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Attention Buyers: Your Life Just Got Easier

In Inventory,Ordering,Reports,Sales on April 3, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , ,

The job of the retail buyer is a challenging one.  Figuring out what to buy to keep a store stocked with profitable products isn’t easy.  It’s even harder if you’re a buyer responsible for multiple locations.  If that’s you, we’re happy to announce that life just got easier with Ascend Version 2.9 and the new Inventory & Sales History Report.

Access it from anywhere:  You can access the new report via Ascend from any of your locations.  Click on the Reports icon from the Ascend Desktop then click the new AOR toolbar button.  You’ll find the report in the Ordering section.  You can also get to the report from any PC with Internet access through your store’s AOR address .

Information is consolidated for you:  There’s no need to connect to each location to collect the information you need.  It’s done automatically for you.  When you run the report you can select all locations or any combination of your locations to look at.

Decision making data is included:  You need good data to decide the quantity of a product to order.

  • How is the product selling?  The report will tell you how each product is selling in your selected categories.  You’ll see how many units were sold in your selected date range along with the number of units you sold in the last 30 and 365 days.
  • What do I have in stock?  You’ll see the quantity on hand for each product at all the selected locations.  It will also tell you how many are currently on order and how many have already been committed to customers.  For extra measure, if you’ve set Min and Max reorder levels, we’ll show you those too.

Excel is your friend:  You can easily view the report on-screen after you run it.  But if you plan to work with it, we recommend you export Excel and use all the tools available to you there to work with the data.

We’ve created a video for you with all the details you need to run and use the report.  Click here to view it.

If you haven’t yet upgraded to Version 2.9, now is the time to join the over 600 locations that already have.  Please contact our Ascend Support Team if you need any assistance.

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

In Customers,Marketing,Reports on March 27, 2014 by Luke Natvig

Last week, we released version 2.9. Less than a week later, it became the most installed version of Ascend in the world. And the best part is, we weren’t even done yet…

What Gets Measured Gets Done

Those of you that have updated are already using the new Customer Panel to do a better job capturing customer information at the register. But how well are you doing? Do you know who in your store is a Rock Star when it comes to collecting email addresses? Or who isn’t? Starting now, you can. The Customer Data Capture report is now available on Ascend Online Reports (AOR).

To check it out, go to Reports in Ascend and click the AOR button on the toolbar (Don’t see the button? Update to version 2.9 and it will magically appear!). On the AOR main page, click the “Customer Data Capture” link to launch the report.  Here’s an image of the report with some additional information on how it works:

Customer Data Capture with Callouts

Why not take a few minutes right now and see how you’re doing?  As always, contact the Ascend Support Team at 877-875-8663 or help@ascendrms.com with any questions.

News & Notes

  • Participating in Trek Fest? Click here for valuable information on preparing for the sale.
  • Microsoft support for Windows XP is ending in less than 2 weeks. Are you ready?
  • If you haven’t upgraded to version 2.9, you should. Check out our release notes and recorded webinar to see what you’re missing.

 

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Spring has Sprung!

In Customers,Inventory,Marketing,Reports,Sales,Version Updates on March 21, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Spring has sprung and so has Ascend Version 2.9!  We released the latest version this past Tuesday night (3/18).  Over 400 locations have updated.  If you haven’t yet, there are plenty of reasons to do it now.

Read All About It: 

We’ve been blogging about the reasons to update since the end of January.  Here’s a summary of the articles for you:

But Wait, There’s More!

  • We hosted webinars earlier this week to show you how all these new features work.  If you couldn’t make it, you can still watch it.  Click here to view a recording.
  • There are more new updates and fixes not mentioned here or the webinar.  Read about them in our newly formatted, concise release notes.
  •  The Inventory and Sales History Report is available for you to use now on Ascend Online Reports.  The Customer Data Capture Report will be available next week.  Watch the next two editions of this blog for more details.

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It’s Time for Your Ascend Health Checkup

In Inventory,Reports on March 14, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , ,

Many of us wouldn’t know it from the weather, but Spring is just around the corner.  Before Spring arrives, make sure your Ascend database is healthy and ready.  We’ve added a new Ascend Health Checkup report in Version 2.9 to help you.

Accessing & Running the Report:

To access the report, you can log into Ascend Online Reports (AOR) from anywhere with a web browser.   You can also get to it from the Ascend client by clicking on the new AOR button in the Reports screen.  You’ll need the Reports – Online Reports permission to access AOR either way.   Scroll down to the Inventory folder to select “Ascend Health Checkup”.   Click on the report link to run it.  If you have multiple locations you’ll have to select the desired location and then click the Run Report button.

