Software

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    Advantage and Minimum System Requirements

    It is very common for clients taking an Advantage feature update after a few years ‘parked’ on a previous release to ask for our updated system requirements. This question is also front of mind for prospective clients who are considering a new Advantage implementation. But if you’re a client who keeps current with monthly or quarterly feature updates, then reviewing the operating systems and databases that undergird your Advantage system might not be a primary concern.

    At AdvantageCS, we’ve supported many operating systems and database management systems over the years. We’ve operated on Windows NT 3.5 to Windows Server 2019, several Unix variants, OpenVMS, even PRIMOS. And we’ve supported database management systems from Microsoft, Oracle, DEC and others. Our latest feature update, …



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    Advantage Instructional Videos

    Did you know Advantage has instructional videos? Most of these 10- to 13-minute videos demonstrate a specific feature or explain how to perform a task in Advantage but, starting with 2019.0, a video showing highlights of the latest annual release will be included.

    The five completed instructional videos currently available are shown below. Another one is in production.

    Planned future topics include Working with Select Sets, Synchronized Agreement Basics and Working with Packages.

    The videos are produced by Adam Martin of the documentation team. He sends out an email announcement with the release of each video, with links to the most recent video, all past videos, and the videos playlist. If you would like to be included on that list, email Adam. He also welcomes comments and …



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    Advantage in the Wake of Wayfair

    It’s been a little over a year since the groundbreaking decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Wayfair vs. South Dakota court case. In short, the decision expanded the taxable landscape across the United States. States are no longer bound by the physical presence requirement set by the 1992 Quill court case. Effectively, this means that states can start requiring sales and use tax for everyone that meets an economic nexus.

    There are a lot of one-year-later posts by experts that provide great overviews. Try Accounting Today , Wolters Kluwer (my favorite) or Digital Commerce 360. This Bloomberg (PDF) survey is also interesting.

    This decision affects nearly all Advantage clients; even our non-USA based clients that sell into the USA are subject to the new rules. (We do …



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    Cider Implementations Growing Fast

     

    The pace of Cider implementations continues to accelerate as more and more Advantage clients choose to make the move. Eleven clients are now live on Cider, with nearly 100 websites, marketing myriad items including digital, print, continuity programs, books and other products. Six more clients are in the process of implementing the eCommerce platform.

    “Without a doubt, Cider was a HUGE win for Informa and Advantage,” says Carver Bonine, Business Systems Engineer at Informa, who went live on Cider earlier this year. “The team all went above and beyond to make this work---and work well---for us. Ultimately, it was AdvantageCS’ commitment to the Cider platform and determination to get Informa live on Cider that led to our success.”

    Cider offers a marketing portal for speedy creation …



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    Addressing Expanding Regulations for Auto-Renewal Consent

    Automatic renewal arrangements are popular and beneficial for both companies and consumers. Customers are saved the trouble of having to continually take actions to keep their subscription active, while companies improve their retention rates and forecasting abilities.

    However, in the last few years, the legal environment has become more restrictive on automatic renewal arrangements. There’s been a push at national and state levels (Vermont being the most recent state) to better inform and protect customers from accidentally entering into long-term subscription service agreements, as well as enabling them to cancel out. It’s important for companies to be aware of, and plan for, complying with these regulations.

    Fortunately, we have experience handling auto-renewal features, having …



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    Make a Statement with Detailed Statements

    Sending a clear and concise, yet detailed, invoice to your customers for every order is critical to receive accurate and timely payments. But some customers want to see a single statement that includes multiple orders, with the detail for each transaction.

    This is where the Detailed Statements feature in Advantage comes into play.

    Detailed Statements allows you to generate a single statement number that covers multiple invoices for a customer and tracks billing efforts against that statement. It also provides the linkage from that statement back to the order details. This allows you to access the in-depth information and present it to the customer at the level of detail that you choose.

    Whether you provide an invoice representing a single debit to your customers or a statement that …



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    Increasing website sales by identifying abandoned shopping carts

    Many sales efforts focus on untapped markets and selling to new customers. However, there’s a segment of lost sales that may be slipping past you unnoticed---abandoned shopping carts. These are items selected on your website by customers who then elected not to complete the purchase process. 

    Abandonment Rate: As High As 80%

    The Baymard Institute has estimated an average abandonment rate of 69.89%, as of June of 2018. (Link here) Other sites reflect a figure just over 80%. That’s 7 or 8 customers out of 10 who have visited your site, added something to a shopping cart and then abandoned it without making a purchase! Some statistics claim that over 60% of these are recoverable. Consider the increase in revenue if even half of those turn into actual sales. 

    Reasons Why Carts Are …



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    New Visa Authorization Requirement

    It seems as if everywhere you look, you see new cyber-security practices being implemented. For example, Visa recently introduced new requirements for businesses that store cardholder payment information for use in future transactions, such as recurring payments and installments. These requirements restrict card use for anything other than a specific authorized use.

    How it works

    The first time the information is used in a “future use” transaction, Visa passes back a new Transaction ID element (Visa’s term) on authorization requests. The business must retain this ID and send it with subsequent transactions in the “future use stream” for this card/Transaction ID. But only for this specific card and Transaction ID.

    That’s not all

    Visa also requires that the merchant obtain and store …



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    Advantage Speaks Chinese at Bayard

    When Advantage moved to .NET in 2012, it paved the way for Unicode. Unicode is a computer industry standard that enables the use of other characters in addition to Latin, such as Cyrillic, Hindi, Japanese or Chinese. In its recent upgrade to 2016.0, Bayard took "Advantage" of these new capabilities to address the needs of its Hong Kong Subsidiary, Bayard Asia. For the first time, thanks to Bayard, Chinese characters are displayed on Advantage user screens. Awesome!

    Bayard Asia

    Bayard has had a presence in Asia since 1977, operating mainly from Hong-Kong. There, it publishes 5 magazines in traditional Chinese (Little Toy Car, Little Red Apple, Little Red Panda, Red Apple and White Antelope), and also markets 6 publications in English, from the "Box" collection (Story Box, Adventure Box, …



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    Creating Custom Report Output---the Easy Way

    With the 2018.7 release of Advantage comes an improved way to create custom report output, based on your select criteria. This functionality is available at the browser. It’s easy, it’s robust, and it’s a great way for end users to create custom reports and outputs.

    One of the best features of the browser-based approach is the ability to see real-time results. You can both see the results and export them to a CSV or PDF file. In addition, you can run this from within Advantage, incorporating the report into a jobstream or scheduling it to run on a regular basis.

    When you add a new select set in the browser, you are prompted for the Select Set Type and Data Source. These are validated drop-down fields; each also has a “quick search” tool to allow you to find values based on words or …



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