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How to Successfully Implement a New POS System

Buying a new POS system can be a long process, which is why some people breathe a sigh of relief when the boxes finally arrive. Although it seems like the hard work is done, you’re not nearly there yet. It’s time to get the system set up and running, so make sure your business is prepped for success.

Don’t try this at home (or at work): There’s nothing worse than having problems right out of the box, so have a professional set up your new POS system. This will help ensure the system is properly configured and allow any troubleshooting to happen before you start using it. A professional installer will also make sure the cords are properly hidden and/or bundled neatly, so your workspace isn’t a mess with electronic clutter.

Clear the decks: You’d be surprised to hear how many people don’t have the space prepared for the new POS system by the time the technician arrives. Clear a spot on the counter or area where the system will be set up. Make sure there is adequate power and power protection, internet access and air flow. If your space isn’t ready, the installer will spend valuable time preparing it and charge you for the additional hours or days it takes to get the system up and running. These delays can be costly, so make sure you do your homework (pcAmerica gives you a checklist) before the appointment.

Take advantage of extra services: Loading a restaurant’s menus or store’s inventory can be a daunting task—especially if you have a lot of stock or your menus rotate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ask the vendor whether they will input this data onto the new POS system before it arrives—fees for this service may vary—but in the end, it’s worth it. It saves you a lot of time and you’ll be ringing sales much faster!

Get smart: Most reputable vendors offer on-site training. We recommend you pay for this service and don’t skimp—you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into buying a new POS system and you should reap the benefits of faster lines, e-receipts, loyalty programs and much more. Mistakes will cost time and resources so it’s important that employees are properly trained as well.

Eliminate double work: Once the system is up and running and everyone is trained, make sure to maximize your new technology! If the new POS system offers loyalty program functionalities, then get rid of the punch cards. If it takes many hours a week to complete the payroll and the new system offers payroll service integration, try it out. Aside from moving lines or turning tables faster, a new POS system can help you save time in many other areas of your business, so don’t underutilize it.

pcAmerica’s POS systems are used by restaurants and retailers around the world. The company offers on- and off-site training, data input, technical support, professional installations and much more.  For more information, please call a pcAmerica sales representative at 1-800-722-6374 or visit www.pcamerica.com



How Operating a Cash-Only Restaurant is Costing You Sales

Cash Register 2Cash-only restaurants seem like the perfect plan. Don’t want to accept plastic? We don’t blame you! Cash-only businesses don’t pay card processing fees (which could cost two percent of sales, depending on the processor); they receive payments immediately and face limited risk of card fraud or data breaches.

But hang on a second—in theory, cash-only restaurants sound great. But only accepting one form of payment could be costing you more money than all of the above reasons combined. There are many reasons why more than 90 percent of sit-down restaurants accept credit cards. At pcAmerica, we believe it’s worth the extra paperwork and effort to accept them and here’s why:

People expect to pay with a credit card: We’d be willing to bet that the average person carries less than $20 in cash but at least two credit cards. No one really carries cash anymore because credit cards are so widely accepted for nearly every purchase, no matter how small. Visiting a cash-only restaurant requires some advance planning, including a trip to the ATM, which means fewer walk-in customers. If your restaurant is in an area that sees a lot of foot traffic, you should think carefully about turning away customers who don’t have cash on them.

It’s harder to upsell items: A credit card provides seemingly endless purchasing power for a consumer. When someone can pay by credit card, they are less price-conscious in stores and restaurants. A customer at a cash-only restaurant may not order a second bottle of wine or an appetizer, knowing they will have to dig deeper into their wallet at the end of the meal.

Remember the two percent processing fee on each transaction? If it really concerns you, one option is to raise the price of menu items a tiny bit to cover the cost of the fees. A slight price increase and the upselling of specialty beverages or desserts will help you boost your profits.

It’s secure: And now we’re going to state the obvious: cash only means you have a lot of money at your restaurant, especially during peak shifts. It’s easier to steal cash then it is to skim credit card numbers, so it makes your establishment a tempting target.

