Web-based Point of Sale Year in Review

By

Megan Mostyn-Brown –

Every small business owner who spends the bulk of their time outside of the actual store knows that a web-based point of sale can be a lifesaver. But just like every other piece of technology you deal with on a daily basis, your point of sale is set to change in the upcoming year. From new perks to easier applications we keep you posted on what you have to look forward to in the new year. 

In 2012 Shopkeep users with an iPad register can look forward to the possibility of being able to modify the quantity of items directly on the tab. This means no longer having to delete the entire quantity and then re-enter the new one, which could be a major time saver for some folks.

Customers of MerchantOS users will be able to toss out those rewards cards before the new year. The web based point of sale is launching an integration with virtual loyalty program Perkville, which uses your email address in place of an actual rewards card. This integration can increase a small business’s email list and Facebook presence and it also frees up space in your customers’ wallets.

Vend, the world’s first HTML5 web-based point of sale, has grown immensely since its launch a little over a year ago.  According to an August press release in the SFGate, the company received an injection of capital from a European investment consortium led by Point Nine Capital. This investment means Vend is set to rapidly increase its presence internationally, which can only be good news for its users.

Back in August effortlessE launched a webPOS Mobile iOS app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, making it possible to do a complete sales transaction – including signature capture and email receipts – all on your handheld technology. Not only that, they offer a webPOS cradle that provides physical inventory capabilities letting you cut out the third party inventory counting firm. 

The use of this technology means that in the coming year we’ll see more small retail companies gaining the freedom to be hands on with customers, making it easier to compete with bigger retail stores.

As for new the web-based point of sales systems set to hit in the new year, Moneris Solutions Inc. is launching Morris. This system is already offered in Canada and will become available in the US sometime in 2012. Morris has three modules geared towards different tiers of small businesses. This division allows you to select the point of sale level that’s is right for your business.

Whichever web-based point of sale brand you use, these additions and upgrades mean good things for independent retailers trying to make a go of it in a bad economy. 



Megan Mostyn-Brown is a freelance writer who has worked for Elle.com, Girlshop.com, TypeF and Shopwiki.com.

ISIS

By

Vivian Wagner

It’s become all the buzz in the mobile payments world: ISIS. But what is it? And how did it get where it is today?

Rumors first started flying about a joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless to create a nationwide mobile payment infrastructure back in August, 2010.

No specifics were yet available, and no one knew what this venture would be called or how it would work, but that didn’t stop bloggers and reporters from speculating about what it would mean for the industry. And universally, they thought it would shake everything up.

The official announcement of the venture – and its name, Isis – came on Nov. 16, 2010. At that time, the company also revealed that Michael Abbott, who had previously worked for GE Capital, would be named CEO.

Over the next few months, Isis executives traveled the country to speak at conferences, conventions, and summits about the company’s mobile payment system plans.

On April 6, 2011, Isis announced that Salt Lake City would be one of its first trial markets, and that it would be working with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to allow payments for public transportation using mobile devices. By June, Austin, Texas had been added to the list of early launch markets.

On July 19, 2011, a partnership was announced between Isis, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. “Since the formation of Isis in November, we have been committed to building a mobile commerce platform that aligns and advances the interests of consumers, merchants and banks,” Abbott was quoted as saying in the press release. “By working with the nation’s payment networks – Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express – we significantly advance the vision of an open and secure platform that provides banks and merchants with a new and highly relevant way to connect with consumers.”

Selling the Public

In August, 2011, Isis ramped up its public relations, releasing a brochure explaining how the Isis Mobile Wallet would allow consumers to make payments, use loyalty cards, and redeem coupons.

In late September, 2011, Isis made another big announcement: HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, RIM, Samsung Mobile and Sony Ericsson would introduce NFC-enabled mobile devices implementing Isis’ NFC and technology standards.

“Isis’ technology standards provide the direction and certainty needed for the development and deployment of NFC devices and the mobile commerce ecosystem,” the company’s chief technology officer, Scott Mulloy, said in a press release. “Working together with the device makers and our founding mobile carriers, Isis can provide the consumer choice and scale necessary for widespread adoption of mobile commerce.”

There you have it: a brief history of the company that promises to change the payments world forever. Thanks to Isis, 2012 promises to be the year when a wallet filled with credit cards will become, finally, a thing of the past.

Vivian Wagner is a freelance writer in New Concord, Ohio. Vivian blogs via Contently.com.

