Advice from POS software co. Tower Systems on how and when to quit stock in your retail business

How do you identify product that is not working? When do you quit a product that is not working? Why should you quit stock? How do you quit the stock? How long should quitting stock take? What if the item does not sell no matter what you do?

These are all questions we will answer here for you in the form of suggestions. What you ultimately do is 100% up to you. Your choices need to reflect your own situation and circumstances.

Identifying product that is not working.

Product is not working if it is not paying its way – paying for the floor space it takes and the time you spend on it. Check your sales, rank all your stock based on sales – look at the bottom performing stock. Your software should have a ranked Sales Report that lets you list all your stock ranked by unit or $$ sales. Use this to create your list of items to consider.

The other way to identify stock that’s not working for you is to check your back room or other storage facility. Stock that is not generating cash regularly has to be considered dead in our view.

When do you quit a product?

You quit, exit, products when they are not paying their way, when a season is done or when you want to exit that category for some other reason.

Let’s say your rent is $1,250 per square metre per year. If your gross profit averages, say, 50%, you will need to sell $2,500 worth of product to pay for a metre of space. However, this is not the complete consideration as you have labour, power and other costs to cover. The suggested rule of thumb is that your retail sales need to be at least three times that necessary to cover the cost of the space. In the scenario covered here, you should be earning at least $7,500 from a square metre of space. If stock is not delivering this, quitting it could be necessary.

Why quit stock?

To keep your shop fresh, to not be weighed down by dead stock to make your shop look more relevant, to stop hoarding.

How to quit stock.

Here is how we quit stock in retail businesses we operate. These businesses are in shopping centres where retail space is limited and expensive. We are necessarily aggressive.

  1. Set a deadline. We’d suggest two weeks for quitting a product or range of products.
  2. Choose your timing. The best time to quit stock quickly is on your busiest trading days. For many this will be the weekend. Consider structuring your quitting program to run from Thursday through Sunday.
  3. Set your initial price. The discount must be compelling. We’d suggest 50% off. A smaller discount in this marketplace will not get noticed. Think about your discount words: in some areas, HALF PRICE works better than 50% OFF. Sometimes, 2 FOR 1 can be even more effective. A $$ price can work better – for example a dump bin with everything priced at $1. People then don’t have to work anything out.
  4. Move the product to a high traffic location. Display it as a line you are quitting – in a dump bin or in open boxes. This must be in a location away from where the product is usually located. Do not make an attractive display. Consider placing the stock somewhere that people almost stumble over it.
  5. Put up a sign that is either black on white or white on read. Nothing fancy. Even a hand written sign is good. Do not make a complex or attractive sign.
  6. Adjust your price. If sales are not strong enough, go harder with your discount. From 50% off we suggest a drop to a $$ price point. It can be challenging selling something you would have sold for $20.00 at $1 but that $1 is better than getting nothing for the product at all.
  7. Give it away. If the products are not selling, consider giving the stock away to a local charity. Getting it out of your shop for no compensation can be better than it taking space and giving off the wrong message about your business.
  8. Keep track of time. If you decide to be out of the stock within two weeks, stick to that and make it happen with your pricing and placement decisions.
  9. Use the bin. If you can’t sell the item and you can’t give it away, use the bin.
  10. An alternative: If you have a large amount of stock to quit, consider hiring a local hall and running an off site sale. Talk to your suppliers about getting extra stock in for this. You could even plan to do this as an annual event. Consider, too, linking with a local charity to drive interest and create a fund raising opportunity for them.

Quitting stock takes strength and commitment. We urge you to do it to keep your business fresh. Product not selling gives shoppers a bad impression of your business.

Take a look at your shop floor and in your back room. Look at what you can get rid of right away to reduce the anchor of dead stock on your business.

Too many retail businesses have old stock gathering dust. One of the best ways to separate your business is to regularly quit stock that is not performing as it should.

This advice is an example of how Tower Systems helps small business retailers beyond POS software.

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Retail business management advice: best practice approach to stock take

In years working with small and independent retail businesses, the team at Tower Systems has learnt plenty including the indicators of in which retail businesses theft is more likely to occur.

