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December 12, 2019

Top retail cash trend for 2020: Improving the customer experience

Retailers who are content to do things the way they’ve always done, risk losing their business to more progressive retailers and online shopping options. Change is not optional. As a new decade starts, optimizing and improving the customer experience is a key to staying competitive in a crowded marketplace. For example, progressive grocery operators are […]

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December 5, 2019

Top retail cash trend for 2020: Artificial intelligence and machine learning lead to innovative operations

Balance Innovations introduces Cash Insights, a series covering retail cash trends, industry developments and innovations. This is the first in the series, written by Darren Knipp (bio below).  Retailers who are experimenting with artificial intelligence are optimistic about a future with streamlined operations and significant cash savings, all managed scientifically. Although still in the early […]

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November 8, 2019

Download the report: How to increase profits by reducing costs of cash

With the ever-increasing growth in online shopping options, it’s evident that customers have more options to shop outside the store. A prime way to encourage them to shop in person is to build a better shopper experience. When you deliver an exceptional experience to your customers when they shop your store, they’ll want to come […]

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October 24, 2019

Lawmakers and consumers challenge cashless retailers

Some retailers who experimented briefly with cashless operations have reversed their decisions ­as a result of complaints from consumers, or as local and state governments enact laws to protect those without bank accounts. As the cashless debate continues across the U.S., several cities and a few states have enacted laws that prohibit retailers from refusing […]

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September 26, 2019

Don’t believe predictions about decline of cash

  With the many digital forms of payment – credit and debit cards, mobile payment apps, and cryptocurrencies – you might think cash is on its way out. Far from it. In fact, a cashless society in the coming years in North America and in many places around the world is just a fantasy. Properly managing cash is crucial if you want to stay competitive. Consider […]

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June 4, 2019

Three Things on Our Minds As We Head to NRF Protect 2019

It’s Safe to Say We’re Pretty Excited for NRF Protect 2019 We are living at the edge of a fantastic era of technological advancement. Think about it. Cars are almost driving themselves. Artificial Intelligence is no longer just a Hollywood plot line. And nearly 57% of the world’s population has access to the internet. That’s […]

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March 12, 2019

It’s 5 p.m. Do you know where your deposits are?

  Deposit management sounds simple, right? Your stores send deposits to the bank, and the funds show up in your account. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of ways your deposit process can go awry.   As with many challenges involved in retail currency management, manual processes cause many of the problems with deposits. Manual procedures leave […]

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January 9, 2019

Five Big Trends We’re Glad To See Hit NRF 2019

If you’re like us, you look forward to NRF every January. It’s the unofficial start of the year. A time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. So, as we prepare to travel to New York next week, here are the top trends we’ve been tracking and the sessions we’re looking […]

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October 11, 2018

VeriBalance: Giving valuable time back to stores and corporate

  To say Carrie Fields is always on the go would be an understatement. As the front end operations specialist for Reasor’s, an 18-store grocery chain based in Oklahoma, she’s in stores every day to observe, coach employees and generally handle any problems that arise.   Her role also puts in her in charge of […]

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September 20, 2018

What’s your cost of accepting cash?

  When I talk to retailers about their challenges, the cost of accepting cash doesn’t usually top their list of concerns.  Typically, it’s for one of two reasons: either they don’t realize how the cost snowballs based on a wide variety of factors, or they’ve simply decided that there’s nothing they can do about it. […]

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July 19, 2018

Drive employee engagement to lower loss

  It’s well established that engaged employees perform better. In retail, the impact of an employee who’s invested in their work is easy to see – it results in greater productivity, more customer satisfaction and a better bottom line.   But what about when employees aren’t engaged? Not only do sales and customer experience suffer, […]

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June 15, 2018

Ask the Retail Experts: Better LP investigations and tighter policies

  Dear Experts, A former Chipotle employee was just awarded $8 million after she was accused of stealing $636. How can I protect my company from this kind of situation? — Regional Director, Audit   As a former retail auditor, this story certainly caught my attention. No company wants to deal with a lawsuit, but […]

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June 7, 2018

NRF Protect 2018: What to look for

  When I go to NRF Protect, I’m always struck by the wide swath of challenges LP professionals face each day. From ORC to data breaches to inventory shrink to cash loss – there’s a lot on your plate.   In Booth 1504 at the show, we’ll be showing you ways create connections with your […]

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May 24, 2018

In retail, options are mandatory

  If you know anything as a retailer, it’s that shoppers want what they want when they want it. We want to shop from our couches at 11 p.m., or we want to drop into a store and have an experience; we want to get things delivered, or we want to pick them up the […]

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May 17, 2018

5 lessons retailers can learn from ’80s movies

  If you grew up in the ’80s like I did, you’ve seen some great movies. While some of them might fall into the “so bad they’re good” category, most ’80s movies seemed to carry with them an important life lesson, many of which translate to the retail industry. So find your scrunchie, pop that […]

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May 10, 2018

Ask the Retail Experts: Managing self-checkouts

  Dear Experts: My company implemented self-checkouts a few years ago. Customers seem to love them, but they’re a challenge to properly manage. Any tips? — Director, Store Operations   You’re not alone! We see this quite a bit as self-checkouts rise in popularity. Self-checkouts are a great convenience for customers, and they help stores […]

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May 3, 2018

3 ways to tackle retail compliance issues

  An excerpt from Bad Stores and How to Fix Them   Lack of compliance with currency management procedures is a natural consequence of the industry’s high turnover — if staff is always changing, procedures get sloppy. But even without an ever-changing team, procedures and the ability to govern how and when they’re executed can […]

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April 27, 2018

What do bank branch closures mean for retail?