History of Point of Sale

By

Dan Rafter

There was a time when cutting-edge point-of-sale technology meant a cash register. Who could argue that the humble cash register wasn’t an advancement over scrawling out sales or calculating sales tax on a piece of paper?

Today, though, point-of-sale technology is advancing more quickly than ever. It’s allowing store owners to reduce their operating costs — by installing self-service checkout lanes — and send personalized email marketing messages to their steadiest customers. It’s even helping them reduce employee theft.

What does the future hold for point-of-sale technology? And how can it help boost the bottom line of your business? Here’s a look at point-of-sale technologies that can help your business boom.

Self-Service Checkouts

Jeff Haefner, on the Point of Sale Software Guide site, points to the growing number of self checkouts in grocery stores, department stores and other retail venues as evidence that point-of-sale technology can bring big savings to business owners.

In a self-service checkout, customers do the work of expensive cashiers. They scan their own items using the latest in point-of-sale technology. These systems have built-in safeguards.

Consumers, for instance, must weigh certain produce items, such as apples or broccoli. If they try to trick the system into thinking that they are buying something less expensive, like a tube of lip balm, the checkout system’s scale will immediately sense that something is wrong and won’t allow the transaction to continue.

These systems are also set up to make life as easy as possible for consumers. Shoppers can usually pay for their items with cash, credit cards or debit cards. The benefits to store owners are immense: They can greatly reduce their labor costs by replacing salaried cashiers with un-manned self-checkout lanes.

Reducing Theft

RetailSystems.com does a good job summarizing the benefits of biometric fingerprint IDs, which the site labels as the future of retail point-of-sale security.

Before accessing important store data, employees must first swipe their finger across a biometric scanner attached to the point-of-sale device. Employees have to repeat this scan every time they try to access a password-protected area of the point-of-sale software.

This offers an important level of protection for business owners. It prevents the wrong employees from accessing sensitive data. It also leaves an evidence trail showing which employees have accessed which areas of their employers’ point-of-sale software.

Advanced Customer Marketing

Haefner points out that retailers can use point-of-sale technology to further cement their relationships with existing customers. This is important; it’s far easier to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones.

Retailers can program their point-of-sale software to automatically send customers email messages after they purchase a product. For instance, if a customer purchases a lawnmower from a hardware store, the store can send an automated message to the customer later that day thanking him for making that purchase. Three days later, the point-of-sale software can send another email message asking the customer if the lawnmower is working properly. The auto responder can even be set up to send the customer regular maintenance reminders.

This does require that cashiers first ask customers for their email addresses. The system should also include an option that allows consumers to opt out of receiving email messages in the future.

These are just three ways in which point-of-sale technology can help business owners boost their profits and reduce their losses.

The best news? Point-of-sale technology continues to improve. And as that happens, it provides even more benefits for savvy business owners.

 

 

Prepare for Mothers day Shoppers

By

mothers_day_03With Mothers day fast approaching there are a few ways to lead people into your stores for your great shopping deals. Some people do not like waiting in lines or searching for the perfect gift.

One company suggests possibly making a video of your store and displays on all of the great things that you have for “mom” and posting it on your website so that when customers come in they know exactly what they are searching for.

As retailers we need to understand that mom’s, or Women, of the household do most of the shopping, and as it turns out they do a lot of online research.

The best way, it seems to get into mom’s pocketbook is to utilize your online advantages through websites, or networking this is a great way to let women know what you have in your store, your sales, and your great prices.

With this in mind we have some great ideas that will help shoppers pay for their sought out merchandise. eBay has now purchased a program called Fig, which really reminds me of food, but it is a paypal based program that people can load onto their cell phones.

This application doesn’t show any of their private information but what it does do is allow the purchaser to use their phone to pay with their paypal account.

It seems as though it is easy enough, the consumer will download the application to their phone and the retailer will need a simple USB device that will attach to their point of sale machine.

It also seems to have added security because the user’s picture will show up on the register interface so that the retailer can verify that this is the person standing in front of them. We know that everyone is going with the telephone applications so this might be an added bonus for companies to make better, more efficient sales and as internet marketing and buying continues to grow, so will paypal accounts.

On the same note Visa Inc has made a great investment on the point of sale company Square. With this, square offers retailers the ability to process their cards through their ipod or cell phone applications also.

This would make it much easier for retailers to get the “quick” check out and turnover for customers. These devices may all add to a greater end result for most retailers, and the convenience that customers are looking for.

To help with the set up of some of your newer software and devices CETW lists some of the mistakes that you can easily avoid when offering self serve and implementing this into your business.

