24/7 customer support with twice support geeks during holidays

Peace of mind - Delivered

Between 24th December till 3rd January, we are doubling our Global Support Desk capacity with twice the number of Support Geeks to ensure your business continuity during this holiday season.

As always, our teams will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in our Regional and Global Support Centers. While you enjoy this holiday season during Christmas and New Year, rest assured that we will be on standby when you need us.

Contact Us
Global Support Desks are open 24/7 while your LPEs (Local Product Experts) in your country is also available on their cell phones. Incase you need to reach an LPE during ‘after hours’, you may connect with anyone from the global team.

We are constantly working towards Enhancing Customer Satisfaction and if at any time you need to get in touch with me, please feel free to do so.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from all of us at CitiXsys.

Kamal Karmakar

CitiXsys Americas Inc 
Rockefeller Center, 7th floor,
1230 Avenue of the Americas,
New York NY 10020
T: 1 212 745 1365
F: 1 212 618 6309
CitiXsys Tech Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
R&D Center
SDF A – 7, Noida Special Economic Zone,
Noida Dadri Road, Phase – II, Noida – 201305,
Distt. Gautam Budh Nagar (UP)
T: +91 120 4743777
F: +91 120 4743778



CitiXsys completes 10 years with launch of iVend Unplugged

Today CitiXsys celebrates its 10th anniversary.  It has been an eventful journey for us and I take this exciting moment to convey our sincere thanks to all Customers, Partners, Team members & Well-wishers for their continuous support without which we wouldn’t have travelled this far.

Through these years, we worked with thousands of stores in over 45 countries to help them run their retailing business more profitably and efficiently with iVend Retail. In last 10 years, CitiXsys emerged as a leading innovator on Retail, Warehouse, and Inventory management domain with a large network of Partners and Customers globally.

Enhancing modern retail industry experience & putting our customers at the heart of this business is what really motivates CitiXsys team. Progressing to make a mark ahead in Retail Industry besides our close association with SAP all these years, launch of iVend Retail Management Suite is a forward leap ahead to transform traditional retail to modern Integrated Retail in every corner of the world.

iVend Retail is a fully integrated, comprehensive Retail management solution to manage Head office and In-Store processes. iVend Loyalty, iVend eCommerce, iVend Mobile and  iVend Analytics are a few integrated modules making iVend the right choice for modern retailers of any size.

iVend Retail is seamlessly integrated into SAP suite of Business Management Applications like SAP Business One and SAP Business All-in-One. Launch of iVend Unplugged is the latest release from CitiXsys. iVend Unplugged can be run as a stand alone retail suite or with integration to any standard Business Management Application/ ERP through its API’s without any ERP constraints. CitiXsys Solutions for Retail aim to optimize the entire retail process covering head office, store back office and in-store operations, to add value to customer’s shopping experience and maximizing returns to the retailer’s investment. iVend Retail Management Suite helps retailers improve efficiency and gain an unified view of their customer. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and desire for excellence, CitiXsys inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage.

By focusing first and foremost on service we have achieved a significant improvement in customer satisfaction. Our partners & customers who have been major contributors in our success are much happier with the help and support that’s provided by CitiXsys Support Team.

We pledge to be more committed towards our clients to provide quality services & timely support as always and in the years to come.

What PCI rules mean retailers and how to comply

Every business and organization that doesn’t still keep its money in a coffee can is finding that their banks and credit card companies are getting serious about safeguarding credit card information.

The focus on the industry in the last five years has been on larger companies, but now even the smallest are being brought into compliance with these standards. It will safeguard customers, but at a cost and increased financial liability to business owners.

It’s the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS, or just PCI), rules for safeguarding credit card information that apply to all organization handling debit, credit, and pre-paid cards for American Express, Discover, Japan Credit Bureau (JCB), MasterCard, and Visa International.

The standards are written and administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.

If PCI doesn’t work, federal law may step in. This was already threatened at a Congressional hearing on retail credit card security. State legislatures are also getting into the act, with 38 states having laws requiring notification of affected parties in case of credit card information security breaches.

The initial focus on PCI compliance, after it went into effect in 2006, was on larger retailers, and moved to smaller business over the past few years. Technically, all merchants have been required by the credit card industry to be PCI compliant since at least Jan. 1, 2008.

There is the oft-quoted statistic from Visa that, “More than 80 percent of compromises identified since 2005 are Level 4 merchants.”  A Level 4 merchant is one with fewer than one million Visa transactions, or one with fewer than 20,000 electronic commerce transactions, a year. Visa also notes that the Level 4 merchants’ 80 percent rate of all compromises involves only five percent of Visa’s potentially exposed accounts.

