VideoMate Version 14.4 - User Manual


1. Running VideoMate 2. Setting up VideoMate
3. Entering videos 4. Entering customers
5. Deleting videos or modifying their details 6. Deleting customers or modifying their details
7. Renewing membership 8. Issuing videos
9. Receiving videos 10. Cancelling past transactions
11. Reserving a video and creating a “wish list” 12. Cancelling a reservation
13. Accepting payment on accounts 14. Setting up stock for POS
15. Modifying stock records 16. Selling stock or videos to walk-in customers
17. Reports 18. Photographs (customers and videos)
19. Barcodes 20. Company logo
21. Preorders 22. Specials and contracts
23. Insurance 24. Check out options (including change calculator)
25. Special membership and discount membership 26. Backing up data files
27. Receipt printing options (including cash drawers) 28. Exporting email addresses
29. Exporting mailing list 30. Exporting databases to Microsoft Excel
31. Networking VideoMate 32. Password protection
33. Printing old receipts 34. A note about discounts
35. Renewing rentals 36. Gift certificates
37. VideoMate and the Internet 38. Pole displays
39. Transferring video rates en blo 40. Blocking customers
41. Credit card processing 42. Store holidays
43. Fonts 44. Rental return times
45. Speeding up VideoMate 46. Long term loans
47. Lost and damaged videos 48. Printing invoices
49. Printing membership cards 50. Returning merchandise or video sales from a customer
51. Miscellaneous charges 52. Cash outlays
53. Exchanging videos 54. Managing deliveries and pick-ups
55. Transferring videos from rental stock to sales stock         56. SMS text messaging
57. Refunds 58. Customer PIN numbers
59. Locking VideoMate 60. Printing price lists
61. Removing zero quantity merchandise 62. Calculating customer’s current late fees
63. Changing selling prices en bloc 64. Stock taking (rental stock)



1. Running VideoMate

Double click on the file VideoMate.exe in the VideoMate folder to run the program, or click on the VideoMate icon on your desktop.

The opening dialog box asks whether you wish to evaluate VideoMate, enter the registration key or go to the registration web page. If you have the registration key, click on Enter registration key and enter the key. Otherwise click on Evaluate.

The evaluation version is fully functional except that the number of customers and the number of videos are each limited to 50.

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2. Setting up VideoMate

The first time you run VideoMate, the program will lead you through the setup process which customizes VideoMate for your video store.

The first setup dialog box is for the outlet details. The outlet name is the only compulsory field.

The second setup dialog box asks you to select a date format – either dd/mm/yy or mm/dd/yy.

Next you will be asked to enter your currency symbol (eg $, £).

The next dialog box asks you how many taxes apply to video rentals, and whether taxes are included in the rates which you will enter, or are added to the rates. Subsequently, if at least one tax applies, you will be asked to enter the type of tax (eg Sales tax) and the percentage rate. Note that taxes on sales are setup separately by clicking on Sales from the Taxes submenu of the Setup menu.

The next dialog box is for the rental rates. If, for example, you have rates for one night, two nights and weekend, check the appropriate boxes on the left hand side of the dialog box. Then enter the rates.

There are eight rate levels, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. You do not have to use them all. Rate A might be for the newest videos, B for older videos, and C for special offers, for example.

You will be asked to enter a late charge for each rate level, which is applied on a daily basis to late returns.

You will also be asked to enter the time by which a nightly rental must be returned the next day. If you wish to base the return time on the time of issue, check the appropriate box. With this feature enabled, if for example you rent a video for 2 nights at1.30 pm on Tuesday, it will be due for return at 1.30 pm on Thursday. This is particularly useful if the store is open 24 hours.

If you have a weekend rate, you must enter the times for which the weekend rate applies, eg rentals after 6 pm Friday returned by 10 pm Sunday.

If you have a part day rate, you must enter the period for which the rate applies (eg 8 hours). Subsequently you will be asked to specify the closing time for the store for part day returns.

If you leave a rate field blank for a particular period, the period will not be available for the particular rate option.

Next you will be asked to enter the rewind and cleaning charges. If you do not have these charges, simply leave the fields at 0.00.

You will then be asked to configure your email. This is required if you wish to send emails or SMS messages. You can choose to leave this until later. The port number defauts to 25, you should not need to change this.

Next you will be asked to indicate which day(s) of the week the outlet is closed. If it is open seven days a week, do not check any of the boxes.

Please note that if you make a mistake during the setup process, you can correct it by selecting the appropriate command from the Setup menu after the setup is complete.

After the Setup is complete, you will be asked if you wish to modify some of the installed components:

Categories: VideoMate is preinstalled with the following categories: Action & adventure, Adult, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Horror & suspense, Kids & family, Music & musicals, Science fiction, Special interest, Westerns. You can add to these categories any time you add a video, but if you want to start afresh with your own categories select Categories from the Format, ratings etc submenu of the Setup menu.

Ratings: VideoMate is preinstalled with the following ratings: G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, NR. If you wish to set up your own ratings, select Ratings from the Format, ratings etc submenu of the Setup menu.

Formats: VideoMate is preinstalled with the following video formats: VHS, DVD, Games, Blu-ray. If you wish to set up your own formats (for example you may only stock VHS format), select Formats from the Format, ratings etc submenu of the Setup menu.

You may also add language options, by selecting Languages from the Format, ratings etc submenu of the Setup menu.

After you are satisfied that the installed components are OK, you are ready to add your first video.

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3. Entering videos

To enter details of a video, click on the DVD icon on the toolbar, click on Add from the Video menu, or press F5.

The title of the video, the date of acquisition and the video number are compulsory fields. You may enter the principal actors so that later you can search for videos by actor. Comments is an optional field. Select the video category, format, rating and rate level from the drop down lists. The video number will be supplied for you, but you may overwrite the number with one of your choice. VideoMate will not allow you to duplicate video numbers.

If the number of the last video that you entered into the database ended in a character between 0 and 9, VideoMate will sequence the next number numerically, eg 0007, 0008, 0009, 0010, 0011. If the last character were in the range A to Z (note the upper case) VideoMate will sequence the number in the form 0001A, 0001B, 0001C, etc.

If your rental videos are also available for sale, enter the retail price.

If you are buying a video from one of your customers, (for example if you sell second hand video games), check the appropriate box. You must also enter the cost price of the video. After you have clicked on OK you will be asked to identify the customer and the method of payment. You may opt to credit the customer’s account, or you may pay the customer on the spot. In the latter case the payment will be deducted from your receipts.

If the video does not fall into one of the installed categories, you may add a category by typing in the category then clicking on Add. The category will be added to the dropdown list.

The first time you add a video the fields for supplier, location and actors will not be populated.

You can add a supplier by entering the name of the supplier in the Add supplier section, then clicking on Add. The supplier will then be available from the supplier drop list.

You can add a location by entering the name of the location in the Add location section, then clicking on Add. The location will then be available from the location drop list. The location is the place where the video is normally kept in the store, eg a shelf number.

You can add an actor by entering the name of the actor in the Add actor section, then clicking on Add. The actor will then be available in the actors drop list.

You can add a director by entering the name of the director in the Add director section, then clicking on Add. The director will then be available in the directors drop list.

After you have added the video you will be asked if you wish to add another video. You can also add more copies of the same video by clicking on the checkbox. Enter the number of copies to be added. If the number of copies is one, the program will return you to the Add video dialog box. Click on OK to add the copy. If the number of copies is more than one, VideoMate will automatically add the copies to the database, giving them sequential video numbers. The program will tell you the range of video numbers added, so that you can label the videos.

If you wish to enter additional comments, such as a description of the theme of the video, you should search for the video after adding it to the database and then click on the More button.

A database is available which allows you to scan the barcode number from a DVD and the details will automatically be entered in the VideoMate database. The database can be downloaded from http://www.hometheaterinfo.com/dvdlist.htm. You should download the file DVD_CSV.zip and unzip it into your VideoMate folder. If you make use of this file please adhere to the copyright statement on the Web page.

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4. Entering customers

Click on the customer icon from the toolbar, select Add from the Customers menu, or press F4.

The compulsory fields in the Add customer dialog box are the last name, the customer number, and, if you have annual membership, the membership expiry date.

VideoMate prompts with a customer number, but you may overwrite this prompt if you wish. Duplicate numbers are not allowed. The maximum number of characters for the customer number is 8. However, VideoMate will allow you to scan ID cards (such as shoppers’ cards) which have a 10 or 12 digit number, and the last 8 digits are used for the customer number. If you enter 9, or 11 characters, the number will be truncated to 8 characters.

The balance is the amount currently owed by the customer. If this is a new customer, the balance should be 0.00.

If your video store has family membership, you may add family members by entering their name and clicking on Add. The name will be added to the dropdown list. If you enter the family member’s date of birth, when you rent videos to the family member you will be alerted if he or she is under 18 years of age.

If you have a membership fee, you may charge the fee by checking the box. If that is the case the next dialog box will ask for the method of payment and whether you wish to print a receipt. You can set up the membership fee by selecting Standard from the Membership submenu of the Setup menu.

If you have more than one membership fee you can override the standard fee and enter the appropriate one if necessary.

If the customer has special membership or discount membership, check the appropriate box and select the type of special or discount membership (A, B, C, D or E). You can set up special membership by selecting Special from the membership submenu of the Setup menu.

If the customer is required to pay a security deposit, check the appropriate box.

To print a membership form for a new customer, check the Print membership form box. You may edit the text for the membership form by selecting Edit membership form from the Setup menu. You may print a blank membership form by selecting Print membership form from the Customer menu.

If the customer’s phone number, credit card number, address (line 1), name or date of birth is already on file, you will be alerted to avoid entering the same customer twice.

If the customer is exempted from some or all taxes, click on the Tax exempt button and indicate which taxes are exempt.

If you wish to rent videos to the customer, check the Proceed to rental screen box.

Finally you will be asked if you wish to add another customer.

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5. Deleting videos or modifying their details

Click on the search icon next to the DVD icon on the toolbar, select Search from the Video menu, or press F10. You will be prompted to enter the video number, or enter a keyword from the title or the first few characters from the title then select the video from the list. You may also search for a video by specifying one of the actors or the director. A dialog box will appear with the details of the video, including whether the video is in stock or rented out.

