Point of Sale Software

Optus Outage Persists: Our POS Support Teams Hit Hard


Optus Outage update

Optus outage impact

As of now, this massive Optus network outage has stretched past 12 hours, leaving millions of Australians and businesses disconnected. For retailers relying on Optus for their point of sale and EFTPOS systems, this extended outage has been nothing short of a nightmare.

Our POS System support teams have been inundated with calls from court clients seeking help running their stores. We have now been all hands on deck as we scramble to assist our clients from this failure.

For brick-and-mortar shops, having a working point-of-sale and EFTPOS system is their lifeline. Retailers rely on them to take payments, manage inventory and operate their stores smoothly. 

So when a major telco like Optus goes down, it directly threatens their ability to make sales and ultimately stay in business. This outage has severely impacted small retailers in the following ways:

  • Loss of phone payments - Retailers can't take phone orders without telco services operational.

  • Customer communications cut - Stores can't call or email customers about orders and stock.

  • No Internet - Most business communications today are by internet

  • Support is cut - Our support staff cannot dial in to help them.

  • EFTPOS systems went down for some of our clients, which means their Revenue grinds to a halt - With no ability to take EFTPOS, stores can see their takings halved. 

Our POS Team Steps Up To Assist

Our POS support teams have been flat-out trying to fill the void.

Despite the endless influx of calls and inquiries, we've risen to the challenge to try our best to help retailers keep running through this outage. While we can't single-handedly fix Optus' faults, our support teams are doing everything possible to minimize the damage to affected retailers. 

Keep note of the Financial Impact

In our view, someone needs to commit to compensation. We hope that someone takes responsibility to compensates appropriately for losses inflicted by this catastrophic outage. If so, you will need to be able to substantiate your claim.

  • Cost of the Outage
  • Substantiate your claim

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Cut off dates for Christmas by Australia Post


Australia Post

The coming holiday season is a busy time for retailers. Customer's orders are for gifts for friends and family often; they need these delivered. If, like many of my clients, you use Australia Post as your primary delivery agent, you must be aware of the cut-off times for deliveries by Australia Post to arrive in time for Christmas celebrations.

Delivery deadlines mean disappointing customers, and no business wants that. What we want is delighting customers.

Don't Leave Your Christmas deliveries to the Last Minute: Key Australia Post Cut-Off Dates

That's why it's crucial to know Australia Post's recommended cut-off dates for sending parcels and mail this Christmas. Note that disruptions and delays still impact post services; these dates are important guides but not guarantees. Savvy retailers will get shipments out the door as early as possible. 

Domestic delivery cut-off dates: Time Your Local Deliveries

For gifts to loved ones here in Australia, you have a bit more leeway than international deliveries. But it still pays to get packages sent out promptly to ensure on-time arrivals. The information for the cut-off dates are here.

Looking at the table, I would recommend the last dates for sending within Australia:

  • Regular Parcel Post: Post by December 15
  • Express Post: Post by December 20

Note that these dates are not guaranteed for a successful pre-Christmas delivery, Australia Post is their guide, so the earlier you can get your parcels sent, the better.

Top tips for domestic deliveries:

  • Use Express Post for that added assurance of quicker delivery
  • Verify addresses to avoid delays from missed or incorrect details
  • Include apartment/unit numbers in the address
  • Use proper packaging, like boxes, to avoid damage

Getting gifts and orders sent out by mid-December using Express Post gives you the best chance of delighting customers with pre-Christmas deliveries. But you'll want to set and communicate earlier order cut-offs with your customers to allow time for packing and posting.

International delivery cut-off dates: Plan for Long Travel Times

For packages headed overseas, extra time needs to be allowed for travel through multiple postal networks. I would check the countries and when I looked through the list, I was stunned by how many places postal services have been suspended. 

Australia Post's recommended last dates for international deliveries by region:

  • New Zealand: Post by December 14
  • USA and Canada: Post by December 12
  • UK: Post by December 12
  • Rest of World: Check Australia Post website here

These dates are recommendations, not guarantees. The sooner you can get international orders packaged up and posted, the higher the likelihood they will arrive before the holidays.

Planning ahead and being proactive

With some planning and proactive communication, retailers can minimize holiday headaches around shipping. Get familiar with Australia Post's recommended cut-off dates and give yourself plenty of lead time. Let your customers know the deadlines for guaranteed holiday delivery. And be ready to pivot if postal disruptions hit.

Streamlining holiday logistics leaves you free to focus on what's most important - delighting customers with your products and service. This year may hold some unique challenges, but they can be overcome. Stay flexible, communicate openly, and work closely with delivery partners like Australia Post.

Here's to a successful holiday season with cheer for retailers and customers alike. The right preparation now means you'll be positioned to end 2023 on a high note.


Updated: Article written on the 04/12/2020, now updated for 2023

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Why Are Customers Buying Less Wrapping Paper and More Gift Bags?


People today seem to be buying in recent years fewer rolls of festive wrapping paper and more gift bags instead. Wrapping paper was once considered a holiday necessity. No Christmas gift was complete without glossy paper covered in snowflakes or candy canes. But customer preferences are changing. Here are some reasons why:

Wrapping takes some skill

Let's face it - wrapping gifts with paper is time-consuming. Carefully folding edges, taping down seams and ensuring graphics align takes patience. This skill is less known. People do perceive badly bagged presents as more carelessly given. Gift bags do not have this problem.

Retailers make more from bags.

Retailers would prefer to sell more bags as it's a better sale and it's less trouble. Besides, wrapping is an art and takes time. A bag is a straight and easy sale. 

Faster Paced Lifestyles

Today's customers lead increasingly busy lives and prefer the convenience of gift bags. Just tuck the present inside and go—no tedious wrapping required.

Less Excitement Over Designs

Retailers in the past invested heavily in new holiday wrapping paper designs each year, but looking at these patterns, they seem to be less appealing. The standard prints like snowflakes, trees and ornaments feel boring and expected. Gift bags today have more customisation and self-expression.


The Gift Bag Boom

To remain relevant, retailers need to respond to changing consumer behaviour. 

Wider Selections

Gift bags now come in endless colours, patterns, and materials. Stock a wide assortment of bag sizes and styles. Keep selections fresh each year by introducing new variations and customization options.

Prominent Merchandising

Make gift bags a focal point of holiday displays and signage. Spotlight them as the modern way to wrap presents. Place them prominently at checkout areas to spur impulse purchases.

Bundled Packages

Create ready-made gift bag packages with tissue paper, ribbon, gift tags and other coordinating accessories. These bundles make putting together polished gifts fast and easy.

Eco-Friendly and Reusable

Now, many want to be green, and there is growing awareness about the environmental impact of single-use wrapping paper. Unlike gift wrap, you can have reusable gift bags are considered a “greener” choice by eco-conscious consumers.

Making Gift Bags Profitable

For retailers, one problem is that bags take up more shelf space, and so need to be replenished more often. Here are some tips to maximise profits:

  • Stock smaller assortments of higher quality bags that command bigger price points. Check margins.

  • Suggest add-on items like coordinating ribbons, candles or decorations with purchase.

