What retailers need to know about Card-Not-Present transactions

Remote payments, also known as card-not-present (CNP), are made by credit cards. These payments are made remotely and don’t require you to swipe, insert, or tap the card at the payment terminal.

According to a 2021 study done by PULSE, remote purchases now account for one third of debit transactions. An active card can make 7.5 card-not present transactions per month.

Customers can make purchases online or by phone using CNP payments. They can also choose the time and place that is most convenient for them. Retailers have the opportunity to increase their sales and marketing channels.

Card-not-present payments have their benefits and disadvantages. This guide will help you make the most out of CNP payments at your store.

What is a “card-not-present” (CNP) transaction

When a card isn’t physically presented at the checkout, a card-not present (CNP) transaction occurs.

CNP transactions are when the card was not in direct contact with a payment terminal. The card was not swiped or inserted into a card reader with a chip card. It also wasn’t used for contactless payment using NFC or RFID technology.

Card-present transactions are transactions that involve this contact.

Card-not present transactions are online payments that are made via phone orders, online shopping and mail. These transactions also include the scenario where a merchant enters card details manually into the payment terminal, instead of scanning, inserting, tapping, or tapping the card.

Here are some examples of transactions that are not card-not present

These are some examples of CNP transactions:

  • Online orders. Customers add products to an online shopping basket and check out with their card details.
  • Order online and pick up in-store ( OPIS ) Similar to online orders except that the customer picks up the order rather than having it delivered.
  • Phone orders. The customer places an order by calling the sales agent and giving their credit card details.
  • Mail orders. Postal payments, such as when you order from a physical product catalogue.
  • Recurring payment. Customers sign up for recurring deliveries, such as a subscription box, or a product that they wish to replenish frequently, and their payment is made automatically using the payment card data stored by the retailer.
  • Invoice payments. An invoice is paid by a customer. It can be sent online using an online payment system.
  • Card-on-file payments. Customers can authorize merchants that they retain their credit card information to be used for future payments.

Card-not-present transactions

It is essential to ensure that card-not present transactions are processed correctly for your business and your customers’ safety and security.

Customer information is essential

 

When you are checking out, certain customer and credit card information will be required. These are:

  • Address for billing
  • Shipping address
  • Telephone number
  • Name of the cardholder (as it appears in the card)
  • Number of credit card
  • Expiration date for cards (monthly and annually)
  • Card security code (CSC), three- to four-digit code at the back of your card

This should be possible with your payment processing system. For a faster checkout and inventory reconciliation, it is a good idea to integrate payment processing with your point of sale system (POS).

CNP transactions at merchant rates

It is a fact that every card payment you receive from your customers incurs a fee.

This fee is slightly higher for card-not present transactions. CNP transactions are more vulnerable to fraud because you cannot validate the card or cardholder in person. You will pay an assessment, interchange and processing fee as well as the rate charged by your payment provider.

Transaction fees are usually structured like this:

[Percentage of transaction] + [fixed price per transaction]

2.9% + 30C/ . They may vary depending on the credit card company and payment processor.

Card-not-present transactions may result in a higher fee, a fixed cost or both. These are systems and protocols that protect your ecommerce transactions from fraudulent transactions.

PRO TIP Shopify payments are included in all Shopify POS plans. There is no setup or sign-up fee. You can control your cash flow and pay the same rate pre-negotiated for all credit cards starting at 2.4% + $0.00

Card-not-present fraud

Business owners are at risk of credit card fraud if they don’t physically inspect the card. Card-not-present fraud is an expensive issue for merchants–LexisNexis reported that every $1 of fraud cost US merchants $3.60 in 2021, up 15% from 2019.

Here are some facts about CNP fraud.

What is card-not present fraud?

Card-not present fraud is when fraudsters use another person’s card information to make a purchase online.

Fraud prevention processes are not in place. The person who commits fraud only needs to know a few details about the card like the card number and expiry date.

Card-not-present chargeback fraud

chargeback is when a customer disputes a transaction made with their credit card company, or the issuing bank.

Friendly fraud is also known by chargeback fraud. This is a scam where a customer claims that they received a defective product or no product. Instead of asking for a refund, the merchant will charge them back.

Prevention of card-not present fraud and chargeback fraud

  • PCI Compliance
  • Install an address verification system (AVS).
  • Verify card security codes
  • Create a customer bill statement
  • Make a clear exchange and return policy

Your responsibility is to ensure that your card-not present transactions are protected. These are some systems that you can use.

PCI compliance. PCI compliance is a standard of security for credit and debit card processing organizations. It includes areas such as monitoring a secure network and protecting cardholder data. PCI compliant hosting and ecommerce software are required for your store.

Establish an address verification system (AVS). AVS verifies the billing address and ZIP codes of customers with credit card issuers by comparing the numeric portion. AVS will give a code to the merchant if there is a mismatch. AVS is worth the effort as unauthorized users are often unable to provide the correct billing address.

Use card security codes . The three- to four-digit number found on the back of Mastercard, Visa and American Express cards is called a card security code (CSC). It is also called a CVC (card verification code), CVV (card verify value) or CVV2 (card verification number). The CSC can be used to verify that the customer has physical access to the card. Stolen credit card information should not contain CSC details.

Create a customer bill statement. You can customize the text on your customer’s credit cards bill. Add the name of your store to let your customer know what the charge is for. This will reduce confusion for customers when they review their bank statements or credit cards statements.

Outline clear exchange and return policy. Clear options and processes should be highlighted for customers who are unhappy with their purchase. You can return the product to receive a full refund, or exchange it for another color, size, etc. This will encourage customers to contact you instead of going through the dispute process with their card issuer.

PRO TIP Shopify payments are included in all Shopify POS Plans and come with Automatic Dispute Resolution which nearly doubles your chargeback dispute win rate.

CNP transactions can be accepted with confidence

Card-not present doesn’t need to be costly or stressful. You now have a better understanding of the different types of CNP fraud. Now you can protect yourself with PCI compliance, AVS authentication and CSC validation.

These systems will allow you to focus on other things and be assured that your card-not present transactions are being taken care of.

What is the best scenario? Having payment processing integrated into your POS system. Shopify PO protects your online transactions against fraud by offering built-in payment processing, PCI compliance and competitive credit card rates. Shopify stores all transactions and inventory information so that you can manage your entire business from one place.

source https://www.shopify.com/retail/card-not-present

Everything you need to know about cloud ERP and Ecommerce

One wise (and unidentified) man is quoted as saying that “I won’t be impressed by technology until I can download foods from the internet.”

Maybe that day will come, but for now we can order almost everything online.

However, businesses that hadn’t made the decision to do so were forced to reconsider their decision after the COVID-19 crisis. Ecommerce is not a future option, but a necessity for survival.

Statista estimates that retail ecommerce revenues reached 431 billion U.S. Dollars in 2020, according to Statista . The revenue is expected to rise to more than 563 billion U.S. Dollars by 2025. How can ecommerce companies manage the extraordinary growth and meet higher-than-ever customer demands?

IDC is a leading global market intelligence company. It has released a white paper, Best Together: SaaS Digital Commerce Platforms & ERP Help Organizations Move Past Legacy Limitations. This whitepaper states that the solution lies in a combination team effort and the right technology.

The IDC analysts wrote that meeting customer expectations requires team effort. This is dependent on all areas of the organization (e.g. commerce, customer service and financials, supply chain).

The analysts recommend that businesses invest in a cloud ERP and digital commerce system, such as the native Acumatica BigCommerce Connector, to ensure they grow and mature into enterprise-level companies.

Before we get into the details of this seamless solution, let’s first talk about what cloud ERP software actually is.

What is Cloud ERP?

Understanding cloud computing is key to understanding cloud ERP solutions. An Microsoft Azure article gives a clear definition.

Cloud computing simply means that computing services are delivered over the internet (or “the cloud”), including servers, storage, databases and software. This allows for faster innovation and flexible resources as well as economies of scale. Cloud services are typically only charged for what you use. This helps you to lower operating costs, scale your infrastructure more efficiently, and reduce your overheads.

Cloud ERP software, then, is software-as-a-service (SaaS) that allows users to access Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software over an internet connection. A cloud-based ERP system acts as an organizational system of record. Data from financial, distribution, CRM, etc. The ERP synchronizes data from all systems in real time. The ERP is a central repository for all business data. It integrates business processes and serves as an “unique source of truth” for employees. Users can also access the ERP from any device with a browser, and at any time.

A general rule of thumb is that if a company is still using a legacy system or multiple disconnected, poorly integrated systems to manage complex inventory, warehouses and financial obligations, it is time to move to a cloud-based ERP solution.

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Cloud ERP vs Private Cloud ERP

Understanding private cloud ERP is essential to fully comprehend cloud ERP solutions. Let’s take a look at both options.