At this stage you may edit any of the details of the video. To save the modifications click on Save any changes, to continue without saving the changes click on Continue.

If you wish to enter additional comments, such as a description of the theme of the video, click on the More button. Enter the description and click on Save. These additional comments will apply to all copies of the same title, so if you have several copies of the same video you only need to add the comments for one of them.

You can add a copy of the same title by clicking on the Add another copy button. You will be prompted to enter the date of acquisition for the video and the video number.

You may also delete the video from the database by clicking on Delete video. You will then be asked to confirm that you wish to delete the video. If the video is currently rented, you will have the option of charging the customer for the lost or damaged video.

When you click on the Save any changes button you will be asked if you wish to apply the changes to any other copies of the same title and format. Clicking on Yes will update the rating, category, rate, director and actors of any copies.

To sell a video, use the Sell video command from the Videos menu.

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6. Deleting customers or modifying their details

Click on the search icon next to the customer icon on the toolbar, select Search from the Customers menu, or press F9. You will be prompted to enter the customer number, or enter the first few characters of the last name or the first few characters of the ID or the last 4 characters of the home, work or cell phone number then select from the list. A dialog box will appear displaying the details of the customer.

At this stage you may edit any of the details of the customer, including deleting or adding family members. If you wish to block a customer from renting, check the Block rentals box. To save the modifications click on Save any changes, to continue without saving the changes click on Continue. To print a membership form for the customer, click on the appropriate button.

If you wish to add comments which will not fit in the comments field, click on the More button to show a pop up window of additional comments. This window is also available on the rental/sales screen.

You may also delete the customer from the database by clicking on Delete customer. You will then be asked to confirm that you wish to delete the customer. If the customer has videos on loan you will be asked if you wish to delete those videos from the database too.

You may proceed to the rentals screen or the returns screen by checking the appropriate box and clicking on the Save changes button or Continue button.

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7. Renewing membership

The type of membership defaults to membership for life without a membership fee and without a security deposit. If your membership does not fit these criteria, select Standard from the Membership submenu of the Setup menu.

Identify the type of membership which applies, ie renewable membership (eg monthly or annual) or lifetime membership, and show whether there is a membership fee (and if so, the amount). If you have more than one membership fee (eg one for DVD members and one for video members), enter the most commonly used one and check the box `Allow membership fee to be variable’. You will then be able to override the fee if necessary when you renew or setup membership. If you wish to apply the fee to all new customers when you add them to the database, check the box `Always accept fee from new customers’.

If membership is renewable, you can choose not to rent to customer’s whose membership has expired, or to receive a warning only (so that the membership can be renewed later).

If you have a security deposit, enter the amount. If you want the security deposit to be flexible, check the box `Allow security deposit to be variable’. For example you may have a higher security deposit for customers who hire DVDs than for those who hire tapes. If you wish to apply the security deposit to all new customers when you add them to the database, check the box `Always accept deposit from new customers’.

Please note that all amounts should be entered without the currency symbol, in the format, for example, 5 or 5.00.

To renew an individual customer’s membership, click on the membership card icon from the toolbar or select Single membership from the Renew membership submenu of the Customers menu. This function only applies if your membership is renewable rather than for life, or if you have the option enabled for special monthly membership.

Select the customer as in section 6 above.

You will be asked to select the method of payment for the membership fee, and indicate the new membership expiry date. If you wish to print a receipt, check the box.

If you have more than one membership fee you can override the standard fee and enter the appropriate one if necessary.

To renew the membership of all special monthly members whose membership is due for renewal, select All special members from the Renew membership submenu of the Customers menu.

You may also renew a customer’s membership from the rental issue screen.

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8. Issuing videos

To issue a video, click on the red arrow on the toolbar, select Issue from the Rentals menu, or press F2.

You will be prompted to enter the customer number, or enter the first few characters of the last name or the first few characters of the ID or the last 4 characters of the home, work or cell phone number then select from the list. Ask the customer to enter their PIN number if you are using PIN numbers for security. The following alerts may be activated:

A dialog box will appear which shows the customer details, including a list of videos that are currently on loan to the customer. If the customer has family members, you may select the appropriate family member from the drop list.

You may rent videos to the customer, and/or sell stock or videos to the customer.

To rent videos, click on the Add rental button in the rentals section, or press the r key. You will be prompted to enter the video number, or enter a keyword from the title or the first few characters of the title then select the video from the list. You may also search for a video by specifying one of the actors or the director.

You will then be prompted to select the rental period from the droplist. Only valid rental periods will appear in the droplist. For example, if the date and time are outside the period for weekend rentals, Weekend will not appear as an option. If you have left the rental rate blank for a particular period, the period will not appear as an option.

You will be prompted to issue another video to the same customer. If you do not wish to add another video to the list to be issued, leave the Video number blank and press Enter or click on OK.

The following alerts may be activated:

The videos you have selected will appear in the list in the Rent and sell dialog box. You can remove videos from the list or add more videos at this stage.

If the customer has reservations for the current day you can add them to the rental list by clicking on the Add reservation button.

If two videos are being rented for the same period and at the same rental rate you will have the opportunity to give a half price discount on the second by checking the appropriate box. Activate this offer by clicking on Rent one, next ½ price from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu.

If you wish to offer free rental(s) when a customer rents a specified number of videos, select Rent x, get y free from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu.

If you intend to deliver the rental to the customer, check the Deliver box. The rental will be added to the list of rentals due for delivery and the customer’s address will be printed on the rental receipt.

If you wish to make a sale of stock to the customer, click on the Add stock button or press the s key. If you wish to sell a video from your videos database to the customer, click on the Add videos button or press the v key.

In the case of stock, you will be prompted to enter the stock number or enter the first few letters of the description of the stock then select the item from the list. You will then be prompted to enter the quantity sold. You may also offer a discount (as a percentage or a cash amount) if you wish.

You may also sell non inventory items (which are not in the stock database) by clicking on the Non inventory button. Enter the description of the item, the unit price, the quantity, and specify whether taxes are applied.

In the case of videos, you will be prompted to enter the video number, or enter a keyword from the title or the first few letters of the title or select an actor or the director, then select the video from the list. If you have already specified the price of the video, you may override it if you wish. Otherwise enter the price of the video.

The stock and videos which you are selling will appear in the list. You can add or remove items at this stage.

You can choose whether to allow customers to pay for sales on account by selecting Check out options from the Point of sale submenu of the Setup menu.

You may also enter discounts on video rentals and/or sales, as actual amounts or as percentages.

If you enter a percentage discount, you are advised to do so after you have finished adding rentals and stock items.

You may redeem a gift certificate or a coupon by clicking on the appropriate button. Once you have redeemed a certificate or coupon you will not be allowed to add items to or remove items from the checkout list.

You will be prompted to enter the amount the customer is paying at the time of issue, and select the payment method. Please note that this is the net amount paid, not the amount tendered. If you wish to enable or disable the change calculator, see section 24.

If the amount paid is less than the amount owed by the customer, the balance will go to the customer’s account. If you put 0 or 0.00 as the amount paid, the entire amount of the rental will go to the customer’s account, and there is no need to select a method of payment.

If your store's policy is based on customers paying for rentals when the videos are returned, rather than when they are issued, you should enter the amount to be paid as 0.

If the Print invoice box is checked, a detailed invoice will be printed.

The wording of the contract on the invoice may be edited by selecting Edit contract text from the Setup menu.

If a customer queries his or her account balance, click on the question mark button (?) alongside the old balance to show a list of account transactions and late returns over the past 3 months.

To renew a customer’s membership, click on the plus (+) button alongside the membership expiration date.

If you are using contracts with credits you may sell credits to the customer by clicking on the plus (+) button next to the credits.

You may edit the customer comments and credit card details from the rental screen.

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9. Receiving video(s)

9.1 Conventional method
To accept returns, click on the green arrow on the toolbar, select Receive from the Rentals menu, or press F3.

You will be prompted to select the video to be returned (as in section 5). If the customer has more than one video to be returned, select any of the videos.

The dialog box will show all the videos which the customer has on loan. To receive all the videos, click on Receive all or press the a key. To receive individual videos, highlight the video, then click on Receive. The videos to be received will appear in the list box on the right. If you have received a video in error, highlight it and click on the Remove from list button. If there any rewind or cleaning fees, enter the numbers in the appropriate fields.

The next dialog box will show any late fees and rewind/cleaning fees. If a refund is due for early return (for example if the customer has rented the video for two nights and returned it after one, and you have a one night rate), it will be shown here.

If the amount to be paid is less than the total due, the balance will go to the customer’s account.

If the amount to be paid is not zero, you should enter the payment method. If you wish to print a receipt, check the appropriate box.

If rentals are paid for when videos are returned rather than when they are issued, the cost of the rental will make up the customer’s balance. Thus you can receive payment for the rental at the time of return by including the customer’s balance in the amount to be paid.

You may also choose to always post late charges to the customer’s account by selecting Late charge options from the Returns submenu of the Setup menu and checking the box.

You may also choose to calculate late fees based on the rental rate and the rental period by checking the appropriate box. This means that if for example you rent a video for a two night period for $3.00, if the video is returned 1 or 2 days late the late fee will be $3.00, if it 3 o4 nights late the late fee will be $6.00, etc.

You may wish to give customers a period of grace when they return videos. For example, suppose your return time is 8.00 pm and a customer walks in with returns at 7.55 pm. Your staff are busy, so they are unable to process the return until 8.05 pm. To avoid a customer being charged for this you can set up a period of grace by selecting Period of grace from the Returns submenu of the Setup menu. You can choose a period of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes or 60 minutes.

Instead of offering a cash refund for early returns, you may wish to offer a customer credits towards a free rental when they make early returns. To do so, select Credits for early returns from the Returns submenu of the Setup menu. Choose the number of nights which the video must be returned early, the number of credits, and the rates for which the offer applies. This offer is only available when the After x rentals get 1 free offer is in effect.

