Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Blessings and Happy New Year!

I wanted to take moment and thank everyone that contacted me in 2014. It has been a true blessing that I am able to continue to offer free advice and direction for those of you searching for point of sale systems for retail stores, museums, restaurants, bars, concession stands, venues and food trucks.

I sincerely hope that you take some time to reflect on 2014 and are keeping Christ in Christmas!

There is a still a lot on my plate as 2015 brings new point of sale solutions from Microsoft and EMV compliance becomes important to anyone and everyone who accepts credit and debit cards as payment for products and services.

As time allows, I will continue to keep tabs on the more popular solutions like Bindo POS, Retail Pro, NCR Silver, Lightspeed, MICROS, and Sapphire as well as the many other POS of sale systems on the market.

Christmas Blessings!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Best Point of Sale System for Music Artists & Music Groups

I've noticed that a lot of music artists and music groups sell products before/during/after a performance.  While they could easily use Square or a similar product, some of the tablet or mobile solutions also work quite well. If your product sales exceed $60,000 annually then you may want to take a look at Bindo POS or NCR Silver since these programs have payment plans available that can be turned off and on as your performance schedule dictates.

Plus, you would have the option to pick and choose whose handles your credit and debit card processing (commonly called "merchant services").  The mobile solutions also very portable making for easy setup and teardown.

At the very least, make sure that you are equipped to accept debit and credit cards as payment for your merchandise as your fans tend to spend more when not using cash as payment.

More reviews on Bindo POS can be found here: https://bindopos.com/reviews

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

PS - no promises but I might be able to connect you with a company that will provide you with a free point of sale system in exchange for free advertising. I'm sure that your fan base includes people who own or manage retail stores and food service related businesses. The sort of arrangement also makes for a unique press release that would provide additional exposure to your music.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Which Locales Can I Help

Just a quick note that I am only able to help folks whose business or organization are located in the United States or Canada. Due to differences in currency, tax structures, areas that software is sold and supported, and grammar/languages, I'm not familiar with the various point of sale systems sold outside of the US and Canada.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Undercover Boss - Again with Point of Sale Issues

I believe that this is my third post related to an episode of the CBS TV series "Undercover Boss" where segments of the episode includes problems and issues related to a point of sale system. In the most recent episode, True Value CEO Jon Hartman goes undercover posing as an employee. Whether you believe the show is part reality/part acting or all staged, here are some issues related to the point of sale system mentioned in the episode (note that I have worked with businesses similar to True Value in the past - including some Coast to Coast hardware stores and independent locally owned hardware stores):

  1. Unable to look up stock/special orders while working with a customer on the sales floor
  2. Point of sale system 'crashing'
  3. Learning curve
  4. Ability to count back change
So, what should the folks at the various stores do about this? Here is my (free and unbiased) advice to them:
  1. The ability to look up stock and/or place special orders varies from system to system. At the very least, the point of sale systems that I have provided to hardware stores allow for a 'station' to be setup on the sales floor so employees can look up stock information and place special orders without the customer having to go to a checkout lane.  More advanced point of sale systems also the use of mobile devices and hand held computers to check stock, place special orders, and accept payment right from the device itself (sell anywhere - this also works great in garden centers and nurseries as well).
  2. If the point of sale system is crashing, then get your IT staff and point of sale provider together to locate the source of the problem. Make sure all your hardware and software is up to date as well. Don't forget that 'dirty' power can cause problems as well. A simple line conditioner can work wonders if 'dirty' power is an issue.
  3. It should never take more than 15 minutes to train a cashier on how to use a point of sale system unless the point of sale system is poorly designed.
  4. If the change back display is not showing then there is a design flaw in the point of sale system (plus - everyone should known how to count back change and not rely on a display).
There is plenty more advice to share but it tends to require more details related to the various issues and problems.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Review of The Retailer POS Software

I want to thank a user of The Retailer point of sale software for sending me a nice review to share.

The Positives:
  • Low cost
  • Local support (the user is in the greater Denver, CO area)
  • Multiple price levels for items
  • Very good customer service and support
The Negatives:
  • Issues with not calculating a correct gross margin or inventory cost
  • No ability to export custom reports
Summary (from the user):

" I'd recommend for a non-demanding customer who doesn't care about margins and who wants to save $$$"


Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Friday, December 12, 2014

New User Feedback on Clover Point of Sale

Some helpful feedback from a convenience/liquor store in Georgia that was using Microsoft Dynamics POS 2009 and attempted to switch to using Clover point of sale:

Here are my comments on Clover.  This physical POS design and look are beautiful.  The swivel feature is handy.  Overall transaction and payment procedure is simple and easy for customers and cashiers.

The problem I have with it is there is no Cash Payout option for purchase of delivery from vendors.  Also no vendor setup menu.

The main reason I am returning it is there is no mix and match pricing on special.  For example if I wanted to mix 3 different wines and sell them a discount, my cashiers would have to do it manually.  I can not take risk of possibly selling an expense wine at a discount because the cashier includes it in the special.  This needs to be done at the item level.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Retail Essentials Point of Sale Software from Retail Realm & Microsoft


***Note that Retail Ream Essentials POS Software is no longer available. Please contact me for other options***


Update January 13th, 2015: a video highlighting what we do and do not know about Retail Essentials can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AUEllil8SI or below:





Update January 2nd, 2015: The correct name of the software is Retail Realm Essentials - powered by Microsoft Dynamics.

A note of thanks to the folks at Retail Realm for taking some time earlier today to share some information on the new Retail Essentials point of sale software. While we are all waiting on a few more details, it is great that I am able to pass along any information - especially to the many stores that I have worked with in the past who are presently using the Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems Store Operations (RMS) point of sale software as well as the multiple other RMS and HQ users who have contacted me since we all received the end of life announcement from Microsoft related to RMS and HQ.

While no licensing cost or license swap information is available, I can share that Retail Essentials is a good match in features and functions for large single location stores using RMS as well as multi-location stores using RMS HQ.

Like most Dynamics products, Retail Essentials will be deployed through trained partners to ensure that end users receive top level training, installation, and on-going support services. Retail Realm is also working to ensure that third party solutions are ready to go for mobile sales devices, e-commerce integration, and accounting software integration.

As we get closer to the expected release date for Retail Essentials (Late February 2015), I'm hoping that I can share more about Retail Essentials related to license cost, hardware requirements, hardware compatibility, specific features and functions, transfer of data from RMS and HQ, and places in the United States that will be authorized Retail Essentials Partners.

