Cluttered tills are a sign of inefficiency, lack of productivity and impacts retailer profits, says Ian Steyn of Innervation – and integrating all those services into the point of sale is the solution!

 

“Customers expect more and more value-added services from retailers,” he says. “But adding a new terminal or hardware peripheral device for each service creates challenges. If you have a credit card terminal, and maybe a second one from another bank, and need to add yet another to support gift cards and loyalty, the till environment can get unacceptably cluttered.”

 

Wasted cashier time and longer queues are just the start of the challenges, says Steyn. “Having multiple standalone terminals at your till puts you at much greater risk of mistakes and fraud. For example, when your card payment terminal isn’t integrated with your point of sale software, it means every payment transaction has to be manually performed on a card payment terminal and then captured on the point of sale as well. That invariably leads to mistakes and typically manifests itself in end of day reconciliation exceptions.”

 

Adding a new terminal for each service also means training and retraining staff. “That’s a huge expense on its own – and it probably won’t be enough. If you’re incentivising your staff by how quickly they can move people through the till, but checking loyalty points on the terminal takes a few extra seconds per customer, they have a very good reason to forget about the loyalty programme.”

 

Finally, there are all the attendant problems of managing multlple pieces of hardware and associated consumables. “Three terminals might mean three different network connections and three different printers, which take three different kinds of paper. This can be a real issue, and a major waste of resources.”

 

Integrating services onto the point of sale means retailers only need to deal with one POS system, one printer and one network connection, he says. “It also means you get 100% accuracy, transactions are faster to process and it’s easier to train cashiers. Services such as coupons and loyalty, which require reference to the actual items purchased, can only be optimally implemented when integrated to the point of sale. This supports the Implementation of common business processes across all value added services, with the associated savings and productivity.”

 

“Retailers are best at doing retail,” he says. “Managing multiple bits of IT is not their core business, especially in smaller retailers, and it shouldn’t have to be. Rolling up multiple services into your point of sale system makes life much easier.”

 

About Innervation  

Innervation Value Added Services assists retailers to achieve enhanced customer service, increased revenue and sustainable competitive advantage via strategic engagement and by enabling a wide range of services across all customer touch points. Innervation utilises an agile switching and reconciliation platform to seamlessly integrate to customer touch points (POS, mobile, web, call centre, self -service kiosks and social media) and also to retail enterprise financial and CRM systems. The company’s core product offerings include the Destiny electronic payments switch and the Destiny Stored Value suite of products, including gift card, loyalty, vouchers and coupons. Commodity services such as prepaid airtime and bill payment are supported via interfaces to the Value Added Service Providers preferred by the merchant.

 

Bookkeeper jailed for theft in Cape Town

A bookkeeper was jailed for eight years by the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville on Thursday.


Barbara Aletta Kuhn, 47, was sentenced on 91 counts of theft involving R1.4m.

According to the charge sheet, she was engaged as bookkeeper by two companies owned by Ivar Kvale.

Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg agreed with prosecutor Jannie Knipe that Kuhn had abused a position of trust, which called for a prison sentence.

She also agreed with Knipe that white collar crime was difficult to expose, as it was perpetrated by intelligent people who devised schemes to cover their tracks.

The magistrate said prison sentences were not reserved for the punishment of violent crime, and that the message to the community had to be that offenders involved in white collar crime also went to jail.

Kuhn manipulated the electronic accounting system connecting both businesses between December 2006 and February 2007, and was arrested in Gauteng in November 2007.

Her attorney Hailey Lawrence told the court Kuhn was a gambling addict, and had resorted to theft because her salary could not support her gambling habits.

Kuhn qualified for the minimum sentence of 15 years, as a first-time offender found guilty of fraud involving more than R500 000.

The magistrate rejected her gambling addiction as a reason to deviate from the prescribed sentence, but said Kuhn had shown remorse by admitting to the 91 counts.

The fact that she was a first-time offender, and had been honest with the court, were accepted as substantial and compelling factors to deviate from the prescribed sentence, she said.

The magistrate said a suspended prison sentence was too lenient, as was a sentence involving an early release and house arrest.

– SAPA

Fraudulent orders for A4 paper

Forms Media Independent Africa have reported two fraudulent attempts to purchase A4 paper.

The first order – to the value of R33 700 – was placed in the name of Almond Trading operating out of Piet Retief. Claiming an EFT payment, it was discovered that payment was made via a stolen cheque from Port Elizabeth. The fraudster went by the name of Christopher C: 0614657069, and was to be collected by courier.

The second order was from Nelspruit placed in the name of Itec Solutions to the value of R58 368. Claiming to use an EFT payment, the bank confirmed it was also a cheque deposit.  The fraudster went by the name of Derek C: 0840996506.

THE digital platform is increasingly eating into the revenues of traditional entertainment and media, with physical music and books sales being the hardest hit.

A report by PwC on South Africa’s entertainment and media shows that sales of CDs and physical books will continue to fall as consumers look online for that content.