1. Cloud ERP.

As we know, cloud ERP options allow users to access their business applications via the internet. They run on shared computing resources. Cloud ERP options allow users to easily integrate with third-party apps while still providing the flexibility and scalability that businesses require in a dynamic economy. Cloud ERP vendors are responsible for security, updates, as well as upgrades. Businesses pay a monthly subscription fee depending on how many users or resources they use.

2. Private Cloud ERP.

The only difference between private and cloud ERP systems is the location of the software. The software is installed and maintained at the business’s own facilities. Only the IT department of an organization is responsible for software deployment and the maintenance and security of software and hardware. The initial costs of software licenses and hardware may be prohibitive. Remote access is possible but not always an integrated function. It may be necessary to use a third-party app and device.

Private Cloud ERP: Challenges

All ERP options have their unique challenges, but private cloud ERP challenges are something businesses, particularly small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), should pay attention to.

Private cloud ERP solutions may be more expensive to implement and maintain, with a higher capital investment upfront. Businesses must have a full-time IT staff. Private cloud solutions can take longer to deploy, may require more hardware to accommodate additional users, and may not be mobile-friendly.

Private cloud ERP solutions often have legacy systems that are not modernly integrated. Customers suffer as a consequence.

What makes cloud ERP business sense for an online store?

We now have a better understanding of the differences and challenges in the various ERP solutions, it is time to bring ecommerce into the picture.

Ecommerce platforms are essential for putting their products/services before customers. An ecommerce portal allows online businesses to manage sales, marketing and operations.

According to IDC’s Whitepaper, whichever ecommerce platform businesses choose, it must combine seamlessly and natively with an ERP solution–preferably, a cloud ERP solution.

Analysts at IDC write that the most successful digital businesses have an overarching strategy for digital transformation and select ERP and digital commerce systems that can be tightly integrated or combined. A future-proof digital platform must use modern SaaS systems designed for the cloud.

An online store that uses cloud ERP solutions makes business sense is always a good idea.

Cloud ERP for Ecommerce: Benefits

Cloud ERP solutions are often faster to implement, have lower upfront costs and allow for real-time communication with ecommerce platforms. Businesses can also benefit from cloud ERP solutions that include an ecommerce vertical such as Acumatica’s retail-commerce edition.

1. Flexibility and adaptability.

Flexibility in the face of market fluctuations is a key indicator of a company’s success. Businesses can easily make required customizations with the right cloud ERP system, without having to hire IT staff. They can adapt their back-office processes and workflows as well as their customer-facing apps to change circumstances.

Each merchant also operates in a unique way. Each merchant operates in a unique way. The right cloud ERP solution can be configured and used without code to adapt to merchant’s unique requirements, instead of forcing them to use the ERP software.

2. 2. Improved security

Cloud-based ERP software can be hosted in data centers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. They have the resources that SMBs might not have, including top-notch security. A cloud hosting service offers many benefits:

  • Physical access to the equipment can be controlled.
  • Environmental protection.
  • Protection against unforeseen disasters.
  • Network intrusion detection and prevention.
  • Regular maintenance of your system.

3. Business growth can be sustained

Businesses expect their business management software to grow along with them as they grow. However, this is not always possible. It is difficult for legacy solutions to keep up with technological innovations that are constantly changing.

Cloud-based solutions receive regular updates and upgrades. These updates allow ecommerce businesses remain competitive and provide the opportunity for continued growth.

4. Compatible with many tools

No matter what business offers or what services it sells, integration with key business applications is essential. Acumatica has the technology partner to help a business expand Acumatica’s platform.

BigCommerce allows Acumatica businesses to process orders, manage inventory and set prices. It also facilitates inbound logistics.

Steps to Cloud ERP Implementation

Connecting an ERP cloud solution to an ecommerce platform may sound like a smart decision. There are few steps you need to follow when choosing or implementing a cloud ERP system. While cloud ERP providers might differ in the number of steps and the names of the steps, the end result is the exact same: ecommerce success.

1. 1.

Ecommerce businesses need to take the time and research all options. While it may take time to compare and contrast the various cloud ERP systems available today, rushing this step could result in making a bad decision.

A checklist such as Acumatica’s Business Management System Evaluator Checklist is a great way to evaluate and research options. It allows businesses to compare features and benefits between vendors based upon five categories: Productivity (functionality), Technology (value), and risk.

This checklist, or any similar one, will help businesses to find the right cloud ERP system.

2. Installation.

The second step is to install the software. To complete the installation, you will need to first gather an internal team. This team often includes an Executive Sponsor, a Project Leader (or Project Manager), a technical Lead and Subject Matter Experts.

This step requires you to identify your requirements. Acumatica customers classify requirements as necessary, desirable, not an urgent need, and nice-to-have. This results in a list with features and functions that is affordable and fits the project’s timeline.

3. Migration.

Migration of data from an old system to a new one is complex. However, a checklist can make it easier and more manageable. Acumatica’s data migration checklist is an example.

  • Verify that all customer contact information is current and accurate
  • Correct or remove redundant data (discontinued vendors and contacts not longer associated with the company).
  • Correct or out-of date company data (old part numbers and discontinued products) should be removed
  • Set up your Acumatica database
  • Your legacy ERP data can be mapped to Acumatica’s new fields
  • Transfer the data to your new system
  • To verify that all data from the past has been transferred and is still accessible, test the new system
  • Verify that new data can be added (new product information or inventory item location, customer information).

4. Test.

It is important to test and approve any new product before it is sold to customers. While cloud ERP vendors may have their own procedures and methods for creating a test plan to test the system, most test plans will be able to test every requirement.

These are some guidelines that may be followed during testing:

  • Scope: The purpose of the test
  • Requirement: The specific requirement that is being tested
  • Configuration: System configurations required to conduct the test
  • Step-by-step procedure to perform the test
  • Test Data: An SME can provide this if needed. The test data should be representative of real-world situations
  • Expected Results: The results that are expected to be produced when the system performs according to specifications
  • Pass or fail: This determines whether the test was passed.
  • Comment: Additional observations, system behavior and partial successes
  • Training

Training is an essential step. Users and system administrators who aren’t properly trained from the start may not fully grasp the benefits of the cloud ERP system.

A cloud ERP vendor should offer training assistance, as well as all the documentation and training courses required for a complete training experience.

5. 5.

The deployment is also known as “go-live” and is when the cloud ERP vendor will be available to push the go-live button.

This step involves making the decision about when you want to go live. This usually happens on the day or days that have the lowest impact on the business. Businesses will then need to decide whether they want the new system activated and deactivated simultaneously. Or if they prefer to proceed in a gradual manner.

Whatever activation method you choose, the final result will be a business that uses a mobile cloud ERP system. But there’s more.

6. 6.

After the excitement of a successful launch, there will always be questions or additional assistance. This could include the need to integrate with custom and third-party applications. As the business refines their business processes, and continues to require support, the cloud ERP provider should always be available.

Wrapping up

Ecommerce businesses are enjoying a boom economy, and they expect even more growth in the future. These businesses need to be efficient, flexible and adaptable in order to reap the full benefits of an economy like this. This is possible when they choose the right cloud ERP solution, which natively integrates with their ecommerce platform.

Analysts at IDC write that “Already at an unprecedented high, the rate for change in the global economic system is expected to continue increasing over the next decade.” B2B and B2C merchants require modern, tightly integrated front-office and back office applications to adapt to these changes and remain competitive. These tightly integrated applications offer resilience so merchants can overcome obstacles with agility, rather than waiting for their systems catch up.

Combining the forces of BigCommerce with Acumatica will provide much-needed automation for ecommerce businesses. This will help them streamline their business processes, compete in a growing domestic market, and ultimately succeed in today’s marketplace.

The retail industry as we know it is changing

Ecommerce is growing 10 times faster than brick and mortar retail. This year, store closures were the most talked about topic: Macy’s(r), J.C. Penney (r), Payless (r) and Toys “R” Us (“r”) to name just a few. Are we witnessing the end of retail? Is this the end of retail? Some retailers like Ulta(r), Walmart(r) and Home Depot(r), have shown great success.

There are many factors that can distinguish winners from losers, but one thing is certain: winners know how to use all channels — mobile, online and retail — to their advantage. The winners are mobile-savvy and can serve today’s consumers from a different angle.

It’s now easier than ever for consumers to shop anywhere and anytime they want. Mobile shopping is so convenient that it’s almost impossible to hunt for goods in person. Every consumer has access to an infinite number of goods and services.

All stock can be shown and sold by merchants. They can answer any question including price and can do so 24/7. An online store acts as a sales rep, available 24/7.