More than 80 percent of the purchases made in restaurants are paid for via credit cards, which is business you could be missing out on if you’re operating a cash-only restaurant. For more information about finding a credit card processor or getting started with credit cards, please call pcAmerica at 1-800-722-6374 or visit www.pcamerica.com.



How to find the Best Retail POS System to Suit Your Needs

pos_retailIf you’re looking to purchase your first retail POS system or upgrade your technology, congratulations! There are a lot of things to consider before you start shopping.

First, be honest about your needs. If you operate a small boutique or single-store location, you probably don’t need the largest, fanciest POS setup. Think carefully about the software and be honest: do you need inventory management, loyalty capabilities, payroll and time keeping? It seems like common sense, but don’t choose a package that leaves out some of the important features you will use. Any reputable vendor can help you choose the components that will work with the software package you select.

Consider your budget and if you want to buy or lease a solution. Once you’ve chosen a price point that you’re comfortable with and you’ve made a list of needs and wants, you’re ready to choose the best retail POS system for you.

Some other points to consider:

Ease of use: Your new retail POS solution should be easy to use and intuitive to learn. A complicated system that requires a lot of clicks between screens, multiple steps to complete a sale or too many peripherals like a keyboard or mouse can slow things down and frustrate staff.

Get trained: Once the system is installed, it’s exciting, new and shiny. It’s tempting to take it live right away, but your business will be the only one that suffers if you start using it before everyone is prepared. Give yourself and your staff enough time to be trained thoroughly on the system.

Plan for the future: If you only own one location right now but you may want to expand in the future, the best retail POS system gives you the flexibility to add additional terminals and locations to your “network.” Once you have the network established, you can manage all of the locations from one computer, whether it’s an on-site terminal in a back office or your home computer.

pcAmerica’s Cash Register Express is used by thousands of stores around the world. To find out if it’s the best retail POS system for you, please call a pcAmerica sales representative at 1-800-722-6374 or visit www.pcamerica.com





What Do You Need from a Grocery POS?

grocery cashier - grocery posSummer is here, which means it’s time to host barbeques and outdoor parties. For many of us, that means our first stop is the grocery store and like most days, we are in a hurry! There is nothing more frustrating for your customers than whipping through their shopping only to find a long line that is keeping them from their grill.

Grocery POS systems can help the lines move faster. Although grocery POS systems use some of the same components as a regular POS system like a receipt printer, cash drawer and pole display, it also includes a scanner/scale combination that will allow your employees to weigh, scan and keep those lines moving. All of the components need to work together, so planning out a grocery POS system is actually more complicated then you may think.

First, you need a scanner/scale combo. There are two types, a stand-alone scanner scale (called an adaptive scanner scale) and an integrated scanner scale. A stand-alone scanner scale is better suited for a smaller environment, while integrated scanner scales are mostly seen at larger establishments.

A receipt printer may seem like a small thing, but it’s a critical part of the grocery POS. Since a grocery store prints hundreds of receipts per day, many grocery stores opt for the fastest option available. We also encourage you to think about the noise level. Printers range from noisy to silent and for the sake of everyone around; please choose one that works quietly.

Your grocery POS software is what makes it all work together. Make an honest list of what features you need before you choose your software, don’t get painted into a corner with a package that doesn’t offer enough functionality.

At pcAmerica, we understand your store is busy. Cash Register Express POS system has all the necessary ingredients to not only check out the customers quickly, but to track each item being sold. Even in a multi-user environment, Cash Register Express is known for its stability on the network. For more information about how you can use Cash Register Express in your grocery store, please call 1-800-722-6374 or visit www.pcamerica.com.

The Top 7 Features You Should Look for When Selecting a Retail POS System

retail posForecasters are predicting that the retail industry is poised to generate the strongest growth we’ve seen in four years.  In fact, The National Retail Federation projects that retail industry sales will rise 4.1% up from 3.5% growth in 2014.

With retail on the rise, there’s no better time to invest in and upgrade your retail point of sale system. Modern retail POS systems offer an abundance of advanced features that increase efficiency and accuracy within your business.  Let’s take a look at the top seven features you should look for when shopping for a retail point of sale system.

