With the latest in CCTV, you can.
Is it necessary?
Security systems always sound expensive and you are never sure what the benefits are, but with the new integrated CCTV system from Zenith EPoS, you get a sophisticated monitoring and recording system at a very affordable price.
Connected to as many as 16 tills, using 4 to 64 cameras, the Vigilant Digital Video Recorders are linked to the activity on your tills, providing great control and feedback.
Search for the exact footage you need
If you are experiencing staff problems, whether mistakes due to lack of training or ineptitude or more serious fraudulent activity, then this system will give you the information you need.
If you have to find something specific to resolve an issue, you can go straight to the relevant section easily by searching for keywords on the receipt (refund or credit, for example), for any staff or product name or even for transaction amounts (like ‘less than £20.00’).
The footage will show you what happened at the point of sale and you can determine the cause of the problem.
Or you can record specific point of sale events on a regular basis. So, if you are having problems with refunds, for example, you can set to record all refunds.
Sort out staff training and behaviour issues quickly and easily, before too much valuable income is lost.
Control PTZ cameras and set to follow movement, etc. and use the digital zoom to hone in on specific events.
You can also access cameras remotely through your desktop browser (Windows and Mac), or by streaming to your android, i-phone or tablet.
Access levels can be set for different members of staff and all footage can be saved and backed up directly onto DVD.
This control means instant resolution of issues, again saving you time and money. Some situations could even be looked at live and feedback given straight away to staff. This is even more helpful with multi-site operations.
If you would like to see everything that’s going on in your business, then it might be time to consider an integrated CCTV system – it could save you a great deal of time and money.
Call Phil Stackhouse now on 0117 963 2200 to find out what’s happening in your business.
As any successful bar operator knows, complete control of all aspects of stock is imperative to keep costs down and maximise profits. But how is it possible?
A 360° view
Searflo simplifies your stock control by providing a live record of all draught sales – beer, wine and spirits. You can literally see what is happening right now, or during a particular period or service, by staff member, by bar, by site. Enter the parameters and take a snap shot, any time.
It can also be connected to post-mix syrup flow and even your coffee grinder.
If two pints are sold, but only one paid for, you will know straight away. If full measures are not being delivered, or over-generous measures are, you have the information at your fingertips.
Want to know how last weeks’ lunch promotion went; or the happy hour sales? Searflo will give you a numeric or graphic analysis that keeps you in control of your business.
Real time analysis
Searflo connects to your lines and your EPoS till, so you have live information on every transaction. It records what happens on the till, when it happens – drinks and food sales are recorded at the time of entry to the bar tab, not when the payment is made, which could be hours later.
You can also access remotely in order to keep tabs on several bars on one site or multiple sites. This means accurate spot checks or regular monitoring of known problems or unresolved issues.
With options to purchase, lease or rent, this level of control can be made available to a variety of operations, from independent pubs, to multi-site operations.
Not only will you not break the bank, the return in greater control over stock and profits turns Searflo into an investment for pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants.
This system will dovetail into most EPoS systems and can be used for all products. So, all your stock can be added to the software, giving you full financial information on all aspects of your business, not just wet sales and not just draught products.
If you also have CCTV connected to your EPoS system, you can all but eliminate staff errors and fraud.
Are you are looking for more control of your business and increased profits? Then talk to Phil Stackhouse at Zenith EPoS now: 0117 963 2200.
Find out how Searflo can ensure you never lose a drop of beer again.
Following on from our last post about the VX-100 and reading a case study about the Casio android EPoS terminal, the full force of why any business might want a cloud solution began to hit me.
The article above talks a lot about remote access. This is a huge advantage if you are not on site all the time, or own more than one site. To analyse data from anywhere, at any time, is invaluable.
You can react to specific situations like flagging stock levels immediately; you can identify and correct mistakes in an instant; you can identify unusually busy periods in real time and coordinate staff accordingly.
One issue often quoted in relation to cloud is security, but there is vulnerability in any internet connection. It is essential to maintain protection for all networks and have strong access protocols for all remote users. There is even the ability to use biometric identification.
The cloud also enables the new Casio Tablets to be used on site. These are great for warehouse/stockrooms and for staff to better engage with and provide more information for customers. This can speed up and improve the customer experience and allow more transactions to be completed during busy periods.
The tablets even have their own built in security with non-contact smart card access, and also a Secure Access Module (SAM).