Why shouldn’t every merchant have an internet store, if the benefits are so great? Local retailers don’t see the value of shipping orders. Shipping requires marketing and staff. Online selling is often seen as expensive and complicated by many.

Today’s customers expect service from all channels. Online sales must be complemented by in-store pickup at any store. They have to accept returns from any store and manage inventory across all stores. This is in real-time while they do their day job.

These complex requirements are not addressed by legacy multi-platform platforms. Multi-store orders, inventory and fulfillment require a new unified platform. This is what an omnichannel native retail platform does.

How do you set up an SSL?

It’s all about trust. Because customers trust brick-and-mortar stores to provide top-quality service, great prices and protect their privacy, they are loyal. What happens to those customers who make the switch to online shopping? How can you make sure that any digital data you acquire — credit card numbers, personal details and transaction histories — is treated with the same security level as hardcopy information? Start with SSL.

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How do you set up an SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a protocol that protects information when it’s transmitted to or from your website. SSL is a type of digital trust. You receive a certificate from a recognized authority confirming that you have implemented data encryption procedures in order to protect all information being transmitted to and from your site. It sounds complex, doesn’t it? Let’s take a look at it.

Reliable

The first step in making the switch to SSL is to apply to a certificate authority (CA). You will need a website that works and is registered for you or your company. After verifying your information, the CA will usually issue temporary certificates that you can post on your website. This certificate uses the CA’s trust to show you are above board.

Next step: Next step? The private key can only be accessed by you, but the public key will automatically be used by users who submit forms, send emails, or otherwise interact with your website. Your webmaster or hosting company will install an SSL Certificate on your site. This ensures that all outgoing and incoming communications are encrypted. Your website URL will now be appended with the “s”, and it will become “https”. You can also use the green padlock symbol, which users associate with security and trust.

Are you ready for SSL security? Get started with our easy checklist to get your website up and running quickly.

CHECKLIST – How to Set up an SSL Certificate on Your Web Site or Server

SSL technology protects customer data by encrypting communication between web browsers. This checklist will help you put an SSL certificate into action.

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Basics

SSL protection encrypts transmitted data by using a public key that a browser uses to navigate to your site. A private key is used to protect the information. Hackers are not likely to be able to decrypt the information.

Go Dedicated

Upgrade to a dedicated IP address through your web host. SSL issuers should ensure that traffic using your key goes to your site, and not another hosted at the exact same address.

Sign a Request

A certificate signing request is encrypted text that you want to include in your certificate. It can be any of the following: domain names, organization, locality, etc. This can be done by contacting your web provider or creating one through your web hosting control panels.

Get a certificate

SSL certificates can be issued by companies for a small amount. Open-source solutions allow for free and automated access to SSL certificates. A certificate authority account is required to verify information and create a public/private pair of keys.

Install/Activate

If everything goes smoothly, your certificate authority will email you a.CRT file for installation. You can activate the certificate through your web provider or via your web control panel (Install SSL Certificate).

Try it!

Enter http:// along with your domain name. The certificate should work if you are able to land on your site. Contact your certificate authority if the website doesn’t load.

Make sure to update your site

Change any links to your site that transmit sensitive data (account logins shopping carts payment gateways, account logins) so users can access your site via https-enabled URLs and not just http.

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Everything you should know about purchase order management

Purchase order management is a core process for any retail business. They enable you to track your orders from your vendors, keep them accountable, and help you stay on top of inventory management.

Let’s walk you through purchase order management so you’ll learn about the overall process, it’s benefits, and how you can optimize it in your business.

What is a purchase order?

A purchase order is a legally-binding agreement sent from a buyer to a supplier, authorizing the purchase of goods from the seller, essentially outlining the expectation of the business transaction.

It is ideal to protect both parties involved in that the seller is covered if the buyer refuses to pay, and conversely, it protects the buyer if the seller refuses to deliver their products or services.

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Purchase requests vs. purchase orders vs. invoices vs. receiving documents

Purchases orders and invoices are similar in some regards, but the intent of each document is different.

Both contain legally-binding details about the order and the mailing information, although the invoice also includes the order price, payment terms and conditions, and the date the payment is due.

However, the key difference is that while an invoice requests the payment for an order, the purchase order simply confirms that an order has been placed.

In addition, the purchase order is created by the buyer when they order the product or services, and the invoice is created by the seller to request payment for those products or services and is usually sent after the order is completely shipped.

Purchase requests, on the other hand, is an internal document provided by the buying party’s inventory and product managers to be approved by the appropriate staff or department (such as accounting/finance) into a purchase order. The purchase request is converted to a purchase order once it is approved.

Receiving documents are utilized when a purchase order is delivered to the buyer and an invoice is received. The warehouse it is received in will count the products and match them on a receiving document against the original purchase order and invoice. This creates a series of documents that account for every step of the way, ensuring all products were delivered as promised, they are in selling condition (meaning no defects, damage, etc.), and the prices charged on the invoice match those agreed on the purchase request.

What are the overall benefits of using a purchase order system?

Matching Records/Verification

Easily verify information such as when and what purchases were made for a particular purchase order. This helps you track incoming orders, price changes, avoid duplicating the order, and coordinate effectively with your suppliers/vendors.

Time Savings

Your time is often on short supply. Once you have an effective purchase order management system, all you have to do is go in, find approved products for purchase, and place the order.

A proper inventory management system will allow you to repeat this process or even automate it, but that’s more advanced stuff we can cover over a phone call!

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Accurately Manage Budgets

Since you’re tracking the quantity and costs of everything you purchase, this is the base point of comparison to your retailing price (or MSRP) where you determine your mark-up and profit.

Legal benefits

As mentioned, purchase orders are legally binding documents that once the seller accepts puts responsibility on both parties to deliver on the goods, services, and exchange of money.

Increasing Inventory Turnover

Ensuring your products don’t sit in inventory too long is crucial to your overall success. Your inventory might lose demand, value, and quality over time, so it is ideal to sell it as fast as you receive it.

Getting a handle on your purchasing procedure will help you accurately determine your inventory turnover, which you can then strategize ways to adjust your purchasing schedule or quantities to increase the turnover rate.

What information is contained within a purchase order document?

Although different retail verticals or product types may require supplementary information, this information is generally found on just about any purchase order:

  • Name, address, and contact information of both the buyer and the supplier
  • Products and services being purchased, including quantity of each
  • Purchase order number
  • Price per unit (or cost per unit if you are the buyer)
  • Delivery date and location
  • Agreed upon payment terms
  • Terms, conditions, and additional instructions

What are the best practices that ensure you save time, money, and energy when it comes to purchasing?

Keep employees looped in

Ensure your staff is fully trained of the procedures, policies, and expectations when it comes to the approval and purchase order management process. It is ideal to create a guide that can serve as a reference to outline the ground rules for specific purchasing scenarios.

Track your vendors

Another important best-practice is to track who you’re purchasing your inventory from. Create a directory list of your various suppliers that includes all necessary details to submit a PO to them. Information such as their address, payment terms, prices, and even a rating as to how reliable their services are.

Digital transformation of inventory management

Finally, you should definitely consider “digitizing” your purchasing and inventory management with a POS/ERP solution such as NCR Counterpoint.

Counterpoint continues to be the leading point of sale and inventory system. We help businesses nationwide implement powerful inventory solutions and automation.

There are tons of benefits to implementing a proper inventory and purchasing system, talk to our consultants today to see if we’re a good fit!

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https://www.connectpos.com/10-popular-wholesale-business-examples/

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Everything You Will Need to Know About Free POS Software

Is there such a thing as free POS software? The brief answer is yes, free point of sale software will not exist. However, the perfect answer is not as cut and dry.

As a small business owner,’free’ can be an attractive offer your bottom line finds hard to refuse. After all, who does not love free stuff? Particularly when it’s something which may typically cost hundreds to thousands of bucks to purchase, free sounds just like the deal of a lifetime.

However, before you register for the first free POS system you find in a Google search, finish reading this report. Let us look at the ins and outs of free POS software so you can decide if it is a wise business decision.

Sources

/shopify-pos/

/magento-pos/

/woocommerce-pos/

/bigcommerce-pos/

What’s POS Software?

First, let us define POS applications, so we’re all on the same page. Point of sale software is what brick-and-mortar businesses use at the point of purchase to help streamline efforts between back-of-house business operations and front-of-house customer-facing actions. The software, along with POS hardware, form an extensive point of sale system.

Two Forms of Free POS Software

When it comes to free point of sale software, expect to find two choices:

  1. Open-source Program
  2. Cloud-based software

Both are effective and may be a viable solution for your company. However, it’s vital to know how each work and which one will better support your business requirements and match your technical abilities. Let us take a look at both options, will we?