  As more and more of us take care of our banking needs online or on mobile devices, the need to go in to a local bank branch and see a friendly face is fading fast. In the first half of 2017, more than 1,700 bank branches closed their doors, and the second half of […]

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April 19, 2018

Teamwork: the most important ingredient

  What does it take to create a great retail software platform? Even greater teamwork. Last month, a group of Balance Innovations employees from all departments and levels of management spent the afternoon at Happy Bottoms, a local diaper bank. Our task was to un-box one pallet of diapers and re-wrap them into bundles of […]

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April 12, 2018

Are your stores staffed for online fulfillment and returns?

  To say retail scheduling is a headache is an understatement. In my retail days, we had a fairly sophisticated system for scheduling that took into account stocking time, previous months sales trends, previous year same week trends, holiday lift, week of the month, average sales per customer, customer count trend, time to transition to […]

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April 5, 2018

3 ways tech can empower retail employees, not replace them

  Not long ago, my first-grader wanted to make slime. Not just any slime, but ice slime, which requires clear glue – so off we went to a local store. We couldn’t find the glue we needed, and unfortunately, I had been to this store many times and knew I probably wouldn’t find anyone to […]

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March 29, 2018

Digging into retail deposit options

  Shoppers making in-person purchases in 2018 have more payment choices at the register than ever before. They can pay with check, debit or credit, or by scanning their phone or watch. Or they can pull out their wallets and pay with cash — and despite convenient advances in payment technology, many do.   The […]

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March 22, 2018

It’s official: The cost of cash is more than you think

   Get 10 retailers in a room and ask them what their most expensive form of payment is. What do you think they’ll say? I’d wager most of them would say credit – but they’d be wrong. Labor, poor visibility and lack of control influence cost Credit card fees generally hover around 3 percent all […]

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March 15, 2018

3 next-level store audit tips to optimize your retail business

  A colleague asked me recently what I’d tell someone just starting out in retail loss prevention or audit. While much has changed since I started as a store auditor, I still see one mistake again and again – treating audits as “gotcha” moments.   More than a quarter of retailers say that cash theft […]

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March 7, 2018

Restaurants | Why accepting cash is so expensive

  In my early restaurant days, part of our mission was to ensure the 3 F’s: food, feel and flow. Was the food great? How was the feel/vibe? Was there a great flow through the line and the restaurant? Maintaining these key metrics – and profitability, of course – was the mark of a great […]

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March 1, 2018

4 things your store managers think but don’t tell you

  When I worked as divisional manager for a department store chain, nothing could strike fear in our hearts quite so much as a corporate visit to a store in our division. Every element of the store across all departments had to be absolutely flawless for these visits. Hundreds of extra hours were spent prepping […]

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February 22, 2018

3 reasons smaller retailers need to rethink cash handling

  Every independent retailer knows they’ve got to sweat the small stuff, and they’re always looking for ways to keep costs down and customer experience up. One way is cash handling, or currency management, but it’s often overlooked because it’s not customer-facing and doesn’t increase sales. Or can it?   Currency management is important to […]

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February 15, 2018

Why retailers should worry about the cost of cash

  When I talk with retailers, I occasionally get push-back when we discuss the cost of accepting cash and how to lower it. It’s always interesting to hear why a retailer might not see cash as a concern, but once we start talking, they see how the hidden costs of cash can creep up.    […]

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February 8, 2018

Self-checkouts | Will cashless units work for your stores?

  Self-checkouts have come in and out of fashion in the retail world over the last several years, and with good reason: They can be a double-edged sword for any retailer who implements them.   Consumers looking for speedy checkout love them. In a 2015 survey by Consumer Reports, three out of four consumers who […]

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February 1, 2018

Can too much cash can be a bad thing?

  Too much cash is bad? Absolutely, when it’s sitting idle in your stores. Cash is essential in a retail store, but striking the right balance of cash on hand and cash in corporate’s bank account is a never-ending challenge. If stores have too little cash, they can’t operate properly. But fear of running short […]

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January 23, 2018

Why should retailers connect their systems and devices?

  At NRF 2018 in New York, we got a lot of questions about the messages in our booth. What did we mean by “connect your systems and devices”? And how does that help retailers with their customers and their stores?   Creating connections with your systems and devices powers your relationship with your data […]

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January 9, 2018

11 important things retailers could be doing instead of managing store reports

  When I was a district coordinator in a major retail chain, I was — as all retail leaders are — slammed. All the time. If I wasn’t forecasting sales or monitoring operational results, I was managing vendors and department heads. My favorite part of the job was being in stores and seeing how things were going […]

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January 4, 2018

4 ways connecting with customers will help you win in 2018

  I found myself at the grocery store on the afternoon of Dec. 24, along with half the city, it seemed. In the checkout line, something notable happened. The store’s assistant manager approached me and said, “Did you see the rolls we have on sale? I see you here a lot, and I thought you’d […]

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December 21, 2017

What are retailers’ 2018 technology priorities?