This is where you can really engage with your customers. More information, more quickly, means better targeted promotional campaigns; continuing the promotion from on site to the web – directly to your customers and prospects via social media; you will also have connection capabilities to Google Mail and Maps and even public transport timetables.
Then there is the e-catalogue which enables orders to be taken and delivery arranged, all at the point of sale.
And there is the Casio app store. These apps have been developed to help retailers fight back against online shoppong, to get better customer engagement and make up-selling easier and to better handle stock control and ordering.
These Android applications are available from the Casio Business Portal for trial:
YReciepts – customised email receipts
AirPOS – cloud EPoS and e-commerce software
Hotelier Lite – reservation management software
AlfaRichi – instantly available and constantly updated sales data
So cloud really does have the ability to evolve your business; give you constant, real time information; greater control of finances; and empower your marketing. Perhaps the question should be ‘Why not cloud?’.
The V-R100 is the new EPoS system from Casio running on the open-source Android platform.
This is an industry first and will make EPoS even more versatile and give business owners even more sophisticated sales and business management.
Features include better targeted customer loyalty activity, including advertising messages on the pop-up LCD customer display module; e-catalogue to take orders and arrange delivery at the point of sale; promotional activity through social media, real-time public transport information; connection to Gmail and Google Maps.
The implications here for marketing are obvious: competing better with online retail sales; up-selling and promoting offers and news at point of sale; and engaging more directly with customers and prospects online.
However, there is still more to the V-R100.
The machine is faster and speeds up service to customers and handles applications and interaction with other software, like customer database, with ease. It uses less electricity (up to 85% less) than conventional PC-based systems and has a built in printer with no connection or power cables required.
With the Android comes a 10.4 inch, splash-proof touch screen, electronically adjusted display screen, integrated pop-up display window for payment details and promotional messages and optional cash drawer with a wide selection of interfaces.
How will it help my business?
The easy to understand interface supports centralised management of customer database, sales and reservation information. The database software is pre-loaded and happily talks to the other software to give you the information you need.
Combine visit frequency with sales value, for example, to classify customers into specific groups and types and talk to them separately, in language and with information that is relevant to them: devise specific promotions for each customer group; provide rewards and discount schemes that again are individually tailored.
Display all information about a customer, as and when they book, to better engage and remember customer preferences. The reservation management software easily and quickly shows you all information about a customer as you are talking to them and will also allow you to add special instructions, even down to table plans for the booking or delivery instructions.
The V-R100 can receive email from PC or mobile device. Emails can include instructions which the software will act on and execute. So vital information can be updated and/or retrieved remotely and all software will be updated, across any number of tills..
And the system is scalable. It will grow with your business and adapt to the changes you need to ensure your success now and into the future.
For more information, call Phil Stackhouse at Zenith EPoS now: 0117 963 2200
Further details about the Casio V-R100 on the Casio website
Electronic point of sale is not just about the cash register, but also the software behind it and how this integrates with your existing business processes. Here we look at the steps you will need to go through in order to make the best decision for your business.
Your business objectives
Why are you thinking about EPoS and what do you need to get out of it?
Will it be a stand alone system, with little integration required, but simply used to improve service? Or are you looking for help with sales information, stock control, accounting or customer relationship management?
Are you looking to integrate with CCTV, website sales or online bookings?
And what are your marketing objectives behind these requirements? Are you looking to increase turnover, profit, reduce staff or other costs, slow churn rates or increase customer base?
What hardware do you need? A cash register presumably, but you might need scanners, mobile PDA’s, wireless router, printers, scales, CCTV equipment, chip and pin.
Do you need customer display, to take payment at table, keyboard or touchscreen?
What software are you looking for? You can integrate with accounting packages like Sage, stock control systems, including supply chain links. You can integrate with customer database software and your website so that online and offline sales are co-ordinated.
There may be industry specific software you can use or you may require something simpler and more generic or more bespoke.
Are you looking for an on-site system or a cloud-based system? This is still fairly new, but it is possible and will not take too long to enter the mainstream.
What support will you get and how much extra will it cost you. If you are operating outside of normal office hours, you will want to be sure you can fix problems as and when they occur.
This can be particularly agonising if you have hardware and software from two different suppliers, each blaming the other over a specific problem.
Also, what training will you get beforehand, so that you and your staff can hit the ground running? No customer likes to see a member of staff agonising over a new till when all they want is their food, item of clothing, hotel room, etc.
This leads on to the supplier themselves. Are they reputable, credible and listening to you? In any event you should talk to more than one potential supplier.
