Wrapping up a year in retail should be cathartic. Chances are, it will be a bit of work for your staff, too. Well organized inventory can speed up this process. Today’s tip will help you harness the power of our Margins Per Line report.
Adding a customer to each sale in MerchantOS not only allows for better customer tracking, it allows you to get more useful reports for analyzing your business.
You may have noticed that dollar discounts can’t be applied to a final sales total, only individual line items. Coupon items allow you to work around this by subtracting an amount from an entire sale.
You may have heard some scuttlebutt on our latest integration, Perkville. You probably have more questions about what features it offers, pricing levels, and how it works with MerchantOS. You can get those questions answered in our upcoming Perkville Webinar featuring the founder of Perkville and the developer, Sunil Saha. He will be joined by two staff from MerchantOS, Christina Gilpin (VP of Customer Relations, aka, our Customer Advocate), and Ciara Wolfe (Customer Support Hero).
The MerchantOS-Perkville Webinar will be hosted on April 10th at 3pm PST. Mark your calendars!
Now if you haven’t heard anything on Perkville, now would be a great time to look into this up and coming software as a service. Rob Richards took the time to set up his integration in just 30 minutes, so I’m sure you can do in half the time. Here’s what he had to say about it.
How can it benefit your shop? MerchantOS does not have every feature in the book. Our design philosophy of Retail.Easy couldn’t realistically be met if we added every feature someone thought would be a really good idea. It would complicate our software and our developers are not going down that route.
One of the more common requests we hear of is a rewards program. Sunil would agree- you should be rewarding your recurring customers. It can help build retention and increase your shop’s revenue. Perkville integrates seamlessly with MerchantOS, so you get a robust rewards program and no further complications in MerchantOS. It’s definitely worth trying out, the first 30 days with Perkville are free.
We hope to see you there! We will continue to update you with the details of the webinar as it gets closer. If you have any additional questions in the meantime you can reach us at email@example.com or give us a call at 866-554-2453 ext. 0
Everything you ever wanted to know about gift cards
One thing that many retailers offer is gift cards or gift certificates, but you may not be sure how to do this in MerchantOS. We’ve seen a few original methods that our customers have tried, and while some are very creative, they ultimately do not work out. So how can you, as a MerchantOS customer, get in on the gift card craze? We have a handy-dandy point of sale software module that we can add on to your account, totally free of charge: the Gift Card Module! Okay, the name is a bit anticlimactic, but this module’s convenience and functionality more than make up for that.
As you know, MerchantOS is a pretty rad point of sale system. But we’re not perfect (yet!). There are a few features that we know you’d love to see, but for one reason or another we can’t quite offer at the moment. But don’t lose hope! I’m here to help you trick our software into doing something pretty close.
Read “Workaround: Rentals” in MerchantOS Help →
Gift cards, we have them. It was a long process going through two different printers but we finally have 500 of each type sitting in Christina’s office. They are ready to be shipped to you just in time for the holidays. I imagine you want to know more than just their availability so I’ll take on your hypothetical questions in this blog-
How do I order them?
We’ll be selling these in units of 50 gift cards at $75 (shipping included). You can order them directly through our web store.
How do I use them?
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have the Gift Card module installed on your account. Not sure if you have it already? Go to your customers tab, if you see this then you’re all set. If not, you’ll want to call or email firstname.lastname@example.org at 866-554-2453 ext. 0 and we’ll add the module to your account. This is a service we provide at no cost to you.
Now that you have the module let’s look into selling a customer a gift card.
1. Go to your Register, click New Sale
2. Attach the customer to the sale
3. Click the Gift Card button, you will be prompted with this screen-
4. Enter the Amount to put on the card and then scan the barcode into the Card Scan field
5. Click Create
6. If you see Gift Card Purchase followed by the barcode number you can proceed to Done / Pay and finish the sale.
Now how do I use these Gift Cards as payment?
1. Ring up your items just as you would normally then click Done / Pay.
2. Click the Gift Card button in the Payment section.
3. Scan or enter the barcode number into the field and click Go.
4. Finish Sale.
I don’t like your designs, how do I make my own?
Our designer Chris may be stung by this request, but that’s no kind of pain that a bottle of Knob Creek won’t numb. You can go through any third party printer you can find locally or online as long as they can provide EAN13 or UPC-A barcodes on your gift cards. We have section in our manual under Ordering Gift Cards that gives the specifics of our barcoding requirements. Any reputable card printer should be able to provide you with these type of cards.