Our experience is that theft is more likely to occur in businesses where stock is not managed properly.

By not managed properly we mean where:

  1. All items sold are not tracked at the point of sale.
  2. Where new stock arriving in the business is not properly arrived through the software.
  3. Where spot stock-takes are not undertaken regularly to maintain an accurate stock on hand account.
  4. Where stock given away or thrown away is not written off.
  5. Where stock returned to a supplier is not scanned out.

Our advice on reducing the cost of employee theft and customer theft is simple – follow our advice, manage your stock and without a doubt the cost of theft in your retail business will be lower than it would have been.

If you think the cost of managing stock is too great, think about the cost of $25,000, $50,000 or even $250,000 in theft. Yes, we see this all too often in retail businesses – where stock is not managed.

Managing your stock = less theft and less theft = increases product and increased profit = you get more when you sell your business.

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Local small business POS software support

All sales to new customers of the Tower Systems POS software have membership to the Tower AdvantageTM support membership included in their package.

Tower AdvantageTM is what we call our support service. We trade marked it because it is unique to us.

Our small business retail support is 100% local, managed out of our Hawthorn, Victoria, office with support staff located there as well as at several interstate Australian locations.

The office based help desk is open from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and from 7:30 to 3:30 on Saturdays – AEST. For urgent support outside these hours we have a mobile based after hours telephone support.

Help desk access is backed by access to our escalation process whereby customers have access to our Customer Service Manager then to our Chief Operating Officer and then to our Managing Director. The direct numbers of each point of escalation are provided to all of our customers.

Each week we run online training interactive courses covering subjects with a business outcome in mind. These programs are run through our WebEx platform and Customers can attend as many of these courses as they like. We would also be happy to develop along with ARL, some ARL specific training courses if wanted.

All customers also have access to our online personal training. These sessions booked in advance deliver one-on-one training on any desired subject. We do not cap the amount of one on one training time a customer can book.

At the end of the first year customers are invoiced for support for the next year. Customers have the option to pay monthly or pay up front for discounts on multiple years of access. Our support fees are optional, meaning if a customer chooses to not be supported they can revert to a pay per call for access to the help desk.

Customer service is important to us. We know that delivering good service is as important to us as it is to our customers. We are committed.

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Disaster planning advice for small business retailers from POS software company Tower Systems

As a service to its 3,500+ small business retail customers, Tower Systems offers disaster planning advice. This advice is regularly revisited and revised to ensure its appropriateness.

Here is our current small business retailer initial steps disaster planning advice. We call this initial steps as there is more to be said, more help we provide, but were will keep that for a more confidential discussion with our customers.

DISASTER PLANNING FOR YOUR RETAIL BUSINESS

How protected is your retail business in the event of disaster? Since we are a software company, our interest is more to do with data and technology.

Are you as protected as you can be?

This is an easy topic to ignore and most small business retailers do. Those most likely to plan for a disaster are those who have gone through it. Once bitten, twice shy as they say.

Insurance. Insurance coverage is vital to helping overcome any type of disaster. In addition to ensuring that your insurance policy covers all disaster situations of concern to you, including flood, theft, water inundation, fire, earthquake, riot—be sure to carefully read the policy, ensure that your insurance policy / policies cover payouts for the following:

  1. Business interruption. The amount should equal your anticipated gross profit for whatever period you choose to be covered.
  2. Data recovery. Including the hiring of experts to recover data from backup sources or the manual entry of data that cannot be automatically recovered. Ensure you are covered to the point of recovered data being useable.
  3. Lost stock. This is stock stolen, lost from the business.
  4. Damaged and unsaleable stock. This is stock which is water damaged, scuffed or dented and which will not attract full price.
  5. Dated stock. This is stock that you cannot sell by the due date.
  6. Glass. Many policies require explicit statement of glass coverage.
  7. Temporary trading premises. Business interruption may cover this.
  8. Key person injury and/or death. This will usually be a separate policy. Depending on the disaster, coverage may also be available through the overall business policy.

Ensure that the value of stock, fixtures and fittings covered by your policy is an accurate reflection of the real value of these items. Use your POS system to track all stock movements in and out. The stock on hand in your software should be your coverage.