What’s Your Inventory Health Score?

When you run the Ascend Health Checkup report, it asks your system questions about how well you’re managing your product records and how well you’re controlling your inventory.  For each question you get a score.  It tells you why it’s important and what you can do if you have a low score.  You can run the report anytime to see how you’re doing and to track your progress.  It’s an especially great report to run before your next continuous improvement (aka C.I.) event.

Version 2.9 Webinars:

Version 2.9 will be available for everyone to download on Tuesday night (3/18).  On Wednesday morning (3/19) we’ll be hosting two training webinars to show you how to use the new features. Click on one of the links below to register.  If you can’t make it in person, we’ll be posting a recording that you can view at any time.

 

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The XPocalpyse is near. Are you ready?

In General on March 7, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , , , ,

It’s time to replace any of the remaining Windows XP PCs you have in your stores.  Here’s why:

  1. You can get a great deal on new PCs right now.  Contact our Ascend Sales Rep, Pat Gronemus, at sales@ascendrms.com for a quote.
  2. Support Ends on April 8th.  Microsoft won’t support XP after this date.  They won’t be issuing updates of any kind.  Attacks are expected to follow soon after April 8th.  Click here for more details from Microsoft’s Security Blog.
  3. XP PCs Won’t Be Able to Upgrade to Ascend Version 2.10.  For your sake, we need to keep up with the latest programming technologies.  The latest technologies won’t run on XP.  You can upgrade to Version 2.9 this month.  You won’t be able to upgrade these PCs to Version 2.10 in June or any version after that.

Not sure if your PC is running Windows XP?  Go to http://amirunningxp.com to find out.

Attention Windows 7 and 8 Users:  Make sure your computers are current with the latest Windows service packs and updates. If they’re not, you’ll need to get up to date before you can upgrade to Version 2.10.

Version 2.9 is Coming Soon!

Ascend Version 2.9 is in early release.  Over 100 locations have already upgraded and are enjoying the new features.  It will be available for everyone on March 18th.

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

In Sales,Version Updates on February 21, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: ,

Last week we introduced our new Customer Panel.  We continue our tour of the Customer Panel this week.  Since you’re fueling your system with so much great data, your store can be the place “where everybody knows your name” and even more.

New Information:

We’ve added some new information for you.  With “Customer Since” you can see how long that customer record has been in your system.  “Last Visit” will tell you the date of their last visit and how many days it’s been since then.

New Sales Tab:

We took the transaction totals that used to appear below the customer tabs and replaced them with the new Sales Tab.  The new tab shows all the totals you had before (sales, layaways, work orders, etc).  Now you’ll also see values for year to date sales totals,  total sales for the last 12 months and account balance.

Notes Always on Top:

If you’ve taken the time to add special notes about your customers, we want you to see them.  If the customer you select has notes, the Notes Tab will be displayed on top.  If they don’t, you’ll see the Sales Tab first.

Version 2.9 is available for early release right now.  Contact the Ascend Support Team if you want to be part of this group.  Otherwise it will be available to everyone on March 18th.

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Fuel Your Marketing Program

In Customers,Sales,Version Updates on February 13, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , , ,

Customer data is the lifeblood of your marketing program.  To drive customers back into your stores,  you need to be able to contact them.  To target them with specific messages, you need to know what they purchased.  In Version 2.9, we’re introducing a new Customer Panel to help collect more data and fuel your marketing program.

Easy to Add Customers:

We recommend you configure Ascend to prompt for a customer whenever you start a transaction.  If you don’t add one right away, the new Customer Panel makes it easy to add one.  Simply click the Select a Customer link in the panel and you’ll be taken to Select Customer window.

Ascend-Customer-Panel-Select-A-Customer

Spot & Update Missing Data:

For every customer, you want to collect as much information as possible.  Get their mailing address and email address.  Get their mobile number and their birthday and make sure to record their gender as well.  All of this will help you to communicate with them later on.  When any of this information is missing from your system, the Customer Panel will highlight it for you.  To update it, click their name and you’ll be taken directly to the customer record window to make your changes.

Ascend-Customer-Panel-Information-Missing

But wait, there’s more!

As a bonus, we’ve added a phone type list for customer numbers.  You can now specify if the phone number they’ve given you is a Home, Mobile, Work, Fax or Other type of number.  When you upgrade to Version 2.9, any phone number that has the SMS box checked will be automatically assigned the Mobile type.  This is required to be able to send an SMS message to it from Ascend.  All other numbers will not have a type automatically assigned.

