Monday, April 30, 2012

POS Lite - Is Good Enough For a Farmers Market, Good Enough For You?

Over the past year several different inexpensive and mobile systems have cropped up in the point of sale arena. The title “point of sale” has been given, which is technically an accurate statement but may conjure the wrong meaning in a retailer’s mind.

Point of Sale is defined as referring  to a “POS terminal or more generally to the hardware and software used for checkouts, the equivalent of an electronic cash register.” Technically Square, Paypal Here, Google Wallet are all point of sale solutions. The question is, does that mean that they could fit your retail technology needs? Could a system that appears to cost mere pocket change really be the tool of your dreams? Much like many other “too good to be true” options, cost does represent
quality. There is a definite market for POS Lite but a retailer must be careful to avoid the allure of the upfront price tag, especially with several of these systems stating they are a “full POS system”.

Can it handle your quantity? Per reviews it looks like these systems are best for low quantity (example: flea markets, fairs, concert sales booths and the like) transactions. The average weekly gross sales that fit for these products appear to fall around the $1,000-$4,000 a week mark. Be sure to avoid being boxed into an uncomfortably low ceiling.

Is this really going to cost less? With a set %2.75 on transactions (many charging for both credit and debit) you may end up paying more in processing fees than with a system set up with another processor; you will also be locked into that pay arrangement for the duration with no options to change to a lower rate. Research processor charges and how blanket charges on both credit and debit may affect your bottom line.

Do you need/want inventory tracking and control? These systems are designed for low quantity; how many products can it properly and effectively track and monitor?

Scalability is key. Consider, you may not be able to transfer all of that data over to a future system should you have your eye on expansion. This could cause enough of a shift in your marketing
efforts and client retention that you experience long term negative side effects.

What does it integrate with/what are its features? Is it compatible with, for example, your accounting software? Also consider security systems, security cameras, open to buy, etc.

Will your information be secure? Additional concerns to fully investigate are PCI compliancy and overall security for both yourself and your customers. How secure is the system, what happens to your clients data and how often/easy is it to hack? Check reviews, and review what your responsibilities are when you are taking financial information. Many POS Lite systems don’t focus on security, this responsibility will fall on you to ensure your clients credit card data
is safely handled.

A safe rule of thumb is to spend  2% of your annual gross sales on POS. If 2% comes out to over a few thousand dollars you should consider a system that also handles inventory tracking/control, has increased reporting features and is scalable. This will save you in man hours, waste, loss, hackers, theft and costly errors. The right system could very easily make or break your store. Be sure to make the decision that will move you into the long-term.

*Lite is used loosely to represent a version of software that is an abbreviated version or has limited features. It could also be referred to as POS Diet but I thought that might be a stretch.

One Step Retail Solutions 
is a leading retail technology consultancy company and reseller of 5 leading retail technology management/ POS systems for small to medium sized retail chains
To Get a Free Retail Technology Review

*Please note, this article was updated 5/14/2012 to correct the processing pricing statement from $2.75 to %2.75. Apologies for the typo.

Hate Your Job? Yeah, I can tell.

I recently visited an affiliate of ours and I was struck by how solid their
customer service and care factor was. Their business is consistently very
busy and expanding. Every single member of their team understands and
is able to help a customer with any of their needs, they are seem
geniunely happy to be there. A day or so later, I called Expedia to book
some travel and again - helpful, friendly and he seemed happy to be there
and helping me!
I was struck by the "good customer service" fairy again this morning
when picking up a bagel at Starbucks - busy but very friendly and cheerful
(as usual).

Service with a smile.

This brought be back to a recent article I read on the importance of a
focus on employees, as compared to being strictly customer satisfaction
oriented. I am excited to see this concept expand.

“Your employees will treat your customers as they have been treated
by their leaders,”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Meet Andrew, the Mind Behind Brandspank

We were excited to get a more in depth view into the mind of full-service
retail marketing guru, Andrew Sharpe.
Founder and Senior Brand Strategist for Brandspank located out of
Vancouver (Canada).
Twitter: @BRANDSPANKshop 
Are there any retail trends that you find to be of particular interest?
Shopper marketing and in particular, user experience for in-store.

"Shopper marketing" further defined: Shopper marketing is brand
marketing in retail environment. Including category management,
displays, sales, packaging, promotion, research and marketing.

What is your favorite thing about working with retailers?
They are at a crossroad and (some) are very open to exploring and
embracing new ways of connecting with their customers. Unlike a CPG
(packaged good), a retail brand is not relegated to package design…it is
experiential in every sense of the world. So the strategy and execution
need to be able to cohabitate in every touch-point.