  • Consider bundling free or discounted bags for sales over a certain amount. This incentivises bag purchases.

Adapting to Gift Bag Demand

Wrapping paper was once a hallmark of holiday shopping at physical retailers. However, with customers choosing reusable gift bags for convenience and environmental reasons, its prominence is fading.

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The best sales report you should do


Analysing stock

My last blog post about using POS system reports generated a lot of discussion. Many clearly use their POS System only as a cash register when it can offer so much more. A shop accessing their sales data through reporting can be a real game-changer. 

Detailed sales reports provide valuable insights that allow for better decision-making. With just a few seconds, you can access actionable information to boost profits.

Why sales reports matter

Now, one essential report every retailer should utilize is sales performance. Some key advantages include:

- Identifying top-selling items so you can focus on the best performers. Stock more of your winners.

- Uncovering slow-moving or non-selling inventory. Make room for new items by removing dogs. 

- Recognising sales trends over time. Adjust purchasing to match patterns in customer demand. 

- Pinpointing your most profitable departments or product categories. Concentrate inventory accordingly.

- Discovering when your highest sales occur. Schedule staff and inventory delivery optimally.

With these kinds of actionable insights, you can tweak strategies to maximize revenue. So, let me show you how to access sales-by-item reporting in your POS system.

The single most helpful report: Top-selling items

Now that we've covered why sales reports matter, let's discuss the #1 report every retailer should use regularly: Top selling items.

This report provides a ranking of your best-performing products based on sales over a defined period. Typically, we find the last three months work well.

Here are some specific ways the Top Selling Items report can help your business:

Optimise inventory levels

By knowing which products sell best, you can allocate more shelf space, budget and marketing resources to your winners. Likewise, you may choose to cut back on slower items. This report gives you the data to manage your product mix based on actual sales results.

Spot new growth opportunities.

When you run the report over different periods, you can identify rising trends. Newer products that are quickly gaining traction present opportunities to capture new growth. You may want to order more inventory or create a promotional display.

Analyse performance by department or category.

Comparing top-selling items by department or product category. This allows better inventory planning. For example, bottled water is topping sales in the beverage aisle. You can then adjust the beverage inventory and shelf layout appropriately so water is at eye view in front.

Assess seasonal impacts

The seasonal calendar has a big influence on sales trends. Run the report monthly or quarterly to see how top sellers change as you move through the year. This helps anticipate peaks and valleys in product demand.

Identify declining products

Just as the report highlights winners, you can also pinpoint slower products needing corrective action or discontinuation. By regularly reviewing the bottom half of your sales ranking, you can quickly address laggards.

How to run the Top Selling Items report

Now that we've covered the value of the Top Selling Items report let's walk through how to generate it in your POS system. I'll use our point-of-sale software as an example, but the process is similar across most platforms.

Here are the simple steps:

Go to Register reports.


Register menu


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


Stock report


You will want about 100 items with the last three months of sales for the shop, and you will get a report that looks like this:


It's that easy - in just a few clicks, you have accessed incredibly useful data to boost sales and profits. 

Tips for getting maximum value

To gain strategic value from the Top Selling Items report, keep these tips in mind:

  • Run it regularly - I suggest monthly. The more consistent you are, the better you can spot trends over time.

  • Use custom date ranges - Look at the next three months of last year, so say 01/11/2022 to 31/01/2024, this will give you an idea of what is coming up.

  • Do it by department - It is often useful to work by department, top sellers should be at eye height and right in front.

  • Look beyond the top ones - You will often find much interesting towards the bottom of the list

  • Make it actionable - Don't just run the report. Actually use its insights to do business decisions.

Key takeaways

Here are the significant points to remember about using your POS system's Top Selling Items report:

  • Provides invaluable visibility into your top-performing products based on actual sales data.

  • Helps optimise inventory levels, identify new growth opportunities and inform promotions.

  • It can be segmented by period, department, product category and location.

  • Simple to run - just select time range and run.

  • Analyse regularly and act on trends to control costs, boost margins and improve overall business results.


Update: This article was initially written on 26/04/2022  and was updated to 1/11/2023

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In-Depth Analysis to Help Your Business Grow


Studing financial reports

I was surprised to learn from a recent survey of Australian newsagents that fewer than half used the reports available in their point-of-sale systems, potentially costing them revenue. Running a small retail business is hard. You face rising costs, online competition, and slim margins. To succeed today, retailers need to use data to make smart choices.

A good computer system used adequately for information is said to be worth to the business 1%; if you want to see what that translates to the business, check out these figures I did for a hairdresser in a previous post here.

The figures were based on an ATO benchmark study

1% improvements

Bottom line: This business could get a 25% increase in profit with just a 1% improvement. That is pretty impressive.

And with our POS Software, you have the tool to do this sort of analysis free. Now, why are not many of our clients not doing this?

Know what products sell and when

Do you know your top 10 sellers but unit sales and profit?

Do you know what sold last year about now in your shop?

Do you know your most profitable product lines?

The computer does, and if you ask it, it will tell you.


Identify Dead Stock

Slow-moving products tie up money and space. Sales pinpoint your "dead stock" for examination.

Forecast Needs

Use our advanced AI models to estimate future demand based on past sales, events, promotions, and other factors. This helps ensure adequate stock levels without excess inventory reducing stockouts while maintaining lean inventories.

Focus on Top Suppliers

Use the computer to identify your most profitable suppliers. See what is working and what does not work. This maximizes sales and profits.

Know Your Customers Better

Today's retailers' computers do collect lots of customer data:

  • Purchase history from POS systems

  • If you run a loyalty program, profiles and shopping habits

These analytics help turn your customer data into valuable insights for better decisions. 

Harness the Power of Price

We have reports that can identify your price points. This allows you to find out what sort of items sell in your shop to make optimal price points to maximize revenue and margins.

Refine Promotions

You can study how previous promotions worked in your shop. This avoids margin-busting promotions.

Personalize Messages

Powerful analytics delivers individualized content across channels based on interests, preferences, and intent.

Improve Delivery Efficiency

The POS System has a very effective delivery system for faster and more accurate routing.

Strategically Grow Your Business with POS Solutions

Our point-of-sale (POS) system is a strategic solution for growing your business. It provides invaluable insights through powerful data analytics, robust inventory control, customer relationship-building capabilities, and integrated employee management tools.

Gain Valuable Business Insights
Real-time sales reports give visibility into top items, busiest times, and buyer habits. Use this data to make smart inventory, pricing, and marketing decisions that boost profits.

Manage Inventory with Ease
Track stock levels, set automatic reorders, and receive alerts about low items. Avoid stockouts and overstocking by keeping the right products in stock for customers.

Build Loyal Customer Relationships
Capture customer profiles, transaction histories, and preferences to deliver personalized service. Nurture loyalty through targeted campaigns that increase repeat visits.

Optimize Employee Performance
Schedule shifts, monitor hours worked, and evaluate sales performance with built-in tools. Right-size staffing and recognize top performers to maximize productivity.

Unify Online and In-Store Operations
Connect seamlessly to major e-commerce platforms for centralized inventory and order management across channels. Simplify operations and gain a cohesive view of multichannel sales.


