A Tsunami is Coming

Some of them tower higher than skyscrapers. Some of them move rather quickly while others cover a leisurely few centimeters per second. They travel great distances around our globe, totally invisible to the naked eye. Why? Because these giant waves, Tsunamis by any other name, are born, live and die completely beneath the surface of the seas of the Earth. Makes you wonder what else we may be overlooking, doesn’t it?

As I read that story in the MIT Technology Review, my mind wandered off the reservation and wound up in the land of Chip and Pin, also known as the land of the Europay-MasterCard-Visa chip cards that are scheduled to replace magnetic stripe payment cards in 2015. When this happens, it will.... Read More

The State of Breakfast

Whatever happened to the most important meal of the day? Breakfast may not be dead, but it may be on life support. One of the staples of breakfast, cold cereal, is trying to make a comeback, too.

Research indicates there are four basic and specific reasons cereal is seeing a decline among consumers. First, cereal is carrying a lot of baggage. Manufacturers haven’t done a solid job of establishing cereal as a modern solution to the various wellness and dietary trends.  Consumers are still eating cereal, just not as much of it.  One very important reasons for the dip in consumption is that cereal is perceived as unhealthy. 

Second, cereal is losing its share of the market to...... Read More

A Chicago Tradition - Food Outside of the Trade Show

When I go to the various food shows to represent POS Plus, talk with grocers and other retailers and stay in touch with current friends in the business, I like to explore and not just stop off at the typical chain restaurant a stone’s throw from the interstate. Instead, I like to spread my wings a little bit and sample the regional or local cuisine.  This approach has led me to some really rough parts of town but also to some of the best food and friendliest folks you can find.

Recently, while at the Laurel Food show in Covington, Kentucky (across the river from Cincinnati), I visited my usual haunt for a bowl of Skyline Chili, 5-way of course.  It was delicious, but I wanted to expand my horizons and add a new stop on my culinary journey once a show closes down. Not knowing quite where to go, I left the hotel across from the convention center and spotted a sharply dressed valet waiting for his next customer. I asked the college age man where I could get a sandwich or something from a local restaurant that evening. Without hesitation, he pointed me to a bar and grill a couple of blocks down and a couple of blocks over called the Keystone Bar and Grill.  He said I should skip the idea of a sandwich and get the best mac and cheese in town.

Now, let’s be clear, I am not usually big fan of mac and cheese. As a matter of fact, as a child I hated it...Read More


POS Plus Combines Front and Back Office Capabilities with LOC

Tracking Halloween candy a snap with SMS.POS Plus is all about solutions and a pressing concern that some retail stores, supermarkets and chains have is integration of the front and back office into one easy to use system. As a result, POS Plus has partnered with LOC and its Store Management Suite (SMS).  If you are looking for a robust Window-base point of sale system, that has the power to combine the point of sale with back office management, then SMS is your solution.

For grocery stores and for many retail applications SMS can meet your needs. Up front, HTML coding is no problem, giving you flexibility to customize your screens, create reporting that you want to see and also allows for complete integration for office polling and price updates as you need them or want them. In addition it enables any type of payment processing, custom built customer retention programs and loyalty programs. Everything is intuitively organized making it easy to understand and implement.  

 Click here for the whole story. 


So You Know - ALERT!!!

WARNING: “Backoff” is a family of point of sale malware that has been discovered and continues to be present. Seven POS system providers/vendors have confirmed that they have had multiple clients affected. Reporting continues on additional compromised locations, involving private sector entities of all sizes, and the Secret Service currently estimates that over 1,000 U.S. businesses are affected.

The malware has four identified capabilities:

  1. Scraping memory for track data
  2. Logging keystrokes
  3. Command and control communications
  4. Injecting malicious stub into explorer.exe

Recent investigations revealed that malicious actors are using publicly available tools to locate businesses that use remote desktop applications. Remote desktop solutions like Microsoft's Remote Desktop [1], Apple Remote Desktop [2], Chrome Remote Desktop [3], Splashtop 2 [4], Pulseway [5] and LogMeIn [6] offer the convenience and efficiency of connecting to a computer from a remote location...Read More


Walk Down Memory Lane

A recent Sports Illustrated magazine was devoted to the long-forgotten sports Icons and answered the question: “Where are they now?” The subjects of the various magazine articles included Ernie Banks, the best player ever to have to suffer an entire career with the Chicago Cubs, to the famous for being so bad - 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The one thing that each of the people or groups profiled had in common is they were famous at least for a fleeting moment in time. Some were famous because they were true greats that faded from the limelight like Dan and Dave, the best American hope for Olympic Decathlon gold in the 1992 games. Others were famous because they were somewhat great, but had “personality” like the famed Dallas Cowboy lineman, the rotund Nate Newton.