My gut instinct would advise you to make sure that you are staying current on your annual maintenance agreement if you plan on continuing to use RMS/HQ whether or not you might be considering switching to Retail Essentials.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

EMV Options for Microsoft Dynamics RMS Users

Update July 2016: Since many Microsoft RMS point of sale software would like to keep using RMS for another couple of years but still need to deal with the EMV Liability Shift Date, visit this post for more information on the Card Defender EMV add-on for Microsoft RMS versions 1.3 and higher (and HQ as well): http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2016/06/card-defender-emv-add-on-for-microsoft.html

Update July 2016, Retail Management Hero (RMS version 3.X) demo and overview: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2016/07/new-version-of-rmsretail-management.html

Updated information on Retail Management Hero as a direct replacement for RMS as of December 3rd, 2015: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/12/updated-information-on-new-retail.html

New video discussing options for Dynamics RMS and HQ users as of December 5th, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evVWS7dj0Bs

Update August 8th, 2015: Blog post and video covering all the options available for RMS users related to EMV: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/06/options-for-microsoft-dynamics-rms-and.html

I want to thank the folks at Retail Realm for spending some time with me discussing the future of RMS as well as the new Retail Essentials point of sale solution. As I have personally sold many copies of RMS and HQ and continue to receive calls & emails on a weekly basis from RMS and HQ users of all sizes, I am pleased to pass along the following information related to the EMV Liability Shift and Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems Store Operations and Headquarters point of sale software programs.

While Microsoft has not made a formal statement related to EMV and RMS/HQ, Retail Realm has worked with multiple companies to introduce payment gateways that are "EMV ready".  As everyone should now be compliant with the latest PCI standards (if you are not compliant then don't be surprised to receive information about potential penalties and fines for processing debit and credit card payments through a non-PCI compliant system), the focus has shifted to the EMV Liability shift that is scheduled to take place in October 2015 for businesses and organizations in the United States.

Shift4 offers one of these EMV ready payment gateways that works with RMS and HQ to ensure that your payment processing is done utilizing the latest in encryption and tokanization methods. In fact, no actual card information resides on the point of sale system as encryption takes place as the card is swiped.

Retail Realm is also working with other payment processing and processing gateway companies to allow for RMS/HQ integration.

While these companies do have various fees related to their payment processing and processing gateway services, it is nice to know that RMS and HQ users do have processing options aside from using an independent credit and debit card terminal.  Note that there are still costs associated with EMV compatible credit and debit card terminals which everyone will need to purchase anyway.

While it would be great if Microsoft announced an update and compatible EMV hardware list, at least Retail Realm has some options available now.

You can always contact me, Retail Realm, Shift4 or your RMS Dynamics Partner for more information.

Updated information on the upcoming Retail Management Hero Software (or what I am coining "RMS 3.0 for 2015 and beyond") can be found here: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/06/new-option-for-rmshq-users-retail.html

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Looking for a Discount or Tax Break?

Just a quick reminder that I can't sell you anything but I do keep tabs on which companies are offering specials on the following:

  • Merchant Services (credit and debit card processing)
  • Paper and Label Supplies
  • Cash Registers
  • Point of Sale Hardware
  • Point of Sale Software & Apps
  • Cash Drawers
  • Receipt Printers
  • Kitchen, Prep and Bar Printers
  • Touch Screens
  • Barcode Label Scanners
  • Barcode Label Printers
  • Data Collection Devices
  • Card Swipes
  • Customer Price/Pole Display
  • Tablets
  • And More
If you are in the United States, simply contact me for more information.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Video Review of Bindo POS in a Marijuana Dispensary/Retail Store

I've mentioned before that I have received calls and emails from folks who have opened, or are planning on opening retail stores dealing with the sale of Marijuana. With more and more states legalizing the retail sale of Marijuana, I thought that a quick video overview of how some Marijuana stores are using Bindo Point of Sale to track sales and customer information would be helpful.

Obviously requirements vary from state to state but something that tracks sales and taxes collected is much better than tracking everything by hand.

You can always contact me for more nformation on anything point of sale related - if I can't help you then I am usually able to point you in the right direction.

For a full demo and more information on Bindo Point of Sale, please visit www.bindopos.com or call 800-MY-BINDO.

Here is the video:




Friday, December 5, 2014

Insights on Point of Sale and E-Commerce

A well written article from Soumen Das at UniteU offering some insights and advice related to point of sale systems and e-commerce:

Retailers Missing Out on the Promise of the ‘Endless Aisle
For years retailers have focused on the wrong technologies —in-store TV networks, augmented reality, RFID, magic interactive dressing room mirrors—instead of mobile point of sale tools.
by
Soumen Das
Founder and CEO
UniteU.
(www.UniteU.com)

The retail industry is going through a painful period of digital disruption. Walk any mall or department store and you will encounter RFID tags, interactive video displays, even iBeacon technology, etc., designed to, hopefully, enrich the shopping experience.

But perhaps retailers have focused on the wrong technologies? Mobile point of sale (mPOS) is one digital innovation that retailers have been slow to adopt, yet the impact on revenue can be substantial. According to a Forrester Research Inc., report (June 2014), “The State of The Digital Store 2014,] “Perry Ellis...experienced a 14% lift in average order volume once it implemented ‘endless aisle’ capabilities in-store.”

How can a single technology make such a difference? The answer is to be found in the idea that the entire shopping experience can be transformed when sales associates have access to off-site inventory tracking and recommendation engines. This coming transformation is often referred to as ‘clienteling,’ in which sales associates are empowered to help shoppers find out-of-stock items and make suggestions for associated products.

In a clienteling situation, shoppers are introduced to an “endless aisle” with virtually unlimited inventory and choices. Can’t find that blouse in your color or size? Not to worry! The color of your choice can be shipped to your home today. Recommendations engines can also provide sales associates with smart suggestions to complement that blouse. This intelligence provides real potential for sales floor employees to increase average order value.

Roadblock: Intigration
However, the advent of the endless aisle has been roadblocked by a lack of payment system integration. To avoid operational nightmares, mPOS devices must be tightly integrated with existing enterprise systems and operational processes. This can seem a daunting task as integration needs may extend from existing retail systems (POS, ERP, accounting systems) to digital inventory, which may live in an external e-commerce platform.

Innovators such as Square® have revolutionized the mobile checkout for small merchants and service providers, such as taxis, making it easy to accept payments anywhere an iPhone can connect to a network. However, accepting payments for small, medium and even larger merchants is not enough. Without integration employees often must spend hours after a day selling, manually reconciling their sales with the backend systems that manage inventory, orders, commissions and financial reporting. And, vendors like Square® sell these services bundled with credit card merchant accounts, great for micro merchants but it creates issues for larger merchants with established merchant accounts, typically with better rates.

Another approach is a response from the traditional POS (Point of Sale) vendors, who are busy mobilizing their complex POS systems that over the years have evolved into much more than payments systems. The challenge here being that not all of these capabilities translate for ease-of-use and meeting consumer expectations on mobile devices. Another issue is that the richness of data, in terms of product imagery and descriptions in POS systems, is not sufficient to meet consumer expectations or in assisting sales associates.

