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September Anniversaries

September Anniversaries

Awards & Recognition, Just for Fun, Spotlight

September Anniversaries at RCS

Jessie Sousa, 13yrs

Jessie Sousa hiking

“Over the past 13 years I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow through a few different roles and can honestly say that I still love being here! I enjoy being able to help our customers and being a part of the RCS Family. I look forward to continuing to grow with this team.”

 

Karen Rechtin, 1yr

Karen Rechtin headshot

“RCS is an amazing collection of people that work as a team to create success for our clients. Each team member is always ready and willing to help each other with anything. Employees are supported in their personal as well as professional lives. I am personally driven and rewarded by the relationships with the people and companies I work with, helping them become more successful with their systems which translates into being more successful with their businesses. Although I have been a consultant for many years, I learn from every client I work with and am able to add that information to my knowledge bank and share it with others. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love with this group of people!”

 

Morris Caen, 1yr

Morris Caen

“I like working at RCS because of the great people that I get to work with on a daily basis. I’m thrilled to be part of the top POS VAR in North America and am truly excited about the tremendous opportunities we have to grow RCS to the next level.”

 

Yvette Fontaine, 1yr

Yvette Fontaine

“I am a firm believer that every experience contributes to who you are, I feel blessed to have found a “home” where I can draw on so many of my life experiences, from working retail, customer service, inventory, accounting and IT. It has been such a bonus to reconnect with customers in the ski business. I love the small company culture, and especially how we all look out for each other. This is truly my glass slipper!”

Rob McDonald, 19yrs

Rob McDonald

Also celebrating, Rob McDonald who marks his 19th year at RCS this month!

Here’s How Old POS Systems Get Retailers Screwed

Here’s How Old POS Systems Get Retailers Screwed

News, Restaurant, Retail

Here’s How Old POS Systems Get Retailers Screwed

Understanding the potential implications of the Sonic breach to your business.

Hold the onions … and my personal banking info!

Double burgerTwo years ago, Sonic Drive-In experienced a massive Point of Sale system breach. In September 2017, financial institutions noticed fraudulent charges on numerous cards that had previously been used at the fast food chain. Days later, Krebs on Security reported that a batch of five million credit and debit cards had suddenly shown up for sale online. Krebs’ banking insiders bought some of the cards to investigate, confirming that they had indeed been recently used at Sonic.

Fast forward a year and a half to last May for the real day of reckoning. American Airlines Federal Credit Union—the financial institution that incurred most of the cost stemming from this breach—sued Sonic last spring to recoup millions in expenses.

“The credit union said that because of the breach, it had to cancel or reissue cards, close accounts, block transactions, refund affected customers and increase fraud monitoring efforts,” reported The Oklahoman. (Sonic is headquartered in Oklahoma City.)

Lawyers representing AAFCU claimed that “nearly a quarter of Sonic’s restaurants used POS systems that were nearly thirty years old.” More to the point, that ageing software wasn’t receiving security updates, making it vulnerable to malware that was used to hack it and collect credit card information.

The basic mechanics of a POS security breach

Krebs explained, in the article cited above, how hackers use credit card info.

“Malicious hackers typically steal credit card data from organizations that accept cards by hacking into point-of-sale systems remotely and seeding those systems with malicious software that can copy account data stored on a card’s magnetic stripe. Thieves can use that data to clone the cards and then use the counterfeits to buy high-priced merchandise from electronics stores and big box retailers.”

And you thought your mother-in-law was annoying.

Who gets stuck with the tab when a security breach occurs?

Person counting moneyBreaches such as the Sonic incident and the prior Wendy’s breach are especially costly when the breached locations are independently-owned franchises rather than corporate-owned chains. In such cases, banks and credit unions that issue cards bear the up-front burden because cards tend to be breached, re-issued and breached again. The Wendy’s breach went on for nine months and was far costlier than the notorious Target and Home Depot breaches.

On Oct 1, 2015, much of the liability for credit card counterfeit schemes shifted from financial institutions to merchants. Those who had failed to adopt chip technology for processing credit cards were officially on the hook for damages stemming from in-store security breaches. In the last 3 ½ years the shift has been impossible not to notice in day-to-day consumer transactions.

Visa’s concise explanation of the EMV liability shift

The change of law has also pertained to several 7- and 8-digit legal settlements. For instance:

  • Home Depot settled a similar suit brought against it by financial institutions, in the amount of $25 million in March of 2017.
  • Wendy’s lost even bigger, settling for $50 million for its 2018 security breach.
  • In addition to the AAFCU suit, Sonic settled a $4.3 million class action lawsuit on behalf of numerous customers. The settlement entitled individual customers to payments ranging from $10 to $40. It concerned all 325 locations that were hacked, listed here.

Writing 172,000 checks (that’s $4.3 million divided by the average of $10 and $40) sounds like an unpleasant way to spend the weekend.

The good news is that, even in the event of a security breach, you won’t be held liable if you’re compliant with PCI (Payment Card Industry) Data Security Standards.

Stay Safe!

