Powered-Up Purchase Orders

Ascend allows you to track inventory and process sales, but it all starts with your products. That’s why, with the Summer 2015 version of Ascend, we’ve made some improvements to your Purchase Order screen that’ll make ordering products just a bit faster with new columns, helpful highlighting, and multi-select. Keep reading to learn more in this week’s feature preview.

‘Tis the Season: Min and Max settings help keep your shelves full by automatically prompting you to reorder based on your current inventory levels. But unless you kept a close eye on individual products, it wasn’t always easy to see what your settings were for them. So, we’ve added Min and Max columns to the Purchase Order Screen to give you an easy place to verify or modify your preferences. Easily:

  • View the highest volume of product stocked during your current season with the new Max column
  • View the lowest volume of product stocked during your current season with the new Min column
  • Edit your Min/Max values in-cell by simply clicking on your selection and entering your desired value

Take Your Pick: Selecting multiple line items at once from the Purchase Order screen just got easier. And if you receive product, you’ll have a clear indication of what you’re checking in at-a-glance come June. Quickly:

  • Select multiple items in a row by clicking on your first choice, holding down the Shift key, then clicking on the last item you would like to be selected
  • Select alternating items by clicking on your first choice, then holding down the Control key while making your other selections
  • Identify the selected line item with updated grid highlight colors

Stay Up-To-Date: The Summer 2015 version of Ascend RMS is set for wide release on Tuesday, June 9th. Before updating, make sure all of your workstations are updated with the latest updates and security patches from Microsoft by using the Windows Update service found in the Control Panel. You should also verify that you’re running the latest version of Ascend (Spring 2015) on each of your workstations (and locations, if you’re a multistore retailer) by checking your software version near the bottom of your Ascend desktop. Take a few minutes before you open or after you close to ensure you’re taking full advantage of all the features your system has to offer.

Need some help making sense of it all? No problem! Our Support Team is available every weekday from 8am to 6pm CST at 866 875 8663. You can also shoot us an email at help@ascendrms.com with any questions or concerns.

 

Cash or Credit?

Summer 2015 is creeping closer and your swimsuits aren’t the only things that’ll need updating come June. You can look forward to a wide range of updates and improvements with the next version of Ascend set to drop on June 9th and if you’re already on the latest version (Spring 2015), updating your workstations should be a breeze. Wondering what’s included? Read on to learn more in this week’s feature preview.

Become a Payment Powerhouse: The Summer 2015 version of Ascend includes the ability to customize the payment types available in the Transaction screen. Start accepting anything from Bitcoins to IOUs and forget about having to keep track of those transactions outside of Ascend. Easily:

  • Create new payment types
  • Map your payment types to their corresponding QuickBooks account
  • Assign custom short-names to payment types and choose from a wide range of pre-installed icons to make them easily recognizable at-a-glance
  • Choose the display order for your payment types on the Sales screen and even assign an “Advanced” status to your payment types to help limit employee use of certain ones

Stock Up & Refuel: Customers are starting their summer fun and no one wants to be left without the supplies they need to close a sale. Whether it’s receipt paper, product labels, or a new scanner, make sure to plan ahead and order today. To place your order:

  • Start at the Ascend Desktop and click on the Order Supplies icon,
  • Go to Integration > Ascend > Order Hardware and Supplies,
  • Give us a call at 877 875 8663,
  • Or send an email to sales@ascendrms.com

Keep in Touch: We can only help with problems we’re aware of, so don’t be shy and reach out to our Support Team with questions, concerns, or comments regarding your system. Whether it’s setting up your hardware or troubleshooting a software issue, we’ve got you covered. The Ascend Support Team is available Monday through Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm CST at 877 875 8663 or by email at help@ascendrms.com.  And remember to check out Ascend Help, Ascend University on Vimeo, the ACN on Yammer, and our website for help on getting started or getting better.

 

Work Order Wizard

The Summer 2015 version of Ascend RMS was released to early retailers Monday night. Not part of the group? Don’t worry. All retailers are set to receive the update on June 9th. That’s less than a month away! (Crazy, huh?) This week we’re taking a closer look at the changes we’ve made to Work Orders. Read on to learn more.