The Data-Driven Path to Growth

Today's complex retail environment demands more than instinct and experience. Advanced analytics decodes market trends, optimizes operations, and maximizes results. With data providing timely, actionable insights, small retailers can make strategic decisions with confidence.

The possibilities are endless, but retailers should start by identifying key problem areas and challenges. Next, explore potential analytics solutions and build a business case. With executive support, implement a few targeted applications first, then expand over time.

A strong data foundation is crucial. Combining analytics experts with retail veterans enables impactful business insights. Continual innovation and openness to new techniques keep retailers ahead.

The right strategy and technology provide an enduring competitive advantage. Analytics unlocks scalable growth unbound by human limitations. When embedded across operations, small retailers can compete at the highest levels. The future of retail success is quantitative. Facts and data lead the way.

Please start your data-driven journey today.

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Moving your POS Register Without Disrupting the shop, 12 tips


A computer being moved

We are always trying to improve things, so we are forever rearranging your existing space to improve. This can be an exciting but also challenging time. If you muck it up, you may need to call an engineer to fix it. That may cost you time and money.

Besides, your point of sale (POS) system is the heartbeat of your business operations, so moving it successfully is critical to avoiding disruptions while you do your POS system relocation.

Follow these tips to make sure your POS register and hardware transition smoothly to the new space:

Map Out Your New POS Setup

Before moving day, visit your new location and figure out exactly where you want your POS register and other hardware to be situated. Check your cables are long enough, and ensure you have enough space for all the devices, e.g. printers, cash draw, etc. The more you work out in advance, the better it will be.

Take a few photos

Do not be shy, take many photos. If something goes wrong, those photos will be really appreciated. 

Label Cables and Ports

As you’re disconnecting devices in your existing space, be sure to label each cable and note what port it was plugged into.

Clearly, labelling cables will help immensely when reconnecting everything in the new location. You want to avoid plugging devices into the wrong ports or having a tangled mess of cables without knowing what’s connected to what.

Some tips for labelling cables and ports:

  • Use masking tape or printed labels that won’t come off quickly.
  • Note the device name, port number/location, and what it was plugged into.

Back-Up Your POS System

Before moving equipment, do a full system backup of your POS software. It is good advice before doing anything to your hardware. Rarely have I seen anyone upset with having too many backups.

Treat your Hardware Safely

If you move them a fair distance, carefully pack them up to avoid damage in transit.

Schedule Vendor Support for Installation

Try not to do anything after hours or weekends. In an emergency, if you need help, if available, just in case. As a rule, I say do such tasks from Tuesday to Thursday.

Shut Down the POS Server and Devices Safely

This is important. Switch off everything before disconnecting and moving the devices from the power and data cables.

Test Connections at the New Location

At your new location, set up your POS register in stages:

  • Get your POS server and networking hardware like routers and access points connected first.
  • Slowly connect POS devices one at a time, testing after each.
  • Verify connections by processing practice sales before going live.

Taking it slow helps isolate any connectivity issues or bad cables. Testing with practice transactions ensures your setup is operational before real customer use.

Conclusion for moving a POS System to a New Location

Moving your business can be hectic, but careful planning and preparation will ensure your POS system transitions smoothly without impacting operations.


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The Top Halloween Costumes of 2023


Halloween is just around the corner, so unfortunately, much of this information that they sent me today has come too late for most of you to action. Sorry but trust me, it's not my fault. Still, it might help some of you to position your Halloween costumes if you sell them.

It will also give you some ideas of what the public is thinking. After analyzing 2023 predictions from major costume companies, here is a breakdown of the 27 hottest Halloween costume ideas for kids, adults, groups, couples, and pets.

Barbie Movie Costumes, and Video Games Dominate

Taking the #1 spot this year is Barbie! The iconic Mattel doll turned movie star is set to be the most popular costume for Halloween 2023. No doubt this is largely due to the hugely successful Barbie movie that was just released.

Interestingly besides Barbie, many of the other top costumes this year draw came from recent popular movies like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and others. Others from video games such as Princess Peach and Mortal Kombat ninjas. This confirms what people have told me pop culture has a massive influence on Halloween costume ideas.

The trouble with this sort of stuff is that yes, Barbie is good this year, but if you do not sell it soon, you will be stuck with items difficult to sell. 

Old Faithful Costume Ideas

While pop culture always adds fresh new costume ideas into the mix, you can’t go wrong with the classics. Occupying spots #4 through #11 in the rankings are costumes that are popular every Halloween:

  • #4 Witch
  • #5 Fairy
  • #7 Dinosaur
  • #8 Cowboy
  • #10 Bunny
  • #11 Rabbit

You cannot go wrong with these guys.



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Administrative Errors



As a small business owner, you know that every minute and every dollar counts. Wasting time fixing errors that should never have happened is bad business. Your point of sale (POS) system is a crucial tool for running your operations efficiently, but only if the information in the system is accurate.

What are Administrative Errors?

Administrative errors, also is called "fat finger" errors, occur when incorrect information is entered into the POS system. For example:

> Entering a price of $7.00 as $0.70

> Adding an extra zero and making a quantity 100 instead of 10

> Selecting the wrong product when adding to an order

These data entry mistakes seem insignificant, but they can significantly impact your sales, inventory, and margins.

Studies show that administrative errors account for 25% of all POS Software errors in a POS System.

Examples of How Administrative Errors Cause Problems

Let's look at real-world examples of what can go wrong to understand the importance of accurate data entry.

Incorrect pricing

If a $50 item is accidentally entered as $5, customers will snap it up at the insanely low price. Not only do you lose money on those transactions, you may also run out of that inventory faster than expected. In today's world, take a look at shopping sites like ozbargain where bargain shoppers regularly write in where they found stores that have made pricing mistakes and discuss how readers there can snap up a bargain as a result.

Article on a pricing error

Once these bargain sites find out, and spread the word it can really cost the retailer.

The reverse is also true. If you make a $5 item $50, customers will be outraged at the ridiculous markup. It may cost you their business.

Wrong quantities

Let's say you invoice in gift cards. You accidentally entered 100 into your system instead of 10; now, hopefully, do not overpay your supplier. In any case, your inventory counts will be entirely off until you do a stocktake, and then you will have the heartburn wondering how you have so much stock missing.

Entering the wrong quantities, whether too high or too low, makes purchasing and restocking much more difficult.

Duplicate or missing products

Selecting the wrong product name from a list is easy but causes havoc with your reports.

If you sell both Pet Shampoo and Pet Conditioner but get them swapped in orders, the odds are you are going to get the wrong stock from your supplier.

Margin and revenue reports don't match reality. All these data entry mistakes are reflected in your sales reports and accounting.

If products arrive at the wrong price or quantity, your profit margins will look way off. Revenue reports won't match what is happening in your business.

Garbage in = Garbage out

How to Prevent Administrative Errors

The good news is that "garbage in, garbage out" works in reverse, too. With proper diligence, you can prevent most data entry errors in your POS system.

Here are some tips:

Slow down

I know - you're busy. The lunch rush is in full swing, customers are queued up, and your cashier's fingers fly over the touchscreen POS.

