April 10th, 2012 by Mike Spence

I recently found another reason to ditch those old paper gift certificates and move to a plastic gift card.

My wife and I recently wanted to buy a gift card for a relatives birthday.  They live out of town but we know where they like to eat.  I called the restaurant and asked if I could buy a gift card to be presented to them when they showed up.   The person that answered informed me that they had recently been robbed!

The night before someone had kicked  in the front door, grabbed a bunch of stuff and ran.  Included in the items stolen?   You guessed it, all their paper gift certificates.  The real downside is that they own a couple of locations so now it’s going to be very difficult to determine, at each location, if the signatures etc are valid.

With plastic this won’t happen.  Because the cards are not loaded until the customer pays, the worst thing that can happen is that you are out the cost of the plastic!


Posted in Gift Cards Tagged with: ,

March 13th, 2012 by Mike Spence

Did you know that the SelbySoft has three ways of handling your  gift card systems?

The first and most popular method is our internal gift card system.  This is built into every SP-1 system and gives you the ability to use gift, prepaid and rewards (or loyalty cards)  completely free of charge in your store.  This method is designed for  either single locations or locations that don’t need to share a gift card between stores.

The second option is primarily for people with multiple locations.  In this scenario, our Corporate Reporting software handles all of the gift, prepaid and rewards (or loyalty)cards.  The cards then will work across all the locations.

The third option is to handle the gift cards through a third party credit card processor.  In this case we primarily recommend Mercury Payment Systems as they have a no fee gift & reward system.   Mercury is a great choice if the store needs to provide balances online or if the stores involved are part of a franchise system.  Mercury has the ability to handle Corporate Pooling between the stores.

Posted in Gift Cards, Order Entry Tagged with:

March 1st, 2012 by Mike Spence

Occasionally we are asked how to record a payment made in some way other than our default methods.  As a quick review, SP-1 has the ability to accept:



Credit Card (five per transaction)

Account Charges  (billing a customer)

Gift Cards (five per transaction)

Sometimes, that’s not enough.  We have customers that take paper gift certificates, accept script, barter cash or even credit card transactions from an outside source like Square or Mogley.

In SP-1 we have the ability to create five special payment options to record items like this. When you select the gift card button, you will see those buttons at the top.  In the example below, you see Mogley, Square and Gift Certificate options.   This will also allow you to record an account number or approval number on the transaction.   Keep in mind that it does not process through those methods, just record that it happened.









Of course, we will report on each of these as well (see below).   Call us for more information!



Posted in Gift Cards, Order Entry, POS Features Tagged with: , ,

November 29th, 2011 by Mike Spence

Another customer inspired blog post!  Deanna from Crema Caffe asked how to combine gift cards this holiday season.


Like a lot of business owners, Deanna has customers with gift and prepaid cards.  During the holiday season, those customers sometimes receive an additional card or two as a gift.  Now the customer has two or three cards in their wallet or purse and all of them have a balance!

Fortunately, SP-1 makes this transferring of balances very simple and smooth.

Let’s assume that our customer is named Phil.  Phil has two gift cards.  One that he has been using for years (we’ll call that Card 1) and one that his brother gives him this year (Card 2).    Obviously Phil would rather only carry one card.    When Phil comes into your store you will take the following steps!

First we check and see how much money is on card 2 by swiping it in Gift Card Inquiry.   We then remember (or write down) the balance.  Then we swipe card 1 as if we are going to re-load it with money.

Enter the balance you remembered – this is how much money we are putting on card 1.   Complete the ticket, select gift card and swipe card 2.  You are done!


What happened?  It’s easy – to transfer balances, we simply pay for card 1 with card 2!



Posted in Gift Cards Tagged with:

November 22nd, 2011 by Mike Spence

This blog was inspired by a discussion that our training staff had with one of our local customers.  The store brought a new manager in and wanted to get them familiar with SP-1.  In the middle of the training it was discovered that the store had some outstanding account balances and it was apparent that some of the staff was confused by the differences in gift cards, customer accounts, account payment and running a tab.

Let’s start with Gift Cards . . .  In our system, a gift card is really a “cash card”.  You put money on it and take money off it.  It’s really that simple.

So what’s a customer account or profile?  Well, they are really two different things.   Once you create a “customer profile” you have opened a powerful set of options.   You can now assign that persons cash (or gift) card to their customer name.  Keep in mind that this is just a way to identify a person.  If you then pull up that persons profile by name, card or phone number, you will be able to see their last order (and every order previous).  This is a great way to increase your speed of service as a large percentage of people order the same item every time.

If you have a customer profile created, you can choose to activate customer accounts.  Accounts are similar to gift cards in some ways but there are key differences.  An account is basically allowing a customer to run an extended tab.  If a business orders $100 worth of product from you once a week, you may choose to bill them for the product – this is a good use of a tab.  It is possible to run a negative tab, where the store owes the customer money.  This is a good use for bartering etc.