Ensure that your insurance policy protects for the seasonal nature of your business Data Protection. Business data is a valuable asset. Follow these steps:

  1. Backup your business data every day, at the end of the day, without fail. Better still: use a cloud based backup service that undertakes the backup as the day unfolds without you having to every do anything to backup.Maintain a separate backup for each day of the week.
  2. Remove the backup from the business property.
  3. Store the backup in a safe, dry place.
  4. Check the usefulness of the backup by restoring and checking the data.
  5. Store original business software in a safe off-site location.
  6. Check the backup every three to six months – to make sure the backup is actually backing us current data and can be read. A backup you cannot read is a waste of time and money.
  7. Change your passwords regularly.
  8. Do not share passwords widely.

Disaster Planning. Here are some general suggestions on planning for a disaster in your business property.

  1. Ensure your roof is secure and free of leak points.
  2. Do not place computers on the floor. Put them on a riser.
  3. Use a power filter.
  4. Ensure all electrical wiring is to code.
  5. Keep off-site copies of: Business contracts and agreements; employee contact details, business account and other passwords, insurance details, recent photographs of fixtures, fittings and stock.
  6. For records you cannot easily copy or that may change as the trading day unfurls, consider having a go bag ready for you to grab if there is a risk to the premises such as a bushfire.
  7. Maintain a register of all employees in the business premises at any time.
  8. Prepare and place in a prominent place an evacuation plan.
  9. Maintain a professional grade OH&S compliant first aid kit. Have this checked regularly.
  10. Regularly maintain all fire extinguishers – check with your local fire brigade about this.
  11. Ensure that the business premises is safe and maintained to the local building codes and OH&S regulations.
  12. Have a trained first aid officer in staff. Your local St Johns or similar will be able to provide training.
  13. Use government resources such as the emergency planning kit at the federal government website: http://www.business.gov.au/business-topics/templates-and- downloads/emergency-management-template-and-guide/Pages/default.aspx

The disaster planning help for small business retailers from Tower Systems reaches way beyond what we have shared here.

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Tower Systems helps small business retailers cut paperwork

The Tower Systems installation and training team and the customer service post sales support team both help our small business retail customers to reduce paperwork with practical business focussed advice.

From more efficiently managing regulatory obligations to managing internal business management paperwork, Tower Systems through its software and its people can help.

Our advice is founded in our own experience running successful retail businesses for more than twenty years. There is no doubt that using our software in our own businesses makes a big difference to the practical value of the advice we provide. It separates us from POS software companies where the advice is more tech focussed.

Cutting paperwork for us is more than a marketing pitch, we offer practice help in achieving this so resources in the small retail business are freed for more valuable activity.

Our company motto is we’re here to help. Our focus on paperwork is one example of how we pursue this for our customers.

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How the Tower Systems software for pet and produce stores helps these specialty retail businesses

A good Point of Sale system pays for itself every day by helping retailers increase customer spend per visit, bring customers back more regularly, reduce the cost of slow or dead stock, reduce mistakes and make better business decisions.

Australian POS software company Tower Systems is grateful for the opportunity to help Pet and Produce stores in the country and city leverage more benefits from being part of the group. See our pet shop software and our produce business software.

Consistent stock files, electronic invoices, easier business-to-business comparison and more targeted business development assistance are just some of the benefits you can expect from a more consistent solution.

But being independent businesses we understand you need a computer system over which you have absolute control and security within your business.

That is what the Tower Systems solution offers – locally run software for your type of business in your business over which you have control yet that can be run in a manner that helps the group help you.

Tower Systems has a strategy for helping groups in the pet and produce space at a group level and at a store level.

At a store level, here are some of the benefits you can expect from using the Tower Systems software in your pet or produce business:

  1. Fast, accurate selling.
  2. Easy connection to Xero, MYOB or quick books.
  3. Easy connection to a website if you have one.
  4. Easy management of customer accounts.
  5. Identifying of shopper and employee theft.
  6. Tracking of stock movement.
  7. Handling of customer loyalty – points and discounts.
  8. Easy reordering based on sales.
  9. Easy handling of multiple price levels for items.
  10. Easy handling of multiple sale pack sizes (or volumes) per product.
  11. Easy performance reporting comparing trading periods, supplier performance and other key business performance metrics.
  12. Security over business data.
  13. Security over business settings blocking changes you do not want made.
  14. Peace of mind thanks to consistent processes established through the software for managing stock, customers and other aspects of the business.

