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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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: 22.214.171.124″ and “Database: 10.41″, please update ASAP. Contact us at 877-875-8663 or firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Version 2.11 is just days away! It will be available to all dealers on September 2nd. Click here to register for our release webinar at 10:00 AM CDT on Wednesday, September 3rd. We’ll also continue to review new features in upcoming blog posts. Below we’ll cover some additional On Sale features that will be included in this release.
Place Categories On Sale
When you create a new On Sale record, you’ll now have the option to designate it as a category sale. When building a category sale, you can select and apply a percentage discount to the categories you choose. Products in the categories placed on sale will automatically have the discount applied, even if they are categorized after the sale has been created.
Create & Edit from Any Location
If you’re a multi-store dealership, you’ll notice some improvements we made with regard to sharing. On Sale records will be automatically shared to all other locations in real time. Updates to existing records can be made from any location and will also automatically be shared. If for some reason an On Sale record needs to be ignored at a certain store, you can simply uncheck the “Use Sale Pricing” check box at that location and the pricing for that sale won’t be applied.
Goodbye, Customer Advanced Properties
Here is your final reminder that the fields behind the “Show Advanced Properties” button in the customer record have been removed in version 2.11. Most (if not all) of you are already not using these fields. If you are, please prepared for life after they’re gone.
Version 2.11 is just around the corner! It went out to our Early Release dealers last week and will be released to all dealers on September 2nd. Over the next few weeks, we’ll preview some of the new features coming your way.
Put a List of Items On Sale
You’ll see a new “Product List Search” tab when placing items on sale. On this tab, you can scan or paste UPCs or SKUs into the top section of the window. When you click Search, the items will appear in the grid below. From there, you can apply your sale pricing to the items in the grid without having to look them up one at a time.
Print On Sale Labels
When a product is on sale, Ascend labels will now display the Sale Price and MSRP. If you don’t want to print the sale price, you can uncheck the “Print Sale Price” check box.
Stay tuned next week for a preview of Category On Sale enhancements and some improvements we’ve made to On Sale sharing.
We’re looking forward to seeing many of you next week at Trek World (8/4 – 8/6). If you’re attending, here’s your Ascend to-do list:
- Bring your questions to our lab: Our Support Team will be available in full force in the Ascend Lab. Please stop by during our scheduled hours with any questions you have for us.
- Attend our seminar: We’ve released many improvements since we met last year. Attend our seminar to find out the top ways our customers are taking advantage of these latest changes. Luke Natvig, our Support and Product Manager will be leading this session in the Ascend Lab. Check the daily schedule for times.
- Learn about our new services: We’re excited to introduce our new professional services for bookkeeping and inventory management. Join us and learn all about them from Mark Hoggatt, our General Manager, and Erin Tome, our Services Team Manager. Check the daily schedule for times and location.
- Order hardware: Our Sales Team will be located on the bottom level of the Monona Terrace, just outside the show floor. Stop by to order the new PCs and hardware you need for your stores. As always, all the hardware we use at the show is on sale while supplies last.
- BONUS – Visit us at Outdoor Retailer: For the first time ever, we’re attending the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City August 6th – 8th. We’ll be in booth # 32197. If you or anyone from your stores are attending, make sure to stop by and say hello. If you know any other retailers that are going, please tell them to come see us.
The Ascend Support Line will be open during Trek World. We’ll have support available during our standard hours from 8am to 6pm Central Time.
On June 10th we released Version 2.10 and several hundred locations have already updated. If you’re not one of them, here are a few more reasons you should upgrade today.
Fix What You Need To Now
The Remove Duplicate Products tool is a great way to keep your product records clean. We’ve added an Inventory Only check box so, if you’re short on time, you can easily clean up what needs fixing right now. Also, you can now scan or type in a bar code in the Product field if you’re looking to address a specific duplicate.
Remote Inventory Matters
If you’re a multi-store dealer, we’ve added some new features to help you manage your inventory. When attempting to hide a product at the primary store, we’ve added a check to make sure that no inventory exists for that item at secondary locations. If it does, the product record can’t be hidden. We’ve also added a new Remote Inventory Only check box to the Remote Product Lookup screen. This is checked by default and filters your search results to only display items that are in stock at the secondary locations.
For a full list of features and fixes in version 2.10, read our release notes and watch the recorded webinar. Upgrade today!