  Year after year, technology drastically changes the retail landscape. Not long ago, what’s commonplace now would have seemed impossible – like letting customers scan their own purchases at unmanned checkout lanes, the ability to buy almost anything (from almost anywhere) using a smartphone or the ability to pay for goods and services by scanning […]

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December 14, 2017

Most-clicked topics reveal one of retailers’ top concerns

  Our most-viewed blog posts of 2017 tell us quite a bit about what’s been on retailers’ minds this year. An overall theme seems to pop up when you look at the topics that had readers clicking — process improvement. The retailers who read our blog are looking for ways to make the “have-tos” of […]

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December 7, 2017

Conversion rates and customer experience

  No one likes to admit it, but every retailer has a few stores that are…less than ideal. One might even call them bad stores. But getting them on the right track is easier than you think if you analyze your stores’ conversion rates and what they mean to your customer experience.   A recent […]

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November 30, 2017

8 silly things retailers do with their cash

  Retailers don’t always give their cash the attention it deserves. Whether you take a little cash in your stores or a lot, it can still present a challenge if it isn’t managed properly. There’s no better time to break bad habits than the new year, which is right around the corner. Are your stores […]

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November 16, 2017

When you’re thankful, you give back

  It’s not hard to find things to be thankful for around here. As I’m writing this, I can hear a raucous game of ping pong, laughter coming from the other end of a conference call with a customer and a pack of tech wizards hammering away at an issue. Our cup runneth over here […]

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November 9, 2017

Should retailers hire extra holiday help?

  For each of the past four years, Target has hired 70,000 temporary workers to handle its increased holiday workload – roughly the population of a mid-sized city. This year, they announced they’re upping that number to 100,000.   That’s 100,000 more people helping customers and facilitating sales, but it’s also 100,000 people to train, […]

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November 2, 2017

Build or buy technology solutions: What works best for retail?

  Technology has infiltrated all aspects of retail — automation is changing the way we interact with customers, market products, send reports and manage cash. Keeping up with available technology keeps your stores competitive, but sometimes the thought of a significant initial investment is enough to hold you back — no matter how enticing the […]

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October 26, 2017

Retailers try new tactics to compete

  Some key players in the retail industry are throwing out the rule book to stay ahead of the competition. Bold moves get consumers’ attention, and for these retailers, might just boost profits as well.   Take the new deal Kohl’s has struck to accept Amazon returns and implement small Amazon shops in their stores, […]

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October 19, 2017

10 steps to making data-driven decisions in retail

  Too often, retailers – especially those who have been in the business for a while – continue operating in the same way they have for years. But in today’s retail landscape, “the way things have always been done” just doesn’t hold up.   Neither does going with your gut, even if that’s what worked […]

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October 12, 2017

How to manage loss prevention without staff in every store

  Loss prevention looks different for every retailer. For some, it means security personnel working high-risk areas and back offices dedicated specifically to CCTVs. For others, it can mean an LP field team that’s dedicated to the task but always feeling like they’re playing catch-up, traveling from store to store to chase down the latest […]

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October 5, 2017

Identifying and avoiding retail blind spots

  For a careful driver, there’s little as frustrating as an accident caused by an object or vehicle in your blind spot. You’re watching the road distraction-free, you checked your side and rear view mirrors — everything looked clear. But then, crunch. It was an impact you weren’t expecting. Currency management blind spots can impact […]

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September 28, 2017

The cost of multitasking in retail

  We’re all busy. It’s a reality of modern life, one that retailers see in their customers every day. How many times does a shopper approach the register while on a phone call or walk around the store with their face buried in a phone? Multitasking makes us feel like we’re getting more done – […]

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September 21, 2017

Improving your retail payroll productivity

  With the breakneck speed of change in the retail industry, you can’t afford to not give shoppers what they want. And what they want is your employees’ time.   Just last week, 66 percent of millennials in a survey by ChargeItSpot said knowledgeable associates were extremely important to the shopping experience. And it’s not […]

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September 7, 2017

Survey: How retailers are adapting to Amazon

  Though we’ve acknowledged the future of retail isn’t as doomed as many media outlets want us to believe, there’s no denying the growth of online shopping has changed the way brick-and-mortar stores need to conduct business to stay afloat.   It’s dubbed The Amazon Effect by TotalRetail, for the way the “online retailer continues to […]

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August 31, 2017

Would your business stop accepting cash for $10,000?

