Thursday, January 29, 2015

How to Get More Information on Retail Realm Essentials - Powered by Microsoft Dynamics

While I am still waiting more details related to costs and license swap options for the new Retail Realm Essentials - Powered by Microsoft Dynamics point of sale software, I have found someone at Retail Realm who has offered to be a point of contact for retailers interested in the software.

As a reminder, Retail Realm Essentials is a good fit for retailers with 2-24 locations or a single high volume location. This applies to current Dynamics RMS/HQ users as well as folks searching for a new or upgraded point of sale system.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Features Added to Bindo Point of Sale

The folks at Bindo Point of Sale ( have been hard at work adding new features to Bindo. Here is a list of the most recent enhancements:

• Mix & Match Discount - apply a discount when enough qualifying products are purchased

• Customer-facing Display - with our new Bindo Display app, your customers can see their order as you ring it up!

• Choose store credit as a payment-type for Split Tender transactions

• Add new inventory when creating an invoice

• Support for variably-priced items on invoices

• New payment-type filters on the Sales screen

• New filters on the Customer report

• Allow extensions for customer phone numbers


• Cash Management improvements

• Improve offline cash and check checkout

• Stability improvements

• Various bug fixes

Here is a video highlighting some of the new features:

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Microsoft Dynamics RMS and HQ End of Life

Update July 2016: Since many Microsoft RMS point of sale software would like to keep using RMS for another couple of years but still need to deal with the EMV Liability Shift Date, visit this post for more information on the Card Defender EMV add-on for Microsoft RMS versions 1.3 and higher (and HQ as well):

Update July 2016, Retail Management Hero (version 3.X of RMS) demo and overview:

Updated information on Retail Management Hero as a direct replacement for RMS as of December 3rd, 2015:

New video discussing options for Dynamics RMS and HQ users as of December 5th, 2015:

As you might be seeing some conflicting information related to the status of the Miscosoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems (RMS) and Dynamics Headquarters (HQ) point of sale programs, here are the links to the end of life dates for these programs right on  the Microsoft web site:

For RMS:

For HQ:

And here is a link to an explanation of what the various lifecycle terms mean:

  1. RMS and HQ will no longer be sold to new customers after July 2016
  2. Any product enhancements, updates, fixes, or compliance updates will only be available to users who maintain a paid annual maintenance agreement (your Microsoft Dynamics Partner can provide information on costs - normally the annual fee is around 18% of your initial license cost so if you originally spent $2800 on software license fees then your annual maintenance agreement cost would be 18% of $2800 or $504/year)
I will repeat what I have posted before related to RMS and HQ:

  1. If you currently use RMS and/or HQ and are current on your annual maintenance agreement then you have the option to keep using RMS/HQ as long as you stay current on your annual maintenance agreement. I would personally recommend  looking at other point of sale solutions instead of continuing to invest in a point of sale system that is end of life.
  2. If you are currently using RMS and/or HQ and are not current on your annual maintenance agreement then you need to explore switching to other point of sale solutions or you need to contact your Microsoft Dynamics Partner to see what the backdate/lapse fee is to bring your annual maintenance agreement current. For example, if you originally spent $2800 on software licenses but have not renewed your annual maintenance agreement in 3 years then you would be looking at spending $1512 (estimate only) to bring your annual maintenance agreement current. While you could technically continue using RMS/HQ without a maintenance agreement, it is extremely likely that some sort of compliance or technology shift will occur (EMV anyone? ) that will render RMS/HQ unusable without incurring significant costs (to the point that you will be spending nearly the same amount as the original cost of the software licensing).  You also have to keep in mind that updating the RMS/HQ software may also render other hardware to be in need of updating (based on real world experience this ends up having a snowball effect and suddenly you are looking at spending $5,000+ to update an outdated point of sale system).
  3. If you are searching for your first point of sale system then I would strongly advise against purchasing RMS and/or HQ. As much as I have found RMS and HQ to be amazing point of sale solutions, I would never recommend investing in something that is 'end of life' - especially with EMV coming up in October of this year (2015).

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thoughts on News from NRF Big Show 2015

So I have been sorting through all the news that came out of the NRF Big Show for 2015 and there sure was a lot of news (Oracle entering an agreement to acquire MICROS) and cool new products and applications related to point of sale systems, data mining, social media marketing, electronic signage, and related hardware. However, just about everything that I have read so far applies mainly to larger chains.

While larger chain retail stores and restaurants are attractive from a revenue standpoint, my experience has been that there are more single location independently owned retail stores, museums, restaurants, bars, food trucks, and concession stands in the US by number. I'm talking about the typical "mom and pop" business with one to five locations that generate $250,000 to $800,000 in annual gross sales per location.

