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.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Point of Sale, Power Outages, Internet Outages & Best Practices

So...a lot of folks ask me what happens to a point of sale system when the power goes out or if internet access is 'down'.  Well, it depends on what you are using and what back-up plans you have in place.  Lets break this down to four different scenarios (best practices are in bold maroon):

1) Computer based point of sale system and the power has gone out
If the power has gone down then most of your equipment has shut down as well and you will not be able to use it.

I strongly encourage the use of a battery backup (they run under $100) to keep the computer and monitor running. Not using a battery backup can cause problems with the point of sale system software database and/or damage equipment - I have seen numerous cases of this happening and the repairs can easily exceed $500.

In theory, you could put all the equipment on  battery backups (including your router and related internet access equipment). What folks forget is that battery backups are not meant to keep all the equipment up and running long term. The battery backups (depending on model) are good for around 5 -20 minutes of power. They are designed for short power outages or to allow for the proper shutdown of the equipment for longer power outages.

2) Computer based point of sale system and internet access is lost/down
Most programs will keep running but you will likely not be able to process credit or debit cards.  Some systems will only allow you to accept cash or check or require you to manually call for credit card authorizations (like we have time to do that!). At any rate, you will likely be operating on a "cash only" basis on using a 'knuckle buster' from the 1970's.

One good idea is to have a back up plan in place. This could be as simple as a mobile hot spot via a cell phone, a secondary internet access service, or even a dial up credit card terminal. Your merchant services provider and point of sale provider can let you know what the acceptable options are. The easiest option is to have a backup credit card terminal that uses dial up for authorizing credit and debit card transactions. Please don't write down credit card information for processing later - that just opens the door for credit card fraud.


3) Mobile (tablet/smart phone) based point of sale system and the power has gone out
As mobile devices are designed to run on batteries, there should be no issues with the device itself assuming the devices battery is installed and charged.  However, other equipment like receipt printers and your internet access equipment may go down if they are not battery operated.

Again, it would be worthwhile investing in a battery backup as needed to keep all non-battery powered equipment up and running in the short term and allow for an orderly shut down if facing a long power outage.

4) Mobile (tablet/smart phone) based point of sale system and internet access access is lost/down
This scenario depends heavily on the device itself. If the device has both WiFi and Data then it may switch automatically.

Some mobile point of sale systems will go in to an 'off line' mode but you will not be able to authorize credit or debit cards.

Of course, check with both your point of sale provider and merchant services provider for the system is capable of and what is allowed within your merchant services account.

Best advice is to plan ahead when shopping for a point of sale solution and ask what happens in the various situations described above and what your options are.  It is also clear that the mobile point of sale solutions have a clear advantage over computer based 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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Point of Sale Buying Tip: Buying Online or Buying Locally

It took until the late 1990's for point of sale systems to become user friendly enough that online purchasing became an option.  Now with of easy to use point of sale systems designed for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, nearly anyone searching for a point of sale solution needs to decide whether they want to buy from a local company or an online or out of the local area company.

I've had the opportunity in the past to provide point of sale systems to both local customers and customers 3000 miles away.  My personal preference is to always try and find a local company that can provide you with a point of sale system. After all, your business likely relies on local customers so you should also support local businesses as well (don't be a hypocrite or word will get out and your business will suffer). That being said, here are some factors that may cause you to choose not to purchase a point of sale system from a local company:

  • No local company in your area or the local companies don't offer point of sale solutions for your type of business
  • You are comfortable with remote support and training
  • Local point of sale company has a poor reputation
  • You have only basic technology needs
  • You have the time and commitment (and technical knowledge) to do some of the setup work yourself
  • You have 'in house' IT staff
Why you would want to work with a local point of sale company:
  • Are in need of a complex solution
  • Want in person training, setup, and ongoing support
  • Have high technology needs
  • No 'in house' IT staff and no interest in being an IT person
  • Like the idea of working with someone 'face to face'
Note that price really isn't a factor as, over the course of 5-7 years, the costs are going to be the same whether you buy locally or non-locally.

The above are just some basic thoughts. There are also times were we have traveled onsite to get the system up and running or even outsourced a local IT person and guided them through the setup process (it pays to be creative).

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Point of Sale Buying Tip: What are "Workarounds"?