And even if PCI is not a law, you may wish it was. When PCI violations come to the attention of your card companies, they can levy fines from $5,000 to $100,000 a month.

The penalties for violating the PCI standards go through your bank, which means violations cause you problems with the bank as well as the credit card company. The fine for violation goes to the bank, which will pass it on to you, and the bank may take other actions against you as well.

You get PCI certification by filling out a questionnaire from your bank. Depending on the cards you have and certain aspects of your business, you may need to have your system tested with a scan. These scans might be required every 90 days to maintain certification.

The PCI compliance protects cardholders in two broad ways.

  1. They prohibit a business from keeping certain card information on their customers. You can keep cardholders names and card numbers only if they are encrypted, and you can’t keep things like the validation value or the three- and four-digit codes, PINs or the full magnetic strip data.
  2. Retailers have secure data processing and storage systems with adequate firewalls and wireless access protection. In some cases data can only be stored on computers not connected to the Internet.

The PCI requirements also require retailers to have security systems that detect intrusions into their systems and take immediate action against them. A further safeguard is requirements that the system be tested and validated periodically.

A simple way to handle this is to get your organization a comprehensive business software suite that manages all your data and is PCI compliant, but remember that you are still responsible yourself for the PCI compliance and for any problems that occur.

Challenges Faced by Visual Merchandisers and its Solution

In today’s global commercial environment, you have to believe that a visual merchandising promotion strategy is what is important in effecting increased profit margins through improved sales and staff throughput. But how well you can put the right visual merchandising display strategy in place can be daunting because the biggest role of providing the shoppers with an unforgettable experience takes skill to simplify components down to those details that are fundamental. Make no mistake that you must consider it a wise investment in expertise and resources for the use of best practice visual merchandising techniques to effectively deal with the challenges in retail. It is primarily about ‘the look and feel’ of the brand in store and for presenting products in the most effective ways that develop loyalty of customers.


The constant manufacturing of brand-new products, inadequacy of shelf space, loss and prevention, conflicting interests of top management and the recurrent variation in consumer choices, all add to the challenging environment for visual merchandisers. In other words, the challenges in retail in relation to the dynamic characteristics of the target market, the changing and volatility of consumer behavior often times makes it increasingly difficult for visual merchandisers to maintain required clarity and consistency. This is what the art of branding is about, and it is as quintessential for environments as it is for products.

Components and Implementation

The details are in the important components of a visual merchandising strategy and implementation to address some of the challenges in retail and ensure enriching returns. These may include:

  • The attention-grabbing store signs and displays. Providing product descriptions and promoting schemes like ‘Buy One Get One Free’ using eye-catching fonts.
  • Recognizing the importance of integrated retail systems. Effective integration of advanced retail POS system technologies can help control costs and deliver concentrated operability to the business. Given the rapid pace of change within the retail ecosystem, it is essential all IT assets are tracked, monitored and managed in a seamless manner.
  • Shopper engagement at POS. Good deals versus fostering relationships and knowing also where social media fits in and the tapping the power of crowd-sourcing to enhance product assortment.
  • Effective loyalty systems. Delivering unmatched customer service to valued customers by being proactive and look for people in need of assistance and be a resource, can distinguish your business from the competition and fosters true and effective “relationship marketing“.
  • Multichannel retailing. The advent of online stores and mobile technology with e-commerce and m-commerce are latest additions to the multichannel mix of mail order catalogues and bricks and mortar stores and are fresh and interesting avenues and benefit for retailers with more opportunities to get their product in front of customers whom they would not have been able to reach with a single channel.
  • New innovations in retail sector. Retail innovation is about driving down costs and driving up spending. Whether it is inventory control or product mix; ecommerce or cost control, the retail sector should have the capacity to accommodate a sustained flow of pioneering products, innovative channels of delivery and ingenious ways of holding down costs to remain profitable in the most competitive consumer markets.

More to these, visual merchandising is an extension of your store’s customer service. Even if you intend to stretch your retail process to web-based shopping, literally changing shoppers’ point-of sale environment, and regardless of any challenges in retail, that importance of your brand’s visual identity should not diminish. The goal is to project a pleasing and more charismatic image because visual merchandising is about customer loyalty, regardless of the point-of-sale environment.

Loyalty does pay off – Why a loyalty program pays dividends

Loyalty programs make better customersWhy Customer Retention Matters

One of the most basic tenets of marketing and advertising is the understanding that it costs a company significantly more in time and resources to attract one new customer than it does to retain the business of one existing client. A company with a high rate of customer attrition is, by necessity, bleeding far more money to continue attracting new clientele than a similar business whose only difference is their ability to retain the customer loyalty of existing clientele.