Looking at my database of over 4000 businesses (which I never share with anyone unless they ask me to),  90% are "mom and pop" businesses while the rest are chains with 16-300 locations. The 90% still need affordable point of sale systems that do everything that a point of sale system designed for a chain can do. 

Since these businesses have the same technology needs as the larger chains but don't have the revenue to justify spending $20,000+ on point of sale systems and related technology, I'm concerned that this segment of the market is becoming under-served to the point that the only point of sale systems on the market will not provide everything that these business owners need (or worse, come with requirements that take away precious revenue).

10 years ago over 10 different point of sale systems existed that had total costs well under $6,000 and provided everything that a single location (or small chain) business needed. Now, a business owner is hard pressed to find anything under $10,000 that doesn't come with contracts or similar that takes revenue away. Even more concerning is the lack of interest many local-based point of sale dealers/partners have expressed to me in serving the "mom and pop" segment of the market.

While mobile solutions like Bindo Point of Sale and NCR Silver are great - they don't yet offer full functionality for businesses that have more complex technology needs like locally hosted databases, jobber parts, backording, or employee scheduling.

Hopefully I missed the news specific to point of sale solutions for "mom and pop" businesses!

Obviously anyone with news or information about point sale solutions that meets the needs of these "mom and pop" businesses is welcomed to contact me and I will be happy to post information about your solution.  Your businesses must be located in the United State or Canada and have an existing active customer base.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Point of Sale Trends - Who Wants to Sell to You & What Are Your Options?

I have taken some time to chat with different point of sale dealers/partners that have physical presences and sell point of sale systems both online and locally. There are some noteworthy trends taking place related to business plans, solutions, and target market segments that might be of interest to you. I will break it down by gross annual sales volume so you can skip to the section that applies to your business or organization. Note that this applies to everyone and is not just specific to retail stores, museums, restaurants, bars, concession stands, venues, or similar.

Under $100,000 in Gross Annual Sales:
  • Cash Register
  • Square
Basically businesses and organizations with this low of a sales volume really can't afford to spend much more than $200-$1500 on a cash register or point of sale system.  Most of these cash register and point of sale solutions are found online but some areas do have local dealers but plan on paying an additional hourly labor rate for any onsite training, setup, or support services. Most companies that I spoke with prefer that these systems be sold online and direct to the end user.

$100,000 to $300,000 in Gross Annual Sales:
  • Cash Register
  • Tablet/Mobile Point of Sale System
  • Point of Sale System with a Monthly "pay as you use it" Fee
This segment of the market has become increasingly competitive with numerous iOS, Android, and even Windows systems on the market designed to run on mobile devices like tablets and smart phones. Nearly all of these systems use a "pay as you use it" pricing plan which is easy on your budget (think of it as another utility bill) and normally includes support and updates in the monthly fee.   Most companies that I spoke with prefer that these systems be sold online and direct to the end user.

Make sure that you watch out for hidden fees in the contracts and ensure that your EMV hardware needs will be taken care of since our EMV Liability shift date is coming up in October 2015.  Also make sure that you are working with something that does not lock you in to a long term merchant services contract as this will cost you dearly in the long run.

$300,000 to $800,000 in Gross Annual Sales:
  • Tablet/Mobile Point of Sale System
  • Bundled Computer Based Point of Sale System 
You folks are in a tough position. Your business may have feature/function needs that require more that what the tablet or mobile point of sale systems offer but you likely don't have $8,000 - $20,000 to spend on a full blown computer based point of sale system. You may also have noticed that your local point of sale dealer/partner is only interested in working with businesses with multiple locations and not single location businesses.  This is due to the simple reason that selling mobile point of sale solutions with monthly "pay as you use it" pricing plans or $8,000 computer based point of sale systems don't generate any profit while selling $20,000+ point of sale systems to large single location businesses or business with multiple locations does generate a profit.

You will likely be able to find online point of sale companies willing to sell you a 'bundled' system online and then you take care of setting up the system yourself or hire a local technician.

To be honest - many of the point of sale companies, partners, VAR's and dealerships that I spoke with are not planning on providing anything for this segment of the market. I understand the reasoning but it seems like this is leaving folks with these sizes of businesses and organizations with limited options - especially if any sort of onsite services are needed.

Hopefully someone will come up with the right type of solution that offers all the features/functions that businesses and organizations in this market segment need as well as any onsite support services. I was part of a company that launched $2995.00 bundled point of sale systems in the late 1990's so I'm sure that a $5995.00 bundled system would sell well today and you simply add on optional bundles for services like training, onsite setup, and ongoing support/

$800,000+ in Gross Annual Sales:

Basically - anyone and everyone with a point of sale system wants to work with you. Unless you have real basic technology needs, you will likely want to go through a local point of sale dealer/partner who can sit down with you to learn more about your business and what you need in a point of sale system.  Make sure that you take time to find a system that meets your present and future needs as well as a point of sale partner/dealer that can provide the support and service that you need.