If you have ever taken on the task of shopping for a computer or tablet/smartphone point of sale system for your business or organization, you may have asked if the system can perform a specific function and the response was "no but there is a 'workaround'".

If you already have a point of sale system, you may have been told the same thing if you asked about something that you want the system to do for you.  So what the heck is a "workaround"?

Workarounds are creative ways to make your point of sale system do something that it was not officially designed to do. The most common requests are feature/function related like the following:

  • Gift Registries
  • Special Orders
  • Return to Vendor/Return to Manufacture
  • Food Waste
  • Transfers Between Locations
  • Consignment Sales
  • Bar Tabs
  • Order Sequencing
There are plenty more that I have been asked about over the last 15 years but the above are the most common.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you receive a workaround related answer to a "can the system do XYZ?" question:
  1. Have the technician or sales rep show you how the workaround would function in a liver version of the point of sale system.
  2. Make sure that the workaround does not effect other aspects of the system.
    1. ie - causing inaccurate reports
    2. ie - you can use the layaway function for a gift registry but what happens if you also need to use the layaway function for actual layaways?
  3. Make sure the workaround does not negatively effect any financial data
I hope that helps! Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Point of Sale Best Practices: Inventory Tree and PLU/SKU's

A quick video overview of some of the best practices related to setting up your inventory 'tree' in a retail point of sale system and the best way to create your SKU's or PLU's. A little bit of planning will help your point of sale system generate better reports and help you keep your inventory organized.



Even though the point of sale company that I worked for went out of business in Fall 2013, I'm still helping folks find the best point of sale solution for their business. If I can help with your point of sale related questions, please use the contact form to the right to reach me or contact me via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com or on my cell at 208.340.5632.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Point of Sale Solutions for Retail Stores with Consignment Items

Over the years, I have worked with various types of retail stores that sell items on consignment. While there are a few consignment specific retail point of sale solutions on the market, it is actually pretty easy to use just about any retail point of sale system to track consignments.  Depending on which point of sale system you are using, there are three main ways to track consignments:

  1. Set up the consignee's products in unique departments or categories. That way you just need to run a sales report specific to a department or category to know what fee's are due the consignee.
  2. Set the consignee's up as salespeople that are paid a commission on sales of their items. The main disadvantage is that you have to train your staff to attach the correct salesperson to each sale.
  3. Use unique sku or plu leading digits to identify both the consignee and consignment items. For example, all of Mark Smiths consignment products start with a sku or plu of "001-XXXX". All of Mary Jones consignment items start with "002-XXXX". Of course, you have to print barcode labels or hang tangs for each item but that is something most retail stores do anyway.
Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Be Realistic With Your Point of Sale System Expectations

Some harsher titles went through my mind but "Being Realistic" seemed to be the most PC.  Over the last 15 years I have come across this and now I am seeing a rash of business owners acting the same way with the new generation of mobile point of sale solutions.

Folks, you need to be realistic with your expectations of what a point of sale system can and can't do.  This is one thing that we cover in depth at my point of sale workshops and speaking engagements.  A $49/month  point of sale system is not going to do everything that a $8,000  point of sale system can do. If your business volume and point of sale 'wish list' require $8,000 point of sale system then plan and budget accordingly.

If your point of sale 'wish list' requires a $8,000 point of sale system but your budget only justifies a $49/month point of sale system then you will need to make concessions when it comes to certain features and functions.  Here are my key points:

  • The current generation of point of sale solutions like Clover, NCR Silver, VEND, Shopkeep, and Bindo do not offer the same level of features, functions, and reporting as computer based solutions like Retail Pro, MICROS, Khamu, NCR CounterPoint, and Microsoft RMS.  That is how it is and you need to be realistic.
  • Point of sale equipment is not universal. Your older equipment may or may not work with a newer system.  
  • Get everything (hardware, software, supplies, etc) from one source. Some cheap product that you find on eBay is just that - cheap. It may or may not work and you will be the one spending the time to try and make it work.
  • Budget and plan for upgrade costs if your point of sale solution does not include the upgrades and updates in a monthly fee.
  • Budget and plan for a complete system 'refresh" every 5 years or so. Technology changes and you need to plan for it.
  • Be prepared to invest time in researching, selecting, learning and using a point of sale system.
The overall message here is "don't be cheap". Be careful with your business assets but know what your income and expenses are and how a point of sale system fits in to the mix. If all you can afford is a $200 cash register then that is all you can afford for now.  If all you can afford is a $49/month point of sale system then get the $49/month point of sale system. Just don't expect a $49/month point of sale system to do everything that a $8,000 point of sale system can do.