However, inaccurate data entry causes more work and stress down the road. Take an extra breath to double-check the price or quantity before you hit Enter. The screens in your computer have audit figures for you to check. Use them. That is what these validation screens are there for.

Use data imports instead of typing when possible.

Besides, doing this is much faster and more accurate than manual typing. Get your supplier to produce electronic invoices if possible.

The upfront investment in scanners and printing barcode labels for your products pays off by speeding up orders and reducing errors.

Monitor what happens in the cash register.

Pay attention to what is happening. I had a client who picked up an error. He was at the cash register and looked at the selling price, he got, he said to himself, that does not look right. Then he investigated.

Scan, scan, scan.

People working on memory and reading price labels make mistakes, and scanning reduces mistakes.

Take time to train your staff.

People who do not know what they are doing make mistakes.

Perform regular audits

Even with great precautions, some errors will slip through. That's why it's critical to perform regular audits. Here are some types to consider:

> Margin audits - compare theoretical vs. actual margins to catch pricing errors. Many suppliers work on fairly standard margins. Looking at your stock margins can quickly show errors.

> Inventory audits - please do not listen to the fools who say not to do regular stocktakes. You need to regularly physically count inventory and compare it to your POS Software quantities.

> Audits - verify your POS Software records to your actual receipts. Often it is not hard, as all you need to do is look at the totals.

By catching errors early through regular audits, you minimize the impact. These audits take time but save you time and headaches compared to fixing major accounting problems down the road.

The Bottom Line

Accuracy matters - probably more than you realize. Admin errors that seem small individually quickly mushroom into big problems.

These steps will help you sleep better at night, knowing your POS data is as accurate as possible. Accurate data leads to better business insights and more intelligent decisions. It's worth the effort to enter it right the first time. Your profitability depends on it.

Our Path to Customer Support with AI


Humanoid AI who knows all

For people like us operating in a dynamic and competitive landscape, providing exceptional customer service and support is our key differentiator. So, our support team works hard to respond to client questions, troubleshoot issues, and ensure our point-of-sale (POS) software enables their success. So, when we heard about AI conversation bots that could potentially assist our support team, we were eager to test this emerging technology.

After developing our own AI chatbot prototype and trialling it on actual customer queries, we found there are indeed limitations with AI support today.

We feed it thousands of our customers' queries.

Depending on who accessed its answers, we got these disputed scores. I say disputed as some judges were much more negative than others. This is a consensus score, not an individual view.

- Approximately 23% of the chatbot responses were largely to wholly accurate. These tended to be the stuff that our support staff felt were things they knew well and would have little trouble doing without AI.

- 50% were partially correct but lacked vital details. 

- 15% were unclear due to poorly phrased customer questions. This is a common problem that those who ask questions in the real world to get accurate information need to know much. Rubbish in = Rubbish out.

- 10% were utterly wrong.

Our AI chatbot clearly has room for improvement before it goes live.

However, AI can still provide value when implemented correctly by augmenting our support team’s capabilities. 

Why AI struggles with complex support queries

Through our testing process, we gained insight into factors that limit AI chatbots’ capabilities for software support:

1. Insufficient training data

Like humans, AI systems require extensive ‘practice’ through training data to become highly skilled at specific tasks. Our prototype only had access to a thousand pre-recorded customer support calls from which to learn - this is far too little data to fully grasp the complexity and nuances of troubleshooting what is our system probably the most advanced POS software in Australia.

2. Incomplete understanding of context and ambiguity

Humans draw upon years of world knowledge and experience when interpreting language. AI chatbots currently lack this contextual awareness, so they struggle to clarify vague questions and handle ambiguities. Our clients have a range of English knowledge; some know plenty, we have clients with doctorates and some that barely speak English. So 15% of customer queries stumped our chatbot due to unclear wording that we could easily interpret.

3. Inability to grasp nuanced domain knowledge

POS software is feature-rich and built to handle intricate retailer needs. Most AI systems today would need explicit training to comprehend the industry-specific terminology, workflows, exceptions, integrations, and technical considerations involved. Without directly relevant domain training, the chatbot’s knowledge gaps led it to miss critical details in 50% of test cases.

Best practices for implementation

While the technology still has maturing to do, useful AI assistance is within reach by following guiding principles for implementation:

Ensure sufficient high-quality training data

For accurate learning, training datasets must cover each type of support scenario the AI may encounter. Data should be cleanly recorded without errors that could propagate misleading information. The problem here is that our information is real, and in the real world information with errors is common.

Provide ongoing human feedback.

Humans must continually verify and correct the AI’s responses, allowing its knowledge to evolve through feedback over months and years. This human-in-the-loop oversight is critical. This will take a lot of work.

The future role of AI in customer support

Though AI chatbots cannot wholly substitute for human support staff at this stage, we see bright possibilities for AI assistance going forward:

  • Handling high volumes of repetitive queries - Freeing support staff to focus on higher-level, more complex problem-solving for customers.

  • Providing 24/7 self-service - Enabling customers to access basic troubleshooting after hours when support staff are offline.

  • Supporting human agents - Assisting our support staff with knowledge lookup, documentation, and tracing issues.

While AI support today is imperfect, we are excited by its prospects through careful implementation. Over the next several years, we aim to refine our chatbot to be an invaluable teammate for our human support staff - combining the best human and machine capabilities to deliver exceptional customer assistance. With a spirit of experimentation and patience, as this emerging technology matures, we know that AI promises to improve customer service.


Let me know if you are interested in learning more because this is really interesting stuff.


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Showcasing specialty Chocolates in your shop


Right now, Australia's specialised chocolate industry is booming.

Chocolate sales in Australia over the past few years

The Australian chocolate Market is anticipated to project robust growth during the forecast period on account of rising health awareness, rising disposable income, and rising demand for chocolates among children. .. Moreover, among the key factors influencing the growth of the chocolate market in Australia are consumer healthy choices and the rising demand for premium chocolates.

Here is a list of some advantages of considering these specialist chocolates in your shop, the big one, little discussed is positioning.

-Halloween is coming up, and so is Christmas, and what one product do they have in common: massive chocolate sales? Just about any marketing season or occasion has massive increases in chocolate sales in retail. People buy chocolates for birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, etc. Almost all holiday season provides significant opportunities for chocolate sales in retail

- Chocolate is an easy, profitable product to add for holidays with solid margins

- The product lines are relatively easy to handle. Your POS System can handle them now. For most suppliers, our systems can import directly the chocolate lines into your POS Software.

- Specialty/artisanal chocolates help small shops stand out from supermarkets as a retailer can pick a brand that the large retailers in their area do not handle. Carrying unique holiday chocolate varieties from local/niche makers delights and attracts customers

- Plenty of impulse purchases from customers not planning to buy chocolate


Effective merchandising is vital to maximising sales and profits for retailers looking to add high-quality, artisanal chocolates to their product range. Unlike mass-market chocolate bars in every supermarket, high-specialty chocolates rely on careful positioning and promotion to capture their target audience. Here are some best practices for small shops to showcase unique chocolate offerings.