Increasing Average Order Volume
So what is the solution? “Forrester expects that e-commerce platform vendors will continue to invest in and evolve their mPOS capabilities” [Forrester Research Inc., Market Overview: Mobile Point of Service Solutions for Retail – September 2013]. E-commerce solutions already have four winning components; integration with existing store systems, rich product imagery, cross selling data and interface usability.

With minimal customization, merchants can leverage numerous backend connections already developed for their e-commerce and mobile commerce needs to coordinate orders, invoices, inventory levels and gift cards. These systems are constantly updated with new payment method integrations and emerging technologies, generally provided by the vendor via automatic updates. From a usability standpoint, e-commerce solutions are built for conversion and to increase average order size via recommendation engines, so product search, recommendations and checkout are already customer-friendly.

In he year ahead, retailers should seriously consider integrated mPOS solutions that have evolved from e-commerce platforms. Generally they offer the endless aisle and recommendation engine features that result in increased ROI and make back-end integration quick and effective.

Soumen Das | CEO and FounderUniteU
Soumen Das has been CEO of UniteU since its inception in January 1999. As founder and CEO, Das has provided the vision and managed the growth of the company from start-up through the completion of its technology and subsequent year over year steady growth.

Prior to founding UniteU, Das applied his MBA and Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics to his work at Xerox, including various capacities ranging from product support and front line management in Europe and Latin America to technology, business strategy and operations at the forefront of Xerox digital and Internet initiatives.

Das continually demonstrates to UniteU, its customers and partners a proven ability to apply information technology to solve real problems for the online retail industry.
Contact: VISIBILITY
Len Stein: lens@visibilitypr.com914.527.3708

Is Buying Used Equipment and/or Buying Equipment from Amazon or eBay a Good Idea?

I'm often asked if it is a good idea to save some money by purchasing used point of sale equipment and/or point of sale equipment sold on websites like eBay or Amazon.  The short answer is "yes - but with caution".

Here is what you need to keep in mind and this is all based on real world experience:


  1. Point of sale hardware is not 'universal'. For example, a receipt printer or barcode label printer that works with one point of sale system may not work with a different point of sale system. You need to match all the equipment up against the supported hardware list for the point of sale system that you will be using.  Saving $250 on a piece of hardware sounds awesome until you find out the hardware is not supported or compatible with your point of sale software.
  2. Cable, connections, and drivers vary from system to system. Again, make sure that any hardware matches up to the right cables and connections on your computer or mobile device as well as being on the support hardware list for your point of sale software or app.
  3. Any batteries may be 'toast' in used equipment.  Not a big deal - just plan on needing to buy new batteries.
  4. Make sure that documentation comes with all equipment and/or is available online. You'd be surprised how much manual programming is required with some point of sale hardware. Make sure that you will have access to any manuals, programming guides, etc that are required to correctly use any hardware.
  5. Check the version for compliance and support!!!  This is a big one that has cost some folks a lot of money as they up having to re-purchase all or part of their system.  Here are the 2 most common scenarios that I have come across over the last 15 years:
    1. Someone gets a great deal on a whole point of sale system but doesn't do their homework and receives a computer that is running an outdated operating system like Windows XP (or a tablet that is running an outdated version of iOS). The user goes to upgrade the operating system but then finds that some of the hardware doesn't work with the updated operating system so now some of the hardware has to be upgraded - this quickly turns in to a expensive ugly mess.
    2. Someone gets a great deal on a complete system and all appears to be fine until the user calls for support on the system (or fails a PCI compliance scan) and finds out that their point of sale software is so outdated that it is no longer supported and the user needs to purchase all new point of sale software (which may or may not work with existing hardware, etc).
I'm not saying to avoid used or discounted equipment, just do some homework and by all means, make sure that you will be EMV compliant!  No sense having to buy a whole new point of sale system in September 2015 because you bought something now that will never be EMV compliant.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Best Systems for Marijuana Related Stores

With more states legalizing the retail sale of marijuana, I have received several calls and emails from folks asking for help in choosing the best cash register or point of sale system for their business.

While a cash register would work, many of you are under strict reporting requirements as well as various tax collecting and reporting requirements so I generally recommend looking at the tablet or mobile type of point of sale systems for tracking sales and inventory. An added bonus is that the tablet systems also allow for various security levels to be setup to prevent employees from giving discounts to friends or family.

Some of the tablet or mobile point of sale systems also include customer loyalty programs and the ability to print scanable barcode labels.

When looking at the various solutions, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  1. If you sell by weight then make sure the system will work with a scale or allow for a price calculation based on weight.
  2. Depending on how taxes are collected, make sure that the system can handle multiple taxes as well as provide a break down of various taxes collected.
  3. If your state allows you to accept credit and debit cards for payment from customers, then make sure that the system will work with the place that handles your debit and credit card processing services (commonly referred to as "merchant services"). This is important as not all merchant services companies will provide credit and debit card processing services to business that sell marijuana.
  4. Don't forget to ask about EMV compliance. No sense buying something now only to have to spending more money in 2015 to be EVM compliant.
  5. Ask for references of businesses like your already using the point of sale system that you are considering and contact those businesses or visit in person if possible.
Be sure to contact me if you have any questions.  I can't sell you anything but I am keeping tabs on which systems have proven to be popular with retail stores selling Marijuana of which I know that Bindo POS has proven to be very popular in the state of California. More reviews on Bindo POS can be found here: https://bindopos.com/reviews

Monday, December 1, 2014

Point of Sale Buying Tip: What to Include to Calculate True Cost of Ownership

Whether you define TCO as "True Cost of Ownership" or "Total Cost of Ownership", it is important to factor in all costs over time to ascertain how much a point of sale system will cost you over an average five to seven year period.  A lot of times it is easiest to create a spreadsheet so you can compare costs for various point of sale solutions in a "side by side" layout.

If you are considering a "pay as you use" system or leasing. then you can multiply the payments out. In the case of a "pay as you use" system, I'd recommend multiplying the monthly payment by 72 as 5 - 7 years is how long a typical point of sale system will last.