Not only do modern POS and CRM solutions keep you and your customers secure—they actually take a lot off your plate, including manual data entry, running promotions and other tasks.

What’s the solution?

Even if your POS system doesn’t predate household internet, you don’t want to leave security up to “common sense.” Whoever you’ve partnered with for your CRM and point of sale needs should be experienced, responsive, and able to discuss issues like PCI compliance in plain English. You don’t just want a vendor—you want a partner who can act as needed as an advisor.

Whoever you’ve partnered with for your CRM and point of sale needs should be experienced, responsive, and able to discuss issues like PCI compliance in plain English.

If you have less than complete confidence in your software, or you’re using antiquated hardware, hopefully this will encourage you to deal with it proactively. Making big changes may sound like a pain, but it’s also an opportunity: Modern POS and CRM solutions actually take a lot off your plate, including manual data entry, to running promotions and other marketing and administrative stuff.

Today, our POS solutions feature dozens of industry-specific customizations, allowing you to operate more effectively online and in-store. We’ll help you manage and track inventory, promote special events, maintain healthy margins, and so much more.

Are you and your customers at risk? Don’t wait to find out. We’ll work with you to determine what’s lacking in your current system, and how to improve upon it.

August Anniversaries

August Anniversaries

Awards & Recognition, Just for Fun, Spotlight

August Anniversaries at RCS

Patrick Carmody

Patrick Carmody skiing on top of a mountainPatrick began his career with RCS on August 8, 2016, by joining our implementation team and becoming the lead trainer and installer for our restaurant division.  From his time working at his family-run restaurant to his own career in the industry, Patrick understands what it’s like to be in the customer’s shoes and after about a year became an Account Manager serving our Counterpoint clients.  Patrick enjoys being able to work with such a great group of people that is always willing to help him or the customer succeed.

Matt Parker

Matt Parker in a car with his dogMatt found an opportunity at RCS after one of our managers visited his tech class for career day. Shortly after graduating in 2015 Matt joined our team on August 12th. Matt has spent the last 4 years building relationships with coworkers and customers big and small and values all the knowledge he’s gained since he began his career with us, he looks forward to many years to come!

Kellie Mulherin

Kellie Mulherin in a car wearing sunglassesOver the last 22 years Kellie has learned the ins and outs of how RCS operates, as well as our customers. In fact, at any moment you can quiz Kellie about a customer 15 years back and chances are she’ll remember them! Kellie began her career here at 19 years old and has seen RCS grow from 4 employees in a small office on the shore of Mascoma Lake to almost 60, 2 locations with 1/6 of the staff remote – spreading RCS across 6 states!  Kellie’s day is always changing but loves working with her teammates to help answer any questions they have – which is good because she currently works in many departments as well as completes her full time job as the Executive Assistant of Dave Albert – all with a smile!  Kellie has many thank you notes from customers and staff alike that she keeps as a reminder of the impact she makes on a daily basis.

RCS Volunteers at 38th Annual Prouty in Hanover, NH

RCS Volunteers at 38th Annual Prouty in Hanover, NH

Spotlight

RCS Volunteers at 38th Annual Prouty in Hanover, NH

By Jessie Sousa

Last month Dave and Laurie Albert, Kellie Mulherin, and Rob McDonald joined the more than 1,100 volunteers for the 38th annual Prouty where 4,000+ participants raised a record-breaking $3,300,000 for The Prouty.  The Prouty is the largest charity north of Boston and the money raised provides funds for cancer-related research and projects as well as patient and family support services at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

Prouty volunteers under a tent
Laurie Albert and friends cheering on riders and keeping them fueled.

On Friday, July 12th Dave, Laurie and Rob completed pre-race work in anticipation of Saturday’s big event by putting signs along the road to guide the cyclists and walkers.  On Saturday they joined Kellie at 6:00am where they stocked their SAG station with watermelons, blueberries, pickles (which were a HIT!), snacks, Gatorade and water in preparation for the cyclists.  “Our simple but important tasks were making sure plenty of food & drinks were ready at hand, especially peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and to greet all cyclists with a smile.  Anything they needed, we made sure they got it. From a warm welcome to a praise for a job well done, we answered any questions the cyclists may have had like “how many miles am I in?”, “where do I go next?” and paying attention to anyone if they seemed out of sorts.  Rob was the mechanic on duty ready to fix a flat or tighten a chain. Dave and Laurie also lent a helping hand in all of the above and Bodie, I think, was the hit of the station!

Bodie the dog talking to a rider
Bodie encourages a rider at the 2019 Prouty

At the end of the day it’s inspiring to see the accomplishment on the participants faces as they cross that finish line knowing all of their hard efforts have paid off.  The smiles will last forever in my memory of how pleased they were with themselves and for someone close to their heart.  I’m sure each one of them have a story like “my Dad would have been so proud I did this for him.”” says Kellie Mulherin, 2nd year volunteer (and 3rd longest employee at RCS, marking her 23rd year this month – see August anniversaries).

