need for court action is huge and the problem is that in a big organisation, the guy that authorises the legal action does not pay for it. So if you are not careful, you could easily get into court. Once in a court system, it is like medical and doctors bills, it is very hard to get out. 

It is not just the financial hit of litigation that can be very damaging to a small business. There is also the matter of their legal fees if you lose plus there is also the time and energy that it takes off.

The other problem is that if you win, what do you win? Do you like doing business with companies that take people to court? Of course, if you lose, it can harm your business’s reputation too.

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Perfectionism

POS SOFTWARE

Perfectionism is defined by the dictionary as "refusal to accept any standard short of perfection."

It is considered as being a psychological condition as perfection, an impossibility in reality. What tends to happen is because nothing is perfect, people do nothing, procrastinate and get depressed as nothing is done. As such it becomes a fast track to unhappiness and often leads to depression.

 

Why bring it up here in a POS software blog because too often people look at their point of sale system and they know it does much more then what they use it for but talk themselves out of using these extra features because they think it lacks something. As it is not exactly what they think they need they do nothing. 

My advice, use what you have.

Do it, once you get going you can always make it better.

It is the first step that is the hardest. The second is not so hard. The third often is easier still.

With us, you have a support network who will give you honest feedback. We can often introduce you to people that you can talk too that are doing and what you are thinking of doing. 

Remember.


 

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Your sales should have a theme

POS SOFTWARE

It is an excellent marketing idea to create a sale on a specific theme. Doing so will make it easier for people to relate and grasp your promotion.

There are many, and they are all the time. Piggyback on holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father's Day, ANZAC day, etc as themes.

You should also consider piggybacking on *unofficial* holidays.

For example, I am a huge coffee drinker, so an advertisement like this, in a shop that sells coffee is something that I can relate too.

Why not do something similar. Look for the holidays. It does not have to be an official one that relates to your business and use it as a hook to draw people.

Click here for a list of unofficial ones

 

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Windows 7 support ends today

POS SOFTWARE

Microsoft has ended support for Windows 7 today. It is our strong recommendation and just about everyone in the I.T. industry that you now plan to move to Windows 10. In particular, we strongly advise that you do not use a Windows 7 computer for internet banking, email, surfing the net and processing EFTPOS transactions. 

If you must use a Windows 7 computer, please be aware that you need a new antivirus package as on Windows 7, your Windows Security Essentials is almost dead.  What Microsoft will do is support and rollout malware signature updates for the next three years, but that is only like a third of what it used to do,

Most computers can be updated to Windows 10 at no or little cost but please contact us before attempting to do this as some computers and some of your devices may have problems.

 

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More data = more accuracy

POS SOFTWARE

We are the only point of sale system. I know that has data mining so our users are lucky that can drive through their tons of data unaided for free. 

With margins so low now in retail, you need every help you can get to gain those few extra percentage points that make or break a business. 

Today business is about data and analysing.

Here is one example, SMB has a significant problem with setting up sales targets that are reasonable as who has time to go through every stock item and make a sales budget. Yet if these sales budgets are:

1) If they are too high soon, no one pays attention to them

2) If they are too low, then its no challenge, what people tend to do here is once they make the budget to stop.

What can help drive sales are targets that are challenging and believable?

Well, our clients have an automatic system that can do that now. It is the focus number. It will give you a reasonably good idea of what sort of movement you can expect from every item in your shop. It is a weekly budget.

Here is how you set it up.



It is easy to set up, and use for details click here.

With capable software, you can assess your stock sales better. You can see what you did right and what you did wrong this week.

For details on how to do this, please, click here.

 

 

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Digital signage advertising and Old computers

POS SOFTWARE

With Windows 7 going, the question many are asking now is what they can do with their old computers?  

What do you do with them and no-one wants them!

What we used to use them a lot was as backup data storage units. Now almost all these and have been replaced by cloud backups which work better and cheaper — my costing of what in a point-of-sale environment, computer costs see here.

Well here is a use that they can be used for is advertising. 

Have you noticed that printed signs and posters are now rapidly being replaced by computer screens? 

The software for creating a digital signage system used to require expensive specialist software, now there are many software slideshow software available that can do it or if you wish many photographers will make you a professional one at very reasonable prices.

I think it is better to learn to make it yourself and they are now not hard to make, besides being a lot of fun it is advantageous to create one. It is one of those things that is not hard, but you need to spend a few hours to do it as there is much to learn.

What a slideshow software does it take many still photos, which any smart camera now can take and entertainingly displays them one after another one after another in a video.

