It’s Time to Get Counting:  The Tricks & Tips to Physical Inventory

It’s Time to Get Counting: The Tricks & Tips to Physical Inventory

Clothing & Apparel, Discounts & Promotions, Retail

With the last few weeks of summer almost here and the end of 2016 not far behind, it’s time to get counting! Yes…it’s true, the time has arrived to start preparing your store or retail business for its year-end physical inventory count.

For some retailers, just the thought of a physical inventory can cause them significant anxiety and dread. However, as tedious as it may seem, it is still a very crucial part to any store’s annual operations. Being able to account for what you have on record vs. what you actually have in store, enables you to maintain more accurate inventory numbers, detect potential areas of shrinkage or loss early on, and be confident that your store will be able to keep up to customer demand.  So, it’s not something that should be skipped or done carelessly, but that doesn’t mean it has to be like pulling teeth.

To make your next physical inventory just a little less painful, here are some simple tricks and tips to the count that can help this often detested task seem a lot more manageable.

Have a game plan.

It’s important to remember that doing a physical inventory count is more like a marathon than a sprint. To conquer the task successfully, requires thorough preparation and planning. By front loading the work, you can save yourself a lot frustration, and even time, on the actual day of the count. Here are some of the steps you should consider in preparation for your inventory count:

  1. Schedule a specific day in advance
  2. Create a map and/or layout of your store, stockroom or warehouse
  3. Organize and prepare the stock to be counted
  4. Close out all in-process orders and outstanding bills
  5. Prepare your staff and assign employees specific roles and areas for the count

Doing these tasks prior to the actual count will help you ensure that the day of is as productive and stress-free as possible. To have an accurate count, you can’t let yourself be preoccupied with other tasks. Careful planning and proper preparation will allow you to focus on the task at hand and increase the likelihood of an accurate count and minimize the need for multiple re-counts, which will pay-off big time for your business.

Be strategic when executing the count.

The day has arrived. You have done your due diligence—you’ve processed all pending transactions and reconciled all inter-store transfers; assigned roles; and have ensured your warehouse or stockroom has been organized and mapped out—now what?

It’s time to see all your hard work and effort pay off, but that means making and actually following through with your game plan. Not everything will go according to plan, and that’s OK. However, by setting goals and trying to stick to a plan to accomplish those goals, you’ll end up feeling much better about the day. For instance, tackling your inventory in sections, according to a stockroom map, can make the daunting chore seem quite a bit more reasonable. You and your staff will feel satisfaction in being able to actually visualize the progress you’ve made.

Trade the pen and paper for a more efficient method.

It’s time to ditch the pen and paper and switch to a digital solution for tallying your inventory. Just because it’s called Physical Inventory, doesn’t mean you have to take it literally. It’s 2016; leverage technology to make this process much more efficient and way less tiresome. Portable inventory devices or data collectors, like the AML LXD10, are easily the most efficient and accurate method for taking count of your stock.


Physical Inventory AML LDX10In the past, a major drawback of portable inventory devices was their relatively high cost and therefore, the initial investment needed to have enough of the units to complete the process. The increase in efficiency and accuracy alone could be argument enough to invest in these devices, but even that’s not necessary now. Retailers can now easily defray their expense by renting scanners or even sharing devices with other business.

We understand that doing a physical inventory count is not exactly high on anyone’s list of things they want to do, but we also know how valuable your inventory is to your business. So, Retail Control System, is offering you an exclusive deal on AML LXD10 data collectors. Until September 30th, RCS will be having a 10% off promotion on all rentals or purchases of AML LXD10 data collectors. To find out more about this promotion, please contact one of our sales representatives by emailing, or calling 1-800-417-3030, option 1.

RCS Participates in 35th Annual Prouty!

RCS Participates in 35th Annual Prouty!

Clothing & Apparel, Just for Fun, News

Retail Control Systems is proud to announce their recent participation in the 35th Annual Prouty on July 8-9, 2016 in Hanover, NH. The Prouty is a yearly fundraising and athletic event that benefits the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC). The RCS team, RCS Steppers, raised $2,125 to help fund cancer research and patient services at NCCC.

The RCS Steppers - Prouty Cycling Team
The RCS Steppers – Prouty Cycling Team

The two-day fundraiser, which occurs every second weekend in July, consists of a variety of non-competitive athletic and sporting events. Individuals or teams have the option to participate in Cycling, Walking, Golf, Virtual or Prouty Ultimate, a 200-mile cycling challenge across New Hampshire and Vermont


A total of 14 staff-members from RCS participated in the event, both virtually and in-person. Virtual participants contributed to the team by walking or running an equivalent 20, 50, 77, 100 or 200 mile route in their current location. Team members that attended the event in-person took part in both the cycling and walking events, hosted at Richmond Middle School in Hanover, NH, as well as the 18-hole Golf Scramble on the golf course at Hanover Country Club.