After the event the delicious smells filled the air from sizzling hot barbecue grills inside the Boloco’s food truck (who made over 3,000 burritos!), you could find any food item imaginable and desserts galore.  There were canopy’s providing shade to the folks sharing photo’s in remembrance of a loved one they may have lost to survivor stories. From first timers to repeat participants everyone is out on this day for one purpose in mind and that is to find a cure for cancer.

Alex at the 2019 Prouty bike ride
RCS employee Alex getting ready to ride 77 miles in the Prouty.
RCS employee Alex and his mom Deb
RCS employee Alex and his mom Deb getting ready to ride 77 miles in the Prouty.
Alex and his mom Deb after riding in the Prouty.
Alex and his mom Deb after riding in the Prouty.

RCS is honored to be a part of this epic charity event each year!

Robbie Mac's Bike Shop - The Mechanic is in
Additional information regarding The Prouty:

Why retailers should be thinking about Locavores and the experience economy (2 of 2)

Why retailers should be thinking about Locavores and the experience economy (2 of 2)

Just for Fun, News, Retail

Why retailers should be thinking about Locavores and the experience economy (2 of 2)

By John Garvey

Part II: Making your customers your greatest advertising asset

Inc. contributor Ane Gherani recently wrote about the declining effectiveness of online advertising, and how it can be offset by turning consumers into brand advocates. This isn’t breaking news, but it bears consideration day to day.

With consumers equipped to market on brands’ behalves, brands need to step up their game and invest in experiences that their consumers actually want to share,” Gherani says. “From storefronts and pop-up shops to innovative expo booths and interactive insta worthy subway ads, the experience economy is set to be the most lucrative brand channels to tap into.

The opportunities to boost customer engagement are limited only by the human imagination. (Which is to say, they’re limitless.)

Catalyze social bonding and social media to turn customers into advocates

DoubleTree by Hilton has saved millions a year on advertising using a simple, memorable “Talk Trigger” (a term coined by author and marketing consultant Jay Baer). By providing each guest with a fresh-baked cookie upon check-in, the upmarket hotel chain has created a powerful word-of-mouth marketing machine. Similar examples abound in B2C (business to consumer) customer service and marketing. cookies

MSC, a full-service real estate brokerage firm specializing in retail, recently wrote that “With the infiltration of social media into everyday norms, millennials have created a craze for a whole new type of retail experience driven by entertainment.” MSC sees this as a paradigm shift for small shop retailers.

Social media might get too much credit for the shift towards experiential retail. Still, encouraging social sharing is a comparatively low-cost way to boost sales for two reasons:

  1. People are becoming numb to digital marketing. Those channels are oversaturated and consumers are more interested in their friends’ activities and recommendations than ads.
  2. For better or worse, fear of missing out (FOMA) is driving many consumer choices. As McKinsey & Company recently explained:

Keeping up with the Joneses used to be about wanting to own the same expensive products your friends or neighbors did. But with more consumers opting for experiences—whether that means seeing the musical Hamilton or visiting Hanoi—and sharing their stories and pictures online, people feel peer pressure to join in or keep up.

Make ‘em laugh.

The excellent bestselling business book The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath talks about how businesses can create experiences that have an outsized influence over overall customer satisfaction. It’s surprising how often these experiences come at little to no cost.

For example, Southwest Airlines’ flight attendants are known to deliver funny flight safety announcements. I experienced one that could have passed off as a legitimate stand-up routine. The Heath brothers noted that Southwest collected and analyzed data to see how these script-breaking spiels influence spending. Girl Laughing

The data showed that travelers who heard a funny flight safety announcement bought an extra half flight per year (on average) compared to those who didn’t. The data nerds figured if the frequency of funny announcements doubled, it would boost annual revenue by $140 million!

$140 million return on an investment of $0!

Schedule a Consult

At Retail Control Systems, we provide customized ecommerce and omnichannel retail solutions for a dozen industries. But we’ll always love our brick and mortar retail heritage. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you navigate the changing retail landscape and thrive through the 2020s and beyond.

McKenzie report we referenced earlier also talked about the many opportunities this shift in consumer behavior creates.

For instance:

  • Specialty fitness concepts like high-intensity interval training, Pilates and yoga studios are outpacing traditional healthclubs.
  • Similarly, “comedy clubs, piano bars, acrobatic performances, and [themed] dinner shows” are increasingly sought out by consumers.

“Shared experiences with friends and family” are key, the report states. But in several ways, shared experiences are what retail has always been about.

Bonding over experiences and “stuff”

Buying your first suit with dad is a fond memory millions of Americans share. Mothers and daughters aren’t going to suddenly stop going on retail excursions to buy shoes and clothes because we’ve become more efficient shoppers. These are uplifting bonding experiences that have spanned generations.

Although millennials have pioneered this change, brands embracing customer focused, unique, and experiential retail will attract consumers across generations, keeping the world of retail alive and well.

That captures a key point we’ve repeated over the last few months. Retail isn’t going anywhere, but retailers in general need to master multiple touchpoints, providing consumers the combination of convenience and physical experiences that is increasingly in demand.