Here is an actual example - only the names have been changed to protect the innocent:

Store with one point of sale system as a “register” & one point of sale system in the office as a “manger” System A – Windows
Outright Purchase
System B – Tablet
Purchase Hardware but pay monthly fee for software & support
System C – Windows
Lease everything for 5 years (and own outright at the end of 5 years)
Software $2,860.00 $9,288.00

Hardware & Peripherals $2,689.00 $2,350.00

Training $1,200.00 N/C for initial overview

Installation Labor $1,980.00 N/C – self install

Paper and Labels $179.00 $179.00

Accessories (UPS, etc) $200.00 $200.00

Supplies years 2-6 $895.00 ($179/yr) $895.00 ($179/yr) $895.00 ($179/yr)
Equipment failure/yrs 2-6 $2,500.00 ($500/yr) $2,500.00 ($500/yr) $2,500.00 ($500/yr)
Annual Support years 2-6 $2,750.00 ($550/yr) Included $2,750.00 ($550/yr)
Software Upgrades yrs 2-6 $1,160.00 ($232/yr) Included $1,160.00 ($232/yr)








TCO (over 6 years) $16,413.00 $15,412.00 Will depend on interest %

A video explanation of the above chart can be found at the bottom of this post.

Obviously there are many variables but system A and system B represent the most popular windows based and tablet based retail point of sale systems on the market today.

TCO information does not include merchant services fees as these fees vary greatly from merchant to merchant.

You can draw your own conclusions related to how similar the long term costs are between a windows point of sale system that you purchase and a tablet based point of sale system that you pay an ongoing monthly fee to use.

Confused as heck now or in need of some unbiased point of sale advice? Then visit my contact page for various ways to reach me.

Here is the video explaining the chart:




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

$2M Mark Surpassed!

Just a quick note that folks that have contacted me via this blog site have gone on to spend $2 million in point of sale hardware, software, supplies, and related labor.   Not bad considering the basic nature of this blog site!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Point of Sale Software from Microsoft and Retail Realm

***Note that this software program is no longer available. Please contact me for other options***



Some more information was made available related to the new "Microsoft Dynamics Retail Essentials" point of sale software. As I have mentioned before, I have fielded a lot of calls and emails from upset Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Store Operations (RMS) users over the last year due to the official "end of life" announcement from Microsoft related to RMS and lack of clear communication related to EMV compatibility in RMS.

What we know about Retail Essentials:
  • Retail specific version of Dynamics AX
  • Will be sold and supported via trained Microsoft partners
  • Tentatively will be available for deployment in late February 2015
What we don't know about Retail Essentials:
  • Cost
  • Specific features and functions
  • Mobile device compatability
  • EMV compatability
  • Data conversion for RMS users
  • Multi-location features (if any)
  • Peripheral compatibility
With so many stores looking to me for advice (well over 700 stores in the US), I'm hopeful that someone from a Microsoft Partner, Microsoft, or Retail Realm will work with me to learn more about Retail Essentials so I can share that information with you.

UPDATE: Retail Realm was kind enough to reach out to me so I am going to hold off on making any recommendations until I get a chance to learn more about Retail Essentials.  Then I can hopefully share more and help you make an informed decision on what to do (whether you are searching for a replacement for RMS or whether you are searching for your first POS system).  I hope to have more information to share with everyone by mid December.

Here is a link to the official press release - contact me if you have questions:
http://www.rrdisti.com/announcements/microsoft-and-retail-realm-jointly-announce-microsoft-dynamics-retail-essentials-with-retail-realm

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Best Practices for Switching Point of Sale Systems

I've likely covered this before but it never hurts to keep the following in mind should you ever need to upgrade or switch point of sale systems.


  1. Make sure that you have full access to all of your data (inventory information, customer information, history, vendor information, employee information).
  2. Ensure that all the information is backed up and accurate (good time to perform a physical inventory if you haven't done one in awhile).
  3. Ask what the options are related to importing all your inventory, customer, supplier, and vendor information in to the new system - usually this can be done for a nominal cost.
  4. Depending on your situation, you may not be able to transfer any historical information. Don't panic!  What you need to do is make sure that you can run your old point of sale system for another year or so to access any historical information (eg: customer comes in and whats to buy exactly what they bought 8 months ago).
  5. Make sure that you have all the financial data and reports needed to account for the last 7 years
  6. Take time to learn and use the new system - there is likely a good reason why you upgraded or switched systems do get the most out of your hard earned dollars!
Those are the basics - Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Best Point of Sale Systems for Christian Church Bookstores and Cafe's

I've had the pleasure of working with multiple Christian churches over the years that are large enough to have in house bookstores and/or coffee shops or cafe's.  Many have asked me for advice related to the best point of sale system they should be using so I figured that it would be good to share my advice via a blog post.

You can always contact me with additional questions and all Christian organizations and non-profit organizations (churches, charities, thrift shops, retail stores, museums, etc) are eligible for free and unbiased advice - just keep in mind that I do not actually sell anything but can point you in the correct direction and make introductions as appropriate.

The best solution for your organization is based on your annual gross sales volume as follows:

Under $100,000 in annual gross sales:
  1. Cash register
  2. Square
$100,000 to $800,000 in annual gross sales:
  1. Bindo POS
  2. Cloud Retailer
  3. Retail Management Hero
$800,000+ in annual gross sales:
  1. Retail Management Hero
  2. Retail Realm Essentials/Microsoft Dynamics AX
  3. NCR CounterPoint
I no longer advise using Microsoft RMS or POS 2009 due to these products being "end of life".  I also advice avoiding HarborTouch, First Data Clover, and QuickBooks Point of Sale due to excessive merchant service fees being charged by these companies.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.









Monday, November 10, 2014

Vape and Tobacco Stores Beware!

Just a quick note that it appears that some of the tablet or mobile point of sale systems are no longer working in retail stores that sell tobacco related products like cigars, e-cigs, vaping products and cigarettes.   This is likely due to the high risk nature of these businesses which limits the number of companies that provide merchant services to retail stores that sell tobacco related products.

There have some been stores reporting to me that there systems just stopped working and they quickly had to find a new point of sale system.

Only advice that I can offer is to be sure that both your point of sale system and whoever is handling your merchant services understands that your business sells tobacco products and will continue to support and service your type of business.

If you want to see the discussion which does mention point of sale solutions by name, you can visit this forum discussion (warning - R rated language):
http://www.reddit.com/r/electronic_cigarette/comments/28ao0k/shopify_just_abruptly_without_warning_shut_down/

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Full Workshop Is Now Available Online

The video below contains a full version of the point of sale workshop that I conduct for groups of all sizes.  The video is 40 minutes long but covers just about everything related to choosing, selecting and budgeting for a point of sale system designed to be used in retail stores, restaurants, museums, kiosks, concession stands, and food trucks. Note that the video does cover EMV and merchant services as well as information specific to point of sale systems designed to track inventory, customer/guest information, and sales.

All from an unbiased expert!

Be sure to contact me with any questions as well as to request free copies of the materials needed for the workshop (you must be located in the United States in order to request the free workshop materials). You may also want to contact me if you are need of a speaker/presenter at your next event or to assist future business owners seeking assistance via Small Business Development Centers or similar organizations.

