Mastercard Says "No More Signing on the Dotted Line"

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Oct 26, 2017 8:27:24 AM

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.

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He Answers to Many Names, Just Not Tom

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Oct 23, 2017 4:32:50 PM

Thomas Greenman came to Skurla's 9 years ago from Alabama.   (How weird is it that we have two employees from Alabama - yes, Jesse hails from that state, too.)  Thomas was originally hired as our Service Coordinator, moved up to Service Manager, then Operations and Sales.  

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Eye Opening Article - Anatomy of a Data Breach

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Oct 4, 2017 1:49:25 PM

 

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:

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:

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Back Office Software for Grocery and Convenience Stores

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Sep 29, 2017 4:55:31 PM

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. backOfficeprovides the tools you need to Do Better.

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Tourist Season - Yes, It is a Thing in Alaska

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Sep 14, 2017 9:38:07 AM

It's September. What does that mean to many Alaskans? (Besides the fact that termination dust was sighted on the Chugach Mountains this morning.)

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What the Future Holds for Restaurants and Retail

By Thomas Greenman | Aug 29, 2017 3:49:46 PM

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.
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Online User Manual for your Insight Software

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Aug 23, 2017 3:51:17 PM

Insight RS - your backoffice software for your NCC Aurora Point of Sale system, has an online user manual that we would like to share with you.

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What Can You Say About Jesse.....

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Aug 23, 2017 2:49:43 PM

Words that come to mind when we think about Jesse Dison, our Senior Implementation Specialist:

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The Importance of Checking Your Credit Card Batches

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jul 23, 2017 11:46:21 AM

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.

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Your Aurora NCC  System Goes Mobile with Reporting

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jul 23, 2017 10:34:07 AM

The Aurora NCC  System Adds Mobile Reporting:

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4th of July Weekend and Office Hours

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 30, 2017 11:45:05 AM

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!

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How Out-of-Scope Payment Solutions Help Prevent Data Breaches

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 27, 2017 12:41:48 PM

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:

Get More Information About Our Alaska Tough POS

  

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eWIC is coming to Alaska

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 27, 2017 11:41:32 AM
Women, Infants & Children
Here is a notice from the State of Alaska regarding new food submissions/product changes:

"The Alaska WIC Program is preparing to implement eWIC in our state. We will review all WIC eligible food products that are distributed in Alaska for additions to our eWIC Approved Foods List (APL). We are not reviewing new or changed food products at this time. The 2016 Allowed Foods booklet will remain in effect until we transition to eWIC.

For questions, please contact the WIC Vendor Management Unit at (907) 465-3100, or email wic@alaska.gov."
 
We will continue to keep you updated about changes and what will need to be done to your Aurora/NCC system in order to use eWIC at your store.
 
What is eWIC?  EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. WIC EBT is an electronic process where the food benefits are automatically added onto a card, similar to a debit card. This card, which will be known as the eWIC card, replaces the current paper vouchers/checks
 
For any questions in the meantime, please call us at 907-243-2683.  Or fill out the form below:
 
Get More Information About Our Alaska Tough POS
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Why Mobile Payments Haven't Taken Off - With Merchants or Customers

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 27, 2017 11:24:24 AM

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.

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Add the Power of the Cloud to Your NCC Aurora System

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 19, 2017 12:09:21 PM

Add NCC’s RHQ program to your NCC Aurora Point of Sale System to give you the power of the cloud.

While other companies struggle with their POS systems and servers going down, your business is safe, thanks to Reflection POS and RHQ.
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We have a Superhero - and his name is Jeff

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 19, 2017 11:42:01 AM

 Meet Jeff Wood - one of our superheros .  Jeff joined us in 2012 - and knows point of sale inside and out.  One of our fundamental core values is Teamwork - and Jeff embodies that value in everything he says and does.  

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The Importance of a Backup!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 17, 2017 10:46:16 AM

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.

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MasterCard is adding a new range of card numbers that begin with a ‘2’

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 14, 2017 4:05:07 PM

 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.  

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NCC Releases Version 4.4.1.3 for our Aurora Systems

By Jesse Dison | Apr 13, 2017 1:30:52 PM

See the lastest NCC update for the NCC POS System for our Aurora Alaska Tough POS

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Emergency Supply Kits - Be a Hero!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 4, 2017 10:04:00 AM

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:

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Friendly Help When You Call Our Office

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 30, 2017 1:40:54 PM

I think it is always nice to put a face with a name.  For those of you who haven't met her in person, we wanted to "introduce" you to our amazing Office Manager, Mandy Richards.  Mandy has been with us since 2015, and we couldn't be happier.

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Are You Ready for the Busy Season?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 29, 2017 2:41:20 PM

You know what we are talking about - that busy season - summer, tourists, people in general just out and about more.  And businesses get busy!

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Electronic Data Interchange - EDI Manager

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 29, 2017 1:02:52 PM

Tired of spending tons of time with paper invoices and constantly updating your Pricebook? Almost every vendor can supply you with an electronic invoice of your order, and our EDI Manager allows you to import these invoices directly into backOffice.

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What Happened with the Internet Yesterday? What is Your Disaster Plan?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 1, 2017 11:23:27 AM

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.  

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Fun at the Rural Small Business Conference

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 1, 2017 9:13:52 AM

Thanks to all of you who visited us at the Rural Small Business Conference! And a big shout out to Pacific Alaska Wholesale - what a great partnership!

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Are You Using Your Price Book Features?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 1, 2017 8:20:09 AM

Are you taking advantage of all your Price Book features?  

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Quick Tip to Protect Your Point of Sale or Cash Drawer from Theft

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Feb 8, 2017 2:13:02 PM

Tips and Tricks from the Point of Sale World:

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Are You Taking Advantage of the Promo Feature?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 30, 2017 2:50:40 PM

If you have our back office solution, Insight Retail Software, there is a great tool you should be taking advantage of:  Promotions!

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Take Advantage of our Free Annual System Review

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 30, 2017 8:16:37 AM

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Sign Up Here

What to expect at the meeting for your system review:

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Card Industry Delays Continue to Slow EMV Chip Card Transition

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 6, 2017 11:54:58 AM

 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.

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Save the Date for the Rural Small Business Conference

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 3, 2017 5:37:21 PM

It's the New Year - which means the Rural Small Business Conference is right around the corner.

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Reasons to work with a local point of sale company for Aurora

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 3, 2017 5:05:13 PM

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.

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NCC Releases Version 4.4 for our Aurora Systems

By Jesse Dison | Nov 1, 2016 6:09:00 PM
See the lastest NCC update for the NCC POS System for our Aurora Alaska Tough POS
    • Enhancements to our Datacap Semi-Integrated (EMV) Interfaces
      • Tip Adjust
      • Void/Reversal
    • 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

 Contact our Customer Support Department

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