  Visa is offering restaurants $10,000 if they stop accepting cash payments from customers. It’s called the “Visa Cashless Challenge,” and it would force patrons of restaurants that accept the challenge to pay with a credit card or digital payment method.   The $10,000 is designed to help pay for needed tech upgrades, like “installing […]

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August 24, 2017

Currency management best practices | How to avoid store balancing blunders

  Last week, I shared some of the store balancing manual processes and reporting I see in the retail space when I perform back-office observations. Those manual tasks create a lot of headaches for retailers of all types and sizes — even ones that don’t take much cash.   As with every aspect of your business, […]

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August 17, 2017

Better store information starts with proper store balancing

  How much cash on hand does Store 1527 have right now? Why has Store 386 been $100 short the last two weeks? What happened to last Tuesday’s bank deposit for Store 190? And why on earth is Store 2116 always late with their reports?   You can probably come up with all this information […]

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August 10, 2017

Solving c-store cash worries

  CSP’s sixth annual cash management study revealed that, much like last year, convenience store owners and operators are by no means immune to the currency concerns plaguing other retailers. Respondents remain concerned about day-to-day cash handling issues: Cash shrinkage (46 percent) Inefficient cash handling (39 percent) Lack of information for cash forecasting (30 percent) […]

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August 3, 2017

Survey: Role of treasury is on the rise

  For retailers, it’s clear that cash management and other treasury functions are becoming more and more important every year. Without a strong, efficient corporate operation and stores that follow suit, your products and customer service can’t shine through – no matter how strong they are.   Increasingly, the same is true across all industries. […]

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July 27, 2017

What’s hurting retail?

  It’s easy for retailers to believe the media narrative that the industry is dying, slowly having the life squeezed from it by Amazon and its virtual companions. The fear that we’re all just running, Indiana Jones-style, from the boulder that is internet shopping can make it hard to make good decisions about the future […]

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July 20, 2017

Don’t let manual processes slow down payment reconciliation

  Payment reconciliation might seem like a no-brainer to many retailers. After all, so many of today’s transactions are by card, right? Not necessarily. According to the Federal Reserve’s Diary of Consumer Payment Choice study, 32 percent of consumer spending is still in cash. In retail categories like food and personal care supplies, auto-related spending, […]

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July 13, 2017

Retail training: How much is enough?

  Retail has a tough turnover rate, and losing an employee when you’ve spent time training them is frustrating. How much time should you spend training your employees — and is it worth it?   Investing in retail training and development is working for Walmart. As part of its $1.7 billion investment in employees in […]

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July 6, 2017

When to worry about your good stores

  You probably have a handle on which locations in your chain are your bad stores. But what about outliers in the other direction? Did you ever consider that some of your stores could be too good? If you have a store that always turns in perfect reports and never misses anything, your first instinct […]

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June 29, 2017

What does Amazon + Whole Foods mean for retail technology?

  The retail world was abuzz last week with the news that Amazon would purchase Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Recent headlines have trumpeted the death of traditional retail as stores close, and some feared this development was the nail in retail’s coffin.  But it might actually be Amazon realizing that brick-and-mortar stores are an […]

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June 22, 2017

Getting the most out of your video surveillance system

  On almost any television police drama, video surveillance is essential to crime-solving. Investigators can pan, zoom, and clarify security footage at impossible levels to find the culprit. In real life, it doesn’t quite work that way. Often, crimes don’t stay unsolved due to lack of footage or because the surveillance cameras weren’t trained on […]

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June 15, 2017

What does Amazon Cash mean to brick-and-mortar retailers?

  There’s no denying Amazon has changed the retail landscape. When the site debuted in 1994 as a purveyor of college textbooks, primarily, nobody could have predicted the massive effect it would eventually have on consumerism in general.   The company has disrupted the worlds of technology, retail and media in so many ways, and […]

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June 13, 2017

Using POS software to streamline your supply chain

  Today’s installment is a guest post from the experts at TechnologyAdvice, who specialize in connecting companies with technology vendors.   Point-of-sale (POS) systems have evolved significantly in recent years. While many transactions used to involve clunky cash registers and manual records, today’s POS software can integrate with other platforms to automate tasks, making supply […]

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June 8, 2017

The pitfalls of manual self-checkout management

  While self-checkouts are a great convenience for customers, the tasks involved with manual self-checkout management can wreak havoc on back-office operations in your stores. Taking note of the potential issues that can arise will help you increase your self-checkouts’ effectiveness and value — both for your customers and your organization.   Physical counts At […]

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June 1, 2017

Get your bad stores back on track

  As a retailer, you’re always measuring, ranking, counting, analyzing and comparing every aspect of every store in your chain. You’re thrilled with your top-performing stores – the ones with the highest conversion rates, the best compliance, the neatest shelves, the five-star online reviews.   Then there are your bad stores. The stores that don’t […]

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May 25, 2017

How to better manage exception reporting

  Twenty-six percent of retailers say cash theft is their top cause of loss, according to the 2015 U.S. Retail Fraud Study. It might be the top cause of loss for the other 74 percent of retailers, too – they just don’t know it. Cash theft doesn’t just cost the actual cash you lose, after […]

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May 18, 2017

WannaCry virus: What retailers need to know

  Around the world last week, 200,000 users in 150 countries found their computers inoperable, held hostage with ransomware called WannaCry. The virus locked users’ computers unless they paid hackers $300 in bitcoin, an online currency. While the spread of the virus seems to have slowed due to some of its flaws, it managed to […]

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May 11, 2017

Cash and emergencies: How retailers can prepare

  The majority of U.S. consumers continue to carry cash with them day to day, and your stores are working to mitigate the costs of accepting that cash under normal circumstances. But one of the most practical consumer cash habits that often goes overlooked is that of keeping a more substantial amount squirreled away in […]

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May 4, 2017

Selecting new technology | Who makes your decisions?