Our software does much more than what is on this list though. To find out about the features and facilities, please contact one of our retail experts and they will be glad to discuss your needs in detail.

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How Tower Systems helped its customers save money on support fees

For the first time since 2014, Tower Systems is increasing its software support fees. The increase will be less than 7%. The 2014 increase was the first in four years.

Following the fee increase, Tower Sys6ems customers will be paying considerably less for software support in real terms than seven years ago.

This is an extraordinary saving for thousands of small business retailers.

We announced to our customers the plan to increase fees a month ago and provided them an opportunity to lock in the old fee prior to the increase taking effect at the end of this month.

This advance notice of a support fee increase is rare in the POS software marketplace. We did it out of respect and appreciation of our customers.

We are proud to be in a position to help our customers save money year on year on software support coverage.

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Tower Systems launches free POS software training for February 2017

Yesterday, we announced to our small business POS software customers a suite of terrific free live training opportunities for February 2017. This training goes beyond what people expect from their POS software company as it draws together best practice retail business management and other retail strategy insights in the context of how the software can help.

Tower Systems is proud to offer access to free live group training and business management inspiration every week. It is a differentiator for us.

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Small business paperwork campaign resonates with indie retailers

We are thrilled with the response to our paperwork campaign supporting operational efficiency in small and independent retail businesses. This is a campaign for existing Tower Systems customers as well as prospective customers.

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Launched by Tower Systems as part of a broader training, POS software enhancements and business support package, this focus for 2017 encourages small business retailers to better manage paperwork for the benefit of the business and those served by the business.

Eliminating paperwork is easy when your POS software directly links to the right tools such as web platforms, appointment facilities and accounting software.

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Special POS software offer from Tower Systems for small business retailers

POS software company Tower Systems last week launched a special POS software offer for independent small business retailers in Australia. This offer includes several 2017 New Year bonuses that will benefit those who engage between now and January 25, 2016.

Tower Systems has written to retailers in selected retail channels with details of the offer.

The Tower Systems 2017 POS software includes bonus software, support and other valuable small business benefits.

Small business retailers keen to leverage this loved POS software can contact Tower Systems directly to find out more: via our website or by phone on 1300 662 957.

Small business retailers do not typically purchase POS software this time of the year. This offer from Tower Systems rewards those who make an unseasonal purchase.

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Six reasons our Australian POS software is ideal for Australian small and independent retail businesses

We are proud of our POS software designed and developed in Australia for Australian retail conditions.

  1. Serving local needs. designed with Aussie retailers, based on their suggestions and using them as part of a comprehensive beta program.
  2. Local support. Based out of our head office in Hawthorn Victoria with Australian capital city based local offices. We are local and serving you in your time zone.
  3. Connected with Australian suppliers.  yes, our software helps you link to suppliers, cutting mistakes and saving time.
  4. Local training. In your shop and over the phone.
  5. Local user meetings. Well over 50 done in regional and rural Australia offer the last year.
  6. Deep channel support. For all the specialist retail channels that we serve, we have mature and sustained engagement enabling us to provide channel specific connections.

Tower Systems is proud to serve Australian retailers with Australia POS software.

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How our POS software company helps small business retailers reduce the risk of ransomware

Here at Tower Systems we help small business retailers with everyday computer use advice. We have recently mailed to all of our customers this COMPUTE USE POLICY that will, if followed, reduce the opportunity for the user business to be impacted by a ransomware attack.

This advice was emailed and mailed to our customers as a service. We share it here for the broader community of small business retailers who stop by this place.