Overall Summary:

So, obviously, there are some market segments that are likely going to be under-served for the time being while other segments will be receiving lots of cold calls from salespeople!

The good news is that I don't care what your volume is. I have worked with business and organizations with 1 location and annual gross sales as low as $18,000 to chains with several hundred locations and multi-million dollar per location annual gross sales.

Are you  in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice?  I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NRF News: New Tough All-in-One Point of Sale Tablet from Panasonic

Below is a press release related to a new all-in-one tablet point of sale system from Panasonic as I sort through the various news and announcements coming from the NRF 2015 Big Show.

It is great that the device includes the important EMV reader as the liability shift date of EMV in the United States is coming up in October of this year. I also like that the hardware has been "ruggedized" as I've had some concerns over the last couple of years related to using consumer devices, like iPads, in environments were the device is exposed to heat, cold, grease, and rough handling.

The press release is somewhat vague when it comes to explaining exactly what point of sale application is running on the tablet in terms of specific functions and what market/types of businesses the tablet is designed for (retail? food service? museums? nurseries? etc.).

As the device is not yet available, it will be interesting to see how this solution competes with the other mobile point of sale solutions already on the market. As always, you can contact me for free and unbiased point of sale advice.

Here is the full press release:

Panasonic Announces First All-in-One Mobile POS Tablet with Integrated EMV Payment Technology for Retail Running Windows 8.1

The 7-inch Toughpad FZ-R1 empowers retailers with a true omni-channel mobile platform for today's evolving shopping experience
NEWARK, NJ, January 11, 2015 – Panasonic, an industry leader in reliable and innovative mobile computers for retail, today announced at the 104th annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show the launch of the Toughpad® FZ-R1 the industry's first*1 7-inch all-in-one mobile POS tablet running Windows 8.1 for retail environments and to meet the changing omni-channel customer expectations while providing secure transaction capabilities.
With its integrated EMV reader with PIN pad, mag stripe reader and NFC compatibility, the Intel®-based Toughpad FZ-R1 can handle all forms of electronic payment, giving retailers and their customers confidence that financial data is secure.
"The retail world is changing dramatically. Fraud liability is shifting from credit card companies to retailers in the U.S. this fall if they don't adopt EMV, and the widespread adoption of smartphones has upended brick and mortar retail strategies," said Dan Diliberti, senior product development manager – tablet and payment systems, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. "The Toughpad FZ-R1 addresses these dramatic changes in the retail landscape with its integrated EMV payment technology and equips a retailer's salesforce with a powerful platform to help turn browsing shoppers into buyers and close sales right from the sales floor."
With the Toughpad FZ-R1 and the retailer's own store applications, salespeople can assist customers with product comparisons, check inventory or change an item's style color or size right from the sales floor in real time. By enabling checkout anywhere on the sales floor, the salesforce can emerge from behind the register and instead focus on the customer. They can easily pull up customer information including purchase history and other preferences, enabling associates to create cross sell opportunities and deliver that unique in-store, omni-channel experience customers now expect.
Additionally, the tablet is ideal for other customer engagement applications in retail, table service restaurants and hospitality including line busting, order taking, kiosk usage and inventory management.
Powered by an Intel® Celeron® processor and running Windows 8.1 Pro, the Toughpad FZ-R1 offers exclusive, enterprise-grade security features such as Trusted Platform Module (TPM). Other features not available on consumer-grade tablets include: a fast-charging, user-replaceable full-shift battery with optional bridge battery and high-capacity battery, ten-point capacitive multi-touch screen, integrated EMV reader with PIN pad, encrypted magnetic stripe reader, optional POS cradle, and a wide range of configuration options to allow retailers to build the ideal Toughpad FZ-R1 for their specific needs on the sales floor.
"Intel® Celeron® processors enable the media and graphics performance needed for the Toughpad FZ-R1 to drive customer interest, increase customer loyalty and turn showrooming into sales," said Joe Jensen, general manager, Retail Solutions Division, Intel. "The staff is empowered with an omni-channel mobile platform and, with a few taps or swipes, customers can adjust the design, size, color of an item and more." "Retailers today can use the point of sale to understand their customers better and provide more customized service from anywhere in the store," said Brendan O'Meara, managing director, Worldwide Retail and Consumer Goods at Microsoft Corp. "Panasonic's Toughpad® FZ-R1 mobile POS solution running Windows 8.1 will give retailers the expanded capabilities they need on a familiar platform for their employees, with an innovative, fully-integrated EMV card reader implementation in a mobile POS tablet."
Designed for the retail environment, the thin and lightweight rugged Toughpad FZ-R1 features a pre-installed replaceable screen film for LCD protection. Panasonic's entire range of enterprise-grade mobile computers are designed for reliable performance and long deployments, delivering a low total cost of ownership.
Panasonic offers a comprehensive POS system including the Toughpad FZ-R1 as part of its retail technology solutions engineered to increase management capabilities, operational efficiencies and productivity while improving the customer experience and boosting sales.
Toughpad FZ-R1: Key Specifications
· Durable: Semi-rugged, water resistant, fanless design
· Portability: 1.43 lbs., 10.12" x 5.12" x 1.08" (without protruding parts)
· Display: 10 Finger touch (Capacitive), 7" WXGA(1280x800), Aspect ratio 16:10, Anti-Reflection, includes capacitive stylus pen
· Payment: Integrated EMV reader with PIN pad, mag stripe reader
· Processor: Intel® Celeron® processor N2807 (1MB Cache, 1.58 GHz up to 2.16 GHz)
· Operating System: Windows 8.1 Models available*2
· Storage and Memory: 2-4GB SDRAM and 64GB eMMC storage, up to 64GB additional with optional micro SDXC card
· Battery: Approx. 8.0 hours (Tablet Only)3 and approx. 7.0 hours with payment4 Optional bridge battery, enabling users to switch out batteries without powering down the device.
· Charging Time: Power On (approx. 4 hours), Power Off (approx. 2.5 hours) *5
· Camera: optional 5MP, 2048 x 1536 dots, 15fps(Video) / 2592 x 1944 dots(Still), with Camera light
· Connectivity: Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC7260 Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth® v4.0 (Class 1), USB 3.0, micro SDHC card slot, headset jack and docking connector. The Toughpad FZ-R1 offers optional 4G LTE wireless broadband with satellite GPS
· Available Configuration Options: Barcode reader
Accessories The Toughpad FZ-R1 is compatible with a variety of accessories, including hand and shoulder straps, holsters, countertop POS cradle, cases, charging solutions and mobile printers.
Pricing, Availability and Warranty The Toughpad FZ-R1 will be available through authorized and select resellers and distributors in late Spring 2015. The Toughpad FZ-R1 Base model including Windows 8.1 and a standard MSR starts at $1,799. Limited development equipment is available now for lab testing and pilot tests. Please contact your Panasonic representative for more information.
Like all Toughpad devices, the Toughpad FZ-R1 comes backed by the industry's most comprehensive 3-year warranty and includes U.S.-based customer support.
For general sales inquiries, email or call Panasonic at or 877-803-8492.

