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 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.”

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 or call RITE at 866-267-7483. You can also reach me directly at 208-340-5632 or

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016

    An Official Welcome to RTE's Microsoft RMS Client Base!

    An official welcome to Retail Technology Experts (RTE - Mirimar, FL)) Microsoft RMS client base which has been acquired by Retail Information Technology Enterprises (RITE - Sartell, MN, Dallas, TX and Boise, ID)!

    As you know, RITE recently acquired RTE's Microsoft RMS software client base due to RTE divesting their client base of over 1000 retailers. Many of you are already working with RITE. If not, a team member from RITE will be reaching out over the coming days to have a conversation with you related to the following:
    • Whether you are still using the Microsoft RMS software in your business?
    • Whether you are still a Retail Technology Experts (RTE) customer?
    • Learning more about you and your business - and the technology equipment that you have in place.
    • What, if any, issues or outstanding commitments that RTE has made that RITE needs to address?
    • What personal concerns or questions that you may have related to the acquisition?
    • If you have already addressed the October 2015 EMV liability shift?
    • Short and long term plans for your business related to the technology used - always good to have a short term (0-90 day) and long term (5-7 year) plan.
    • Anything that the RITE team needs to be aware of?
    • What are the next steps that we should take?
    Our goal at RITE is to make sure that any current and future needs are taken care of related to the RMS point of sale system that you have in your store. We are also working with RTE to honor any past commitments that have been made or any work that is currently in process.

    If you have any pressing needs or questions, please contact us at 866-267-7483. As part of the acquisition, RTE's website will be directing to RITE's website and RTE's phone system will forward to RITE's phone system.

    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:
    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 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.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016

    RITE Expands Again!


    RITE Acquires RTE’s Microsoft RMS Client Base

    Sartell, MN October 4th, 2016 - Retail Information Technology Enterprises (RITE -Sartell, MN) announces the acquisition of Retail Technology Experts (RTE - Miramar, FL) Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software client base of over 200 retailers in the United States.

    This is part of our ongoing strategy to help usher as many small and medium retailers as we can into the next evolution of retail technology. The need for these merchants to leverage technology as part of their competitive strategy has never been greater” states RITE CEO Rick Feuling.

    In an email sent to RTE’s Microsoft RMS clients, company president Mahendran Ramanathan stated “I have known Rick Feuling, the President and CEO of RITE for almost 10 years. We had other offers but we chose RITE because of my confidence in their ability to service your needs to your satisfaction”.

    RITE’s focus on customer service means that former RTE customers will enjoy the level of service that has contributed to RITE being the winner of the Microsoft / Retail Realm Circle of Excellence Award for Growth for 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016.

    The acquisition is effective immediately and a smooth transition can be expected due to RITE’s past experience with the merger and acquisition of other retail point of sale sales and service companies.

    As part of the acquisition, RITE has also acquired some of RTE’s intellectual property.

    About RITE: With offices in Sartell, MN, Dallas, TX and Boise, ID, RITE has provided sales and 365/24/7 support to retailers using the Microsoft RMS point of sale software since 2002. In addition to the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software, RITE provides complete retail point of sale hardware and software solutions to over 1000 stores in 50 states and 13 countries. RITE can be reached at 1-866-267-7483 and their website address is

    About RTE: Established in 1991 as Business Automation Consultants, RTE has grown to provide service to over 1000 clients via a main office in Miramar, FL. On September 30th, 2016, RTE made the decision to divest their customer base to other point of sale businesses. 

    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.