Place Specialty Chocolates in Secondary Locations

The most apparent, central areas of a store with the most foot traffic are best reserved for faster turnover essentials like snacks, beverages and impulse purchases. Specialty chocolates don’t necessarily need to occupy prime real estate since their buyers intentionally seek them out. They are tucking chocolate displays into a secondary nook that rewards those willing to explore. Discerning chocolate shoppers appreciate browsing interesting selections in a tucked-away section of the shop rather than crowded front shelves. They can use relatively dead areas in your shop.

Visual Appeal with Packaging

Part of chocolate’s appeal is visual. These chocolates come in beautiful packaging, glossy wrappers and box designs. You can arrange packaged chocolates of varying sizes and shapes for an abundance effect. 


With specialty chocolate, small details in presentation and positioning make a significant difference in sales outcomes. When introducing high-quality chocolate lines, consider optimal placement and creative promotion. The effort pays off in delighted customers and profitable returns.

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Setting your priorities right … P0, P1, P2, …


Prioritize tasks


As a businessman, we all face no shortage of tasks that demand our time and attention. Managing inventory, handling customer service, marketing your products, keeping the books - the list goes on and on. With so many responsibilities and only so many hours in the day, how do you decide what to focus on and when?

The most popular and best method I have found is prioritization, it is in your Pos Software now

Here I will discuss how it works and how it can benefit your retail operation.

Overview of the P0-P4 Framework

Tasks are listed; they can be on paper or in your diary, but nowadays, most people use some software. I find Google Calendar practical, which is free. However, now I will explain the concept like it used to be done on paper, as most of you can relate to that easily. 

Now you list your tasks and assign them for each event on the day you think you will work on them, so now you have a list for each day what your tasks are.  If a task will take a few days, you break it up into small tasks that can be done in a few hours or less. 

Now each of these tasks is assigned a number from 0 to 4 based on priority:

We use the following notation; I suggest you do, too, as it is the standard.

  • P0. Your Mum is dying, the kids are in trouble, a guy just had a heart attack in the shop, and nothing else matters. This P0 block everything else and stops all thought of scheduling. 
  • P1. The system is down and is needed now
  • P2. Some important function needed now is not working, but we can operate
  • P3. Some important function is required soon, but it can wait
  • P4. A non-urgent question that can wait.

This is how it would look on paper: a person goes through the list, prioritises each task and ticks off what they have done.

The general rule is to complete P0 tasks first, then proceed sequentially to P4 tasks as time allows.

This creates an organised method for tackling your most crucial work first. Now, keep reading to see how P0-P4 can make order amid the chaos of retail management.

P0 - Crises Requiring Immediate Action

P0 designates emergency tasks that demand your urgent attention. In retail, P0 situations don't come up daily, but quick action is essential when they do.

Examples of potential P0 crises:

  • Your point of sale system crashes during peak business hours
  • A pipe bursts and floods your store
  • Mum is sick, and you need to run to the hospital

These crises require you to stop everything and address the situation. You cannot waste a minute. 

Luckily, these events are rare.

P1 - High-Priority Goals 

These are important tasks that require your primary focus. Often, they are very important tasks or tasks that have a closing date that is near.

Daily P1 priorities for a retailer may include:

  • Handling a customer now with an issue and complaint
  • Last day to order stock for the holiday season
  • Balancing the till at the end of the day
  • Managing tomorrow's staff schedules

These P1 tasks keep your store operating smoothly. Make time for them before tackling less vital work. Use your point-of-sale system's inventory and reporting tools to stay on top of P1 retail tasks.

P2 - Important but Less Time-Sensitive Tasks

P2 tasks are still integral to your business but aren't as immediate as P1 items. You have some leeway in when you complete them.

Retail P2 tasks could include:

  • Updating store displays and signage
  • Planning for holidays or seasonal inventory
  • Collecting stock for return to a supplier.

Focus on these P2 priorities after handling urgent P0 and P1 tasks. Use your POS system to collect data over time that aids P2 analysis and planning.

P3 - Tasks That Can Wait

P3 contains helpful and non-urgent tasks.

P3 retail tasks may include:

  • Filing old inventory paperwork
  • Rearranging the shelves
  • Analysis POS reports 

Do these when you have time after higher-priority tasks. Avoid letting less important P3 work distract you from critical P0-P2 activities.

P4 - Nice Extras If You Have Time

P4 holds optional tasks that are beneficial but not truly necessary right now. Only tackle these if all other work is complete.

Retail examples include:

  • Learning more about your computer system
  • Cleaning the warehouse in the back
  • Researching new products

These extras can wait until everything else is done. Don't let non-essential P4 work detract from important tasks.

Benefits of P0-P4 Prioritization

Consistently using P0-P4 classification to prioritize your retail workload offers many upsides:

Increased Focus - Provides structure so you know what requires attention now versus later. It prevents you from getting overwhelmed.

Higher Productivity - Helps ensure you complete urgent critical work first. It avoids wasting time on less relevant tasks.

Reduced Stress - Gives confidence that you're focusing where needed most. Minimizes anxiety. I find myself often worrying about remembering my tasks now; putting it in a systematic order calms me down.

Time Savings - Enables getting the right things done faster. I know what I have to do each day.

Orderly Operations - Keeps your business running smoothly by tackling the most pressing issues first. It avoids problems from neglected tasks piling up.

Better Decisions - Clarifies priorities so you can make intelligent choices on time allocation and task delegation. Enables data-driven analysis of what matters most.

The overall impact is optimizing your productivity and performance. Your business operates better when consistently completing P0-P2 tasks before less vital work.

Implementing P0-P4 Prioritization with paper

Putting P0-P4 into practice takes some upfront planning, but soon it becomes second nature. Follow these steps to apply it:

1. Review your tasks - Make a master list of your current to-do.

2. Classify using P0-P4 - Review each task and assign a priority level based on importance and urgency.

3. Schedule time - Allocate time on your calendar to match the prioritized order.

4. Execute and revisit - Work through tasks starting with P0 and adjust as needed if new urgent tasks emerge.

Don't let the labelling Classify using P0-P4 overwhelm you; it rarely matters if you muck it up in practice. Use a combination of urgent, work time and essential. It produces a p0-p8 category. Look at each task for today, and then set 

Urgent tasks: Are the tasks urgent, or can they wait? Urgent tasks cannot be pushed back. As a rule, if not done on time, you cannot do the task.

Important: If they are more important, I will do them first.

Where I disagree with many people, e.g. the Eisenhower matrix, is I believe that Urgent and Important are distinct 

For example

1) The news TV show is happening at 6 pm today. If you miss the deadline, no point switching on the TV at 6:20 pm.  Yet if you miss it, it's not the end of the world. You can always catch up on the news later. So I would mark this as Urgent and Unimportant. Catching up on the news is now a new task that is NOT Urgent (P8) and Unimportant

2) Picking up my kid from school at 3:30 pm today is Urgent and Important. If my kid has an after-school activity she is happy to do until I come, the task may NOT be Urgent (P8) but its still Important.

Workload/Duration: Will it take a lot of time? I give preference to those that I can do quickly. Ideally, I want to get as many tasks off my lists ASAP so Small gets preference. The other plus of doing the Small tasks is that it boosts your ego that you have done something today.