Now pop some popcorn, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy the following:


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why You Should Be Avoiding Clover, HarborTouch & QuickBooks Point of Sale

As I am now receiving near daily calls and emails from folks considering the Clover point of sale solution, I wanted to explain why you should not be considering point of sale systems like Square, Clover, HarborTouch, and QuickBooks point of sale.

The only assumptions I am making is that your business is generating at least $60,000 in annual gross sales and 90% of payment is made using debit or credit cards.

When you purchase a point of sale system that requires you to use one specific company for merchant services, you are at the mercy of that company when it comes to the rates that they charge you for merchant services. What I have seen happen time and time again is that these companies will raise your rates every 90 days or so.

While paying 1/2% more in merchant service fees (which is what seems to be the norm with these companies) may not seem like much - lets see how that adds up over 5 years.

If your business processes $200,000 in debit and credit card transactions annually the 1/2% is $1000/year so you could easily end up paying $4000+ in excessive merchant services fees over the course of 5 years.

I don't know about you but I would rather have that money as profit!

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Microsoft RMS/HQ End of Life and EMV

Update July 2016: Since many Microsoft RMS point of sale software would like to keep using RMS for another couple of years but still need to deal with the EMV Liability Shift Date, visit this post for more information on the Card Defender EMV add-on for Microsoft RMS versions 1.3 and higher (and HQ as well): http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2016/06/card-defender-emv-add-on-for-microsoft.html

Update July 2016, Retail Management Hero (RMS version 3.X) demo and overview: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2016/07/new-version-of-rmsretail-management.html

Updated information on Retail Management Hero as a direct replacement for RMS as of December 3rd, 2015: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/12/updated-information-on-new-retail.html

New video discussing options for Dynamics RMS and HQ users as of December 5th, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evVWS7dj0Bs

Update August 8th, 2015: Blog post and video covering all the options available for RMS users related to EMV: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/06/options-for-microsoft-dynamics-rms-and.html

Updated information on the upcoming Retail Management Hero Software (or what I am coining "RMS 3.0 for 2015 and beyond") can be found here: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/06/new-option-for-rmshq-users-retail.html


Update January 1st, 2015:

Based on recent conversations with Microsoft and Retail Realm, use of EMV hardware with Microsoft Dynamics RMS Store Operations and HQ will only be available via third party software add-ons (subject to change of course). While this does provide a way for RMS/HQ users to comply with the EMV liability shift, it also means that you will need to pay to use the third party EMV software.

Of course, RMS and HQ are end of life so it make more sense to start planning to replace RMS/HQ with a new point of sale program.

Confused? Contact me for free and unbiased advice.


Since I have been receiving multiple calls and emails related to Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems Store Operations (RMS) and Headquarters (HQ), I wanted to pass along some updates based on what I know so far related to RMS and HQ 'end of life' as well as EMV compatibility.

First, on EMV compatibility:

A forum response from a Microsoft Representative states that there are no plans to upgrade RMS to work with EMV hardware.  However, there is a good chance that a third party will step in and offer some sort of add-on so RMS users can use EMV hardware.  I have heard of some third party RMS EMV apps becoming available but they take a percentage of each transaction.

It is starting to look like RMS and HQ users need to start looking at other options as I question whether it makes sense to invest in a point of sale product whose end of sales and mainstream support date is July of 2016.

Which brings up another possibility related to RMS and HQ:

Given the sheer number of users, as well as all the companies that sell RMS and HQ or offer various enhancements for RMS and HQ, I am hopeful that someone might acquire the rights to coding and database design for RMS and HQ.  I have not heard anything but it seems really strange that a point of sale program used by 40,000+ stores would just be completely retired.

Like I said, I've not heard anything yet but a companies like Retail Realm and New West Technologies stand to loose a lot of revenue if RMS and HQ are retired.

The upside (if a company acquired the rights to RMS and HQ) would be an extremely large existing user base - the downside is that a lot of RMS and HQ users are pretty upset with Microsoft and already making plans to switch to different point of sale programs before October of 2015.  And I don't just mean small single stores but stores with hundreds of locations in the US.

So - anyone interested?  Of course, Microsoft may not be interested in selling the coding and database information for RMS and HQ so this could be a mute point in the end...

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.





Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bindo Point of Sale Announces a Free "Forever" Version of Bindo

Bindo Point of Sale has now released a free version of the Bindo point of sale solution designed for iPads and other iOS devices.  The free version has limitations related to how many employees and products you can have in the app but would work well for very small businesses that only offer a few products or services.

This would also work well for concession stands with limited offerings, food trucks, seasonal businesses, or mobile service only related businesses.

You can find out more by visiting https://bindopos.com/ or https://bindopos.com/pricing . More reviews on Bindo POS can be found here: https://bindopos.com/reviews

On a personal note - this is a nice alternative to Square as Bindo does not require you to use a specific company for merchant services (credit and debit card processing) which would save you upto a 1/2% in merchant services fees when compared to Square.  You still have to purchase the hardware for both Square and Bindo so that is not a factor but a 1/2% savings on merchant services fees can add up to savings of several hundred dollars per year for even very small businesses.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Best Practices Advice for Public Sector Agencies Search for Point of Sale Systems

As I have worked with a lot of State, City, County, and other public sector entities over the years, I thought that it would be helpful to create a 'best practices' video specific to point of sale systems and public sector organizations.  This would be geared towards the following that are operated by a state, county, city or similar government organizations:


  1. Museums
  2. DMV's
  3. Golf Courses
  4. Gift Shops
  5. Retail Stores
  6. Restaurants
  7. Thrift Shops
  8. Permits
  9. Payment Recording and Collection
  10. Fish and Game/Hunting
Here is the video:




I ran through a lot of information very quickly in the video so please contact me for more information (I do have a slightly more detailed document that I would be happy to email you or we can chat more to see if I can help you in any way - this is completely unbiased information).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Workshop Update

Had to cancel todays point of sale workshop but the good news is that a free "on demand" video version of the workshop should be ready soon!

Point of Sale Buying Tip: Avoid "Vapor Features/Functions"

A quick buying tip specific to what I like to call vapor features or vapor functions.  Over the years I have come across companies that advertise functions or features within their point of sale programs that don't yet exist (thus the term "vapor").

The warning here is that your demo of a point of sale system should include real world testing of any specific features or functions that you require of the system. If the vendor tells you that something is "in development" then that means that a particular feature or function could be months away from being released.

A good example would be gift cards. While you can write out paper gift certificates, life is much easier if your point of sale system tracks the gift cards for you.  If the point of sale company tells you that the gift card feature is not yet available for the point of sale program but is "in development" then you may still be writing out paper gift certificates for awhile (and yet have paid for a new point of sale system that was supposed to reduce manual processes and make your life easier).

The point being is that if you need the point of sale program to include a specific feature or perform a specific function, make sure that the program can do this now. Otherwise you may be waiting some time for an update to be released.