For anyone thinking about this there are some mistakes you don’t want to make, like hiring the wrong person to set this system up for you.

Mothers Day Promotion Ideas
Giving some great ideas on how to bring mothers to your store, and how to sell sell sell for mother’s day

Are your stores connecting with today’s connected Moms?
Realizing that moms make up the bulk of the shopping decisions could help you to appeal to the necessary shopper to get your items noticed.

Where Fig Fits in eBay’s Quest for the Digital Wallet
The new program Fig and how it could work for all retailers with a simple USB connection.

Visa makes strategic investment in Square
Visa invests in the company Square who will also bring new and innovative ideas to retailers with apps to pay by “phone” or pay with phone.

CETW: Avoid these mistakes when implementing self-service
Great tips in helping retailers implement self service, you don’t want to miss out on these tips to help make it the way you want it.

Jumping on the bandwagon….. or not?

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horizontal_solution_PPeCheckMany companies now are taking part in the acceptance of debit and credit cards, but what is it that they “give up” to accept these wonderful cards?  Of course, it’s money.  Most retailers may find that accepting this type of payment is a great way to make more sales, but what are the odds that this is going to cost you more than you make?  According to some, the price for a small retailer to accept this payment type is costing them big money.  They are paying 2 to 4 percent in

terest on purchases that their customers make.  Ok I know that can’t be too bad, but what if they are paying .10 on a simple 2.00 purchase.  It may not sound like much but we have all done it, gone into the store and not carrying cash and charge that pack of gum.  Honestly who in the world carries cash now a day’s anyway?  Well we may find that companies are going to start making it a minimum $10.00 purchase to use your debit card because that’s the only way they are going to keep up with the fees.

This is going to make the emergence into the future on “easy” shopping much harder for many people.  In the era where we are announcing new products to help people “leave their wallets at home” and pay using their phone and other easy systems.  How is this going to work for the customers?  They do not have to pick up the bill for the credit card processing fees that the banks are pushing on the small business owners.  In all this technology and the things that are heading to a “cashless” society this may not be good for small retailers and there may need to be other ways to make some money to make up for the loss in credit card or debit sales.  Maybe fighting the banks for this new found ability to take these cards will be the way to go.

One way to combat some of these problems would be by “facebooking” your company.  Some companies and especially smaller retailers can post on facebook and get some sales there, but they will still need to watch for those “fees” from the debit and credit card companies and banks.  The facebook era has sparked a great way to get noticed and “liked” for your business.  This may be a great way to advertise without all the advertising expense.  If anyone has used facebook they know that word spreads like water on there, so it may be a great way for a smaller company to do a little extra.  Many companies have already jumped on the bandwagon listing ways to buy their merchandise from their facebook site and get their name out there by networking and “liking” each others facebook pages.

Either way, something has to be done or this idea of a cashless world and easy shopping might end up going back to checkbooks or cash and all those new inventions for POS phones and easy checkout will be a thing of the past. Customers want easy, and convenient while company and retailers want cheap.  Can we put the two together?

ValidSoft Presents Its Solution at “Payment Card Fraud” Event in New York

This company is working to make the fraud a distant memory  for credit and debit card users, trying to help the customers feel safer when using their cards and helping them to battle the ever growing fraud that is associated with this type of payment.

Zenius aims to be ‘Microsoft of the NFC world’

Zenius is working with Microsoft to enable virtually all users to leave their wallets at home.  Don’t worry about bringing your purse into the store or even having your wallet with you.  With their help you may be able to do it all from your mobile phone with an app that will allow you to make all of your purchases right through your cell phone using the “electronic wallet”.

Will Big Banks Stick It to Small Business — Again?

Big banks hurting the small retailers with their fees for credit and debit card users.  This may be the end to the growing easy to shop ways that Americans have come to have comfort in conveniently not using their checkbooks and leaving their cash in the bank instead of their wallets.

$10 Credit Card Minimums Coming Soon?

Due to the wide spread of charges accumulated by small retailers to allow their customers to use their debit and credit cards, we may see a growing trend of small businesses making it mandatory to have a minimum purchase required for using our cards.  What will this do for the growing “cashless” society that we have started to grow into?

Selling Via Facebook Benefits Few, Study Finds

Although it may not be as widely spread as it could be, many small businesses are trying to find a way to use Facebook as a free advertiser for their businesses.  This could help cut cost of advertising and web  page building of their own, but will they get the wide fan base they hope for?

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