According to the report, increased internet access will remain a significant force behind the major growth in the South African entertainment and media industry, reflecting expanded broadband devices and more use of smart devices.

Vicki Myburgh, entertainment and media industries leader for PwC Southern Africa, says consumers’ access to entertainment and media content and experiences were being “democratised” by the expansion of access to the internet, and the explosive growth in smart devices.

“Even though traditional, non-digital media will continue to dominate overall E&M (entertainment and media) spending in S A over the next five years, much of the growth will come from digital,” she says.

SA’s entertainment and media market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.9% in the next five years, above the global average of 5.6%, as a result of increased internet access.

The entertainment and media market is expected to generate overall revenue of R175bn in 2017.

The internet has widened access to entertainment and media products and services and has created opportunities for companies.

With the increased penetration of mobile phones, including smart devices, connected consumers are driving companies to apply innovation and agility to understand and meet their needs, PwC says.

The slowest-growing segment in the industry will be consumer and educational books with a 0.4% compounded annual growth rate over the next five years.

“Comparatively low literacy levels in the country — although they are rising — and the fact that books don’t cater for multiple languages in use in South Africa, continue to act as a barrier to further growth in this segment,” Ms Myburgh said.

Books carry a 14% value added tax, which means that retail prices remain too high for the majority of South Africans. Magazines and newspapers sell at a much lower cost and are more likely to be read by South Africans than books, Ms Myburgh said.

Another drawback for growth is that most books are in English and Afrikaans. Electronic books are forecast to account for 8% of consumer market by 2017, up 1.5% last year.

The music segment will also continue to struggle, with sales dropping quickly, but not yet being replaced by digital sales, despite the emergence of a number of new digital music services, PwC says.

Spending on live music will overtake spending on physical recorded music by next year and total recorded-music spending the following year, making it the driver of revenue growth in South Africa and globally.

By 2017, live music will account for 57.1% of consumer spending on music in South Africa, the report states.

Overall music revenues would increase marginally from R2.15bn in 2012 to R2.20bn in 2017.

However, Ms Myburgh says digital growth will not be enough to make up for physical decline.

Moreover, digital music will not grow as fast as other digital sub-sectors such as books and magazines, Ms Myburgh says.

The local music sector has been slow in making a transition to the digital medium.

South Africa is also experiencing the same online piracy problems as the developed world.

However, the relatively low broadband penetration in the country compared with developed markets has limited the scale of the problem but as broadband use grows, so will online piracy, says PwC.

However, Ms Myburgh says that consumers are becoming comfortable with piracy.

Key for survival, says Ms Myburgh, is innovation and for companies to employ an agile business model.

“Constant digital innovation becomes the new licence to operate,” Ms Myburgh says.

PwC also expects television and newspapers to continue attracting a big advertising spend, however, digital will close the gap in total spend.

BY THABISO MOCHIKO – www.bdlive.co.za

Be Warned!

The warning bells of credit card fraud 

It is coming up to that time of the year when South Africans shower their loved ones with gifts or spoil themselves with a well-deserved holiday, It’s also the time to be extra alert when doing financial transactions.

The few months in the run up to December are when scamsters come out play and increase their fraudulent activities.

It is therefore crucial to educate yourself on the signs of credit card fraud so you can take  action and decrease your risk of being a target.  

 

Go through statements carefully

It is imperative to check and re-check the transactions illustrated on your statement each month. Assuming those little charges are your spouse’s is dangerous, as fraudsters take the chance of testing your card without running up the bill.


Bills for unauthorised accounts 

One of the obvious signs of credit card fraud is receiving a bill for credit you did not apply for. This may seem like an obvious tip, but sometimes people assume that the company just got the
wrong person and do not investigate further. Even more likely is not even opening the mail thinking it is junk mail. 

Suspicious membership

A phone call from a merchant might come through to you, indicating that your membership fee could not be processed after your two-week trial was over. If you did not sign-up for a free trial recently, this is a good indicator that someone tested to see if the card was active by enrolling with the credit card. Call the credit card company, or at the very least check your balance or statement to see if there are any unauthorised charges. 

 

Always…

Keep your credit cards safe and only carry those credit cards you will be using that day. Leave all your other cards at home. Thieves can take pictures of your credit card with a camera or cell phone, so don’t leave your credit card exposed any longer than necessary. Shred anything with your credit card number on it. Don’t sign blank credit card receipts. Avoid giving out your credit card information and be safe with your credit card online. Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.

Credit card criminals are quite determined, but aware consumers can halt these criminals in their tracks. Once the red flag is raised on credit card fraud, consumers can take action to protect themselves and limit their liability. 

Fraudsters place order as Eskom

Bojanala Office National in Rustenburg recenty received what seemed to be a suspicious order from Eskom.  

The request was for delivery in Thabazimbi and the email address that was used was as follows: mphom@supplychaineskom.co.za!

The feeling towards the order was that something was amiss and after consulting with shop-sa, Bojanala Office National contacted Eskom to verify the order placed.