If any of the videos which have been returned are reserved, you will be informed so that you can keep them off the shelves.

If you wish to print the rental receipt numbers on return receipts, select Returns from the Receipt options submenu of the Setup menu and check the box.

9.2 Quick returns
This method of receiving videos is useful if the customers have dropped off the videos overnight and are not physically present in the store.

Select Quick returns from the Rentals menu, or press F8.

You will be prompted to select the video to be returned (as in section 5).

If there is a rewind or cleaning charge, check the box.

If there is a late charge or a rewind/cleaning charge, the combined charge will be posted to the customer’s account.

The quick return function will repeat until you click on Cancel on the dialog box.

You will not be able to print receipts using this method of return.

You should not use this method of return if customers pay for rentals when videos are returned rather than when they are issued.

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10. Cancelling past transactions

10.1 Rentals
There may be occasions when you wish to cancel the issue of videos, for example the customer may change his or her mind after paying for the video, or you might make a mistake during the issue process.

To cancel an issue, click on Cancel issue from the Rentals menu. Enter the transaction number for the rental. The program prompts with the last rental number, so if you wish to cancel the last issue, simply click on OK. You will be asked to confirm that you wish to cancel the issue.

10.2 Sales
To cancel a sales transaction (sale of video(s) or sale of stock), click on Cancel sale from the sales menu. You will be prompted to enter the transaction number, then confirm that you wish to cancel the sale.

10.3 Returns
To cancel the return of videos, click on Cancel return from the Rentals menu. You will be prompted to enter the transaction number, then confirm that you wish to cancel the return.

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11. Reserving a video and creating a “wish list”

To reserve a video, click on the calendar icon on the toolbar or select Reserve from the Reservations submenu of the Rentals menu.

Select the customer (as in section 6).

Select the video (as in section 5).

Next, enter the date and time that the video is required, and select the rental period.

If you have more than one copy of a title, the program will search for an available copy of the same title and format. Therefore the video number which is reserved may not be the same as the video number that you initially identified.

The program will not allow you to reserve a video if (a) the video is on long term loan, (b) the video is currently out on loan and will not be returned in time, (c) the video is already reserved for part of the reservation period, or (d) the street date of the video will not have been reached by the date of the reservation.

Although the reservations function specifies a video number, if you have multiple copies of the video and that video number is not available at the time of rental, it will be replaced with any other available video of the same title and format.

If no copy of the video is available for the specified date the program will search for the next available date and prompt you to make the reservation for that date.

If you have special monthly membership set up, it may not be convenient to use the usual reservations as you may not know when a video is going to be returned. In that case you can use the Wish list function to create a list of videos that a customer wishes to rent subject to availability.

Select Wish list from the Reservations submenu of the Rentals menu, and identify the customer. To add a video to the list, click on Add video. To remove a video, highlight the video and click on Remove video.

When a customer rents videos, the items from the wish list will be automatically selected if they are available.

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12. Cancelling a reservation

To cancel a reservation, select Cancel from the Reservations submenu of the Rentals menu. Identify the customer then select the reservation to be cancelled from the list.

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13. Accepting payment on accounts

If your video store has a system where customers are allowed to build up accounts and pay them off periodically, you can accept payments by clicking on the credit card icon on the toolbar or selecting Accept payment from the Accounts menu.

Identify the customer (as in section 6). The next dialog box will show the customer’s balance, credit card number and expiry date. You should enter the amount of payment, and select the payment method from the droplist. If the Print receipt box is checked, a receipt will be sent to the printer.

You will then be asked to confirm the payment.

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14. Setting up stock for POS

VideoMate comes with an integral point of sales module.

To add a stock item to the database, select Add new stock item from the Merchandise menu, click on the cans icon on the toolbar, or press F6.

Before adding stock, you must set up the taxes on sales items by clicking on Sales from the Taxes submenu of the Setup menu. If you intend to sell gift certificates or videos from rental stock you should also indicate whether sales tax applies to these transactions.

You will be prompted to enter a description of the item, the selling price, the quantity in stock, the reorder level and the stock number (maximum 14 characters). The software will supply the stock number, but you may override this value. VideoMate will not allow you to enter duplicate stock numbers.

The first time you add a stock item the fields for supplier and category will not be populated. You can add a supplier by entering the name of the supplier in the Add supplier section and clicking on Add. The supplier will then be available in the supplier drop list. The same applies to categories (which could include, for example, food, drinks, confectionery, etc).

You should also indicate whether sales tax(es) apply to the stock item by checking the appropriate box(es).

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15. Modifying stock records

To modify a stock record, select Modify stock item from the Merchandise menu, click on the binoculars icon to the right of the cans icon, or press F11.

You will be asked to identify the stock item by selecting from entering the stock number or entering the first few characters of the stock description then selecting the item from the list.

You may modify the description, the selling price, the stock number, the quantity in stock (for example when you receive new supplies) and the reorder level.

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16. Selling stock or videos to walk-in customers

To make a sale, select Sell stock from the Sales menu, select Sell video from the Videos menu, click on the shopping cart icon on the toolbar, click on the video for sale icon on the toolbar, or press F7.

To sell stock, click on the Add stock button or press the s key.

You will be prompted to identify the first item in the shopping basket, by entering the stock number or entering the first few characters of the description then selecting the item from the list. You may offer a discount as a percentage or a cash amount.

Enter the quantity to be sold, then click on OK.

You may also sell non inventory items (which are not in the stock database) by clicking on the Non inventory button. Enter the description of the item, the unit price, the quantity, and specify whether taxes are applied.

To sell videos, click on the Add video button, or press the v key.

Identify the video to be sold by entering the video number, or by entering a keyword from the title or the first few characters from the title or selecting an actor or the director, the selecting the video from the list.

To remove an item from the list, highlight it then click on Remove item.

Identify the payment method from the droplist. If you wish to print a receipt, make sure the box is checked.

You may also offer a discount on the total charge, as an actual amount or as a percentage. If you enter a percentage discount, you are advised to do so after you have finished adding items to the check out list.

You may redeem a gift certificate or a coupon by clicking on the appropriate button. Once you have redeemed a certificate or coupon you will not be allowed to add items to or remove items from the checkout list.

If you wish to add text with your own wording to the bottom of sales receipts, select Edit sales text from the Print options submenu of the Setup menu. Enter the text and click on OK to save it. You may also edit the text using this menu item.

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17. Reports

Most of the reports generated by VideoMate can be exported in comma separated variables (csv) format so that they can be imported to Microsoft Excel. To enable this function, select Export reports from the Setup menu and check the box.

The name of the file which is created each time you display a report is report.csv, which will be saved in your My Documents folder.

17.1 Accounts

The Accounts submenu of the Reports menu has 12 commands:

Accounts summary: This command displays a summary of transactions involving account payments for a specified period.

Cash outlays: This command summarizes cash outlays for a specified period.

Daily receipts: This command displays the receipts for a particular day. The receipts are broken down by payment method (eg cash, credit card). The gross receipts are shown, the tax due (if any) and the net receipts after tax has been deducted. Receipts for rentals deposits (if any), sales and account payments are shown separately

Daily revenue & tax: This command displays the revenue and tax from all sources for a particular day.

Delivery/pickup charges: This command lists delivery and pickup charges for a specified period.

Miscellaneous charges: This command displays a summary of miscellaneous charges for a specified period.

Period receipts: As daily receipts, except that the receipts are displayed for a specified period.

Period revenue & tax: As daily revenue, except that the revenue and tax are displayed for a specified period.

Refunds: Reports on refunds made over a specified period.

Shift summary: This command prints a summary of the receipts for a particular shift. Enter the shift’s start day and start time, and end day and end time.

Total balance: Displays the total amount owed by all customers.

Transactions summary: Displays a summary of all transactions for a specified period. Cancelled transactions will be shown in red and the amounts will not be added to the totals.

X-Charge transactions: Displays all transactions using X-Charge for a specified period.

17.2 Cancelled transactions

Reports on cancelled transactions over a specified period. This report is only available if you have logged on with the Setup password.

17.3 Contracts

The Contracts submenu of the Reports menu has 3 commands:

Adjustments: Reports on adjustments to customers' contract units for a specified period.

Current units: Lists customers with contracts, showing the current units credited.

Payments: Reports on contract payments made over a specified period.

17.4 Coupons

The Coupons submenu of the Reports menu has 2 commands:

History: Reports on coupons which have been redeemed during a specified period.

Status: Displays the current status of coupons.

17.5 Customers

The Customers submenu of the Reports menu has 19 commands:

Account history: Displays a customer’s account history since a specified date.

Balances: Displays a list of customers with balances greater than a specified amount.

Birthdays: Displays a list of customers with birthdays in a specified month. Select the month.

Deliveries & pickups: Displays a list of deliveries and pickups made during a specified period.

Inactive: Displays a list of customers with less than a specified number of rentals for a particular period. For example you could generate a report showing all customers with less than 10 rentals since 01/01/05 to 01/01/06.

Joining since: Displays a list of customers who have joined since a specified date.

Lateness: details: Displays a detailed summary of a customer’s late returns since a specified date.

Lateness: summary: Displays a list of customers with persistent late returns. For example you could generate a report showing all customers with more than 10 late returns since 01/01/01. In this report, if a customer has returned several late videos on one occasion, it will show as one event.

List: Displays an alphabetically-sorted list of all customers whose last names begin with a specified range of letters. To display all customers, specify the letters A to Z. You can also restrict the report to customers who have rented on the current day.

Most Active: Displays a list of the customers who have been the most active since a specified date. The list is sorted in order of the number of rentals since the specified date. You can choose the number of customers to display, eg the top 10, or the top 100.

New videos not seen: Displays a list of videos acquired since a specified date which the customer has not seen. Identify the customer and enter the date since which the videos were acquired.

Rental history (all customers): Displays a summary of past rentals for all customers since a specified date.

Rental history (single customer): Displays a customer’s rental history since a specified date.

Rental list: Displays all the videos currently on loan to a specified customer.

Rentals since last free one: Displays the number of videos that a customer has rented since he or she last received a free rental. This report will be disabled when the After x rentals get 1 free offer is not in effect.