  When it comes to selecting new technology for your business, who’s choosing what you implement? Maybe it’s IT, maybe it’s the treasury department, or maybe it’s the purchasing team. But without input from other key departments, you might not end up with the best technology choice for your organization. Learn the key steps to choosing […]

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April 27, 2017

Retail turnover – and over and over

  In retail, turnover is a part of doing business – but one that has a big impact on your bottom line and customer experience. Associates aren’t afraid to switch jobs quickly – for a more convenient location, better hours, more lax dress code, new employee discount, or because of a bad manager.  When they […]

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April 20, 2017

Generation Z: Cash or cards?

  Today’s youngest generations with purchasing power, millennials (college students and young professionals) and Generation Z (junior high and high school students) are digital natives. They grew up with computers at their fingertips and in their pockets.  Gen Z alone makes up more than 25 percent of the total U.S. population and its members represent […]

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April 13, 2017

Does your customer experience actually focus on the customer?

  Last week, I had my eye on a humidor. I had done my research online, found one I liked and loaded it into my Amazon shopping cart. I was ready to pull the trigger, but at the last minute I decided to go see it in person at a local shop and get the opinion of […]

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April 6, 2017

Selecting new technology | Tips to get it right

  New technology can be one of the best investments you make in your retail business. The right solutions can improve your bottom line, your employee productivity and your customer satisfaction. On the other hand, implementing the wrong technology for your needs can hinder your profits, waste your employees’ time and lead to customer frustration. […]

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March 30, 2017

7 things retailers can do with 30 extra minutes

  Pause for just a moment and imagine if your best employees — like those you entrust to manage your cash — in each store suddenly had 30 extra minutes available each day. What would you have them do? While the possibilities are endless, you probably have a few key areas you’d like to improve. […]

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March 23, 2017

Overcoming the risks of poor store visibility

  No matter how much effort you put into creating manuals and training protocols, keeping tabs on how your policies are executed is a challenge. After all, it’s impossible to know exactly what your store employees are up to day in and day out. But ultimately, your profits are in their hands.   If every […]

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March 16, 2017

Selecting new technology | Corporate reporting and dashboards

  As a retailer, you’ve got a ton of data. You accumulate it from customers, employees, vendors, partners, software and hardware, over long operating hours and from hundreds or thousands of stores. All that data can give you a competitive advantage by allowing you to make faster, better decisions — if you make sure it’s […]

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March 9, 2017

Improving retail efficiency: 6 ways you might have missed

  The introduction of credit cards and mobile payment didn’t mean people suddenly stopped paying for things in cash. Likewise, the introduction of self-checkouts and digital reporting didn’t mean retail workers became obsolete. Far from it.   The true benefit of automation technology in retail isn’t that it can reduce the need for certain jobs […]

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March 2, 2017

Selecting new technology | What does POS integration mean?

  When it comes to retail technology, integration to the POS is crucial. Without proper POS integration, devices operate and produce data in a silo — data that must be interpreted and communicated elsewhere by store-level employees. Corporate employees must then aggregate this data from all stores to get the information they need, making dealing […]

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February 23, 2017

How will gas stations respond to the 2020 EMV deadline?

  By the end of 2016, the slow pace of automated fuel dispenser (AFD) upgrades made it clear the 2017 EMV deadline was not going to be met. The complexity of upgrading AFDs and the limited number of regulatory-compliant EMV hardware and software vendors fueled the decision to push the EMV deadline back to 2020. […]

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February 9, 2017

Mobile payments | Why aren’t consumers biting?

  There are plenty of futurists preparing consumers for the next wave of tech: pretty soon, they say, all our cars will drive themselves, all our household devices will listen in on our conversations and predict our desires, and there will be no need for wallets – cash, card and check payments will be obsolete. […]

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February 2, 2017

Battle the cost of noncash payments by understanding cost of cash

  The payments landscape is ever-changing, but traditional payment types still rule. Noncash payments are up, and of course people still like to use cash. To offer great customer experience, you’ll have to accept a healthy mix of payment types — but you can only control the cost of one of them.   The Federal Reserve […]

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January 26, 2017

Every minute counts in stores and at corporate

In retail, every single minute your employees spend with customers counts toward customer experience and your bottom line. With minimum wages rising sharply across the country, your employees’ time is about to account for a larger portion of your operating costs than ever before. Read our white paper to learn how to stop wasting time […]

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January 20, 2017

NRF 2017 | Optimization, flexibility and analytics

  NRF 2017 was a whirlwind of activity – between demos, sessions and meetings I was definitely ready to put my feet up at the end of each show day. It was my first time attending NRF, and I was struck by the vast variety of technologies on display. From virtual reality to facial recognition, […]

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January 10, 2017

Make every minute count at NRF 2017

  There are lots of reasons to look forward to NRF Big Show 2017 – the lineup of amazing speakers, the chance to network with partners and peers, the opportunity to see and test new technology from a variety of vendors … the list goes on and on. When you’re making your list of booths […]

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January 4, 2017

Accountability | Weighing the pros and cons

  Here’s a topic you won’t hear about at your next cocktail party: What accountability do you use in your stores? Along with some of the other daily ins and outs of running a retail business, pondering the most efficient accountability method isn’t at the top of everyone’s to-do list. But if you haven’t considered […]