What it comes down to is MerchantOS requires a unique 12 digit number on each card to associate the balance with it. Whether it’s written in crayon on the back of a sheet of construction paper or encoded in a EAN13 barcode what matters is the number. Scanners have just proven to be more reliable than swipes or manual entry.
What about gift cards that you swipe?
That’s a difficult question to answer. If you are using our integrated credit card processors like Element or MerchantWARE, then no. Your swiper will not read the information correctly. It’s encrypted, remember? If you happen to have an old swiper that is not encrypted you could use it to pull that data from the gift cards magnetic strip.
These gift cards should have been available to you much sooner but due to circumstances beyond our control, we weren’t able to fulfill your requests. We want to extend another apology to the customers who have waited this long. If there is anything else we can help with, do not hesitate to give us a call at 866-554-2453 ext. 0
Around this time of the year, we always get a significant number of calls regarding one of the most useful features in MerchantOS, Inventory Counts. It’s the perfect time of the year to prepare your shop for the holiday madness, so I wrote up a breakdown of the Inventory Counts Tabs.
What Happened & And Our Response
Last night (Oct 6th, 2011) we released an update to our system. Printing was not tested before the release. This resulted in customers not being able to print receipts from late on the 6th until 7:40am PST the next morning.
Note: If you are having printer problems now it is not due to the update. Update problems have been fully resolved as of 7:40am PST Oct. 7th, 2011.
Secondly our virtual phone account was reset a few days earlier. We hadn’t fully re-setup our account. This caused urgent voicemails left by customers to be missed. Usually multiple people within the company get a txt message if a customer leaves an urgent. This wasn’t happening.
We take full responsibility for both of these problems. I’m really sorry to anyone who was affected. We take these issues very seriously. Here is what we are going to do to prevent this from happening again:
Testing Before Releases
We have a pretty good run-through of the system that we do before each release. But obviously it was not thorough enough. We are going to create a more explicit pre-release testing checklist.
Phone System Checklist
We will create a checklist for our phone system functionality. That way if our phone system has problems or is being re-setup we have something to run through to make sure all the vital parts are working properly.
Growing = The Winning Team
MerchantOS is growing rapidly, which is awesome. This gives us more resources for development, support, and communication. It means our company is healthy and you as a customer are with a winning team. You get ever improving technology and solid support. If we aren’t moving forward, we are left behind, especially when it comes to technology.
Growing = More Complexity
The downside to growth is that it brings more complexity. Tasks that use to be small and simple have expanded and become complex. We understand and are grappling with the fact that things we use to ‘wing it’ on need to start having a system and safeguards. It’s a balancing act because you don’t want burden yourself with too many slow procedures. We’re working hard at this stuff.
Comments and Questions
Feel free to leave your thoughts and questions below. Or as always you can email or phone us.
If you are still having issues printing from Chrome, you can consult our Google Chrome manual page for more advanced setup options.
Yes, you finally have a choice between browsers!
Mozilla Firefox hasn’t worked well for all of our customers, but we officially supported Firefox because it was one of the few good browsers that allowed you to change your Page Setup.
However, Firefox’s monopoly on being able to print reliable receipts and labels is coming to an end today. If you are a Windows 7 user or are a Mac user on Lion OSX 10.7 you can now use Google Chrome to print receipts and labels. Let’s get started with the instructions for both Windows and Mac:
1. You’ll want to create a new shortcut for Google Chrome on your desktop.
2. Right-click, select Properties.
3. On the Shortcut tab you will see the Target field. At the end of C:\Users\”Computer Name”\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe append –disable-print-preview
4. Click OK
Note: If you launch an older shortcut of Google Chrome, say from your taskbar, this will not work. You want to launch Chrome from the shortcut you configured.
OSX 10.7 Lion
1. In Chrome, click File, then click Print.
2. Change your Paper Size to 72mm * 2000mm
3. You will want to change the same settings you would change in Firefox, you will start with changing Layout to Printer Features.
Note: The only difference between the Firefox setup and the Chrome setup on Macs is you do not have to go to File, then Page Setup; it’s all on the Print dialogue box.
All other functions and features work exactly the same in Google Chrome. From our testing we’ve noticed it is a much faster browser and even improves the MerchantOS user interface. We are happy to support this software so if you have any additional questions for us call our support line at 866-554-2453 ext. 0 or email us at email@example.com and we’d be glad to help.