Security deposits: Displays a list of customer showing the security deposits paid.

Special membership: Lists the details of customers with special monthly membership. You may choose whether to display all special customers, or only those with membership due for renewal.

Transactions summary: Displays all the transactions made by a specified customer over a specified period. Cancelled transactions will be shown in red and the amounts will not be added to the totals.

Wish list: Displays the items on a specified customer’s wish list. Identify the customer.

17.6 Daily summary

This command allows you to generate a current report on the total number of videos, the total number of customers, the receipts and refunds for the current day, the number of videos currently on loan, the number of videos issued for the current day, and the number of videos returned for the current day. The command toggles the Summary dialog box on and off. You can also click on the summation sign on the toolbar to toggle the report on and off.

17.7 Employee hours

This command reports on hours worked by an employee over a specified period.

17.8 Holidays

This command displays the holidays when the store is closed.

17.9 Last transaction number

This command displays the number of the last transaction (whether a rental or a sales transaction). This may be useful if you wish to cancel the lasts transaction.

17.10 Merchandise

The Merchandise submenu of the Reports menu has 4 commands:

List stock: Lists all current stock, showing description, stock number, selling price, quantity in stock and reorder level.

Quantity adjustments: Reports on merchandise quantity adjustments (where the stock quantity has been manually changed or a stock item has been deleted) for a specified period.

Reorders: Lists all stock due for reorder because the current quantity in stock has fallen to or below the reorder level.

Stock received: Reports on stock received over a specified period.

17.11 Offers

This command allows you to display a list of all offers which are currently in effect.

17.12 Rentals

The Rentals submenu of the Reports menu has 12 commands:

Current rentals: Generates a list of videos which are currently on loan. You may opt to sort the report by date of issue or by video number.

Deliveries: Displays the details of rentals which are due to be delivered.

Exchanges: Displays a list of videos which have been exchanged during a specified period.

Free rentals: Displays a list of rental transactions that have offered free rentals by the “After x rentals get 1 free offer” during a specified period.

Late returns: Generates a list of videos which are currently on loan and which should have been returned. You may opt to sort the late returns alphabetically according to the customers’ last names. (This may create a small delay in generating the report.) You may also choose to show all late returns, or only those that are late by more than a specified number of days.

If you wish to phone the customer about the late returns, click on the phone number and Windows dialer will automatically dial the number for you.

If you wish to email the customer, click on the email address. The email will itemize the videos which are overdue for return.

Long term loans: Displays a report on videos which are currently on long term loan.

Period rentals report: Displays a detailed report on all rental transactions for a specified period.

Period returns report: Displays a list of returns for a specified period.

Reservations (all): Displays a list of all videos which are currently reserved.

Reservations (by day): Displays a list of reservations which are due for collection on a specified day.

Returns due: Displays a list of videos which are due for return on a specified date.

Summary: Displays a summary of videos rented over a specified period. The rentals are summarized according to price and format.

17.13 Sales

The Sales submenu of the Reports menu has 4 commands:

By category: Shows the total sales for each merchandise category over a specified period. The report does not include sales of videos from rental stock nor gift certificates. It takes into account any merchandise returns.

Detailed report: Displays a detailed report on all sales transactions for a specified period.

Returns: Displays a report on returned stock over a specified period.

Summary report: Displays a summary of sales for a specified period.

17.14 Statistics

The Statistics submenu of the Reports menu has 5 commands:

Annual: Generates a bar chart showing the number of rentals each month for a specified year.

Average rental period: Reports on average rental periods for each video format and the overall average rental period, based on rentals over the last 3 months.

By type of video: Generates a bar chart showing the number of rentals by type of video. You may specify by format, by rating, or by language.

Hourly: Generates a bar chart showing rental activity for hourly periods since a specified date. This report will help you decide on staffing levels and possibly opening hours during the day.

Monthly: Generates a bar chart showing the number of rentals for each day for a specified month.

17.15 Videos

The Videos submenu of the Reports menu has 18 commands:

Acquisitions: Reports on videos acquired during a specified period. Enter the start date and the end date for the period of the report.

Availability: Reports on the availability of a title. Enter the title of the video and select the format if applicable.

If a copy of the title is currently available, you will be informed.

If all the copies of the title are on loan you will be notified of the earliest return date and time.

Damaged videos: Displays a list of videos which have been flagged as damaged.

Deletions: Reports on videos which have been deleted over a specified period. Videos which have been transferred from rental stock to sales stock will be identified with an asterisk.

History: Displays the rental history of a specified video since a particular date.

List (actors): Displays an alphabetically-sorted list of all videos whose titles begin with a specified range of letters, showing the actors who star in the videos. To display all videos, specify the letters A to Z. You may narrow the list by specifying a particular format, category, rating, or price option. You may also choose to show only videos which are currently in the store.

List (general): Displays an alphabetically-sorted list of all videos whose titles begin with a specified range of letters, showing general information on the videos. To display all videos, specify the letters A to Z. You may narrow the list by specifying a particular format, category, rating, or price option. You may also choose to list only videos which were acquired during a specified period. You may also choose to show only videos which are currently in the store.

Locations: Displays a list of videos which are kept at a specified location. If you wish to show all videos kept at the location and not just those in stock, clear the check box.

Lost videos: Displays a list of all videos which have been flagged as lost or missing.

Not rented since: Lists videos which have not been rented since a specified date.

Preorders: Display a summary of the current preorders list.

Sales: Displays the list of videos which have been sold from the rental stock during a specified period. You may specify that only videos of a specified format are listed.

Slowest titles: Displays a list of videos with less than a specified number of rentals since a particular date. For example you could generate a report showing all videos with less than 10 rentals since 01/01/01. You may narrow the list down by selecting a particular format.

Starring or directed by: Displays a list of videos starring specified actor(s) or and/or directed by a particular director. One or two actors may be specified. You may narrow the list down by selecting a particular format. You may also choose to show only videos which are currently in the store.

Summary: Shows the quantities of videos in the database by category and format.

Top titles: Displays a list of the videos which have been the most popular since a specified date. The list is sorted in order of the number of rentals since the specified date. You can choose the number of videos to display, eg the top 10, or the top 100. You may narrow the list down by selecting a particular format.

Utilization: Displays a report on video utilization (number of rentals) and revenue since a specified date. Only 10,000 videos may be displayed at one time, and you may reduce the extent of the report by specifying a range of letters for the first letter of the video title, or by specifying the format, category, rating, price or language. The report does not take into account any discounts or offers enabled at the time of rental.

What happened to: Reports on what has happened to a particular video number. The report shows whether the video number is in stock, on loan, deleted, sold, damaged, etc. There may be several items in the report, as you may have deleted or sold the video and used the same number for a replacement.

17.16 Gift certificates

This command displays the details of all gift certificates which are in circulation and have a redeemable value.

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18. Photographs

18.1 Customers
Customer photographs should be of BMP format, and approximately 120 pixels wide by 160 pixels high. The photographs may be produced by scanning or by digital camera, and should reside in the same folder as VideoMate.

The filename should be related to the customer number. If the customer number is, for example, 00000123, the filename should be 00000123.bmp. The file should be saved in the folder C:\VideoMate.

If you wish to add photographs for family members, the filename for the first family member should be 000001231.bmp, for the second 000001232.bmp, etc. The files should be saved in the folder C:\VideoMate\Family.

Customer photographs will be displayed automatically each time you search for a customer (eg when you are issuing a video).

You can import existing image files automatically by selecting Import photograph from the Customers menu. Search for the customer and confirm that the correct customer has been identified. If you wish to import the photograph of a family member select the appropriate family member from the list.

Click on the Get file button and select the image file, which can be of BMP, JPG or TIF format. Rotate the image if necessary. Fit the photograph to the image box by resizing the image and scrolling. Click on the Save button to add the photograph to the database.

18.2 Videos
You may show photographs from video covers when you search for a video.

First create a subfolder in your VideoMate folder called ‘videos’ (C:\VideoMate\videos). The image files will reside in this folder.

Supposing the video number is 123456. The corresponding image file should be named 123456.bmp.

If you have several copies of a particular title and format, you only need to import the image file for one of the video numbers.

The images should be approximately 90 x 164 pixels in size.

You can import existing image files automatically by selecting Import image from the Videos menu.

Search for the video. Click on the Get file button and select the image file, which can be of BMP, JPG or TIF format. Rotate the image if necessary. Fit the image to the image box by resizing the image and scrolling. Click on the Save button to add the image to the database.

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19. Barcodes

19.1 Barcode readers
You may use a barcode reader to enter the video number or the customer number. Most barcode readers require no special software, they send data to the computer just as if it were sent by the keyboard.

VideoMate has a 14 character fields for video numbers, so that UPC barcodes can be used. If you are using UPC barcodes and you have more than one copy of the same video, label the copies 1, 2, 3, etc, or A, B, C, etc. After you have scanned the UPC, enter the suffix which identifies the copy.

For further advice on barcode readers, please contact GrenSoft.

19.2 Barcode labeling - videos

To print barcodes for videos select Print barcode labels from the Videos menu.

You can print labels as you are adding videos to the VideoMate database, or if your database is already set up you can print from the database.

To print labels as you are adding videos you must first go to the Setup menu, then Point of sale, then Barcodes, and check the box to save video data. A file will be created containing the titles and numbers of the videos which you add, and this file will be used to print the barcodes.

To print videos from the database, you must enter the first video number you wish to print, and the last video number you wish to print. You can then choose to print barcodes for all videos falling in the alphabetical list between these numbers or for all videos falling numerically between these numbers. You can check the alphabetical list of videos by selecting List (general) from the Videos submenu of the reports menu.

You may choose to print barcodes on a label printer (we recommend 29mm x 90mm labels) or on a standard A4 or letter sized printer using sheets of labels.

In the case of a standard printer the barcodes print on standard address labels, 2 - 5/8 inches by 1 inch, 30 per sheet, such as Avery address labels # 8160, or standard return labels, 1 – 3/4 inches by 1/2 inch, 80 per sheet (Avery # 8167). With the larger labels, the title, barcode, video number and name of store are printed. With the smaller labels the name of the store is omitted.

