MK500 Price Checker

Price checkers are a very important part of a successful store and are a very important piece to a successful Supermarket. They are known to improve your customer service and the shopping experience. It helps retailers put the power of self-service in every aisle or department for their customers.
Price checkers allow customers, on demand customer service, no matter where they are in the store. People in general do not like asking for help. If a customer has to ask for a price it becomes a hassle and most of the time they will just put that item back. By having a price checker available to your customers, you are giving them the opportunity to check the price of their items at their convenience and they don’t have to take time away from your cashiers.

STCR Business Systems is now selling the new Symbol MK500 price checkers. They are very compact and are very easy to install and use. These machines are very durable so, as a business owner, you don’t have to worry about your customers potentially breaking them. If you are interested in purchasing even one of these units, please call your STCR Business Systems representative at (607)757-0181.

IBM Executive Briefing Center

STCR had the opportunity to visit IBM’s Executive Briefing Center in Research Triangle Park, NC with one of their customers. The purpose was to learn more about the innovations of IBM Retail Store Solutions (RSS). It was quite the experience for both of us.
A few facts learned are:

• Retail Store Solution established in 1972
• 2 Million + POS shipped and installed
• 65% of the Top Retailers use IBM
• 16 year Leader in POS patent (4,100 patents in 2009)
• 40% of staff has 10+ years with IBM
• 10 year commitment to service and support on products once introduced
• Improvement in EFF increased about 35% which saves about $25/machine a year
Our group was taken on a tour of the RSS Development & Test Lab. We have always known IBM designed their Retail Store Solutions to exceed industry standards and for years we’ve touted this higher standard but this brought things to a whole new perspective.
First, this facility is larger then the inside of Giant Stadium. Half of it is filled with equipment running and diagnosing all of IBM’s Retail Software. All customer issues in the US go through this facility. The other half of this facility is where these machines are put to the physical test. Needless to say this is what really impressed us. It is like a torture chamber for the POS, each part of the system is exposed to various torture devices.

One station had a Touch Screens that had a gallon of water tossed at it while another underwent water boarding (placed under a container that drips gallons of water over it) and still another has a pinball machine like test performed on it to ensure the screen picks up movement. The printers are constantly printing and cutting; printing and cutting to stimulate several years of wear and tear. The terminals are electrically shocked and exposed to extreme temperatures (-40 – 140 degrees). Cash drawers loaded with nuts and bolts were mechanically opened and closed at various points to simulate a cashier’s habits. Dirt was replicated and deposited in machines to simulate years of accumulation and put into a device that accelerates use.

This tour was only an hour of a 2 day trip but what an impression it left. It reinforces our belief that IBM equipment is the best out there and STCR is the right company to bring it to you. If you are interested in visiting the IBM Executive Briefing Center please contact your sales representative at (607) 757-0181 and they will set things in motion.

Discounts and Health Foods

Reducing the price of healthy foods could place more whole grains, carrots and bananas in shopping carts, even months after the discounts are removed.

As rates of obesity continue to rise in much of the developed world, so does the urgency to improve people's food choices. Researcher Dr. Cliona Ni Mhurchu of the University of Auckland in New Zealand and her team conducted a six-month trial across eight supermarkets to determine the effects of two strategies: price discounts and nutrition education.

A total of 1,104 shoppers were randomized to receive a price discount on healthy foods, tailored nutrition education, a combination of the two or no intervention. Healthy foods were 12.5 percent cheaper for those randomized to receive discounts. Participants in the nutrition education group received monthly packages of food-group-specific information tailored to their shopping history. All supermarket purchases were recorded with handheld barcode scanners.

According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, after six months of intervention, participants receiving price discounts bought approximately 1.7 more pounds of healthy food per week compared with those not randomized to pay the lower prices.

This was an 11 percent increase from purchases made prior to the study and included just over a pound more fruits and vegetables per week or about six servings. The total difference dropped to around 0.8 pounds, but remained significant, six months after the study was over. No consistent differences were found between the groups in the amounts of purchased saturated fat or other nutrients.

Study participants were generally more informed and interested in healthy eating than average individuals. Nutrition enthusiast or not everyone likes a bargain. The price reductions may have provided an additional incentive over health to buy healthier foods. Although these reductions didn't change the quantity of unhealthy food purchased, almost two thirds of the additional healthy purchases were fruit and vegetables.

Balancing Daily

Regardless of the point of sale software you use today, it is very important to balance any external accounts on a daily basis. This applies to all of the electronically processed tenders you handle.

When you ring sales and tender the transactions using electronic tender, the customer’s information is sent to your credit card processor and an approval is normally returned. This amount then logs to the cashiers accounting file. For some of the forms of tender in today's systems the option exists to either sign the slip of paper or sign on the register's pin pad. Then the electronic signature is stored somewhere on the system for later retrieval. In the past the slips of paper would be picked up from the cashier’s accountability and moved to the stores accountability. Now that the electronic record is created some stores automatically move the accountability to the office at the time of the transaction. This does simplify and speed up the process. The down side of doing this is that now the transaction is totally electronic and some stores have taken the POS reports to be the final total for the store. What is forgotten is somehow the same amount of money needs to be deposited into the stores bank account to make the entire transaction complete.

Different POS systems and credit card processors vary with the method to compare what the store has processed and what the processor is giving you credit for. Some POS systems show you a one report comparison; others have a separate web site that reports what credit the processor has given you credit for. Sometimes the reports do not match and this is normally because some transactions were taken off line and should show up as an overage on the next days report.
Finally the most important step of the process is to implement a method that the credit transactions are tracked to make sure the money expected actually makes it all the way to your bank account.