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Customer Support

Customer Support

When our users tell us how they think a POS system should work we actually take notes! All future development of the system is based only on what we hear from you because that is where we get all our best ideas.

Support is available by calling the number above or by email at : support (at) retailsoftware (dot) com.

We usually answer email at the end of each day. Our download page contains the latest revision of the software and it is always available. You can also find any troubleshooting tips you need right here.

Current Support Topics

Hardware Options – Daily Sales Reports – A4 Label Formats – Using A USB Receipt Printer – Gift Certificates – Consignment Items – Credit Card Approvals – Credit Card Security Codes – Network Setup – CD Backups – Parent & Child Items – Selling Labor Or Services – Printing A Customer List – QuickBooks Link – Copying Your Data To A New Computer

HARDWARE OPTIONS

Receipt Printer – To make your printer configuration easy select a serial or parallel receipt printer that has a cash drawer port in the back. Epson, Star, Samsung and Citizen make a range of good products. Avoid receipt printers that connect to the USB port, though invoices and reports will work fine. If you must connect a USB receipt printer you can try the print redirection described below.

Cash Drawer – Any cash drawer will be OK, just make sure to tell the supplier you will be connecting to the receipt printer so they supply the right cable.

Barcode Scanner / Card Swipe – The barcode scanner and card swipe should use a keyboard wedge connector (a simple Y connector that goes on the keyboard port). Avoid units that connect via the serial ports.

TROUBLESHOOTING QUICKBOOKS LINKS

If you get an error message when updating to or from QuickBooks it is most likely caused by one of the following:

– The Chart Of Accounts is missing one of the accounts specified in the setup instructions, or the Account Type is not the right one. (see Appendix Q in the manual).

– The list of payment methods in Retail Plus does not match the one in QuickBooks, or is not spelled the same way i.e. Amex instead of American Express.

– You are attempting to update QuickBooks from another PC on your network. QuickBooks will not allow you to link with Retail Plus unless you are working at the computer where QuickBooks is installed. This is a restriction imposed by QuickBooks because it is considered a security risk.

– QuickBooks is not open in the correct company file, not in multi-user mode, or Retail Plus is not registered as an unrestricted user.

– The “Last QB Request” button – If QuickBooks generates an error message after a command is executed this button will pop up a window showing the request sent to it in QB-XML format. You can copy and past it into a fax which will make it easier for us to see why your request was rejected.

Complete instructions to link Retail Plus to QuickBooks.

USING A USB RECEIPT PRINTER

USB ports do not have the same kind of system addresses as serial and parallel ports. This can create problems for receipt printers because, unlike serial and parallel printers, we cannot send anything to a USB printer without invoking the usual Windows print dialog. This is undesirable because your sales counter staff don’t want to click through a print dialog every time they make a sale. The easy solution is to stick to serial and parallel receipt printers. However, for all you computer techs here is a system level remedy:

In the Retail Plus Setup screen go to the Printers tab and set Slip Printer Port to LPT3 and do the same for the Cash Drawer Port on the Hardware tab.

In Windows XP do the following:

– Open the Windows Control Panel and double-click on System.

– Click on the tab called Computer Name.

– Look at the line that starts with “Full Computer Name” and make a note of the name. It will look something like “MY_DESKTOP” and ends in a period – please ignore the period because it is not really part of the computer name.

– Close the System window and, still in the Control Panel, double-click on “Printers And Faxes”.

– Double-click on the name of the print driver for your USB receipt printer.

– On the driver’s menu pull Printer down to Properties and then click on the Sharing tab.

– Click on the radio button labeled “Share This Printer”.

– In the field labeled Share Name type “USB_SLIP” (do not type the quotation marks).

– Click OK and close the print driver. We can now build a command that tells Windows to send all LPT3 output to this print driver. We feed this command to Windows as follows:

– Click on the Windows Start button then click on Run. A command line prompt appears. Substituting the name of your computer in the appropriate place enter:

net use LPT3 \\MY_DESKTOP\USB_SLIP /Persistent:Yes

The “persistent” part tells Windows to keep this setting after a re-boot. You have now set up the USB printer in a way that does not display a print dialog every time you use it.

DAILY SALES REPORTS

Daily sales reports usually consist of cash drawer totals and a sales summary. Both are obtained in the POS screen. To get the first press F10 then F5. To get the second pull Totals down to Itemized Sales Log, then select File / Print / Daily Sales Report.

