How an SME can Shrink the Shrinkage from Employee Theft

Shrinkage in the retail industry is a serious matter, averaging over $30 billion dollars a year. And the majority of that shrinkage (43%) is due to employee theft, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

This can be especially problematic for a SME retailer; as the business grows, owners must accede control and oversight of the daily operations to others while focusing on the management and long term strategy of the business. This can leave them vulnerable if they do not have the proper controls in place to guard against internal theft.

Many rapidly growing small and medium retailers tend to rely on the trust of  their employees as well, especially long time members. They may not realize the need for security controls until it’s too late.

A good retail management solution, such as iVend Retail, offers key features that will successfully discourage many leading methods of theft. Consider these common scenarios:

(A) A sales clerk at one of your locations gives her login and password information to a friend, who then accesses the retail POS system and steals cash from the till, as well as hacking confidential customer data.

Security Feature: The iVend Retail management solution integrates with a leading biometric fingerprint reader, DigitalPersona, effectively tying security and user rights to the employee’s fingerprint. This allows for complete employee accountability, confirmed audit trails, prevention against unauthorized access, and more.

(B) An employee works in cahoots with an outside partner, who comes into the store to return a single item several times. The employee scans the return repetitively throughout the day, and processes several cash refunds.

Security Feature: The iVend Retail management solution allows only one return per each specific item. The system will lock that item from being returned multiple times, even if it’s at a different location.

(C) Several employees are pilfering small amounts of inventory from various locations throughout the year. While each item isn’t substantial, the total cumulative amount over a year’s time is significant. The discrepancy in inventory is only discovered at the annual physical inventory count.

Security Feature: Cycle counts of inventory can be performed through the iVend Retail management solution periodically throughout the year, thus identifying discrepancies in inventory on a timely basis.

(D) A store clerk gives random and significant discounts on purchases to her friends without any authorization.

Security Feature: The iVend Retail management solution allows you to set discounts, price controls, and price changes at different levels of management.

Other security controls include the ability to force reason codes and comments for returns and exchanges and till counts at various intervals throughout the day.

In these tough economic times, it is crucial for a business to have access to current information and control over operational data. Our iVend Retail Management solution, an SAP Business One addon, is a complete end to end solution that allows the management team to have complete control over each store’s operations in real time.


Turning the Mission Shopper into a Loyal Customer – How to improve your Small & Medium Size Retail Business’ Conversion Rate

The ability to consistently attract shoppers into your retail establishment and then convert them into buying consumers is the lifeblood of any retailer. Hopefully, along the way they’ll also end up buying more than initially planned. But as a rough economy and the internet continues to decrease the amount of visits a consumer makes to brick and mortar stores, conversion rates become even more imperative.

The advent of online retail and smart phones, while enabling the consumer, has created more challenges for traditional retailers already facing difficult economic times. And the small and medium sized retailer is even more sensitive to this issue.

The term “mission shoppers” has been coined to describe Web-savvy shoppers that enter a store with a purpose – they head directly to their intended purchase and leave without browsing. They’ve already used the web to investigate and analyze the goods. This is especially impactful for retailers dealing in name brand commodities like electronics, luggage, and appliances, but it will have an effect on every business.

Another potentially damaging effect of online commerce is the ability for a consumer to research the desired item in a brick and mortar store and then make their purchase online for the best deal. Many shoppers still desire that kinesthetic aspect of touching, seeing, and trying on merchandise before they purchase it. They’ve essentially used the store as an investigative tool but let price be the deciding factor in where they make their purchase.

Fortunately, many consumers still appreciate the individualized service one gets from an independent retailer, as evidenced by the success of American Express’ 2nd annual Small Business Saturday. The following strategies, when implemented consistently, allow your retail business to integrate the technological practices of large chain retailers with the personalized service of a small business.

Help your “mission shopper” find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. What if your customer wants a certain brand of luggage in a color that you don’t currently have in stock? In the time it would take your staff to call around to other stores, your savvy shopper has likely found the item on the internet, using their smart phone, in the color and style they desire. With the iVend retail management solution, your staff can locate inventory available at any of your locations quickly from their POS terminal, thus saving the sale and impressing your customer with their fast and efficient service.

You can offer flexible payment plans such as layaways to your customer. While they may save some money by buying the desired item online, they need to pay for it immediately and then wait several days to receive this item. Your staff can use iVend’s layaway feature to entice consumers to purchase without having to part with their cash immediately. Layaway terms can be arranged to fit the customer’s needs, allowing your staff to upsell items and increase sales. Many large retailers are bringing back layaways for the holiday shopping season.