1. Ease of Use

The ideal retail point of sale system enables cashiers to ring up sales as quickly as possible, keeping lines short and customers happy. Ringing up an item should be as easy as scanning its bar code or touching a button on the screen, requiring as little touches as necessary to complete the transaction.

2. eCommerce Integration

Many retail stores are now multi-channel businesses. If your retail business also sells online, ensure that your POS system offers an integrated eCommerce solution to manage and track both brick-and-mortar and online sales.

3. Inventory Tracking

An accurate and robust inventory control system is a key component to your retail store’s profit margins and overall success. Your retail POS should offer integrated purchasing functionalities to track vendor lists, manage item costs, and generate and receive purchase orders. Modern retail point of sale systems also offer integrated mobile stocking software that can be used on a smart phone or tablet.

4. Theft Prevention

Unfortunately, the leading cause of retail shrink is employee theft due to both theft of cash and inventory. Your retail point of sale system should include theft prevention features that monitor discounts, no-sales, voids, and price changes and that can be accessed or restricted based on an employee’s unique login ID. Some retail POS even has security camera integration.

5. Customer Loyalty

You’ve provided the best service and quality products, but what’s next and how do you attract more customers to your store? Your retail POS system should provide the tools to generate new customers and retain current ones including automated loyalty tracking and direct marketing tools.

6. Labor Management

Gone are the days of manual time cards and hand-written store schedules. Employee scheduling and time tracking should be an integrated feature of your retail point of sale system.

7. Back Office Reporting

You spend countless hours calculating profits, expenses, and payroll. Your retail POS system should have built-in tools and reporting features that help you to manage your operations more efficiently and productively.

For more information about selecting the best retail POS system for your business, contact a pcAmerica account manager at 1-800-722-6374 or visit www.pcamerica.com


Meet Punkey: the Newest Threat to POS Security

Although it’s name—Punkey—conjures up images of cuddly pet rabbits, this new threat to POS security is anything but cute. Punkey has been called “a new malicious program” by PC World because it casts a very wide net. This RAM scraping program is capable of infiltrating both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows-based POS terminals. Not only is Punkey able to steal credit card data while the payment is being processed, it also installs a key logger to capture data that employees type into the system.

RAM Scraping? What is it?             

RAM Scraping is not something your dentist does (although it does sound equally painful). You also don’t keep a RAM scraper in your car in case of ice or snow. RAM actually stands for Random Access Memory and it’s where your customer’s credit card data is stored—unencrypted—for mere milliseconds in your POS terminal’s memory while the payment is verified. It is in these tiny fractions of a second when the memory is vulnerable to being scraped and numbers can be stolen. This technology is actually several years old but it’s back on the scene as of the more effective tools that can be used to compromise POS security.

Keylogger delivers a double whammy

According to PC World, card numbers and info keyed in (three digit security codes or expiration dates, for example) are captured by the keylogger and immediately encrypted before being sent back to a server. This presents a problem for merchants who think typing in the three-digit-codes on the backs of credit cards will give them another layer of POS security. Punkey whisks it all away before anyone catches on.

It’s Smart

Punkey is ready for battle. Not only can this malware compromise your POS security, steal numbers and other information, it can also update itself and download and run other tools that can harm your POS terminal and compromise your operations. The keylogger could mean privacy breaches at even higher levels—if home addresses or phone numbers are entered into the system as well as payment information.

There are ways for you to safeguard your POS security so your system stays malware-free and your customers’ payment cards are protected. For more information about which hardware and technology is the most effective, please call your pcAmerica

EMV Liability Shift: Don’t Panic, But Start Planning


The EMV liability shift takes effect in October of 2015. Start preparing now.

Chip-and-PIN” technology or EMV has been in use in Europe for several years.  Here’s how it works: credit and debit cards have a chip embedded in them and once the card is swiped, users have to enter a pin number to complete a transaction. It’s estimated that this technology has cut down incidents of fraud by 65 percent over the last 10 years.  For the US, the world’s largest user of credit and debit cards, this could be an effective tool in fighting credit card theft.