How Loyalty Programs Affect Customer Retention

Of course, the ultimate bottom line in maintaining loyal returning customers is the balance between the quality of your products and services and the prices for which you offer them. No amount of gimmicks or giveaways would make up for poor quality services or over-inflated prices in convincing clients to return.

But assuming your products and prices are competitive and capable of retaining customer loyalty in their own right, the introduction of an effective customer loyalty program can tip the balance in a customer’s mind when making a decision between your business and that of a similar competitor. All other things being equal, your loyalty rewards might be the deciding factor when each consumer makes the choice about where to take their business. Ensuring that the loyalty rewards themselves are attractive and valuable to your customers will make their decision to keep returning all the easier.

What Makes an Effective Loyalty Program?

A loyalty program won’t get you far if it fails to attract and engage the consumers you wish to target. It may be worth your while to invest in a little market research among your target demographic or even among your existing customers to get a feel for what rewards would be most attractive to them. Some basic characteristics of effective customer loyalty programs include the following:

  • Rewards that are useful and attractive to customers. Even the most exciting-sounding perk or prize won’t be attractive to a client if they won’t be able to use it. A free week at a resort, just as an example, will have no value to a customer who doesn’t have the resources to travel to that resort or to take the week off work. Consider what your customers actually need or want, and let that information guide your choice of rewards. You might consider giving your clients choices, and even partnering with other businesses to offer multi-channel retailing among your reward options.

  • Balance the cost (to you) against the gain of returning customers. Sit down with your sales records and advertising costs and make a calculation of how much it costs you to attract a new customer, how much you stand to gain by drawing repeat business of an existing customer, and make sure the cost of your offered rewards don’t overbalance the benefit of that returning customer.

  • Make it easy to use the rewards. An integrated retail system allowing your customer to gauge their rewards–and use them with ease–right at the point of sale makes that customer loyalty program attractive to consumers. A reminder of their accumulating reward with each purchase, not to mention the use of new innovations in the retail sector like online logins to manage a rewards program’s benefits, add to the attractiveness of your reward program.

The bottom line with any customer loyalty program is to entice existing clients (as well as potential customers) to make your business their top choice. Retaining existing customers is far and away the most cost-effective way to do business, so reward that customer loyalty and reap the benefits!

How To Increase Retail Profits With An Ecommerce Platform

If you currently operate a physical retail operation, there are basically only two ways to increase the profitability of your retail operation
  1. Improve the efficiency of your present physical store
  2. Add another distribution channel which could be either an additional physical store or an on-line ecommerce operation.

Theoretically, adding another physical store could approach doubling your profits, assuming that your new operation can be essentially a clone of your existing operation. You could approach doubling your profit because while all facilities and processes could be duplicated, the most essential ingredient, YOU, is limited to one. Additionally, you will be required to add at least one additional manager, further reducing the profitability gain of the new operation. And, the investment will equal your original investment in your physical store. On the plus side, you may make small gains on the basis of economy of scale; and, if logistically feasible, your inventory might be less than doubled. Also, some back room operations, accounting, payroll, billings, etc could be integrated.

But, today, with the availability of innovative retail management software, establishing an ecommerce operation to work in tandem with your physical store is a far more effective way to increase sales volume with multiple increases in profit. With implementation of an integrated retail management software, your sales volume could be triples or more using far less in resources than adding a second physical store.

What are the essential features of an integrated retail management software?

  1. It seamlessly integrates the offline and online operations. Make Promotions, items, pricing, customers, vendors etc in either systems and let the software sync all systems for you.
  2. Your inventory is maintained and serviced through a common data base. Physically, inventory is located within the offline operation with product and inventory data being readily available to the online store. In turn, the online sales orders are directed to the physical store for fulfillment.
  3. The integrated data base tracks online and offline sales for each of your customers enabling you to concentrate additional marketing and sales effort where it is likely to be most profitable.
  4. All performance data for the combined operations is presented in an integrated fashion with breakout of the two entities available on demand.
  5. You retail management software will include a loyalty system to encourage enhanced customer engagement
  6. Be able to provide product info and purchase ability through mobile devices, including providing supplementary product info in your physical store.
  7. Your retail management software system must be scalable. To run your back-end accounting processes, you may start with an SME ERP like SAP Business One as back-end for small store chains but you should be able to migrate to larger systems like SAP All-in-one (SAP Retail) without changing your retail systems.
  8. The provider of your retail management software must be provably skilled in installation and maintenance; and must be able and available to service the system on demand.