Open Source POS Software

Since open-source program is distributed with its source code available for modification, it is possible to customize the software in whatever way you choose. But unless you are a tech-savvy small business owner with programming skills, this likely is not the best thing to do.

With open-source applications, almost everything is a DIY approach. From POS installation and installation to troubleshooting and ongoing technical assistance, you will spend a whole lot of time sifting through online documentation and neighborhood boards to find answers to your questions.

Additionally, it suggests that data from the POS system is saved, on-premise at your company location. Therefore, you may only access the data if you are on site, along with the responsibility for securing sensitive client information falls squarely on your shoulders.

Find the news

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Cloud-Based POS Software

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is cloud-based point of sale applications. This sort of software securely stores POS information on remote servers and makes all the information accessible online via a web browser and dedicated portal.

Although you can not alter the source code and need to use the applications’as is’ out of the box, cloud-based POS software is much more user-friendly and more manageable compared to the former.

POS Features: Free POS Software vs. Getting POS Software

Apart from network infrastructure, what sets one POS system aside from another are the characteristics and performance of the program. That is what also sets it apart on price, and not all software is created equal. With free POS software, you can expect to find limited capabilities compared to a premium version that will tap into your monthly budget.

Software companies market stripped-down versions of the applications with restricted features at a lower price point compared to their premium version with all the bells and whistles. Therefore, if you’re searching for free POS software, you want to know exactly what those constraints are and how they will impact your operations.

Odds are, free will only go up to now. While some smaller businesses may be able to skate by with the minimum attributes, others may find constraints stifle workflow, and end up needing to buy additional features.

Let us take a look at a number of the features that you can expect to find from the point of sale software supplier and where the constraints may lie at the free plan.

See also

multi-warehouse-management-best-practices/

/retail-pos-trends-and-statistics-for-2021/

/manage-cash-flow-in-offline-stores/

/best-pos-systems-supporting-receipts-customization/

Inventory Management

It should come as no surprise that stock tracking and management features are essential for retail companies to stay afloat. If you can’t monitor how much you are spending on stock and what items customers purchase the most, it’ll be tough to remain profitable.

With free point of sale software, expect the amount of SKUs to be restricted in relation to the paid version. As an example, a free plan might only allow for 100 goods or items, while the version with the monthly fee provides you an infinite amount.

Employee Management

Besides managing inventory, you will also need a point of sale system that can help manage your employees. Each worker should have their own login credentials and user permissions based on their role in the company. If the point of sale solution can monitor labor hours, arrange employee schedules, and supply sales analytics for each change, that is the icing on the cake.

POS companies typically allow for a couple of users using the free software deal, but it usually stops at that. If you have more than a couple of workers (or even managers), you could see how it can be problematic. Using a system using multi-user capabilities allows managers to keep track of which users are making sales and to establish goals for workers who may not have as many sales.

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POS Reports

Speaking of analytics, be sure the POS system you select has reporting features that will give valuable insight into your organization. Some reports you should expect to find are:

  • Revenue reports
    These reports provide business owners numerous sales metrics that provide insight to the lucrative areas of your business and other areas which may need more attention.
  • Labour reports
    Labor reports help you get a better understanding of how your employees are doing (or not doing ) and the number of hours they are working.
  • Client reports
    Client reports shed light on customer buying habits and tastes. This information enables business owners to fine-tune their own loyalty programs and marketing strategies to attain their target market better.
  • Rental management reports
    Inventory reports are arguably among the most important for any organization. With stock management accounts, you can monitor products in stock and how much money you’ve wrapped up in stock.
  • Accounting reports
    Tax season is stressful for everyone, especially business owners. Using a POS system that offers accounting reports makes it easier to compile the details and send off the data to your accountant.

Having a’freemium’ version, ensure you understand precisely what reports it includes which will make your daily managerial tasks easier.

Much useful links

https://connectposcom.wordpress.com/2020/11/24/paying-sales-tax-in-the-usa-everything-you-need-to-know/

https://connectposcom.wordpress.com/2020/11/24/the-fundamentals-of-point-of-sale-for-retailers/

https://www.connectpos.com/how-sme-attract-footfall-to-offline-stores/

https://www.connectpos.com/inventory-management-for-successful-retailers/

Returns and Refunds

Regrettably, not every transaction is going to be a sale. For retail POS systems, it is crucial that you could process returns and refunds effortlessly. From locating the first purchase and refunding the original payment method to adding the product back into stock, your retail POS system should be able to handle all these details.

Discounts and Promotions

Clients go crazy for a fantastic promotion or discount. It is a classic marketing strategy to get more customers through the doors, and it works. With your point of sale system, you should have the ability to apply discounts at the individual product level and for your whole order.

Free POS software might only allow for one or another, or in some cases neither. Understand how discounting works as you will have to use it sooner or later.

Loyalty Programs

Much like promotions, clients love loyalty programs. Have a look at the numerous successful big-box retailers. The huge majority have some loyalty program set up to reward customers for their purchases.

Although a lot of POS systems offer some sort of consumer loyalty program, more frequently than not, it is a part of a superior software subscription.

Installation, Configuration, and Multi-Location

When it’s menu customization for a restaurant POS system or configuring the retail matrix to your boutique, obtaining a easy setup and configuration is vital to optimizing workflow and checkout rate at the point of purchase. This is especially important when you need more than 1 cash register or have multiple locations.

For those who get a larger-scale business with many places, free POS software packages normally can not offer you multiple locations or registers. Multi-location support is also an issue for smaller companies for the sheer fact of having more than 1 register. Your choice depends upon where you visualize your company going in the long run.

Updated :

https://www.connectpos.com/top-inventory-management-software-in-2020/

https://www.connectpos.com/why-should-integrate-e-commerce-and-pos/

https://www.connectpos.com/best-pos-systems-for-fashion-retail/

https://www.connectpos.com/top-pos-for-food-and-drink-retail/

https://www.connectpos.com/6-ways-to-thanks-customers/

POS Hardware Will Still Cost You

Whether you choose to go free software or not, POS hardware and peripheral devices will still have a price tag. These are the output and input devices that help carry out the purposes of the POS program. This equipment can include, but not Limited to:

  • Tablets such as iPads, Android, or Windows apparatus
  • Touchscreen monitors or all-around pc
  • Cash drawers
  • Barcode scanners
  • Customer-facing screens
  • Receipt printers
  • Charge Card readers

The Bottom Line

Though free POS software looks like a wonderful deal that would pique anyone’s interest, it is important to understand just what you’re getting for the price — or lack thereof. While free point of sale software may work for your company now, in six months you will need more attributes. Therefore, be certain you opt for a POS system that can grow with your organization.

References

  1. /what-is-draft-order-in-pos/
  2. /top-5-mobile-pos-in-2020/
  3. /how-to-manage-staff-when-not-in-the-store/
  4. m/black-friday-tips-for-small-businesses/
  5. /10-essential-features-of-inventory-management-system/

Everything You Will Need to Know about Retail Payment Options

Payments and transactions are the most usual element of a retail company, which makes it easier for clients with multiple payment options can play a major role in further growth and conversion.

Retail businesses in the market concentrate a lot on supplying easy and quick solutions to their clients. The most essential amongst these would be the payment solutions. By providing multiple retail payment solutions, retailers can have the benefit of greater customer engagements and upward sales than many others on the marketplace.

Let’s see how different payment methods can benefit the retail enterprise. Moreover, we will analyze the services provided by ConnectPOS within this domain.

Guidelines to Payment Methods:

1.) Cash:

Cash payments are the easiest means of earning payments against company sales. Cash payments are widely accepted in all kinds of retail businesses. That is why ConnectPOS guarantees the cash payment documents are properly managed and preserved for future use.

Money Payments is one of the simplest modes of payments against the purchases, and the retail companies widely accept it, but they require an effective mechanism to control the money transactions and their listing in retail store POS.

2.) Credit Card:

Paying through a Credit card is another payment option well-supported and approved by the majority of the retail companies. Why is it that people think paying through the Debit/Credit card is secure? The answer to this question is portability and security.

Nowadays, people prefer paying cards since they don’t carry significant amounts with them due to certain risks. From the ConnectPOS software solution, the credit card payments transaction information is readily recorded in the system. This information can easily be obtained through well-designed reporting features provided by the ConnectPOS Retail POS system.

3.) Account Receivables:

The account receivable payment option is designed to ease those clients who intend to cover their purchases afterward. This payment method is best suited for retailers that admit sales details through romantic invoices and drafts.

In reaction to these invoices, the clients need to pay the sum through any method possible in a specific time frame allotted by the merchant. Retail shop pos application by ConnectPOS provides all supported account receivables facilities for their clients to get their payments sorted regarding the invoices generated according to the purchases.

