It’s summertime, it’s travel time. Tips for traveling with kids.

July 10, 2017

We are full into our summer and travel time is at it’s peak. As you travel our wonderful country  here are a few tips for success with kids.  Thank you Sarah Martin Hood for this great article.  sarahmartinhood

Don’t forget to stop into your favorite C-Stores along the way!  C-Stores are the key to successful travel!


Are your kids carrying their own weight when you travel? 

Summer vacations are in full swing and it’s high time the youngest travelers in your party start carrying their own weight, don’t you think? If you’re committed to traveling with your kiddos, it’s a good idea to start as early as possible and find ways for them to help out from Point A to Point B and all the adventures between. Where do you start? How do you get your littles to be helpers as you travel?

 

Make kids carry their own bag.

This may require some patience on your part, but kids can maneuver a suitcase on wheels younger than you might think. They’ll need help with escalators and trains and such, but let them try. And even before they’re able to help with a full-size suitcase, they can be responsible for a carry-on. A water bottle, book, and a snack is really all they need to carry in a small backpack. When you’re out for the day add a camera and a rain jacket.  None of it weighs much, and it will introduce them to the concept of packing smart — and light!

LAX - May 2017

Give them a job to do.

Find tangible ways for kids to be helpful. One of our go-to jobs for Colt is “Outlet Check!” Before we leave a hotel room, he’s responsible for sweeping the room and checking every single outlet for charging cords. We donate far fewer chargers to hotels since he took up this job!

Packing is tricky for kids because they’re not sure where to start. If you want their help packing, be very specific. They won’t know what to do if you say “Pack your suitcase.” But they can help if you break it down to “Lay out your swimsuit and goggles.” and give them one step at a time.

In general, be on the lookout for things they can do themselves. Let them hand their own boarding pass to the gate agent before a flight, encourage them to order for themselves off the menu, and if they have a question during a tour — have them raise their own little hand and ask. Let them be a traveler instead of just a passenger.

 

Make it a game.

Yes, they can even help entertain themselves! If your kids are collectors or writers — keep your eyes open for kid-friendly projects as you travel. One of my favorites is the passport offered by the National Park Service that lets kids collect cancellation stamps from park rangers and it gives them an incredible keepsake of their travels. (This is not just for kids! I’m actually super jealous and wish I’d started myself a passport years ago!)

Another example we discovered was at Mount Vernon last fall.  On the iPod touch that served as our audio tour guide, there was an app for Colt to play a spy game — he collected clues all over the property and answered trivia questions about the area. He was into being there anyway, but the spy game was a nice cherry on top of the experience. It kept him engaged from start to finish.

Statue of Liberty - July 2016

Give your kid a camera.

On top of the benefits they will enjoy by having their own way to document the trip, this is a sneaky way to get a fresh perspective on your destination. I have been amazed by the photos on Colt’s camera at the end of a day of sightseeing — the details he noticed and the perspective he captured. Sometimes he snaps away and other times the camera stays in his bag, but giving him the responsibility of his own camera has taught him about storytelling and even given us opportunities to talk about tourist etiquette a few times.

The earlier the better when it comes to teaching kids that travel is a fun adventure but there are ways for everyone to chip in so the trip is safe and fun for the whole group. Think of your kiddo as a fellow traveler and he will rise to the challenge.

 National Mall, Washington D.C. - September 2016

Important Information: SAN FRANCISCO BANS SALE OF FLAVORED TOBACCO, MENTHOL

June 23, 2017

The city’s board of supervisors approved the legislation unanimously. The ban will take effect in April 2018.

June 23, 2017

​SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a bill that forbids the sale of flavored tobacco products in retail stores, the San Francisco Examiner reports. The ban encompasses flavored chewing tobacco, flavored liquids containing nicotine for e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes.

“We want to enhance our prevention strategies,” Supervisor Maila Cohen, who introduced the legislation, said. “The goal of this ordinance is to keep people from smoking in the first place.

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The ban, which will go into effect April 2018, will impact more than 700 local retailers, mostly convenience stores and gas stations, that sell tobacco products. To counter the lost revenue, Cohen supports more city funding under the Healthy Food Retail program to assist small stores during the transition.

The California Retailers Association opposed the ban because it failed to take into consideration how it would affect businesses and the decrease in the amount of sales tax the city collects. “This ordinance also ignores the fact that there are comprehensive state and local laws, that anti-tobacco advocates support as a means to curb youth access to tobacco, that are currently enforced,” wrote Angie Manetti, director of government relations for the association in a June 8 letter to the board.

The ordinance would not prohibit the use of flavored tobacco in the city. The City Controller’s Office of Economic Analysis estimated that 35% of cigarettes sold in the city are menthols, which will translate into lost sales of around $50 million yearly.

The Minneapolis City Council is also considering a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes, having already prohibited the same of flavored tobacco products two years ago.

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7 Reasons Why Merchants Want to Change Their POS System

June 13, 2017

Over the past few years, many merchants – regardless of what kind of businesses they operate or how big their companies are – have come to reconsider their previous ways of handling purchases. Many decided to buy point-of-sale devices for the first time, while others were led to think about the ways modern payment technologies may be able to help their businesses take a big leap forward when it comes to security and customer engagement.

