Monday, March 30, 2020

Why Retailers Should be Applying for CARE's Act Forgivable SBA Loans

Based on multiple conversations, just about every retailer that I spoke with over the last 2 weeks is seeing negative effects on their sales numbers due to the Coronavirus.  As part of the stimulus package passed last week, most small retailers will qualify for a forgivable short term loan from the SBA to use for 10 weeks worth of payroll and related expenses.

The stipulations and application process appear to be very simple and streamlined. Although, I'm sure that the SMA will be flooded with requests once the application process can begin in the next 1-2 weeks.

Given that this is a forgivable loan that can help keep your store afloat for the next 10 weeks, I'd encourage all retailers to watch for more information from their local SBA office.

Preliminary information can be found here: https://www.bakerdonelson.com/cares-act-understanding-sba-loan-programs-to-determine-eligibility-and-best-fit-for-your-company

At this time, it appears that the loan can only be used for payroll, utility and rent related expenses - not for technology related investments. Still, a forgivable loan is something that should not be ignored if it can keep your staff paid and cover some other expenses until you can fully open up again.

I'll watch the SBA website for more information as well and see when they area ready to start processing applications.




Thursday, March 26, 2020

Is Your Store Temporarily Closed? Some POS Tips

I have fielded several calls from retailers asking what to do regarding their point of sale system while their store is temporarily closed. Some general suggestions:
  1. Make sure that you have a backup of all data. Best to have a backup that is off site (like a thumb drive or external hard drive) or cloud based
  2. See if your point of sale provider will reduce any monthly fees while the store is closed
  3. It is normally OK to power down the hardware but do not unplug anything - some of the hardware may lose settings if electrical connections are lost. Check with your point of sale provider to see which hardware can be powered down or put in to "sleep" mode without risking the loss of programming (this especially applies to payment terminals and other devices without actual power switches)
  4. Make sure that dust does not accumulate on any hardware
  5. Ensure that it can easily been seen that the cash drawers and till's are empty
  6. Make sure that you have written down all passwords and user ID's (and keep in a safe location). These can be easy to forget if not used on a daily basis.
  7. Check with your point of sale provider to see if it is OK to shut down any WiFi or network equipment - including the router for your internet connection. I normally recommend leaving the router on so you maintain the internet connection.
  8. If in doubt, leave everything as is but in "sleep mode" or similar.
Two other recommendations:
  1. When getting ready to re-open, test everything at least 2 days before you open to help prevent any last minute surprises.
  2. This is also a good time for Microsoft RMS point of sale software users to start looking at RMS replacement options. Even if you won't be making a purchase until late 2020 or early 2021, it doesn't hurt to use this down time to explore options like Retail Management Hero and Cloud Retailer (these are the only two direct replacement programs for RMS at this time).  You may find this RMS and Cloud Retailer comparison video here to be helpful as a starting point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sNWdpw5pKo
If you have any questions, suggestions or comments on the above, please contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Urgent Advice: Cloud and Subscription Based POS Software Programs

For those of you using Cloud and Subscription Based Point of Sale Software:

I am sure that many of you have seen the vast number of retail stores and restaurants that are currently closed or only offering limited service. I am in the process of having phone conversations around 50 retailers across the US (of varying sizes and type of products being offered).  While it would be awesome if all of them survived this economic downturn, it is clear that some will not.

That means that the point of sale companies will see declining monthly revenues. It is very likely that some point of sale providers will not survive the economic downturn either.  Most likely on the restaurant side of things but I expect to see some closing on the retail side as well.

Thus I would highly suggest ensuring that you are keeping a backup of all of your inventory/product, customer, and supplier information on a daily basis.

You may be able to request a backup from the place that provided your point of sale system.

Alternately, you should be able to run product, customer, and supplier reports at the end of each day and then export these reports to a spreadsheet. These exported reports can then be saved to a thumb drive, dropbox, or similar as a CVS or similar file.

This is purely for your protection in case you no longer have access to your point of sale system due to the provider ceasing operations.

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

Monday, March 23, 2020

Setting Up Microsoft RMS for Curbside Pickup / Use of Square

A quick video showing what is needed to set up the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software for curbside pickup. Also how to change tender types to use a Square Device.

This has been highly requested as many retailers adapt to the Coronavirus by offering curbside pickup.

This is only one example as there are many different ways to offer curbside pickup with Microsoft RMS.