Updated Defaults: Things get a bit simpler with the new Work Order defaults. Not only can they ensure consistency throughout your workflows, but they can make life easier for your staff. You can even specify different default settings depending on the type of work you tend to do at different locations. Update this June to take advantage of:

  • Consolidated placement of Work Order Default options found in Options>Sales and Returns. Options include Auto-Notify on Completed Work Orders, Save Old Parts and Call If Over
  • Location-specific Work Order Defaults to help tailor your workflow to your business needs

Goodbye, Bikes: And hello Serial Numbers! We’ve done away with the Bikes tab and rolled it’s functionality right into Serial Numbers. Upon upgrade, both categories will be automatically combined into one tab on the Customer Panel in the Sales screen and in the Customers folder in Database Explorer. Enjoy:

  • Viewing date added, description, serial number, and purchase location for serialized items from within a single tab
  • The ability to add, edit, or remove serialized products right from the Serial Numbers tab regardless of model or place of purchase
  • A drop-down menu for Description within the Word Order Details screen

But you can’t take advantage of any updated features without updating your workstations. The Spring 2015 version of Ascend has been in the wild for a while and a few retailers still haven’t made the jump.

Not sure if you’re running the latest version? Just check the bottom of your Ascend application window (yep, that line with your shop name).  Does it say “Software: 2.12″ or below? Then you’re missing out on an updated interfaceBatch TransfersReceiving updates, a new warranty workflow and much more!

Update to start running a better business today, then watch our overview video or read the release notes if you want to learn more. Still stumped? Give us a call at 877 875 8663 to speak with a member from our Support Team.

Ascend 2015 Support Program Update

This week you’ll be charged for your Ascend annual support fees. Every year we evaluate the competitive value of the services we provide and price them accordingly. For your 1st location, the fee is $175/month. For additional retail locations, the fee is $125/month. Warehouse and online locations are $70/month. For your convenience we charge these fees to your account in May and split them into 3 equal payments due in June, July and August.

We want you take advantage of everything the Ascend Support Program offers.  It is by far the best value of all retail management systems. We encourage you to make the most of your investment in this program.

Stay current with the latest updates and use the new features:

We ship four major updates a year.  Each update is packed with features to help you and your business.  Our Summer release will be available for early preview next Tuesday, May 12th.  It will be available for everyone on June 9th.  Follow our blog for a preview of everything that’s coming your way.

Call when you need help:

When you need help, we want you to call us.  Wherever I go, I’m consistently told that the Ascend Support Techs are the best compared to any system or program that people have worked with. We’re available to answer your calls on weekdays and we’re on-call weeknights and weekends to help you with emergencies.

Find answers and get training at your convenience:

We have a host of resources that you can use anytime, day or night, to help you out. Use the in-app Help links. Watch the videos available on the Ascend University Vimeo channelCheck out the online Help guides. Go to the support pages on Ascendrms.com for links to webinars, user and install guides, and relevant information regarding your system.

Keep your product information up to date:

With your help, the Vendor Update program grows every year. We continue to get product lists from more suppliers and we continue to invest more time and resources to insure the quality and timeliness of the information.

Get help with your QuickBooks:

Our on-staff bookkeepers are here to help.  They can answer your questions as you’re working on your books and can help save you hours of time every week. Contact us at bookkeeping@ascendrms.com for more details.

It is our mission to help you grow and be profitable.  We will continue to do everything we can to provide you with the Best System and Best Support for your business.

Thank you!

Mark Hoggatt
Ascend General Manager
mark_hoggatt@ascendrms.com
877-875-8663

Back That Serve’ Up

Spring is officially in full swing, but we’re looking towards the Summertime. This week we’re taking a look at Scheduled Backups, one of the features you can look forward to with the Summer 2015 version of Ascend RMS. Read on to learn how to keep yourself stress-free during a server failure.

No-Hassle Backups: With Scheduled Backup enabled, server PCs can be automatically backed up to any folder, any time. While we also recommend keeping an off-site backup in case of theft or fire, Scheduled Backups allow you to set it and forget it.

  • The Back Up DB icon is automatically hidden on workstations that are not your server
  • Set any desired backup time, just after close or during the moonlight hours
  • Choose any folder as your backup location and if your external drive is too full, Ascend automatically leaves a copy on your PC
  • Assign an email for your system to notify you once the back up is complete

But what if your backup fails? Well, you’ll receive a failure notification and an email will be sent to the Ascend Support Team for further investigation.  No input needed.

Having a backup gives you peace of mind and ensures your business can keep running in the event your server is ever damaged or becomes corrupted. It can happen to anyone and because of countless reasons: an electric surge, an old workstation, or a spilled beer.

Whatever the reason, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The problem is that it’s not always easy to remember to do it. So, make sure to take a few minutes to configure your options once the feature is released on June 9th. And remember to check out Help, Ascend University on Vimeo, the ACN on Yammer, and our website for help on getting started or getting better. Not what you’re looking for? The Ascend Support Team is available Monday through Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm CST at 877 875 8663 or by email at help@ascendrms.com.

Do You Zebra?

