Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Planning for 2018

OK - first thought to pass along is that there is still time to get in payment for a POS system to write off as a business equipment expense deduction on your 2017 taxes (consult with your bookkeeper or accountant first). Just about ever year since 1998, I seem to have retailers who want to pay for a POS system to "get it on their 2017 taxes". No problem at all as along as payment in full is processed before the last business day of 2017.

Now on to advice for 2018:
  • Plan for new payment processing requirements to be introduced and ensure that you have payment processing hardware in place that can be upgraded or updated to handle any new requirements.
  • Still on Microsoft Dynamics RMS? We still have a couple of years before full support ends for RMS and HQ. Never hurts to start planning now to replace RMS (and HQ). There are several low cost replacement options that allow you to keep your existing information so you are not starting from scratch with a whole new point of sale system.
  • Omni-channel: most of the retailers that I work with have a single store in a small town and have no need for, or interest in, e-commerce, customer business intelligence, or similar offerings beyond the in store point of sale system. Unsure? Let me know and we can chat about the different options and how they can effect gross sales. Other chains that I work with have grown their e-commerce revenue to exceed a million dollars in annual revenue.
  • Cloud versus non-cloud: Don't feel pressured to hop on the cloud band wagon. Instead, look at your operations, staff, equipment, and budget. A 5 to 7 year total cost of ownership, along with personal preferences, will help determine whether you are a "cloud" / subscription based type of POS user or not. Even Microsoft had to cave on the recently released Dynamics 365 software to offer a locally hosted version. The decision to go cloud/non-cloud and subscription/upfront purchase can be complicated so please let me know if I can help.
  • Solution and vendor consolidation: There are flat out too many point of sale systems on the market presently. Look for some of these solutions to fade away or consolidate with other vendors. I'm also seeing the various software companies start to tighten their requirements for dealers, VAR's, and re-sellers. Be wary of working with anyone who has a staff of less than 3 and a limited customer/client base.
  • Given what happened in the Atlanta airport, don't forget to have battery backups/UPS's in place as well as some sort of payment processing backup if this is critical to your business. The reality is that long term  power outages will effect everyone but its nice to have protection for your hardware to help reduce damage due to power outages or power fluctuations. 
I can think of plenty of other topics that should be discussed but this would turn in to a short book instead of a blog post. Key points are to plan, budget, analyse, research and seek help for point of sale resources.

You can reach me at 208-340-5632 or as needed. For those of you keeping track, I've well exceeded helping over 1500 retailers with advice or sales & service needs. 

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