As a side note, I question the ethics of any company that advertises a feature or function that is not yet available.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Buying Tip: Best Practices and Top Tips for Choosing a Point of Sale System

By request, a video sharing my top tips and best practices to use when searching for a point of sale system. This applies to anyone and everyone who is searching for a point of sale system to track sales, inventory/food, and customer/guest information.



I cover quite a bit very quickly (tough to compress 15 years of experience in to an 11 minute video) so be sure to contact me for additional unbiased point of sale advice.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Next Free Point of Sale Workshop

Just a quick reminder that my next free Point of Sale workshop is being held on Thursday, October 23rd from 2pm to 4pm at the Idaho Small Business Development Center in Boise, ID.

If you are interested in free and unbiased information on selecting a point of sale system for your business or organization, then visit this webpage for more information: https://business.idahosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=40340079

Can't make it? Contact me for other options.

POS and EMV - Questions You Should be Asking Now

EMV compliance is less that one year away so I've been keeping tabs on which companies and which point of sale solutions have announced how they plan to upgrade their point of sale systems to work with EMV compatible hardware.  So far, only Bindo Point of Sale (www.bindopos.com) is offering EMV compatible hardware.

Square, which is popular with very small businesses (under $60,000/year in gross sales), does have a sign up form for those using Square as well as some general information on EMV. No word yet on whether the new EMV hardware will be free or will have to be purchased.  Here is a link to the the Square sign up form to be notified when EMV hardware for Square will become available: https://squareup.com/emv

As a side note, anyone thinking about purchasing a point of sale system should be asking about EMV. It makes no sense to purchase a point of sale system now and then have to spend more money in 2015 for EMV hardware.  If the place that you are working with doesn't have a solid answer then that is a major warning sign that their solution may not be the best solution for you and your business or organization.

All point of sale companies should be able to tell you the following regarding their point of sale systems and EMV:


  • Will a software/app update be required and will there be any costs?
  • When will any EMV software/app updates be available?
  • Which EMV products (ie. readers or terminals by name and model number) will the software/app work with?
  • When will the hardware be available?
  • What will be the hardware costs?
  • Are there any other costs (ie. labor to help with the upgrade or changing my merchant account information)?
  • Will I still be able to use my existing merchant account?
Again, if you can't get a definitive answer for the above questions, then you may want to talk to a point of sale company that can provide you with the answers.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

More Customer Reviews of One Step Solutions in Phoenix, AZ

As much as I don't like posting negative information - I have received more complaints specific to One Step Retail Solutions in Phoenix, AZ who sells and services a variety of point of sale systems.  The complaints are specific to overcharging and no-show issues for sales and service appointments.  If the service is bad enough that folks are contacting me for help and advice then it is obvious that One Step Retail Solutions has some sales, service, and support issues to resolve.

Of note - the more unusual complaints relate to no-shows by sales representatives so that is a huge warning sign that One Step Retail Solutions may not be the wisest choice for as a point of sale partner/dealer to work with.

Since these complaints have been on-going, it would be great if someone from One Step would contact me so we can figure out what is going on.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Who is the Target Audience for Mobile Point of Sale Systems?

Folks have asked me to better define what type of business would benefit from using a mobile point of sale system (one that runs on a tablet or smartphone) versus businesses that should only be searching for computer-based point of sale systems.  While it is tough to create some hard and fast rules, mobile point of sale systems are generally geared towards the following:
  • Businesses or organizations whose annual gross sales are under $500,000/year
  • Single location
  • Businesses that move from location to location
  • Seasonal businesses
  • Businesses with low technology needs
The last one is tough to explain - basically if your business has simple inventory, reporting, and customer tracking requirements, then a mobile system should satisfy you. However, if you have more complex needs - especially when it comes to reporting - the the mobile point of sale systems may not be in depth enough for you and your business or organization.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Next Free Point of Sale Workshop

Due to demand, I have been asked to squeeze in one more of my free point of sale workshops before we head in to the holiday season.  These workshops cover a variety of point of sale related topics covering the entire purchasing cycle, offer a great deal of unbiased advice, and are geared towards anyone who is thinking about purchasing a point of sale system for their business or organization.

Even if you are just curious about point of sale systems, there is some solid advice offered that would be beneficial to you.

I may also conduct this workshop in a couple of different locations but this is the only workshop confirmed at this point.  Again, these workshops are free and unbiased - no sales presentations at all!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM

More info here: https://business.idahosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=40340079


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What if My Business is Seasonal?

I'm often asked what folks with seasonal businesses do when it comes to cash registers and point of sale systems.  Having worked with various businesses that operate from just a few days each year to several months out of the year, as well as venue operators at fairgrounds and event venues, here are my thoughts and advice (assuming that the business generates enough revenue to require more than just a cash box and square):

1) Cash Registers
Obviously you can buy a cash register and use it as needed. Just keep in mind that some models will lose all programming if left unplugged for too long. Advantage: low cost and you own the equipment. Disadvantage: they are just cash registers - not much in the way of detailed information.

2) Computer Based Point of Sale Systems
Believe it or not, I have worked with companies that buy full blown point of sale systems that run on computers. Its a big investment but the cost might be justified via extremely high volume and gross sales. Advantage: you own the equipment. Disadvantage: up front costs and sheer size of the equipment (ie. setup and tear down).

3) Mobile Point of Sale Systems
A third option has become available which involves some of the mobile point of sale solutions like NCR Silver and Bindo Point of Sale. The equipment is easier to move around and you likely have other uses for some of the equipment between events or seasons.  What NCR Silver and Bindo Point of Sale allow you to do is to set up seasonal payment plants. You still have to buy the equipment but the monthly software and support fee can be turned off and on as needed.  Advantage: better business data and mobility of the hardware. Disadvantage: durability of the equipment in extreme conditions is not yet proven.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Headed to Oregon

Looks like my travels are taking to the Portland, OR and Sutherlin, OR areas. Should you happen to be in those areas, and wish to meet in person, please get in touch with me so we can compare schedules.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

iMobile3 Enhances NCR Silver Point of Sale

The folks at NCR and iMobile3 have collaborated to add some customer experience features to NCR Silver via the iMobile3 PassMarket mobile storefront application.  The following are the key features:
  • Customer Reward Program
  • Special Offers
  • Gifting
  • Messaging
  • Store Locator
  • Payment Options
You can learn more by visiting the iMobile3 PassMarket webpage at http://www.imobile3.com/passmarket/

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Questions You Should Be Asking Now About EMV

Accept credit and debit cards as payment and hate surprises?  A quick video covering the questions that you should be asking now related to EMV. Note that this applies to all businesses and organizations that accept credit and debit cards as payment - not just retail stores, museums, and restaurants that use point of sale systems for tracking inventory and customer information.