In many ways, retailers are simply being called to take things they’ve always done well and find creative ways to elevate them. From that standpoint, the experience economy sounds less daunting and more exciting. Consumer subsets like locavores can in fact be your most engaged customers.

Save time, save stress, increase your profits.

Schedule a meeting with one of our retail solutions experts.

Retailers: Don’t get blindsided by the Windows 7 apocalypse

Retailers: Don’t get blindsided by the Windows 7 apocalypse

News, Restaurant, Retail, Specialty Retail, Sporting Goods, Technical Tip

Retailers: Don’t get blindsided by Windows 7 End of Life

By John Garvey

It’s finally happening: Microsoft is ending all Windows 7 support on January 14, 2020. That means no more bug fixes, and no more preventative upgrades to fend off malware. So what’s the effect on your retail business?

The problem

If your retail system is running on Windows 7, it may coast along for a while, but it will ultimately be more vulnerable than ever to hacks. The bad guys of the world will likely be out to get anyone still running Windows 7, and they’ll do their best to breach systems.

Some retailers may assume that a simple software upgrade to Windows 10 will take care of everything. This is tempting, given all that retailers have to deal with day to day. But for many, that assumption is wrong. And the result could be costly for retailers come January, when POS systems at their store locations could start to fail.

Why? Because of two potential compatibility issues:

  • Your existing POS software might not work with Windows 10.
  • Hardware upgrades will be necessary in many cases in order to utilize your new software.

That makes this “simple upgrade” look a lot more complex in some situations. But if your current POS system isn’t giving you the most bang for your buck these days, this seeming headache could actually be a big opportunity.

Windows 7 End of Life Webinar

Join us for a 1-hour webinar about the end of Windows 7, this Wednesday, June 26 at 2 PM EST. You’ll learn more about the concerns that are on the horizon for many retailers — and come away seeing this as a great opportunity for your business to make a leap forward in the modern retail era.

Why change POS systems now? Here are few key reasons:

  1. Security. The thing that matters most to you and your customers will be most easily achieved through modern technology. With Windows 7 support coming to an end, there’s a chance to retool in a way that could help your margins and improve your business in a way you might not otherwise be able to achieve.
  2. Compatibility. Newer POS technologies can roll with the punches, and still come out ahead. Where allowed, open source technology keeps them moving forward as the retail industry’s needs change, and as new functionality is developed. (This is one way our Revel system is able to stay at the forefront of the industry, with nimble solutions for all sizes of business.)
  3. Enhanced features. A modern POS goes much further than handling everyday transactions. It can help you:
    • Improve inventory management, fraud prevention and customer service with smart alerts
    • Build out a loyalty program
    • Run email marketing programs
    • Monitor your store’s operations remotely with cloud-based tools that track sales figures and alert you to unusual events like excessive no-sales transactions
    • Eliminate manual data entry
    • Seamlessly transfer inventory between multiple locations
    • Add new items with multiple units, SKUs and barcodes on the go
    • Facilitate creating/scanning price tags and labels on the shelf and at the point of sale
    • Make better business decisions thanks to detailed reports

I like manual data entry. – Nobody, ever

In short, the end of life for Windows 7 may be more of an opportunity than a chore.

The security you need. The tools that make businesses better.

RCS has several retail systems for you to consider — and all are ready to implement before support for Windows 7 officially ends:

All these solutions offer modern capabilities. In many cases, they offer options and customizations specific to your industry. Revel, Cegid, Counterpoint and Foyer all include automatic, seamless updates and enable you to use touch-screen devices for easy checkout.

The best solution for you will depend on your industry and niche.

Need help deciding on the best one for you? Our capable team is ready, and we’re up on all the latest developments. Hit us up with your questions.

We’ll help you navigate the Windows 7 end of life, and focus on the opportunities that lie ahead for you and your business. As soon as you’re ready, we can set you up with the right hardware and software, help you improve processes — and enjoy healthy margins.

Windows 7 End of Life Webinar

Join us for a 1-hour webinar about the end of Windows 7, this Wednesday, June 26 at 2 PM EST. You’ll learn more about the concerns that are on the horizon for many retailers — and come away seeing this as a great opportunity for your business to make a leap forward in the modern retail era.

Why retailers should be thinking about Locavores and the experience economy (1 of 2)

Why retailers should be thinking about Locavores and the experience economy (1 of 2)

Clothing & Apparel, E-commerce, Just for Fun, Retail, Specialty Retail, Web Tips

Why retailers should be thinking about Locavores and the experience economy (1 of 2)

Part I: The line is blurring between e-commerce and brick & mortar retail. Locavores and virtually every other subset of shoppers want options.

By John Garvey

While it’s in some ways laudable, the stereotype of young consumers who want to know “the story behind the product” is an easy target for comedy.

ChickensLocavores were hilariously satirized in the oddball sketch comedy show Portlandia, in a skit where a couple at a restaurant asks a barrage of questions about the chicken. Is it organic? What kind of diet is it raised on? How much room do the chickens have to run around? Do you have a good relationship with the farmer?