ProutyGolf16 (2)
The RCS Steppers – Golf Team

“I think I speak for all us [at RCS] when I say that it’s a privilege to be able to contribute to the ongoing efforts and ground-breaking research being done at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center,” stated Dave Albert, President of Retail Control Systems and Prouty participant. “Events like The Prouty are a powerful reminder of the great potential individuals, businesses, and the larger New Hampshire community have if we join together to fight cancer or support other local causes.”

More states dare to mess with nexus

Clothing & Apparel, Technical Tip

Re-post from Avalara

$24 billion. That’s the amount of uncollected sales tax from eCommerce retail sales at last count. Those billions of dollars are a powerful motivator for U.S. states who are collectively facing $19 billion in budget shortfalls over the next 18 months. As states get more concerned (and creative) about revenue sources, they’re turning their attention to nexus.

Sales tax nexus is defined as a seller having a “sufficient physical presence” in a state to make them liable to register in that state to collect and remit sales and use tax. Over the years, this presence has broadened to include activities such as employing remote staff, attending trade shows, warehousing inventory or using drop shippers or third-party fulfillment.  More recently, states have extended their reach further through click-through nexus and affiliate nexus laws aimed at remote sellers.

But it’s not enough. As eCommerce continues to gain momentum, a once-monumental court decision (Quill v. South Dakota) that established boundaries for nexus is fading into obscurity. Despite multiple attempts to pass internet sales tax legislation, federal government leaders remain at loggerheads on the topic. Tired of waiting, states are taking action. In recent months, several states independently put forth more than 40 bills to challenge Quill.

The states’ problem: the sales tax base is eroding

As many as 17 states are projecting budget deficits over the next year. Rather than raise sales tax rates, some states, including Alabama, South Dakota and Vermont, see economic nexus as the answer. Unlike more traditional nexus guidelines, economic nexus is based solely on sales revenue or transaction volume.

Ohio started imposing economic nexus for sales and use tax in 2005, requiring companies with $500,000 or greater in sales to collect and remit tax to the state. Michigan does the same for $350,000 or more in receipts. Washington has a similar law and other states are following suit. Currently, there are 28 bills pending in 13 states related to economic nexus for sales and use tax.

The thresholds of economic nexus can be quite low. In South Dakota for example, $100,000 in annual sales or 200 separate transactions (of any dollar value) give a company economic nexus in the state. Alabama’s threshold is higher ($250,000), but includes a provision for intent to conduct business through advertising.

In effect, these laws give businesses nexus even without any physical connection with the state.

The sellers’ problem: multi-state compliance

What does these mean for sellers? Bigger compliance headaches, for one. Businesses with multi-state nexus are already burdened with having to ensure point of sale, eCommerce systems, and shopping carts are set up to calculate the correct tax in each state and jurisdiction in which they are obligated to register and collect sales tax. With economic nexus, this becomes even more cumbersome, as many businesses will now have nexus in states where they previously did not under a physical presence standard. And if states are being this aggressive about passing new nexus laws, you can bet they’ll be equally aggressive about enforcing them (read: more audits).

Having to comply with economic nexus laws could quickly push businesses beyond the threshold of managing sales tax manually. Learn more about the burdens of economic nexus — and why switching to an automated solution is a more viable (and reliable) strategy — in this short, informative video.

June’s Employee of the Month!

Awards & Recognition, Clothing & Apparel

June Employee of the Month goes to Mason!

Thanks for everything you do for RCS Mason!
Mason Employee of the Month!From his initial stint as intern during the summer of 2014, Mason Vogt has added value to RCS.  That first summer he took on the project of gathering information that was instrumental in eventually choosing Service Cloud and extending the use of Salesforce by RCS.

When hired as a full time employee almost a year ago, he took on the purchasing role quickly, consistently making suggestions to improve the way RCS fills our customers’ orders.  He has either taken the lead to implement, or aided others in implementing: an improved requisition process, improved item entry, new item testing, efficient customer returns, just to name a few.  He is a regular guest at various departments’ meetings to spread new information throughout RCS.

He is currently charged with leading the new Quality Assurance Team, which is off to a solid start.

Besides that, he brews some pretty good beer!

3 Common Inventory Management Mistakes You Can Avoid

3 Common Inventory Management Mistakes You Can Avoid

Clothing & Apparel, Uncategorized

A retail business, inventory is arguably one of its most important assets. As any merchant knows, inventory is an investment. And, as an investment, that inventory costs you money until the product is sold—from the initial cost of the item, to the money it costs to track, store, and insure it. So, it’s incredibly important to make sure that your inventory moves as fast as possible. Moving product means inventory management is going to have to become a top priority—if it isn’t already. Here are 3 common inventory management mistakes you can easily avoid with the right planning.