If I have only a little time spare, I will often go through the list for tomorrow, look at the small items, and do these tasks depending on how Urgent and Important they are.

This ordering works for me. 

The Drawbacks of Paper-Based Prioritization

Now, many retailers use a paper planner, notebook, or simple to-do list to organize their workload. While better than no system at all, this paper-based approach has problems:

This P0-P4 framework, which, as you have possibly noticed, is actually a p0-p8 system, provides an excellent structure for prioritizing your tasks and responsibilities. However, managing your master list on paper has some practical challenges.

Repetitive Tasks Are a Hassle

Around 40% of your tasks are typically recurring, like daily register balancing, weekly inventory checks, and monthly rental payments. Having to manually rewrite these repetitive tasks constantly is inefficient and risks forgetting tasks. It is easy to forget, hey, on the 15th I was supposed to send the rent money.

Tasks that cannot be done

Often you have to do a task and suddenly discover that a task cannot be done through no fault of your own eg you are waiting for someone else to do something. In which case how do you reschedule it?  It i now in limbo.

No Visibility of Outstanding Work

Paper lists only show one day at a time. What is going to happen on a future date is unknown. There is no way of telling that next Thursday for example you are going to be flat out.


With a paper system, tasks get crossed off, rescheduled and shuffled around. Besides obscuring what you need to focus on today, it makes your diary look unprofessional, which I do not like. 

No Progress Tracking

Paper alone cannot analyze time spent on tasks, spot workflow patterns, or identify recurring time-wasters. Missing this data limits your ability to improve your operations.

Pain to Share Priorities

A paper list in the back is useless for communicating priorities to others.

Paper gets lost or left at home.

It is all too typical to work everything out on paper, know precisely what has to be done and then suddenly discover you have lost or left that paper somewhere and you cannot access it when you need it.

This is why I recommend using software, but this post is getting too long for a blog. Stay tuned for my next post in a few days on how I recommend you handle and do this.

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The top choice now for a computer among our customers


This computer is the most popular with our customers now for their POS System.

This upgrade to our new computers will solve many headaches for you.

Key Benefits of these computers

- Small Footprint: On the front counter, it takes up as much room as a monitor. 

-Big screen: These ones are 17 inches, which is excellent for those people who find it hard to read small writing on the screen.

Front screen

-Customer display: A nice big customer display that is free with the unit

Customer display

- Touch Screen Capability: It has a touch screen, yet costs the same as a regular monitor. When processing on the checkout, a touch is much faster and more natural.

- Looks modern: An outdated computer monitor sends a terrible message to your customers.

- This thing in the middle is a powerful computer that effectively takes no space on the counter. It's an i5 with plenty of RAM.

Side view

- Cost Savings: If you priced out a monitor, customer display, and computer separately, there would be substantial savings versus this all-in-one unit.  

- Durability for Shop Environments: The computer is designed to withstand the harsh, dusty, and dirty conditions typical of a shop environment.

Reliable Customer Support

Of course, getting value from your investment comes with great support.

  • 24/7 technical support - We know this equipment, so we can often quickly troubleshoot any issues. In truth, we have had very few with them.

  • Hardware warranty - 1 year warranty is included.

Our customer support team has your back so you can focus on running your business, not troubleshooting POS problems.

Let us know if you are interested in learning more here.


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Christmas soon coming


Christmas items in a shop

Provisional forecasts by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), in conjunction with Roy Morgan

These predict $66.8 billion will be spent in the November to December 24 Christmas trading period- broadly in line with last year (up slightly by 0.1% or $74,000). Here is the estimate by retail category

The full report is here.

So get Your Retail Business Holiday-Ready.

Here is an updated checklist to help you prepare for the coming holiday season. This holiday season is most of my clients' busiest time of the year. Many of you will do half of your trade in the next few months. To get the most out of it, you need planning.

This guide covers points you need to review and prepare your retail business for this holiday season.

Step 1: Get Your POS System Holiday-Ready

The point of sale (POS) system is the heart of your retail operation. A glitchy or overloaded POS can ruin the holiday shopping experience, lose your sales, and damage your reputation.

Here are tips to ensure your POS is ready for the holiday rush:

Test Backup Registers and other Hardware

  • If you are bringing old POS computers out of storage, test these well in advance to confirm they work. Computers not used frequently have problems.

  • Verify where these computers will have proper cabling, the network connections work, and it works with our POS system.

  • Test these extra computers by processing a few sample transactions.

  • Make sure you have adequate printer paper, receipt rolls, printer ink, and other POS consumables. I suggest shopping early.

Step 2: Review Your Finances

This proved to be a problem last year, so I decided to add this point this year. The coming holiday season strains finances as it requires increased inventory expenses and seasonal staffing. Here are some tips to keep your finances under control. Make sure you have enough. 

Step 3: Plan and Stock Products

Smart inventory planning prevents out-of-stock that can sink holiday sales.

  • Run sales reports from prior holiday seasons. Identify your top-selling products at this time of year.

  • Look for trends on seasonal best-sellers, big-ticket items, and gift purchases.

Order Seasonal and Holiday Products

  • Make sure to order enough holiday decorations, gift sets, appropriate greeting cards, etc.

  • Make sure you have enough top-selling products and proven items. Shortages can be devastating.

Communicate Early with Suppliers

  • It is a good idea now to discuss orders and delivery logistics with your suppliers.

Step 4: Prepare Your Team for the Holiday Rush

A great staff is crucial for executing a smooth and prosperous holiday season.

Start to schedule Staffing Levels

  • I suggest reviewing last year to prepare.

  • It is not too early to start to prepare a roster.

Step 5: Market and Advertise for the Holidays

Promotions, offers, and campaigns tailored for the holidays can drive significant traffic and sales.

  • If you are into Social Media, I would recommend starting to tell your customers that you have some good things for them. 

  • Even a simple sign can do wonders. Make sure you have it.

Holiday Preparation Checklist

Here is a checklist summarizing the key tasks for getting your retail store holiday-ready:

  • [ ] Test and update POS software and hardware

  • [ ] Review inventory levels and sales histories

  • [ ] Order seasonal and holiday-specific merchandise

  • [ ] Communicate expected order volumes with suppliers

  • [ ] Check your shelves and plan where to put the holiday goods.

  • [ ] Check your financing

  • [ ] Review your coming staff roster

  • [ ] Confirm staffing arrangements for store opening event

  • [ ] Consider a holiday-themed marketing campaigns

  • [ ] Make sure you have signs to decorate your shop


Your retail store can thrive this holiday season with proper planning across your POS systems, finances, inventory, staffing, and marketing. Leverage the checklist above and the recommendations in this guide as you prepare for a busy holiday sales season. Let us know if you need any assistance getting your retail business holiday-ready!


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Lessons from the mishandled advertising in this Referendum


The Voice 2023

As a small business owner, it's insightful to analyze why the NO campaign overcame the YES campaign's advantages. The fact is that the recent public vote on whether to bring back The Voice, a proposed Indigenous advisory body, had a clear result - the NO campaign won with over 60% of the vote. Given the YES campaign's more significant resources, such as money and public profile, this outcome surprised many. In my area, for example, a heavily Asian migrant area, there was almost nothing from the NO campaign. All the local politicians campaigned for YES and yet NO won easily. 