COMPUTER USE POLICY

  1. The computers in this business are business tools. Their security is vital to the safe running of the business.
  2. Do not use any computer for any form of personal use without permission. This means:
    1. No playing games.
    2. No looking at porn.
    3. No Facebook.
    4. No downloading movies, TV shows, music.
    5. No browsing websites unless they are websites used regularly by this business for running the business.
    6. No connecting your phone to the computer.
  3. Do not open emails including business emails unless you have permission.
  4. Do not click on any link in any email unless you are 100% certain the email is from a trusted source.
  5. Do not clear the browser cache.
  6. Never put a USB stick in a computer unless you are certain of the source.
  7. Never permit anyone to use a computer in the business unless you have permission.
  8. Never give anyone a computer password from the business.
  9. If someone you don’t know calls and tells you to do something with the computer, make sure they have authority.
  10. Never write down any business password you are entrusted with.
  11. Never connect a USB stick with the computer unless you have permission.
  12. If you do something wrong own up to it immediately.
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In retail today

IMG_2339Being Christmas Eve it has been crazy busy in the shops today with last minute shopping.

Since we are a POS software company that owns retail shops we have been personally and practically involved in retail today, behind the counter, using our software serving shoppers with last-minute Christmas purchases. This photo is from our shop at Knox City in Melbourne today before we opened for customers. Thankfully it is the only time of the day the shop was empty.

We are grateful for another busy day in retail and another day of retail experience that inform some choices we make in our software.

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Managing the POS software help desk in this busy week before Christmas

The types of calls our POS software help desk receives in the week before Christmas changes. This week, calls will all be about quick resolution, the calls will be about the now rather than with an eye to the future.

Retail businesses will be busier this week than any other week of the year in most situations.

To serve the needs that we know will be unique to this week we have our help desk team focussed and our processes tuned to serve our customers, to provide the best possible outcome as quickly as possible.

We understand time is especially short this week. We have structured our approach to ensure we meet the expectations of our customers.

We have a fully staffed help desk. We back them with our escalation team and senior management.

We want this week before Christmas to be happy and valuable for everyone!

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Is cloud based POS software right for your retail business?

Our Tower Systems small business POS software can be run on a local PC or in the cloud. You can choose the right approach for your business.

  1. Run local in PCS in your business.
  2. Run in the cloud on your server.
  3. Run in the cloud on a hosted server outside the business.
  4. Run in the cloud on a hosted server outside the business with no need to ever manage software updates.
  5. All these options and more are available to customers at any time.

With the cloud based option, you can choose to be hosted anywhere you prefer or you can go with our full-service hosted option.

We have plenty of customers in each scenario – running locally, self hosted for multiple locations or hosted by us in a full service model.

With our full service model we can shield you from any requirement to update software. All you worry about is the hardware you have running in your business.

Big It companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing the term cloud. They have done this because they know buzzwords sell. The reality is, your software has to run somewhere. It has to be maintained. Whether it is running on computers in your business or in the cloud, the costs are not that different. The key difference is one approach feels sexier than the other, because of the marketing.

Our retail skilled account managers can talk with you to determine your needs and propose a solution that best serves your needs.

We would be happy to share with you details of customer with businesses similar to yours so you can hear first-hand about their operation and how the Tower solution fits.

Our Tower Systems account managers can provide further advice and assistance to help customers make informed choices as to the best approach for their business. They are not incentivised in any way to guide customers to one decision over another.

Tower Systems offers software for the following niche small business retail channels: gift shopsjewellers,  bike shopstoy shopsfishing/outdoors businessesgarden centres/nurseriespet shopsproduce storesfirearms businesses and newsagents.

We are a full service and personal POS software company. To demonstrate this, direct access to our account management team is easy: VIC/TAS: Mike Hill. 0423 848 482 WA/SA/NT: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917; NSW/ACT: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148; QLD:  Justin Randall. 0434 365 789.

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Should small business retailers rent or buy POS software?

How small business retailers acquire the Tower Systems POS software is up to them. Our approach is flexible, leaving the decision entirely to our customers to choose what is absolutely best for their business.

You can purchase the Tower software for your business and own it forever without further cost.

You can also lease the Tower software through almost any finance company and pay it off over 3, 4 or 5 years.

You can also rent the Tower software on a 30 day cycle with the ability to quit the rental at any time.

Each option is different and each can be appropriate in certain circumstances. We share all the information so our customers can make an informed decision themselves or with their accountant or other business adviser.