Labels are the unsung heroes of many retail environments, but contribute a great deal to your team, inventory practices, and customers. Just think about it: they make it easy to process products during checkout, help advertise your business, and if you’re displaying sale prices along with MSRP, they might even help nudge some of your customers towards the register.

That’s why it’s important to make sure your Zebra printer is spitting out the right stuff. Read on to see how to make that happen.

Be Up-to-Date: Whether you’re dealing with a sale, a damaged label, or an updated product name, pay attention to your labels and replace them as necessary. Not only does it ensure the customer is charged the correct price, but it enhances your product presentation.

Fix the Beeps: Do you have a product that came up as unrecognized during your last count or while you were checking out a customer? Head to Database Explorer and see if you can spot the issue, then print a new label.

  • Try searching by UPC, In-Store, or Part Number.
  • Check pending transfers.
  • Multistore retailers should also check inventory at other locations.
  • If it’s never been received, add the product to your database.

Double-Check Your Settings: We’ve recently updated the labels for your Zebra LP 2824 and LP 2824 Plus label printers. They started shipping April 27th, so if you’ve recently stocked up make sure to update your workstation settings.

Need to replace that broken printer or add a new one to your service department? Give us a call or shoot us an email. You can also go to the Integration drop-down menu from the Ascend Desktop, hover over Ascend and click on Order Hardware and Supplies to place an order today.

It’s Kinda Like Facebook

Last week’s post gave a general overview of all the ways you can connect with our team and other Ascend users. This week we’re taking a closer look at Yammer, which hosts the Ascend Customer Network (ACN).

If you’ve visited our invite-only social networking site, you’ve probably noticed that it functions much like THE social network: there are profile pictures, groups, status updates, and even the ability to “like” status comments, pictures, or other posts. The only thing you probably didn’t see were pictures of cats and that’s because the ACN is meant to allow Ascend users to discuss common issues and share solutions instead viral vids.

But there are still plenty of reason you should be logging in. Read on to see how you can personalize your social experience to get the most out of your system.

Be Social: The ACN has several groups aimed at helping retailers with everything from getting started with Ascend to discussing new features for future product releases, so the key is to stay active.

Take a look at some of the groups and join those that seem interesting or that you think might benefit your business. Looking for a group that doesn’t exist? No problem! You have the ability to create new groups that others can join.

If you’re responding to a post via email, place a few dashes (- – -) after your text so that your comment doesn’t include your email signature. It’s a small thing, but helps keep message threads short.

Just remember: the ACN is a great place to get feedback from the Ascend Support Team and from other users, but should not be used as your primary way to get help. Time-sensitive issues should be directed to our Support line at 877 875 8663.

Configure: The Settings page on the Ascend Customer Network allows you the freedom to dictate what information you share with other users and which notifications make it to your inbox. Once you’ve joined the groups you’re interested in, head over to Settings > Notifications. From there you can select when Yammer should be sending you messages.

Some of the more common triggers you’d want to activate are: when you receive a message to your inbox, when someone invites you to a group, and when there’s new content in your Home Feed. You can also set notifications to alert you to new activity on a group-by-group basis. This makes it easy to be involved without worrying about non-stop messages.

Keep It Light: It is a social network after all, so feel free to share personal experiences and pictures or links to relevant (and PG) topics. But remember to be courteous and respectful with all users. If you’re making a suggestion or providing a solution, keep in mind that one size does not fit all when it comes to something as complex as your retail database. If you ever have any doubts, reach out to our Support Team or send an email to help@ascendrms.com.

Connect

We value your feedback. That’s why we use several channels to engage our customers and provide a platform to raise concerns, ask questions, and get the answers you need to run a more efficient business. Read on to learn some of the ways you can minimize noise and maximize your attention on the things you care about.

Cast Your Vote: UserVoice is an invite-only feedback forum where users can share their ideas for improving Ascend and provides a simple, community driven way for features and improvements to be shared among Ascend users. Here’s how to make the best use of your limited votes:

  • Choose Wisely: Only one user account is activated per Ascend location, so make sure it goes to someone who will remain active and use your votes.
  • Search: There are thousands of Ascend users around the world, so if you’re ready to submit an idea make sure to search for duplicates before posting.
  • Check the Status: Anytime an idea is incorporated into a future version of Ascend we mark it as “Planned”, “Started”, or “Under Review”. Once an idea is “Completed” the votes you submitted to it will be returned to your account for use on other submissions.

Network: The Ascend Customer Network on Yammer provides a more discussion oriented approach than UserVoice. It connects dealers with our Support staff as well as with other Ascend retailers. You can easily share solutions, discuss any issues, and post relevant images, links, or videos. You can also:

  • Join groups to find users who might have the same interests or create your own group if none exist.
  • Customize your profile to share contact or location information with other users.
  • Modify notification settings to limit the alerts you receive by going to Settings>Notifications and selecting the Ascend Customer Network.