Please note that that the POS station(s) will need to be Z-ed out and restarted for the new Square tender type to appear.

For more information, please contact myself or RITE at 888-267-7483 or sales@rite.us


How to Set Up the Cloud Retailer POS Software for Curbside Pickup / Use of square

A quick video showing what is needed to set up the Cloud Retailer point of sale software for curbside pickup. Also how to change tender types to use a Square Device.

This has been requested by many retailers as we adapt to the Coronavirus by offering curbside pickup for customers.


The idea is to make this low cost and something that you can quickly be up and using. Note that this is only one example as there are multiple ways to offer curbside pickup.



For assistance, please contact RITE at 888-267-7483 or sales@rite.us

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In Light of the Coranvirus....

I'm writing this in a hotel in Portland, OR after meeting with multiple retailers and existing clients this week.  Based on our conversations, I am pausing all new posts for the next 30-60 days.  Right now, all of you are focused on keeping your businesses afloat for the time being.  This really isn't the time to think about IT equipment - especially as many of you have temporarily closed and/or reduced hours.

I would encourage everyone to look at your balance sheets and businesses plans. Take some time to pray for guidance when it comes to making various operational decisions. Once we see the situation stabilizing, then we can revisit POS plans for the rest of 2020 and in to 2021.

With all trade shows and conferences being cancelled through at least May, I am in the process of cancelling all planned travel at least for the next 30 to 45 days.

This is my 4th ride through a major economic disruption and what we are going through now will become part of history books - likely no more than a few pages when compared to the grand scheme of things.

If I can be off assistance, whether that be in prayer or for general POS guidance, please contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632.

In Christ,

Kevin Antosh

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Coronavirus Tips Specific to POS Systems

Receiving multiple calls and emails about things that can be done specific to the POS system to help reduce the potential transmission of the Coronavirus:
  1. Sanitize common surfaces - including touch screens, barcode scanners, mice, keyboards and countertops.
  2. Follow food service protocol for hand washing
  3. Look at other areas were there are multiple hand touches throughout the day
Another option is to reduce the number of customers who touch the payment terminal stylus throughout the day.  If you happen to be using the Cloud Retailer or Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software programs, here are a couple of related videos to show payment and signature required settings:


Cloud Retailer:

Microsoft Dynamics RMS:
Please check with your merchant services provider before making any changes to when a signature is required to ensure that you are not violating any contractual agreements.

As always, please contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 for more information.



Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Want to Meet at BARC in Austin Texas?

If you are headed to the Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference in Austin this year, please let me know as I would enjoy blocking out some time to meet in person!

The event is in Austin, TX June 8th - June 10th, 2020.

It would be great to chat in person as time permits.

You can reach me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 to schedule a time to meet.

Cheers!


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Liquor Store Owners Association of Montana and POS For Liquor Stores in Montana (or any state really)

My reason for reaching out to LSOAM membership is that there are 30+ liquor stores in the state of Montana still using the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software who need guidance on RMS end of life as well as RMS replacement options.

With the mixed feedback on the Retail Management Hero point of sale software, I wanted to ensure that these liquor stores are aware that the Cloud Retailer point of sale software is both a low cost direct replacement program for Microsoft RMS (comparison video below):



and is specifically designed for liquor storeshttp://www.pospondering.com/2020/01/cloud-retailer-pos-for-beerwineliquor.html


If you are a liquor store in the state of Montana (or any state really), then please contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632.

PS - if you are thinking about moving from Microsoft RMS to Retail Management Hero (RMH), my advice would be to wait based on these mixed reviews of RMH: http://www.pospondering.com/2020/01/honest-feedback-on-retail-management.html

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Survey for Liquor Stores: Increasing Revenue

As I have been working a lot recently with Liquor Stores and various liquor store associations, I thought that it might be helpful to gather some additional data on issues facing independently owned liquor stores in the US.

You are not required to provide any contact or personal information.  The data will be compiled and then the top 5 common responses will be used to communicate how to turn the issue in to a revenue increase. The communications will be monthly via this blog site.  Helping you increase revenue with no cost or obligation will be tested over the rest of 2020.

You may be skeptical but I have access to a bunch of success stories as well as process improvement information that can be passed along.

