From a press release today:Read More >
Next week NCC will be releasing 220.127.116.11. We will keep you updated after it is released and let you know about any new features, updates, what needs to be upgraded, etc.Read More >
Galena, Alaska is situated on the north bank of the Yukon River, 270 miles west of Fairbanks in the heart of the western Interior. Galena is the hub for smaller central Alaskan communities who depend upon Galena’s capacity to deliver health, education, cultural, social, and other services and conveniences. Every other year, Galena is one of 26 checkpoints for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.Read More >
Like most businesses, we are constantly looking for ways to improve. We have a flyer we have pinned up on the walls here that lists some of the key points we are looking to focus on for the year and one of these is: “Better communications with our customers.”
As a technology provider, our phones are our life line to just about everything we do, whether it be assisting customers, working with vendors or communicating internally. We decided that it was time to invest in a new phone system, and we reached out to GCI for assistance in getting there.
Starting this month, our new CISCO 8800 series IP phones will be changing the way you hear from us. This new system features:Read More >
Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, November 5th. Don't forget to set your clocks back so that you can get that extra hour of sleep!Read More >
I just read an article by Linda Kirkpatrick - Executive Vice President, U.S. Market Development at Mastercard - "No More Signing on the Dotted Line".
According to the article, Mastercard will no longer require signatures at checkout for any credit or debit purchases in Canada and the U.S. starting April 2018. Right now the card brands (VISA, Mastercard, Discover, American Express) have thresholds for transactions that don't require a signature, typically $50. But starting next April, Mastercard won't require a signature for any retail transactions at checkout. I imagine that the other card brands will follow suit at some point.
Data breach - those two words can (and should) scare the heck out of business owners. It is everywhere in the news. I think on some level, people are just throwing their hands up in the air at this point. However, we don't want our customers to go through this experience - no one wants the CIA showing up at their back door or having their funds frozen because of a suspected breach.
To help you understand the impacts, we wanted to share this article by Justin Zeigler, the director of product development and marketing at Datacap Systems. (Datacap Systems develops integrated payment interfaces for any type Point of Sale Application - so they are very in tune with security for point of sale systems.) In this article, he discusses:
- What Is a Data Breach and How Do They Most Commonly Occur?
- What Can You Expect When a Breach Occurs? What Are the Steps?
- Who Is Liable?
- Best Practices to Prevent Breaches and Mitigate Liability
- Using a QIR (Qualified Integrators and Resellers) Certified Reseller
As a business owner, it is vital to understand the effects of a breach on your business, your customers and your employees.
Read this eye opening article below:Read More >
Large retailers like Walmart use powerful merchandising software to compete and profit in today's aggressive retail market. Insight Retail Software provides the same features to small retailers at a price they can afford, so they too can benefit from the use of software technology. backOffice™provides the tools you need to Do Better.Read More >
Our world is changing, quicker than some of us would like and for others, not quick enough. All this change affects restaurants and retail like no other because your customers are on the forefront of these changes. As your trusted Point of Sale (POS) provider, we find ourselves changing too. We can’t just be a company that provides for you today, we also have to be able to provide for your future. To help us do this, Skurla’s has been a member of RSPA (Retail Solutions Providers Association) for the better part of 40 years. RSPA isn’t just for retail though. At its heart are hundreds of POS providers and vendors, working together for a common cause: to help you.
Every year, RSPA members, vendors and partners meet at an event called RetailNOW. I was fortunate to be able to attend and see what the future holds for restaurants and retail. There were too many things to cover here but there were a few that stood out as key areas for merchants to take note of.
Customer engagement was one of the most popular areas that other POS dealers such as us were interested in. A lot of this revolved around things like customer loyalty, data analytics (using it) and mobility. These three things are fast becoming inseparable to the modern merchant. They don’t have to exist together but when they do, it’s a big win for the customer and the merchant.
- Customer loyalty is a system that rewards the customer for coming back to a merchant and giving them repeat business. It’s usually offered up in the way of points that are redeemed for good and/or services. The big change here is making it as easy as possible for not only the customers to participate but having the merchants staff understand the process and help the customers engage. Your staff are the “face” of the business and if they are engaged in the process, they will sell it like no other. But to make it easy, you need to make another change: mobility.
- Mobility is a two-way street and your customers are already experts. If you don’t have the right mobility options to engage them, you’re falling behind. New POS options have beacon technology, which enable merchants to know who is in the store or if they are close. Utilizing this, smart merchants can know what a particular customer likes and market or sell to them direct and the customer will cheer you on for it! But in-depth knowledge of your customer preferences takes more than just data.
