Author Archive

Good Merchandising/POS Software Can Help Entrepreneurs Show Their True Colors

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An entrepreneur’s distinguishing quality may not be the willingness to take risks, but his ability to put the past behind and seize new opportunities in the future. You have probably had your head caved in over the last year with this horrible economy and it might not get any better, but that entrepreneurial spirit is still shining and if your business is still holding up, you are probably doing things right. I believe now is the time to start the push for better retail performance through improved inventory selection, POS/Retail management software and a new optimistic outlook.

It’s the same old story; it has to get better because it can’t get any worse. While all your competitors are hunkered down in their bunkers, you do the unexpected, and come out firing. If you need help in your POS Software selection, call and we can make it affordable and give you the big gun you need.

Working Directly with the POS Software Developer

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There is a reason I put my email address and direct number on all the correspondence I send out and on our web site.  That is to make sure all your needs are taken care of.  Being able to contact the POS software developer directly means faster, more efficient and more reliable service when you need it most. Our support staff can be called immediately when an issue arises and you need to have an answer now. Nothing can be more frustrating than needing to know how to perform a certain task and not getting a knowledgeable answer. If you don’t get your support from the people that develop and work with the POS software every day, are you really getting the reliable answers you need?

The Best Business Improvement Starts At The POS

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There are many new buzz words in the retail technology arena that are changing the way retailers are looking at system upgrades at the store level.  Cloud, mobile and social media are a few words that are thrown around, but today’s retailers are still faced with the problem of creating more revenue out of the existing square footage they occupy.  Information gathered with point of sale software is a vital part of the process of generating business opportunities by making available information allowing you to open new markets, attract new customers and find new ways to optimize revenue. Most POS systems can manage to do the basics, like perpetual inventory, billings and compile various lists.

To succeed in today’s business climate, you have to have a system that gives you the ability to build your business around processes that generate more revenue out of existing customers, services, products with better margins and utilize the Internet as an extension of your POS software. The reports you generate from your POS software must be precise accounts of your customers buying habits in the past, an accurate projection of their future purchases and the inventory levels required to satisfy their needs. Buying more inventory than necessary or purchasing the wrong piece selection is a formula for disaster. Prior to purchasing extensive amounts of inventory or investing in new fixtures or equipment, a store must review their sales performance by department, by vendor and formulate a sales plan or revise an existing plan. Based on trends, the sales plans are adjusted upward or downward so that the right amount of investment is made in each department

A minimum return for your investment with quality POS Software.

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A minimum return for your investment with quality POS Software.

If taking a long overdue vacation or just a little R&R and having peace of mind is not enough, try the following equation:

If your Retail Store did $500,000. in yearly sales, you could, according to industry averages, add 15% to your Bottom Line with quality POS Software.

  POS Software Stops Theft and Shrinkage 2% $10,000
  Prompt and accurate statements with POS Software 1% 5,000
  POS Software for Accurate inventory pricing At time of Sale 1% 5,000
  POS Software with Built in sales prompts 1% 5,000
  POS Software Helps in mishandled & inaccurate Inventory counts 2% 10,000
  POS Software with Retail Stock Ledger reporting for Better turn rates, sell through & margin comparisons 2% 10,000
  Targeted Marketing in your POS Software {know the Buying habits of your customers And target market} 1% 5,000
  POS Software with Web Shopping Cart 5% 25,000

For a $250.00 per month investment, you receive POS software, support, upgrades, web shopping cart and web hosting.

*All figures are based on industry averages and may vary with each retailer.

You Have to Rely On Good POS Software Sales Numbers

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Like a lot of POS Software Companies, we built a bunch of reports that were good, but it was hard to tie all the reports together. The ProphetLine POS/Retail Management Company spent much time and money using some of the best retail minds to give retailers reports that make sense. Our primary consultant was Alan Fisher of My Retail Guru and he helped us tie all the reports together in a concise summary of easy to understand data to make positive decisions from, not just a list with hard to understand information. All of the Point of Sale information is aggregated into the comprehensive Retail Stock Ledger. ProphetLine then takes this information and builds quick view reports that allow you to identify problems in your inventory and the necessary actions needed to correct the problem. Click the Retail Stock Ledger link to get a better understanding of what goes on and why. You can drill as deep as you want into the Retail Stock Ledger or build Open To Buy Plans with confidence your numbers are correct. Now more than ever, the numbers you rely on have to be quick and accurate.

What is Missing in Your Retail POS Software?

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By: Alan Fisher, President, Retail Business 101,

Last year, I conducted a system search for a large retailer at a municipal golf facility and I found that most POS software companies still do not understand what inventory management is. The golf course selected ProphetLine, a system that specialized in retail because the typical golf POS products could not provide a small percentage of their inventory needs. Most of these companies believe that inventory management is (1) replenishment and (2) sales and gross margin reports.

Sales and gross margin reports may be important information, but it rarely leads to any future decision. It is too much detail. Good retail management does not start out as detail management.

Could you imagine a controller or yourself wanting to review the financial performance of your business and then looking at the general ledger entries? Of course not. You review a financial statement that provides summarized comparative data to either previous periods and/or a budget. Then, if advertising and marketing expense has increased 15% over the acceptable numbers, you would try to determine what had specifically led to the increase and then decide if it was acceptable or not. If it hit the target, you would probably not be searching through the numbers. Reviewing a sales and gross margin report is tantamount to reviewing general ledger entries.