“They do a lot to make sure that their chickens are very happy,” assures the server. She goes so far as to provide a file containing photos and in-depth biographical information on the chicken they’re about to eat. Still not quite satisfied, the couple asks the server to hold their table and goes out to visit the farm.

(And then things get weird.)

Although it’s often satirized, there are lessons from the locavore movement that relate to consumer retail as well as food service.

From warring opposites to mutually dependent: Ecommerce vs. brick & mortar

For many retailers, there must have been a certain irony to the ecommerce behemoth Amazon acquiring Whole Foods. After all, WFM arguably did more than anyone to popularize the term “Locavore.”

It’s odd how farmers markets and more experiential brick-and-mortar retail concepts have blossomed in the last decade, even as ecommerce has gained so much market share. Weirder still, the same kind of consumers who preferentially buy local goods of one sort are likely to shop exclusively online for other needs.

At Retail Control Systems, we provide customized ecommerce and omnichannel retail solutions for a dozen industries. But we’ll always love our brick and mortar retail heritage. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you navigate the changing retail landscape and thrive through the 2020s and beyond.

As paradoxes go, it’s hard to beat all the pure play online retailers like Warby Parker, Amazon and Birchbox opening physical storefronts. This is reflective of consumer demand for a blended experience—a combination of convenience and personalization. Ecommerce companies have seen pure online sales spike in places where they have physical storefronts.

Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers and online retailers are finally using multiple touchpoints to leverage, rather than cannibalize each other. The line between different channels is blurring. Consumers who initially encounter a brand in one channel are increasingly apt to purchase through another, weeks later.

Consumers still see shopping, in part, as a social experience. Talking in-person with a store rep with first-hand product experience provides greater assurance than aggregated online reviews. Savvy consumers know that many vendors game the system, making in-person conversations all the more valuable.

The Experience Economy

Jia Wertz, writing for Forbes, recently wrote that “consumers have slowly but surely been moving away from strictly shopping for products, instead seeking a more engaging experience. The trend has been driven largely by millennials and their preference for experiences over things.”

Two women in the back of a car

In recent years, the increase in household spending on “experience-related services” has quadrupled the growth of spending on goods. That’s according to a report by Worldwide management consultancy McKinsey & Company.

Although the “Experience Economy” has only recently become part of the popular vernacular in the last couple of years, a 1998 Harvard Business Review article discussed the then emerging phenomenon. Those insights remain relevant.

For instance, thinking through what you’d have to do to theoretically justify charging admission to your store may help you identify opportunities to differentiate your shop and capture new, high-value customers. While most in-store events aren’t admission-based, “demonstrations, showcases, contests, and other attractions” could be.

Some of these ideas remain radical 21 years after publication. For instance, the authors state that “In the full-fledged experience economy, retail stores and even entire shopping malls will charge admission before they let a consumer even set foot in them.” We’ll see. For now, the most visible examples remain things like educational workshops, fitness classes and store-sponsored running clubs to promote athletic brands.

What’s a theme you can leverage to make your customers’ or guests’ retail experience totally unique to your store?

Bonding over experiences and “stuff”

Retail has always been an experience in some sense, and will be for generations to come.

Meeting a second-generation shop owner, clothing designer, coffee roaster or even a geeky electronics expert who can help you with your home entertainment system are all experiences unique to shopping in physical stores. It’s a pleasure to talk and listen to people who are passionate and knowledgeable about what they do. That’s one of the reasons brick and mortar stores will still be thriving for decades to come.

Next month, we’ll discuss how to use simple, memorable experiences to make your customers your greatest advertising asset.

We Make Data Your Friend, Not Your Boss

Shorter Buying Cycles. Fewer Stockouts. Less Surplus Inventory.

Our retail point of sale support services can help you optimize day-to-day and strategic decisions.

Retailers and Restaurateurs Using Revel Can Actually Run Their Businesses Instead of Putting Out Fires

Retailers and Restaurateurs Using Revel Can Actually Run Their Businesses Instead of Putting Out Fires

Clothing & Apparel, E-commerce, Garden Centers, Gift Stores, Museums Attractions, Restaurant, Retail, Specialty Retail, Sporting Goods, Wine & Liquor

… But that’s only part of why Retail Control Systems has partnered with them. Here’s why you should care.

By John Garvey

Summary

Revel is an iPad point-of-sale (POS) solution that provides the simplicity of Square with the power of a much larger system. It includes mobile POS and e-commerce capabilities, employee scheduling, customer relationship management (CRM) and inventory management solutions. It takes minimal time to onboard.

It’s powerful. Revel provides you with business intelligence, operations and management tools that you didn’t previously have access to at a reasonable price.

It’s easy. Revel is user-friendly enough to allow you to devote your time to actually running your business.Business planning

Revel was founded in 2010 by Chris Ciabarra and Lisa Falzone—two people who were too stubborn to believe the pizza shops and restaurants they frequented couldn’t have POS systems with third-party integrations, mobile payment capabilities and business intelligence tools big players could afford. Convinced that it was technically possible to help small retailers and restaurateurs get more money in the door with less hassle, they developed what is now Revel.