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December 29, 2016

Your 2017 resolution: Improve currency management

  If you love the thrilling, motivating feeling that comes with a New Year’s resolution – that fresh start, a new beginning, the extra chance to get things right – you’re in luck because it’s that time again. After coming down from the high of a whirlwind holiday season (and this year’s is predicted to […]

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December 22, 2016

Online shopping while in a store is good for brick-and-mortar business

  The 2016 holiday season is set to break an online shopping record. For the first time ever, consumers plan to spend just as much money online as they do in-store. Already the National Retail Federation reports that 44 percent of respondents to their survey shopped online during the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend. This projection probably […]

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December 15, 2016

Store virtualization: Internet of Things for retailers

  Washing machines that order more detergent for you? A doorbell that shows you who’s at your door right on your phone? A way to see what’s happening at one of your stores from a thousand miles away?  These are all examples of how the Internet of Things (IoT) makes technologies you already own smarter […]

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December 8, 2016

Cash back | 3 things retailers need to do

  With banks closing physical branches and fees to use ATMs climbing to their highest levels ever, consumers are looking for other ways to get their cash. One of those ways is at retail stores: At the Federal Reserve’s last count, there were 1.4 billion cash back transactions made with an average value of $33, […]

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December 1, 2016

Ease employee stress during the holiday shopping season

  One trillion dollars. Does that number make your heart start racing a little bit? If you’re a retail employee, it might — that’s how much Deloitte predicts in total holiday sales for 2016. This record-breaking amount represents a 4 percent increase over 2015, and breaks down to about $426 on gifts and $572 on […]

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November 22, 2016

Black Friday | Cash analytics can ease the burden for retailers

  Black Friday is upon us, and soon your stores will be flooded with shoppers ready to scoop up your best deals. Long lines are the norm for this major shopping day – but you can keep your lines moving faster by making sure you have the right amount of cash to serve your customers […]

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November 21, 2016

5 things Balance Innovations employees are thankful for

It’s almost time to “gobble” up some turkey, stuffing and pie, and we’ve been thinking of all the things we’re thankful for here at our office in Kansas City. They’re just part of what makes it awesome to work at Balance Innovations! We know after you see this, you’re going to want to join our team, […]

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November 17, 2016

Fed survey: Cash remains most popular retail payment method

  The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco just released preliminary findings from its 2015 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, a study on cash that was originally conducted in 2012. This year’s study found that while the use of cash has declined slightly since 2012, it is still the most popular payment method among people […]

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November 10, 2016

Walmart shifts accounting jobs to customer service

    When we tell you that automating currency management means you can move your employees to customer-facing positions instead of cash-counting positions, some people think that’s just code for “You don’t need those employees at all anymore.” And that’s not the case. Reallocating your high-value employees to customer service is the right move. In fact, […]

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November 8, 2016

Holiday spending | The effects of “falling back” and e-commerce

  This year, holiday spending will increase once again – approximately 4 percent over 2015 – and is predicted to top $1 trillion for the first time ever, according to Deloitte’s recently released 2016 consumer survey. NRF’s annual survey found similar results – American consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58 this shopping season. […]

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November 3, 2016

Smart safes | 7 things to consider

  There’s been a lot of conversation recently around smart safes, a tool for securing funds in a variety of retail verticals. Are they the right choice for your business? The answer lies in how you plan to use them. The Federal Reserve wrote about the capability of these devices to accept and authenticate currency […]

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October 27, 2016

EMV: Coming to a gas pump near you

  The EMV deadline has passed for retailers, and dipping a chip card is becoming more and more commonplace for customers. Informed customers know the importance of moving away from the vulnerable magnetic stripe to the more secure chip, so it’s concerning to these customers when they have to swipe at the pump. There is […]

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October 20, 2016

6 steps to optimizing seasonal hiring

  ‘Tis the season to be hiring. Already, Deloitte has predicted sales will grow between 3.6 and 4 percent for the 2016 holiday season, which means the need for store employees will increase as well. According to recently released corporate statements, Macy’s plans to hire 83,000 employees, Target plans to add 70,000 store workers plus 7,500 more in […]

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October 13, 2016

Defending your bottom line against minimum wage increases

  When California voted to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 earlier this year, it became the first to mandate that amount and began a tidal wave of public attention on other states and cities to follow suit, including the state of New York and Washington, D.C. A stream of other […]

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October 6, 2016

New security flaw in EMV system revealed

  Internationally, retailers and consumers alike are dealing with the frustrations and inconveniences of EMV chip cards in exchange for the promise of increased security. EMV-enabled cards were designed and marketed as a means of protection against the credit card fraud and data theft that has plagued physical transactions (at retailers like Target and Home […]

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September 29, 2016

How does delayed reporting cost you money?