SELLING LABOR OR SERVICES

To sell labor or services just give it a name ( Repair Service, Consulting Hours etc..) and give it a price per hour. This allows you to sell fractions of an hour where appropriate. If you charge repair work by the bench hour, you can sell 1.25 hours of plus the parts out of regular inventory. Make sure you set the Item Type to Service or the Department to Labor so the system does not treat it like shelf stock.

NETWORK SETUP

It is very easy to network Retail Plus. Here are the basic steps:

– Connect your computers with Fast Ethernet cable.

– Decide which machine will contain Retail Plus and all it’s data (we call this the host) and install Retail Plus on it. Do not install Retail Plus on any other machines except the host.

– Share the host’s C: drive so it shows up as a drive letter on all the other workstations. You must share the drive, not just the Retail Plus folder. Windows will give you some warnings about security but don’t let that stop you.

– Go to each workstation on the network and open Windows Explorer (not Network Neighborhood). Pull Tools down to Map Network Drive and follow the Wizard.

– On each workstation use Windows Explorer to create a shortcut pointing to PLUS20.EXE on the host.

Some configurations in the Retail Plus Setup screen are workstation-specific so make sure you open the Setup screen on each one and check the settings.

Network Error 21 and how to fix it.

We sometimes get calls from users who are getting an error message that looks like “Error 21 – Open Database” when they network Retail Plus. This means that Windows Explorer was not used to map the drive and so there is a network alias name for the host machine instead of a drive letter:

Wrong: \\Host_PC\\C\\Retail Plus Folder\…etc.

Right: Z:\Retail Plus Folder\…etc.

The problem is how the drive mapping was done. Using something like Network Neighborhood inserts an alias name for the Retail Plus host computer instead of a drive letter and you must re-map the drive using Windows Explorer. In Windows Explorer pull Tools down to Map Network Drive and let the Wizard lead you through it.

If you already have a Retail Plus icon on your desktop right-click on it and correct the Target path to look like Z:\RetailPlus 20\Plus20.exe where Z: is the drive letter you have assigned in the mapping step.

Now start Retail Plus on the workstation and reselect the default inventory (File / Inventory / Select).
Error 21 can also be caused by sharing only the Retail Plus folder instead of the entire C: drive of the host machine.

Network Error 23

Error 23 is generated by Windows and usually indicates a LAN hardware problem. The network transmits data in packets which are subject to an integrity test called CRC or Cyclic Redundancy Check. When a packet fails the test the network automatically requests a re-transmission. If that does not fix it an error 23 is generated. This usually indicates an intermittent fault in a LAN card, cable or router.

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PARENT & CHILD ITEMS

If you sell a product by the case and by units you will need to be able to convert cases to units on the fly. When a customer orders one widget and you only have cases in stock then the system will ask you if you want to break a case to fill the order. To set this up create one inventory record for the case stock and another for the unit stock. Go to the Special Tab in the case stock record and set the Case Qty field to the number or widgets in a case. Go to the Special Tab in the unit stock record and set the Parent Item field to show the stock code of the cases.

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A4 LABEL FORMATS

If you are in the UK or continental Europe you will need to print price tags, barcode labels and address labels on A4 size sheets. Just download the A4 print definition files from the Download page.

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GIFT CERTIFICATES

Gift certificates can be tracked simply by setting them up as a serial numbered item with a stock code of your own choosing. Just create a new item and set the Item Type to “Serialized” and the Dept. to “Service” so the system won’t try to included it in purchase orders or stock value reports. On the “Special” tab enter the serial numbers of the gift certificates you are going to sell. The serial number of each gift certificate will appear in the purchase history of the customer who bought it.

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CONSIGNMENT ITEMS –

If you are carrying consignment items you may wish to keep them from being treated like regular inventory i.e. exclude them from stock outs, purchase orders and inventory audit reports. The solution is to see a consignment items not as inventory but as a service you are providing to the owners of the items. All you need to do is set the Item Type to “Service” when entering it into the inventory list. In that way it will appear on the sales receipt like any other item but the profit will be recorded as service revenue – which is what it really is.