Today, Revel’s technology has surpassed the abilities and reliability of many competitors. It’s novel but proven.

Is Revel right for you?

It depends.

One reason we at RCS have partnered with Revel is that they have a very similar culture to ours. We know a lot of their executive team from having done business in the retail space. When we first met to begin exploring a partnership, we already knew half the faces in the room.

We’re excited to be able to offer a comparatively inexpensive retail and restaurant support platform with great functionality. That’s hard to pull off.

If you’re contemplating using Revel, here are some questions you may be asking:

1.What kinds of businesses are most likely to benefit from using Revel?

  • Revel is perfect for both smaller retailers and restaurants. They’re restaurant experts. They have inventory management tools , built-in tip functionality and other features. These make onboarding easier and eliminate the need for customization.
  • Multi-location retailers can manage all their operations from a single account, transferring inventory between stores, scheduling employees, running reports and attending to other needs.
  • For those just getting started, Revel cuts back on hardware costs, allowing you to conduct all operations, from an iPad. You get the ease of use of the iPad with true Retail hardware including cash drawers, credit card readers, receipt printers and barcode scanners. Revel even has a scale integration if you sell items by weight. It also saves hours of time on employee onboarding because it’s so easy to use.
  • For retailers with an older version of Counterpoint or another POS system, Revel may provide a cost-effective solution that will get you the latest technology at a reasonable rate.

Interested in Revel?  Schedule a personalized demo in minutes. We’ll collaboratively determine whether it’s a good match for you.

2. What are the top three or so concerns people might have when exploring Revel as an option?

Growth. Some retailers may be concerned that they’ll outgrow Revel. When deliberating between, say, Revel and NCR Counterpoint, this is worthy of consideration. If you are projecting rapid growth in the near future, Revel may not be the right choice for you.

Mobile and e-commerce. For those concerned with mobile and online ordering capabilities, Revel will delight. It is excellent in both regards. Customers can complete orders anywhere as long as an associate is there to assist them. This keeps things personable while cutting back on lines. Associates can also process credit cards from pop up shops, trade shows, food trucks and the like.

Flexibility. Finally, Revel has a flexible, customizable e-commerce platform for omnichannel retailers. You can keep your credit card processing system if that suits you. You don’t need to create a new account each time you open a new location. Etc. Revel won’t rope you into anything that doesn’t make sense for your business.

That said, Revel has less customization than Counterpoint. Do you need to build a custom integration that’s out of the ordinary for a retail system? If so, Counterpoint is probably a better solution.

3. How will Revel and RCS leverage one another’s unique capabilities to benefit retailers?

Revel has superb, proven technology, and ease of use is one of their main focuses. We at RCS have tons of experiences working with retailers through practically every challenge imaginable.

In spite of Revel’s focus on user-friendliness, nothing is 100 percent intuitive. This is the value of our overall approach to business partnerships, including our partnership with Revel. We’re here to provide you the training and ongoing assistance to make the best use of it.

Focus on managing your business, not your POS system

Retailers increasingly need to become experts in a wide range of topics. These include digital marketing, supply chain management and managing a workforce with different expectations that the retail workforce of decades prior. The right POS provider will ease those challenges, not just by providing you the right tools but by partnering with you.

With regard to employee management, Revel’s user-friendly platform and easy onboarding process provide small businesses a dual advantage: minimal training time and a less frustrating work environment. All things equal, that has a real potential to reduce turnover. When turnover does occur, it reduces the cost associated with training new employees.

  • CRM
  • Loyalty programs
  • Intelligent business reporting
  • Low inventory alerts
  • Employee scheduling

About Revel:

Revel was founded in 2010 by  —two people who were too stubborn to believe the pizza shops and restaurants they frequented couldn’t have POS systems with third-party integrations, mobile payment capabilities and business intelligence tools big players could afford. Convinced that it was technically possible to help small retailers and restauranteurs get more money in the door with less hassle, they developed what is now Revel.

Will your retail operation benefit from the RCS/Cegid partnership?

Will your retail operation benefit from the RCS/Cegid partnership?

Clothing & Apparel, News, Retail, Sporting Goods

By John Garvey

The retail industry is experiencing a massive change, making it uniquely challenging, but also presenting great opportunities to those who effectively leverage partnerships and technology. The primacy of omnichannel retail, as well as new retail POS, digital marketing, inventory management and CRM technologies, means that we have a lot to keep an eye on at RCS.

To that end, we recently hosted a VAR program launch in downtown Fort Collins, CO, featuring retail technology consultant Dick Calio of R.J. Calio Consulting, and our newest partner Cegid, among several other presenters and partners.

“When I look at retail, it’s very much where distribution and manufacturing were ten years ago,” Calio notes, pointing to past trends such as offshore manufacturing, increased reliance on 3rd party logistics (3PL) providers and the phasing out of partnerships.