You will need to be about 5 to 20 minutes, and I would recommend about 5 minutes as each still photo is displayed in retail for about 5 to 6 seconds. Each picture has a gap of about 1 to 2 seconds. This is all very approximate as I find that often each photo demands a different amount of display time. If you are trying to present an intricate image, you may need much more, if you are trying to say, "We have tons of greeting cards," then you may want less time for each image. So as such, you need about 45 photos. Many you can get from the supplier, but I doubt its worth the hassle. Walkthrough the shop after it has a clean. Carry around a black sheet of paper to put products on it and go with your modern smartphone taking high-quality photos, the higher the quality, the better. As you will probably be rejecting about 75% of the images, you take, you need about 160, which should take you about 30 minutes of your photoshoot — trying to take each photo in some reasonable order. It makes it easier later. Otherwise, you will need to sort to get them into some logical order. Now put these images on your computer, and go through and delete the ones you do not want. Be ruthless as you can always go back and get some more. This is one significant advantage an amateur photographer has over a professional photographer; the amateur can go back and get more photos if required.

I do not recommend adding sound in point of sale environments, as it will drive you crazy hearing it repeatedly the same tune although I do admit that it does work and attract people. 

Take your video, mount it on the old computer which is somewhere in the shop, and let it play on the old monitor or better still an old digital TV and run your slider show which will advertise your products and services. 

You will not be sorry with the results.

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Bushfires and cloud backup

POS SOFTWARE

 

When I talked to one of my clients who was close to the fires, what did help a little was that their data was in the cloud. Years ago, we often saw in such emergencies merchant would stay in the shop and do a backup before running.  Nowadays although doing the onsite backup is a good idea, the urgency was not there. 

With us, unlike many other Point of Sale providers, cloud backup is free!  

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Cloud_storage

Data has always been essential to business, in the olden days' Australian bushrangers used to threaten to burn shop keepers books, unless they got paid. It was not a small threat as most shops depended on farmers on lived on credit.  

Data is still essential, and although few want to discuss ‘disaster’ in today’s world as these bushfires show your data is under constant threat. Imagine how your business would run without essential banking, customer and inventory data? Computers can be replaced, data cannot be replaced.

There are many advantages for you to do a cloud backup.

1. Access: You get access to your data wherever you have internet access. For example, you can access your company's data from home, overseas on holidays, etc.

2. Reliability: If anything is wrong with your regular backups, you have an emergency set online.

3. Easier to use: Because it is automated, there is less to remember or do, often it can be set up, so it is entirely automatic.

Two significant disadvantages to consider are:

1. The Internet: It will chew up a fair amount of Internet usage. Often people report that it slows down their system. If so, we may need to see what we can do.

2. Size limitations: If your data file grows too big, you may find your backup suddenly stops.

3. Check: You need to check regularly that it is working.

We have put together here a document that can show you how to set up a free cloud backup. Please click here.

Bernard,
What cloud storage do you suggest for backups close to 10GB? My backup file is 9.2GB so I assume it will not be too long before i have potential issues with uploading a file this size. What impact will the compression process have on this file size?
Cheers

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Evaluating a stock item

POS SOFTWARE

What happens is that when you go to your point of sale software and check your selling report to see how things are selling. You will find items that are selling well but are making little profit. The question often raised here, is even accepting that the item is not making much, is it drawing people into your shop who buy other products?

Well, we can help you somewhat. The reason I say somewhat will be explained here.  

Go to Register reports.

 

 

Now select "Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period"

 

 

Now put in say a year of sales and ask for the top 100 by quantity. 

Outcomes a report with the top sellers for that year. 

Top sale item by qty

I have not got the heading here, but I will explain. Look at the envelope 

45 is the stock ranking. It is the 45th best selling item in the shop. The 300 is the quantity sold. The next roll is profit, which is $77.45. In comparison, the item on top of it at 44 made the store $1159 profit. Now for many retailers would say to themselves is $77.45 profit enough to justify having this item? Is it enough to even pay the rent, much less the labour and other charges?

Now another issue that most retailers will ask here is, as it does sells well does it bring people into my shop who buy other products? That is very hard to measure, but we can give you an idea.

Go to reports > Sales register > Stock Sales companion sales by period 

Now in options put in say last financial year and put in the product ENVELOPE TUDOR....

Stock companion report

 

Now out pops up a report which will give you a listing of all the items that were sold with this item.

Then at the end will be a total.

Stock companion total

The last number is the profit of $265.01, which is the total profit of all the items sold with this item. 

Now the question is how much of that profit of $265.01 would you have made anyway with or without that profit. That is something you have to decide. 

An analyst like me, as a first-level approximation in the absence of any other information, would probably say

A third would have brought something else in the shop to replace the envelope 

A third would have left and gone elsewhere

A third would not have brought the envelope but everything else.

So I would say the loss involved in dropping the product is 

2/3 x (the actual product $77.45) + 1/3 x ( companion sale of $265.01) = a loss of about $140.

If you can do a better estimate let me know.

 

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