Operational advantages of adding an ecommerce channel to your existing physical store with integrated software are: .

  1. Ecommerce PlatformIt enables, YOU, the manager to more closely control the combined operation as compared to either two physical stores, or an off-line and on-line operation that are not integrated or synchronized.
  2. The ecommerce channel adds a communication channel to your link with existing offline customers. It will be easier to make additional sales to these existing customers simply because you can reach them online with additional offerings. Customers can use Loyalty points either in physical or online store.
  3. Retail management software provides opportunities to sell-up, sell-more, and sell-more-often. Planning engine can tell you what sells where and how you can increase sales via which mode.
  4. A retail management software system reduces cost of sales by increasing sales without a commensurate increase in overhead. Able to offer physical store pick-up for local customers.
  5. Your retail management software system enables you to duplicate work. A promotion can be made for physical store but should be easily be sent to online store as well.

To get additional specific information on how an integrated retail management software with Webstore will improve your profitability, read more about Ecommerce Platform for iVend or contact your local CitiXsys partner today.

POS System Software to Boost Your Business

Retail businesses have long understood the importance of POS systems to speed checkout and record valuable sales information. Even an unsophisticated, punch-key cash register than spits out sales at the end of the day is a form of a POS system.

But astute retailers of all sizes are realizing that a POS system can provide much more value than simply conducting and accounting for sales. With the emergence of POS retail software solutions, you can now capture and analyze customer buying behavior. You can not only know how much you’re selling, you can know who’s buying, what they’re buying, and where they’re buying.

You can also use POS to track and manage inventory, even to provide automated ordering of stock. And a POS system can trigger online marketing such as emails or SMS text messages to let customers know about promotions targeted to their buying preferences.

What is actually occurring is the integration of POS into an overall retail software solutions package that includes strategic management of customers, employees, inventories, and vendors.

What to Look For in a POS System

Speed. The primary initial function of a POS should never be forgotten—it should make checkout easier for the customer. The system should be designed to quickly process sales, exchanges, returns, orders, layaways, payments, pricing queries, requests for inventory availability, requests for buying history, etc. And the system should be able to handle multiple transaction types in a single POS event.

Reliability. When comparing POS systems, do some research to investigate each system’s dependability and customer satisfaction. Obviously, a system that’s constantly crashing is a problem. It’s also important that the vendor provides strong customer support.

Ease of operation. POS systems depend on proper employee use. They should be intuitive and easy to learn (e.g., touch screens). They shouldn’t lead to customers having to wait at checkout while employees struggle to make the system work because it’s too complicated. The system should also make it fast and simple for employees to add relevant comments about the customer and the sale.

Features to engage customers at the POS. These include things such as auto-generated discounts provided to the customer at the time of purchase, personalized messages on receipts, and the ability to sell future purchases (e.g., the next scheduled oil change, reservations at a restaurant).

Readily available customer analytics. This aspect of a POS is crucial in moving POS from simply a service function to an integral part of your marketing effort. Aggregated POS information provided in reports customized for your business can help you track the success of promotions, establish loyalty with customers through personalized social media postings, evaluate your product line and pricing, and reveal numerous opportunities for targeted marketing.

The ability to seamlessly add more features. Don’t buy a system that you might soon outgrow. As your business expands, the ways in which you can make use of POS retail software solutions also will expand. Look for systems that have the flexibility to be adapted to future needs.

Compatibility with current computer architecture. Don’t overlook basic technical issues, which can hamper even the best POS strategy.

True Integration with All Retail Software Solutions

Ultimately, you’ll be making the wrong choice if you buy a POS system that doesn’t integrate completely with marketing, loyalty programs, inventory planning, business intelligence, and all other aspects of your business that rely on POS data. The investment in a truly integrated system will pay off in increased operational efficiency, improved customer service, more-effective marketing, and better informed management decision-making.

The end result will be higher sales and—most importantly—greater profit.

Gear up for Competition in Retail – an article for Retailers

Retailers need to undergo a paradigm shift to align to the current economic reality, escalating capital investments in inventory and increased customer service demands. Such a shift can come only when retailers embrace a fully integrated enterprise-wide application set. Manish Chaturvedi shares his thoughts on this published article. Download or view the article below.

Will Twitter replace community Forums in next few years?