Your staff can recognize and reward frequent and loyal customers easily. Our iVend Loyalty solution allows you to track your customer’s buying behavior and assign loyalty points, etc. Staff can use this to reward the frequent customer with discounts, gift cards, and more. Consumers who shop at small to medium sized stores generally appreciate the recognition and relationship they establish with the retailer. Why not reward them for their loyal behavior?

Make real time pricing decisions if needed. A friend of mine recently was in the market for a new television. He was the true mission shopper – after researching various brands and finding the best price online, he then asked two local retailers if they’d match Amazon’s price, which was $30 less. One savvy retailer quickly matched it and then threw in free shipping and removal of their old tv. It’s no wonder that this independent brick and mortar retailer has consistently done well, even though their prices are higher than most chain stores.

iVend is a complete end to end retail management solution that allows you to analyze and react in real time. Together with your personalized service and business savvy, the small and medium sized retailer can easily turn browsers into loyal buyers.

iVend 5.4.6 released with numerous enhancements

iVend 5.4.6 is released today. In addition to the numerous enhancements to the features, the application is also available in 4 languages.

License Management

This release incorporates a new Licensing System which allows license activation over the internet.

It is mandatory that you first request for an activation key before performing the upgrade to this release. Please email to licenses[at] for activation key request.

Moneris Integration

iVend Retail is now certified to process Card Present Transactions via eSELECTplus on a Moneris 7800 Pin-pad. Moneris 7800 Pin-pad is Ideal for use in a variety of merchant environments, including single-lane point-of-sale, multi-lane retail and stand-alone.

Sales Order Integration from SAP to iVend

Using this functionality the users can create a sales order in SAP Business One then mark these sales orders for store deliveries or payment collection at stores. These sales orders can then be searched from iVend Retail POS and the corresponding deliveries against these sales orders can be managed at the corresponding retail store. The sales orders that are created from SAP Business One can only be edited from SAP Business One.

Customer Facing Displays

Customer Facing Display feature allows you to open a special customer facing display window that will show the customer their transaction. It serves the same function as a traditional POS Pole display but instead uses a full computer monitor.

Assigning the default POS terminal to the Till

iVend 5.4.6 provides store managers the flexibility of assigning the default POS terminal to the till. This will help stores to reduce the overall cashier’s login process. If a POS terminal is assigned to a Till then upon login if the cashier logs on to the same POS the cashier does not have to select the till before moving from Till Assignment to the Transaction screen. The system will automatically associate the till to the POS when the user logs into the iVend POS.

Limiting the Maximum Price for an Open Item

Manager can now restrict the upper price limit for an open item.

iVend Add-on Enhancements

The iVend add-on for SAP Business One includes the following enhancements:

iVend Setup Wizard – This release incorporates a setup wizard which will guide the user through the sequence of steps for configuring the iVend Add-on

On-Line Help – This release incorporates screen sensitive help. Users can press CTRL+SHIFT+V to bring up the help for the active screen.

New Release Notification – Whenever a new version of the product is released the system will display the update notification as a SAP Business One alert.

Extended Language Support

Apart from English, iVend application is now also available in the following languages:

  1. French
  2. Latin American Spanish
  3. Italian
  4. Greek

Language preferences for the users can be set from the iVend Management Console. After login in the system user would see the iVend GUI in the user preferred language.  If the user language is not setup then English would be used as a default language.


Bugs Fixed

Bug ID: 9707

Bug Description:

In case there are multiple gift certificates are sold in a transaction then while reprinting the gift certificates system does not give option to reprint some of the gift certificates and prints all the gift certificates again. This is specially required when there is printing error while printing the gift certificates.

Bug ID: 9700

Bug Description:

iVend POS does not show all the payment types, in case there are more than 12 payment types defined through the iVend Management console.

Bug ID: 9709

Bug Description:

If the layaway item is voided in the transaction then also the default layaway deposit amount does not change. The user was required to change it manually. This can was happening in case if the Sale Level layaways are applied.

Bug ID: 9710

Bug Description:

If the user exceeds the number of failure attempts specified in the security policy then the user was getting locked and future login attempts were disallowed by the system. However even after unlocking the customer the failure counter was not resetting due to which customer was getting locked after the next failed attempt.

Bug ID: 9699

Bug Description:

Goods return report from iVend Management console is not printing after creating the Goods Return document.