In my more than 30 years of retail experience, many of those as an auditor, I’ve been in hundreds of stores, observing how store employees handle funds and whether they follow procedures.  I’ve seen a lot of loss – as both errors and fraud – and I’ve found most of it occurs because corporate is […]

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September 22, 2016

Understanding retail credit card processing fees

You already know credit card processing fees can add up – and be confusing too. However, like death and taxes are to life, credit card fees are to retail: inevitable. Inevitable doesn’t mean ignorable, however. One of the worst things you can do for your operation’s financial health is to pay these fees without understanding […]

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September 15, 2016

The value of standardization and consistency in retail

    There are certain retail chains that, from a customer experience perspective, do consistency extremely well. If customers have only ever been to one location and then visit a second, they aren’t met with any unwelcome surprises – just the stability of visiting a store they already know and love. By contrast, visiting another […]

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September 8, 2016

Same-day ACH credit deadline: Are you ready?

In my last post, about four things you need to know about same-day ACH processing, I shared the list of same-day ACH deadlines. The first of those deadlines is coming up later this month – on Sept. 23, 2016, the deadline for implementing same-day ACH credits kicks in. Will you be ready for the changes? […]

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September 1, 2016

Survey reveals top cash concerns of c-stores

  A lot has changed since I worked in retail. There were fewer payment methods to contend with, fewer automation and security solutions, and fewer methods for criminals to access funds and personal data. One thing hasn’t changed: Being on the front lines means store leaders have the daily responsibility of ensuring operations run smoothly while keeping customers engaged […]

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August 25, 2016

NCR Synergy: Customer experience leads trends

  For retailers, customer experience (CX) is no longer just a presentation slide with futuristic visions of merchandising, service and selling. It’s tangible, repeatable and can be extremely profitable when done well. That was my big takeaway as I departed the NCR Synergy 2016 show last week in Dallas. Several hundred of the world’s largest […]

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August 18, 2016

Protecting your payment terminals from card skimmers

  Skimmers, the “malicious card readers that grab the data off the card’s magnetic stripe attached to the real payment terminals so that they can harvest data from every person that swipes their cards,” are most commonly found at ATMs, but earlier in 2016, retail giant Walmart found itself victim of skimmer installation on the […]

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August 11, 2016

What’s store virtualization?

So much of your stores’ success depends on how your individual team members work together, and good communication is a huge part of building a great team. When it comes to retail operations, how your individual technologies work together is just as important. Chances are, you’re dealing with a lot of systems, manual steps and […]

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August 4, 2016

The top 5 benefits of POS integration

  You know your technology. You’ve chosen POS systems, corporate systems, self-checkouts and bill counters carefully. But do these technologies know each other? No matter how automated each of these devices and solutions is, you’re missing out on efficiency, security and accountability if your technologies only operate independently.   When you invest in a platform […]

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July 28, 2016

Corporate policies: You set them, but are they being followed?

  Your store leaders have the daily responsibility of ensuring operations run smoothly, your cash is safe and your customers are happy, and so you set corporate policies around currency management to assist them – like how much cash to keep on hand, when to deposit, and how to handle shortages. But do these policies work for all […]

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July 25, 2016

Comparing consumers and their cash habits

  A new paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco titled “Who Holds Cash?” takes a look at the cash holding and spending habits of average Americans amid ever-increasing payment options. While the total amount of U.S. currency in circulation totals about $1.4 trillion, only about $70 billion dollars (5 percent) of it […]

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July 6, 2016

EMV: Where retailers and consumers stand today

  As “chip cards,” or EMV-enabled credit cards, permeate checkout counters around the world, a new question has been added to the transactional conversation: Swipe or dip? Designed to offer reasonable protection against credit card fraud and data theft and made possible by storing data on a small computer chip instead of on a traditional […]

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June 30, 2016

Labor needs for fulfillment are on the rise, but what about customer service?

  Omnichannel has been on the minds of retailers for years, promising to help capture customers by allowing them to create their own path to purchase.  In many ways, it has done just that, letting consumers use the internet to become more educated about their purchases before they make them, compare prices and find the […]

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June 28, 2016

KCDC just one example of great tech community in Kansas City

  Balance Innovations was proud to be a Gold Sponsor at the 8th annual Kansas City Developer Conference (KCDC) 2016, and we’re excited to be part of the innovative, entrepreneurial and forward-thinking Kansas City technology community. The conference was, once again, a fun and informative opportunity for Kansas City developers to mingle and learn from […]

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June 23, 2016

NRF Protect: Demos, security concerns and The Hit King” Pete Rose”

  “This solution is the best thing I’ve seen at NRF Protect in five years.” That’s a pretty nice thing to hear about your company’s signature solution. We gave more demos than I can count of our VeriBalance platform at our booth at NRF Protect in Philadelphia, and that was just one bit of praise […]

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June 20, 2016

Online shopping trends indicate consumer security concerns

  Music, movies, cars, clothing, prescription medications, groceries, even fresh-baked cookies delivered to your door with a glass of milk at midnight – these days, you can buy almost anything online. It’s quick, it’s easy, and the options are almost endless. Still, according to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, only 7.8 percent […]

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June 9, 2016

Three reasons I can’t wait to get to NRF Protect

    Loss prevention professionals from around the country are about to gather at NRF Protect in Philadelphia to meet, learn and discuss the latest strategies and technologies the industry has to offer. The three things that have me most excited about the event are: Learning more about what’s on the mind of loss prevention […]