If you are not in the mood to watch a video, here are the questions:

  • Will I need any updates to any software or apps that I am using? When will the updates be available? Are there any costs?
  • Will I need any new hardware? When will the hardware be available? What will be the costs?
  • Will I still be able to use my current merchant account?
  • Are there any other costs (ie: labor to perform any upgrades or hardware replacement)?
If you can't get definitive answers to the questions above, then it is time to look at other options. This applies to not just point of sale systems used to track inventory and customer information but credit card terminals, cash registers, and mobile payment devices as well.

Especially important to new businesses as it doesn't make sense to invest in something now only to have to invest in software upgrades or replacement hardware in 2015.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bindo Announces Support for Apple Pay and NFC Contactless Payments

It looks like the folks at Bindo Point of Sale are on top of things with an announcement that Bindo Point of Sale will work with Apple Pay.

Bindo Point of Sale was one of the first point of sale companies to announce EMV compatibility so its no surprise that they are one of the first point of sale solutions to announce Apple Pay support.

Full details of the announcement can be found here: http://www.mygtn.tv/story/26515513/bindo-announces-support-for-apple-pay-and-nfc-contactless-payments

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

100th Organization Helped - For Free!

OK - not really news but more of a milestone. I just finished providing some point of sale advice and direction to the 100th organization to contact me via this blog site and my YouTube channel.

I wonder if more or fewer of you would contact me if I would take some time to clean up the various spelling and grammar errors on this site...

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Point of Sale Buying Tip: Common Questions (and answers)

A quick video covering the top 7 questions that I receive via phone, email, and in person related to selecting point of sale systems for retail stores, restaurants, and museums.




Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Which Point of Sale System Would I Buy and Why?

I'm asked from time to time what point of sale system I would purchase if I was in charge of a retail store or museum.  The answers are as follows:

  1. If my business was a museum or standard retail store with gross annual sales between $100,000 and $300,000 then I would choose Bindo Point of Sale for iOS devices. Hands down, Bindo Point of Sale has features and functions not found in Vend, Shopkeep, Clover, or NCR Silver for about the same monthly cost.
  2. If my museum or retail store had annual revenues over $300,000 then my wish would be to use Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems Store Operations (RMS). However, with RMS nearing the end of life per an announcement from Microsoft, I would put in Retail Management Hero as my point of sale system.
Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Workshop Thanks!

Just wanted to pass along a quick thank-you to those who attended my most recent point of sale workshop as well as a thank-you to the folks at the Idaho Small Business Development Center for arranging the workshop.

It was great to have a mix of existing and future business owners - I really appreciate everyone willingness to share personal "real world" information.

Fun and Learning was had by all (if not learning - then at least some good advice to reference)!

Due to demand, I'll likely schedule at least one more workshop in October (or more at various locations if there is sufficient interest).


How Point of Sale Systems Increase Revenue

A quick video covering the 3 main areas that point of sale systems help increase revenue.



The end result is that a correctly utilized point of sale system will not only increase revenue, but also pay for itself in around 6 months.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Monday, September 15, 2014

HarborTouch Point of Sale is Not Free - Part 2

A quick update to a very popular post on my site related to the true cost of HarborTouch Point of Sale.  Over the last year I have talked to multiple retail stores, restaurants and museums about HarborTouch and none ended up purchasing HarborTouch.  The main reason is the contract. Why? Take a look at the true or real cost of HarborTouch over time:

Monthly cost of $69.00/month over 5 years equals $4140.00
Quarterly cost of $59.00/quarter over 5 years equals $1180.00

Note that the above costs are what is stated on the HarborTouch website and are required fees. Your fees may be higher depending on the number of stations that you have in your business or organization.

Now comes the fun part that I think most people miss.  You are locked in to using one company for merchant services (credit and debit card processing services). I've gone back to stores who are on merchant services contracts and they are paying about 1/2% more in merchant services fees.

Now a 1/2% may not sound like much but look at the following:

$250,000 in annual credit and debit card sales X 1/2% X 5 years = $6250.00

So, your actual 5 year cost for a free system is $11,570.00

For reference, here are some other 5 year costs based on businesses that have worked with in the past or spoken to recently:

Bindo Point of Sale (Professional Version/Single Station): $8,256.00
Microsoft RMS (single station): $6,956.00
High end grocery store cash register: $3,055.00
NCR CounterPoint (single station): $11,056.00
NCR Silver (single station): $7,093.00

I'm trying to keep 'all things equal' by including 24/7 support, supply, installation, training, warranty, and hardware costs in the 5 year total.  The only item not included is sales tax.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Workshop Reminder

Just a quick reminder that there are a few seats left for my next Point of Sale Workshop at the Idaho Small Business Development Center in Boise. Workshop is next Tuesday, September 16th at 2pm. Register now to partake is some free and unbiased information related to retail and museum point of sale solutions:

https://business.idahosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=40340053

Can't make it? Contact me for other options - see the contact form to the right or you can reach me via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com or on my cell at 208.340.5632.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I'm not in my store - how can I access my point of sale system?

I'm often asked just how the heck folks are supposed to access their point of sale systems when they are not physically in the store.  There are several options depending on the type of system that you have and what devices you are using. Here are the main options:
  1. Mobile point of sale systems that run on smartphones and tablets:
    • You can take the mobile device with you or use a different mobile device to access your system using the internet or the cell data network should your device have a data plan
    • Many mobile point of sale solutions also allow you to access the non-selling part of your point of sale system by using a web browser
  2. Computer based point of sale systems that are cloud based:
    • Generally all you need then is a web browser and internet access on your computer or mobile device. Capabilities vary by program and what type of computer or mobile device you are using
  3. Computer based systems that are not cloud based:
    • You will generally only be able to access your point of sale system using a computer with remote access software or a virtual private network
If you happen to be using remote access software - make sure that the software is PCI compliant as you don't want to fail a PCI scan. Generally, the business that provides your point of sale system can help you select and use PCI compliant remote access software.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Point of Sale Buying Tip: What Type of System Can You Afford?

There are actually some fairly definitive guidelines related to your gross annual sales and which type of point of sale system is best for your business (free, mobile or computer based systems).  In this brief video, I cover what type of point of sale systems you should be focusing on as well as some common exceptions to the rule.



Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Microsoft Dynamics RMS Users are Doing

Update July 2016: Since many Microsoft RMS point of sale software would like to keep using RMS for another couple of years but still need to deal with the EMV Liability Shift Date, visit this post for more information on the Card Defender EMV add-on for Microsoft RMS versions 1.3 and higher (and HQ as well): http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2016/06/card-defender-emv-add-on-for-microsoft.html

Update July 2016, Retail Management Hero (RMS version 3.X) demo and overview: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2016/07/new-version-of-rmsretail-management.html

Updated information on Retail Management Hero as a direct replacement for RMS as of December 3rd, 2015: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/12/updated-information-on-new-retail.html

New video discussing options for Dynamics RMS and HQ users as of December 5th, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evVWS7dj0Bs

Update August 9th, 2015. I have now talked to over 740 stores using RMS. Since the upcoming October 1st 2015 EMV Liability Shift date is a big concern in conjunction with the 'end of life' status for RMS, here is blog post and video specific to the different EMV options for RMS users: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/06/options-for-microsoft-dynamics-rms-and.html

Updated information on the upcoming Retail Management Hero Software (or what I am coining "RMS 3.0 for 2015 and beyond") can be found here: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/06/new-option-for-rmshq-users-retail.html

I have another post (April 2015)  related to what RMS users are actually doing which can be found here.

As we know, Microsoft announced in May 2014 that the end of sales to new customers and mainstream support for Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Store Operations (RMS) will be July of 2016.  That may seem far away but we have a more pressing issue related to whether RMS will be updated to support EMV hardware by October 2015 which is the deadline for EMV in the US.  Because of this, many RMS users have already started to look at various options to replace RMS with a different solution.

Based on conversations with a lot of RMS users - including businesses and organizations with multiple locations using HQ - this is what I advise (this is also what folks have told me they are doing as well so it is great to obtain so much 'real world' feedback):

Single Location RMS Users:
  • Taking a 'wait and see' approach if everything is running fine
  • Actively searching for an RMS replacement if the system is not currently running or is old enough that the system needs to be replaced anyway
My recommendation to  single location users would be to at least think about replacing your RMS point of sale system. The biggest concern is that you may have to start using a separate credit and debit card terminal which opens the door to user error and also creates extra work since you have to reconcile two different close out reports each day.

RMS Users with HQ and/or Multiple Locations
  • Many of you have already started the process of searching for something to replace RMS/HQ
  • Some of you have started the process to switch to a mobile point of sale system to reduce up front costs while others want to stay with a more traditional computer-based point of sale system that may allow you to utilize your current computers and peripherals
  • Writing your own internal point of sale solution (but several of you have contacted me as your internal system may not be ready for deployment by October of 2015 so you are also searching for short or long term solutions)
My recommendation to RMS users with multiple location and/or are using HQ is that you truly need to start looking now. The complexity of replacing a system for 5-500 stores requires some fairly extensive planning and you can't be left 'behind the curve'. Planning just means that have you have some options ready in case RMS is not EMV 'friendly' come October of next year.

Negative Sentiment towards Microsoft

Many of you have also stated your disappointment with the lack of communication from Microsoft as well as the lack of clear information on  good RMS/HQ replacements from Microsoft. Dynamics AX POS as well as Retail Essentials are marketed as possible replacements but folks seem to be 'fed up' with Microsoft and not interested in either of these solutions (or really anything from Microsoft at this point).

Discounts for RMS and RMS HQ Users
There are some reputable point of sale companies offering various discounts for RMS and HQ users. In most cases your existing customer, vendor/supplies, and inventory information can be transferred from RMS to a new POS system.

If you are curious about the discounts  you can reach me using the contact form to the right, via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com, or on my cell at 208.340.5632.  I will be doing my best to stay on top of the RMS/HQ situation and will share advice and real world experience as information becomes available to me.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Complaints related to Software Advice and Similar Websites

Yikes!  So the complaints having been steadily increasing related to websites like Software Advice. Maybe it seemed obvious to me but, unless you have worked in the point of sale 'world', you may not be aware that websites like Software Advice exist to make money by selling your information as a "lead" to multiple companies. Given the number of complaints that I have received about Software Advice over the last few weeks, you may want to consider other resources.

I realize that even trying to figure out what you need in a point of sale system can be time consuming, but that is why most states have small business development centers to help you out for free or low cost. You can also find impartial point of sale reviews and information on websites like CNET.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

What to Look for in a Point of Sale System: Security Settings

One area that many business owners overlook when searching for a point of sale system are the security settings. With nearly half of all retail theft being internal (employee) theft (per NRF surveys and studies), the ability to use security settings is an important aspect of a point of sale system. Some tips and things to look for when searching, selecting, comparing, or choosing a point of sale system for your business.



For those of you who don't want to watch the video, here is what I mention in the video:

The point of sale system that you are considering should have the following:
  • At least 3 levels of security if role based (ie: “manager”, “lead”, and "cashier").
  • Time clock only access if the system has a time clock function that all employees will be using
  • Most common areas for employee theft are:
    • Discounts
    • No Sales/Voids
    • Manual Price Changes
Other good security related setting to have are:
  • Most employees should not be able to see cost
  • Most employees should not be able to change item cost or quantity on hand

It may sound mean but employee theft accounts for nearly half of all retail theft!


Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Upcoming Free Point of Sale Workshop

A quick note that my next Free Point of Sale Workshop is being held in Boise on September 16th at 2pm. We will be covering the following topics:
  • Whats new in the POS world
  • What to choose: a point of sale system that runs on a computer or on a mobile device
  • How much do point of sale systems cost
  • What to look for in a point of sale vendor
  • EMV and what it means to you
  • "Gotchas" related to support, merchant services, and more
Each attendee will also be able to complete a Return on Investment worksheet to help determine your point of sale budget.

All of this is accomplished in a vendor neutral environment.

Here is a link to more information as well as registration information:
https://business.idahosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=40340053

This workshop normally runs around 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on how many questions folks have at the end of the workshop.

If you have questions or are interested in having me conduct this workshop at your event or for your organization, I can be reached using the contact form to the right, via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com or on my cell at 208.340.5632.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reminder on Discounts for Former DirectPOS/RVP Business Systems Customers & Microsoft Dynamics RMS Users

Update June 28th, 2015 - special discount and incentive from a national NCR CounterPoint Partner for RMS and HQ users: http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/2015/06/big-discount-and-incentive-for.html

As August 2014 quickly winds down, a reminder that I have arranged for some significant discounts if you happen to be a former customer of DirectPOS/RVP Business Systems who had offices in Boise, ID, Spokane, WA, and Salt Lake City, UT but sold point of sale systems throughout the United States.  It doesn't matter which system you bought from them as I have made arrangements to cover everything from cash registers to multi-location retail and restaurant point of sale solutions.

The discounts also apply to anyone who is currently using the Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Store Operations or Dynamics POS 2007/2009 point of sale software programs.

You'll need to contact me for more details using the contact form to the right, via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com or on my cell at 208.340.5632.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quick Note on Travel and Speaking Engagements

Just a quick note that I have some point of sale related travel and speaking engagements coming up I'm pretty good about staying connected via email and cell should you need to reach me for some free advice or help related to point of sale systems and your business.  Contact form and contact information is to the right.