I was at SAP partner conference in Savannah early March 2011. Meeting partners is always a great learning experience. In one of the break-out sessions, we discussed the relevance of social media and its impact on customer satisfaction. Isn’t that the hottest topic these days? We all know the importance of continuous innovation. Software products companies need to innovate continuously to bring new products or features to the market rapidly. The biggest challenge remains feeding this information to the customers and partners.

It is an accepted norm to use social media sites like Twitter or Facebook to broadcast information.  Many companies today use Twitter to send information to its customers, partners and other stakeholders. Many companies even started using Twitter to provide customer support. This change is so rapid that it sometimes occurs to me the future relevance of community forums. In today’s world, companies still invest a lot in building community forums and portals around their products/ services to provide information to customers in real-time. There are moderators, administrators and other users answering each question. Users have option to search a topic within the forum to read or search relevant topics. It appears to me that Twitter is increasingly encroaching the well-defined territory of these forums. The war is not yet evident but it has already started.

After our partner meet in Savannah, I went to Costa Rica, London and Germany meeting partners and customers. Almost everyone voiced about the importance of rapid product innovation and faster communication stream to customers. On 18th of March, I attended our Product Innovation meet in New Delhi. The challenge here was faster go-to-market and immediate information dissemination to customers. Its one thing to send a monthly email to customer on new product offering but updating a customer about this information in real-time is something quite different. It was therefore decided that we will start posting Tweets from the core product teams so that the customers can follow the Tweets to be current on all news & happenings direct from the Labs. To facilitate this initiative, all CitiXsys products will now be posting updates in Twitter @ProductUpdates. These will be small tweets about any latest innovation, new features, bug fixes, or plain vanilla news from the Product Lab.

It is extremely important to listen to your customers and what’s better than listening in a public forum like Twitter.


Continuous Learning – A must for Successful Organizations

Recently I was talking to a few partners who created successful businesses selling CitiXsys products with SAP in their local geographies. I noticed that the most important aspect of their business success is also their biggest challenge – “User training”. A Retailer can have a world class ERP like SAP Business One, SAP Business All-in-One or similar products, with iVend Retail to streamline their Retail Operations. Customers with warehouses successfully implement Inventory Pro for their Inventory Management System with SAP Business One however the major challenge remains training the users who actually use the systems implemented for an agile function.

I have seen that every time a partner sells one of our products, he engages our consultant to train customer users. Larger partners have in-houses resources trained in CitiXsys products who in-turn impart training to the customer. This is not only expensive but also impractical at times. Getting all users in one room is a challenge. Not only this, but also the training resources need to block their calendar for individual training.

Considering all these aspects, we have developed e-learning lessons for all our products. These are very detailed training lessons hosted at http://learning.citixsys.com/. A partner can have their implementation & training consultants fully trained on our products. Customers can have their users undergo these online lessons at their own time and get fully acquainted with the system.

Business Growth Tool – E-learning is an essential tool for business growth. Employees need to be coached and their skill set must be upgraded on a continuous basis. If done correctly,this can produce great results by decreasing costs and improving performance. Unlike one time classroom session, online courses are available to every employee of the company.

Productivity Increase – Video based sessions are great tool to give the skills needed to enhance performance and productivity. Video based platforms are not bound by location or time; one can control training’s impact on production by training people at any time – whenever there is a need. By including online learning in your employee skill enhancement exercise, you’re asking people to do more with less.

Anytime Access – Classroom learning requires participants to align their schedules to the training calendar.  Online courses eliminates this because the courses can be accessed anytime, anywhere and from any location.  I have seen our own colleagues take lessons of product line to enhance their skill set.

Building interest – Interactive video based courses in combination of PowerPoint presentations and recorded demos can produce a very rich learning experience that is repeatable.  Some good practice sessions with feedback can make an environment help learners retain the course content that will produce positive results.

Reduced Training costs – With an effective learning schedule, each time the course is accessed by your colleagues, your ROI improves because you are not spending on classroom training.  You also have savings immensely by not hiring a consultant, reducing travel, and improving skill set.

Make it a part of your appraisal system – A well-trained employee is worth several times more than an unskilled employee. When you hire a new employee or you implement a new system, you need to train your existing employees; the biggest challenge is training them adequately to make them productive as soon as possible. E-learning bridges the gap between employee skill set and newly implemented system.  You get more from the software much more rapidly with a fully trained user.

Keeping the benefits of video based online interactive courses in mind, CitiXsys has developed e-learning lessons of all products. Some lessons are available in interactive mode with powerpoint slides and online demo combined whereas some are available in the good old youtube.com and other media. Idea is to make a lesson available in whatever form for the users so that learning remain continuous. There are new lessons uploaded on a weekly basis. Enjoy learning and happy holidays.