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Point of Sale Systems for Food Trucks, Concession Stands, Etc.

I've received a few calls from food service businesses like concession stands and food trucks asking if the new generation of mobile point of sale solutions might work in their businesses. The video below shows how a mobile 2.0 point of sale solutions like Bindo Point of Sale could work in a food truck, concession stand, or similar food service business.



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

Thursday, August 7, 2014

EMV Compliance

I try to remind folks that EMV compliance is real and something that everyone who accepts credit and debits cards will have to deal with over the next year.  Since I still receive calls from retail stores, restaurants, and museums who are not yet even PCI compliant, I will continue to remind everyone that EMV compliance has a deadline of October 2015 in the US. You will need to update your hardware and/or software by then or be completely liable for fraudulent transactions.

In lighter news, the good folks at Bindo Point of Sale announced today that they have all the hardware and software required to be EMV compliant.  Nice to know that some companies are planning ahead and not waiting until the last minute.  You can read the full press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08/prweb12075881.htm

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.

New 'Stuff' in Bindo Point of Sale

The folks at Bindo point of sale have been busy adding new stuff to Bindo. The most recent update includes the following:

  • User Interface Improvements
  • Performance Improvements
  • Anonymous Gift Cards
  • Ability to Edit Purchase Order Costs
  • Label Print with Quantity
  • Create Discounts
  • Customize Email Receipts
  • Return Report
  • Gift Receipts
  • Adjust Order Minimum for a Signature Being Required
  • Item Level Atributes
  • Signature Line for Delivery Receipts
  • EMV Compliance (very important and one of the first point of sale solutions that I am aware to meet EMV compliance)
There is more in the works so I will try and keep everyone updated. This is one nice thing about the current generation of point of sale solutions - the updates and upgrades are included in the price!  You can learning more about Bindo by visiting www.bindopos.com

Do you have some point of sale questions or need some free advice or help in selecting a point of sale solution for your business or organization? I'm happy to help!  If you are in the United States 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.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

New Features in Shopkeep Point of Sale & Reviews/Feedback

I mentioned a few posts back that open bar tab and tip/total functions are what prevents most retail point of sale systems from being used in most food service businesses.

Well, the folks at Shopkeep have now added both the open bar tab function and tip/total functions to Shopkeep which opens up Shopkeep point of sale for iOS devices to those with food service businesses.

My main concern with Shopkeep Point of Sale is the lack of valid reviews from people actually using the Shopkeep point of sale solution here in the United States. I receive frequent calls and emails from folks asking about Shopkeep but none of us can find valid reviews from actual end users. That being said, you can find more information on the Shopkeep website at http://www.shopkeep.com/

UPDATE: I may have spoken to soon. Here is a link to a Shopkeep review but ignore the review (the person who wrote the review does not state that they have retail or restaurant management experience) and jump down to the comments to see some feedback on Shopkeep - it is pretty easy to spot the valid and invalid comments: http://www.merchantmaverick.com/reviews/shopkeep-review/


With a background in retail and restaurant management plus 15 years of working with various point of sale solutions, I have become quite skilled at pulling out the valid information in the reviews.  For those of you not wanting to read through the comments, here is what you need to know:

"As of about a week ago, suspended tickets have now been added"
"Shopkeep does not support integration with ANY webstore applications that I can find. They had made a decision to move away from Shopify in early 2013,"
"Shopkeep still has NOTHING in place to offer for web integration"
"expect the second tax rate to be available in the very near future"
"the interface seems easy and clean, and it’s a breeze to set up"
"no long-term agreements and no cancellation fees"
"The customer service is great and they are obviously a company on the right track"
"However, not having gift card integration is TERRIBLE and extremely frustrating...."
"...only one tax rate and only one special tender type…those are limitations I cannot live with."

