Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Important MasterCard Mandate Deadlines for WorldPay Customers

Update 3/23/2017: I was actually onsite installing Card Defender for a customer here in Idaho when she received a letter from Heartland addressing the same card number issues noted below. It was very comforting for the retailer to know that Card Defender meets or exceeds industry requirements for payment processing.

Another credit card compliance mandate - this time from WorldPay specific to 2 MasterCard Mandate Deadlines. Do contact your WorldPay  salesperson and your point of sale hardware and software provider to verify compliance if you received the communication below.

If you are orphaned, please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com and I will do my best to assess your situation.

If you would rather contact me at RITE, I can be reached at  208-994-9404 or kevina@rite.us

P Logo 

Dec 20, 2016
Important MasterCard Mandates 
Action Required
At Worldpay, our valued customers and partner relationships are our highest priority. We are committed to providing trusted and reliable payments processing and are sending this important reminder requiring action with your point of sale partner.
MasterCard has issued two upcoming changes that may affect you, the MasterCard Unique Terminal Identification (TID) Mandate and the New 2-Series Bank Identification Numbers (BIN). While each update is very different, it is important to note the deadlines to comply are January 1, 2017 and May 1, 2017 respectively. You have been identified as a merchant that may be affected by these changes and may not already be compliant.

MASTERCARD UNIQUE TERMINAL ID MANDATE
What is happening?
Effective January 1, 2017, merchants who do not adhere to the MasterCard Unique Terminal ID mandate which requires unique terminal identifiers for each independent card reading device in a single location, will fall into a status of noncompliance with MasterCard. For each transaction that violates this mandate, you may be assessed a fine by MasterCard.
All merchants with multiple card-reading devices, such as PIN pads, connected to a single host terminal are required to have each of their devices identifiable with a unique Device ID number to remain compliant and avoid fines from MasterCard.
What do you need to do?
To ensure you comply with the mandate, contact your point of sale partner immediately. Card reading devices are required to send separate and Unique Device ID numbers by January 1, 2017
If you would like to learn more about this mandate, click here to review MasterCard Unique Terminal ID Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). For additional questions or concerns, contact your Worldpay Client Manager.

NEW 2-SERIES BANK IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS (BIN)
In order to support an expanding payments industry, MasterCard will begin issuing cards that utilize Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) beginning with a 2 in the range of 222100-272099. Effective May 1, 2017, merchants will be required to update BIN tables to support the new 2-Series BIN cards. If the appropriate actions are not taken, some MasterCard transactions will be declined at the point-of-sale (POS) and merchants in violation will be fined. 
What is happening?
Working with your respective partners, you will be required to update your POS terminal software in order to begin accepting and processing new 2-Series BIN transactions. If you do not update your software before the deadline, you will fall into a status of noncompliance. Each noncompliant merchant and/or ATM location may face fines in the as noted below.
  • Up to $2,500 per occurrence for the first 30 days
  • Up to $5,000 per occurrence for days 31-60
  • Up to $10,000 per occurrence for days 61-90
  • Up to $20,000 per occurrence for subsequent violations
A noncompliant occurrence is defined as any attempted and failed 2-Series BIN transaction that is confirmed as failed due to a merchant’s lack of readiness to support 2-Series BIN transactions.

What do you need to do?
Contact your point of sale partner immediately to make any necessary updates to BIN tables to support the new 2-Series BIN by the May 1, 2017 deadline.
If you would like to learn more about this mandate, click here to review MasterCard 2-Series BIN Implementation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). For additional questions or concerns, contact your Worldpay Client Manager.


© Worldpay 2016. All rights reserved. Worldpay, the logo and any associated brand names are trademarks of the Worldpay group of companies. Worldpay US, Inc. is a registered ISO/MSP of Citizens Bank, N.A., Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and Eagle Bank, N.A.

Friday, December 23, 2016

End of Year Advice - 2016

A few "ponderings" to share as we close in on the final few days of 2016 and look forward to 2017:

  1. Please remember the true meaning of Christmas as you celebrate and reflect with family and friends - Jesus birth is the true "reason for the season".
  2. Take some time to plan out any physical inventory counts and ensure that you have the correct training on how to use any physical inventory count features in your point of sale software.
  3. Reflect back on how you use your point of sale system to spot any gaps or room for improvement (or a new system).
  4. Keep an eye out for pesky new regulations and security requirements so you are not blind-sided with outdated equipment that is non-compliant.
  5. Still using Microsoft Dynamics POS 2007/2009/2.0?  Full end of life for these programs is coming up on July 9th, 2019. While this is still a couple of years away, I'd recommend that you start thinking now about a migration plan. Keep in mind that you do qualify for a low cost upgrade to the new Retail Management Hero software.
  6. Planning on using Microsoft Dynamics RMS for the next few years (end of life is not until July 2020/2021 - depending on which support contract you are on)? A few suggestions:
    • Keep an eye on Retail Management Hero since the upgrades are fairly low cost and painless (but watch for differences in features, add-ons and functions).
    • Make sure that you are on version 2.02 of RMS so all the latest service packs and hot fixes have been applied.
    • Consider using Card Defender to ensure compliance with credit card security, EMV, SHA-2, etc.
    • Avoid Windows 10 if possible for the time being.
    • Make sure that you are aligned with an Dynamics Partner that is committed to supporting RMS, HQ and Retail Management Hero - we have actually acquired customers from around 3 different Dynamics Partners that are phasing out support for various point of sale software programs.
  7. Watch this blog and my YouTube Channel for more information on Cloud Retailer which is a cool hybrid point of sale system that combines the best of what cloud based and on-premise point of sale systems offer.
Right now it looks like I will be headed to multiple states in the first half of 2017. Confirmed so far are Seattle, WA, just about all of Idaho, Salt Lake City, UT, and Minneapolis, MN. Pending are Portland, OR, Denver, CO, Phoenix, AZ, Tuscon, AZ, Dallas, TX, San Francisco, CA, and San Jose, CA.

Do contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com if I can of assistance. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ransomware: What It Is and What To Do About it

Must read for any retailer with information specific to explaining Ransomware as well as what steps to take to prevent Ransomwear. This is an official government publication that can be found at: https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Ransomware_Executive_One-Pager_and_Technical_Document-FINAL.pdf

Friday, December 16, 2016

Critical Deadline for First Data, SHA-256, and Microsoft RMS

A quick reminder that if you are using First Data for merchant services along with the Microsoft Dynamics RMS software that the deadline for being SHA-256 compliant is December 28th, 2016 (next week!).

If you have not yet taken steps to replace outdated credit and debit card processing equipment, it needs to be taken care of now as First Data has indicated that they will not allow processing via Datawire starting December 29th, 2016.

If you are unsure, it would be smart to contact your First Data merchant salesperson and/or your Microsoft Dynamics RMS Partner to confirm that your system is SHA-256 compliant.

The most common situation involves still using "old school style" credit card swipes that connect to a USB port or use a keyboard wedge style interface.

The good news is that there are multiple solutions to upgrade to SHA-256 compliant equipment AND still use the Microsoft RMS software. These options may include using a separate payment terminal or installing Card Defender for Microsoft RMS.

As always, contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com - I do work for a Microsoft RMS Partner so I can offer advice and solutions.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Updates on the Most Current Version of Retail Management Hero

Thanks to Retail Realm for providing this update related to the Retail Management Hero
software!

Below are some updates related to the Retail Management Hero (RMH) point of sale software
which is a direct replacement for Microsoft Dynamics RMS as well as a great point of sale
software product for single location retailers. You can reach me at 208-340-5632 or
kevinantosh@gmail.com for more information about RMH or RMS.

How to obtain a 30 day trial version of Retail Management Hero: 
http://www.pospondering.com/2017/01/how-to-obtain-30-day-trial-license-of.html






RMH 3.1 Now Available!

We're excited to announce that Retail Management Hero (RMH) 3.1.0 is now available for download and purchase. This new release provides a number of exciting new features, multiple bugs fixes, and numerous improvements. Highlights include:

New Features:
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Loyalty
  • POS Profiles
  • Role Based Access Security
  • New Integrated Payment Processors
 Fixes and Improvements:
  • Multiple bugs fixes and stability improvements
  • Custom POS Buttons Management
  • Improved Receipt Management
  • Import of Purchase Orders from Microsoft RMS to RMH
  • Transaction Item: Item Messages
  • Built-in Browser Improvements
  • Receipt Journal: Reprint a transaction using a different template
  • View Receipt from the Customer History
  • Add BIN location to Item Properties
  • Cancel Work Order functionality
  • Customer Search: Search by company

If you are an End User and/or Retailer, contact your software Vendor or contact sales@rrdisti.com
New feature training docs are published at www.rmhpos.com/resources in the Training Materials section. 
Visit the website at www.rmhpos.com and then sign up / login. For questions or issues regarding the website, email marketing@rrdisti.com

NOTE for ISVs: The 3.1.0 POS SDK version is linked to the corresponding RMH release version and must be used when developing apps and extensions for RMH 3.1.0. You can download this SDK from the RMH POS SDK Link in the Portal. Also, please note that this SDK is also included in the full distribution of the Retail Management Hero v 3.1.0 product and can be found under the RMH POS\RMH POS SDK folder.

RMH 6-Month Product Update Webinar 

The past 6 months have seen a lot of companies becoming trained and certified in RMH as well as Microsoft RMS users and retailers implementing the RMH solution into their business. This webinar will give you the latest product news, version updates, added features and functionality, marketing and sales news, implementation stories, etc. It will end with a Q&A.

Thursday, Jan. 12th, 2017
9 am PST
Retail Management Hero was co-developed by Retail Hero and Retail Realm.

About Retail Hero: Retail Hero is a company well-known to the Microsoft Dynamics RMS partners and customers because of its value-added plugins and add-ons such as customer loyalty programs, various utilities and "RMS Lite" point-of-sale program. www.retailhero.com  
About Retail Realm: Retail Realm is a multinational company specializing in creating and managing a portfolio of vertical business software solutions that are marketed worldwide through a community of resellers. www.rrdisti.com 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Two RITE Customers Win Awards

Congratulations to RITE customers BC Liquor in Brooklyn Park, MN and Liquor Hutch in Hutchinson, MN who both won awards from Stateways Magazine!

BC Liquor in Brooklyn Park won in the Best Technology Innovation category and Liquor Hutch in Hutchinson won in the Best Consumer Education category as part of Stateways Magazine Best Practices Awards.

Both of these retailers use the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software in their business and rely on RITE for sales and support of their point of sale systems.

Kudos on a job well done to both of these retailers!

Full issue of the magazine can be found here (page 12 has the awards): http://read.dmtmag.com/i/752490-stateways-november-december-2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

RITE Card Defender for Microsoft RMS Wins Big Over Shift4

I am pleased to pass along that RITE recently closed a large sale with a retail chain using the Microsoft RMS point of sale software to deploy our Card Defender EMV solution.  The main competition was Shift 4 and the retailer initially balked at the up front costs for Card Defender when compared to the up front costs for the Shift 4 solution.

As both Card Defender, and Shift 4 provide an EMV/chip card processing solution for Microsoft RMS, a cost comparison was done to show the true long term costs of Card Defender versus Shift 4 over the course of 5 years.

The 5 year total costs for the Card Defender solution from RITE came in around $14,000.

The 5 year total costs for the Shift 4 solution came in around $48,000 (!).

Needless to say, the retailer choose Card Defender as their Microsoft RMS EMV solution.  This is an important example in terms of factoring long term costs (or Total Cost of Ownership) and not just comparing initial deployment costs when looking at EMV options for Microsoft RMS.

More information on Card Defender can be found at http://www.pospondering.com/p/card-defender-emv-for-rms.html , by calling me at 208-340-5632, or emailing kevinantosh@gmail.com

Monday, December 5, 2016

EMV Adaption News in The US

EMV adoption rates in the US continue to be around 50/50 for retailers in the United States for various reasons but it appears that the EMV adoption rates in US retail stores of all sizes will increase to 90 percent in 2017.  Obviously this would be great for retailers and consumers alike.

The full article can be found here: https://pointofsale.com/2016041510657/Payment-Processing/Todays-EMV-Landscape-at-Retail-in-the-United-States.html

I've personally seen a lot of smaller retailers contacting me in Q4 about EMV solutions like Card Defender as there are starting to see fraud as well as requests from consumers to have customer facing payment terminals so the stores employee's never come in to contact with the consumers credit or debit card.

Monday, November 28, 2016

New Merchant Services Options for QuickBooks Point of Sale

As you know, I used to sell and support QuickBooks point of sale - I even still have a demo copy of the software on one of my laptops. QuickBooks point of sale is a simple and easy to install and use point of sale software program for lower volume retail stores and museums. My main complaint about QuickBooks POS was that you had to use Intuit for merchant services (or a separate credit card terminal).

That is no longer the case as there are now third party gateways that work with QuickBooks POS for merchant services (credit and debit card processing). This only applies to the non-cloud version of QuickBooks POS and is being offered by a reputable merchant services company.

Call (208-340-5632) or email (kevinantosh@gmail.com) me for more information and I can connect you with the correct person who has more details on costs and equipment options.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Microsoft Dynamics RMS Software Training Tutorials

With 38,000+ stores still using the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software in the US, some of the more frequent requests that I receive fall under the "how to" or "how do I" category. Many RMS users have upgraded to the most recent version of Microsoft RMS in order to be supported through July of 2021 and want to make sure that they are using RMS to its fullest.

While the tutorials found on the website below are not a substitute for formal training from a Microsoft Dynamics RMS Partner, they are helpful overviews and self study materials.

You can find the tutorials here: http://www.rite.us/Support/MicrosoftRMSSupport/RMSTutorials.aspx

Do contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com with any questions.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Public Sector RFP Problems

Update 01/18/2017:
I've actually had a few government entities utilize the information below to prepare better requests - one has even signed on for a 17 location/30 concurrent user Cloud Retailer point of sale system - nice!

Wow - it always amazes me to review any sort of point of sale related RFQ/RFI/RFP from a government entity as they are normally well over 50 pages long but manage to miss critical details.  The one that I am reviewing right now provides some conflicting requirements, fails to include detailed information on existing equipment, and requests accounting functions from a point of sale system (without noting if accounting software is already in place or if accounting software is needed).

Thankfully, they have included a clarification period in the bid response period which is great!  If you are a government entity, or even a larger organization searching for a new point of sale system, please considering the following:

  • Have a team comprised from one person from each department develop the point of sale RFP
  • No one member of the team has higher say than other members. For example, IT does not have veto rights over someone representing the cashier staff. 
  • You do need to have a project leader to keep the group focused and on task
  • Have a replacement process in place should one member of the group need to be replaced or removed.
  • Do remove members of the group who are only focused on their own departments needs or agenda and are not capable of seeing the big picture (I'm always amazed that organizations keep employees who can't see past their own agenda - regardless of what position they hold. Offer them retraining or show them the door as they are hurting more than they are helping. Interestingly enough, I've seen this equally among women and men, and yes, I have told them to pack it up and move on).
  • Seek out multiple experts as needed that are unbiased or speak with other agencies who may have gone through the process recently - you can learn so much from them and they may even be able to provide you with some documentation that can be used.
  • Keep in mind that you are asking a potential vendor to spend 20-40 hours preparing documentation so provide them with plenty of time to complete the documentation.
  • Be realistic on expectations. For example, I had one member of a POS RFP team insist that the vendor compensate the organization for system outages. That is completely unrealistic. Does the power company compensate you when the power is out? Does Dell, IBM, or HP compensate you when a computer is down and needs to be replaced?  Keep the requirements realistic or you may find it tough to find anyone to respond.
  • Make sure that the RFP/RFQ/RFI is announced through proper channels. It would reflect poorly on your organization if the bid was awarded and a local company was missed and filed a freedom of information request exposing that your organization failed to include local companies in the process. 
  • Same goes for transparency. It is really easy to tell when a RFQ/RFP is being sent out even though a vendor has already been selected and the bid weighted in that vendors favor. Do this and expect a freedom of information request and a lot of media coverage that reflects poorly on your organization. I'm aware of one government entity that selected a vendor and bypassed the correct process. After spending well over $150 Million (!) in tax payers money, the vendor could not deliver a finished product and the entity had to almost start from scratch.
OK - enough for now. I realize that point of sale systems are a somewhat niche area of knowledge which one reason why this blog exists and why I pass along free advice.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Support Hours Double Standard?

Having worked in retail and restaurant management, one thing that has bugged me over the years is why companies who support point of sale systems charge extra for support outside of "normal" business hours? After all, a product sold in a retail store sells for the same price whether it is 10am on a Monday or 7pm on a Saturday (sales/promotions aside). So why does support for a point of sale system cost more when that support is needed on weekends or after 5pm on weekdays?

One reasoning is related to labor costs in having a support on stand-by for after hours support. But, some minor scheduling adjustments can keep the labor costs inline.  This also applies to the salespeople who sell point of sale systems - no one should have signed on thinking that they are going to be working an 8-5, Monday-Friday job selling cash registers and point of sale systems. Retailers sometimes only have time to chat before the store opens, once late afternoon/early evening part time help arrives, or after closing. In fact, most of the folks who contact me do so during the 4pm to 7pm hours - which is fine by me (assuming that I'm not traveling or engaged in other activities).

I'm going to be making a push that point of sale companies expand their support hours to at least extend in to the early to mid evening on weekdays but not be charging extra above the normal support rates. It's pretty easy to schedule a tech to work 10am - 7pm one day a week (and no technician supporting point of sale systems should have signed on thinking that they would only be working 8-5, Monday - Friday).

I feel that the companies that offer this added value will see an increase in sales and an increase in customer satisfaction. This should also reduce the need to call-back customers who have support needs but could not be reached (so more effective in reducing voice mail tag and email tag).

Feed back on this concept is welcomed and appreciated - you can comment anonymously below or use the contact form to the right to reach me as well.




Wednesday, November 9, 2016

New Lower Cost Terminal Option from Card Defender and Heartland

I wanted to let folks know that Card Defender now has a lower cost terminal with a larger screen available for the Card Defender EMV/Chip Card solution for the Microsoft RMS point of sale software.

Exclusively available through Heartland for the time being, the PAX PX5 terminal features a larger screen than other Card Defender terminals and a lower cost as Heartland will be providing the terminal instead of Card Defender providing the terminal.  This means that only the Card Defender software and labor chargers for installation and remote training will apply - making for an over cost reduction of around $100 - $200 per terminal depending on what your Heartland rep would like to offer you.  Here is what the terminal looks like (please ignore the sample screen images as these are stock images from PAX):



Card Defender will continue to offer processor agnostic terminals as well for RMS which are slightly more expensive but also allow you to pick, choose and change which company you use for merchant services.

As always, please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com with any questions or clarifications.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Card Defender Checklist

Wow - fresh off some new installs in Idaho, Colorado and Utah and I've had multiple people email and call me about the Card Defender EMV/Chip Card add-on for the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software.

As I've already posted some information about Card Defender and links to videos showing how Card Defender works with RMS, here is a checklist related to some of the Card Defender options and requirements:
  • Cabled Ethernet or Wireless? 
I strongly recommend cabled for security reasons - just make sure that you have a router or switch near where the terminal will be placed.
  • Available electrical outlet near where the terminal will be placed?
Terminal should be plugged in to a good quality surge suppressor, line conditioner, battery back-up or similar device.
  • Do you want to accept NFC/contact-less payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet?
  • Do you need to accept pin based debit?
  • What company do you use for merchant services/credit card processing services? 
Has to be Heartland, First Data or TSYS - keep in mind that the companies name does not matter as much as who they use for processing.
  • What version of the Microsoft RMS software are you using? 
Has to be RMS version 1.3 or higher.
  • How many check out lanes do you have?
  • Are you using Microsoft RMS HQ? 
Card Defender works with HQ - just some extra setup steps to complete so the data sync's correctly.
  • Are you using any add-ons for RMS like e-commerce or customer loyalty programs? 
This normally does not effect Card Defender but better to check ahead of time.
  • Are you also taking phone or mail orders that require entering the payment information by hand? 
This requires some thoughts as to whether to use a Card Defender terminal  or not for manually entered payments and how this would effect the batch and close out process.


As a reminder, Card Defender is the only EMV/Chip Card solution for Microsoft RMS (that I am aware of) that is processor agnostic, does not have any additional per-transaction fees, and does not have any contracts at all.

Always, contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 with any questions or comments.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mixed Greens Expands

Wanted to say thanks to the folks at Mixed Greens in Boise, ID for trusting myself, and the team at RITE, to help them upgrade to the most current version of the Microsoft RMS point of sale software and adding additional checkout lanes in a new expanded location.

I've worked with Mixed Greens for 6 plus years and its great to see a retail business needing to add space and check out lanes to accommodate customers.  Mixed Greens has an excellent assortment of products and easy access for both foot and vehicle traffic.

We added 2 RMS check out lanes to accommodate the growth and also upgraded the existing check out lane to the most current version of RMS.

Be sure to check out their store at 9th Street and West Idaho Street or by visiting their website at http://www.ilikemixedgreens.com/ . I'll also try and get some pictures of the larger space that Mixed Greens will be using at least through the 2016 holiday season - I've already found some cool products to use as Christmas gifts.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

TSYS SHA2 Deadline: What Microsoft RMS Users Need to Know

Wow - lots of calls and emails the last couple of days asking about the looming January 1st, 2017 SHA2 compliance deadline and what options are available for retailers using the Microsoft RMS point of sale software. It appears that TSYS and possibly First Data are pushing for compliance via the companies that use the TSYS and First Data platforms for merchant services.

First off - this is actually a good thing from a security standpoint as many retailers have held off on implementing EMV/Chip Card solutions and/or are still using Windows XP. Given the calls that I have been receiving about EMV fraud, the time has come to move forward with putting in the equipment to process EMV/Chip Cards.

I would strongly recommend that retailers using the Microsoft RMS point of sale software move to Windows 7. Windows 10 is possible with some help from myself or another Microsoft Dynamics RMS Partner. Skip Windows 8 or 8.1.

When it comes to retailers using the Microsoft RMS point of sale software, you have several options to meet the SHA2 deadline. My, advice (in order of preference) is the following:

  1. Implement Card Defender for Microsoft RMS: Card Defender solves your security issues and allows for both EMV/Chip Card processing and NFC (Apple Pay and Google Wallet) processing as an integrated add-on for Microsoft RMS .  Card Defender does not add any gateway or per-transaction fees above what your merchant services company charges, is processor agnostic (TSYS, First Data, and Heartland), and requires no contracts. Visit this page on my blog for more information on Card Defender or contact me for more information - I've already had 5 retailers using RMS contact me in just the last 2 days about Card Defender so it is clear that the is upcoming deadline is being taken seriously. 
  2. Vantiv/Mercury, Shift 4, Heartland and Cayan/Merchants Warehouse also offer some EMV/Chip Card add-ons/payment gateways/payment tunnels for Microsoft RMS. Generally I have found that these solutions are more expensive than Card Defender in the long run (1+ years) due to additional per-transaction fees and/or locking you into a contract using only one company for merchant services (which is another thing that I like about Card Defender - its keeps your merchant services provider honest when it comes to the rates and fees that they charge as they know that you can switch companies of you are unhappy while these other solutions basically lock you in). 
  3. Use a separate credit card terminal that does not interface with the Microsoft RMS software. While this is the easiest and lowest cost option, keep in mind that you will be reconciling two reports at the end of each day and you open up the system to human error when entering the total on the credit card terminal (for example: a transaction totaling $15.20 could be entered as $1.52 or $152.00 - not fun to have have to track a customer down to correct the error).
All in all - there are plenty of options that allow Microsoft RMS point of sale software users to keep using RMS and meet the SHA2 deadline. Do contact me with any questions or clarifications.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Yummy Times at Garden Gate Candy!

I have been neglecting my duties related to showcasing some of the businesses that I worked with recently. Earlier this week I (and the support team at RITE) had a great time helping Garden Gate Candy upgrade to the most recent version of the Microsoft RMS point of sale software as well as installing the Card Defender EMV/Chip Card add-on for Microsoft.

What an awesome - and well known business!  They are very popular both locally and nationally and are open only open for a limited time each year. You can see how this family run business has established themselves as a must shop place from the end of October to Christmas Eve. I look forward to working with the family for many years to come!


I'm going to try and post information about at least one business that I help each month and try to include pictures of the equipment as well as details about the technology used and the business itself. For now, I'm sending $80 worth of treats from Garden Gate Candy back to our main office in Minnesota.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

New Domain

Just a quick note that I coughed up the $12.00 to register www.pospondering.com to give this blog a more official web presence. This should not effect anything as the blog will re-direct to the new domain.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The 2016 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List

Digital Brands and Online Access Define Loyalty For Consumers

Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook and YouTube Lead


NEW YORK, NY October 19, 2016 - More than a third (35%) of the 2016 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List is represented by digital technology, social networking brands, or brands that facilitate digital tech or social networking was the key finding in the 20th annual survey conducted by Brand Keys, Inc., the New York-based brand and customer loyalty and engagement research consultancy. The shifts in loyalty leadership have been monumental this year," said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president.


“Digital brands represent the lion’s share of this year’s list, also commanding the most spots among the top-20 loyalty leaders, accounting for 80% of that portion of this year’s Loyalty Leaders,” noted Passikoff, “With some digital brands showing up as Loyalty Leaders in multiple categories.”


Digital Brands Work Harder For Loyalty
“It appears that digital brands work harder and create higher levels of emotional engagement – the ability for a brand to be seen as meeting consumers’ expectations for their Ideal, in whatever category the brand competes. Today emotional engagement is the predictive, real-world yardstick for loyalty, market share, and profitability,” said Passikoff. “Want to know what consumers are going to do? Measure real loyalty and emotional engagement and you can know for sure.”


2016 Top Digital Loyalty Leaders
Numbers in parentheses represent rankings among the top 100 Loyalty Leaders.


1. Google (search, #1)
2. Apple (tablets, #3)
3. Netflix (streaming video, #4)
4. Facebook (social networking, #5)
5. Apple (smartphones, #6)
6. Amazon (tablets, #7)
7. YouTube (social networking #8)
8. WhatsApp (social networking, #10)
9. iTunes (video streaming, #11)
10. PayPal (online payments, #12)
11. Samsung (smartphones, #14)
12. LinkedIn (social networking, #19)
13. Twitter (social networking, #23)
14. Instagram (social networking, #27)
15. Apple (computers, #29)
16. Kindle (e-readers, #30)
17. LG (smartphones, #31)
18. Acer (tablets, #32
19. iTunes (online music, #34)
20. Samsung (computers, #41)
21. Hulu (video streaming, #46)
22. HBO GO (streaming video, #63)
23. Line (social networking, #72)
24. iMessage (instant messaging, #74)
25. AT&T Wireless (wireless, #75)
26. theSkimm (messaging, #76)
27. Google Play (online music, #80)
28. Google Wallet (online payments, #80)
29. Google+ (social networking, #86)
30. Verizon (wireless, #88)
31. Pinterest (social networking, #89)
32. Spotify (online music, #90)
33. Microsoft (computers, #91)
34. BuzzFeed (social networking, #95)
35. Tumblr (social networking, #98)


This year Brand Keys examined 635 brands in 72 categories. Digital was represented by fifteen categories and 140 brands so there’s tremendous competition for the top 100 rankings. “Digital has become the defining category for consumer outreach and emotional engagement,” noted Passikoff. “And it shows up by the names on this year’s list.”


Category Loyalty Leaders. Digital and. . .
Digital technology, social networking brands, and brands that facilitate digital technologies and social networking had the most Loyalty Leader brands, and represented 35% of this year’s list. But other categories were well-represented by Loyalty Leader brands, and included:


 Retail: 17%
 Beverages: 9%
 Automotive: 8%
 Cosmetics: 8%
 Financial: 6%
 Restaurants: 6%
 Travel: 4%


Changes in Digital Loyalty
Loyalty and emotional engagement are leading-indicators of consumer behavior toward a brand. Axiomatically, the better consumers behave toward a brand, the better the brand does in the marketplace, which ultimately shows up on brands’ bottom lines. This year, among digital brands the greatest loyalty gains among consumers was for LG (+15 to #31). Google moved up 5 places to this year’s #1 spot and Amazon moved up 6 spots to the #2 ranking. In the smartphone category, Apple was down 6 places from the #2 rank last year to end up this year’s #7 Loyalty Leader.


The bottom line is, no matter the category, the brands that understand that real emotional connections serve as surrogates for added value have succeeded again. “And brands that have made loyalty and emotional engagement a strategic priority” noted Passikoff, “always show up high on the Loyalty Leaders list and always appear at the top of consumers’ shopping lists.”


Methodology
Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders analysis was conducted in September 2016 and includes assessments from 42,792 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, from the nine US Census Regions, who self-selected the categories in which they are consumers and the brands for which they are customers. Seventy-five percent (75%) were interviewed by phone, 20% via face-to-face interviews (to account for cell phone-only consumers), and remaining consumers assessed categories and brands online. The 2016 Loyalty Leader assessments examined 72 categories and 635 brands.



Unlike economic use models, which rely heavily on historical data and profitability conjecture, the Brand Keys Loyalty and Engagement Model and rankings are 100% consumer-driven, and are predictive, leading-indicators of brand and corporate profitability. “The good news is that brand loyalty is understandable. The better news is, it can be quantified and predicted,” said Passikoff. “And, today, knowing what’s coming down the road from a category and competitive perspective is an extraordinarily powerful advantage that brands should'n’t really pass up.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Emailing Receipts from within the Microsoft RMS Point of Sale Software


RITE Retail Emailer adds the ability to send the customer an emailed transaction receipt from the POS.  Also includes an email feature which allows a user to send targeted mass emails based on information pulled from the RMS customer database and purchase history.

The Retail Emailer Application has two distinct functions:

Allows cashiers to emailed receipts to customers:
  • Add optional cashier prompt at end of transaction to email receipt to your customers.
  • You can customize emailed receipt template using HTML
  • Using this tool AUTOMATICALLY helps build your customer list inside RMS and tracks sales of those customers by their email address.
Can also do limited mass emailing:
  • Send to full customer list or upload file of specific customers exported from RMS.
  • Send emails using your own HTML email template or plain text.
  • Send mass emails utilizing your existing email provider without paying extra fees to 3rd party providers.
Please note that the use of the mass emailing functionality may be limited!

Most email providers have a cap on the number of emails you can send with your email account in a given day because of spam concerns (many limit it to 250 to 500) so customers wanting to email large lists of customers utilize services like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp, etc.




Retailers Using Retail Emailer


  • Wine Stores
  • Gift Shops
  • Pharmacies/Drug Stores
  • Sporting Good Stores
  • Clothing and Apparel Stores
  • Landscaping and Garden Centers
  • Anyone that has customers that would preffer their receipts to be emailed to them!
  • Pricing (per store location)

    Single license*: $399.00
    Additional licenses* 2-4: $100.00 per license
    Additional licenses* 5+: $100.00 per license
    *One license is required for each computer where this software will be installed/used. Discount pricing is based on bulk purchases - additional licenses must be purchased within 30 days.

    Additional Information

    Compatible With: Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems 1.2, 1.3, 2.0.

    For more information, please visit http://rite.us/PlugInDirectory/RetailEmailer.aspx or call RITE at 866-267-7483. You can also reach me directly at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com

    Monday, October 10, 2016

    Still Using Microsoft RMS Version 1.X? Things You Should Know

    There are still a multiple stores in the US using version 1.2 or 1.3 of the Microsoft RMS point of sale software (also under the Store Operations name) so I wanted to pass along a checklist of reasons why you may want to consider an upgrade to RMS version 2.02 or even version 3 under the new Retail Management Hero name.

    1. Support for version 1.2 and 1.3 ended some time ago per this page on the Microsoft website: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle?p1=10339&forceorigin=esmc
    2. If you are still using a software key/dongle, you can not obtain a replacement (and those devices are sensitive to just about anything - especially static electricity). If the key/dongle fails, you will lose access to the POS module in RMS.
    3. There are known device issues with Windows 10 - especially when it comes to receipt printers and barcode printers.
    4. You are not PCI compliant 
    The good news is that you can upgrade to version 2.02 of RMS and obtain a more traditional software key or you can upgrade to the new Retail Management Hero software as well. As costs vary depending on what hardware you have and whether you have stayed current on your RMS software maintenance, please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com for more information. A good ballpark starting price is $940 to cover the lapsed maintenance and issue a new single lane license key for version 2.02 of RMS.

    Monday, October 3, 2016

    Merchant Services/Credit Card Salespersons

    OK - I already hear the groaning and comments related to salespeople who represent merchant services/payment processing companies.  Keep in mind that I do not represent any of these companies (I stick with just point of sale system and not payment processing services) but have learned a lot over the last 18 years working with what I call merchant services salespeople. Some advice when choosing the best merchant services salesperson (and company):

    1. Look for transparency (all fees are disclosed and no unusual fees like PCI compliance charges, buyout charges, statement fees, etc).
    2. No contracts (needs change - no sense having to pay $500 to get out of a contract)
    3. No equipment leases (do you really want to pay $1500 for a $500 piece of equipment?)
    4. The salesperson is not afraid to say "no" or "I will need to check on that and get back to you"
    5. The salesperson meets any pre-sale commitments
    6. The salesperson and company have already worked with other similar businesses in you area making for some easy reference checks and established familiarity with your business
    7. You are working with someone with a local presence that can't hide behind email or voice mail
    8. No unreadable fine print on any paperwork
    9. The salesperson does not pressure you into making a hasty decision or set short deadlines
    10. Rates are easy to see and match your business data (like the average transaction amount)
    If you think that the above list is unrealistic - its not. These are some of the standards that I have required over the years and I've never run into an issue with any reputable merchant services salesperson/company balking at the above list.

    I've found that the right merchant salesperson can make all the difference when it comes to dealing with merchant services. It also helps me out as the retail point of sale systems that I work with go 'hand in hand' with what merchant services companies offer making it critical for me to have someone that I, and my customer, can count on.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    Reasons to Upgrade to Version 2.02 of Microsoft RMS

    Even with the new Retail Management Hero software being available at low cost to Microsoft RMS users, several stores using RMS version 2 have actually opted to only upgrade to RMS version 2.02 for the time being. As RMS version 2.02 (with service pack 5) will be supported through  July 2021 (per this page on the Microsoft website: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle?p1=17483&forceorigin=esmc), here are some reasons why you may want to just upgrade to version 2.02 and wait on upgrading to Retail Management Hero for the time being (which could be a few months or a few years depending on your preference):

    • You have multiple add-ons (shopping cart, loyalty program, gift card program, etc) in RMS that will not yet work with Retail Management Hero
    • You have already invested in EMV/Chip Card equipment like Card Defender
    • You have passed all PCI compliance testing
    • You have remained current on annual software maintenance or are willing to pay a lapse fee to become current on software maintenance
    • You are not using Windows XP
    • You are not using Windows 10
    • Everything is churning along just fine
    • You are not receiving any error messages like 941 errors
    • The RMS database is not near or at the SQL size limits
    Obviously this is not a complete list as everyone's situation is different. The point is that you may want to stick with your current version of RMS, upgrade to version 2.02, or go ahead and upgrade to Retail Management Hero.

    Just as situations vary, costs vary as well. Of the last 8 stores using RMS that I helped update to version 2.02 of RMS, the costs ranged from $330 to $1700.

    Of course, future industry changes may prompt a "sooner than later" upgrade to Retail Management Hero but, for now, these stores are set through 2021 (but most are looking at upgrading to Retail Management Hero within the next 12 months).

    Contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com for more detailed assistance.

    Thursday, September 22, 2016

    Re-sellers and Referral Spiffs

    Interested in Making Some Money?  Here are the various programs offered by myself and RITE:

    Spiffs and Referral Fees:
    I'm always encouraged by the number of retailers that refer other retailers to me. As you know, a referral carries a huge amount of "street cred" and saves me a lot of time and energy when it comes to prospecting. If you refer a retailer to me, and they purchase point of sale hardware or software from me, I'm willing to do a 50/50 commission split with you as my way of thanking you for the referral.

    The only stipulation is that the sale must include something more than just service work, I must be the salesperson/service tech, and the business be located within the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Montana and Wyoming.

    This offer does not apply to RITE re-sellers - see below.

    RITE Re-seller Program: RITE RMS Add-Ons and Card Defender:
    At RITE, we actually have a re-seller program in place when it comes to our numerous plug-ins for the Microsoft RMS point of sale software as well as our Card Defender EMV/Chip Card solution for Microsoft RMS.

    For our RMS plug-ins, you must be a Microsoft RMS Partner to qualify for re-seller pricing.  A RITE re-seller application can be found here: http://rite.us/Portals/0/Downloads/Forms/RITEResellerAgreement.pdf

    More information on our RITE RMS plug-ins re-seller program, and the actual plus-ins can be found here: http://rite.us/Partners.aspx

    Card Defender Re-Seller Program:
    Businesses who have established themselves as showing an interest in multiple Card Defender sales can enjoy a spiff or rebate on each Card Defender sale. The minimum number of Card Defender sales is three with the spiff growing as more Card Defender sales are closed and installed.  As details vary depending on your experience with technology sales, please contact us directly at 1-888-267-7483 or sales@rite.us to discuss in more detail.