  1. Make sure your employees know how to handle your inventory.

Making sure your employees are qualified to handle your inventory and/or ensuring that they are properly trained on your inventory management system is crucial to avoiding inventory issues. Hire the right people with the right professional experience to manage your inventory—make sure they have the proper background and the proper schooling and/or certifications. You likely have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in your inventory—doesn’t it make sense to pay a little more for a well-qualified person to manage all of it?

Because many inventory management systems are customized for specific business types, even the most-experienced inventory specialists may not know your particular system. Make sure that any inventory personnel you hire are well-trained in your inventory management program. Some inventory and point of sale system providers offer periodic webinars and training on their programs that are great opportunities to get a “refresher” on the system.

  1. Get automated.

If you are using a manual process to track your inventory—whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet or a checklist—you need to get with the 21st century. Even the most detail-oriented data entry specialist will make a mistake here and there…you know, because people are human. But that could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Investing in a comprehensive, customized, real-time management system will save a lot of time, money, and hassle when it comes to properly managing your stock, and will make for a much easier time fulfilling orders and coordinating shipments…whether you have a single boutique, or a host of locations and a large online site.

  1. Manage different inventory items differently.

Unless you only sell one item, it’s very unlikely that your inventory all moves at the exact same rate. This means that you could be ordering way too many doodads and not nearly enough gizmos. Because your inventory is unique, your customers’ needs or wants for those items is going to be unique. Tracking them the same way isn’t going to work, and you could end up wasting a ton of money on all those doodads that just aren’t ever going to sell. An automated system—with flexible purchasing, receiving, tracking, and reporting functions—is really going to help your bottom line.

Hopefully, you’ve now been convinced that a comprehensive inventory management system is an absolute necessity when it comes to managing your stock. Fortunately, Retail Control Systems is here to help your business operate smoother than you ever thought possible! RCS is available to help you understand how a customized, omni-channel point-of-sale system can help you to better manage your retail stores’ operations. Learn more by giving us a call a 1-800-417-3030 or CONTACT US to get started!

Congratulation to our May Employee of the Month!

Awards & Recognition, Clothing & Apparel

May Employee of the Month Diane

May Employee of the Month goes to Diane Dupre!

Diane Dupre has been with RCS for more than 10 years.

She has proven time and time again her dedication to our customers and RCS.

As a dedicated employee, Diane is always up for the challenge whether it’s getting on a plane to train a customer, helping support with cases, or presentations at the Envision Conference.  She takes every task seriously and executes flawlessly.

If you’ve been outside one of her classroom during a training session it’s not uncommon to hear laughter coming out of the room.  She always makes the training process intense, as well as entertaining.  Simply ask an attendee on the last day of their class, and they can most definitely attest to this.

The best part!  Hearing the reaction from our customers to Diane on her invaluable services reaffirms how much of an impact she has on the lives of our customers and their experience with Counterpoint.

Congratulations Diane and thank you for your hard work and dedication!

Millennials: Retail Sales Will Never Be the Same

Millennials: Retail Sales Will Never Be the Same

Clothing & Apparel, Retail, Web Tips

Millennials: Retail Sales Will Never Be the Same

Retailers: like it or not, the Millennial mindset is here to stay. And it’s going to continue to change the way you think of retail sales marketing.

Millennials—or those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s—are a HUGE market, with roughly 80 million members. It has become increasingly important for merchants to understand Millennials’ shopping and buying habits in order to “stay alive” in an ever-changing retail sales market.

Here are 4 Millennial-focused retail sales trends to keep in mind for the coming year:

1. They want more.
Millennials are a special group of consumers unlike any we’ve seen before. Millennials want more, more, more out of their purchases. Extremely value-driven, many Millennials came of age during the recession, which forced them to shop around for the best product at the best price.

2. They want things fast.
Once you’ve convinced a Millennial to buy something, you don’t want to lose him or her because your checkout process is too slow or you don’t have the item in stock. Retailers must continue to update their payment and inventory management systems, so that the buying process can be as streamlined as possible—in-store and online.

3. Mobile & e-commerce technology is going to continue to play a big role in the way they shop.
In the 2015 holiday shopping season, about one-third of shoppers purchased their items online and opted to pick them up in-store (“click-and-collect”). Millennials especially like to take advantage of the convenience of online shopping, while still being able to look at, touch, and take home the items that day. This is good news for brick-and-mortar retailers, especially those who also have an online presence, since nearly 70% of shoppers who used click-and-collect during the 2015 holiday season purchased additional items in the same store and another one-third purchased items in adjacent stores.