Eskom’s Forensic and Anti-Corruption Department promptly responded confirming that the documentation received, in fact was fraudulent and that the business should be avoided.

Fraudsters place order as Eskom

In September, Bojanala Office National in Rustenburg received what seemed to be a suspicious order from Eskom. 

The request was for delivery in Thabazimbi and the email address that was used wasmphom@supplychaineskom.co.za.

The feeling with regards to the order was that something was amiss and after consulting with shop-sa, Bojanala Office National contacted Eskom to verify the order placed.

Eskom’s Forensic and Anti-Corruption Department promptly responded confirming that the documentation received, in fact was fraudulent and that the business should be avoided.

It appears fraudsters are using the ‘change of banking details’ scam more frequently and it is advised that any such notification from a supplier is double-checked directly with the supplier’s accounts department, before payment is made.

Recently, such a letter was received by a client of Slavepak (Pty) Ltd. 

The letter was titled ‘Important Update’ and addressed to ‘Dear Valued Customer’. It claimed to be a friendly reminder to pay due accounts and stated that Slavepak (Pty) Ltd had changed their banking details.   

A further letter on an FNB letterhead, date stamped by FNB, and signed by Business Manager: Lisa Meyer (non-existent) confirmed that Slavepak (Pty) Ltd was a client of FNB and that the (fraudulent) banking details were correct. 

Slavepak’s client duly made the payment and has subsequently lost company money to the fraudsters.

Please note that the criminal element working within the office products industry seems to have access to both member information and inside bank operators’ support, along with inked stamps, and therefore has the ability to make documentation appear legal.

Vodacom has noted that SIM swap fraud attempts are on the increase. Fraudsters who engage in SIM swap fraud are posing as cellphone company representatives to try and trick unsuspecting customers who end up being victims of internet banking fraud.

SIM swap fraud is a technique used by fraudsters to defraud unsuspecting internet banking users. Once they have acquired the victim’s banking details and other personal information through phishing scams, the fraudsters then call the network operator posing as the customer and requests a SIM swap. This will cancel the customer’s SIM connection and the fraudsters will have access to the customer’s cellphone line. This will enable the fraudsters to receive the customer’s one time internet banking password allowing them to perform fraudulent internet banking transactions. 

In order to protect customers from SIM swap fraud, Vodacom notifies customers via SMS whenever a SIM swap attempt is made. Customers who receive the SMS but have not requested a SIM swap should alert Vodacom about the fraudulent SIM swap request by calling Vodacom’s customer care on 082 111. Fraudsters have resorted to calling customers to try to either convince them to switch off their phones for an extended period of time or try and convince them to ignore the SMS from the network operator.

“We’ll never call our customers and ask them to switch off their cellphones unless they have requested assistance with a handset related issue that requires their cellphones to be switched off. So if they’ve not logged a fault with us, they should be suspicious of any requests to switch off their cellphone,” says Johan Van Graan, Chief Risk Officer at Vodacom.

Van Graan added – “If a customer receives an SMS notification indicating that they have requested a SIM swap, they should ignore any further communication and immediately contact Vodacom and we’ll take the necessary steps to protect them.”

Vodacom customers can contact Customer Care on 111 free from their Vodacom cellphones or 082 111 from any other phone for assistance.

 

Office Furniture Fraud

Office Furniture Fraud

 

Please add the following company to your list of “beware” customers. They approached Spacio Office Dezigns to purchase office furniture, requesting it  “urgently”. Luckily Spacio Office Dezigns were relatively cautious and when they saw that the request was sent form a Yahoo mail address with no supplied physical address or landline numbers, they did not even order the goods until the so-called funds were cleared. All their information is as follows:

 

Company name: Valostar14CC; email valostar14cc@yahoo.com; contact person Matthew and cell no 073 653 5529.

 

Below is a copy of the EFT proof of payment. A noticeable difference is that the full banking details of the recipient is reflected, which is not standard. After they realised that the EFT funds would obviously not reflect on the Spacio Office Dezigns bank account within 24 hours, they deposited a cheque for said amount into their account. Needless to say the cheque bounced within 4 days, with the relevant bank not interested in following up a possible fraud case.

 

Please feel free to contact Kitty of Spacio Office Dezigns on Tel +27 11 462 4709 should you require more information.

Fraud Alert

Please be alert to any orders placed by the following:

 

MASH STATIONERY SUPPLIES / JIMMY ROYDES / KEN (KENNY) OCHIENG / ERIC / KEPHERS ODHIAMBO OUYA / PENTAGON AFRICA CONSULTING – they are placing orders with suppliers and furnishing them with fraudulent EFT proof of payments. (all of these names are linked to the same fraudster).

 

If you have received an order from any of the above individuals/alleged corporation – please DO NOT SUPPLY THEM WITH THE GOODS – these fraudsters have been scamming businesses for a couple of years now and are once again targeting unsuspecting companies.

 

If you have received an order from any of the above ‘companies’ please contact Debt Alert immediately on 011 680 9206 and speak to Lauren or Gareth, in order that an arrest can be made.

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