4.) Splitting:

Account dividing is the payment mode which offers a window for those clients to pay for their purchases via more than 1 payment method. Account splitting is a procedure that involves more than 1 payment method incorporated by an individual client.

The payment processes are no method provided by the retailer. It can be direct money payments, debit/credit card, or the sum can be a charge against the client for later payment. ConnectPOS accepts all sorts of receivables through broken payments.
All these kinds of payment methods help in building client’s confidence, it helps the consumers needing to pay for their purchases in departments so that they can be eased by all means.

Conclusion:

ConnectPOS is the flag-bearer of POS technology in Pakistan. We provide all sorts of Cloud POS solutions to our clients with adequate payment options to ease them through all ways.

Among the better advantages of providing multiple payment processes is to produce a great customer base for your own brand. If you offer great payment services to the clients where they feel at ease, they’ll consider you the perfect place to go to.

Having different payment solutions helps create a progressive approach to enhance retail company management and transaction. It’s something which goes hand to hand and is appreciated by the people involved in this procedure.

Different Payment methods may be the way forward for greater customer engagements, it offers convenience to people. Such choices can be a better indication of brand awareness and increased sales.

As a merchant, if you’re planning your earnings in a large proportion online, then be prepared to receive all of the payments through electronic credits and debit card transactions. Sales strategies should be proposed regarding the sort of payment methods a company can support. Consider this example of an E-Commerce shop, where different payment methods are accepted thankfully.

To the contrary, think about a physical set up where payments are made through money. This scenario entirely explains the working principles and the sort of method accepted. To make sure that the business shouldn’t suffer, pick the acceptable way out.

Source references

  1. top-5-mobile-pos-in-2020
  2. how-to-manage-staff-when-not-in-the-store
  3. black-friday-tips-for-small-businesses

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About SKU Numbers

Have you ever looked at a price tag and wondered why on earth there are so many numbers and letters on it? What are they all for? One of those numbers sets is usually the SKU number (stock keeping unit). SKU numbers are unique to each store and allow the store to keep track of each item in inventory. SKU numbers can be anything you want to be but are most often about 8 alpha-numeric digits.

SKU vs UPC vs Serial numbers

There are quite a few numbers associated with products and inventory-keeping and it can be hard to tell what makes them all different. We know what a SKU number is, but what are the others and how are they different?

First, there’s the UPC number (universal product code). The UPC number is the twelve-digit number that runs along the bottom of the barcode and, as the name implies, is a universal number. That means anyone with a barcode scanner can read the number. It also means that the UPC is not unique to a store. If two companies are selling the same item, those items will have different SKUs, but the same UPC.

Next, there’s the serial number. Serial numbers are unique to each specific product and are most frequently used for electronics. (If you’ve ever had an issue with your laptop, you’ve probably encountered the serial number as you’ve given details to a help desk or customer service, for instance. It’s that number on the barcode tag on the bottom of your laptop.) Serial numbers are used to track the ownership information of an item. They can also be used to track warranty information.

What do SKU numbers mean to retailers?

SKU numbers are important for every store to use because they make life way easier. Each SKU is recorded within your internal tracking system (which is hopefully an inventory management system and not a manual spreadsheet). Once within your system, SKUs will make it possible for you to record loss easily, make smarter inventory decisions, track the exact location of each item, increase the accuracy of your inventory and warehouse activities, and for your employees to easily look up inventory to help your customers. When done right, a SKU number can even tell an employee what item should be attached to your SKU.

True story: When I was working retail, a woman once came in with a list of SKUs from the catalogue that she wanted to buy, but no other descriptors. Coincidentally, our inventory management system also chose that particular hour to go out. I was actually able to locate all 5 pieces she wanted to buy because our SKU numbers were well set up to direct me to the right items.

SKUs also enable some really amazing marketing activities. For instance, SKUs are what are used to generate suggestions for other items you might like on a site. They are also used to run product remarketing on a site like Facebook.

At the end of the day, SKUs take your physical items and turn them into pieces of data a computer can easily track. You really can’t eschew SKUs.

How Do You Generate SKU Numbers?

You can generate SKU numbers any way you want, but it’s probably easiest to use your inventory/retail management system. The length is up to you, but do take into consideration that your staff will need to be able to easily read and even remember SKUs. (Grocery cashiers, for instance, often end up memorizing swaths of produce SKUs in order to be able to ring faster.) You can also choose to use only numbers or letters – or do a combination of the two.

When choosing digits, you could go totally random. However, it’s better to imbue your digits with some meaning. By that I mean, segment the digits out to refer to certain things. For instance, if you have an 8 digit SKU, the first two digits could refer to the item category, the second two digits could refer to sub-category, the third two could refer to item color, and the last two can be the unique identifier.

There are a number of ways this can be done. First, if your inventory is simple enough, you may only need to specify a single category and combine it with a sequential set of numbers to refer to the item. Here’s a visual example of how that would be put together for a small pet store:

Category Code Item Code SKU Number
Dog Toys 10 Tennis Ball 012 10012
Rodent Accessories 20 Hamster Wheel 005 20005
Cat Food 30 Salmon Bites 001 30001

The item codes should be created in a sequential order (thus, each new item you get in will just be assigned the next available number). The item codes can be reused in different departments, as well. So “012” could be used for Chicken Bites in the cat food department, even though it’s used for Tennis Ball in the Dog Toys department. (That Chicken Bites SKU, by the way, would be: ‘30012.’)

However, your inventory may get more complex. Here’s a quick list of the aspects of an item you might wish to put into a SKU:

  • Supplier
  • Store Location
  • Department
  • Variation
  • Item Type
  • Size
  • Color

Let’s look at how a clothing store with men’s, women’s and children’s clothing might want to create a SKU.

Department Code Category Code Color Code Item Number SKU
Men’s M Knits 223 Purple 02 001 M223-02-001
Women’s W Knits 223 Brown 58 010 W223-58-010
Children’s C Denim 604 Pink 25 035 C604-25-035
Women’s W Dresses 005 Green 51 120 W005-51-120

Each section of the SKU tells a detail of the item and these codes can be put together in unique ways to demonstrate particular items. A different men’s purple sweater than the one seen in the table above, for instance, might be M223-02-002. You could also see that the first 5 digits of any women’s purple sweater would be W223-02, or that a pair of men’s green jeans would start with M606-51.

When a SKU number is put together this logically, it becomes easy to see how a sales associate might be able to take a number and figure out what item it represents.

SKU Number Tips

You can reuse SKUs.

Some people will tell you not to reuse SKUs ever — but the truth is, as long as you wait for a few years or so (after multiple total catalogue refreshes and completely selling all items attached to that SKU) you can certainly reuse your old SKU numbers.

The store I worked for in college did this with no hiccups. In fact, the only reason I ever realized that they reused SKUs after a number of years is because one customer decided to return an item she bought 12 years previous and had never worn. The item still had the tags and the old SKU number, which corresponded with a new item when I typed it into our system.

The first 2-3 digits should represent the highest category.

Use the first few digits of the SKU number to represent what is the highest category of importance about the item to you, and work into the more unique features of the item. (And once you’ve locked your formula in, always write your SKUs in the same order.)

Think of it as the opposite of how you identify where you’re from. That is, when identifying your hometown, you start most specific and get more broad. I’m from Trumbull, Connecticut, in the United States, which is on the North American continent on planet Earth. A good SKU number goes the opposite direction, essentially identifying planet first and town last.

Avoid beginning the SKU with the number 0.

You shouldn’t start your SKUs with 0s, mainly because some data storing software may interpret that 0 as literally nothing. That is, when told to store the number “012345,” the software will read it as “12345.” It’s just best to avoid putting yourself in that situation altogether. (This tip is a solid data storage tip in general. Try to avoid starting data with 0’s.)

Do begin your SKU with letters.

Starting your SKUs with letters is an easy way to help them stand out in a spreadsheet filled with other numbers. It provides an easy visual cue that that’s the beginning of a SKU number, rather than a continuation of the number in the cell before it.

Avoid using letters that look like numbers.

It’s a good best practice to avoid using letters that can be confused with numbers or even other letters (‘I’ can look like ‘1’ and a lowercase ‘L’, for instance).

Your staff will (fairly often) have to type SKUs in by hand and you really want to make this process as quick and easy for them as you can.

If you don’t want to completely cut these numbers and letters out of your system, you should ensure that you use sectioned SKU numbers in which some sections are only ever [uppercase] letters and some sections are only ever numbers. IE, a SKU that looks like this: BLE-134. Your staff will know that ‘O’ is the letter and not a zero if they see it in the alphabetical section in that case.

Don’t use any of the manufacturer numbers within your SKUs.