Each of these athletes or teams had their moment in the sun, when they were at the top of their game, even if they weren’t the best the league had to offer. Then, as is the custom now, when they wore down and their personalities could not hide the fact of their decline, they retired or were retired and replaced, usually by better and younger.  

Only a person obsessed would read an edition like that and think about point of sale systems...Read More

Organic Foods – A Grocery Opportunity

Organic ApplesAccording to the Organic Trade Association, sales of additive-free products has increased 11.5% in 2013 and the group expects 12% growth in 2014. This increase in sales may represent a growing class of shoppers that will pay a little more at the cash register for food that they feel is grown or produced in a healthier and more sustainable way.

This article is not about joining in on the battle over whether organic is better for you or just a waste of the consumer’s dollars, there are plenty of articles, from dozens of sources, that argue the point in perpetuum. All sides seem to be lobbing sets of statistical hand grenades in a war over organic food. In the perspective of this article that battle is not important, however, the perspective of the customer is important and the trend seems to be indicating that customers want organic and natural products. Factually, it is true that organic sales are increasing so grocers need to ignore the arguments on both sides and be able to market to this burgeoning class of buyers. Walmart certainly believes that organic sales will be greater than a small cadre of granola crunching hippies left over from the 60’s as they have joined forces with Wild Oats and have agreed to carry their organic offerings....Read More 


EMV - The Future is Now

Although the initials used are out of date now, EMV used to stand for Europay, MasterCard and Visa.  More simply put, it is the global standard that has been put into place by leading international credit card companies for transmitting transaction information.  It has been adhered to for years internationally, but now the standard has become more prevalent in the United States and it seems now, with deadlines set, it is coming to our shores. 

It is also known as “Chip and PIN” or “IC Credit” and now represents more than Europay, MasterCard and Visa.  The joint effort now includes China UnionPay, American Express, Visa, MasterCard and JBC (formerly Japan Credit Bureau).

The agreed upon standards define how interactions between IC Cards and point of sale devices are conducted to keep transactions safe. Deadlines in the United States for EMV Pin PADS, also called Smart Card Readers, have been set with the deadline being the third quarter of 2015. Gas stations will have until October 2017 due to difficulties with upgrading pumps. After the deadlines if you want to accept payments in any form other than cash, you must upgrade or face the consequences of accepting liability for any fraud or breach that may occur due to not being able to accept an EMV Card...Read More


Tightrope - The Balance of Stopping Bottom of the Basket Theft and Offending Customers

If you have ever been to the circus you have undoubtedly seen a leotard-clad, tightrope walker high above the sawdust floor of the three rings. The rope sways, the performer shifts their weight and they feign a fall before safely scampering across to the platform on the other side with cheers and applause lauding their accomplishment they take their bow.  We buy into the idea that there is something at stake and that the short trip so high in the air, is fraught with peril.  We feel that success or failure is caught in the balance, perched precariously in the center of the rope...Read More


Chip and PIN - Wide World of Crime

Crime is a global phenomenon and the newest spike in credit card crime has an unusual origin, Europe.  According to a recent Forbes article written by Tom Groenfeldt, due to the belated implementation of Chip and PIN here in the United States, there has been an increase of fraud coming from countries that have adopted Chip and PIN years ago. That belief is bolstered by Allen Friedman, director of payment systems at Ingenico when he was quoted in the same article by saying, “Sixty-seven percent of UK-issued card fraud is from the US.”

 The general principle at work here is that crime, just like water...Read More


XP Update for Grocery POS Systems

Okay, so April 8th came and went and your point of sale, Windows XP based system, did not explode, implode or meltdown.  As you wipe the sweat from your brow, furrowed with worry, you may think you have permanently dodged the security bullet. But, the risk in keeping the old XP system was never a singular bullet to dodge. The April 8, 2014 date was never meant to be a funeral for a sudden death. The concern was that overtime new viruses would pop up and as no new XP security patches would be available, you could be vulnerable. This fear is based on Microsoft’s plans to discontinue support of the Windows XP operating systems meaning no more security updates and /or patches....Read More


I’m Starting a New Business - Cash Register or Point of Sale System?

At POS Plus we are in the business of finding solutions and that means, to be a true solution, it must fit the needs of the retailer. For many startup businesses it comes down to a choice between an electronic cash register (ECR) or a Point of Sale (POS) system.  “Which should I get?” is a common question and there is no single answer as it really begins with the needs of the retailer in question. With some newer businesses, just dealing with the notion of a cash and credit card management system can be a relatively foreign concept and it is easy to be perplexed by the dilemma. 