- Data analytics isn’t enough – utilizing it is key. There are plenty of companies out there who will gather data for you but what do you do with it? Using that data in a meaningful way is the third piece of customer engagement. Have you ever been to a store or restaurant and filled out a comment card and never received a follow up call or email? Or maybe not seen the changes that you would have expected? Sadly, customers see this all too often and the result is that they don’t patronize that merchant again or are dissatisfied and share their experiences with other potential or existing customers. Having tools and systems in place to act on your data will help you better serve your customers and turn them into raving fans.
In some businesses, credit sales account for over 80% of their daily sales. If this is your business, you are depositing very little cash every day. And while most of us count for and reconcile the cash, are you reconciling your daily credit card deposit to the credit card batches that actually go into the bank? It seems easy and automatic, but here are a few tips and tricks we have learned over the last couple of decades installing integrated credit card systems.Read More >
Our office will be closed on Tuesday, July 4th in honor of Independence Day
A reduced staff will be working remotely/on call to handle the needs of our customers on Monday, July 3rd.
However, we understand the importance of customer service and issues that may arise during this busy retail holiday.
If you have an emergency, please call us at 243-2683 and follow the prompts to page our after hours technician. For support hours and information, click here.
Have a safe and Happy 4th of July. From the team at Skurla's!
Read More >
Data breaches pose threats to consumers ranging from cloned credit cards to identity theft. For merchants, the threats include stiff financial penalties and a tarnished reputation.
With your NCC Aurora system, your credit/debit cards are considered Out of Scope (OOS). An Out of Scope Payment interface is one in which cardholder data never comes into contact with the point of sale (POS) system. In the OOS model, the POS sends a transaction total to the card-reading device, which communicates directly with the card processor and sends only the authorization information back to the POS.
Read the rest of the article here.
For more information or questions on your system, please call us at 907-243-2683. Or fill out the form below:
I wanted to share an article by Datacap Systems and their take on why consumers aren't using their mobile wallets. (I know that I don't use mine, even when the option is available.) And most merchants aren't offering these payment options, even though they have the capability to do so.
Datacap Systems develops and markets innovative integrated payments solutions for many Point of Sale Systems. At Skurla's we use Datacap devices with our NCC/Aurora Point of Sale systems. Theirintegrated payment devices allow merchants to do mobile payments, EMV, NFC (Near Field Communications - supporting “contactless” payments, enabling plug and play support for Apple Pay®, Google Wallet® and Samsung Pay.Read More >
This is the most important security rule of all. Back up your drive with all of your data, weekly or daily (or even more frequently), depending on the volume of transactions. A rule of thumb: You should never be in a position where reentry of data requires more than a day’s work.Read More >
MasterCard’s new 2-series cards will work the same as the current 5-series cards that begin with a “5.” Card issuers can begin issuing the new version of MasterCard. The first six digits of a credit card number, otherwise known as the Bank Identification Number (BIN), determine how transactions are routed and identify the issuing bank. All parties’ payment applications/solutions m
ust be able to accommodate this new BIN range, including those utilized by: acquirers, processors, issuers, and merchants. Merchants have until June 2017 to get their systems ready.
It's Friday night - your store or restaurant is packed. Things are humming along nicely and you're thinking - we are busy, life is good!
Then you get the call - we are out of receipt paper at the register - can you bring us a roll?
You look, you panic - oh man - you forgot to reorder last week after they used that last roll!!!!
But you, being a smart manager/owner - know that you have that emergency supply kit tucked away for times just like these! Viola! Crack open the kit, and all is good.
Ok, but for those of you that don't have that emergency supply kit, well.....
So here is our advice. First of all, make your point of sale supplies stock is something you inventory and check stock of on a regular basis. If you purchase your supplies from us, we can even get you accurate sales history of how much you go through on a regular basis. Preorder for a couple of months or even a season and take advantage of our quantity discounts!
But the unexpected can still happen. So, for that reason, we suggest you create an emergency point of sale supply kit that only you or your managers know about and have access to. Make this a part of your disaster plan!
Here are some suggestions of what to keep in that kit:Read More >
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world's largest provider of internet-based computing services - almost 150,000 companys use AWS. Companies such as Netflix, Spotify, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, and Amazon (go figure), use this service. When AWS had an outage yesterday, it affected hundreds of thousands of businesses! Dave Bartoletti, a cloud analyst with Forrester, told USA Today: “This is a pretty big outage. “It’s got north of 3 to 4 trillion pieces of data stored in it.” That's a lot of data!