Despite Americans’ love for plastic, we are well behind other areas of the world that are shifting to EMV, but that is all changing. The US is expected to transition to EMV (which stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa) over the next several years and will require billions of dollars in security upgrades. Some things will happen sooner than you think– starting in October 2015, you’ll see the payment networks liability shift that is anticipated along with the changeover to EMV.

What is the EMV liability shift?

In the Fall, it’s expected that the cost related to fraudulent transactions will shift from the banks to merchants if the merchants haven’t upgraded their equipment to EMV.  That means businesses no longer have the credit card companies’ protections to fall back on—they’re are on the hook for  losses related to fraudulent transactions.

Another reason you need to be concerned about the EMV liability shift is because US-based payment cards will be inherently less secure than its European counterparts. Instead of requiring a PIN for each transaction as in Europe, US-based chip cards will require a signature. It’s easier to sign your name than it is to remember a pin, but the US preference for signatures leaves consumers vulnerable to fraud.

The end result: transition over to NFC terminals or pay the price—literally. This doesn’t mean you have to race out right now to purchase EMV-ready terminals, but if you haven’t even thought about it, you should start planning. A technology upgrade can be costly for a small-to-medium-sized business but it’s worth it. If the EMV liability shift isn’t going to affect you immediately—say your business doesn’t accept payment cards or most of your sales are small—then you’ve got little to worry about.

The bottom line is, start formulating a plan now if you haven’t already. As EMV payment liability shifts, being a victim of credit card fraud will be a far more expensive lesson if you don’t have the proper terminals in place.


4 Questions to Ask Before Going with Mobile POS


 mobile POS

What you should know before choosing a mobile POS solution.

As more restaurants turn to tablet solutions, we’re seeing an increase in the number of owners and managers who are considering the transition from a stationary POS terminal to a mobile solution. Here are four questions you should ask before taking the plunge into tablet POS.

1.  Should we buy, rent, or use our own equipment?

This depends on the nature of your business. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. If you choose to buy your hardware, you pay more upfront, but then you’re done with that expense.

Leasing makes more sense for a business that only needs the equipment for a short time (i.g., a pop-up store, special event, etc.) Leasing is also a good option for start-ups that don’t want to front a lot of cash for a restaurant point of sale. If your funds are limited, leasing might be a good way to go.

Using your own equipment is a great idea if your hardware is relatively new. Most re

staurant mobile POS software packages require a newer operating system to run at maximum efficiency, so if your tablet is more than a few years old or collecting dust in the basement, it may need updated before you can start using it.

2. Should we use a standard or custom solution?

Again, that depends. If your business handles standard transactions and your municipality has no complicated tax laws, you can probably use a standard, out-of-the box mobile solution. But if your town or state requires special taxes (for example, the soda tax in California), or you want to accept coupons or implement a loyalty plan, you may need some customizations done to ensure your business is in compliance.

3. Who is going to host, manage and process payments?

If you opt to purchase your restaurant mobile POS solution from an established vendor, they can give you a list of processors they work with. Remember, there’s usually a caveat emptor if you want to work with a company offering a “free” POS.  Although you aren’t required to lay out any money up front, you’ll be locked into their processor for a number of years. If you choose your own processor, you can negotiate the rate, whereas the “free” POS may end up costing you more in the long run. Remember, nothing is ever free.

4. What are the transaction costs?

Some mobile POS vendors offer a flat, fixed rate per transaction. This is great if you sell a lot of high-ticket items, but it’s probably not the best option for a restaurant. If you own a coffee shop or a quick service restaurant where most transactions are between $10 – $20, it makes more sense for you to shop around for a vendor that will charge you a percentage of each sale.

At pcAmerica, we believe in mobile POS technology and have seen first-hand the benefits that this platform provides. A mobile solution means less waiting for everyone involved: diners wait less time for tables, receive their meals faster, and pay the check right at the table without the common back-and-forth to deliver the check, pick up the payment and then return with the change or credit card slip.  Servers will spend less time waiting to input orders into a stationary POS terminal and will turn tables faster, allowing for a higher level of service, more tips, and overall higher profit margins for the restaurant.