If you find that the labels are not aligned properly, you can set them up by clicking on the appropriate Alignment button.

If you have already printed on some of the labels on a sheet you can start where you left off by selecting the column and row where the first label should be printed.

Please do no use the underscore character when numbering videos at it is not recognized by barcode readers.

19.2 Barcode labeling - merchandise

To print barcode labels for merchandise select Print barcode labels from the Merchandise menu.

Identify the item of merchandise and enter the number of labels you wish to print. The labels print on a label printer. We recommend 29mm x 90mm labels.

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20. Company logo

Your company logo can be printed on receipts and forms. To enable this feature, your logo must be in Windows BMP file format (26.7 million colors, 24 bit bitmap). Rename your logo image file logo.bmp and replace the existing logo.bmp file in the VideoMate folder. The next time you run VideoMate your logo will appear in the opening dialog box.

To enable printing of the logo, select Print logo from the Setup menu. Note that when the logo is printed the print time may be increased significantly. If you are using a receipt printer, printing the logo is disabled.

In general the logo image file should be no more than 200 pixels in height.

If your logo does not print properly, it may be the incorrect file format. Send the file to GrenSoft as an email attachment and we will convert it to the correct format.

If you don’t already have a logo and you are feeling artistic you can create one using Windows Paint.

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21. Preorders

Video suppliers may publicize the release of videos some time before the street date (ie the date that the video can be issued to customers). It may also be possible to order and receive the video before the street date on condition that the video is not rented until that date. This is known as a preorder.

VideoMate allows you to manage preorders.

To enter a preorder into the system, click on Add to preorder list from the Preorders submenu of the Videos menu. You will be prompted to enter the title of the video, the number of copies (quantity) to be reordered, the unit cost, the preorder date (the date when the video is available for order), the street date, the video format and the video rating.

When the preorder date is reached, VideoMate will prompt you to order the video (or cancel the preorder).

After the videos have been received, you will need to enter them into the video database. To do so, click on Receive preorder from the Preorders submenu of the Videos menu. Select the video from the droplist and select the category and rate for the video. You will then be asked to enter the video number for each copy of the video ordered. The street date will be automatically entered into the comments field of the video, and VideoMate will not allow you to issue the video until that date is reached.

When the street date is reached, VideoMate will prompt you so that you can take the video out of the storage area and put it on the shelves. At this time the video will be dropped from the preorder list as it is now fully functional.

You can list all videos for preorder by selecting Preorder from the Videos submenu of the Reports menu.

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22. Specials and contracts

22.1 Contracts
If you have a contract system, where a customer pays a certain amount in advance and receives a number of credits in return, select Contracts from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu.

Enter the contract value (eg 20.00), and the number of credits received for this amount (eg 10). You can enter up to 6 contract amounts, so that you could give a discount for higher payments, or a disproportionately large number of units.

Enter the number of credit units which are consumed when videos of the various rate options are rented. Also enter the number of nights for which the contract is valid. If the contract is not valid for some rate options, leave the number of units blank.

For a customer to make a contract payment, select Accept contract payment from the Accounts menu or click on the contract icon on the toolbar. Select the amount paid and the payment method. If you want to print a receipt, click the appropriate box. This function will be disabled if there are no contracts.

22.2 Coupons
You may wish to set up coupons, which are redeemable against rentals and/or sales. For example, you might place an advert in a local paper saying “Present this coupon and receive 10% off your next rental.”

Select Add coupon from the Coupons submenu of the Offers submenu of the Setup menu. Enter the value of the coupon as a percentage or a cash value, and indicate whether the coupon is redeemable against rentals, sales, or both. Enter the expiration date of the coupon.

You may override the coupon number, but duplicate coupon numbers are not allowed. To modify or delete a coupon, select Modify coupon from the Coupons submenu of the Offers submenu of the Setup menu. You will be able to change any of the parameters apart from the coupon number.

22.3 Daily special(s)
If your video store has one or more daily specials (eg half price on Mondays), you may incorporate this using the VideoMate setup.

Select Special rate day(s) from the offers submenu of the Setup menu. Indicate the day(s) of the week for the special, and enter the special rates. Whenever you issue videos for one night rental on those particular days of the week, the special rates will be used.

Note that the specials apply only to one night rentals. Special rates and half price rentals cannot be applied on the same days.

22.4 Progressive discount
This offer allows you to offer a number of videos at progressively lower rates. For example you might have an offer where the first video is rented at the normal rate, the second at 80% of the normal rate, the third at 60% of the normal rate and the fourth at 40% of the normal rate. A fifth video would revert to the normal rate and the cycle would repeat itself.

To set up this offer select Progressive discount from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu. Select the number of videos involved in the offer (four in the above case), and enter the percentage of the normal rate for each video. The offer will apply to all rates (A, B, C etc).

You may specify that the offer applies to any combination of rates, or only to videos of the same rate.

The offer will not be available when any of the following offers are enabled:

22.5 Rent one, get the next half price
To activate this offer, select Rent one, next ½ price from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu. Check the days when the offer will be in effect. You should make sure that no other offers are in effect on days when this offer is enabled.

This offer will not be available on days when the Rent x get y free offer is operating nor when either of the following offers is enabled:

22.6 Rent a specified number and get one or more free
To set up this special offer, select Rent x, get y free from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu. If you want this offer to apply to only one rate, select the rate from the drop list.

If the offer applies to all rates, then by default, the offer will be made available when the specified number of videos are rented at the same rate and for the same period. To make the offer apply to any combination of rates and rental periods, check the appropriate box.

22.7 Rent x movies at a specified rate and keep them for y nights
You might have an offer whereby a customer can rent 7 old movies and keep them for 7 nights, whilst only paying the rate for 1 night.

To set up this type of offer, select Rent x for y nights from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu.

To add an offer, select the number of videos which must be rented, the number of nights and the rate, then click on the Add button.

To remove an offer, highlight it from the list and click on Delete.

When you are renting videos which are subject to this offer, select the 1 night rental period. You will be notified if the customer is eligible for the offer. When you click on Confirm, the program will automatically update the rental period.

22.8 Half price day(s)
If your video store has half price rentals on certain days, you may incorporate this using the VideoMate setup.

Select Half price day(s) from the Setup menu and indicate the day(s) of the week when half price applies. The half price rates do not apply to part day and weekend rentals. Special rates and half price rentals cannot be applied on the same days.

22.9 Discounts for quantity
To set up this offer, select Discounts for quantity from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu.

To add a discount, specify the number of videos that must be rented before the discount applies, the rate, the number of nights, and the discount on each additional video. You may also specify that each offer is valid for any day, or for a specified day of the week.

If you wish to limit the number of discounted videos that can be rented, enter the number in the appropriate field. If there is no limit, leave the field blank. The maximum will apply to each discount offer separately.

The offer will not be available when any of the following offers are enabled:

22.10 Prepayments
With this offer, a customer may make a prepayment to his or her account and receive additional credits.

Select Prepayments from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu. You will be prompted to enter the percentage additional credits that a customer will receive on making a prepayment.

22.11 Rent x for the price of 1
With this offer, a customer may rent one video and get additional ones free.

Select Rent x for the price of 1 from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu, and check the rates to which this offer applies. Select the number of videos which are offered for the price of one.

The offer will not be available when any of the following offers are enabled:

22.12 After x rentals get 1 free
With this offer, a customer gets a free rental after renting the specified number of videos over a period of time.

Select After x rentals get 1 free from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu. Specify the number of rentals which qualifies the customer for a free video. The free rental will come into effect when the customer has rented and returned the specified number of videos.

You may specify that the rentals have to be all the same format, ie 10 DVD rentals will earn a free DVD rental, 10 VHS rentals will earn a free VHS rental. You may also specify the rates to which the offer applies.

To disable this offer, enter a value of zero.

22.13 Rent x videos for y dollars
This offer allows customers to rent any x movies for a specified number of nights for a cost of y currency units.

Select Rent x for y dollars from the Offers submenu of the Setup menu. Select the number of movies that can be rented, the number of nights, and enter the cost. Specify the days on which the offer will be enabled.

To disable the offer, select 0 for the number of videos.

This offer will not be available when any of the following offers are enabled:

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23. Insurance

VideoMate allows you to offer insurance on video rentals. You enable this option, select Insurance from the Rates submenu of the Setup menu. Enter the cost of insurance per video rented.

To disable this option, click on Cancel.

The taxes which apply to video rentals also apply to insurance.

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24. Check out options

To enable or disable the change calculator for calculating the change due to a customer when videos are rented, select Check out options from the Point of sale submenu of the Setup menu. There is an option to round the change to the nearest 5 cents. To set this up, select Calculation of change from the Point of sale submenu.

You may set up an alert so that if the employee enters the wrong amount to be paid during a rental transaction you will be warned. If the amount to be paid exceeds the amount that you enter in this field, a warning will appear. If you do not want an alert, leave the field blank.

You may choose whether customers should be allowed to pay for merchandise sales on account. The options are: (a) never allow customers to pay for sales on account, (b) always allow customers to pay for sales on account and (c) allow customers to pay for sales on account only if they have sufficient credit balance to cover the cost of the sale.

You can also set up the default for the amount to be paid during rentals and returns. If you want the customer to pay off all that is owed (including any account balance, check the first option. If you want the customer to pay only the cost of the current transaction, check the second option.

You may set up VideoMate so that customers can pay using a currency other than the default currency. To do so select Second currency from the Point of sale submenu of the Setup menu. The second currency will be an option on the change calculator.

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25. Special membership and discount membership

25.1 Special membership
A major chain of video rental stores has introduced a monthly membership plan where customers pay so much a month and can rent a specified number of videos at any one time at no extra cost. VideoMate allows you to emulate this type of membership.

You may wish to introduce a special monthly membership where a customer pays a membership fee each month and is entitled to take out up to a specified number of videos at any one time for free. You may also restrict the maximum number of videos the customer rents in a month. You can choose to apply the membership plan to all rental rates, or just a single rate.