Can they supply references? Look at testimonials on their website. Have they a couple of current customers you can ring and chat with? What is their install, warranty and refund policy?
Make sure you have a proper demonstration, all your questions are answered satisfactorily and that you feel comfortable with not just the person you are dealing with but the company as a whole.
Any system is going to represent a significant investment for your business and you will want to ensure you get the best price possible. It is easy to say that price should not be the most important consideration, but when you have pressures on all costs, as most businesses do these days, every penny counts.
Nevertheless, the most important aspect is the suitability for your business. Get that right and the system should pay for itself within two-three years. Make sure it does what you need; it works with your existing set-up; is right for your customers and staff and choose the best supplier for the job.
Often the cheapest supplier may not be the best. Will they give you the equipment and support you need for the money? Will they still be around in two years time? Don’t make savings now that could cost more later.
You probably know the basics, at least, of what EPoS can achieve for your business, but do you know everything?
Did you know, for example, that there is software that will link to your suppliers, enabling you to track orders door to door and see where problems occur? Or that your customers could book a table in your restaurant directly from your website?
Improve Stock Control
It is the obvious place to start, but that’s because it is a crucial part of your business – too much stock and you are tying up cash, not enough and you lose not only that sale, but possibly all future sales with that customer as well.
The software available with electronic point of sale can help you maintain the correct stock holding, warn of low stock, allow for automatic re-ordering and give you immediate, real-time stock reports.
Your inventory management is enhanced: you can monitor trends through the day, week or season and identify slow and fast moving and most profitable lines; see if price or product changes affect sales of stock; and let customers know in advance if stock is low or out, via your staff or your website.
Integrate Sales Information
Save time with your accounting requirements. Link your tills directly into your accounting package and have constant, up-to-date information.
You will cut down on errors, save paperwork and improve your records for the accountant and the tax man.
EPoS also enables you to aggregate site specific sales with online sales. This means there is no confusion or delay between sales in different areas of your business causing problems for your staff and customers.
Work closely with your supply chain
Not only can you automate orders, you can link directly with your suppliers via hand-held devices that can track goods, monitor timings and any delays, report stock levels at the warehouse which might affect your purchasing decisions and keep track of delivery in real time.
Giving suppliers important information about your customer purchasing trends and marketing activity also helps them ensure they have the right products at the right time – they don’t want to lose a sale either.
Improve speed and accuracy
Because you are not entering the same information several times, there are great time savings to be made. Multiple user facilities, accurate pricing and integrated electronic payment processing help to reduce user error and speed up service at point of sale.
If necessary, price changes can be made quickly and easily and are immediately programmed across all your systems and at point of sale. With all this automated information at their fingertips, staff have more time to manage the customer experience and up-selling.
Reports are easy to print and give you valuable information which you can feed back into your business. These could be for accounting or cash-flow purposes or to check the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
You get reduced human error and greater data integrity. Your customers also get improved information, instantly knowing stock levels, prices and offers.
Know your customer
The data you are capturing provides excellent marketing information: sales trends, performance of promotions, buying habits, average spends and timing of purchases and customer history for more personalised engagement.
It provides a great platform for testing new products, prices, offers and adds to your knowledge of your customers.
This helps you to make their experience better, protects you from the competition and helps profile potential new customers that you want to attract.
You can link to database software to keep in touch with your customers and update them on offers, news, events and why they should keep coming back to you.
Enhance the customer experience
Your customers want instant understanding of their needs, fast and accurate service at point of sale and to feel afterwards that they have made the right decision.
The more you know about your customer, the better you are able to serve them. It makes them feel special and speeds up the interaction as well as keeping them coming back. It is also good for referrals as they will tell their network about you.
We all want to receive good service by competent people who value our custom. Happy staff, accurate systems and customer knowledge help create that great customer experience that we all look for.
Imagine this – you run a restaurant; a customer goes to your website, books a table and pays a deposit direct from the site; they get a confirmation email and you have ensured you have stock of items they have ordered before.
They arrive a few minutes early on the night; you have the table ready for them and may even have a bottle of a wine you know they like on the table; you allot them the waiter they had last time; make recommendations throughout the night based on their history; offer some kind of promotion based on their repeat business.
Every new bit of info from this visit is now in the system; the check is sorted quickly and easily at the table; you invite them to events that might be relevant to them on the way out; they go home relaxed, happy and feeling loved; they have also spent a little bit more than last time, but have not even noticed it.