There are essential marketing and messaging takeaways we can apply to promote our businesses effectively:

The NO Campaign Had a Simple, Consistent Message

The NO campaign focused on a clear message that the proposed Voice was divisive and unfair.

NO Campaign Phrase: "Same Rights for All"

See how they emphasised this notion of "unfairness." It is both simple and effective to Australians.

Key Takeaway:

Keep your messaging clear, consistent and repetitive. Find your message and stick to it.

The YES Campaign Had a More Complex Message

In contrast, the YES campaign had a more nuanced message about empowering Indigenous peoples and moving toward reconciliation.

YES Campaign Tagline: "A First Nations Voice Protected by The Constitution"

This is much more abstract, and the terms like "constitutional enshrinement", "Indigenous empowerment", and “reconciliation.” whose finer points would lose many of the audience's attention.

Key Takeaway:

Simplify your messaging as much as possible. Simple messages are more memorable and persuasive.

The NO Campaign Used Fear Messaging Effectively

The NO campaign emphasized fears about the Voice leading to separate Indigenous laws and inequality. Fear is a powerful motivator, particularly when it is not answered.

Key Takeaway:

Address customers' potential fears head-on. Promote how your product or service alleviates worries.

The YES Campaign Couldn't Provide Complete Answers

When questioned, the YES campaign couldn't fully answer how the Voice would work. Voters were told details would be decided later. What will your customers think of your product if you do not supply clear answers before purchase?

Key Takeaway:

Have all the details, including logistics, worked out before promoting a product? Customers need concrete information.

The YES Campaign painted its opponents as racist. 

The Yes proponents cast those who campaigned for No as racists, bastards, or ignorant. Often, they accused them of being dishonest, lying to the Australian people, and spreading misinformation—people who wanted to maintain the status quo of inequality and injustice.

Key Takeaway:

Well, we all knew people who intended to vote NO, who were no such thing. Your advertising has to be believable. Before I voted, I talked with the woman handing out the YES leaflets and the guy handing out NO leaflets at the polling office. Both struck me as good people.


Learning from the failed YES campaign, small business owners can craft more effective promotions. Simple, consistent, fear-alleviating messaging and believable is critical.

What lessons do you see from this historic vote? 

Update: I got requests, to provide a list of sources used for this blog post. However the majority of the information presented here is based on my personal observations and analysis. However, I recommend consulting the report linked here for those interested in further exploring the topic. One interesting finding from the report is that individuals who were more familiar with and understood the proposal were less likely to vote in favor of it. Conversely, those who had a poor understanding of the issue were more likely to vote for it.

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Unveiling of Hidden Product Downsizing (Shrinkflation)


I spoke briefly a few days ago of shrinkflation, the practice of suppliers today of hiding increases in retail prices by secretly reducing what you get. It generated some discussion, so I decided today to show examples of how it is done so you know the problem when your customers ask you about it.

What is shrinkflation, and how does it affect retailers?

Shrinkflation refers to the deceptive practice of companies secretly reducing the amount of a product while keeping the same price or even raising it. This allows suppliers to increase profits without customers realizing it's a price hike.

As a small retailer, shrinkflation can impact you and your customers in a few key ways:

Reduced trust. When customers notice items they regularly purchase have gotten smaller or contain less quantity, it erodes trust in brands. This could cause them to be hesitant to buy from your store in the future.

Higher costs. If your suppliers engage in shrinkflation, you pay the same or more for products containing less. This cuts into your margins without you even knowing.

Difficulty managing inventory. It's harder to accurately track inventory levels and order appropriate quantities when changing product sizes without notice. This can lead to stock-outs.

Disgruntled customers. People notice when their money isn't going as far at the grocery store or other retailers. Shrinkflation leads to complaints you have to field from customers who feel they are getting a raw deal.

It messes up your pricing. If you are not careful, your pricing can be wrong. I have seen examples of retailers reducing the price of the old product, which has more in it, as they think the new product is better. It is not it is just secretly smaller.

Some examples of shrinkflation


The older bottle had ten more pills, about a 9% price increase. What is interesting here is that the new bottle with less in it is a bigger bottle.


The new bottle has about 5% less product, and the packaging has been redesigned, too, as in the above example.


This one is quite tricky, see it you can pick it up.

The tube size of the older one is smaller than the hole of the newer one. It probably will look the same size, but there is less paper.


This is just a price rise by reducing the product supplied.

This one is actually a significant price rise of 25%.


My last example shows, over time, just how significant these secret changes can be 


Measured up, this is about an 80% price increase.


To protect your business and customers from the impacts of shrinkflation, you need to carefully monitor unit sizes and quantities of the products you re-order.

You can find many more examples if you want to investigate further here, were people are encouraged to report such practices.



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Troubleshooting Your POS Software After Microsoft Updates



Recent Microsoft updates have caused some issues with our POS software and some other software for a few customers. It is a known problem by Microsoft here. For some reason, it is now starting to appear.

If you are experiencing problems problems with your POS Software, don't panic! Here is some troubleshooting you can do to get your POS system back up and running smoothly.

Restarting Your Server

A simple restart is often all that is needed to clear up software issues caused by these updates. Follow these steps:

  • Close any open programs on your system
  • Shut down the server computer completely
  • After 1 minute, restart the server and let it boot up fully
  • Try using the POS software again - the issues may be resolved!

Restarting your server essentially clears any memory errors or software conflicts that the updates may have caused. It's a quick first step to try before investigating deeper issues.

Contact Our Support Team

If restarting your POS server doesn't fix the problems you've been experiencing, please reach out to our customer support team immediately.

Our support reps can troubleshoot further, analyse your system logs, and identify what precisely in the Microsoft updates is causing conflicts. We can then provide targeted solutions to get your POS software connecting correctly again.

Let us know if you have any other questions! We're here to help.

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What the Latest Reserve Bank of Australia Snapshot Means for Retailers


Here is the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) latest economic snapshot. I like it as it provides a simple view of the Australian economy. The full details are above, and supporting information here.

For us in retail, there are some concerning signs and a few positive takeaways in the report. Let's get into it.

Interest Rates on the Rise

As we're all painfully aware, interest rates have steadily climbed over the past year. Higher interest rates increase our loan repayments and cut into our profits. Most economists seem to think that one more rate rise is ahead, but who knows what the RBA will say. I doubt it can go up much more. 

Inflation Taking Its Toll

The snapshot shows inflation is high, only slightly down from a year ago. The government policy of allowing interest rates to go up to reduce inflation is not working well at all. 

Inflation is a worry as rapid inflation erodes consumer purchasing power. This puts pressure on retailers as consumers become more selective with their spending. I suspect more shrink inflation (when the product stays at the same price but gets smaller, have you noticed our burger size is sinking), and we need to source cheaper products?