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Feature in Bindo Point of Sale

Just a quick note that Bindo Point of Sale ( has added automatic discounts that can be applied to a customers profile. This is great when you have certain types of customers that qualify for discounted pricing. It also reduces the cashier workload since the discounts are automatically applied when the customer is selected for the transaction.

More reviews on Bindo POS can be found here:

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Retail Essentials Point of Sale Software

Just a quick request to any Microsoft Dynamics Partner in the US or Canada that is planning to become certified to sell and support the new Retail Essentials (Retail Realm Essentials - powered by Microsoft Dynamics)  point of sale solution: please contact me!

I have been receiving multiple requests from Dynamics RMS and HQ users looking for detailed information related to Retail Essentials and I can not find anyone who is currently planning on selling and supporting Retail Essentials.  There are also several hundred current RMS and HQ users that I am personally familiar with that would appreciate knowing more about Retail Essentials to see if Retail Essentials is a viable upgrade.

My contact information can be found here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hyper Local Marketplace for Bindo Point of Sale

Bindo Point of Sale ( announced some enhancement plans for 2015 that include an online marketplace which goes well beyond what a typical online shopping site can do - if your business is in the right type of locale.

The idea behind the Bindo Marketplace is to allow people to search for products and then find the closest business that has the product in stock. In need of shampoo, an AC adapter, socks, or a particular beverage but don't want to have the product shipped to you (or have to call around to see who may have the product that you need in stock)?  The Bindo Marketplace will not only show you which businesses have the product that you are in need of in stock but will allow you to search for nearby businesses so you can go to the store in person or request same day delivery if available.

I like this idea with one obvious exception - it only works in major metropolitan areas.  If I am in need of a dog collar but I am in McCall, Idaho, then the odds of finding multiple pet stores stores near me using Bindo Marketplace is slim to none. However, if I am in a metropolitan area like Minneapolis, MN, then there is a good chance that I could find the dog collar that I am searching for and see which nearby stores have the dog collar in stock for pickup or same day delivery.

This obviously opens up new revenue opportunities for stores that sign on to use the Bindo Marketplace but is also dependent on potential customers knowing about the Bindo Marketplace as a way to find products needed ASAP.

With Amazon starting to offer same day delivery in some areas, I suspect that consumers will gradually become accustomed to no longer waiting 2-5 days for shipments to arrive. The retailers to jump on this trend will not only be able to compete with Amazon but also be on the leading edge of a new trend.

The full article appears here.

Please visit my contact page for information on how to reach me.