    I can also be reached directly at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com

    Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    Retail Point of Sale Service and Sales - Utah

    A quick note that I'm headed to perform some sales and service work in the following areas and would be happy to swing by your retail business to offer some no cost retail point of sale advice (any service work would need to be scheduled ahead of time):
    • Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Ogden, Utah
    • Logan, Utah
    • Layton, Utah
    • Lehi, Utah
    • Park City, Utah
    • Provo, Utah
    Do call (208-340-5632) or email (kevinantosh@gmail.com) me if we should schedule a time to meet.

    Thursday, September 15, 2016

    Windows 10 SHA-1 and SHA-2 Issues

    Update 10/4/2016: Heartland has provided an alternate payment portal which resolves this issue. Do contact them directly if Heartland has not already provided you with the updated information. Your Microsoft Dynamics RMS Partner may also be able to assist with the required changes. Contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com if you do not have an RMS Partner.

    A special thanks to a couple of stores that called me to explain the resolution to this issue and confirmed that things are working correctly again - very much appreciated.

    Also of note, detailed resolution information will be made available soon on RITE's website: http://www.rite.us/Support/MicrosoftRMSSupport/RMSTutorials/DoesMicrosoftDynamicsRMSSupportSHA2.aspx

    Update 9/27/2016: Working on testing a possible resolution - will provide more details once they are made available to me.

    Update 9/21/2016: thanks to those of you who contacted me directly thanking me for posting about this issue!  I will update this post as applicable but, so far, the only response from Heartland has been a blanket "we are working on a resolution and will advise" response as well as what I can only describe as a single Heartland Rep displaying the biggest act of un-professionalism that I have ever seen in my 18+ years of working with point of sale systems (they have managed to tarnish my sentiment towards Heartland but thankfully I have other Heartland Reps that I work with in person who are happy to help restore my positive sentiment towards Heartland).

    Original Post:
    Just when everything appeared to be sorted out related to the new SHA-2 security requirement, a recent Windows 10 update has caused some new problems.

    Because of this Windows 10 update, error messages may appear in the Microsoft RMS point of sale software in specific situations as noted below:
    • Point of Sale Software: Microsoft RMS
    • Operating System: Windows 10 with September 2016 update installed
    • Website for credit card processing is not SHA-2 compliant
    • Merchant Services Company: Heartland
    Other Notes:
    • At this point, the issue is specific to Heartland as Mercury and TSYS appear to be functioning normally
    • Heartland does not have any information on when they expect the issue to be resolved
    • This shows how unexpected issues can crop up with anything related to technology so please use this as a reminder to have a point of sale partner/vendor/VAR that you can rely on for ongoing support after your point of sale system is up and running
    As this may prevent you from being able to fully tender credit and debit card transactions, the following options are available:
    • Roll back to previous Windows 10 build
    • Disable new updates to Windows 10 until the issue is tested as resolved
    • You may be able to process credit and debit card transactions manually but note that you will be paying a much higher percent for "hand keying" a credit or debit card transaction (easily 4% to 4.5%)
    • Consider using Card Defender for Microsoft RMS which allows full EMV/Chip card processing within RMS as well as NFC payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Card Defender is unique in not charging any additional per transaction fees as well as being processor agnostic (Heartland, First Data and TSYS).  More information on Card Defender can be found at http://retailpospondering.blogspot.com/p/card-defender-emv-for-rms.html and http://www.payconfident.com/
    Do contact me with any questions at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com

    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Retail Point of Sale Idaho and Wyoming

    A quick note that I'm headed to perform some sales and service work in the following areas and would be happy to swing by your retail business to offer some no cost retail point of sale advice (any service work would need to be scheduled ahead of time):
    • Mountain Home, Idaho
    • Twin Falls, Idaho
    • Pocatello, Idaho
    • Blackfoot, Idaho
    • Rigby, Idaho
    • Rexburg, Idaho
    • Idaho Falls, Idaho
    • Jackson, Wyoming
    • West Yellowstone
    Do call (208-340-5632) or email (kevinantosh@gmail.com) me if we should schedule a time to meet.


    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    Microsoft RMS Change of Partner Form

    A quick reminder that I am able to process Microsoft RMS Change of Partner forms as needed. If you do not have an official partner, are unhappy with your present partner, or your partner is no longer in business, please contact me for a simple form to complete.

    A few notes on Microsoft RMS Change of Partner forms:
    • There are no costs associated with completing this form
    • I've filled in the form with all the details to save you time 
    • This is not locking you in to any sort of paid service contract
    • Completing this form keeps Microsoft happy knowing that you have a local company for RMS support
    • By having the form on file, this prevents delays in obtaining support for your Microsoft RMS software - whether that support is needed 2 days from now or 2 years from now
    Completed forms can be emailed to me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or faxed to my attention at 320-230-1796.

    Call me at 208-340-5632 with any questions. It normally takes Microsoft 1-2 business to process the form.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2016

    New Stuff for Retail Management Hero

    Wow - so things are moving along quickly when it comes to the new Retail Management Hero (RMH) software which is essentially a direct replacement for the retired/end of life Microsoft RMS point of sale software. One RMH partner has taken the steps to offer their customers several add-ons to close some of the gaps between RMS and RMH which include:
    • Full timeclock functionality (coming Q1 2017 - third party integration)
    • Full gift card functionality (now available)
    • More options when it comes to the merchant services choices in RMH (not locking you in to just Vantiv/Mercury or Cayan) - Heartland has been added - looking for First Data and TSYS support via third party integration by Q3 2017.
    Contact me for more information (email: kevinantosh@gmail.com cell: 208-340-5632).

    How to obtain a 30 day trial version of Retail Management Hero: http://www.pospondering.com/2017/01/how-to-obtain-30-day-trial-license-of.html