To that end, it’s worth thinking about the most common reasons businesses – and smaller ones in particular – may want to adopt or change their POS options these days, as a means of keeping up with changing preferences and security standards. The better they can keep up with industry-recommended best practices for point of sale security and adoption, the better off they’re likely to be going forward.

1) Staying on Top of the Latest Trends

While many managers have at least thought about making the switch to a point-of-sale device that can handle EMV or mobile purchases, some may still be on the fence, according to Digital Transactions. But the fact is, these new purchase types are the way the whole payments ecosystem is now heading, and merchants may need to consider such a move for themselves.

The vast majority of businesses nationwide now accept EMV, and most consumers also have at least one EMV card in their wallets these days. As a consequence, simply having the ability to accept such transactions can be a boon for any business, in addition to providing themselves and their customers with greater security.

2) Navigating Affordability

Many businesses may shy away from payment card processing of all kinds simply because of the cost involved, according to Shopify. For this reason, it may be wise for companies to look at their options for finding POS resellers who can meet their needs both in terms of technology and ongoing costs. This is especially true for first-timers who may not have as much operational knowledge when it comes to dealing with these issues.

In general, when resellers can explain what they do for merchants – and why it costs what it does – in plain language, that can provide a big boost for those getting on board with modern payment processing.

3) They Want to Branch Out 

For many smaller businesses that want to find a new revenue stream, the ease of modern e-commerce provides a crucial option, according to Business News Daily. The good news is that modern POS can meet both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar needs for just about any business, and all it may take is working with a reseller to determine the best path forward. Having the ability to handle both real-world and online transactions through the same POS can go a long way for any small business.

4) Getting Better Data 

Another key benefit of modern POS is that it comes with more tertiary features than ever before, which give merchants the power to collect and harness more information than ever from a single source, Business News Daily added. Now, POS platforms collect all kinds of data on every transaction to help merchants identify areas where they can potentially improve their operations, from managing the supply chain to better catering to evolving consumer preferences in real time. That kind of knowledge can really empower better decision-making for years to come.

5) Saving Time and Impressing Customers Simultaneously 

Another big innovation in point-of-sale technology in the past few years has come for restaurants specifically, according to PointofSale.com. Tableside POS devices are all the rage among chain restaurants, which favor the devices for their ease of use and help in increasing the efficiency of any operation. Now, smaller restaurants are taking the same step because of both that ease of efficiency and people are coming to expect this kind of ease in ordering.

6) Keeping Up with Consumer Expectations 

Indeed, the idea that larger merchants are taking steps to innovate on POS – often because they have the budget to do so somewhat freely – is something that should give reluctant small business owners pause, according to Payments Source. As consumers become more accustomed to ubiquitous next-generation POS technology at the big stores where they shop frequently, it’s vital for smaller competitors to do what they can to keep up. After all, if consumers already expect to be able to pay with EMV – which is a technology that’s still relatively new to them – just about anywhere, the need to keep up with those trends quickly becomes self-evident.

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7) Being Ready for What Comes Next 

Upgrading to modern POS isn’t just a good idea for the present, but also for the future, according to Silicon NYC. Having the ability to upgrade now allows merchants to familiarize themselves with the latest and greatest options in payment processing before the next generation of options arrives. “Skipping” a generation isn’t likely to be a wise move, because merchants could find themselves in the dark about where they should turn, and how best to take that next step.

Focusing on smaller steps to meet ever-evolving needs will be crucial for any merchant as they try to navigate the POS environment today. After all, if the goal is to simultaneously make owners’ lives easier and provide more options for their customers, the wide variety of options now available is just waiting to meet those needs.

 

Article from Sterling Payment Technologies June 2017 Newsletter “The Edge”

 

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NORTH CAROLINA STEPS UP EFFORTS TO FIND SKIMMERS!

June 9, 2017

NACS gives us this information:

The state Department of Agriculture is working on a program to train convenience store personnel on how to spot skimmers at gas pumps.

June 9, 2017

​RALEIGH, N.C. – Skimmers at the gas pump is a problem that isn’t going away, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is taking steps to ensure those devices are spotted quickly and removed, WNCN-TV reports. Recently, one North Carolina gas station discovered skimmers installed at the pump four different times in one month.

During its routine inspections of gas pumps, the agency looks for skimmers as part of its checklist. “[Skimming] certainly is a growing problem,” said Stephen Benjamin, director of the N.C. Agriculture Department Standards Division. “It’s a routine part of our inspections now to look for those skimmers.”

But with those inspections only happening annually, the department decided to ramp up efforts to combat skimming in other ways. To do that, the agency has been developing a training program for convenience store employees on how to spot skimmers or suspicious activity around the gas pump. The program will have online photos and reference material for gas station workers.

Obvious signs of tampering include broken security tape or ill-fitting card readers. Benjamin said the training program will teach some of the basic security measures employees can take to combat skimming.

“If they walk around [the pumps] a couple of times a day and inspect [them], that’s an opportunity to take a glance,” and ensure the pumps haven’t been tampered with, he said.