Finally, there is another method of tabs. If you place a ticket “On Hold”, then the order is not paid for.  This does not require a customer name or information.   This method of running a tab is only intended for same day payment.  If you are running a tab over multiple days you would use the accounts method.

Posted in Gift Cards, Order Entry, POS Features Tagged with: , ,

October 6th, 2011 by Mike Spence

Don’t you just hate to see how many days we have left for the holiday season?  It usually get’s us thinking of everything we have to do before the end of the year.

One thing that makes us cringe is the thought of how many people will wait until the last minute to order gift cards.   It happens every year and I don’t expect it to be any different this year.

However, if you are hoping to be different, think about ordering your gift cards as soon as possible for the holiday season.  Typically the gift card manufacturers start to be very busy right around Halloween.

Want some information about gift cards?  Check out our previous blog posts here and see all the blogs we have written about gift cards.

Need to see some sample cards?  Head over to Facebook and see them here.

Don’t wait until the last minute!  It will cost you more!



Posted in Gift Cards, Marketing Tagged with:

October 4th, 2011 by Mike Spence


I’m often asked by our owners if they can charge an inactivity fee if a gift card is not used.  It’s a tricky question to ask because it really depends on the state laws.

Usually a store owner wants to look at eating up the residual balance from the gift card after a specific period of inactivity.

There is a great resource available here that shows various laws by state.


Please do NOT consider any of this as the word of law without checking directly with your state!



Posted in Gift Cards, Technology Tagged with: ,

August 30th, 2011 by Mike Spence
Have you ever thought of doing this?    

Co-Branding is when you support another companies brand with your own in order to connect the two in your customers mind.   It can be a great way of enticing your customer to visit you because of that connection.  In the specialty beverage world a natural fit is the coffee shop and the roaster relationship.  

Where do gift cards and POS come into co-branding?  Interestingly enough, in a couple ways.  Think about all that real estate on the back of your nice looking gift card.  Now, slap a “Proudly Serving YourRoasterNameHere”  on the back with your roasters logo.  This is an immediate co-branding opportunity.  Want to save some money?  Ask your roaster to pay a portion of the tab on the gift cards or to discount the next order of roasted coffee to help offset the cost.

For those of you with restaurants and cafes, you can do this same thing by asking your cheese vendor or beverage provider (think Coke/Pepsi) to do this. 

Want another way?  SP-1 has the ability print a coupon on the bottom of a receipt.  You can use this to proudly promote a partner, vendor or even another business in town.    

Contact us at:
Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371

Posted in Gift Cards, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

August 18th, 2011 by Mike Spence

Not interested in doing a traditional “punch” card system?   Looking for something different than “buy 10 get 1 free”?   Try one of these alternatives that other SelbySoft customers have used and passed on to us. 

Buy a gift card, get a drink… Pretty standard but still a great way to get around doing a punch card at all.  If I buy a $30 gift card then I get a free drink (up to $3.00 value) right then and there.  This can be great because it eliminates a customer being “owed” a drink at a later time.  You get the money and they get the drink.

Surprise a customer… This actually IS a punch card system but you don’t tell anyone about it.  Instead of customers keeping track of points, your POS reminds the crew member that it is time for the customer to get a free drink.  The biggest catch is that it is not something that happens with the customers knowledge – you only track it internally so it is a surprise.  It’s a very effective way of saying Thank You to your existing customers.

Surprise a customer #2 (gift card) . . . Create a gift card account that you load every day or week.  Allow your employees to use this gift card to buy a drink for your customer.  This is a great way to help your employees feel empowered at the store.  Be careful that it is not only being used for friends or for the same customers and it can be an awesome way to make a customers day.

Surprise a customer #3 (lottery)… Keep track of the points for your customers.  When a customer has ordered 10 times, have your POS prompt to record the visit.  Every week enter all the customers that have ordered 10 times into a lottery for free or discounted product. 

There you go. . . A couple ways to reward customers without duplicating what you competitors might be doing.  If you have a different method you use, let us know! 

Contact us at:
Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371

Posted in Gift Cards, POS Features, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

July 7th, 2011 by Mike Spence
Over the last couple weeks our developers have been working on new enhancements to SP-1.  Along the way, there have been some improvements to the gift card system!

To recap more about how the gift card system can be used, check out my previous blog
 7 Cool Things About Gift Cards.  

Now that we remember all the current cool things about SP-1 and our gift card system, here are some of the new changes!

The balance is now displayed when loading a card.   If you are loading a card with a balance, we now display what the current balance (before load) is.  This was designed to provide all the information on one screen.

When a card is loaded the ticket reflects the previous balance.  If you have a current balance on a card and add an additional amount to it, then we are now showing that on the ticket.  The circled item on the ticket below shows that the card had $25.00 on it and we are currently adding $5.00!

Gift card balance is shown when a customer is selected.  If you assign gift cards to customers, this new option will be helpful. As soon as you start a ticket with a customer that has a gift card, you will see their balance on the screen!  This helps eliminate the need to inquire about a card!

Contact us at:
Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371

Posted in Gift Cards, POS Features, Uncategorized Tagged with: