Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Total Cost of Ownership for Card Defender

I've been asked the best way to compare costs for the various EMV/Chip Card add-ons for the very popular Microsoft RMS point of sale software. One of the main issues is that many of the solutions charge a per transaction fee which may sound nominal but really adds up over time. Card Defender may have higher up front costs but the ongoing costs are much lower as shown in the chart below (example only - contact me for more specific details):

Pretty cool that Card Defender has a significant cost advantage over many of the other EMV add-ons for RMS and Card Defender is flexible when it comes to selecting a merchant services company (TSYS, Heartland and First Data) so you can always shop around for the best rates.

Do call (208-340-5632) or email me (kevinantosh@gmail.com) with any questions related to Card Defender, Microsoft RMS, or retail point of sale systems in general.

More In Depth Retail Management Hero Overview

A slightly more in depth review of the Retail Management Hero retail point of sale software. A great solution not only as a low cost upgrade for Microsoft RMS/POS/POS 2009 software users, but also for retailers searching for an affordable and flexible point of sale system.

Tough to cover everything without making the video too boring so please contact me directly at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com for a more personalized demo.

Friday, August 26, 2016

News from RSPA Retail Now 2016

I've been keeping my eye on any relevant point of sale news coming out of RSPA Retail Now 2016 which took place in Las Vegas - especially specific to retail point of sale systems.

To be honest, I really don't have a lot to pass along. There was a lot of good advice related to retail operations, industry data and new point of sale hardware but nothing that I feel would be of interest to most retailers in the US.

Hopefully the Retail Realm conference will offer more to pass along.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016 Retail Realm Partner & User Conference

The 2016 Retail Realm Partner and User Conference is wrapping up. I wanted to pass along some news as this conference relates to the majority of the retailers that I work with as they mainly use the Microsoft RMS point of sale software in their stores.

I'll update this post as I come across news that would be of interest.

You can always contact me directly at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com for no-cost retail point of sale advice and information.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quick Note of Thanks!

Quick note of thanks to the 27 stores in Idaho & Utah that recently selected RITE as their Microsoft RMS Partner! #rms #support #Utah #idaho

Obviously this was more of a social media post but it has been amazing (and hectic) couple of weeks given the need and demand for RMS support here in Idaho and Utah.

Thank goodness we have multiple RMS techs on staff!

Point of Sale Systems for Trampoline Parks

As trampoline parks expand across the US, I've done some research to see what might be the best point of sale system for trampoline parks as these businesses have some unique needs like the following:

  • Reservations
  • Timed access
  • Liability Waiver Signing
  • Online Reservations
  • Restaurant or Snack Bar Operations
  • Zone Access
  • Retail Store/Gift Shop
  • Equipment Rentals
About the only solution that I have found so far is Cloud Retailer which is in place at a couple of trampoline parks - otherwise it seems like the businesses have developed their own internal point of sale system, are using multiple different systems, or are just using plain old cash registers.

I'm working on obtaining a demo copy of Cloud Retailer so I can explore the system and create a demo review video. In the meantime you can always contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 for more information.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Things Missing from Retail Management Hero

As I have delved deeper in to the new version of the Microsoft RMS point of sale software - now re-branded under the new Retail Management Hero (RMH) name - I have come across some things presently missing from RMH that RMS could do.  Some of these missing features/functions may be in future releases of RMH or available as add-on's:
  • No accounting G/L interface (this is planned for future released - now included as of Q1 2017)
  • No timeclock function (will be available for free via a specific RMH Partner by Q4 2016)*
  • No macro's or assignable hot-keys (no macros at all - custom buttons will be available shortly)
  • Gift Card sale, tracking, and redemption appears to be incomplete (now included as of Q1 2017)
  • No in-program help screen option 
  • Detail of security settings has changed to role based security - still very detailed but not as extreme as what RMS offered in the "security mode"
  • Very limited choices for internal credit and debit card processing. This will be expanded via a specific RMH Partner by Q3 of 2017.*
*Means that you will likely have to purchase your RMH point of sale system from the vendor to receive these features or pay more if not buying RMH from this vendor. Expect more details by October 2016.

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

I'll keep updating the list as I uncover anything else. You can always contact me for no-cost retail point of sale advice at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016 Back-to-School Consumer Spending Gets a D+

Study Conducted July 29- August 12

2016 Back-to-School Consumer Spending Gets a D+
Anticipated Spending Only Up 4% in Brand Keys Survey

More Than Prices Affect Back-to-School Spending:
73% of Consumers Uncertain About the Future

NEW YORK, NY August 15, 2016 – The 2016 back-to-School spending report card for households with school-age children (pre-school through 12th grade) indicates that parents do not plan to spend significantly more this year. consumers signaled only a 3.9% increase, with an anticipated average spend of $675.00 (versus $650 in 2015), according to the 22nd annual survey conducted by Brand Keys (www.brandkeys.com), the New York-based brand loyalty and emotional engagement research consultancy.

Consumers Uncertain About More Than The Economy

When asked reasons for the small increase in anticipated back-to-school spending, nearly three quarters of respondents (73%) mentioned a feeling of “uncertainty,” “anxiety,” and “unpredictability,” with only 18% mentioning “the economy.”

When pressed to explain the causes of these feelings, consumers mentioned the upcoming Presidential elections (58%), income/wealth distribution (47%), crime and violence (44%), unemployment (30%), race relations (22%) and a general feeling of insecurity related to terrorism (19%). “Apparently it’s not just consumer confidence in the economy,” noted Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president, “It’s a lot more than that.”

Anticipated Category Spend Generally Unchanged

Average anticipated spending in all major back-to-school categories – with the exception of the tech category, where “the replacement cycle has kicked in,” noted Passikoff, were generally unchanged versus last year:

Clothing: $278.00 ( + 3%)
Shoes (athletic & dress) $125.00 ( + 5%)
Supplies $ 92.00 ( + 2%)

Tablets/Smartphones: $180.00 (+20%)
Books/Study Aids $ 20.00 (–10%)

Parents are taking a harder look at what their children need for back-to-school, “but there’s no way to get around children’s growth spurts or the need for technological upgrades,” said Passikoff,


The survey included assessments from 7,580 households drawn from the nine U.S. Census regions. Interviews were collected by telephone and central location intercepts (to account for the surging number of cell-phone only households) over the period July 29th through August 12th 2016.

Online is Consumers’ Shopping Default –
Department Stores are Preferred Retailers

The breakdown of ‘preferred’ retail categories versus last year’s indicates an anticipated use of all retail platforms. The biggest increases in the choice of where to buy appeared in Department Stores (+10%) and Office Supplies (+5%). “Department stores have been battling the consumer shift to online with lots of deals,” noted Passikoff.

Catalogs were down again in mentions, “but that shouldn’t surprise anyone,” said Passikoff. “Consumer purchases have shifted from print to digital and online has, of course, been growing every year and has become consumers’ shopping default mode.” Virtually every consumer interviewed (99%) indicated they were using online for back-to-school buying.

Online 99% (+ 4%)
Discount Stores: 98% ( –1%)
Department Stores: 65% (+10%)
Specialty Retailers 50% ( –5%)
Office Supply: 40% (+ 5%)
Catalogs 7% (- 13%)

This year, Brand Keys’ top 10 lists of the most popular retail brands includes Kohl’s, with Apple stores being pushed to #11. Walmart moved to the #1 spot ahead of Target (last year’s #1 retailer). Macy’s fell from #3 to #5, reflecting ongoing difficulties the retailer has had over the past year.

For etail brands, Apple.com is #3, “reflecting the shift in shopping from traditional stores to digital,” noted Passikoff. Sears.com replaced Nike.com in this year’s top 10.

The top 10 retail brands consumers indicated they intended to shop this yea:

Retail E-tail

1. Walmart Amazon.com
2. Target Walmart.com
3. CVS/Walgreen’s Apple.com
4. Best Buy Target.com
5. Macy’s Staples.com
6. TJ Maxx Macys.com
7. Kohl’s Bestbuy.com
8. Sears Gap.com
9. Footlocker Sears.com
10. Staples Overstock.com

Nearly 55% of consumers indicated they had already stockpiled necessities and supplies for the first day of school before August, up 18% over last year. Another 30% indicated they would wait for ‘Summer Sales.’ The remaining 15% are waiting until the last minute. “Retailers have spent nearly two decades teaching consumers they can get things cheaper or for better value if they wait a little longer, and when it comes to back-to-school, consumers have been fast learners,” said Passikoff.

“Value, of course, isn’t just about pricing, it’s about brand differentiation, and brand engagement,” said Passikoff. And, this year, apparently, more fundamental issues. Retail brands that can emotionally engage consumers are seen as surrogates for added-value and those will be the brands that benefit most. “Consumers not only believe that, they behave that way in the marketplace.”

“These days, providing more than just low-lower-lowest prices is a fundamental lesson all back-to-school retailers will need to cram for if they hope to pass with flying colors,” said Passikoff. “And increased same-store sales.”

Contact: Visibility

Chip Card Fraud is Happening

A quick note that I have received a few calls now from retailers who have been the victim of fraud specific to stolen chip based credit and debit cards being swiped instead of inserted/tapped.  The losses have been in the $30 to $60 but I'm sure that will continue to increase as thieves search out businesses without the proper equipment to process a chip card transaction.

Just a word of caution to those of you who have not yet implemented the equipment to processing the new chip based credit and debit cards.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Issues with Microsoft RMS Window Size

From day one there has been an issue related to the Microsoft RMS point of sale software opening and then disappearing. The program is running but you can't see it. This mainly happens with Windows XP and Windows 7.  Quite annoying!

I've created a video that covers some simple steps to maximize the RMS software Window size in the video below.  You may also want to use CTRL + F6 to check the screen settings in RMS as shown in the this screen cap:

Here is the video with the other suggestions:

If the above does not work - contact your RMS Dynamics Partner for more in depth support or contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com (please note that support can only be extended if the company that I work for is listed as your official RMS Partner with Microsoft which is a simple form to complete but can take 1-2 business days to process).

Places that I'm Headed To

I always like to share my travel schedule in case you happen to be in one of the areas that I am visiting and would like to meet for some no-cost retail point of sale advice.  Here are the areas that I'm headed to over the coming months (summer/fall 2016):

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Layton, UT
  • Ogden, UT
  • Twin Falls, ID
  • Mountain Home, ID
  • McCall, ID
  • Cascade, ID
  • Sun Valley, ID
  • Ketchum, ID
  • Hailey, ID
  • Pocatello, ID
  • Idaho Falls, ID
  • Jackson, WY
Please get in touch with me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com if you are interested in meeting for some no-cost retail point of sale advice.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Breaking News - MICROS/Oracle Hacked

It was bound to happen give the outdated technology used in many MICROS point of sale systems but it is being reported today that around 330,000 MICROS systems have been hacked or had a security breach. At this point it appears that some sort of malware was used.

The only comments from MICROS/Oracle at this point is that everyone needs to change their passwords. No word on if any credit card information was compromised.

This brings up a few reminders - no matter what point of sale system you are using:

  • Make sure that you are using the most current/recent version of any point of sale software
  • Perform regular PCI scans to ensure that everything in your business is PCI compliant
  • No actual credit or debit card information should be flowing through the system as regular numbers 
  • Make sure that you have business class computer equipment as well as anti-virus and malware software that is always scanning and always updating
Right now I'm glad that I no longer work for a MICROS/Oracle Partner as I'm sure that there are a lot of irate customers right now wondering what they should do.  I already have a lot of MICROS users contact me about other restaurant POS systems to use so this may up the call volume even more.

I can be reached at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 for no-cost point of sale advice.

Some Retail Management Hero Updates

A couple of quick updates related to the new version of the Microsoft RMS point of sale software - now re-branded under the new Retail Management Hero (RMH) name:

  • RMH does not have any accounting integrations yet. Integration to QuickBooks Accounting is planned but no firm ETA at this point (this is now available as of Q1 2017)
  • While there are only limited options when it comes to EMV/Chip Card processing with RMH presently, this should change over the coming months as more processors become certified with RMH as well as third party solutions like Card Defender
  • Existing Dynamics HQ users can use HQ with RMH but the actual HQ module for RMH is still in development stage with no firm ETA (best guess is last half of 2017)
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

In need of no-cost retail point of sale advice? You can reach me on my cell at 208-340-5632 or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

RMS License Issues - Lapsed Maintenance and Online License Sales

Word to the wise on two issues related to the licensing for the Microsoft RMS point of sale software:
  1. You can not buy additional licenses of RMS unless you are an existing RMS user who is current on your annual software maintenance agreement. For example, in order to add RMS lane licenses, your organization can not be lapsed on  maintenance otherwise you will need to pay your lapse fee before you can buy additional lane licenses.
  2. Only Microsoft Dynamics Partners can sell RMS licenses as there is a registration and activation process that needs to be completed. RMS licenses can't just be sold via Craigslist and eBay without the registration and activation process being completed (so buying RMS via these sites may seem like a money saver but will likely cost you time and money in the long run).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Real World RMS to RMH Upgrade Costs

Now that I have had the opportunity to provide specific proposals for retailers wanting to upgrade from the Microsoft RMS point of sale software to the new Retail Management Hero point of sale software (RMS version 3), I'm quite pleased to pass along that the costs are very realistic compared to having to purchase a new point of sale system.

Factoring in the discounts that I have been offering, a typical retail store is only spending around $2,000 to $5,000 on the upgrade. The variables related to how many computers are using RMS in a selling capacity and whether or not any of the hardware needs to be replaced.

Not bad compared to spending $8,000 to $12,000 on a new POS system or going with a subscription based point of sale system that has $1,500 to $3,000 in upfront hardware costs and $4,740 to $10,740 in subscription fees over the course of 5 years (plus you don't get to keep all of your historical data with these options).

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

Want to learn more? In the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I can be reached using the contact form to the right, on my cell phone at 208-340-5632 or via email at kevinantosh@gmail.com.