By now, I am sure you are wondering what is important for managing retail in the golf industry. The most important statistic in all of retail is the Stock Turn Rate (STR) and you should hear the Hallelujah Chorus in the background when these words are spoken. The STR measures how many times an invested dollar is sold over a year.

To simplify the understanding of this, let’s look at the life of one solitary item in a fictitious golf shop. The buyer selects a supposedly great golf shirt that costs $25 and she (since most great apparel buyers are female) intends to sell it for $75 (a planned margin of 66.7%). However, that shirt sits untouched in the golf shop throughout the entire year until someone comes in on Christmas Eve and buys it as a last minute gift for an unloved relative. On the gross margin report, the buyer can pat herself on the back about how it earned that planned $50 and 66.7% profit. Since STR is not a part of the system reporting, it looks good for profit percentages.

However, a second buyer bought the same shirt for her shop and, after four months, decided that the shirt was a mistake. So she reduced it to $40 and was able to sell (unload) it. However, this shop was able to pocket $15 in profits and reinvest the original $25 into some product that had a higher likelihood of selling at a reasonable profit. So the second product sold at $60, earning another $35 in profits and giving the shop the opportunity to reinvest a third time. At the end of the year, this shop actually looked worse on the gross margin report because it only earned 53.1% in profits. However, there was $85 in profits instead of $50. The second shop had a STR of roughly 3.0 while the first shop had 1.0.

This is the same concept as investing in the stock market. As soon as you realize that your investment is not going to earn the return by the time you need it, you dump it and reinvest in something that can accomplish both the time and the return. Your POS software should accomplish this for you automatically.

Vista: The Devil is in the Drivers

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I run Vista for my operating system at work and have had my share of ‘growing pains’. Here is a quick article from the folks at the MSD2D (MSD2D is the premier resource for the Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, .NET and server security communities.) .NET Newsletter that sums it up pretty good.

Derek Hatchard and I have had similar experiences with Windows Vista: It’s pretty and pretty cool, but some of your peripherals just might not function. Derek mentions his Samsung ML-4500 printer and TASCAM microphone don’t work. For me, my HP Photosmart 3300 printer doesn’t work. I just have to guess that a lot of hardware vendors simply aren’t going to port “old” drivers over to Vista, ever [weeping noises]. This is just another nail in the coffin of the Vista upgrade scenario, if you ask me.

Just a word of caution. Make sure your POS Software and Hardware will work with Vista before you make the move. At ProphetLine, we have tested our software with Vista. It works well, however, we too are still waiting on drivers for some of the things typically used in a retail business such as printers, customer displays, etc.

Visa USA adds financial incentives, fines to PCI program

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Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliancy has been a big topic over the past year. In layman’s terms, it states merchants whom except credit cards should take certain precautions to ensure the security of card holder data. These precautions include but are not limited to, the use of firewalls, security protocols, updated anti-virus and intrusion software. Most companies typically do well with these, however, the place they often fall behind is with the storage of data in their POS Software or backups that should not be stored. Data such as credit card track data, CVV2 data, debit card PINs is not needed after the transaction has been run/approved and should not be stored.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express have been urging companies to become complaint in their protection of data over the past year, but are now adding incentives and larger fines for non-compliance. The push is to get all ‘acquiring’ financial institutions to be fully compliant with PCI requirements by August 31, 2007. Banks that fail to become compliant could face fines starting at $5,000 a month for each non-compliant merchant and the fines increase to $25,000 per month after December 31, 2007. In addition to the fines, merchant rates will also be effected by non-compliance. Merchants who fail to become complaint will see higher rates and fees for each credit card transaction.

As you can see, it is very important to make sure your POS Software is PCI complaint and if not, find out their plans to become complaint. ProphetLine POS Software has been compliant with PCI standards even prior to them being formally announced by Visa and continues to ensure card holder data is protected at all phases of the transaction and/or storage of data. If your POS software is not complaint and has no finalized plans they can tell you about, it may be time to consider a new POS package.

For more on this subject, you can read an article at Computer World by clicking here.

POS Software for Controlling Inventory and Receivables

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I talk quite a bit to not only prospects but also recently sold customers new to the use of ProphetLine and often new to PC Based Point of Sale Software. These are courtesy calls to make sure things are progressing as expected after the sale. My first contact this morning expressed this sentiment. "Now that we have ProphetLine, we have learned who pays promptly and who does not.  we were surprised to find that we were wrong in what we thought". This company is operating multiple store operations; effectively three stores, two of which are mobile stores located on trucks. Additionally this account said, "For the first time, we know what we need to reorder and when we need to reorder before we run out." This is Retail Management.


Make Sure Your Inventory is Concise!

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A Point of Sale solution depends on many data types to perform fundamental duties such as selling, purchasing, paying vendors and tracking customers buying habits. All of these responsibilities depend on one common data set that is central to not only effective long-term operation but also a rapid setup of a Point of Sale solution ““ that data type is inventory.

Inventory detail is the key to just about every retail management decision that you will face. It also can be the most readily available data to a retailer moving to a PC Based Retail Management System. Existing data can be manipulated and hours of manual entry can be avoided by contacting vendors, distributors, industry trade groups or government agencies. Sometimes even other retailers outside of your geographical area of competition might sell you inventory information.

The point is that a wealth of inventory information is often available in some electronic format that can save time on setup. Inventory detail is required for any Point of Sale or Retail Management solution to be effective and rapidly put into daily use. It is the most critical database and much of the information you need is already in electronic format. Find it, use it and refine it.