One supposition they are making that is true, is they must employ a “management system” to take in payments, record and track receipts and assist them with management functions and an old cigar box won’t do...Read More


So You Know - Switching Internet Providers

Many retailers are looking to squeeze a little out of every line item in the budget and one of the targets for savings is the internet service provider or even switching types of internet service within the same company. We understand that those pennies saved can add up; however, the internet company (only interested in the immediate sale) tends to over simplify the process of the switch. This is leading grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers to believe the process is easy in regards to the point of sale system. The new provider’s tech comes in, sets up the modem, verifies that there is a signal and then they are out the door to the next customer.  Read More


Is It Me or is it Hot in Line at the Grocery Store

When Dante penned his masterpiece, Inferno, he missed one of the punishments that mankind must endure for living a sinful life on Earth. After the corrupt, immortal soul passes through the gates of Hell one is sure to find that - standing in the checkout line at the grocery store is one of the first punishments that must be suffered. We have all been there, standing somewhere behind the coupon lady, the guy fiddling around for exact change or the older woman who writes checks slower than J.K Rowling writes Harry Potter novels... Read More


Driving Positive Feelings at the Checkout

One thing that we know for sure about grocery stores is that the higher the positive feelings that a shopper has about the shopping experience the bigger the basket and the more often there is a return trip. The question that has always been on the lips of any grocer wanting to increase profits is, “How do we ensure that the shopper has a positive feeling when they leave?”

The Retail Feedback Group may have found some of the answers in their U.S. Supermarket Experience 2013-Rating the Store Visit report. The study found several components that make up the positive feeling that every grocery market owner or manager craves... Read More


So You Know - Is It Plugged In?

When calling our customer support line, our professional technicians usually walk you through a step by step process to eliminate issues one at a time. This very logical process follows the flow of electricity and information from the source to the end of the process. In this way we can help you deal with the problem you are facing quickly and professionally.

Depending on the described malfunction that presents itself, it may well be an electrical supply problem that is at the core of the difficulty. Because of this, quite often the first question asked by our technician is, “Is the unit plugged in?”... Read More


Coming to a Food Show Near You

August is traditionally a time when vendors, suppliers and grocery store owners and managers come together for food shows. POS Plus is no exception. We will be visiting a number of food and trade shows in the Midwest and we always look forward to speaking to our friends regarding new products, industry updates and answering questions about their point of sale system.

These shows are just one of the ways that helps us keep the pulse of the grocer throughout the year; and knowing the grocer helps us respond to market forces... Read More


The C-Store Advantage with New Shelf Label Tech

Many states have gotten serious about shelf label accuracy and Missouri Walgreens stores have a clear understanding of that now, as they have come to a costly agreement.  In 2013, the Missouri attorney general (AG) sued Walgreens after the state claimed that investigators found 43 out of 205 items purchased at various Walgreens stores to be mismarked. The price displayed on the shelf tag did not match the price at the point of sale.

Convenience stores have a significant advantage in dealing with this problem ...Read More


Return On Investment on POS Systems

When you are talking about your point of sale system, return on investment (ROI) should be a part of every conversation.  Many view the point of sale system as a necessary evil and it is often neglected as the place where real income can be generated. Your system should have built in capabilities that will produce a measureable ROI. So, how does your current point of sale system stack up? Have you realized a return? Read More


Employee Theft Solutions

About one-third of all small business failures can be traced back to employee theft and other worker crimes, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. That is a shocking statistic, especially to the first time entrepreneurs who have sunk a life-time of savings into a business only for it to be stolen one item at a time.

The culprits, all too often, are the short time employees that have sticky fingers.  They are clerks, cashiers or stockers that have no problem helping themselves to your profits.   Read More


A Grocer's POS  Solution

When it comes to grocery store solutions, at POS Plus we like to present options regarding the point of sale system. We recognize that one size does not fit all. One of the options available includes IT Retail 7 R2. IT Retail was developed by a lifelong grocer and as a result this point of sale solution is designed to meet the grocer's every need.  Read More


So You Know - Checkout Lanes Scanner Scales

Scanner scales are one of the most abused pieces of equipment that you will find in the grocery store. Nothing gets more items bounced off of it in a day's-time than the scanner scale. Because they absorb so much abuse they are built like tanks and should provide years of reliable service. But there needs to be daily, yes, I said daily...Read More


Customer Benefit Program – More Than Just Loyalty

Loyalty programs have become more than a fad in America and our wallets and pocketbooks are fatter because of it. I rarely do shopping, but I have in my possession four loyalty cards. One for groceries, because my wife insists that I use it at our grocery store even if I am picking up a pack of gum, an auto parts card, a hotel card and a coffee club card. They are all jammed in various compartments of my wallet giving me a rather pronounced lump to sit on.