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CREDIT CARD APPROVALS

Retail Plus works with X-Charge and ICVerify to handle credit card approvals at the point of sale. To set this up just follow these steps:

In Retail Plus open the setup screen and go to the POS tab.

Click on the checkbox labeled Verify Cards.

Click on the icon to the right of the Request Directory field. Locate and open the X-Charge or ICVerify request directory (usually named DataDir).

If you are using X-Charge (the easier of the two solutions) call their support line if you need further help. If you have purchased ICVerify do the following additional steps:

Close Retail Plus then launch ICSetup in the ICVerify folder.

Click on the Merchant Information tab.

In the field labeled Data Disk/Dir enter the path to the request directory.

In the field labeled Evaluation Rsp. enter B.

Save and exit.

Click on ICVMLT32.EXE to open the background request processor.

Set the path to the request directory.

In the Initialization field enter /OX (slash oh-ex, not zero-ex). This tells ICVerify to respond with short answers rather than feeding back the entire request along with the answer.

Now you can leave ICVMLT32 running while you start Retail Plus.

Troubleshooting Credit Card Approvals

When Retail Plus processes a credit card transaction it places a request file in the data directory folder (often called DataDir). X-Charge and ICVerify respond to the presence of the request file by reading it’s contents and getting an approval code (or decline message) for the transaction, which it then passes back to Retail Plus via the same directory.

A good way to make sure Retail Plus is doing it’s part is to launch a credit card approval and, while the “Please Wait” message remains on the screen, check to see if the request file is in the data directory. Do this simply by clicking on the Windows Start button and launching Windows Explorer. Look in the data directory to make sure the request file (ICV001.REQ) is there.

If the file is not there check the Request Directory path in the Retail Plus Setup screen. If it is correct check the same thing in X-Charge or, if using ICVerify, in both ICSetup and ICMLT32.EXE. Also make sure you have run the test procedures included in the X-Charge or ICVerify instructions.

If the modem does not dial the most likely problems are:

1 – You do not have X-Charge or ICVerify (ICVMLT32.EXE) running minimized and in background while Retail Plus is making sales. The request processor must be awake and watching the data directory for activity.

2 – If using ICVerify there are three places where the path to the request directory must all agree – in ICSetup (Merchant Info tab), ICVMLT32.EXE (opening display) and the Retail Plus Setup screen (POS tab).

CREDIT CARD SECURITY CODES (CV2)

These are three or four numbers found on credit cards (Visa / Mastercard on the back, Amex on the front). They are used to verify that a client has a valid card in his or her possession when the charge is authorized by the bank. If you find that the verification call is automatically started before you have a chance to enter the code then your card reader is adding a carriage return every time you swipe a card. You can prevent this by configuring the reader, usually with a dip switch setting.

RESTORING FROM A CD BACKUP –

If you are using a CD drive to back up your data you should know that many CD drives automatically change the file attributes to Read Only. When you restore the data files to your hard drive the file attributes will still be Read Only and Retail Plus will not be able to work with them. To make sure restored files are useable right-click on the filenames, select Properties and make sure the Read Only attribute is not checked.

COPYING DATA TO A NEW COMPUTER

Sometimes a new user will download Retail Plus onto a home or laptop computer for evaluation and then start entering some of their own inventory. Later they need to install Retail Plus on the store computer and transfer the new data to it. The best way to do this is:

1- On the source computer run the Backup command and let Retail Plus write the data files to a folder called Backup on the local C: drive.

2 – Create a fresh installation of Retail Plus on the destination computer then copy the Backup folder to it’s C: drive. The easiest way to do this is by hooking up the two computers with a network cable and copying the folder across. If this is not possible you can use your CD writer software to copy the Backup folder to a CD then copy it from the CD onto the new computer. Important: see above topic “Restoring From A CD Backup” for more information.

3 – On the destination machine run the Restore command and point the file dialog at the inventory file in the Backup folder. Before doing this make sure you create an empty inventory file with the same name as the one you are transferring.

PRINTING A CUSTOMER LIST

There are several options to print a customer list:

For a verbose list go to File / Clients / File / Print / Client List. This prints everything and only fits 2 clients

For a brief list go to File / Clients / File / Print / Mailing Labels. Print it on plain paper rather than mailing labels.

For a customized list go to File / Clients / View / Open In MS-Excel. This puts the client list into Excel and you can design a report to satisfy your particular requirements.