The choice of how best to acquire the software is 100% yours. We can provide advice but are happy for you to make the decision that best serves your needs.

How you acquire the software, purchase or rental, training and installation services are billed separately as they are required regardless of how you acquire the software. Installation ensures the software is properly installed and setup. It shields you from technology. Training ensures you and your team know how to properly use the software for the business to get the best outcomes.

Regardless of how you acquire access to our software – rental, lease or purchase – our software is our software. No facilities are restricted via the mechanism of access. This makes the acquisition approach purely financial rather than operational or functional.

Our Tower Systems account managers can provide further advice and assistance to help customers make informed choices as to the best approach for their business. They are not incentivised in any way to guide customers to one decision over another.

Tower Systems offers software for the following niche small business retail channels: gift shopsjewellers,  bike shopstoy shopsfishing/outdoors businessesgarden centres/nurseriespet shopsproduce storesfirearms businesses and newsagents.

We are a full service and personal POS software company. To demonstrate this, direct access to our account management team is easy: VIC/TAS: Mike Hill. 0423 848 482 WA/SA/NT: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917; NSW/ACT: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148; QLD:  Justin Randall. 0434 365 789.

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Advice for small business retailers on using Facebook to promote your business

We are called upon at our POS software company to help our small business retailer customers in areas far removed from our POS software. One such area is how to use Facebook to market your business. We appreciate opportunities to share what we know from our direct experience for businesses we own.

Here is a snapshot of some advice our customers tell us they have found useful abut facebook posts:

If sales are your goal, the key is to work out how to pursue this without your post sounding like an ad for ads are quickly ignored by people on social media as they are on their for entertainment and not to consume advertising.

Here are tips for writing the ideal post. Keep them close and refer to them for your next few posts. Soon, the process will become second-nature:

  1. Be certain of your voice. When you write a post you are not writing as you personally. You are writing to the person you are targeting. Your ‘voice’ needs to be relevant to them. Think of their language and what they like.
  2. Choose the best photo. On social media a picture really is worth 1,000 words. The best picture features a product, not a display but a product, a hero product. Make the product look interesting and memorable. It could be a photo of how a product is being used or a photo of a product suggesting movement – like a bear climbing a ladder or two Pop! Vinyls facing off.
  3. Be brief. You have a few seconds to get attention. Yes, seconds.
    1. No essays.
    2. No rambling.
    3. Two sentences. Yes, that is all you need.
    4. Short sentences. Ten words or less.
  4. Have an opinion. Let people know what you, the you writing the post, think. For example, in a post about Batman and Superman, name your In a post about State of Origin, show your colours.
  5. Set a time deadline. A social media post has a short life. The time you spend on it needs to reflect the short life. When you start out, spend no more than five minutes on a post. Once you are settled in what you are doing, that should fall back to two minutes.
  6. Hashtag with thought. On Instagram especially hashtags are vital. Choose the right hashtags and you will attract new eyeballs.
  7. Have fun. If your posts are funny and provide entertainment you will attract followers and shares and grow your audience.

Tower Systems is a full service POS software company, helping small business retailers way beyond what is often done by POS software companies. We embrace this point of difference.

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POS software knowledge base continues to evolve

Every week we add and revise content at our POS software knowledge base. This work is on-going as we expand the range of self-serve resources available to our growing customer base.

We let our customers know about changes inner weekly email. Here are some of the changes delivered in the last few days.

  • Retailer 2.7.2 Update Notes
  • New PC / Windows Configuration – Operating System Configuration
  • Stocktaking In Retailer 2.6.1 Onwards
  • Performing A Full Store Stocktake In Retailer 2.6.1 Onwards
  • Performing A Spot Stocktake In Retailer 2.6.1 Onwards
  • Performing A Custom Stocktake In Retailer 2.6.1 Onwards

This list is not complete by any means as we do not want to give too much away here for competitive reasons.

We take care with our knowledge base as it is the one location for all user-facing knowledge about our software. It drives consistency in help desk advice and ensures all of our customers have access to common advice and guidance.

We can tell from usage stats the topics that are of most value and this information guides further enhancement.

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