Wage Growth Failing to Keep Pace

Wage growth is up, which is usually positive news. But with inflation running so high, we are falling behind even with the wage growth. This means Australians will have less actual purchasing power. Retailers, therefore, can't rely on rising wages to drive spending growth. 

The other problem is that wage growth is higher than our national growth. Businesses will have to increase salaries without the increase in revenue to pay for it. This is just pure inflationary and cannot be maintained without increasing unemployment. 

Household Savings Declining

The household saving ratio is meagre. We cannot count on people using their savings as before to maintain spending.

Strong Population Growth

Australia's annual population growth is up, a positive for retailers. More people means more potential customers and demand for consumer goods and services.


Overall, the snapshot presents a mixed view for Australian retailers. 

What's your perspective on what the RBA report means for retailers? I am keen to hear your insights!

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12 Important Factors to Consider When Choosing an Internet Service Provider for Your Small Business


Choosing an internet supplier

A reliable, high-speed internet connection is no longer a luxury for small businesses today - it is an absolute necessity. It is the primary mechanism for most people in business to communicate today. 

1. Internet Speeds

For a modern business today, you do not want a download of anything less than 25 Mbps. However, faster speeds will allow your business to function much more efficiently. I find that 50-100 Mbps is adequate for most small businesses, that want to do some advanced functions like Zoom conferencing. 

2. Reliability 

This is the most important in business. 

A consistent, reliable connection is crucial. The best thing to do is ask locals, while in your shop, who you use and how you find them. When I moved into my office, I first contacted the people nearby and asked them about their experience with their internet supplier. They were all quite pleased to help me. 

I suggest that you look at their Google reviews online. They are only relevant if it has a few; one or two reviews tell you nothing. For rating, you want something about 4.2; anything much over that sounds suspiciously like they are buying good reviews. Pay particular attention to the recent reviews; you are not interested in ancient history. 

Google ratings

3. Data limits

Today, you can get unlimited for as much as plans with limited data. If you think you do not need much, you can get away with much less. Be careful, though many have been burnt with not buying enough and getting big bills from the internet provider when they exceeded the limit. I like the Optus plan here, as you do not get charged more if you go over. You just go slow.

4. Price and Fees

Well, we all have budgets. No one bank is unlimited. Buy what you think you can afford.

5. Customer Service

Find out if they offer telephone support, and if so, what are the hours. Most restrict the hours. Also, some only give telephone support if they cannot work it out with email or chat first.

6. Technical Support

Check what is covered in their technical support; some internet providers, for example, only support modems you purchased from them. This is no minor matter as a large percentage of support calls for the internet, in my experience, have to do with modems. 

7. Local availability

It is great if they have an office or shop near you. I had a client that had problems with his internet. The internet support team could not help them with their modem. As their internet supplier was an Optus reseller, we told them to go to the local Optus shop to check it out. The Optus team established it was a faulty modem, sold them a new modem and then checked their internet provider's SIM, and they were up and running almost immediately. 

8. Scalability

Your business requirements go up and down, so it is best to pick an internet provider with many plans. That way, you can change your plan as your business requirements change. I have a client who, over the school holiday whom I talked about above, whose son helps out over the holidays. When the son is there, he increases his plan.

9. Connection Type

I could write a whole blog post on the main two connection types used by my clients, the 5G network and the NBN (National Broadband Network). Both are two very different technologies. The 5G is wireless, while NBN mostly relies on fixed, wired connections. I suggest for reliability going for the NBN.

Note in some areas, NBN is also wireless, so check first.

10. Contract Terms

Beware of lengthy contracts. The problem is that some come with termination fees. A month-to-month or annual contract offers more flexibility.

11. Bundled Services

Many ISPs offer bundled deals with phone, TV, web hosting, email accounts, VoIP and other services. While not always necessary for business, bundles can save you significant costs if you need those services. One of my clients gets two free virtual phone numbers. He uses one to monitor how his advertising goes since the only time that number is used is when he advertises.

12. Compare online plans

One site I recommend you start looking for an internet provider is here. 

This will give you a good start.


The odds are the internet provider you will be using for a long time is more than just comparing speeds and prices; you need one that is right for you.

A reliable, high-speed internet is too important to avoid getting wrong!

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Our favourite all-in-one unit.


This has become our customers' favourite All-in-One system.

What is an All-in-One POS System?

An all-in-one POS unit combines your hardware and software in one integrated machine. You see them today in most modern shops and restaurants. 

I took some pictures of the unit. Once you see them, I am sure you will be impressed with the small footprint on the counter.


Front of an all-in-one unit
Customer screen of an all-in-one unit
Side of an all-in-one unit

POS Software on an all-in-one unit

Benefits of All-in-One POS Systems

There are several notable benefits that all-in-one POS systems provide for businesses:

1. Convenience

With an all-in-one system, merchants get everything they need in one convenient bundle. There's no need to have many components from different vendors sitting on your counter with cables sitting everywhere. 

2. Space Saving Design

All-in-one POS have a small footprint, perfect for retailers with limited counter space. This leaves more room to merchandise impulse items on the counter. The lack of cables and multiple hardware pieces also creates a neater appearance.

3. Ease of Use

Since all the hardware and software components are designed to work together seamlessly. This makes the system intuitive for staff to use. Employees don't have to learn multiple interfaces or deal with compatibility issues. The experience is smooth from the staff side.

4. Enhanced Customer Experience

Because they are touch, all-in-one POS units have faster transaction times so shorten wait times. 

5. Costs

The fall in price of these units is certainly driving up sales.

Is an All-in-One POS Right for Your Business?

Almost certainly YES, for most retailers, the advantages of an integrated POS system are compelling. The convenience, smooth operation and security can lead to noticeable gains in efficiency, customer satisfaction and sales.


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The Pitfalls of Government Energy Compare Websites


An independent Victorian Government energy price comparison site

In Victoria, our state government runs an electricity and gas comparison website here to help consumers find the cheapest deals, and it's marketed as a way to save money.

All well and good, but how reliable are the figures on these government comparison sites?

In my recent experience, the rates shown there do not match what suppliers quoted me when I went direct. Here is my story.

My Experience with the Victorian Energy Compare Website

What happened is that I went to the Victorian Energy Compare website looking to save money on my energy. The site recommended a new supplier that is cheaper than my existing provider, RED Energy.

However, when I checked online reviews for this recommended supplier, I found many poor reviews about their customer service. After reading many complaints, I got the message to stay away.

So, knowing the price, I called my supplier, RED Energy, directly to ask for a new quote. To my surprise, without even mentioning my quoted price, RED Energy gave me a quote over the phone that was significantly cheaper than what was shown on the government comparison website!

My thoughts: Don't Trust the Figures on Comparison Sites

This experience taught me an important lesson - don't take the rates shown on government comparison sites as gospel. The figures displayed for my existing supplier, RED Energy, did not match what they quoted. There is more to it than what is told to us. If I had listened to them, I would have a poorly rated electric supplier with a dearer price.

Has This Happened to You?

I'm curious whether other people have had similar experiences with this or similar government comparison websites did not show accurate rates compared to what you were quoted directly by suppliers.

The bottom line is that, based on my experience, it may be helpful as a guide, but you still need to contact these suppliers directly.

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