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


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 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