The holidays usually mean two things for retailers: big sales and the need for gift receipts. Tackle both with Ascend version 2.12 and the new features it brings to help make this holiday season your most successful ever. We’ve made it easier to print product labels and included new receipt default settings to make gift and email receipts a breeze.
Labels in 1, 2, 3: Our new label printing functions make printing a three step process regardless of the number of labels needed. Easily:
- Print labels for all products included in an On-Sale Record
- Print quantity on hand for each selected product or an individual label for selected products
- Or prompt Ascend to ask you to specify how many copies you’d like to print and whether you’d like to include Sale Price for each product individually
Automate Receipt Printing: New receipt default settings help transactions move more quickly. You no longer have to manually email receipt copies to customers or worry about the number of copies that are printed. Workstation specific settings allow you to:
- Print gift receipts by default
- Email receipts by default
- Adjust the default amount of receipt copies printed after every transactions
- Set a shop or backroom computer to print no receipts
Start Learning Now: Ascend version 2.12 will be released on December 9th, so learn how to use our new label printing and receipt default functions today. Missed last week’s tutorials? You can find them all here.
Categorizing products isn’t always easy, but it is important for every retailer. Not only does it make for a more organized database, but it affects reporting, helps narrow search results, and allows you to create a complete cycle count schedule. To help get all of your items properly sorted, we’ve made it faster for you to categorize products and easier to modify products via Vendor Product imports.
Mapping Made Easy: With our new Category Mapper function you’ll:
- Be off to a quick start by using the same category mapper you’re already familiar with
- Easily map uncategorized products without leaving the order/receiving screen
- Categorize multiple products with a single click
Smart Vendor Imports: Vendor Product spreadsheets have just gotten more powerful. We’ve added the ability for Ascend to recognize and export new Vendor Product spreadsheet columns so you can:
- Categorize before importing
- Export and efficiently modify product attributes outside of Ascend including: “Category”, “eCommerce”, and “Non-Inventory” options
More Control: We’ve added “None” to the Category dropdown menu when exporting in-store products. You’ll now be able to:
- Easily identify uncategorized products
- Modify product categories en masse in a spreadsheet
Start Learning Now: Want to see the new category mapping function in action? Watch this video so that you’re ready when version 2.12 is released on December 9th. Missed last week’s tutorials? You can find them all here.
Version 2.12 is almost here. It’s available now for our Early Release retailers and will be available to everyone on December 9th. With this latest version we’re excited to introduce Customer Groups. For a quick preview of this new feature, check out this video from Ascend’s Product Manager, Luke Natvig.
The Power is in Your Hands: With our new Customer Groups feature you’ll be able to:
- Create groups of any type and size.
- Track their sales activity with reports.
- Automatically give group members special pricing at the register.
- Send email updates to group members.
Flexibility & Simplicity: With Customer Groups we’ve covered all the bases to help you easily implement this new feature in your stores:
- There’s no limit to the number of groups you can create.
- Customers can be members of as many groups as you want them to be.
- For automatic special pricing we’ve used our already familiar On Sale feature.
- Any On Sale pricing rules you create for one group can be used for any other groups.
- We’ve created varying levels of user permissions for you. You don’t have to give employees full access for adding customers to groups. You can limit them to adding one customer at a time.
- You can add customers en masse from the back office. You can also add them individually right from the sales screen.
- If you add a customer to a group in the middle of the sale, the prices of the items you already added will automatically be updated with the group’s special pricing.
- For retailers with multiple locations, you can create groups from any location. Also, any changes to the groups will be updated in real time across all locations using our new multi-store sync technology.
Start Learning Now: We want you to hit the ground running when we release Version 2.12 on December 9th. To help, we’ve created a series of brief video tutorials to teach you everything you need to know about customer groups. Click here to watch them and in less than 20 minutes you’ll be a pro.
Inventory, like laundry, requires constant attention. Accurate information helps you make the right buying decisions so that you have the right inventory at the right time to make the sale. We know it takes a lot of discipline to get this part of your business right, so we’ve introduced Ascend Inventory Services to help you and your team achieve and maintain accurate records. And we understand that every retailers needs are unique. Different sales volume, business strategies, locations, product assortments and even average daily sales all impact the inventory decisions you make every day.
Ascend Inventory Services provides client specific training. Our coaching can include on-site work, training or extended off-site coaching to help you improve your inventory processes and management. We’re committed to providing a personalized plan to each of our clients, big or small. So give us a call today and let us develop a package that works for you.