What would you say is the most helpful thing about your product
or services for a retailer?
Our approach for developing a branding platform and persona. This
enables us to provide our clients with a way to differentiate themselves
AND introduce relevant support elements into every part of their brand

How long has your company been in business? 10 years

If you could offer any advice to retailers out there, what would you say?
When the marketplace changes, be prepared to evolve. And, listen to your
customers and potential customers before implementing what you think is
the solution.

What do you think would be your favorite part of being a retailer?
Establishing and maintaining relationships with my customers.

What do you think would be your least favorite part of being a retailer?
Hiring and training staff.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Associate member feature: Mary Gillogly of The Retail Life

Meet Mary Gillogly, North Carolina based Social Media Strategist and Community Manager for The Retail Life. We are happy to feature Retail Professional Associate member Mary from The Retail Life and to learn about her experience in and love for retail (she had me at a pup named "Gucci").
Mary’s favorite color:  Gray
Mary’s favorite meal: Toss up, Indian or Thai Curry
Mary's personal design style: Mary describes her style as eclectic. Pulling pieced from stores such as Free People, Anthropologie, TJ Maxx and a handful of local boutiques. She liked to mix classic with bold prints and patterns and can be found playing with bohemian looks from time to time.

What is your favorite thing about working with retailers?
I love being able to relate personally to retailers since I worked in retail for 10 plus years. It’s fun to connect and share stories with retail workers.  As we all know, retail is not the easiest career path one can take and you have to truly have a passion for it.  I enjoy finding those passionate individuals who love their jobs and helping them to continue to excel in their careers.
What would you say is the most helpful thing The Retail Life offers to retailers?  The most helpful thing about The Retail Life is the direct connection that we provide.  Not only can you find jobs but I am personally there through out the entire day to use as a resource if you need assistance with applying for jobs or have any specific career questions that you are unsure about.
How long has The Retail Life been in business?
The Retail Life is fairly new and has been launched within the last 6 months.
If you could offer any advice to retailers out there, what would you say?  When working with customers, especially those that are unhappy with you, you have to be tolerant and understanding.  Try your hardest to see their side of the story. Also be genuine!   No one wants a plastic or sales person who is just going through the motions.  Try and befriend your customers to make lasting relationships.
When you were a retailer, what was your favorite part of the day?
My favorite part of the day would definitely be the merchandising and artistic part.  I love the set up of the store and making a visual display that acts as a silent seller. Whenever you have down time when customers are not around this is a great way to pass the time and lead into future sales.
When you were a retailer, what was your least favorite part of the day?
Closing time is never fun, cleaning up from a busy day and getting things in order for the next day can be a daunting task.  However it’s a great feeling coming in the next morning and knowing everything is ready to go!

Do you have any hobbies?  I love dogs!  I help a local rescue by fostering one dog at a time.  I love getting to know the dogs personality and matching them up with the right family.  I’ve placed over 10 dogs now.  I also participate in a dog therapy program with my personal pooch Gucci and usually I can bring the foster pup along as long as their personality complies.

Gucci with Mary's current rescue pup, Taco
What is your favorite thing about retail? I love the real connection with customers and making friends through the process. Some of my best friends today are from when I am working in retail or promoting a retail establishment.  It’s fun because you can relate to each other because we like the same thing like great fashion!
What is your favorite thing about fashion? I love that your sense of style can be seen everyday and it doesn’t cost a lot of money to have a specific look. Once you have established the type of style you want to have you can achieve it in various ways and brands without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money.  I feel in many ways fashion is like art that you can wear on your body everyday. 

The Retail List is a online community for retailers and prospective employees.
The Retail Life is a part of the One Step Retail Solutions Retail Professional Association. For more information please visit our website or contact Amy Hanson at

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Secrets to Effective Window Displays

One Step Retail Solutions Associate member, Linda Cahan of Cahan&
Company was featured in this recent MSNBC segment on store window

This segment is informative and we hope that our retailers will take a
few minutes to get some helpful tips and continued education on this topic.

Linda Cahan consults retailers regarding New Store Design, Visual
Merchandising, Branding and Renovations. An expert in the retail design
industry since 1971, Linda is well experienced in visual merchandising for
traditional department stores and specialty stores.