To set up the special monthly membership, select Special from the Membership submenu of the Setup menu. You will be prompted to enter the monthly membership fee and the number of videos which can be rented at any one time. The same taxes which apply to regular membership will apply to special membership. If you do not have a regular membership fee you will be asked to specify the taxes.

If the membership plan applies to all rates, but you wish to exclude a particular rate (for example if you do not want the plan to apply to video games), select the rate from the drop list.

If there is a maximum number of videos which a special member can rent in a month, specify the maximum in the appropriate box, otherwise leave it blank. If the membership plan applies to only one rate, select the rate.

VideoMate allows you to set up 5 types of special membership. If you have less than 5, leave the others blank.

You have the option to:

  1. Base the monthly period on the date the customer joined. For example, if he or she joined on 15 May 2004, the monthly period would go from the 15th of one month to the 14th of the next.
  2. Base the monthly period on a calendar month. In this case the monthly period would go from the 1st of the month to the last day of the month.
If you do not wish to specify a rental period for special members, check the box. In that case they will not pay late fees on special rentals.

If you wish to allow special customers to rent videos at the normal rental rate after they have reached their quota, or if they wish to rent videos whose rental rate is not covered by the plan, check the box. In this case the rentals will be subject to the normal late charges.

To apply the special membership to a customer, search for the customer and check the box Special monthly membership, then select the type (A, B, C, D or E).

You may set up default rental periods for standard membership and special membership. For example, standard members might normally rent for 2 nights and special members for 4 nights. To set this up, select Default rental period from the Membership submenu of the Setup menu. This function will not be available if you do not have special membership.

To renew a special customer’s membership, select Single membership from the Renew membership submenu of the Customers menu. To renew the membership of all special customers whose membership is due for renewal, select All special members from the Renew membership submenu of the Customers menu.

You may also renew a customer’s membership from the rental issue screen.

25.2 Discount membership
You may wish to introduce discount memberships for certain groups (such as students or senior citizens) where the customer may rent videos at a discounted price.

Click on Discount from the Membership submenu of the Setup menu. Three levels of discount membership are available, but you need not use them all. Enter the percentage discount(s).

Enter 0 to disable a discount membership.

When discount membership is enabled, a Discount membership check box will appear on the Add customer and Modify customer screens. Check this box if the customer is a discount member and select the level of discount membership.

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26. Backing up data files

To back up the VideoMate data files, select Back up from the File menu.

Select the destination folder for the backup files and VideoMate will copy all the data files to this folder.

VideoMate will prompt you to change the backup tape or disk when it is full.

Depending on the CD burning software you are using it may not be possible to back up data directly to a CD. In that case create a backup folder on your hard drive, specify that as the backup folder, then burn the files to a CD.

You will be prompted to back up data each time you exit VideoMate and each time an employee logs off.

We recommend that for convenience and security you back up to a USB flash memory stick.

DO NOT back up the data files if you think there may be a problem with them, you might overwrite good files.

To restore the data (eg if your hard drive crashes) you should run the installation program on your new PC, then copy all the data files from your backup medium into the VideoMate folder (C:\VideoMate) before you run VideoMate the first time. You can also restore the data files by running the program Restore.exe which you will find in your VideoMate folder.

If you don’t have the installation program, you can download it from www.videorentalsoftware.com. If the version you download is not your old version, you should apply for a new registration key.

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27. Receipt printing options

You may specify that either one or two copies of receipts are printed by selecting Receipts from the Print options submenu of the Setup menu. You may also specify that receipts should always or never be printed for rentals, returns and sales.

You may specify that VideoMate prints only rental items after a combined rental and sales transaction by checking the appropriate box.

If you are not using a receipt printer you can choose whether to print a border round receipts by checking the appropriate box.

If you are using a receipt printer, the video title is not normally printed on rental receipts. To print the title, check the box at the bottom of the dialog box.

If you are using a receipt printer and you find that the line spacing is too great, reduce it by specifying the appropriate percentage reduction. If the font is the wrong size, correct it by choosing the appropriate percentage (100% is the default).

If you are using an Epson TM series receipt printer, or a receipt printer which emulates the TM series, and a cash drawer is connected to the printer, you can enable the printer to kick open the cash drawer by checking the box near the bottom of the dialog box. You can also open the cash drawer (eg for a no-sale) by selecting Open cash drawer from the Sales menu.

You can also set up VideoMate so that it will open a cash drawer with a serial connection or a USB connection after each transaction involving payments. Select Serial or USB cash drawer from the Point of sale submenu of the Setup menu, then select the COM port that the cash drawer is connected to or check the box for a USB cash drawer. You can also open the cash drawer by selecting Open cash drawer from the Sales menu.

By default, VideoMate prints on A4 or Letter size paper unless you are using a receipt printer. You may save paper by printing receipts (rentals/sales/returns) on A5 or half Letter size if you wish. VideoMate will automatically detect the paper size and adjust the print size to fit (provided you specify the paper size in the printer setup).

If you wish to print forms and receipts on headed paper, select Headed paper from the Print options submenu of the Setup menu. After this option is selected, VideoMate will not print the details of the store at the top of receipts, and will leave space for your own letterhead (unless you are using a receipt printer).

By default VideoMate prints all receipts in English. You may set up VideoMate to print receipts in Spanish, French, Slovenian or German. To do so, select Language from the Print options submenu of the Setup menu.

If you are using a receipt printer and you find it is printing too slowly, select Receipt printer speed from the Print options submenu of the Setup menu. Check the box. This function does not work for all receipt printers. If you find that the printer does not print correctly, clear the box.

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28. Exporting email addresses

VideoMate enables you to export customers’ email addresses so that they can be added to your email program address book. Click on Export email addresses from the Customers menu or click on the email icon from the toolbar.

You may export all the customer email addresses, or those for customers whose last names begin with a specified range of letters.

A CSV file, email.csv, will be created in your My Documents folder. To import the file into Outlook Express, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Outlook Express and click on Address Book from the Tools menu.
  2. Click on Import from the File menu, then click on Other Address Book.
  3. Click on Text File (Comma Separated Values), then Import.
  4. Click on the Browse button, and select the file email.csv from your My Documents folder.
  5. Click on Next and then Finish.
Once you have imported the addresses into the address book, you can create a Group containing all the addresses, so that you can send an email to all the VideoMate customers who have email.

The email addresses are also copied to the Windows clipboard so that you can paste them into the CC field or the BCC field of your email program.

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29. Exporting mailing list

VideoMate enables you to create a data source for Microsoft Word mail merge.

You may export all the customer addresses, or those for customers whose last names begin with a specified range of letters.

A file, mailmerge.dat, will be created in your My Documents folder. To import the file into Microsoft Word, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Microsoft Word and click on Mail Merge from the Tools menu.
  2. Click on Create to select whether you are going to print envelopes or labels.
  3. Click on Get Data, then Open Data Source.
  4. Select the file mailmerge.dat from your My Documents folder.
  5. Insert the merge fields: Name, Address_1, Address_2, Address_3, Recipient (separated by 'Enter').
Note that the Name is the full name of the customer (eg Mrs Susan Smith) and the Recipient is the title plus the last name (eg Mrs Smith).

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30. Exporting databases to Microsoft Excel

To export your customer database, click on Export to Excel from the Customers menu. A file with comma separated variables will be generated. The name of the file is customers.csv and it will be saved in your My Documents folder.

To export your video database, click on Export to Excel from the Videos menu. A file with comma separated variables will be generated. The name of the file is videos.csv.

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31. Networking VideoMate

VideoMate is network ready. If you wish to run VideoMate on a network, follow the following steps:

  1. Run the VideoMate installation program on your server. Make the VideoMate folder a shared folder and be sure to check the box to allow other users to change files.
  2. Run the VideoMate installation program on each of your workstations (this will register some files with the Windows registry).
  3. Modify the VideoMate shortcut on each of your workstation desktops, so that the target is the VideoMate.exe file on your server and the “Start in” folder is the shared VideoMate folder on your server. An alternative to this is to delete the desktop shortcut. Then open the shared folder on the server from the workstation, right drag (holding the right mouse button down) the VideoMate.exe file onto the desktop on the workstation and select Create Shortcut Here.
Please note that if you change the VideoMate setup on any of your computers you must restart VideoMate on the other computers for the changes to take effect.

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32. Password protection

32.1 Setup
To choose a Setup password, select Set password from the Setup menu. Enter the password, when re-enter it to confirm. Subsequently the Setup menu commands will be automatically password protected. You can also choose to password protect other functions by checking the appropriate boxes.

32.2 Employees
You can set up VideoMate so that employees have to enter their personal password to access VideoMate. The name of the employee will then be printed on all receipts.

Select Add employee from the Employee submenu of the Setup menu. Enter the name of the employee and the employee’s personal password.

Before adding an employee, you must choose a Setup password as described in the previous section.

To remove an employee from the password protection, select Remove employee from the Employee submenu of the Setup menu.

To change an employee’s password, select Change password from the Employee submenu of the Setup menu.

When an employee logs in to VideoMate they will be asked to enter the cash balance in the cash register at the start of their shift. When the employee logs off they will be asked if they wish to print a shift summary. The summary will calculate the balance which should be in the register at the end of the shift.

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33. Printing old receipts

You may print an old receipt for rentals, sales or returns by selecting Print receipt from the File menu. You will be prompted to enter the transaction number pertaining to the receipt. The program will prompt with the last transaction number.

You can also print a range of receipts between specified transaction numbers by selecting Print range of receipts from the File menu. Enter the start and end transaction numbers.

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34. A note about discounts

When you offer a discount on rental prices or sales prices, it is assumed that the discount will be applied to prices after tax. For example if you sell an item with a price of $10.00 and 10% tax is added to the price, the total will be $11.00. If you offer a discount of $2.00, the total will be $9.00. The discount which appears on the receipt will be less that $2.00 (actually $1.82), because this is the discount which is applied to prices before tax. Otherwise you would be charging tax on the discount!

The receipt will appear as follows:
Cost of item10.00
Discount-1.82
Tax0.82 (10% of 10.00 - 1.82)
Total9.00

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35. Renewing rentals

To renew a rental (ie extend the rental period), select Renewal from the Rentals menu.