Learn: Even though you’ll receive important messages regarding system changes or outages via Yammer, our blog offers a quick and easy way to stay on top of Ascend updates. Our weekly posts feature program tutorials, employee profiles, hardware sale specials, and more detailed information regarding new or modified features. It’s here for you, so get the most out of this blog by:

  • Utilizing the Search feature to find relevant posts.
  • Commenting on posts to ask questions or get clarification.
  • Browsing our categories to easily group posts by topic.
  • Subscribing! Not getting our weekly emails? Send a quick note to eddy_cevilla@ascendrms.com to get yourself on our email list.

Update Today: The Spring 2015 version of Ascend RMS is now available to all retailers, so update today! Want more information on all the changes? Click here to view the release notes or here for a complete list of short video tutorials on Ascend University.

Don’t Be a Fool

April 1st, 2015 introduced Fabian Cancellara’s new fragrance for champions and brought a confusing homepage to millions of visitors, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your customers confused about where they’ve done their shopping. If you have an updated receipt printer, like the Epson TM-T88IV or V, then you already own the hardware necessary to give your receipts an awesome (and easy) makeover.

“But Ascend already gives me an easy way to include my shop name and contact information in the header. Why would I want anything else?” you might ask.

To which we say: “Good point!”

But including your business’s logo along with hours and location brings power to your brand and helps customers easily identify their purchases from your store. It also gives your business a more complete and professional look. And Spring is usually the time most retailers start seeing more of their customers in the store, so it’s the perfect time to set it up!

If you’re wondering how you can make use of this set-it-and-forget-it feature, read on or check out our video walkthrough here. If you don’t have a compatible printer or would like to arm yourself with new hardware for your workstations, give our Sales Team a call at 877 875 8663 or send a note to sales@ascendrms.com.

Setting Up Custom Receipt Headers: All you need to get started is a PC, a capable receipt printer, and a copy of your business logo that’s 270×73 pixels or smaller saved as an image file. Once you have that, just load it onto your printer by:

  1. Going to Devices and Printers from the Control Panel on your PC
  2. Right-clicking on the desired receipt printer and selecting Printing Preference
  3. Going to the Document Settings tab, then scrolling down until you see Logo Printing
  4. Clicking on Start of Document
  5. Setting the Select Logo dropdown menu to Select image file to use
  6. Using the Browse button to find the image file on your PC
  7. Using the display options to set position and size
  8. Hitting Apply, then OK to save your settings

And that’s it! Still have questions? Re-watch our video walkthrough, then give our Support Team a call if you get stuck or run into an error. Staff is on-call Monday through Friday 8am-6pm CST.

It’s Spring Somewhere

Our sidewalks are freshly powdered with snow in Waterloo, but that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the bright, blossoming updates we’ve packed into the Spring 2015 version of Ascend. And what else could go better with your new software than some updated hardware?

We can provide your business with everything it needs to get off the ground or to stay above the clouds. Whether it’s receipt paper, label printers, scanners, or PCs, the Ascend Team has you covered. And we didn’t forget about the “best support” part: all Dell PC purchases include 3 Year Gold Support – which means you’re covered if you ever have any hardware related issues with your purchase. No need to worry about extended outages during peak season. If Dell can’t fix it over the phone, they’ll have someone onsite the next business day – as easy as that!

Purchase something other than a PC? The Ascend Peripheral Guarantee covers the manufactures warranty on all other items. If your hardware should go bad within your warranty period just give us a ring and we’ll send you a replacement unit – no questions asked. All we need is the defective unit and you end up with a brand new item plus a fresh warranty.

Spending $500 or more? We’ll finance your purchase and give you 0% interest! It’s really a no-brainer, so give us a call at 877 875 8663 or order using your Ascend system by clicking on Integration > Ascend > Order Hardware and Supplies from the desktop. If you have the latest version of Ascend (hint, hint) just click on the new “Order Supplies” icon.

And Don’t Forget to Update: The Spring 2015 version of Ascend has been in the wild for a week, but a few retailers still haven’t made the jump.

Not sure if you’re running the latest version? Just check the bottom of your Ascend application window (yep, that line with your shop name).  Does it say “Software: 2.12″ or below? Then you’re missing out on an updated interface, Batch Transfers, Receiving updates, a new warranty workflow and much more!

Update to start running a better business today, then watch our overview video or read the release notes if you want to learn more. Still stumped? Give us a call at 877 875 8663 to speak with a member from our Support Team.