Restaurant Pro Express Mobile is ideal for a variety of hospitality environments including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, stadiums or any environment where wireless POS capability is needed. Using Restaurant Express Mobile, business owners will find all of the features they expect on a stationary point of sale terminal on an Apple® iPod touch® or iPhone®.

For more information about integrating Restaurant Pro Express Mobile with your current system, please contact a pcAmerica account manager at 1-800-722-6374.

Four Line Busting Myths Busted!

A mobile solution with line busting capability is a practical, long-term solution that will ensure shorter lines, less waiting, and a more pleasant experience for shoppers, diners and employees. However, some people still have their reservations about mobile POS, so the pcAmerica team wants to address some of these myths head-on to alleviate any concerns you may have.

Myth 1: Credit card and payment information isn’t safe.

Depending on the platform, mobile POS solutions have to comply with the same security standards as traditional POS terminals. The exception to this rule is iPad-based solutions, because the PCI Council hasn’t developed any guidelines for these systems yet.

Myth 2: Mobile checkout is a fad and it isn’t really efficient.

Actually, mobile checkout is an effective tool that allows retail stores to move lines faster. When it’s done properly, mobile POS can help free up floor space dedicated to cash wraps and make more room for new displays and products. People will appreciate shorter waits and will be more likely to return in the future.

Myth 3: Mobile POS systems aren’t as reliable as traditional POS systems.

Mobile technology has advanced since it was first unveiled a few years ago. These days, a feature-rich mobile POS package can perform as many functions as a traditional POS system. Choose your system smartly though, don’t select a software package that will shortchange your technology needs because you want to work with a certain piece of hardware. Select the software first and then see what hardware it works with and go from there.

Myth 4: Mobile POS is expensive and will cost my business money.

Eventually, it may cost your business money to not implement mobile POS. Long lines, especially during peak shopping times or holiday season may cause people to abandon their purchases in store and go somewhere else to find they products they want. People are busy and they don’t want to come to your store and spend extra time waiting on line.

It’s never been more affordable to implement a mobile POS and different companies may offer payment plans, leasing options or a “free” POS with a signed contract with their credit card processor. We say “free” because it’s important to read the small print—after doing the math, you may realize the “free” mobile POS is actually quite costly.

For more information about mobile POS, please contact your account manager at pcAmerica at 1-800-722-6374.


Tablet POS Buyer’s Guide

tablet-pos-stationTablet point-of-sale solutions are cost-effective, space-saving solutions for any business. Right now, we are seeing tablet POS stations used as both a primary POS solution and as complimentary technology to a traditional, full-sized POS setup. Tablets take up less space and cost less to implement, but underneath its glossy and attractive exterior, a tablet POS system may or may not be the best choice for your business. How do you know?

If you are shopping for a new tablet POS, first consider how it will be used. Are you setting up the system at a bar or an area where it could get wet or hot? Will your staff be carrying the tablets? Tablets or iPads left unattended could disappear, so consider purchasing a specialized enclosure to help protect and secure it to a wall or counter.

For people who are accustomed to using a tablet or iPad at home, it’s easy to learn and use a tablet-based POS solution. Users literally need to point at what they want they want to select–something they’ve already learned to do on their Smartphones and other mobile devices. Giving staff technology they are already familiar with means they will be more confident at the checkout and make fewer mistakes. In addition, less points and clicks will help lines move faster.

Tablet POS solutions also differ from a more traditional POS solution in terms of peripherals. If you need a bar code scanner, receipt printer and customer display, be sure to purchase a tablet that has enough ports and can support all of the peripherals you need. If your tablet doesn’t happen to have enough ports, the solution is to buy a powered USB hub.

Finally, regardless of whether you choose a traditional POS terminal or a tablet-based solution, be ready for the installation team when they arrive. This means having the area where the system will be set up clear of debris with ample air flow space around the system. A tablet solution will require less space, while a traditional terminal will obviously need more. Be sure that there is power running to the area, internet access (if necessary) and power protection available.

For more information on tablet POS and if it’s right for you, please call your pcAmerica sales representative at 1-800-722-6374 or email sales@pcamerica.com.