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June 6, 2016

What the new $20 bill will mean for security and your registers

  This year, Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, announced that Harriet Tubman will be the first woman to have her portrait featured on U.S. currency as the new face of the $20 bill. It’s due to be unveiled in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, but that’s just […]

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June 1, 2016

3 ways to avoid customer frustration during the EMV migration

While other countries have fully migrated to EMV technology, the United States is still working on the EMV migration.  Unfortunately, this is causing some frustration during checkout – both for customers and employees. When the EMV card is dipped into the machine, data goes between the card and the financial institution, creating the unique transaction code. […]

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May 27, 2016

Stop wasting time auditing errors ‒ focus on fraud

  Loss prevention pros know that they have to protect their companies against two kinds of loss – outright theft (internal and external) and operational loss (errors by employees). The 2015 U.S. Retail Fraud Survey reported that employee theft and cash theft were cited by respondents as the top two sources of store loss, with […]

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May 11, 2016

How customer rage affects retailers – and how to avoid it

Image: iStock   Not getting the service you expect or having problems with a product you purchased can be frustrating. But does it fill you with rage? For 66 percent of the respondents to the 2015 Customer Rage Study, it does. The independent study, the seventh edition of the survey since the original was conducted […]

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April 22, 2016

3 ways retailers can decrease bank fees

  Bank fees are part of doing business, but because retailers often have more than one bank to deal with, these fees can sometimes become unmanageable.  To become more aware of unnecessary charges, retailers can examine a few areas of their currency operations.   1. Avoid cross-shipping. What is cross-shipping? It’s when stores order a certain […]

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March 28, 2016

The future of cash is bright – thanks to millennials

  Mobile payment methods like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Paypal are bringing more options to consumers making purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. To keep up with consumer preferences, lower transaction costs and gather customer data, retailers are even developing their own mobile payment technologies. Walmart launched a new payment function in their mobile app at […]

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March 8, 2016

What I learned at NGA 2016

  The Best Bagger has been crowned, the booth is packed up, and we’re back in Kansas City – NGA 2016 has come to a close.   Getting the scoop from attendees NGA was a great opportunity for me to speak with many independents in one spot. I had conversations with all types of attendees […]

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February 16, 2016

4 reasons we’re excited for NGA 2016

  At the end of February, thousands of independent grocers and vendors will make their way to the Las Vegas strip for the The NGA Show. I’ll be there too, taking part in it all.   I’m relatively new to Balance Innovations, and I’m thrilled to represent our company at the show. I’ll be sharing […]

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February 1, 2016

The secret to successful store audits

  Store audits are tricky. They’re designed to protect assets and ensure smooth operations, but if handled incorrectly, they can be ineffective and inefficient. There’s a secret to making the most of them, but a lot of retailers miss it.   The secret to the best audit procedures? The simple element of surprise. When you […]

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January 24, 2016

NRF 2016: 3 things we heard from retailers

  Another NRF has come and gone, and, as usual, we loved getting to meet new retailers and connect with our customers. We talked with retailers of all types and sizes, and as we spoke, we noticed a few common themes.    Retailers want more insight into what’s happening at the store level. When you’re at […]

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January 10, 2016

NRF 2016: We’re everywhere!

  Next week retailers from all over the world will gather at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual conference, and we’ll be there too in Booth 1435, ready to share our solutions, which help you make better business decisions and lower the cost of accepting cash. This year, you can see Fifth Third Bank in our booth (#1435), showcasing […]

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December 29, 2015

The one cash management resolution every retailer should make

  The calendar turns to another year this week, and many of us will make New Year’s resolutions. Maybe we’ll try to be more organized, maybe we’ll aim to drop a few pounds — everyone has a little something they’d like to change. But change is hard. As tough as it can be, I’d like […]

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December 10, 2015

Survey: Long lines ruin the shopping experience

  Long checkout lines – is there anyone who likes them? My guess is no, and our latest survey tells the same story: They ruin the shopping experience for customers. In a recent survey of more than 1,600 shoppers, 83 percent of respondents said one of their top checkout pet peeves was long lines because […]

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December 3, 2015

How can retailers make more time for customer service?

Image: Shutterstock   All retailers want to be able to make more time for customer service. A recent study of consumer behavior by TimeTrade reported that more than half of survey respondents indicated they were extremely likely to make a purchase if they were helped by a knowledgeable sales associate. If your employees are more available […]

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November 5, 2015

4 things to know about same-day ACH processing

Photo: Shutterstock   Same-day ACH processing will be here next year. Are you ready to take advantage of this new option? Here are four things you ought to know. When does it start? According to NACHA,  the implementation of same-day ACH will come in three phases: Phase One will be ACH credits only and is […]

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October 13, 2015

Is it time to upgrade your POS system?

    Are you thinking about upgrading or replacing your point-of-sale (POS) system in 2016? If so, you’re in good company. A 2015 study of POS providers by Vertical Systems Reseller (VSR) magazine found that three in five providers have seen increased sales in the last year, indicating that a lot of retailers are choosing to make […]

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October 1, 2015

EMV is here! Are you ready to go?

  The EMV deadline is here, and more and more customers are seeing changes in how they pay at retail and restaurant checkouts across the United States. What’s the big deal about October 1? This is the date that liability for fraudulent charges on a credit or debit card shifts to whichever party offers the least […]

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