To get the new Customer Panel, you need to upgrade to Ascend Version 2.9.  Version 2.9 will be available for early release on February 18th.  It will be available for everyone on March 18th.  If you’d like to be part of our early release group, contact your Ascend Support Team at help@ascendrms.com for more details.

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Your Gateway to Success

In Version Updates on February 7, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , , , , ,

We try to incorporate all the tools you need for your business into Ascend.  We understand it’s efficient to have everything in one place.  But sometimes it isn’t possible or practical.  When it isn’t, we want to make sure Ascend is an easy gateway to those tools.

In Version 2.9, due out on March 18th, we’ve added some new gateways for you.

Ascend Online Reports:

Ascend Online Reports, a.k.a. AOR, is a collection of reports you can access from anywhere via your web browser.  It also consolidates information from multiple locations for those of you with more than one store.  In Version 2.9 we’ve added an AOR button to the Reports screen.  When you click the button you’ll automatically be taken to the main list of reports if your Ascend user account has the permission to view online reports.

Ascend Customer Network:

The Ascend Customer Network, a.k.a. the ACN, is a great way for us to communicate with each other. The network has nearly 450 members and it’s growing every day.  It’s powered by Yammer, Microsoft’s business collaboration network.   In Version 2.9, to access it from Ascend, go to the Help menu and select “Login to Ascend Customer Network”.

UserVoice:

There are many things we could be working on.  It’s tough deciding what’s next.  Your input helps.  UserVoice is a network that specializes in collecting and ranking ideas.  It’s been a great resource for us.  To access it go to the Help menu and select “Login to UserVoice”.

If you need help connecting to any of these resources, please contact your Ascend Support Team at help@ascendrms.com.

Version 2.9 will be available for early release on February 18th.  It will be available for everyone on March 18th.

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Make Your Bookkeeper Happy

In Finance,Version Updates on January 31, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , ,

In Version 2.9, due out on March 18th, we’ve made a change that will really make your bookkeeper happy.

Fewer Files = Less Time

Currently, if you integrate Ascend with QuickBooks, you need to import one IIF file per day for each location.  For example, if you have two locations, for one week you’ll need to import 14 individual files.  We’ve changed that.  Now when you select a date range for exporting your general ledger files Ascend will create just one file for you.  All of the daily entries for that date range will be included in the single file.   So now, for those two locations, you’ll only have to import 2 files instead of 14.  If you like getting a separate file for each day, you can check the box for that.

AscendGL_ ExportDateSelector

If you haven’t yet integrated Ascend with QuickBooks, contact us at accounting@ascendrms.com.

And the winner is….

Last week we told you that, in Version 2.9,  the order of items as you scanned them into the Sales screen will be what prints out on your receipts. .  Click here if you missed that blog.  We challenged you to tell us how the items are currently sorted.  The first person to answer correctly would win 6 free rolls of Go By Bike receipt paper.  We got a great number of responses.  The correct answer is “alphabetically by in-store SKU”.  Brian Miller of Bicycles Etc. in Naperville, Illinois was the first person to give the correct answer.  Congratulations Brian!  Your receipt paper is on the way.  Thank you to everyone that participated!

Version 2.9 will be available for early release on February 18th.  It will be available to everyone on March 18th.

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What You See is What You Get

In Sales,Version Updates on January 23, 2014 by Mark Hoggatt Tagged: , ,

WYSIWYG (pronounced WIZ-ee-wig) is an acronym for “What You See is What You Get”.  In Ascend Version 2.9, due out on March 18th, we’re delivering WYSIWYG to your receipts.

What You See is What You Get:

When ringing up a sale, many of you scan items in a specific order for your customers.  It looks just like you want it to.  But when you print out a receipt for them, it’s in an entirely different order.  How are the items sorted today?  We’ll send 6 free rolls of Go By Bike receipt paper to the first person that comments on this blog with the right answer!

In Version 2.9, the order of items as you scanned them into the Sales screen will be what prints out on your receipts.  What you see is what you will get.  Now, if you decide to re-sort the items after you’ve added them, the receipt will still print the items in the original order you scanned them.  We will address that scenario later.

QBP Integration:

QBP integration is now operational with Version 2.8.  If you’re on 2.8 and it’s not working, make sure Ascend is properly configured.  Click here for details.  If you’re still on an earlier version of Ascend, now’s the time to upgrade and join over 800 locations that already have.

Stay Tuned for More 2.9 Updates:

In the coming weeks we’ll continue to share more Version 2.9 previews.  Make sure all of your team members are up to date on our plans.  If they’re not on our email list, send their addresses to us at help@ascendrms.com2.9 will be available for early release on February 18th.  It will be available for everyone on March 18th.

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