Here is a link to the survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TUHbwe3X2YawyxQapxOGwvLgxLh31ZcJR7QO0NZgqEQ/

Please complete by March 15th, 2020.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Why Do I have to Pay Monthly or Annual Fees with my POS System?

I have been hearing this almost daily now for the last few months: "Why do all of the new point of sale software programs have a monthly or annual fee to use the software? I have been using Microsoft RMS for 7+ years and never paid for anything once I purchased the software. I want a POS system without any monthly or annual fees.".

The short answer is that times have changed. Do we still see leaded fuel at fuel stations? Cigarette vending machines in bars and restaurants? Of course not.

The same is true with point of sale technology. Aside from Y2K, there was little change in the POS industry from 1995 to 2010.  For retailers using stand alone payment terminals, there has been little to no change until Windows 7 support ended.

Aside from the credit card processing/merchant services changes coming out every 5 months or so, computer operating systems and hardware are changing which may or may not create issues with an older point of sale software program.

With technology changing, and retailers using POS technology to increase revenue, you need to be using a POS system that can be updated on a regular basis.

Also, if you are using stand alone payment terminals, you are likely loosing around $40/week per terminal in mis-keyed transactions based on a survey that I did last year.

A good percentage of retailers need point of sale software that can be continually improved to match changing technology and a competitive marketplace. To get this type of point of sale technology requires paying an annual or monthly subscription - no matter what point of software program you use.

Now - there are exceptions:
  • Retailers who are operating the store as a hobby
  • Retailers is smaller towns with no competition
  • Retailers who offer something unique and don't foresee local or online competition
  • Retailers not looking to grow - just maintain status quo until retirement or the business is sold
  • Retailers willing to gamble that nothing will ever happen to their POS system (eg not having to pay $500/year for 7 years equals $3500 which would get me at least a basic new POS when the current system dies),
In these situations, it may be possible to put in a POS system like Retail Management Hero or NCR CounterPoint and never pay a dime once the system is up and running. Of course, if something does happen, the expense could be quite significant. Think of it like car insurance - you can pay $90/month for car insurance or gamble and then pay $12000 for a new car if your car is totaled.

If you go the route of not paying for software maintenance, then I'd recommend having a plan in place should the POS system crash and also having at least $5000 set aside to pay for a POS system or repairs to the existing POS system.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Then please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com

Monday, February 10, 2020

For Montana and Colorado Liquor Stores Using Microsoft RMS

30 Second bullet point summary if you don't have time to read further or watch the videos:
  • End of Life for the Microsoft Dynamics RMS software is July 2021
  • There are 50+ liquor stores in Montana and Colorado still using Microsoft RMS
  • First video covers facts around RMS End of Life, what other retailers using RMS are doing regarding the RMS End of Life Deadline, and general advice
  • Cloud Retailer is both a low direct replacement program for RMS and is designed for beer/wine/liquor retailers as show in the remaining videos
  • We do plan on supporting RMS/HQ past July 2021 but not indefinitely
  • Contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 to chat more about your specific situation. No sales pitches - just a conversation.
My understanding from speaking with liquor store retailers in Montana and Colorado is that at least 50 of you are still using the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software.  To help you with the whole Microsoft RMS End of Life deadline, a few resources are below:

Video about RMS End of Life (facts, what other retailers are doing, advice):
In addition to being a direct low cost replacement for Microsoft RMS, Cloud Retailer is also specifically designed for liquor store retailers.  Feature/Function examples include:

Age Verification:
Automatic Cash Discounts:
Supplier Purchase Planning:

Unit of Measure:

Detailed Product Attributes:


If you own or operate a beer, wine or liquor store in Montana or Colorado, and use the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software, then it is worth taking a look at Cloud Retailer.

A quick reminder that 1) Cloud Retailer is a direct replacement for RMS (keep your existing data, possible discounts for RMS users, etc) and that 2) We will continue to support RMS past the July 2021 End of Life date (but will end support at some point). 

Free trial versions of Cloud Retailer are available by contacting me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com (US and Canada only please). I am also available for in person or online meetings as my travel schedule permits.





Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Welcome to the first Customers of 2020!