Whatever your business, this scenario is possible. It might be slightly idealised, and a good maitre’ d would ensure some of this happened anyway, but with the level of software currently available, integrated in to your EPoS system, you need leave nothing to chance.
So, if you want to save time and money, take some of the hassle out of your operation and improve your profit, make sure you are doing enough with your EPoS software – your business could depend on it.
How do your customers want to engage with you?
We all have a wide range of customers and they all expect different things from us. Some want to engage with us and ask for our time. Some want minimum interference – they want and appreciate great service, but want little contact. Some are nervous and want reassurance that they have made the right decision.
And, of course, they are all right because that is who they are. It is our job to know what they want and respond accordingly. Naturally, this is not always easy and it can take a little extra time – a precious resource few of us have.
Wouldn’t it be good if we could ease that process? Filter customers in accordance with their behaviour and needs, so that we spend most time with the ones that need our time most?
EPoS Online customer booking technology
Well, there is a new service from ICR Touch that might just help. TouchPoint 2012 is an online automated reservation system and it gives customers an element of control they are not used to when booking a table for dinner.
Of course, as we can see from the above, this service will not suit all your customers and prospects, but the ones it does suit will be amazed.
From your website they can book a dinner table, pay a deposit and receive an email confirmation that assures them that everything is OK, without even leaving their armchair.
The TouchPoint 2012 integrates with your website and table plan. Your system will allocate a table based on the numbers and availability. All information is recorded and sent to the till. Confirmation is sent by email.
Increasing sales through customer interaction
From the customers’ point of view, this is impressive, convenient and time saving (it can be hard getting a phone answered in a busy restaurant).
From your point of view, it saves time, instantly captures information about customers (name, email and preferences) and could help to convert website traffic into bookings.
And what about those customers who don’t like the technology and want to stay analogue? Well, now you’ll have more time to spend with them and they’ll feel special because they have your attention and are not being processed by some machine.
Secure test run
If you would like to test this, we have set up a dummy reservation system on our website – simply enter your details and make a booking and the system will do the rest.
Do not worry. This test site is entirely confidential and your details will not be passed on to any third party for any reason whatsoever.
This week we have a guest post from Barry Harvey of the Colston Office Centre, talking about pricing and your customer and prospect perceptions.
There are numerous factors involved in setting prices: costs (obviously), value, supply and demand, competition, scarcity, branding, etc.
And whichever method you use to determine the final price – cost plus, marginal, market-based, value – what you end up with speaks volumes about your business.
Not just in terms of how profitable you are, or where you stand in relation to your competition, but how you are perceived by your customers and prospects. Are you seen as cheap, average, expensive, fair? And is this perception what you were aiming for? Does your audience think about price at all in relation to your product?
Removing price from the equation
It is a sound business goal to take price out of the equation in terms of the customer buying decision, but for most of us, this goal seems a long way off.
In the current economic climate, this seems especially difficult and it leaves us having to worry about price more than we want to. What will our customers pay? Should we start higher so that they can negotiate us down? How can we position ourselves – what value can we add – to reduce the importance of the price?
When it doesn’t work
It seems important to me at the moment for two reasons.
The first is an experience I had last weekend. We went to see Top Hat at the Bristol Hippodrome. We love the theatre and happily pay ticket prices because we feel they represent good value.
When going to see a play/show/concert, as a customer you have to cover the cost of putting on the show as well as the cost of the existence of the venue to facilitate the production. Top Hat was brilliant and we had no qualms about the ticket price.
Don’t get me wrong, it is an expensive hobby and we cannot afford to go as often as we would like, but we feel the exchange is fair.
However, it was a different story when we went to the bar. The receipt is sitting on the desk as I write this and just looking at it gets me agitated. All the prices were top end, but the piece de resistance was a medium glass of house wine (175ml, so four to a bottle) at £5.70.
Now the Hippodrome is a wonderful place and requires a great deal of upkeep and I know I am going to pay a lot for a drink or bag of sweets. This price, however, just seemed wrong: disproportionate and not relative to the actual product – the wine was not that great.
Value for money
Given that I have paid £80.00 for a bottle of wine in a restaurant before now (admittedly, not often), I don’t think I can be called stingy. But on those occasions it was for a reason – a celebration, I valued the wine I had chosen and the taste and experience matched the expectation.
The purchase at the Hippodrome was a shock, however, and it resonated. The upshot is that we will never buy drinks at the Hippodrome again. In future we will probably bring our own water and sweets (and maybe a hip flask).