Accurate Data & Great Decision Making
We establish a regular schedule with you and your team to review your goals and objectives. We also take the time to discuss your recent cycle counts, questions about inventory best practices and we provide continued training so that your inventory management is maintained and perfected as your business grows. Ready to get started? Here’s what we can help you with:
- Review your Ascend Database Health Checkup
- Analyze and improve your category structure for better reporting
- Facilitate an on-site, full store physical inventory
- Cycle count training and the establishment of a regular count schedule
- Ordering, receiving, special orders and layaways
- Identify and eliminate aged inventory
- Create an assortment plan/category management strategy
- Institute a system that lets you know when and how much to buy
- Provide 6 months of continuous improvement coaching
Ascend Inventory Services Offers Three Great Services to Get You on Track & Keep You There
- On-Site Physical Inventory and Coaching
- Remote Inventory Coaching
- On-Site Physical Inventory
So why us? Because we’re inventory experts. Just ask Ascend’s Software and Service Sales Coordinator, Geof Brown. We’re confident that we can help you excel at inventory management which will allow you to make the right buy decisions at the right time.
Give us a call at 877 875 8663 to sign up or to get more information about the program. Let Ascend Inventory Services help you build and maintain a great inventory.
Payment Processing Update
As you may be aware, we’re one year away from a major milestone in payment processing. Simply put, by October 2015 retailers need to be able to process EMV (Chip & PIN) cards or they risk shouldering the liability for fraudulent transactions. We are actively working to support this and will be offering a solution to you several months before the October 2015 deadline. Here are 2 things you can do while we work on this:
- Continue following this blog for updates. We’ll post updates here as they become available. Be aware that several payment processing companies are using the confusion and misinformation surrounding this deadline as a scare tactic to coerce customers into switching to their product. Please contact us before making any payment processing changes.
- Budget for new hardware. Your current credit card swipes and pin pad readers will need to be replaced to support this new technology. We don’t have the exact costs nailed down just yet, but we we want you to be aware of this upcoming expense.
In addition to Chip & PIN support, we’re going to use this as an opportunity to review options for supporting mobile and NFC payments (like Apple Pay). More to come.
Beef up your scanner fleet for inventory!
For most of the year, one inventory scanner is enough to maintain your cycle counts. But when it’s time to tackle your entire inventory, nothing beats the Ascend Rental Scanner Program! We have a fleet of scanners available to rent so you can close your store, perform your inventory and get back to selling as quickly as possible.
Follow these simple steps to take advantage of this great program:
- Determine the date(s) you will be scanning. Shipping usually takes a few business days, so please apply a 4 business day buffer before and after the requested dates to accommodate shipping and receiving. And you won’t be charged for transit time – we don’t start charging you until the scanners arrive.
- Figure our how many units you’ll need.
- If you are requesting between 1-3 scanners, the rental cost is $80/unit/day.
- If you are requesting 4 or more scanners, the rental cost is $65/unit/day.
- Contact us to schedule your rental! Give us a call at 877 875 8663 or email us at email@example.com. Supply is limited so make sure to schedule out your equipment in advance to ensure availability. And don’t worry, Ascend Sales Guy Extraordinaire Pat Gronemus makes sure that shipping is always included with your rentals.
As of April 8, 2014 Microsoft stopped providing support for its Windows XP operating system. Windows XP is 12 years old and that’s pretty old for an operating system. Microsoft does support its older operating systems, but it’s already more than 2 years past the standard ten years of support they normally provide.
While it’s true that you can keep using your PC with XP after support ends, we don’t recommend it. And neither does Ascend Installer, Kristina Florin.
Not only are XP PCs five times more vulnerable to security risks and viruses – which means you could get hacked and have your personal and customer information stolen – but companies that make the devices you connect to your PC won’t provide updated drivers that work with Windows XP.
Basically, your PC running Windows XP is not secure and is at risk for infection. Payment processing functions are also at risk, even if you don’t use an XP PC to process payments directly.
According to the Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), Section 6.1, Merchants Must: Ensure that all system components and software are protected from known vulnerabilities by having the latest vendor-supplied security patches installed. Install Critical security patches within one month of release.
Since Microsoft will no longer be issuing updates to counter security threats or vulnerabilities within Windows XP, any applications being used on this operating system will no longer meet this PCI Standard.
Without the latest protections for your PC against viruses, spyware and other malicious software that can compromise your system, you’re leaving the door wide open for hackers.
Still using XP? Help make Kristina’s life a bit easier and upgrade from your old non secure PC to a new reliable PC! Give us a call to find out more about our great deals.
Contact Ascend Sales at 920-478-2191 ext 12030 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
We know it can take a lot of effort to produce accurate and timely financials. Even with all the data, it’s not always easy to determine action items based on a few sheets of paper. Many people are often left asking themselves, “What are the numbers telling me? What should I continue to do?” and “What should I do differently?”
Quick, accurate financial statements are critical to your success in order to have the information you need in time to act on your results. So, we’ve introduced Ascend Bookkeeping and have people, like Maggie Ellison, working hard to help you and your business obtain financial success.
Each month we’ll meet with you for a performance recap. We’ll take the time to provide you the full financial package and discuss areas of strength and opportunity for your business.
Wondering just how much more we can take care of for you? Read on…
- Integrate Ascend with QuickBooks to create a gap less workflow that produces data based on true sales and cost of goods sold.
