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Tim Mueller

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 What is the Cost of Saving Money on a Point of Sale System?

Posted by Tim Mueller on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 @ 08:12 AM

balancing_options.jpgWhen people come to us with questions about our event rental systems, they are often very excited about the range of capabilities. We use industrial grade hardware with hand-picked, easy-to-use software, and we program everything weighing our customers needs with our decades of experience. Occasionally we’ll have someone tell us they can get a system for less than we’re charging. I always agree with them because I know it’s true (on the front end). This is where we need to look at both cost and value. Let’s look a little deeper at those savings with a real-life example.

The Basic Parameters

For one comlete unit using our Special Event System, the price is around $270. That includes the terminal, printer, drawer, and chip card processing device plus online reporting. One could find a similar set of hardware components elsewhere for approximately $150. Feel free to check my math here, but so far, the other system looks like it will save you $120 per unit.

The Event Variables

How Does a Custom Designed System Increase Speed
  • Is pre-programmed and ready to use right out of the box.
  • Is easy to learn and use
  • Has the keyboard layout optimized for speed
  • Uses integrated credit cards to reduce input errors

The sample event is a two-day music festival, and requires 40 points of sale used at the concession stands. That’s an inital savings of $4,800. That’s a lot of money, nobody would deny that.

For a two-day event, we are looking at an average of 20 hours of selling. According to data taken from events over the last 3 years, the average transaction amount at a festival is $10.91.

The Real Cost

Our custom-designed systems realistically get 5-9 more people per hour through the line at each terminal than other, off-the-shelf systems. 

Let's look at two cases. The first will use the ridiculously low number of just 2 more people through the line per hour. The second uses higher, but still very attainable goal of 7 extra customers per hour. Here is the Math:

Option 1: $10.91 per sale X 2 Sales/hr X 20 Hours X 40 terminals = $17,456 extra income
Option 2: $10.91 per sale X 7 Sales/hr X 20 Hours X 40 terminals = $61,096 extra income

The additional revenue gained from option 1 (which was the extremely conservative) not only pays for the difference in initial cost, but more than covers the entire system rental. The more likely number, using the typical 7 more transaction per hour found in option 2, is over $61,000.00 in additional revenue. That means the $4,800.00 they thought they saved, actually cost them $56,200.00. At Harvard Business School, I believe they refer to that as a negative return on investment.

For more information about how a specifically designed system can impact your event, contact us to set up a free, no-hassle event analysis.

Needs Assessment

Tags: Event Planning, Point Of Sale

POS Reports: The Value of Actionable Intelligence

Posted by Tim Mueller on Tue, Jan 09, 2018 @ 10:57 AM


Are you making the most of your point of sale system? Like many pieces of technology, most people don't use them to their full potential. Even some standard features are under-utilized. You are already paying for your point of sale system. Whether you make a large capital investment on a purchase, or you rent a POS for your event, you deserve to get the greatest return on your investment. There is so much great information being tracked with a well-designed system. Wouldn’t it be great to have actionable data both during and after your event?

Think of your point of sale system like Alexa or Siri. It can get you some great information, if you ask it the right questions. Sales data is tracked by product, location, time sold, category and more. With a little analysis of this information, you can optimize your selling strategy. So often, even a small adjustment makes a huge difference. Here are some examples of how answering the right questions will lead to actionable intelligence. Making these adjustments results in providing your guests a better experience and your vendors a more profitable one.

Question to Answer Resulting Action
How many purchases were made every hour? You will be stocked properly at every hour of the day. You will reduce food waste by not overproducing prior to when sales taper off. You will better manage staffing.
How does the time of day affect the percentage of water vs. beer sales? There is only so much room to chill beverages. During the hottest part of the day, when the temperature is going to be over 82 degrees, water sales overtake beer sales. Dedicate those resources accordingly.
What are your 3 best-selling locations? Run a product mix report. See if they have a hot selling item. If there is one, it’s most likely the right product at the right time. If there isn’t a standout product, is there signage that highlights that item inspiring guests to try it? If not, it’s most likely location.
What are your 3 lowest selling locations?
   •  Why are they lowest?
         -  Is it location?
         -  Is it their offering?
         -  Is it signage?
Same as above. If they have product(s) that are way underperforming, suggest they make an adjustment. Try changing signage to make them stand out more.
  • *Observe at a distance and assess their process. Often times, the answer becomes all too obvious. Better to discover a challenge right away.

