Software 4 Retail Solutions Releases S4Vision For Unified Customers

Software 4 Retail Solutions has released S4Vision for Unified Grocers customers participating in Unified’s “Scan Advantage” store data and analytics program. S4Vision is a self-service business intelligence platform that accumulates and analyzes real-time point-of-sale (POS) transaction data, giving store owners and managers actionable reporting and analytics on their desktop, tablet or smartphone.

S4Vision connects store managers directly to high-level summaries of trends and performance, with detailed drill-down whenever and wherever they need it, Software 4 Retail says. Managers can see chain and store real-time sales, with period-over-period trends including metrics such as customer count, basket size, average retail and items per basket. They also can dive deeper into department sales and metrics to examine strong or under-performing areas of the business. The platform provides daily projections to help managers anticipate product demand and customer visits.

S4Vision’s capabilities include measuring key performance indicators such as open department sales, no sales, refunds and voids so managers can track store labor and prevent loss. Real-time alerts are issued for abnormal activity and performance. Additionally, customer traffic can be measured against cashier labor to validate labor schedules.

“We are very pleased to be a preferred technology partner with Unified Grocers,” said Rick Goertzen, GM of Software 4 Retail Solutions. We’re confident that Unified’s retailers will enjoy the convenience and control of having S4Vision’s real-time data and analytics in the palm of their hands, and quickly see increased performance and sales growth storewide.”

Brian Legate, manager of retail analytics at Unified Grocers, said, “We’re delighted to add S4Vision to our suite of mobile offerings to help our independent retailer customers better compete and grow in their marketplaces. S4Vision is well-suited for helping our retailers take full advantage of Unified’s Scan Advantage program and all that it offers.”

Retail Data Systems is Now Power Leader in Custom Solutions for the Independently Owned Grocery Industry in Southeast

 

RDS Logo

May 15, 2014, Marietta, GA – Retail Data Systems (www.rdspos.com), the largest provider of Point of Sale hardware and software to independently-owned grocery stores in North America, has announced that industry veteran Steve Balentine is now heading up efforts in the Southeastern Grocery Division. Balentine is well-known throughout the industry for his exceptional capacity for understanding the complexities of his grocery clients’ needs. Retail Data Systems is the leader in full service solutions and custom integrations with a robust suite of POS-related products. This powerful combination of experienced leadership and nationwide resources has made Retail Data Systems a power player in the Southeastern Independent Grocery industry.

Recently named a Premier Point of Sale VAR of NCR products, Retail Data Systems can provide the most powerful technology that has been developed with successful grocery management in mind. NCR is the global leader in consumer transaction technologies, turning everyday interactions with businesses into exceptional experiences. Custom integration solutions are the key to getting the most from your POS related hardware and software, and RDS is leading the field with the most integration solutions for wireless and cloud-based products. To read more about our suite of grocery products, click here.

Walt Davis, General Manager of RDS Southeast, said “All the pieces of the puzzle have come together over the last 6 months for RDS to provide the ultimate experience for grocery businesses. From running the business back room to the customer interactions, we can provide all the products and services needed to create an outstanding business model. Our variety of products and services provides the added benefit of a one-call to fix any issues that may arise.”

About Retail Data Systems

Retail Data Systems (www.rdspos.com) is the largest provider of Point of Sale hardware and software in North America. Founded in 1950, RDS now operates over 25 offices serving customers across the nation providing complete Point of Sale technology. Our team of over 400 professionals ensures our customers the best 24/7/365 service available. Our list of industry leading POS hardware and software products provide a variety of solutions for companies large and small.

Media Contact for RDS Southeast:

Mary Koronkowski

Retail Data Systems SE

Marketing Communications Manager

mkoronkowski@rdspos.com

678.279.8052 t

rdspos.com

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April 8th XP End of Life – Don’t be an Ostrich

Windows XP was laid to rest on April 8, 2014.  It is survived by its siblings Windows Vista (stop laughing), Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Before you read further, this does not pertain to XP embedded.  You still have time left on that; end of life for XP embedded is January of 2016.  Not sure if you are on XP embedded?  Keep reading and contact us. We can help.

The passing of Windows XP marks a major milestone in the progression of desktop technology.  Many times Microsoft extended the life of the platform because of the success it had in the marketplace and the outcry of the impact ending support would have on the PC community.  Finally, just a few short weeks ago, Microsoft pulled the plug; this time for good.

A few months back we posted an article about the “tsunami of viruses” that were likely to hit at end of life.  Thus far, those fears have not come to reality; at least not anything that has created any public outcry.  Why is this?  It could be the end of life was much ado about nothing.  It also could be as many reports suggest; thieves are targeting smaller firms.  The attacks are likely happening, but not getting the headlines.  Additionally, recent reports show the market share for XP has only dipped by about 1.5% since end of life.  Larger firms, especially since the Target breach, have shored up their networks.  Smaller firms often the laggards, not so much.  Small business is vulnerable and the crooks know it.