In general, it’s recommended that stores avoid reusing the manufacturer numbers as or within their SKU numbers in order to prevent confusion. SKUs are meant to be unique to each business, so go ahead and honor that. Of course, the easiest way to avoid using any of the manufacturing numbers is to have a set formula (as mentioned in the previous section) for generating SKUs in place, rather than to approach SKU creation haphazardly.

Don’t overload your SKUs with meaning.

Finally, while you do want to infuse your SKUs with meaning, you don’t want to overload them. For instance — you don’t want to end up creating a 32 digit SKU because you wanted to get every last piece of detail you could into the number. It’s better to forsake some detail in the name of ease of memorability and fitting the number on your tags.

So pick which 2-3 aspects of items matter most for you when dividing up your warehouse or store floors and then let the item’s specific identifying number at the end of the SKU do the rest of the lifting.

And if you really need to fit more than 3 aspects of detail in, keep the individual codes as short as possible. For instance, if you work with nine manufacturers, assign them a single digit 1-9, rather than abbreviating their name into a 2-3 letter code.

Using SKUs to seamlessly sell on multiples channels

Another advantage of having a solid SKU number system is that it makes it easier to sell on multiple channels.

A growing trend retail today is the rise of “See what’s in store” a capability that lets retailers showcase their in-store inventory on the web, so cusotmers can browse their catalog before heading to the store.

You can use a solution such as Pointy, a Vend add-on that allows you to display your in-store products on Google without manually re-entering your inventory data. Once you’ve created a Google My Business account and verified your business, all you have to do is connect Vend and Pointy, and your stock will automatically be displayed on your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps when consumers search for your business name or, potentially, for a product that you have in stock.

Conclusion

SKU numbers are a surprisingly powerful tool that all retailers have at their disposal. By turning your products into numbers, you can track your inventory and make smarter merchandising decisions. You can also make life easier for your floor staff. SKUs really are a win-win.

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The Modern Retailer’s Guide to Inventory Control: The Processes and Metrics You Need to Know

Anyone who’s tasked with managing in a retail business knows — now more than ever — that they have their work cut out for them. In today’s retail landscape, consumers not only expect to find and buy the products they need on multiple channels (i.e., in-store, online, mobile, social media), they also want order fulfillment flexibility (which requires fast shipping and services like click-and-collect/BOPIS and curbside pickup).

When you’re operating across multiple channels and locations, it’s essential that your warehouse, backroom, and shelves (i.e., physical AND digital shelves) are stocked with the right products.

This is why inventory control (sometimes called stock control) is critical. You need to have the right processes, technologies, and people in place to successfully execute your inventory initiatives — and overall retail strategy, for that matter.

Below, we’ll look at the ins and outs stock control and how you can tighten up your current systems and practices.

What is inventory control?

Inventory or stock control refers to the systems and procedures that you implement to manage and stay on top of your warehouse’s stock levels.

Inventory involves tasks like:

  • Organizing products in the warehouse or backroom
  • Monitoring product movements and stock levels
  • Reconciling physical stock with the company’s records.

Inventory management vs. inventory control

While inventory management and inventory control are closely related (and often used interchangeably), they have some important distinctions. Inventory management is a broader term encompassing everything from forecasting demand and ordering products to stocking the shop’s shelves and counting physical stock in-store. Inventory control, on the other hand, refers specifically to managing stock in your warehouse.

Inventory control best practices: 4 important steps to take

The objective of inventory control is to hold the least amount of inventory in your warehouse without compromising your ability to fulfill orders or stock your retail stores. Keeping your stock levels tight is essential for a couple of reasons:

Maximum profit. Having the right amount of merchandise with the least amount of investment in stock paves the way for wider profit margins.

More working capital. When your cash isn’t tied up in stock, you have more resources to invest in your business. Proper stock control frees up cash flow and keeps your business humming.

Highly efficient warehouses. By not stocking more than necessary, you free up space in your warehouse, which ultimately makes it easier to find and organize products. This may also lead to fewer misplaced items and less waste.

Here are some of the top stock control best practices to implement in your business.

1. Know your numbers

Inventory control involves an array of equations and calculations. You need to constantly run the numbers to ensure that your warehouse is stocked with just the right amount of merchandise.

Here are some of the formulas to keep in mind.

Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)

EOQ tells you the right amount of stock to purchase in order to keep your inventory ordering and holding costs to a minimum.

To calculate EOQ, use the formula:

EOQ = √(2DS / H)

Where:

D = Demand quantity

K = Fixed costs per order

H = Holding costs per year

Here’s an example of EOQ in action:

D = 500

K = $1,000

H = $20

EOQ = 224

Lead Time Demand

LTD is the forecasted level of demand for a product during the lead time from the supplier to the retailer. Calculating LTD is important because it allows you to determine when to order products to avoid inventory shortages.

You can calculate LTD by multiplying the lead time for a product by the average number of units sold daily.

LTD = Average lead time in days x Average number of units sold per day

So, if you sell 40 units of a product per day, and it takes 3 days for a reorder to arrive, you’ll calculate it as follows:

LTD = 40 x 3 = 120

Safety Stock (SS) 

Safety stock is the level of stock that you keep to mitigate the risk of stock shortages.

To calculate it, use the formula:

(Maximum units sold per day x Maximum lead time) – (Average daily units sold x Average lead time)

Let’s take LTD data above and add the following information as an example. If you sell a maxim of 50 units for a product and the maximum lead time for that product is 5 days, then you would calculate SS as follows:

SS = (50 x 7) – (40 x 3) = 230

Reorder Point Formula (ROP)

ROP indicates the stock at which you need to order more inventory.

Calculate it using the formula 

ROP = Lead time demand + Safety stock

Let’s carry on with the examples from above. If your LTD is 120 and your SS is 230, then:

ROP = 120 + 230 = 350

Inventory control KPIs

Aside from calculating your order quantities, lead time, safety stock, and reorder points, you should also measure the performance of your inventory and use those insights to inform your decisions.

Here are some of the stock control KPIs to consider.

Stock turn

Sometimes referred to as inventory turnover, stock turn pertains to the number of times stock is sold through or used in a given time period.

Calculate it using the formula:

Stock turn = Cost of goods sold / Average inventory

So, if your average inventory is $10,000 and your COGS is $50,000, you’d calculate stock turn as follows:

50,000 / 10,000 = 5

This tells you that you’ve sold out of the product 5 times.

Sell-through

Sell through is the percentage of units sold versus the number of units that were available to be sold.

You calculate it using the formula:

Sell through = Number of units sold / Beginning inventory x 100

If you have 200 units of a product (beginning inventory) and sold 185 units after a month, your sell-through is:

185 / 200 = 92%

Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI) 

GMROI measures your profit return on the funds invested in stock. It answers the question, “For every dollar invested in inventory, how many dollars did I get back?”

GMROI = Gross profit / Average inventory

If your gross margin is $40,000 and you have an average inventory cost of $22,000 then:

22,000 / 40,000 = 1.81

Knowing is the first step to understanding what needs to be done to improve your inventory control practices and performance. To that end, brush up on the formulas above and arm yourself with an inventory software that sheds light on stock control insights you need in your business.

2. Establish, document, and audit your procedures

The key to running a finely-tuned warehouse and retail operation is to have repeatable processes that are documented and accessible to the right people. The specific procedure will depend on your business. Ideally, you’d want to establish procedures for:

  • Ordering and receiving stock into your warehouse
  • Retrieving products for fulfillment or store deliveries
  • Counting products
  • Reconciling your records
  • Handling returns
  • Warehouse security and loss prevention

Pro tip: It may help to create health and safety procedures to keep your products and employees safe while handling merchandise. This is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shoppers and retail employees alike are concerned about their health, so it’s critical that you take the steps to protect them.

No matter what type of process(es) you decide to implement, the following pointers will help ensure that your procedures are followed.

Document your procedures. One of the worst things an inventory manager can do is to have their processes live in their heads. Make sure your procedures are on paper. This keeps things in black-and-white and minimizes misunderstandings.

It also increases efficiency and productivity in your warehouse. When team members have a document to which they can reference, employees and managers won’t have to spend too much time asking and answering unnecessary questions.

Centralize your procedures. Keep your process docs in a central hub. Create a single source of truth for your inventory procedures and see to it that the right people can access the info they need.

Consider storing your documents in the cloud, where users can always find the most updated version of your processes.

Audit your warehouses. Conduct regular audits to ensure that your warehouses are up to snuff. These audits are typically done by district managers, warehouse managers, or third parties, depending on the needs of the company.

Whatever the case, a successful warehouse audit requires detailed checklists so that whoever’s conducting it can objectively inspect and evaluate the warehouse. Have visual materials such as photos of WHAT TO DO vs. WHAT NOT TO DO for reference.