Bug ID: 9711

Bug Description:

If the barcode is not resolved the system makes a sound, but if the system does not have the good speakers then this sound is not heard by the cashier and if the cashier ignores the message displayed on the system then the cashier would assume that the system has scanned this item. This sometimes creates issues if the cashier is not vigilant and could result in loss of revenue for the store.

Bug ID: 9712

Bug Description:

Current fulfillment setting means items stay committed (AR Reserve Invoice) until delivery.  Stock on hand not reduced until fulfillment is carried out.  System does not have the functionality to setup separate fulfillment plan for layaways.

Bug ID: 9712

Bug Description:

Open price item does not ask cashier for entering the price of an item if it already added once in the transaction.  This makes it difficult to work if the cashier wants to add more than one open priced item to the transaction.

Bug ID: 9712

Bug Description:

Committed Quantity of the warehouse does not change in SAP Business One even after doing the cancellation of Layaway from iVend.

iVend Retail 5.4 certified on SAP Business One 8.8 by SAP ICC

CitiXsys Technologies now has its flagship application iVend Retail certified by SAP for SAP Business One 8.8

New York, October 22, 2010: After releasing iVend Retail compatible with SAP Business One 8.8 in February, CitiXsys Technologies now has iVend Retail certified by Integration and Certification Center at SAP.

The certification confirms that the development of iVend Retail is as per the SDK development guidelines prescribed by SAP and comes just in time when the retailers are gearing up for the festive season. CitiXsys Technologies is one of the largest Software Solution Partner to SAP. With this certification, CitiXsys reiterates its commitment to SAP, its partners and customers to reap business benefits from robust and intuitive applications.

“The certification is an expression of our commitment to adhere to the stringent guidelines laid by SAP. This (certification) will allow partners to confidently position iVend in the market and will provide an assurance to the customers of licensing an SAP certified solution.” says Pankaj Mathur – Vice President, Solutions Delivery, CitiXsys Technologies.

“I’m very impressed with the overall functionality of iVend.  I’ve worked on “RetailPro” and “BeanStore” in the past and iVend is by far the most user friendly POS software I have used” says Marco Albrecht, Director Operations, In Add Minus, Los Angeles, CA

[Read more…]

iVend Retail gets Commidea payment processor certification in United Kingdom

London, October 18, 2010: iVend Retail, a complete Retail Management Solution from CitiXsys Technologies gets Commidea payment processor certification in UK for Ocius for PC.

CitiXsys Technologies got iVend certified for Commidea’s Ocius for PC solution – the leading credit card processing solution in the market today.
iVend is seamlessly integrated with the latest version of SAP Business One 8.8. With this certification, CitiXsys reiterates its commitment to the UK market and its partners in UK & EMEA to reap business benefits from robust and intuitive applications.

“The certification process was done on-site which involved executing a set of test scripts. We were able to execute the test scripts flawlessly. iVend now has certified integration with Commidea payment processor in UK for Ocius for PC. We congratulate the iVend team and CitiXsys Technologies to have achieved this certification.” says Michael Dunkling – Implementations Consultant, Commidea Ltd.

“Commidea certification has been eagerly awaited by our Customers and Partners in UK & EMEA. I feel happy and proud that this certification will help our customers carry out credit card transactions with ease. This certification will also benefit our partners to confidently position iVend Retail in UK&EMEA” says Abinesh Agarwal – Product Manager iVend, CitiXsys Technologies

[Read more…]

Maximize ROI on SAP Business One with transaction rollups in iVend Retail

Modern Retail Systems are known to generate enormous amounts of data, irrespective of the size of operations and their spread. This data, which mainly comprises of historical transactions, is used for all the analysis purposes. Reduction in hardware prices, specifically of storage space and the need to ensure business continuity in scenarios of network breakdowns necessitates the duplication of data across applications and databases across the enterprise.

In order to understand the situation better, it is important to understand the evolutionary cycle of a mid-market retailer from the view point of investment in technology.

In the formative stages of the business, a mid-market retailer has his focus set on setting up and expanding his business. At this stage, issues pertaining to sourcing the merchandise, finalizing the price points, where to open store(s), overall marketing, take precedence than a big investment in a formal fully integrated retail solution. From the initial years to the point where the business gets established and the retailer has found that niche; focus on IT investment is relatively less. Most of the mid-market retailer we have interacted with started with in-store automation, which is not a bad or a wrong place to start with. [Read more…]