RCS and Cegid logos

“The reason a lot of those [manufacturing and distribution] partnerships went away is because the customers didn’t just need help selling something. They needed someone to help them make strategic business decisions,” states Calio.

Retail Control Systems and Cegid are partnering to leverage each other’s strengths, bringing high-end retailers an option ideally suited to many of their needs. What are some of the solutions this new partnership brings to the table?

Business partners are not anonymous resellers but a key component of the successful global team.

– Arnaud Coste, Director of Channel Partnerships at Cegid Group

Successful partnerships are almost by definition relational, not transactional, which is why RCS and Cegid are carrying out an enablement program and building a community to ensure smooth adoption of Cegid’s services as it expands its presence in North America. We’re combining not just financial resources and intellectual property, but people and ideas. Because local compliance issues can be dizzying for retailers that do business in multiple jurisdictions, having that local knowledge is key.

Q&A:

  1. What advantages does having RCS host Cegid confer to retailers?

RCS has been in the retail business for over 30 years, so we know which of our customers are starting to outgrow their current point of sale system. We know what potential customers would likely be a good fit for Cegid. As an industry expert we’re also comfortable telling customers if Cegid (or any other system, for that matter) isn’t right for their needs.

An occasional challenge with cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) and retail intelligence solutions, regardless of the provider, is that they tend to have organizational restrictions. By having RCS host and giving us a large degree of self-direction, Cegid expects to be able to rise above many of those challenges. The result will be a more responsive, agile unified commerce platform for retailers.

  1. What are some key characteristics of retailers who would most benefit from using Cegid?

Clothing storeCegid is a high-end business solution for multi-location businesses. High-end clothing retailers and other retailers with 15 – 100 stores stand to benefit most from using it.

A unified commerce platform, Cegid is very sophisticated with a lot of 3rd party integrations and omnichannel capabilities. We offer virtually every omnichannel purchasing, customer service, tracking and delivery option out there, so you’ll never miss a sale. The shopping experience is consistent across channels with a pleasant user experience (UX).

  1. What are the top three or so concerns retailers might have when exploring Cegid as an option?
    1. Although the cost is not exorbitant, Cegid is most likely not in the budget for single location stores.
    2. Cegid is very robust and can do a lot, which can be daunting. For that reason, RCS is creating hardware and software bundles with everything you need and nothing you don’t. We also offer individualized, ongoing assistance to all our clients, especially when they’re bringing new solutions on board.

RCS Payments is also part of these packages and this will save people money with credit card processing.

Want to see if RCS can lower your credit card processing rate? Get started in seconds!

Woman swiping a credit card

  1. How will Cegid and RCS leverage one another’s unique capabilities to benefit retailers?

Cegid is a well-respected award-winning point of sale solution in Europe, but doesn’t have a large presence in the U.S. RCS knows the U.S. market and has been the top reseller for NCR Counterpoint for over 20 years.

In sum, RCS brings local knowledge, experience and relationships to the table; Cegid brings a ton of new, scalable technology and know-how. This can help businesses promote an innovative brand image, improve the customer experience and scale more effectively than they would otherwise be capable of doing.

Request a Cegid Demo Today!

About Cegid:

Cegid has been around for 63 years and currently operates in 30 countries on five continents. It has been highly-ranked by research and advisory companies including Gartner, Forrester and IDC. Cegid’s customizable, advanced omnichannel retail and  inventory management solutions are ideally suited to high-end retailers and those with more than 15 locations.

About RCS:

Retail Control Systems was founded in 1987 by Dave Albert, a native of Madawaska, Maine, the most Northeastern town in the United States. After more than three decades serving retailers, RCS remains a family-owned company. We’ve helped hundreds of retailers find and implement point of sale, inventory, CRM, ecommerce, digital marketing and other solutions.

Indigo Contemporary Women’s Apparel

Indigo Contemporary Women’s Apparel

Clothing & Apparel, Gift Stores, RCS Payments, Retail

Indigo Contemporary Women’s Apparel: Relying on point of sale data, honoring relationships and intuition

By John Garvey

Can you make your clothing store an expression of your personality and still have a profitable business? As a retail buyer you rely a lot on data, but sometimes we forget that emotion, in its place, is a valuable decision-making tool as well as your point of sale (POS) system. Mia Vogt, owner of Indigo, a women’s contemporary clothing and shoe store based in Hanover, seems to have a pretty good sense of this.

“Even though I love turtlenecks and wear them every day, they don’t sell well,” Mia admits. Yet she acknowledges that not all her choices make sense from a hard-nosed business standpoint.

A retail business can be an expression of your personality and also be profitable. Sometimes it just requires balancing objectives.

Evolving her business without being at the mercy of guesswork

We’ve been partners with Mia since 1998, when she founded Bella, a casual women’s clothing store which preceded Indigo. Mia opened Indigo as a second store in 2007. Indigo was somewhat experimental in nature, offering higher price-point items. It obviously succeeded or we wouldn’t be writing about it 11 years later.