When the audit is complete, there should be a clear list of tasks and steps to take in the event that certain standards or procedures aren’t carried out properly.

3. Arm yourself with the right (digital) tools

It doesn’t matter how big or small your warehouse is. If you’re selling on various channels and retail stores, it’s imperative to tools that enable you to centrally manage and monitor stock movements.

Eliminate silos in your inventory control processes by arming your business solutions and platforms give you full visibility into your stock so you can make decisions and manage everything from a single platform.

Inventory control tools can also automate manual processes and reduce human error. Research from Peoplevox found that human error is the top issue with stock control in 46% of warehouses.

Here are some of the key features to look for in inventory control software:

Ability to centrally manage stock

Your stock control software should enable you to view and manage your catalog centrally. So whether you have products in Store A, Store B, Warehouse X, etc., all those products should be manageable in your system.

Proper inventory management requires organizing stock across different locations or sales channels, so having the ability to view and transfer stock between stores, channels, or outlets is essential.

Order management and fulfillment

Make sure your inventory control software lets you track and fulfill orders with ease. If someone places an order online, for example, your platform should make it easy for you to ship items to the customer or enable shoppers to pick up in-store.

Real-time reporting and analytics

A good stock control system gives you the data and analytics you need to run your warehouse and stores. See to it that the solution can surface insights around product performances, sales, revenues, and margins so you can make well-informed decisions.

Stock-taking capabilities

Part of effective inventory control means reconciling your physical inventory with the records you have in your system. As such, your stock control system should offer tools that make inventory counting easier.

4. Consider hiring an inventory control specialist

Inventory control is a hands-on and time-consuming job. Depending on the size of your catalog, it may be worth hiring a person (or team) to specialize in managing your warehouse inventory.

An inventory specialist is responsible for:

  • Maintaining your catalog
  • Keeping records of stock levels, changes, and movements (e.g., orders, transfers, returns, etc.)
  • Inspecting merchandise in the warehouse to ensure they’re in good condition and are in the right place
  • Ordering merchandise by filling out and sending purchase orders
  • Overseeing the delivery and receiving process
  • Liaising with store managers, warehouse staff, and other departments to ensure that stock levels are in check

Some of the characters and skills to look for include:

  • Math skills (remember that knowing your numbers is critical in stock control).
  • Familiarity with stock control equipment, including barcode scanners, RFID devices, inventory counting tools, etc.
  • Comfortable with software and apps, as they’ll need to constantly launch and update your inventory platform
  • Organization skills, so they can keep your warehouse in order.

Having an inventory control specialist or team can make warehouse and store management immensely easier. If stock control isn’t your strength, delegate the job to others so you can focus more on other areas of your business.

Proper inventory control is a must if you want to stay competitive

The retail landscape is more challenging than ever, which is why it’s critical to have the right data, processes, and people behind your stock control practices. Ensuring a smooth flow of merchandise in your warehouse and stores gives you the ability to carry the right products without tying too much capital on inventory.

Hopefully, the pointers above help you do just that.

More sources

  1. https://www.connectpos.com/connectpos-officially-released-on-bigcommerce-app-store/
  2. https://www.connectpos.com/top-10-brands-that-are-leading-the-trend-using-omnichannel/
  3. https://www.connectpos.com/what-are-consumer-apps/

POS System Meaning: The Vocabulary You Need To Know

Are you in the market for a point of sale (POS) or simply confused by what the term POS means? If you find yourself perplexed by the payment industry’s technical jargon, then continue reading.
If this sounds like you, the great news is you are not alone. The even better news is that we are going to clean up all the complexities of what a point of sale actually is, describe the software which powers it, and discuss examples of the hardware that works in conjunction with the software to give you a complete solution.

If you don’t live and breathe POS systems like we do at ConnectPOS, it’s easy to become confused by business terms and all of the moving parts that produce a complete POS solution. Whether you are in the market for a restaurant POS or a retail solution, there’s industry lingo you’ll want to be familiar with. Understanding this lingo will allow you to have educated and productive conversations with POS vendors, so that you can quickly zero in on the system that’s ideal for you. We know that as a small business owner, you are time-strapped; that is why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. We’ve defined many of the conventional terms you’ll come across during your hunt for the best point of sale system.

Let’s get started.

B.S. is for Barcode Scanners (Not Bull Sh*t)

Barcode scanners are an excellent way for cashiers to get customers through the checkout process quickly. They also have a bonus use that will save a lot of time in regards to inventory management. As you’re checking in items from an inventory delivery, you can quickly scan the merchandise and simply adjust the item quantity from the POS software.

Sometimes known as a barcode reader, a barcode scanner is an electronic input device used to capture and read the information contained in a recorder or QR code. It then takes the data and transmits it to the POS software, so the corresponding item from the inventory database is added to the purchase. The scanner is connected to the POS either using a USB or Bluetooth connection.
A one-dimensional barcode scanner is used to scan linear Universal Product Codes (UPC) on consumer goods in a retail environment.

2D Barcode Scanner

A two-dimensional barcode scanner is used to scan more intricate codes such as Data Matrix, QR Code, and PDF417. The most common usage in a storefront is scanning 2D barcodes on a driver license for age verification.

Since more and more customers are paying with plastic for everyday purchases, you’ll need a piece of equipment to process debit and credit card transactions.

Credit Card Terminal

A credit card terminal is a generic catchall term used to describe any payment approval device used to process debit or credit card transactions. It may be anything from a mobile device to a conventional Ethernet device found in most brick-and-mortar stores.

EMV Card Reader

An EMV card reader is a device that can process chip-based debit and credit card transactions. Most EMV readers can process magstripe (swipe) and Personal Identification Number (PIN) transactions as well. They may be mobile devices that are on the POS via Bluetooth or counter variants connected via Ethernet.

Magstripe Card Reader

Sometimes called a swipe reader, a magstripe card reader is a credit card reader that can only process cards with a magnetic stripe on the back. EMV and PIN transactions are not accepted on this device. For restaurant POS systems, they are typically found attached to the side of a touchscreen monitor.

PIN Pad

A PIN (Personal Identification Number) pad is an electronic device used to capture, accept, and encrypt a client’s PIN in a credit or debit card transaction. In the context of POS, they’re offered as a standalone device or as part of a device that’s also a magstripe and EMV reader in one like the Ingenico iPP 350.

C.D. is for Cash Drawers (Not Compact Discs)

Since cash isn’t dead, all cash registers or point of sale systems need a cash drawer to store the bills and coins during a change.

A mechanical device which is used to store coins, bills, and credit card receipts. A cash drawer works in conjunction with a cash register or point of sale applications and can vary in size from 13″(W) x 13″(D) — 18″(W) x 16″(D).

Cash Register Tray

These are inserts that go in the cash drawer. They include numerous bill tray and coin tray compartments to store and organize different financial denominations.

The number of bill and coin tray compartments will be different depending on the size of the cash drawer. Smaller cash drawers might only have four or five coin and bill compartments, while bigger drawers might have six to eight compartments.

Money drawers will come with one cash register , but it’s always wise to buy a couple of extra, so once you change drawers at the end of a change, you can quickly do so with the additional inserts.
R.P. is for Receipt Printers (Not Record Player)

Even though email receipts or text receipts are becoming more popular and widely accepted, there is still a significant need for receipt printers in retail and restaurant industries. From sales receipts to ticket printing, receipt printers are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Impact Printer

Sometimes known as a transport or dot-matrix printer, impact printers can use either wax, resin, or an ink-soaked ribbon that comes in the form of a cartridge and drops to the printer (like ink cartridges at a computer printer) to print receipts and tickets. They are called impact printers because the print head makes an impact on the ribbon and against the newspaper to publish the text and images.

Impact printers are ordinarily employed as kitchen printers as they can withstand higher temperatures without affecting the printing capacity.

Thermal Receipt Printer

Sometimes referred to as a direct printer, thermal receipt printers use heat to imprint text or graphics against a particular kind of paper. These are the most common varieties of receipt printers used at the point of purchase. They are silent, fast, efficient, and cost-effective since they utilize a direct heat source, as opposed to ink to print.

You can also use them as a kitchen printer to print order tickets from the point of sale. However, it’s not the optimal solution. Since the device uses heat as the printing supply, if the temperature gets too hot in the kitchen, you’ll wind up getting illegible charcoal-looking tickets.

Monitors and touchscreens are the principal way that you and your team will interact with your POS system. In some instances, customers may even use them to register for credit card transactions, leave tips, or to choose whether they want a printed or emailed receipt.

Some monitors connect to a separate computing device, while some have a CPU built-in. A smartphone or tablet is an excellent example of the latter.