4. If you’re not on social media, get there—fast.
Social media continues to be a big deal for retailers. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials rely on social media to get more information or to see reviews on items they want to buy. Whether it’s through embedded “Buy!” buttons on Facebook or product sharing on Instagram, social media retail sales are a hot market you don’t want to miss.

Most merchants are going to need to cater to millennial consumers in order to stay alive—and thrive—in today’s retail sales marketplace. Retail Control Systems can help retailers better understand the importance of an all-encompassing, customized Point-of-Sale solution that will manage online and in-store retail sales, track inventory in real-time, and ensure the checkout process is quick and easy. Call 1-800-417-3030 or CONTACT US to learn more about helping your millennial customers have a better shopping experience.

How big is your transactional tax footprint?

How big is your transactional tax footprint?

Clothing & Apparel, Web Tips

How big is your transactional tax footprint?

6 questions to assess if your sales activities are a compliance risk

Repost from

At some point, you’ve probably pinpointed your company’s position on a 2×2 matrix to determine its strengths or weaknesses or its position relative to competitors. But have you ever rated your business on sales tax compliance?

Many companies get into trouble with state and local tax because they don’t know where they owe. Often, the business is growing in some way, either physically in terms of new locations or by expanding its product or service offerings, bringing on more field staff or selling through new channels such as online, at tradeshows or through affiliate programs. All of these are important growth strategies. They also carry sales and use tax implications. The more ways you engage a buyer, the more likely you are to create nexus — an obligation to collect and remit sales tax in a state where you’re now doing business. As nexus increases, sales tax gets exponentially more complex or laborious, and it can become difficult to manage with in-house resources, albeit people or systems.

Just as you are focused on bringing as much revenue as you can into your business, the states are doing the same thing. Indirect taxes makes up a large portion of the states’ coffers and they’re becoming more diligent about getting what’s coming to them. Miscalculations and failing to register or remit returns aren’t something they take lightly. Warnings are for traffic cops, not state auditors. Be found out of compliance and you’ll likely be looking at steep fines and penalties on top of any uncollected taxes.

To better understand where you may have sales tax complexity or nexus obligations, Avalara put together a self-assessment survey. Answer just a few questions about your business and sales activities and instantly get a score that will help you determine your transactional tax footprint and risk of non-compliance.

The self-assessment includes a guide to understanding how each of the four quadrants — and your score — impacts your business when it comes to sales tax. It’s a quick and easy way to uncover any vulnerabilities you may have that need addressing or even just provide peace of mind that you haven’t overlooked any obligations. You may also learn that you fall into a higher complexity, higher go-to-market risk area than you thought. Knowing where you fall on this spectrum can be helpful in determining if it’s time to add sales tax automation.

Bring the results to your technology provider and talk them about your concerns in managing sales tax. Ask about integrating Avalara AvaTax software into your billing system, ERP or eCommerce solution to handle these compliance functions automatically for you.

Employee of the Month for April!

Employee of the Month for April!

Awards & Recognition, Clothing & Apparel

April Employee of the month, Julie

April Employee of the month!

Julie has worked at RCS for 8 years. She is one of our most knowledgeable employees and has worked in various departments, playing critical roles in accounting, and sales before becoming the valuable employee she is today in the project department.

Julie has been instrumental in helping the projects department become the well-oiled machine that it is today.  She has also used her weekends to attend project management seminars and courses to enhance job skills.
Since her role in projects, she has closed in excess of 50+ projects. Her most recent accomplishment was a new customer with an aggressive time frame due to a new store opening. Julie was able to quickly grab hold of the reins and didn’t let up until the installation was complete and the customer was happy.

Congratulations Julie and thank you for your hard work and dedication!

The tax you probably owe, but aren’t paying: A closer look at consumer use tax compliance

Clothing & Apparel, Retail

The tax you probably owe, but aren’t paying: A closer look at consumer use tax compliance
Repost from Avalara

Use tax, the lesser known counterpart of sales tax, suffers from a basic lack of PR. Buyers and sellers alike pay it no mind. Despite 27 states having a dedicated line item in tax returns for reporting use tax owed, only 2% of taxpayers actually report it. This has left the states with a $23 billion deficit annually in uncollected use tax.

It’s much harder to enforce use tax compliance on individuals, so states look to businesses to close this gap. The propensity for companies to overlook use tax makes it an easy target for auditors. In fact, state auditors say it’s the number one audit risk for businesses. Don’t get caught with your compliance down. This quick rundown of the basics will get you up to speed and on task.

As a business, your obligations around consumer use tax can be difficult to manage. Get perspective by reading What’s the Use of Use Tax? Five Tips for Consumer Use Tax Compliance. This paper provides best practices for compliance including sound rationale for automation – something that can easily be done in your ERP, accounting or ecommerce system with software like Avalara AvaTax.