It seems that I better get used to sitting on that lump as this phenomenon is most likely to be around for quite some time because they seem to work. We can all remember our moms being thrilled to get double stamps at the local IGA decades ago and now a variation of that program has been translated into the card. A recent study pegged the retailers that have some kind of club or loyalty program to be at 65%... Read More


Options Make a Difference for Grocery Checkout Lanes 

Henry Ford was famous for writing in his autobiography, in regards to his Model T, "The customer can have any color he wants so long as it's black." The option of “various colors” was slowing the world famous assembly line down and driving costs up, so the decision to end colors was made.  Yes, it is true that the earliest Model T’s came in gray, green, blue, and red. But, the need for quick, cheap assembly trumped the need for a rainbow of colors.  “Choice” in the early 1900’s, of an affordable car, was limited to only the Tin Lizzie, so black became the color of choice.  Read More

Reduce Cash Handing Costs and Improve Security

What is cold and hard but burns a hole in your pocket? The answer is cash and in the retail world it is more than your personal pocket that gets scorch marks, but also the pocket of your company or business.  A 2013 Tufts University study confirmed that there is a real world cost to taking cash for any business and so the wise owner or manager needs to find ways to reduce the cost of taking dollar bills and pocket change.  Read More


Time to Stomp Back Against Walmart

If you are ever going to talk to independent grocery store owners and managers do not even mention the “W” word.  You know what word I am talking about, a certain box store chain headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Just the mention of it can make otherwise rational people spit fire and throw you out of their grocery store lock, stock and barrel. 

Claims of unfair business practices maybe a part of the reason why there is a palpable hatred but honestly, the “W” store comes into the local community and stomps with both feet on the little guy. The big store is so big, that almost everyone in their path is a little guy in comparison. Both regional and local supermarkets are in the crosshairs as that is the nature of competition in a free market system, survival of the fittest. However, if we take the time to read a few tea leaves and the March 2014 edition of Consumer Report magazine’s annual Supermarket Buying Guide...Read More


Electronic Shelf Labels and Dynamic Pricing in the Supermarket

Dynamic pricing in the grocery industry is becoming more and more a reality thanks to a reduction in investment for the vehicle that will ultimately carry the price of the item, the Electronic Shelf Label (ESL). For years those in the grocery industry have known that price could create more profit if a cost effective platform were available to immediately change the price of any item, at any time, regardless of location in the store. Now, grocers are nearing... Read More


Target Still a Target

Target continues to be a target as fallout from the massive data breach of 110 million customers’ data grows.  Now getting into the act are Trustmark National Bank and Green Bank seeking damages of more than $5 million from Target and one of its security vendors, Trustwave, reports Reuters.

In the lawsuit it is alleged that Trustwave failed to discover weaknesses in Target's system. The lawsuit also claims that Trustwave reassured Target that it was protected against hacking or data breaches, according to the report. The banks are seeking class-action status in the suits which were filed March 24. Read More


How Secure are You

One thing that 2013 taught retailers is that all are vulnerable.  Target was just the latest in a string of retailers, national and local, that have had their security breached.  It has left customers dealing with banks that are closing accounts, canceling cards and creating confusion.  This breach in security can lead to less confidence in the retailer, lower profits and simply a very public black eye.

The question then becomes, “What steps can you take before it happens to you?” Our experts in security have come up with a short check-up for any POS system.  Read More


The Clock is Ticking

April 8, 2014 is getting closer every day and now that the calendar has turned the page to 2014 there may be a little more desperation in the air.  This is not like the Y2K scare that was founded on fear and outlandish claims, but a reality, based on Microsoft’s plans to discontinue support of the Windows XP operating systems.

What this means for your Point of Sale (POS) system is that there will be no more security updates and /or patches for any Windows XP Operating Systems.  Also, this means that a simple upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 will not.... Read More


SaleGuard - Target Your Shrink


How can you tell your best employees from the worst? For years it has been a guessing game, often based on hunches or anecdotal information.  But with shrink due to employee theft being 46.8%, based on a recent study, it is a problem that needs a serious fact based solution. SaleGuard is the solution.  It is a software package that combines point of sale data with surveillance video as a way to deal with loss prevention. The software increases your profits by detecting fraud, errors, and inefficiencies in your business that cost you money.

 

SaleGuard reduces your shrink by doing the work for you.  It has customizable risk analysis reports to help identify your top and bottom performing employees and locations. These interactive reports use..... Read More