We are proud to have such fantastic resources made available
to our retailers through our associate program.,

Friday, April 13, 2012

Retailers and Pinterest: Tips and Examples

Big box stores are starting to really capitalize on Pinterest.
I have always envisioned this as a tool for indie retailers.
I have taken as a personal mission of mine, to help
retailers maneuver the sometimes overwhelming waters.
I hope this information helps you.
1) Create a Pinterest board that enhances your customers
experience with your company.
Example: Lowes (hardware, home improvement) has
created not only a full Pinterest profile but a "Craft Ideas"
board which features dozens of fun DIY projects using
their products. You can find everything from necklaces,
home decor, games for kids and organizing projects.
2) Adding Pinterest "pin" buttons to your items in your
online store.
Example: Sephora and Amazon recently put this concept
into place and Ebay announced their upcoming
3) Creating and maintaining a Pinterest board to
increase familiarity and interactions with your current
and future clients.
Example: Lowes is an excellent example, their boards
are not only in place but they are creating new and unique
ways to use Pinterest to increase their interaction and
usefulness to clients.
Retailers could (and do) include products pages,
which is currently somewhat frowned upon as
"self-promotion". A way to side step being "one
sided" is to create "looks" and inspiration for the
coming seasons pulling from more than just your
catalog of pieces. "How to wear" and "must have's
for the Spring" could position your board as
go-to inspiration for your demographic.
4) If you are a retailer that is brick and mortar without
a eCommerce site in place consider starting a blog
where you host your images and include some fun looks
and tips. Pins will then be attributed to your shop as the
source and you can increase traffic even if you are a
smaller one location shop.
This is a newer platform that has not been fully developed,
the sky is truly the limit so you should feel more than free
to be creative and original.
Example retail blog:
Crossroads Trading Co
Happy Pinning!
Amy Hanson

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shift4 Was Not Impacted by Global Payment Breach

Shift4 reports that they have not been affected by the
Global Payment breach.

A Shift4 representative notes that they surmise an
organization had access to some form of reporting
portal provided by Global Payments – perhaps one of
their ISO’s specializing in the car parking space
provided a path into a limited area of Globals

It is also noted that unfortunately it takes some time for a
comprehensive report to hit the media leaving retailers to
speculate and at times causing undue alarm.

One Step Retail Solutions message to retailers is to:
a) Get educated and
b) Ensure that a layered approach is taken and that you
have all PCI compliancy points not only put into place but
updated and reviewed regularly.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Massive" CC breach and How They Hack You

You may start getting questions about a very recent
"massive" CC security breach. Unfortunately, there are
currently little specifics as to who all will or has been
affected by this situation. We are and have been keeping
our finger on the pulse as the information comes in.

We have put together a short gathering of information
related to this that should shed some light on what
happened, what is being done about it and who has mostly
been affected.

Stay tuned for upcoming specifics and hopefully a list of
which processors have been affected. Please feel free to
reach out to your own processor as you see fit.

We will be sure to back any statement with factual data
and sources to avoid any continued or unncessary worry
or fear.
How to Tell if You Have Been Caught in the Fraud:
The part of the process that was breached was the step
between the merchant and the processor; the former
being a New York City taxi and parking garage company,
Payments apparently first identified the potential breach in
early March, and the problem had been undetected for
several months before that.
Therefore, the pool of victims is likely to be those who
used their debit or credit cards for transportation in the
New York metropolitan area earlier this year.
"Massive" credit card card breach:
How Big is the Theft?
"Most payment-card thefts, the Verizon study found, are
from small businesses, with only about 5 percent last year
from large organizations. More than three-quarters of the
breaches involved losses of fewer than 10,000 records. Just
seven breaches involved more than 1 million records each.”
Related article on "How They Hack You":
As retailers you should absolutely ensure your own end
is fully covered and secure.
In addition, stay in the know regarding imminent dangers
to yourselves and your clients.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Interview with an Associate Member - Rich from Plastic Resource

We are going to start periodically interviewing associate
members so that you can become more familiar with the
large retail service provider network we have established
over the past year.

Our first interview was conducted on Mr. Rich Junker of
Plastic Resource. Richard has worked in the gift card
printing industry for over 5 years, while Plastic Resources
has been in business for over 15 years and boasts over 100
years of combined experience in custom printing and design.

What is your favorite color:
Pantone 343 –hunter green

If you could offer any advice to retailers out there,
what would you say?
Make it easy on yourself, know your data from the
beginning, you’re the one that will ultimately have to run
the system or program.

What kind of cards and products are available
from Plastic Resources?
Loyalty cards, custom cards, business cards, gift cards,
phone cards, key tags, membership cards and card

If you were a retailer, what do you think your
favorite part of your day would be?
Counting receipts from gift card sales.
What is your favorite meal?
Is there anything other than pizza?

Do you have any hobbies?
My kids, they’re doing everything I wish I could have
done more of.
Do you have a secret super powers or abilities?
I seem to have this incredible ability to repel fish away
from me wherever I am. The large ones anyway, I can
catch bait fish and salad (weeds) no problem.

What is your favorite climate?
Still investigating. I’ve not traveled to a tropical island
yet. I’m working on a way to disguise the sounds of the
beach to be able to work, “remotely”.

Name: Rich Junker
Position: Sales Representative
Company: Plastic Resource Inc.
What state are you in:
Minnesota (At this time there’s no comment about the Vikings).
Company link:
For more information on our associate members, please