You will be prompted to enter the customer number, or enter the first few characters of the last name or the first few characters of the ID or the last 4 characters of the home, work or cell phone number then select from the list.

Select the video which you wish to renew, and enter the new rental period.

VideoMate calculates the renewal charge as follows:

Suppose the original rental period was 2 nights and you renew it to 5 nights. The software will use the difference between the 5 night rate and the 2 night rate for the renewal charge.

If you do not have a 5 night rate, the software will use the 3 night rate (5 minus 2) for the renewal charge.

If you do not have a 3 night charge, the software will use 3 times the one night rate for the renewal charge.

You may override the charge provided by the program.

If the customer has a contract, the program will base the renewal on contract units provided the customer has enough credits available.

If you wish to print a receipt, check the appropriate box.

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36. Gift certificates

You may set up gift certificates which are redeemable against rentals, sales, or both.

To sell a gift certificate, click on Sell from the Gift certificates submenu of the Sales menu or click on the gift certificate icon from the toolbar.

Enter the value of the certificate, select the payment method, and specify whether the certificate is redeemable against rentals, sales, or both.

If you wish to print a receipt, check the appropriate box.

You may override the certificate number provided by the program, but duplicate certificate numbers will not be allowed.

To cancel a gift certificate, click on Cancel from the Gift certificates submenu of the Sales menu. If the certificate has never been redeemed, it will be deleted from the database and will not appear as a receipt or revenue item. If the certificate has been redeemed in part, its value will be set to zero so that it cannot be redeemed in future, but it will still appear as a receipt and revenue item.

When you rent videos or sell sales items you will be able to offset the redeemable value of the certificate against the cost of the transaction by clicking on the appropriate button and entering the certificate number. If the redeemable value of the certificate is greater than the cost of the transaction, the cost will be covered in full. Otherwise the remaining value of the certificate will be set against the cost.

Once the certificate has been redeemed in full, it will become unusable.

You may also print gift certificates by selecting Print from the Certificates submenu of the Sales menu. To print gift certificates you must first download and install the VideoMate clipart.

Select the graphics which will be printed on the front of the gift certificate. Enter the value of the certificate. Enter the certificate number (or the starting number if you are printing more than one certificate). VideoMate will prompt with a certificate number, but you may override this number.

Enter the number of certificates that you wish to print, and select whether the certificate can be redeemed against rentals, sales or both.

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37. VideoMate and the Internet

VideoMate allows you to update your Web site in real time, so that customers can browse the VideoMate database online and search for a movie according to the title, director's name, an actor's name, the category (eg Action & adventure) and the format (eg DVD) or any combination of these.

They can then check on the availability of a movie and reserve it for collection if it is in store or add it to their wish list if it is rented or reserved. The reservations and the additions to the wish list are automatically added to the VideoMate database. You will also be sent a confirmation email when a reservation or an addition to the wish list is made online.

To set up your Internet connection, select Internet from the Setup menu.

All fields in the dialog box must be completed, as follows:

Web site address: this is of the form www.yourstore.com.

Path to PHP documents folder: this is the folder where the PHP files will reside on the server. It may be Web or httpdocs for example. Ask your system administrator if in doubt. You can also upload to a subdirectory, eg httpdocs/PHP.

Path from PHP folder to images: if you wish to show images for the movies selected, this is the path to the folder where the image files are stored. If you do not want to show images or the images are stored in the same folder as the PHP files, leave this field blank. Images can be .jpg or .gif files and the filename should correspond to the video number, for example the file for video number 00000001 would be 00000001.jpg or 00000001.gif.

Name of PHP file to link to: vm_1.php is the name of the file to which you should link from other pages in your Web site. It is the file which starts the search process.

User name: your user name for the Web site (not your user name for Internet access).

Password: Your password for the Web site (not your password for Internet access).

Frequency of upload: determines how frequently your Web page will be updated. Manual upload only is recommended if you are running the program on a network or you do not have a fast Internet connection.

Disconnect: You can choose to disconnect from the Internet automatically after each upload, or to be prompted to disconnect, or to never disconnect (recommended if you have unlimited Internet access).

Email address of store: the email address to which confirmation emails will be sent.

Enable connection: check this box to start the automatic uploading of files.

You can also change the Web page font and colours by clicking on the Web page options button. Select the font and enter the RGB (red, green, blue) codes for the text colour, the page background colour and the table background colour. Note that the RGB values must be between 0 and 255.

If you are familiar with PHP and HTML code, you can also edit the code in the PHP files which VideoMate uploads. The files are vm_1.php, vm_2.php, vm_3.php, vm_4.php and vm_5.php. You will find them in your VideoMate folder.

To upload the WebLink files manually, select Upload WebLink files from the File menu, click on the two computers icon on the toolbar or press Ctrl + U.

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38. Pole displays

To set up VideoMate to send data to a pole display, select Pole display from the Point of sale submenu of the Setup menu.

Identify whether your pole display has a parallel connection or a serial connection. If the pole display has a parallel connection with passthrough, check the appropriate box. If the pole display has a serial connection, select the COM port.

You can add a message to be shown when the display is not active (non passthrough type only).

Select whether the pole display emulates Epson or Logic Controls. If your pole display does not function correctly with VideoMate, please contact GrenSoft.

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39. Transferring video rates en bloc

You may wish to transfer videos from one rate to another, en bloc. For example, rate A might apply to new releases and rate B to older videos. Periodically you may wish to transfer videos from rate A to rate B as they get older.

To do so, select Transfer rates from the Rates submenu of the Setup menu.

You may also specify that the block transfer applies only to videos acquired before a specified date.

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40. Blocking customers

There are two methods to block customers.

To block an individual customer, search for the customer by clicking on the first binoculars icon on the toolbar, pressing F9 or selecting Search from the Customers menu, then check the Block rentals box on the Customer details dialog box. This function is protected by the Setup password.

You may also block all customers who have a balance greater than or equal to a set limit. To set the limit, select Account limit from the Setup menu, and enter the limit. You may opt to issue a warning instead of blocking the customer. To disable this function, leave both check boxes blank.

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41. Credit card processing

VideoMate is capable of automatically processing credit and debit card sales and refunds by integrating with X-Charge (available in the USA and Canada).

First you must set up a merchant account with X-Charge and install the X-Charge software.

To enable this option, select X-Charge from the Point of sale submenu of the Setup menu, and check the box. X-Charge is normally installed in the folder C:\Program Files\X-Charge. If you have installed X-Charge in a different folder, please enter the correct folder. Confirm your X-Charge user name and password. Select the number of copies of receipts that you wish to print with X-Charge transactions. Please do not set up this option until your system is fully integrated with X-Charge. For more information please contact GrenSoft.

Once you have enabled this option, each time you select credit or debit card as a payment or refund method, the X-Charge program will be launched so that you can swipe the card or enter the card details.

Please note that X-Charge will not use any credit card information stored in the VideoMate database. For PCI compliance we recommend that you do NOT enter credit card details into VideoMate.

You can obtain a report on X-Charge by clicking on X-Charge transactions from the Accounts submenu of the Reports menu.

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42. Store holidays

To enter holidays when the store is closed, select Add a holiday from the Holidays submenu of the Setup menu.

Enter the date of the holiday and confirm that the correct date has been entered.

You should set up holidays at least a week before the actual date of the holiday. Holidays will be automatically deleted 10 days after the date of the holiday has passed.

Holidays will be treated as transparent when return dates are calculated.

To delete a holiday, click on Delete a holiday from the Holidays submenu of the Setup menu. Select the holiday from the list and click on Delete.

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43. Fonts

VideoMate allows you to select the font which will be used for displaying reports and for all print functions.

To change the font, select Font from the Print options submenu of the Setup menu. Choose the font from the drop list and click on OK.

To select the default font (Arial), click on the Default button.

This feature is particularly useful if your Video titles are in a script such as Russian or Greek.

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44. Rental return times

When you set up your rental rates you also specified a time for rentals to be returned. If your store has different return times on different days of the week, you can set up the times by selecting Return times from the Returns submenu of the Setup menu.

Select the appropriate return time for each day of the week when the store is open.

This function will not be available if you have set up return times to be based on the time of issue of the video.

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45. Speeding up VideoMate

The following options are offered for speeding up VideoMate:

  1. If you have a large number of videos in your inventory and/or you are running the program on a network, when you search for a video by entering the first few characters of the title it make take a considerable length of time to populate the list box. If you check this option, buttons will be made available on the dialog box so that the program only starts to search after you have clicked the appropriate button. The same applies to searching for customers and searching for stock.
  2. It may take some time for the program to search for the date of the customer’s last visit when you rent videos to a customer. You can check this option so that the date of the last visit does not appear on the rental screen.
To set up these options, select Speed up VideoMate from the Setup menu.

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46. Long term loans

You may wish to offer long term loans of an indefinite period, for example if you loan videos to other video stores.

To issue a long term loan, select Issue long term loan from the Long term loans submenu of the Rentals menu.

Identify the customer.

To add a video to the long term loan, click on the Add video button and select the video. To remove a video, highlight it from the list and click on Remove video. If you wish to print a list of the videos to be loaned, make sure the Print list box is checked.

To receive videos from long term loan, click on Receive long term loan from the Long term loans submenu of the Rentals menu.

Identify the customer.

To receive an individual video, double click on it or highlight it and click on the Receive button.

To receive multiple items, highlight them and click on the Receive button. You can highlight non adjacent items by holding down the CTRL key while you move the mouse. If you wish to print a list of the videos received, make sure the Print list box is checked.

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47. Lost and damaged videos

Lost Videos
When a video is lost or missing you might not want to delete it from the database right away in case you find it again.

You can flag a video as lost by selecting Flag a lost video from the Lost videos submenu of the Videos menu. Identify the video and confirm that you wish to flag it as lost or missing.

After a video has been flagged it will not be available for rental, and it will not appear as “in stock”.

If you find the video, you can remove the flag by selecting Remove a flag from the Lost videos submenu of the Videos menu. Identify the video, and confirm that you wish to remove the flag.

