Customer Survey

Everyday retailers think about how to increase their profits. Many of the ideas come from years of researching buying patterns. How often is the consumer asked “what made you buy that?” or “why do you shop at one store over another?”

The NGA (National Grocers Association) has done a consumer survey report covering many topics from where consumers spend most of their money to nutritional concerns. There are many variables in the decision to shop in one store over another. Some of the items that were most important were:

• Store cleanliness - 83%
• High-quality fruits and Vegetables – 90%
• Low Prices – 51%
• High Quality Meats - 76%
• Convenient Location – 36%
• Store Layout – 44%

The survey showed that 85% of the consumers do most of their food shopping in the traditional supermarket/grocery store. 5% shop at mass merchandisers and 3% said they shop at specialty foods store and warehouse clubs.

PCI Deadlines in July 2010

July 1, 2010 is the deadline for merchants to meet a number of PCI requirements:

* Debit and creit pins must be TDES from the payment terminal.
* All pin pads that are not VISA PED or PCI PED must be removed from service.
* All applications that “Store, Process or transmit cardholder information” must be PA-DSS compliant.

The Payment Card industry data security standard states that Pin entry Devices (PED) must use Triple Data Encryption (TDES). TDES means the pin number entered by the consumer has been encrypted multiple times making it much harder for a hacker to break. The standard also covers the device characteristics and management; how the pin pad is designed, produced, transported and stored.
Visa has said that it will not fine acquirers until July 1, 2012 but acquirers can fine merchants any time after July 1, 2010. A list of approved pin pads can be found here:

If you don’t know if your pin pads meet the requirements it is best to contact your processor to find out and, if necessary, have the pin pads replaced.


Also July 1 is the Visa deadline for merchants to be using a POS system that meets the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS). This standard was formerly called Payment Application Best Practices (PABP) and is the guideline for software developers to follow in order to build payment applications that are safe. Once a system is validated as being PA-DSS compliant it shows up on a list of approved applications at If the POS application in use at your store is not on the list it should be replaced or upgraded. Yes, the version matters if your POS is at a different version than what shows on the list, it may need to be upgraded.

Although the deadlines mentioned above are important milestones on the PCI track PCI compliancy encompasses much more. For more information about PCI and the PCI Security Standards Council visit

Know Your POS

You may not be a mechanic yet you may be surprised on how much you really know about cars. Why does your car need gas? What does oil do? Tires are good for what? And what does the engine do? You may not be an expert in cars yet you do have a basic understanding of them. The same should be true with your POS system.

Get to know your equipment. Like a car your POS system is made up of different parts that work together to move your business forward.

What does your controller/server do? Your controller/ server processes transaction information for your accounting and reporting. It also handles item maintenance.

What devices create your network? Hubs/switches are the devices that create your network.

How can STCR connect into your store? The answer to this question is usually store specific. STCR offers a range of options for connecting to your store such as LogMeIn and PCAnywhere

How does your store communicate with your credit card processor? STCR supports multiple EFT processors and multiple ways to communicate with them. Satellite or high speed internet are the current popular choices for communication, yet the choice is yours.
A basic understanding of the answers to these questions is the key to keep your business running smoothly. Knowing where your equipment is located is just as important as knowing what it does.

Kosher Food on the Rise

In an era of concern over food contamination, allergies and the origin of ingredients, the market for kosher food among non-Jewish is setting records. A 2009 Mintel consumer survey shows that the primary reason people buy kosher is for food quality (62%), followed by “general healthfulness” (51%). The third reason is for food safety (34%), which contrasts sharply to the 14% of respondents who claim they buy kosher food because they follow kosher religious rules.

According to the kosher and halal food initiative, a research project at Cornell University, the non-Jewish kosher market has been growing in rapidly since the 1990s. Today, 40 percent of the food sold at grocery stores has a kosher imprint. Due to the large number of products marked as kosher, many customers do not even realize they are purchasing a kosher product. According to Packaged Facts, a research company, kosher spending could reach $260 billion by 2013.

Many major manufacturers are kosher-certified, offering kosher products under popular house-hold brands such Nestle, Coca-Cola, Oreo, Kraft, Lay’s potato chips, Crisco, Lipton and Heinz Ketchup. As the number of companies seeking kosher-certification rises, kosher is becoming the standard for food ingredients. In general, there is demand for a greater diversity of mainstream kosher food products. This year, for the first time, glatt kosher food will be sold at the Super Bowl.