 NACS Online article found here.
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Less Beer Drinkers?

June 6, 2017

“IWSR data finds that global alcohol consumption is declining faster for beer than wine and spirits.”  And for this reason, and more, you MUST have a reliable back office system!

NACS Online reports that Global Alcohol consumption is declining.  Retailers must stay on top of their margins in order to be successful.  Our backOffice™ Software with EDI module allows retailers to easily adjust pricing and make the most profit on special quantity purchases.  Read the entire article by clicking here, or simply see below.   Cheers!

 

June 6, 2017

​NEW YORK – The latest International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) data suggests that the consumption of alcoholic drinks is declining at an increasingly faster rate than has been previously reported.

For 2016, the IWSR reports that the global market for alcoholic drinks shrunk by 1.3%, compared with an average rate of just -0.3% in the previous five years. The reasons for the accelerated downward trend include a faster decline in beer, a reversal of trends for cider and slowing growth for mixed drinks.

Cider declined by 1.5% after years of solid growth. The markets responsible for this reversal of trends were South Africa, which saw decline following a period of growth, and especially the U.S., where volumes collapsed by 15.2% after years of double-digit growth.

The beer category was down 1.8% in 2016, compared with a five-year rate of -0.6%. The global trend reflects developments in three of beer’s largest markets: China, Brazil and Russia, which all saw steeper declines than in previous years, declining at -4.2%, -5.3% and -7.8%, respectively, in 2016.

Global spirits grew by 0.3%, according to IWSR data. Vodka is dragging down overall spirits performance, declining at 4.3% last year. Volumes were boosted by gin (+3.7%), tequila (+5.2%) and whisky (+1.7%). The negative trend in vodka is largely due to steep volume losses in Russia (-9.3%), which nevertheless remains vodka’s largest market by far. Key growth markets for total spirits last year were China, the U.S. and Mexico.

Wine was flat overall (-0.1%), with sparkling wine growing at 1.8% and still wine down by 0.5%. This is roughly in line with the trend of the previous five years.

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Memorial Day Message from Insight Retail Software

May 26, 2017

To our friends, customers and vendors,

In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, the offices of Insight Retail Software will be closed Monday, May 29th and will reopen Tuesday, May 30th.

To all of the men and women that serve our country we join you in remembrance of those who have given everything to the cause of freedom and liberty.  We give special remembrance to all Gold Star families on this day.

If you have an emergency situation you may leave a message on our emergency voicemail and we’ll respond as soon as possible. For other needs, we’ll reply when we return on Tuesday morning.

Have a safe holiday.

Tim, Tina, Norm, Drew, John, Juan,

Stephen and Chris

Memorial Day 2017


What will Tomorrow’s Gas Stations look like? InsightRS will be ready!

May 26, 2017

NACS Online has this great article about the changing look of Gas Stations, aka C-Stores.  As the look and operations change, Insight Retail Software and backOffice™ Software changes too.  Our state of the art reporting keeps you informed of the health and operation of your business.  Inventory Control, EDI, Group Price Changes are made simple with backOffice™.  Scan Data services are an added bonus.  Our customers love to log onto their Altria and RJ Reynolds account and see $$$$.  Call to get your free money too.

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Call Chris at: 518-633-4111 x 108

WHAT WILL TOMORROW’S GAS STATIONS LOOK LIKE?

Oil companies experiment with mobile apps, delivery and foodservice as analysts predict a future with declining demand for gasoline.Tags: Trends

May 26, 2017

​IRVING, Texas – The world’s largest oil companies are tinkering with what makes a gas station, as mobile apps, fuel delivery, alternative fuels and foodservice become more prominent and consumers look for even more convenience, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Analysts like the firm Wood Mackenzie are forecasting softening demand for gasoline as electric cars become more popular and fuel efficiency improves. Automated cars and vehicle sharing also will likely impact the gasoline station industry.

Over the next year and a half, Royal Dutch Shell will play around with adapting fuel stations to provide hydrogen, electric chargers and liquefied natural gas alongside gasoline. BP already has 50 locations with electric chargers globally, while France’s Total SA will put in 300 charging stations throughout Europe and 400 hydrogen pumps in Germany by 2023. Exxon Mobile is working on a new gasoline aimed at more fuel-efficient cars.

While many of these companies jettisoned retail station ownership recently, now some of them are opening new gas stations or revamping current ones with an eye to the emerging alternative fuel markets. For example, BP will open 200 stations in Mexico and as many as 3,500 in India in the coming years. Many of its U.K. stations have Marks & Spencer food locations too. “Fifteen years ago it was just fuel,” said Alex Jensen, vice president for BP’s retail arm in Europe. Today, half of the company’s U.K. customers stop by for food, not fuel.

Shell has a mobile app that lets consumers pay for gas with their phone and might install lockers for online order pickup. The company is also considering a restaurant concept to bolster its convenience food. Shell also began a pilot fuel-delivery service in the Netherlands, where customers can request a Shell fill up delivered to wherever their car is parked, via a company-developed app.

see NACS online article here

 

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