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Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

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Old 22-06-12
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Default Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

Hi

I am looking to buy a small established retail business, which has a very basic cash register and no customer database.

I would really like to set up a loyality program to aquire new customers, retain current customers and reward the best customers. I would also like to have a computerised system which keeps track of what products are sold, who has bought them, etc.

The shop doesnt have a bar code scanner and sells a lot of locally made food products, which dont have bar codes on them. So i dont need this facility on the cash register.

I have been reading about CRM's, which i just discovered means Customer Relationship Management, so i guess i need something like this.

What systems do other people use in similar businesses? Can you buy a cash register with all this on it? or do you buy software which links in with your cash register?? I am not a partically computer minded person, so answers in plain English would be appreciated!!!

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Old 22-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

HI There,

I can't really help with retail software, though I'm sure if you google POS software, there will be heaps of reading for you.

On the basic CRM front, if you use GMail, Insightly is a great little free CRM. You also have ACT! by Sage which is a stand alone CRM. ACT! is under the $200 mark but wont integrate with a cash register system.

I think you may be looking into the thousands in software and hardware for what you really want

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Old 22-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

I know that MYOB has a range of retail/POS software packages (http://myob.com.au/products/small-bu...-1258090695053) - whether these will work for what you're describing I am not really sure.

I actually use the Sage Act! software that AgentMail mentioned - and, find it does pretty much everything from a customer management perspective.

I have used it for years and years and just recently upgraded to their newest version (from memory was about $350 - for the full thing, you don't need an older version to get it at this price) and it does just about everything... keep track of customers details, what they have bought - and what they have spent etc (and be able to run reports in every which way you can imagine) and also has a built in marketing suite that allows you to automate emails to customers (i.e. if you wanted to do a newsletter or let them know of specials, or to introduce new products - as well as things like "Welcome" letters). It also has a built in calendar/to-do list type thing so you can attach reminders to particular customers easily. You can even set up your email in the software so that if you email a customer it automatically makes a note on their file etc. Once you are familiar with the program it's simple to use.

On re-reading that... perhaps I should get a job as an Act! sales person!

Best of luck with it.

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Old 23-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

Hi
Thanks for the feedback.

So just to clarify, the Act! software doesnt intergrate with the cash register, so if i sell items to someone who is in my loyality club, i would have to key in the information at the time on Act! and then again on my cash register?

That might be a bit difficult if we were busy and it is double handling too, unless i just use the cash register to enter just the total $ and record the individual purchases in Act! under the customers name/loyality card number.

I am familiar with MYOB and Quickbooks too.

I obviously need to research this all a little bit more!!

Thanks

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Old 23-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

Have you thought about a cloud based POS system? The best thing about these systems is you can be anywhere in the world and be able to access all your data (sales, customers etc) from any computer. You just need to log on!

I currently use POSLavu which I haven't had any problems with. It is designed for hospitality (bars and restaurants) so I'm not sure about the CRMs capabilities. The cost was an iPad ($500ish), cash drawer ($100ish) and iPad/iPhone app ($850ish) plus $30 a month for cloud storage. The back office is easy to navigate and I can add/change items from home or work. I just love that I can see what is happening in the business at any time day or night.

The reason I went with cloud based was I found that buying a terminal, cash draw and software (for tills and the back office) was going to cost 3 or 4 times more (I was quoted up to $10 000 by one company). The iPads are small and look great. I love having the cloud available at any time. I love that when a new feature is released all I need to do is update the app (for free!).

Issues - I can't (yet) integrate it into MYOB however the system is new and I'm sure that feature will come very soon. And if the cloud goes down at company headquarters then I can't use the system. This has only happened to me once in the year I've had it and it was fixed within the hour (it did happen at around midnight on a Saturday but that is peak time for a bar so a little stressful).

I did a quick google search 'cloud based POS systems' and found http://www.posterita.com/ which does have CRMs. This was the top result so I'm sure there are more out there.

Good luck!

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Old 24-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

You'll also need an accounting programme that links in to all that. Otherwise you just shift the record-keeping task to another level and still be doing double-entry of the figures.

For POS have a look at http://www.saasu.com/pos/ and then talk to a Saasu partner in your area about adding a suitable CRM for a retail business. You may find that most of what's available is overkill for the scale of the business and/or impossible to maintain when busy.

My suggestion would be to record what you can about who buys what manually at first (on a clipboard by the register, for example). Initially, you'll only get to know people's names if they pay with a credit/debit card, but you'll soon recognize the regular customers well enough to ask their name if they are paying with cash. Then you can think about offering some kind of customer loyalty card.

However, be prepared for many customers who would prefer not to have you track their purchases. No software will be as good as your personal interaction with your customers. Better to spend time and energy giving the best possible service than being distracted by the task of recording who made each and every purchase.

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Old 25-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

Another alternative might be to consider the following:
I haven't had direct experience with the add-ons mentioned, but am a huge fan of Xero to handle the accounting side of things for small businesses.

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Old 25-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

I run a heavily modded version of oscommerce, but you need to be slightly techy to run it.

I've looked at Lightspeed (Mac based) and it's pretty fantastic. I know several small businesses that use and love it.

If you want to run a CRM, you aren't going to be able to do it on a cash register, unless you spend ALOT of $$ getting something integrated.

You wouldn't need a cash register, just a cash drawer.

I just can't justify the $$ to change over, when I have invested so much in oscommerce to get it the way I want it.

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Old 25-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

I've used and setup several sites with Retail Manager (RM) and they work well. This is a MYOB product as mentioned above. This will integrate in to MYOB accounting software as well. And is built with Microsoft Access which I have had programmers able to access the data in the Retail Manger database and add extra. There are partners with MYOB who have different types of CRM integration.

I have RM networked at a couple of sites as well and works well.

You can make your own bar codes for items that don't have barcodes and print them out as well.

For a basic set up of RM with barcode scanner, cash draw and receipt printer, as Retail Ready RRP is $999 plus a computer to run it, I have only used Retail Manager at $1999 plus the hardware about $800 up, and a computer.

I how this doesn't confuse you anymore.

Regards

Tim Giles

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Old 26-06-12
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Default Re: Cash registers,CRM's & technology = Help!!

Hi,

I'll add to a couple of the comments in this thread in favour of a cloud option.

I have set up Vend as a point of sale solution for a number of clients, usually with Xero as the back office accounting solution. Easy to set up and use, no upfront cost for the software, plus can run on a PC or Mac, or on an i-Pad. Lots of advantages for a new business!

Cheers, Rhys

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