Damaged videos
When a video is damaged you can flag it as damaged by selecting Flag a damaged video from the Damaged videos submenu of the Videos menu. Identify the video and confirm that you wish to flag it as damaged.

After a video has been flagged it will not be available for rental, and it will not appear as “in stock”.

You can remove the flag by selecting Remove a flag from the Damaged videos submenu of the Videos menu. Identify the video, and confirm that you wish to remove the flag.

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48. Printing invoices

You can print invoices for all customers who have had an account balance greater or equal to a specified amount for a specified period.

Select All customers with balance from the Print invoices submenu of the Accounts menu. Enter the minimum balance and select the period (0 days, 30 days, 60 days or 90 days).

You will be prompted to print each invoice in turn.

You may also print an invoice for a single customer with an account balance by selecting Single customer from the Print invoices submenu of the Accounts menu. Identify the customer.

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49. Printing membership cards

To print a membership card for an individual customer select Print for single customer from the Membership cards submenu of the Customers menu.

The membership cards are the size of standard business cards (3 ½ inches by 2 inches). You may print the membership cards on plain card (letter sized) and cut them to size, or on sheets of 10 precut cards. The cards can then be laminated.

Identify the customer. If you are printing a card for a family member, select the family member from the list.

Identify which part of the sheet of card you wish to print on by selecting a number from 1 to 10.

The barcode corresponding to the customer number will be printed on the card, as will the customer’s photograph if it is on file.

If you intend to print membership cards, please do not include underscores in the customer numbers as they will not be recognized by barcode readers.

To print membership cards for a range of customers select Print for range of customers from the Membership cards submenu of the Customers menu and identify the range of customers.

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50. Returning merchandise and video sales from a customer

Occasionally you may wish to return merchandise or videos which have been sold to a customer, for example when the customer claims that the merchandise is faulty.

Returning merchandise
Click on Return stock from the Sales menu. Identify the stock item.

Enter the quantity to be returned, which defaults to one. The program will prompt with the amount to be refunded based on the selling price, but you may override this value.

Select the method of refund (ie cash, credit card, etc).

If you want the merchandise to be returned to inventory, check the box.

Returning videos
Click on Return videos from the Sales menu. Enter the month/year for the sale.

Select the sale from the list.

The program will prompt with the amount to be refunded based on the selling price, but you may override this value.

Select the method of refund (ie cash, credit card, etc).

If you want the video to be returned to rental stock, check the box.

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51. Miscellaneous charges

To accept a miscellaneous charge from a customer, select Miscellaneous charge from the Accounts menu.

You will be prompted to enter the customer number, or enter the first few characters of the last name or the first few characters of the ID or the last 4 characters of the home, work or cell phone number then select from the list. Confirm that the correct customer has been selected.

Enter the amount paid and select the payment method. Indicate whether rental taxes should apply to the charge.

Miscellaneous charges should be related to rentals and may include fines for lost membership cards, damaged videos, etc.

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52. Cash outlays

You or one of your employees may wish to make a cash payment for an incidental expense, eg a payment for refuse collection, stationery or cleaning of the store. To avoid the payment affecting the reconciliation of the amount in the cash drawer, select Cash outlay from the Accounts menu to record the payment.

Select the type of payment from the list, enter the amount paid and enter the name of the payee (optional).

If you wish to add a new type of payment, enter the type of payment in the edit box and click on the Add button.

Cash outlays will not affect the reports on receipts or revenue.

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53. Exchanging videos

You may wish to exchange a video which is on loan, for example if the customer complains that the video is damaged.

Select Exchange video from the Rentals menu. Identify the video which is to be replaced, then identify the replacement. Confirm that you wish to exchange the video.

You have the option of extending the rental period by starting the period at the current time and date and by changing the number of nights (if it is not a weekend nor a part day rental).

You can also flag the original video as damaged.

If the replacement video is a different rental rate from the original, you will be alerted.

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54. Managing deliveries and pick-ups

Deliveries
If your video rental store delivers rentals to customers, VideoMate allows you to manage deliveries.

When you are renting a video and the rental is to be delivered, check the Deliver box on the rentals screen. If there is a delivery charge, enter the amount. If the delivery address is not the customer’s home address, edit the address. The rental will be added to the database of deliveries, and the customer’s address will be printed on the rental receipt.

To view delivery details, select Deliveries from the Rentals submenu of the Reports menu. The first line in each delivery record shows the date and time when the rental was issued. The second line shows the customer number, the name, the home phone number and the customer’s address. Subsequent lines show the videos to be delivered (video number and title).

After you have delivered rentals, you can remove them from the list of deliveries by selecting Deliveries from the Rentals menu.

Pick-ups
If your video rental store picks up rentals from customers, VideoMate allows you to manage pick-ups.

Supposing a customer phones to say he wants his rentals to be collected. Select Pick-ups from the Deliveries & pick-ups submenu of the rentals menu. Identify the customer. The next dialog box will show the customer’s current loans. If any of the videos are not due for pick-up right away, you can delete them from the list by highlighting the rental and clicking on the Remove button.

You can choose the date and time for the pick-up.

To print the details of the pick up, click on the Print button. If there is a pick-up charge, enter the amount. If the pick-up address is not the customer’s home address, edit the address.

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55. Transferring videos from rental stock to sales stock

Although you can sell videos from rental stock, you may wish to transfer previewed videos to sales stock so that they can be sold as merchandise rather than appear as available for rental.

Click on Transfer to sales stock from the Videos menu.

Search for the video.

Confirm that you wish to transfer the video to sales stock.

The video number will be transferred to the stock number. If the stock number already exists you will be asked to enter a new stock number.

You may also transfer videos en bloc by selecting Transfer to sales stock from the Setup menu. The videos will be transferred based on the date of acquisition. Enter the acquisition date prior to which you wish the videos to be transferred. You may also select the format and rental rate.

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56. SMS text messaging

VideoMate allows you to send SMS text messages to clients.

First you must open an account with an SMS gateway provider using email to SMS. The gateway accepts SMS text messages which are sent by email, and will then distribute the messages to the appropriate cell phone numbers.

VideoMate is set up to interface with Connection Software, whose Web site address is http://www.csoft.co.uk, Clickatell, whose Web site address is http://www.clickatell.com, messagemedia, whose Web site address is http://www.message-media.com.au, eTXT whose Web site address is http://www.telecom.co.nz/eTXT and TextMagic at www.textmagic.com. We have chosen these gateways because they have comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price. Note that if you send the same message to multiple cell phones, you will be charged for each message.

Please note that GrenSoft is not affiliated with the gateway providers in any way, and provides no warranty in respect of the service they provide.

You do not require the gateway provider’s free software to send text messages via VideoMate.

Once you have set up an account, you should enable SMS text messaging by selecting SMS text messaging from the Setup menu. Select the SMS gateway provider from the list. If required, enter your user name and PIN number, which you should have received from the gateway provider.

If required, enter the phone number international prefix for your country. For example if you are in the UK, enter 44. The + sign before the prefix is optional, so you could enter +44 or 44. If the cell phone numbers that you have entered in the VideoMate database have a leading zero (such as in the UK) you should check the box to remove leading zeros unless eTXT is your gateway.

SMS text messaging can be used to:

  1. Send a message to all clients, or a selected range of clients (Customers menu, SMS text messaging submenu, Send to all command).
  2. Send a message to clients with birthdays on the current day (Customers menu, SMS text messaging submenu, Send to birthdays command).
  3. Send a message to clients with late returns (Customers menu, SMS text messaging submenu, Send to late returns command).
  4. Send a message to a single client (Customers menu, SMS Text messaging submenu, Send to single customer command).

When you send an SMS message, VideoMate sends an email to the SMS gateway.

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57. Refunds

There may be occasions when you wish to offer a customer a refund for a rental fee or a late fee.

To do so, select Refunds from the Accounts menu.

Identify the customer. Enter the amount of refund and any comments. Select the type of refund (rental or late fee) and select the method by which the amount is refunded.

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58. Customer PIN numbers

For security, to confirm the identity of a customer, you may issue PIN numbers to customers. This avoids the use of membership cards and other security options.

You may enter the customer’s PIN number when you add the customer to the database, or by searching for an existing customer and entering the PIN number from the customer details screen.

After a customer has been allocated a PIN number, he or she will have to enter it in order to rent videos.

If the PIN number field is left blank, the customer will be able to proceed to the rental screen without entering a PIN number.

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59. Locking VideoMate

There may be times when you wish to lock VideoMate to prevent unauthorized access, for example when an employee takes a temporary break. To lock the program, select Lock VideoMate from the File menu.

To unlock the program, enter either the Setup password or the Employee’s password.

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60. Printing price lists

To print a price list for all merchandise, select Print price list from the Merchandise menu.

To print a price list for all rental stock which has been allocated a selling price, select Print price list from the Videos menu.

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61. Removing zero quantity merchandise

You can remove all items of merchandise which have zero quantity in stock by selecting Remove zero quantity items from the Merchandise menu. Confirm that you wish to remove the items.

This function is protected by the Setup password.

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62. Calculating a customer’s current late fees

Suppose a customer with current loans phones the store to ask how much he or she currently owes in late fees.

Click on Current late fees from the Customers menu of press the CTRL + F keys and identify the customer. If the customer has no current loans you will be informed.

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63. Changing selling prices en bloc

VideoMate allows you to change the selling prices of rental stock and merchandise en bloc. You can choose to change the price of all stock, or you can select the stock by category, supplier, etc.

To change the prices of rental stock, select Change sales prices from the Videos menu.

To change the prices of merchandise, select Change sales prices from the Merchandise menu.

Select the appropriate criteria, select whether prices should be increased or reduced, and enter the percentage change. Confirm that you wish to make the change.

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64. Stock taking

Use this command to perform a stock taking operation on rental stock.

To register the videos in your store, click on the Add video button and scan or type in the video number of every video in the store.

When you have entered all the videos, click on the Create report button to list all the videos that have not been accounted for.

The report will not include:

To start a new stock take click on the Start new stock take button. When you do this the data from the previous stock take will be deleted.

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