Use Exception Reporting to Fight Shrink

Leveraging your POS system's exception reporting to run a tight ship is just one of the valuable tools that are often never fully developed by store operations. The benefits are many fold and should be explored and customized to your business. It's an ongoing effort to analyze and retool practices and processes to fight shrink by quickly identifying impropriety and product pricing issues as well as fine tune performance metrics and training.

The purpose is for monitoring, analysis, reporting and decision-making. Personalizing the various data capture settings to your environment enables management with timely, accurate, relevant, actionable information to audit and control the POS operations. It allows for management to standardize and evaluate performance expectations. If requirements are not being met a report can be reviewed with the employee to decide on appropriate action to re-train, re-assign or terminate as needed. They can also be used to identify top performers and goal achievements to promote quality and productivity. The important point is it provides a consistent fact based method for performance appraisal. More importantly these techniques can help address employee based shrink revealing impropriety via theft, sweet-hearting or simple unreported pricing issues.

Using these tools to shrink the shrink and grow a well-trained performance oriented team will promote business goals and drive the bottom line in the right direction. STCR provides POS solutions and services to assist with these critical efforts. Are you getting the results you need? Take a look at what features you could be using to incorporate these best practices into your business operations. If you’re not sure where to begin, call your STCR Sales Representative at (607) 757-0181.

About GS1 Barcodes

You have probably seen or heard about any one of several new barcode formats called GS1. The most prevalent being the little produce stickers which are GS1 Databar Stacked and Omnidirectional plus PLU and the new GS1 Databar Expanded Stacked barcodes on manufacturer coupons. See examples to the left.

First let's examine the produce sticker. It has the PLU clearly identified for compatibility with today's process then it has the GS1 barcode that contains a 14 digit number. In the US and Canada that number is made up of two leading zeros, the company prefix which can be 6 to 10 digits, the companies item reference code which is 2 to 5 digits (note this can be the universal product code or any other number the company decides on) with leading zeros to fill to position 13 and then the check digit. Like this - 00 123456 04011 3
Detailed at the website below.

Now let's examine the example coupon above. It has both the UPC type 5 coupon barcode and the new GS1 Expanded stacked barcode. Above the new barcode portion is the companies prefix (0037000) and the offer code (010752) in human readable format. Embedded in the databar portion are the application identifier, primary GS1 company prefix, the offer code, primary purchase family code, primary purchase requirement, the save value and optionally the secondary purchase requirement, secondary purchase GS1 company prefix and the secondary purchase family code.

Detailed at this website -

Your particular POS application needs to be set up to read and use these barcodes. In the case of the produce stickers the entire decoded number will need to be added to your item file to scan and ring up that item. In the case of the new coupon databar barcode your application will need to be able to understand the data fields and translate the offer code and value to an amount that will be discounted as a coupon amount.

For further research here are some useful links:
Here is a link to the GS1 US/Canada website:

Building Trusted Relationships

There have been many factors contributing to the recent state of the economy, one of the largest being relationships in the banking industry. Lending between banks and from bank to consumers has slowed down drastically. The reason most often cited by financial journalists is counterparty risk - the breakdown of trust between various parties in the financial system. Lending institutions lost trust in consumers who were struggling or could not pay their mortgages. Consumers lost trust in their financial institutions to provide them with sound advice and financial instruments.

As more businesses are moving toward an online presence and into the mobile arena, a new era has evolved where trust has become the critical component of a company’s brand. Consumers want to know that a business brand can safeguard their online identity and privacy. They want to know that the brand will do as advertised. According to financial statistics from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), there were 336,655 total complaints filed with IC3 between January and December of 2009.

More and more businesses are recognizing the importance of data security, which directly translates to consumer trust. Building and maintaining consumer trust is a key factor in online and brick-and-mortar business models. In order to build trust with the consumers, businesses must apply the same principle with its employees and its business vendors and partners. This will ensure that every part of the business is functioning like a well-oiled machine with the goal of increasing the brand’s bottom-line. In an online survey, 88% of the online shoppers said that protection of their personal data was their top concern. A study published in April 2010, researchers at UC Berkley and University of Pennsylvania found that people in all walks of life and all age groups have made the protection of their personal information a high priority. Among the findings, 88% of people of all ages said they have refused to give out information to a business because they felt that it was too personal or unnecessary.

As a retailer, meeting PCI DSS (Data Security Standard) is one of the necessary steps to build consumer trust. With your entire business practice following the PCI DSS, you greatly reduce the chance of any breach and thus safeguard any consumer personal and financial information. As the technology evolves, so does this standard. This makes it increasingly challenging for businesses to keep and maintain data security standards. This is an inevitable and critical part of the business operation to continue, maintain, and build consumer trust.

What are you Doing to Develop Loyal Customers?

What's the secret to developing a reliable lasting relationship with your customers?

Providing quality goods coupled with a high level of customer service is always a good recipe for generating repeat business, but what else should you be doing to develop a customer's loyal?

Every grocer struggles with this challenge and the answer is it's all about the relationship. And what are the cornerstones of any successful, lasting relationship, trust and communication. Trust is built and maintained over time with consistent quality goods and services. The communication, on the other hand, can be a little trickier to master. Beyond staff training and weekly ads, how and what do you communicate to your customers. This is where developing and implementing a preferred customer program tailored to your clientele and targeting specific buying habits can be invaluable. Launching a preferred customer card program can seem daunting. You can start simply rewarding enrollment in the program and offering item discounts to all members. This will get the ball rolling allowing you to begin tracking purchasing habits and getting to know your customers in a whole new way. From there you can institute specific rewards programs and target customers with receipt messages and mailings that connect in a personal way. With routine analysis of the collected customer data you can create new rewards programs, targeted marketing campaigns and direct mailing initiatives. By evaluating the success and redesigning you gain further insight into what makes your customers tick and consequently communicate that you’re listening to them and appreciate their patronage.

These efforts have proven effective across many industries and help take the relationship with your customers to a new level. This in turn will not only incent a loyal following but can also lead to a buzz on the street. This is when the magic begins and your business grows. If you're interested in learning more about preferred customer solutions contact STCR at (607) 757-0181.

How to Capitalize on Your Business Name

How much time and money did you spend identifying the name of your business? Did the name just come to you or did you enlist the help of others? Did you go back and forth before deciding? However it was determined, the process of choosing the name has likely come and gone.

Do you really know what your brand name is saying about your business? Potential customers will likely hear the name before they hear anything else. Below are a few methods small business owners have used to choose a business name:

1. Familial. Some of the world’s best companies started with a grandfather name. Simply by taking the name of the original founder, a business led by experience is created. Chances are by using a grandfather name you may have a strong personality at the head of the company. This person is likely the voice of the company and will give people a personal connection to the business. More business opportunities will be created as potential customers are able to relate to this individual.

2. Logical. Logic is a useful and often underrated way to name a business. The biggest benefit of using logic is the immediate connection to the business felt by anyone who hears the company name. Use every chance you can to remind people about your business name. Put it on the side of your company car, promote in the media, or assist local charities. Repeat the name often on your website. The more you establish your business name, the more customers will be drawn to you.

3. Localized. By using a specific location in the name of your business, you have highlighted the fact that your location is a key reason customers will visit you. Much of the value you can gain from this comes from utilizing smart ways to reach out to potential customers that are already close to your location.

4. Random. For some businesses, having a unique name is the most important element, as it can help you stand out and be memorable. If you have a distinctive name, chances are you also have created a logo or visual of that name to be recognizable in your industry. Consistency is a very big part of your business. Use it on all your printed materials, repeat it often and integrate the name into everything that you do.