All-in-one, or AIO for short, is a computer, packed into a touchscreen monitor made for industrial use in self-service kiosks, retail stores, full-service restaurants and pubs (FSRB), or quick-service restaurants (QSR). Traditionally, legacy POS software that is Windows-based or proprietary software systems leverage an AIO solution.

Tablet

A handheld, touchscreen computing device for cloud-based point of sale systems and other business applications that operate on Android, iOS, or Windows systems. They come in a variety of sizes which range from a 5″ — 12″ screen size.

A touchscreen is an input/output device that connects to a separate computer via VGA or HDMI cable and is a visual display and control centre for computer programs like point of sale.
Think of it as a traditional desktop computer setup. You have a monitor that connects to a separate computer tower, and you control it using a mouse and keyboard.

Monitors used together with industrial computers as two crucial components of a traditional POS setup.

M is for Miscellaneous (And Mindful Merchant)

Since the objective is to make this piece as comprehensive as possible, here are some miscellaneous items that are still important to remember.

Cash Register

The conventional definition of a cash register is a device used to register and compute transactions at the point of purchase. However, over the years as they have evolved from mechanical to Electronic Cash Registers (ECR) to POS terminals and POS applications, the term has become a catchall for those mentioned above.

Sometimes referred to as a pole display or customer-facing display, this is an electronic device used to display transactional activity at the point of purchase. In some states, like California, there is a law that requires businesses to conspicuously display, to the client, the price of every item being rung up.

Industrial Computer

These are rugged computers that you can configure with a variety of specs like processing speed, storage (memory), operating system, and connectivity such as Bluetooth or WiFi capabilities based on your precise needs.

It is similar to buying a personal computer from a manufacturer like Dell or Hewlett Packard (HP). Unless you’re a Mac user, PC manufacturers typically will allow you to customize similar specs when you buy a computer directly from them.

Industrial computers are used in conjunction with touchscreen monitors and ruggedly built to withstand the harsh conditions of a retail or restaurant environment such as extreme temperatures or storage in a dusty corner.

P.O.S. is for Point of Sale (Not Piece of Sh*t)

Now that you understand the hardware components let us talk about software; which is the most significant part of finding the very best POS system for your small business. Although some POS software can squarely be a piece of sh*t, not all of them are. That is why we urge you to keep reading, so you’re more educated about point of sale. The more you understand about POS, the easier it will be to weed out the sh*tty solutions.

A complete point of sale system is made up of hardware, which are the peripherals we discussed at the start of this post, and applications. The program is the brains behind the whole operation.
It’s responsible for tracking stock, so you never run out of stock on your most popular items. It can record employee hours, so you always have real time insight into labor costs. It can track customer information along with purchase history to help with your marketing initiatives. And best of all, it is going to take all those data points, and more, and pack them into detailed reports — so you can make smarter, data-driven decisions about your business.

Together with understanding how the software functions, there’s some jargon you will need to know. Let us tackle the point of sale applications related terms.

Legacy POS

Legacy POS, also referred to as on-premise POS, utilizes a conventional software distribution model. With legacy POS systems, the point of sale software application is installed on a local server or an industrial computer like we previously mentioned. As a result of this, the POS software and any related data, like sales records, can only be accessed when you’re in front of the computer or connected to the domain.

The best way to visualize this is to picture yourself saving a file on the desktop of your laptop. You may only access the document from that computer — unless you use a remote access tool, but that’s an entirely separate conversation. So, if you’re at work and you need a file from your notebook that is sitting at home, you are SOL (Sh*t Out of Luck).

You’re also SOL because you’ll pay close to a thousand dollars or more, upfront, for the one-time purchase of the program. If the POS provider makes software updates and improvements in the future, those will cost you additional; as will customer support.

Cloud-Based POS

A cloud-based POS system is the opposite of a heritage POS. Rather than information stored on a local device on your storefront, with a cloud solution, data is stored on remote servers (these are preserved by the POS vendor) and the software is accessed via the web.

Since you access the software and data on the internet, that’s means you can get it from almost anywhere, at any time. From house or at the beach, you can see what is happening in your shop without really being there, and that’s peace of mind for any business owner.

In the modern fast-paced, mobile world, cloud-based systems like ConnectPOS’s iPad POS, are becoming the new’norm’ for point of sale software. Cloud solutions utilize a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model where you pay a small recurring monthly fee, and it includes all the updates and customer support you will need; at no extra cost.

Mobile POS (mPOS) systems set cloud-based applications with dedicated mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets to perform acts of a point of sale system. It might be a native application that you download from the app store or a web-based POS solution that you access from the device browser.

Many cloud solutions are designed especially for mobile devices. Therefore, providers often advertise them as mPOS, so the consumer understands there’s a level of mobility with the software solution. Since mPOS solutions are a newer and more modern development, they are often a lot more user-friendly compared to legacy POS systems.

In addition to deciding on a legacy system or a cloud-based solution, features are going to be a primary focus when choosing a POS system. Attributes are inherent in point of sale systems while others communicate via integration into 3rd party software applications.

Accounting Software

Software used to streamline business accounting processes. Many point of sale systems will have an integration with a third-party small business accounting solution like QuickBooks, while others may have a simple general ledger or invoicing software built into the POS.

Customer Database

A customer database stores customer contact information such as an email address and phone number. Some databases can also track customer purchase history that’s particularly useful for marketing initiatives.

Email Marketing

Email advertising is the electronic version of standard postcard advertising. Most POS systems integrate with a 3rd party email marketing platform such as MailChimp.

Employee Management

These tools cover the process of managing employees like contact information for easy access, shifts for reporting and accountability, scheduling, and labor cost for payroll. Knowing your real time cost of labor can help you ensure you maintain a healthy bottom line. Based on the particular sector, payroll cost can vary from 10 — 40 percent.

The procedure for handling inventory such as controlling and monitoring the transfer of goods from initial order to customer buy. Managing quantities on-hand, item cost, retail price, and everything in between.

Piggybacking off of a client database are loyalty programs. Loyalty programs keep track of customer information and purchase history like a client database, but it also lets you build loyalty campaigns as an incentive to drive and reward customers for their loyal buying habits.
A typical example is for customers to earn points for every dollar they spend. Once they reach a spend threshold, they will be given a reward like a discount on their next purchase.

Credit Card Processing

Credit card processing is an extensive topic so, in this context, we’re going to provide a birds-eye overview. If you would like to learn about the complete ins and outs of credit card processing, check out our blog post, the way to Accept Credit Card Payments — The Ultimate Guide.
At a high level, credit card processing is a service that allows merchants to accept credit and debit cards at the point of purchase. From the money collected from payment card sales, a small percentage, such as interchange-plus rates are, paid to the Merchant Service Provider (MSP) and card networks, and the rest is deposited directly into the merchant’s bank account.

Gift Card Processing

Store-branded gift card processing is a lot like credit card processing. You require a gift card service provider so that you can add and subtract value for cards purchased and redeemed at the point of sale.

The huge difference between store-branded gift cards and gift cards with a card network logo like Visa or Mastercard, is that store cards function on a closed-loop network; meaning that the communication and exchange of cash only exist between you, the provider and your customers.
Gift card sales are increasing year-over-year, and restaurants and retailers are dominating the most popular gift cards by category. They’re a great alternative to paper gift certificates which must be redeemed manually and integrate with your POS software.

Ecommerce Integration

Ecommerce integration is a connection between your POS solution and a 3rd party ecommerce platform. There’s direct, real-time communication between both channels so you can handle both your physical inventory and your online product from one central place.

Online Ordering Integration

The ecommerce equal for the foodservice industry is online ordering. Online ordering is a link between your point of sale system and a 3rd party online ordering platform. It’s direct, real-time communication between both channels so when a customer places an online order, it will print to the designated reception printer within the POS network.

Reporting and Data Analytics

Sales analytics and reports are necessary to understand the general health and performance of your small business. When looking for a POS system, it is not about the number of reports the solution offers, but the quality of these reports. Here are a few you will want to have:

  • Total sales report
  • Sales report by item, department, and category
  • Sales report by tender type
  • Employee reports
  • Shift reports (X accounts, Z reports)
  • Inventory reorder reports
  • Customer reports
  • Supplier reports

Find Your POS System

Now that you understand standard POS terms, their significance and their place within the point of sale ecosystem require a while to think about what type of POS system will be the ideal solution for your business. What are some factors you consider essential and ones that can help you run a more efficient operation? Once you have these answers, you’ll have successfully defined your POS system meaning, and you may begin vetting POS solution providers. Now go out and begin!

Sources

  1. https://www.connectpos.com/best-shopify-pos-apps-for-retail/
  2. https://www.connectpos.com/top-payment-gateways-for-pos/
  3. https://www.connectpos.com/must-have-pos-features-for-your-check-out/