One other major concern if you are still running XP on your front or back of house systems, XP is no longer PCI compliant.  Ensure that all system components and software are protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches. Install critical security patches within one month of release. (Source: www.pcisecuritystandards.org) 

If and when your business is breached and you are running Windows XP, you will likely not garner much sympathy from the PCI Security Council as they determine origin of fault and levy fines.

Many store owners we talk to are not even sure if they have XP.   There is a lot of misinformation out there.   If you are not sure if you are vulnerable, let us know.  This is not the time to stick your head in the sand and not take action.  We are happy to provide an assessment.    Whether or not you use RDS to help with the upgrade or change, protect yourself.  Upgrade your system and remove this liability from your business.

Growing Concerns as XP End of Life is Approaching

Experts predicting a “tsunami of viruses” as operating system support ends.

Let’s face it, the media loves a technical disaster story. In 2000 we had Y2K, and a plethora of security breaches and viruses and worms (Remember Nimda?) that seem to never be as big as what we are told they will be. These items caused lot of inconvenience and in some cases some serious damage but nothing that wasn’t patched, and repaired. We adapted, learned and moved on. So why should we get concerned about XP end of life when other technical “disasters” that either happened or were looming turned out to be much ado about nothing? It’s simple really. The people in charge of updating, patching and preventing are not going to be doing it anymore as of April 8, 2014.

So what?

XP is still being updated and security holes are still being patched. Between January 1 and March 30 of 2013 Microsoft released patches for 34 security vulnerabilities 28 of these were network related. So without these patches there were 28 ways a hacker could have created something to harm systems running on the XP Operating system. The Windows XP operating system in April is going to be “as is” there will be no more patching, no more updates. This will make the machines that are currently operating on Windows XP vulnerable and a soft and relatively easy to exploit target. Even currently with patches, the malware infection rate for a Windows XP machine is over 2 times greater than that of Windows 7 machine and it will get worse. Additionally with the install base for Windows XP being as high as 43% from some reports, XP will be a major target of those looking to exploit systems for financial gain. Additional reports even speculate that more sophisticated groups are withholding code in hopes that the vulnerabilities they have discovered remain unpatched after end of life in April. For more information read Microsoft’s own Security Intelligence Report

For most Point of Sale customers on a modern touch screen point of sale system the problem is not the front of house POS system. Many but not all run XP embedded which has another couple of years of life with end of life set for that on December 31, 2016. The issue is in the back office computers. Many back office systems even those deployed in the last few years run XP Pro and most are exposed to the internet. Firewalls, PCI compliance and other solutions can only protect so far and an outdated system like this is likely to cause you to fall out of PCI compliance no matter what other safeguards are in place.

There are other reasons that an update should be in the works for any machine you have still on XP. Technology changed. Windows XP just doesn’t work with many newer and peripherals like printers, scanners, scales, and other devices. Why? It’s more than a decade old and the machine it was designed to be installed on just doesn’t have the horse power to drive these new devices. Not to mention the leaps and bounds software has taken. Newer programs just don’t work on a machine that was designed to surf the web, check email and run a few programs. To put it in perspective… 12 years ago when it was released the PC it was designed for had less power than an iPhone does now.

If you have questions or concerns about the risk your business may be taking with your current operating environment please visit our windows XP end of life page at www.rdspos.com/xp or call your local office.

Article by:

Patrick Solum
Marketing Director
Retail Data Systems
psolum@rdspos.com

@sodakforce

 

A Member Minute with Retail Data Systems of Wichita

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce member RDS of Wichita is recognized in this month’s Member Minute. General Manager Paul Baumgartner and Account Manager Brent Christy are interviewed about the advantages of being a Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce member, doing business in the Wichita area and the successes of Retail Data Systems. Some of the highlights from the article include:

  • Paul Baumgartner being recognized as the NCR Salesman of the year
  • Working in the great community of Wichita, KS
  • How beneficial it is to be a member of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • RDS operates as a national company,
    while also maintaining a small business feel
  • A Brief overview of the types of services and solutions RDS offers to our many customers

You can read the full interview on the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce website.

http://www.wichitachamber.org/membership-member_good_news-member_minute.php

Can You Afford to Not Have Integrated Video Surveillance?

Studies show that 75% to 90% of employees will steal from their employer.   Theft can take many forms, from the coffee that the cashier “forgot” to ring up, the produce that the cashier let lean on the side of the scale to give a friend a lower price on those steaks, theft of product from the stock room or just out-and-out skimming from the register.   So as a store owner how do you deter theft in a way that will allow you to run your business without turning into a full-time store police officer? 

One way that is rapidly gaining popularity due to its ease of use, time savings and rapid return on investment is an integrated store surveillance system.  Although more expensive than the off the shelf products that sell for a few hundred dollars, these products allow the t-log information from the POS to be burned into the video image allowing the transaction log and the video to always be in sync.  Integrated systems also allow for intelligent monitoring where only transactions where a void or over ring can be quickly viewed.  They also can be set up in high theft areas to monitor when someone moves into the video frame.  Additionally these products can be monitored remotely and securely so an owner does not have to be in the store at all times.

Studies are showing that integrated video surveillance systems are one of the top technology purchases for 2013 due to their proven effectiveness.

Are integrated video surveillance solutions right for you?  Possibly not.   Your local RDS representative can help you evaluate your potential ROI to determine if one of these systems is right for your business.

Join the conversation…. 

Some examples of their value some of our many customers with these systems have shared with use are:

  • A fraudulent slip and fall lawsuit that was avoided after video was reviewed.
  • A thief stealing from the office safe that was caught.
  • A cashier that was not ringing up items for friends and family.
  • A stock boy who was stealing merchandise from the storage room during his night shift.
  • The unprofessional behavior of a bartender towards customers.
  • A cashier that was giving free drinks and food items to her friends.
  • The shoplifter that was caught stealing baby formula.
  • A C-store cashier giving away beer.
  • Many, many more

If you have a something to share about how video surveillance has helped your business please post in the comments below. 

Watching…. MSN.COM Poll – Cash Registers Vs. Mobile Payment

The results are not final yet, but in over 120,000 replies so far to a poll on MSN.com many consumers are still saying they overwhelmingly prefer cash registers to mobile apps.

Granted the poll doesnt ask if this is in regards to the gas pump, grocery store restaurant, bar, or retail outlet but the results are none the less interesting.

Post below with your comments on why you think this may be.

POS vs Mobile WHAT DO YOU THINK?

More stores are having salespeople & and even shoppers ring up sales on smartphones & tablet computers.

How do you feel about stores using tablets & smartphones to ring up sales?

12 % I like the technological upgrade. 14,366 votes
59 % I prefer cash registers. 72,498 votes
13 % I’m not sure yet. 16,269 votes
16 % I don’t care. 19,996 votes

Total Responses: 123,129

More to come when final results are released!

Windows XP Not PCI Compliant in April, 2014

Microsoft Ending life of Operating SystemXP RIP

Microsoft has had April 14, 2014 publicized for some time now as being the end of life for its most successful and widely adopted Operating system, Windows XP.  This is creating a serious PCI risk in that many retailers have not paid attention as they are stuck with machines that will no longer be PCI compliant due to this issue.  It is critical that if your company is running a point of sale system with Windows XP that you put in process a plan to move to a platform that is PCI compliant and will be for the foreseeable future.  Not doing so will put your company outside of PCI compliance and opens up your company to all kinds of risks from hackers, spam, viruses and spyware as the operating system will not be receiving any patches after that date.   In addition most manufacturers and developers have stopped developing software and peripherals for the platform leaving retailers finding it difficult to work with newer technologies such as updated scanners, cell phone coupons, loyalty programs, and others.   For more information on if your store might be at risk please contact your local RDS representative for a FREE POS Analysis.

Old Scanner Scales Cause Shrink

Scanner Scales, are one of the most important yet most take for granted pieces of equipment in a grocery store. Without scales transaction times would be slower, reports would be a disaster and shrink would be an even larger problem. However many store owners with older outdated scales are not fully realizing that having an older outdated scanner-scale can create some of the same problems as not scanning at all and can reduce the effectiveness of your investment in back office, point of sale and other systems. Below we list many of the areas that your older scales may be hurting you more than helping.

Coupons are a huge source of shrink for the store owner with an older scale. New GS1-Databar codes cannot be read by older scanner scales requiring manual entry of the coupon causing errors and taking up a lot of time. Manual entry can also lead to discounts being given on expired coupons or coupons for items that were not even in the cart.

One of the largest sources of shrink is the overhang. This is when the bunch of bannanas your busy cashier is weighing is leaning on the back of the check stand or that long stalk of celery is laying partially on the counter and partially on the platter. Studies have shown that a grocery store can lose about 5-10% of the weighed value of their produce this way. Don’t believe it? Walk through your produce department and count all the items you have that are weighted that are to some degree longer than the platter or that can be leaned on the back of the platter.

Another inefficiency of older scanner scales is that they often have a hard time reading bar codes quickly requiring re-scans and slowing up lines giving customers the impression that checking out in your store, takes alot of time with re-orienting or rescanning. Also when re-scans lead to manually entering in the bar code how long does that take? Or worse…entering in the dollar amount and a department. The more our cashiers need to manually do things the less accurate our movement reports get.

Last older scales wear out they break down and they run slower than more modern scales. Many grocers play scanner roulette by rotating bad, old slower scanners to lanes that are not often used only to forget about them and have an inefficient or worse an inoperable lane when traffic picks up.

Does your store need a more modern, updated scanner scale ? Take a look at the items above. Watch your cashiers for leaned items and overhangs, do an audit of your coupons, watch how long it takes a large basket of groceries to get through one of your check out lane and most importantly ask your customers, “Does it take longer to buy from my store than it does other stores?” You’ll be surprised at what they might tell you.