It doesn’t really matter whether or not the Hippodrome can justify the price. What matters is that it doesn’t feel right to me.
The damage done
So what is the hippodrome’s strategy? Are they banking on a captive audience? Is that the price they need to charge in order to maintain the facility of serving drinks?
One bar was closed – I have no idea what the import of this is.
On the stairs going in (and in the snack bar behind the stalls) they were selling small glasses of wine for £4.00, in plastic, pre-packaged with peel-off lids. I did not need to think twice – I instinctively rejected this.
Are these things related? Will they phase out the bars completely to save wages? Are they trying to drive sales to the plastic? Have they asked their customers about any of this?
What are we supposed to think and how will it affect their reputation? We surely can’t be the only ones put off – there were certainly less people at the bars than I would normally expect.
What about my business?
The second reason is that, as far as my business is concerned, I am working in a price sensitive sector with a lot of competition. Our clients and prospects are, rightly, concerned about every cost and the value they get from any cost they do commit to.
My job is to show them that what I offer has value enough that price is not seen as a barrier. Of course a classic marketing conundrum and I am sure I am not the only business struggling with it at the moment.
Are our prices fair?
Well, naturally I think so. But is ‘fair’ enough? Even if a prospect accepts your price as fair, a competitors’ price that undercuts yours, for the same service, is even fairer.
Whatever the scenario, I always try to take prospects with me on the journey of what we provide and what we charge, what relationship we want with our clients and what we are trying to achieve for our business and for theirs.
They can choose to buy into that or not. If not, maybe I haven’t explained it very well, or we are not a good fit or they got a better offer. I can only hope, however, that they at least think we are fair.
What about you? Are your prices fair? How do you ensure your customers think so?
CCTV is mostly thought of in terms of security, but what if it could increase your profits as well?
Arguably, it does this already. If it is acting as a deterrent to crime, then it is saving you time and money. But what more can it do?
If your CCTV system is connected to your Electronic Point of Sale system, you can pinpoint and replay the exact moment any given transaction was made. If customers argue they have been given the wrong change, if staff have made an error, all these issues can be resolved, quickly and easily.
Along with the video replay of the transaction, the details of the order also appear on screen, giving you minute by minute, accurate information. As well as by time, you can also search the digital recording by product, e.g. Latte or Steak.
This level of detail, coupled with the ease of access, means you can check for staff problems. Have two lattes been ordered and paid for, but three served? If there are too many ‘no sale’ items on the cash registers, these can be checked on video to ensure there was no foul play.
This information can even be accessed remotely, via remote computer or Smart Phone, which means you can react instantly to problems, wherever you are.
The CCTV system offers wide angle dome units with zoom lens and automated night vision – this can activate when the light goes below a certain level.
Similarly, the cameras can be permanently on, or activated by motion sensor, with remote back up and easy download to disk or memory stick
With all this control, reducing errors and crime, you will gain valuable time during your day and make sure the money in the till at the end of each shift is what should be there.
It can also help to train staff and encourage correct behaviour in any that may be tempted to cheat the system. A proper CCTV system could not only pay for itself, but add extra efficiencies to your business to give you an even greater return.
All in all, a great boost to your bottom line and a lot less worry.
If you would like more information about CCTV and EPoS, contact Phil straight away on 0117 963 2200 – and start improving your business today!
Time. It always seems to be against us, doesn’t it?
How would you like to get some of it back?
Well, a caller ID device may not sound like it can help much. I mean, it can show you who is calling (this much you may have deduced from the name), give you time, date and duration, whether and after how long it was answered and what the caller said. But so what?
Well, this in itself will save you time: you will recognise the caller quickly (even greet them by name) and you can check the recorded call for any missing information, rather than the embarrassment and time required to call back and confirm details.
However, there is more. What if you wedded the device to your Customer Relationship Management software? Just think of the benefits:
- Orders – your screen will show you not just who is calling, but give you their order history, which speeds up the order and delivery process
- Sales – automatically prompt relevant up-sales and promotional opportunities, which is also more efficient
- Staff – monitors staff performance to help them speed up response and service times
- Call logging – simple and fast retrieval of information
So, not only are you looking after your customers better and pushing sales further, but this one simple device can help you claw back some of that precious time.
If you would like to know who is calling you before they say a word, call Phil Stackhouse at Zenith EPoS now for more information: 0117 963 2200.