Inside of Indigo - Shoppers and employeesIndigo moved to a larger location in 2012 and Mia chose to combine both stores. When Bella and Indigo merged, it naturally meant consolidating their offerings as well. One of the things we admire about retailers is that they have to make a dizzying number of inventory management decisions under normal circumstances, so this must have been quite a challenge.

“We didn’t bring every single line over from Bella and from Indigo,” Mia says, “but we were able to figure out what was performing the best from both stores and bring it all into Indigo to make it the best of the best. Often you think you know what your best lines are, but it’s not always the case.”

This is where NCR Counterpoint, a POS platform we offer as a Premiere Solution Provider, really helped. Among other things, Counterpoint provides comprehensive POS information and inventory management, e-commerce capabilities, and dozens of reports so retailers can always make informed choices. For instance, Mia can look up her most profitable items and vendors for any given time period with virtually no hassle.

Coats hanging in Indigo store“The numbers on those reports really don’t lie,” Mia states. “It was very valuable to have that. We had so much history by then and that was really helpful.”

Indigo has roughly 10 thousand SKUs and 250 vendors. Those numbers make my head spin. A good point of sale system and a disciplined manager make it manageable, though.

“You think you know just from working in the store what you’re selling,” says Mia. “But sometimes there are sneaky little things. I’ll look up our bestseller for a certain time period and I’m often just shocked because it’s not a flashy thing that we think about a lot—it’s something that’s really basic. But we’re making a good profit on it.”

What do you most enjoy about retail?

“What I like about retail is it changes all the time,” Mia tells us. “Every day, you’re opening a new box. You know, we don’t sell the same sweater for five years.

Fashion is always changing. It’s not repetitive as far as what we’re opening and selling every day. The merchandising end of it and the buying end of it are a little bit creative.

“I like running a successful business. Trying to keep it going and making money is fun for me, and I get to work with a great bunch of women of all ages.”

“It’s also fun to be independent,” Mia continues. “We can have some fun and shake it up a little if we want to.”

Follow Indigo online:  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest 

Business in balance: Data, intuition and plenty of personality

Mia - owner of Indigo and employeesFor all the advantages data provides, Mia’s choices aren’t all based on point of sale analytics.

“A lot of it is emotional too,” Mia says. “Counterpoint gives me the information. Then I can decide whether to use it, but it gives me a platform to make decisions off of. I can decide I’m going to get turtlenecks anyway.

“I can get a little optimistic and think I can sell anything. But having that data that says a vendor isn’t working for us even though I really, really like them, I have that data there informing my choices. So if I do make decisions that don’t make sense from a purely business standpoint I know I’m doing it just for myself or because I can’t say no to that vendor.

“So I only have myself to blame.”

Mia’s experience shows that information from Counterpoint POS reports is instrumental in choosing which product lines and vendors to maintain. But data isn’t your boss. As Mia’s favorite brand Patagonia demonstrates, values-based choices that don’t make short-term business sense can become one of the cornerstones of a successful clothing business.

Sometimes it’s just about reading the tea leaves and believing your inner voice.

“I don’t always follow everything. It’s nice to have a little leeway and be able to not have a division looking over your shoulders and saying, ‘You don’t have the money to buy that,’ or whatever. It’s nice to be your own boss and say, ‘I know I’m going to sell that even though I might be a little overbought.’”

Brick and mortar retail is about experiences, not just great products

“You can get pretty much anything in my store online,” Mia acknowledges. “Maybe not all in one place, but you can find it. So to offer an experience when people come in, I think that’s the only way you’re going to survive. You can always offer something that they can’t get online. And that is often just having a personality and offering a nice experience.

“I think the other thing we do really well with is the mother-daughter shopping experience. It’s fun, it’s something you do with your mom and that’s still a huge part of your business and you can’t do it online.”

Do you have an overarching philosophy about the fashion business?

A lot of Mia’s business ethos boils down to being nice to people and not taking yourself too seriously.

“I try not to take myself too seriously in the fashion sense,” she says. “We love clothing, we want people to buy it, but I’m not going to push people into buying things. I’ll be honest if I think we could get something that looks better on them. You can sort of talk yourself into thinking a fashion trend is a big deal, but at the end of the day it’s just something that should be fun.”

Where would you like to be in five years with Indigo?

“I would like to have more time to do some of the creative things and less of the day-to-day things. Because there’s so much fun stuff that could be done.”

Mia would like to roll out Indigo branded apparel, have more fun with weekly display windows and use tools like social media to express her business’s personality and share offers. We bet all these things will come to fruition. Counterpoint can’t vacuum or respond to emails, but it can save a lot of time elsewhere.

Also, please put my wife down for an Indigo branded turtleneck.

As data-driven as business choices often are, emotion and intuition will always be important in retail management. Relationships matter, and many independent retailers want their businesses to be an expression of their personalities. We honor that and also provide point of sale support to keep businesses profitable.

We Make Data Your Friend, Not Your Boss
Shorter Buying Cycles.
Fewer Stockouts.
Less Surplus Inventory.

Our retail point of sale support services can help you optimize day-to-day and strategic decisions.