This was just a small sampling of the data available with a well-designed point of sale system. We can compile a detailed event analysis report. You’ll discover trends that will let you stage and manage more effectively. Patterns will emerge letting you know what types of foods are trending. Giving the attendee’s their favorite dishes will increase concession sales dramatically. After all, there is a big difference between “That sounds OK” and “Wow, those are my favorite!”

When it comes to point of sale, there is a marked difference between off-the-shelf and custom-designed. The good news is, custom-designed doesn’t cost more. If you would like some help coming up with the right questions to ask your point of sale system or would like a free event analysis, please contact us.


  Event Analysis  

Tags: Events, Rental, Point Of Sale

Get a PhD in POS

Posted by Tim Mueller on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

Learn from the Point of Sale Professionals

Our unique area of expertise is Special Event Systems (such as temporary fireworks stands). In the Special Event environment, speed is king. The more people you can get through the line, the happier your customers are and the more money you make. It really is exactly that simple.

Because our emphasis is on Special Event Systems, we ask ourselves these 3 questions every day:

How can it be faster? How can it be simpler? How can you get better information?
1. How can we make it faster? 2. How can we make it simpler? 3. How can we give you better information?

In 2008, when we really made fireworks our focus, our efforts were on increasing speed and simplicity. The best way to increase speed at checkout we learned from the grocery industry back in the 70’s. Scanning was and still is the single greatest way to increase speed. Back then, almost no one was scanning fireworks. Having all products barcoded in the fireworks industry was the bigger challenge. The term Universal Product Code (UPC) wasn’t very universal in China in 2008. Creating an accurate product database was a little like sorting snowflakes. Today’s cloud based solutions allow you to add or edit products in seconds. Whether you select individual terminals or 100 at a time, the ability to do so just multiplied your efficiency.

The next hurdle was how to accept credit cards in the middle of a cornfield? The answer was simple, the implementation was not. Cellular technology made it possible, however it was very cost prohibitive. There were systems out there costing thousands of dollars. For a very short selling season, it just wasn’t feasible. When we introduced the M-box system, which made it possible to do it with a system integrated into simple, inexpensive cash register, it was a complete game changer. No internal connectivity required! No re-entering amounts. People that hadn’t previously accepted credit cards saw increases in sales by as much as 26%.

Along with integrated processing, the sales data was sent to the cloud for you, so you didn’t have to visit the middle of the cornfield any more. Way better information at the touch of a button. Reporting from anywhere you can get on the internet. Financial Data, Item Data; by register, by location or your entire operation.

2 years ago, brought about a big shift. E.M.V. Chip card technology. We in the industry called it a giant step backwards. We all remember the early adaptors; transactions taking 30 seconds or more. It was about a death sentence in our Special Event environment where speed is king. Today’s EMV devices are nearly as fast as a swiped transaction. We now have wireless (cellular) systems that processes a chip card in under 3 seconds. You have the security of the chip with the speed of a swiped transaction.

About the same time, tablet technology really began to snowball. And for good reason. The third question got answered in a big way; How can we give you better information? With an app that addresses the unique requirements of the retail fireworks industry, the information is all there. Unfortunately, very few apps fit well into the fireworks mold. Make sure whoever you decide to partner with for your point of sale needs really understands the retail fireworks business. There are some unique elements to your business.

Tracking all the different discount types:

  • Mix and Match
    • Buy 1, get 1 free
    • Buy 1, get 2 free
    • Buy 3 of these, get 1 of those free
    • Buy 1 of these, 1 of those and get 1 of the other free
  • 10, 20, 30, 50, 100% off an individual item
  • 25, 50, 75, 100% off an entire sale

Inventory Tracking

  • Tracking product from the warehouse to each location
  • Tracking product movement between locations
  • Knowing current stock levels at every location
  • How much is due back at the end of the season

Tablet technology is here to stay. The reporting is amazing in many ways and helps your business be much more efficient. We will continue to look for ways to make it faster all the time.


Tags: Event Planning, Cash Registers, Rental, Credit Card Equipment, iPad

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