As we wrap up the first full month of 2020, a hearty welcome to the following retailers that selected myself and RITE as their point of sale partner:
  • Sage Brush Trading in Arizona: Retail Management Hero support and training
  • JD's Market in Washington State: Card Defender for Microsoft RMS
  • Noble Spirits in Washington State: Card Defender from Microsoft RMS
  • Pet Adventure in Washington State: New Point of Sale Hardware
  • Station Wine and Spirits in Oklahoma: RITE Microsoft RMS Maintenance Agreement
  • Grape Wine and Spirits in Oklahoma: RITE Microsoft RMS Maintenance Agreement
Are you curious why these retailers choose myself and RITE? Then please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com for more information.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Resellers/Dealers/VAR's/Partners Ending Support for Microsoft RMS

As the July 2021 end of life date comes closer specific to the Microsoft RMS point of sale software, more and more Microsoft RMS Partners/VAR's/Dealers/Resellers are setting firm dates on when they will stop supporting Microsoft RMS and RMS HQ.  So far, the following has been reported to me:
  1. Positive Technologies: January 2021
  2. Compass/Interdyn: Already ended
  3. Retail Technology Experts: Already ended
  4. New West Tech: Pending
  5. RITE: Will support past July 2021 - no near term plans to end RMS/HQ support
If I come across others - I will be sure to pass along. If you are in need of Microsoft RMS/HQ support and/or are looking for a POS software program to replace RMS, please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com. Besides the consulting services that I offer, I also work for a Microsoft Dynamics RMS Partner that will continue to support RMS past July 2021 (but not forever given the resources required to support RMS/HQ once Microsoft officially ends RMS/HQ support).


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Honest Feedback on Retail Management Hero (RMH)

As we start a new decade, I wanted to pass along my personal experience in working with retailers who are using the Retail Management Hero point of sale software. I have been onsite with many of these retailers and/or spoken with them via phone and helped with installation and training.

First, the negative reviews: https://www.softwareadvice.com/retail/retail-management-hero-profile/

I can vouch for almost all of those reviews as being valid (these retailers did not acquire RMH through myself, or RITE, but I am familiar with their stores).

As for retailers who did acquire RMH via myself and RITE, there seems to be a 50/50 split between those who love RMH and those who are struggling to use RMH. These are retailers across just about all industries and are located across the US.  The biggest concerns to note about RMH are:
  1. Needing to use add-ons for credit card processing
  2. Differences between Microsoft RMS and RMS as covered here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqPTxoSgHHo
  3. RMH Central is NOT ready for general release
  4. Not being able to see cost at the POS screen
  5. Not being able to add new items at the POS screen
  6. Lack of a manual or users guide
  7. Too many releases and cost to install each new release
  8. No support is included with annual software maintenance
The retailers who love RMH have expressed the following to me:
  1. POS is really easy to train cashiers on
  2. Liked that they could move their data from Microsoft RMS to RMH
  3. Plenty of third party plug ins for e-comm, and accounting software interfaces
  4. Uses fairly standard point of sale hardware and peripherals
  5. The built in customer loyalty program is a nice feature
  6. Physical inventory counts are easy to do using the built in tool
There also seems to be a trend of various RMH re-sellers abandoning retailers mid-deployment which myself and RITE have done our best to help clean up. Never an ideal situation but it seems to have gone well 90% of the time in fixing what the RMH re-seller promised but never delivered on.

Are you considering RMH and/or have RMH feedback? Then please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

New Page: Client Map

http://www.pospondering.com/p/client-map.html

Idea is to pin retailers on the map who contact me for on-site or remote point of sale advice, consulting, sales or service.


Want to appear on the map? You can contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 for point of sale related advice, consulting, sales and service.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Cloud Retailer POS for Beer/Wine/Liquor Stores

Over the last few years, the folks at Cloud Retailer have been working on including specific features and functions within the Cloud Retailer point of sale software that are vertical specific. Recent examples include the following retail verticals:
  • Gun and Archery Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Convenience Stores (no fuel sales)
  • Cannabis Retail
  • Corner Markets and Specialty Food Stores
  • Mobile Retailers
  • Trampoline Parks
  • Gift Shops and Tourist Attractions
  • and more on the way...
This post will focus on the Beer, Wine and Liquor Store vertical.  There is a lot that Cloud Retailer offers for the Beer, Wine and Liquor retailers.  Specific examples include:

Age Verification:


Automated Cash Discounts:


Supplier Purchase Planning:


Unit of Measure:


Detailed Product Attributes:



If you own or operate a beer, wine or liquor store, it is worth taking a look at Cloud Retailer. Free trial versions are available by contacting me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com (US and Canada only please),.