Fortunately, for our customers that have products utilizing AWS, they are on a system that offers an offline solution or a solution that still runs even if internet is down.
However, this is a great reminder that it is time to review the disaster plan for your business. You have one, right?
Many disasters can befall a small business (power outages, earthquakes, internet outages, fires, security breaches, etc.), but few are worse than losing vital business information. Imagine losing your entire customer list, your accounts receivable data, your sales or payroll data, your menu setup, or your inventory records. You could spend weeks –even months - reconstructing this data. In a worst-case scenario, you might not be able to reconstruct it at all. If you are on one of our hosted solutions, many of these worries go away.
In today’s highly-computerized business world, many firms are exposed to the sudden loss of information. Natural disasters, computer viruses, mechanical failures and electronic crime can all result in catastrophic data loss. No matter how hard you try, you can’t prevent disasters from occurring. But you can take forceful steps to safeguard your data, and ensure that you can retrieve and restore your computer records should you suffer a loss.Read More >
Some of the things we hear often from our customers - "we don't use half of the features of our point of sale system, I wish I knew more about current technologies, we are still having problems with this functionality, or we could sure use more training in this area, we want to implement this loyalty this year, but not sure the best way to approach this."
These are just some of the reasons why we offer a free annual review of our customer’s point of sale systems and related business processes at a meeting with the owners and key managers.
Many customers tell us they don't have time - (or maybe they are afraid there is a hidden cost). So, therefore we are here to tell you how easy it is, and that yes, it is truly free - no strings attached!
We truly want you to take advantage of these meetings for many reasons:
- It's free! It's easy! If you are in Anchorage, we can come to your place of business; if you aren't, we can easily set up a GoToMeeting conference call.
- It's important for owners and managers to keep abreast of the point of sale and payment technologies - these are the systems that run your business!
- Employees change - sometimes the employee that helped set up the system is no longer with your company - now is a good time to review your system and any system needs or changes you may have.
- We will ask questions, such as, "What are your top 3-4-5 projects your management team has decided to pursue in the coming year?" How can we help? How can we be prepared?
- We want to do a better job for you and encourage customer feedback – how we can improve our services and communications and how we can help you in the coming year.
- Finally, we will come up with a specific plan and action items for the areas that came up during the meeting.
Plus, we like visiting with our customers and learning what is working and/or not working for them - as partners, together we can come up with solutions to benefit you in key areas.
What to expect at the meeting for your system review:
Read More >
I thought we would share the press release from the National Retail Federation (see link below).
They are spot on when they talk about the importance of tokenization and encryption - which is completely different than the EMV issue - tokenization and encryption help prevent card data theft - very serious credit card security issues that should concern every retail store owner.
"While chips make it more difficult to create counterfeit cards from stolen card data, retailers surveyed said they are also working on technologies like tokenization and encryption that make it difficult to steal card data in the first place."
Here at Skurla's POS Solutions, we are seeing all levels of EMV solution readiness - we work with dozens of vendors - and there is still A LOT of confusion in the marketplace. Several solutions that claim to be ready, may in fact be only partially ready. It depends on who you process with, what payment methods you take (for example, many many processors and EMV solutions still don't have debit and EBT certified on an EMV solution yet), what software you use, what hardware you have, etc.Read More >
I found this article on the blog from NCC USA on why to work with a local point of sale provider - and thought it provided some valuable information. At Skurla's, we are long term partners with our customers. I always tell my customers - if you have a problem - you know where to find me! We believe in local support and long term relationshipsl
Below is a copy of the blog:
Purchasing a point of sale (POS) system is an important investment that will have a direct impact on how efficiently your business operates. You likely spend a lot of time researching options that work best for your market or industry, looking for the features and functions your business needs, and matching prices to your budget. With so much attention focused on potential POS solutions, do you also research the best place to buy your POS system?
There are a number of reasons why working with a POS dealer is smart and strategic. Consider these three.Read More >
- Enhancements to our Datacap Semi-Integrated (EMV) Interfaces
- Tip Adjust
- Enhancements to Built-In Loyalty
- Set Discounts/Coupons as Rewards
- Print Customer Information and Points Balance on Receipts
- Look up and Print Customer Point Balance
- Display Groups
- An all new way to utilize template screens as an alternative to by Department
- Use as Fast Bar Screens, Special Instructions, Forced Modifiers, and Allowed and Included Modifier Screens
- Questions? Contact our Support Department at 907-243-2683
- Enhancements to our Datacap Semi-Integrated (EMV) Interfaces