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, August 5, 2014

5 Things You May Not Know That Microsoft Dynamics RMS POS Can Do

A quick reminder that sales of Microsoft Dynamics RMS and HQ to new users as well as mainstream support ends next year (2016) so please keep that in mind if you are thinking of purchasing RMS or HQ as point of sale software for your business or organization.

Update 1June 15th, 2015: A quick note that I have been receiving multiple calls and emails from Microsoft Dynamics RMS users looking to replace RMS due to the upcoming October 1st, 2015 EMV liability shift deadline as well as the "end of life" status for Dynamics RMS and HQ. I have personal experience with RMS users upgrading to NCR CounterPoint and would be happy to share - just visit my contact page for information on how to reach me. I can also put you in touch with a trusted NCR CounterPoint SQL partner.

Even though we know now that the Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems Store Operations (RMS) software now has an 'end of life' date, many of you have decided to continue using the system until we know more about the various replacement programs for RMS.

The video below highlights 5 things that you may not know that the RMS POS screen can do like:

  1. Dashboard or Snap Shot Performance Summary
  2. Touchscreen Menu
  3. Recording Macros
  4. Changing the POS Screen Layout and Options
  5. Labels for the Function Keys



Not a fancy video and I just hit the highlights - you can always contact Microsoft, your Dynamics RMS partner or myself for more information.

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, August 4, 2014

7 Cool & Important Feature-Functions in Bindo Point of Sale

I've posted and mentioned at many of my point of sale speaking engagements some of the key differences between Mobile 1.0 and Mobile 2.0 Point of Sale solutions. This brief video highlights 7 (of many) cool and important feature-functions in the Bindo Point of Sale solution for iOS devices.  Included in the video are:


  1. Putting transactions on hold
  2. Autosetting sale prices
  3. Loyalty program
  4. Purchase orders
  5. Delivery address and deliver notes
  6. Split tender
  7. Various receipt options
If you are in need of some free point of sale help or advice  (I have 15+ years of industry experience plus real world retail and restaurant management experience), 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

Here is the video:



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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Yes - I Help Food Services Related Businesses as Well

I've made some minor changes to this blog site and my YouTube channel to remove most of the references to being just retail and museum specific. This change was prompted due to the fact that I have been receiving an equal number of calls and emails from retail and food service related businesses. I will work on creating more news and information specific to food service businesses as well as retail stores and museums (like what the heck is going on with Aldelo?!?!).

In the meantime, if you are in need of some free impartial point of sale advice, are located in the US, and have (or will open) one of the following types of businesses listed below, see the various ways to contact me to the right.


  • Specialty Retail
  • Retail Chains of 2-75 locations
  • Museums of all sizes
  • Quick Serve Restaurants
  • Sit Down/Table Serve Restaurants
  • Counter Serve Restaurants
  • Company Employee Stores
  • Cafeterias
  • Concession Stands
  • Venues
  • Food Trucks
  • Kiosk, seasonal, or 'pop-up' businesses
  • Retail and Restaurant Franchises
  • So...just about anyone who isn't a large scale chain like Sears, Home Depot, or Denny's.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Will a Food Service Point of Sale System Work in a Retail Store

Since I posted recently why a retail point of sale system will not generally work in a food service business, I figured that I should post about the opposite situation of trying to use a food service point of sale solution in a retail store.

There are multiple reasons why this doesn't work very well. Here are the top reasons:
  • Food service point of sale systems are based around menus, choices, and modifiers (like "Cheeseburger, medium-well, with french fries and a side of mayo").  Retail stores need a point of sale system that can scan bar codes and maybe track things like style, size, and color.
  • Food service point of sale systems provide data like food and labor costs. Retail stores want reports related to cost of goods sold.
  • Food service point of sale solutions allow the ordering of ingredients. Retail stores want a system that issues purchase orders for the actual products.
As you can see, the needs of a retail store are much different from a food service business and, as such, require very different types of point of sale solutions.

There are exceptions!  Smaller businesses with simple product offerings or simple menus (or both) may find that some of the newer mobile point of sale solutions like NCR Silver, Shopkeep, or Bindo Point of Sale will work well for them.  I am generally referring to businesses generating under $300,000 in gross annual sales, food trucks, pop-up businesses, seasonal business, mobile businesses, or kiosk type businesses.

Can I help?  No charge if you have some point of sale questions that I might be able to help you with. 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.