- Perform a monthly comparative analysis against Ascend data to ensure accurate reporting.
- Match all purchase order activity between Ascend and vendor invoices.
- Key verified vendor invoices to ensure proper accounting of inventory, freight and other goods/fees.
- Code all bank and credit card activity to appropriate accounts.
- Reconcile all bank, credit card, lines of credit, loans and other accounts monthly to verify consistency.
- Key payroll information provided by your payroll processor.
- Ascend will become your bookkeeping solution, even able to prepare sales tax filings. We’ll meet with you weekly to answer questions and catch‐up on anything you might need help with.
- We will deliver your financial package within 10 days of month-end, giving you more time to worry about what really matters – your business.
- Update your Ascend Analytics Finance page.
- Discuss your cash flow.
- Provide income statements compared to last year and budget (Monthly & YTD) and a Balance Sheet so you can see how your money comes and goes.
- Deliver a personal monthly performance recap with insightful commentary and action items to help you manage your store and your team as necessary.
So why us? Because we’re bookkeeping experts. We’ve helped over 400 dealers integrate Ascend with Quickbooks and provided their teams with a wide variety of bookkeeper training. We’re confident that we can supply you the information and assistance your business needs to thrive.
Give us a call at 877 875 8663 to talk to talk to one of our experts and sign up or to get more information about the program.
We’ve had a busy few weeks here at Ascend. Here’s what’s been going on.
On September 2nd, we released Version 2.11. Two weeks later we discovered a bug. Though the bug was limited to a very specific scenario, it affected inventory levels and we immediately halted upgrades to that version. Two days later, we released an updated version of 2.11 (2.11.149) with a fix for this bug. Since this release, members of the Ascend Support Team have been reaching out to any potentially affected locations to identify and resolve any inventory discrepancies caused by this bug.
Please take a moment to check the version of Ascend you’re currently running. You can do this by looking at the very bottom of your Ascend window. If you don’t see “Software: 18.104.22.168″ and “Database: 10.41″, please update ASAP. Contact us at 877-875-8663 or email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns.
Get the Latest Features
Now that Version 2.11 is back and better than ever, be sure to start taking advantage of the new features. Not sure what’s included? Check out the release notes and these previous blog posts:
Have a great weekend!
It’s been just over a week since we released Version 2.11 and the majority of you have already upgraded. If you haven’t yet, make plans to upgrade soon (it only takes a few minutes). When you do, you’ll be able to start enjoying these small changes that have a big impact in Ascend.
Save Sales Invoices to PDF
In Version 2.10, we introduced PDF attachments for emailed receipts. This was a welcome change, but you still had to email yourself if you wanted a PDF version of a sales receipt. In Version 2.11, you can save invoices directly to your computer. It’s simple. When you’re in a sale, click the “Preview” button on the on the toolbar to view the receipt. From there, click the “Save” button and choose the location where you want to save the file.
See Your Scanned Inventory Sections
Last year, we overhauled our inventory process. A lot of steps were removed and discrepancies can now all be resolved in one screen. In version 2.11, you’ll find a “Scan File” column to the Reconcile Inventory screen. Now, when you’re performing an inventory count, you’ll be able to view the section(s) in which an item was scanned. This will help you identify re-scans that need to take place if a particular section seems to be the source of several of your discrepancies.
But, Wait! There’s more…
We’ve added a few small touches to help you better communicate with your customers. In the customer record, there’s now a small label icon to print a label for the Billing or Shipping address.
And on the customer panel, you’ll see a birthday cake if your customer’s birthday is within one week of the date you’re ringing up their transaction.
Version 2.11 is now available! If you haven’t already, upgrade today and join the hundreds of dealers already taking advantage of Ascend’s new features.
Customize Your SMS Defaults
A few versions back, we added SMS integration to Ascend. (Do you remember which version? We’ll send a small care package to the first person who comments with the correct answer.) Since then, thousands of text messages have been sent through Ascend. Obviously, you love this feature. But wouldn’t it be even better if you could customize the default message? In version 2.11, you can.
Once you’ve upgraded, go to Options -> Services and click the new “SMS Setup” button. From there, you can setup different defaults depending on the origin of the message. The example below shows the setup for the message generated when a Special Order Item is received.
Create your message in the Default Message box. You can (and should!) enhance the message with the Tags listed on the right. Double-click a Tag to insert it into the message. The Tag represents a placeholder for the actual information that will appear in the message. The Message Preview field allows you to preview your message with sample data and make sure you’re staying within the SMS character limit.
Enjoy the Automated Awesomeness
Once you’ve finished your setup, continue to use Ascend as normal and smile each time the message YOU created gets sent out. Here’s an example of how the message we setup above appears in a Purchase Order once a Special Order Item is received.
As you can see, the Tags have been replaced with the customer’s first name, the product keyword, the user’s first name and the location name. You also still have the option to edit the message before sending it.
So please, upgrade, customize and enjoy!