Intended as the last upgrade of the original FloristWare code base (before focussing development on a completely rewritten version 5) this was one of the biggest releases in our history. We knew that v5 would take some time and we wanted to be sure our clients had software they were happy with while we completed that work. With more than forty new features/enhancements we did our best.
New Features & Enhancements in FloristWare v4.0...
Scroll for more on some of the specific improvements & enhancements in this version of FloristWare.
Enhanced Budget Tool
The Budget Tool has long been one of the most popular features in FloristWare. It lets you enter the amount a customer has stated they are prepared to spend and then backs out the taxes, service & delivery charges - showing you exactly how much you have left for product and labor.
In v4 this tool is even better. FloristWare now allows you to also enter a specific cost associated with the product (a container, labor, etc.) and then shows you how much is left to work with. This enhancement to an already powerful feature will help protect your profit by ensuring you don't under-price.
Enhanced Place Selection
Specifying delivery destinations is easier than ever in v4. You can still choose from a list of cities/towns (just as in previous versions) or you can just start typing the city name or ZIP/Postal Code to pull up a list of matches. If there is only one match it will be selected automatically and you will proceed to the next step immediately. If there are multiple matches you will choose from the list. This enhancement makes selecting the delivery destination faster and more convenient than ever before.
Enhanced Customer Selection/Review Process
We believe that reviewing customer information at the start of each sale is a great way to improve service and increase average sale values. However - users have told us that it is not always needed (you know the customer) or possible (there just isn't time) so we listened and refined the customer selection/review process.
Now, when you are first presented with a list of customers, you can either "Select & Review" (the way we have always done things) or "Select & Go". This new option will select the customer, skip all of the possible review steps (contact details, address details, spending history) and jump right to the next step in the process. This change makes taking orders faster and easier than ever.
More and more often we find our users trying to get away from using printed worksheets and instead preparing orders directly from the Progress Tracker production management feature in FloristWare.
To help them we have added "worksheet suppression" (a setting that prevents worksheets from printing) and made significant enhancements to the way enclosure cards are handled (shops who don't want worksheets have very specific needs regarding enclosure cards as a result). This is a great enhancement for shops who are trying to cut down on paper (for environmental or money-saving reasons) and/or be more efficient by working digitally in real time.
Enhanced Enclosure Cards - Sympathy Prefix
In the past FloristWare automatically added the words "The Late" in front of the name of the deceased on the enclosure card for any sympathy work. So any work destined for a funeral service for (example) Robert Smith would say "The Late Robert Smith" on the card.
Many users loved this feature but, as we learned, traditions and practices involving sympathy work vary greatly by region and other users did not like this at all.
In v4 users can now specify the "sympathy prefix". You can continue to use "The Late", something else more appropriate to your region or nothing at all.
Enhanced Enclosure Cards - No Card Message
The handling of enclosure cards with no message has been greatly improved. Sometimes users want cards that don't have any message to print (if they aren't using worksheets or just need the delivery portion of the card for their drivers) and sometimes they don't. Sometimes users want a new card after they modify an order and sometimes they don't. FloristWare v4 takes a powerful new approach to handling all the options to ensure that you get enclosure cards when you want them.
Enhanced Enclosure Cards - Sender & Recipient Name
FloristWare uses a card layout that is much better than what you see from other systems. Most systems are either much older than FloristWare or face other technology issues that limit what they can do with card printing. Typically these systems have to resort to a very simple "tearaway" format with the card attached to the worksheet.
This is easy to develop and relatively easy for the florist but it is not ideal for the recipient of the card - they just don't look very good, and they look nothing like a real greeting card.
We believe that this is a missed opportunity for the florist. Long after the flowers have died the recipient will hopefully hold on to the card - making it a vital branding opportunity. It should present your business in the best possible light.
With that in mind we tried to create something very close to a real greeting card. Recipients love them and most of the users do as well but there are some users who want to stay closer to the format they are already familiar with.
In v4 users can disable the sender and/or recipient name fields on the enclosure card. This means that the entire message is entered into one field and presented in one block - sender/recipient names do not have to appear separately. It looks less like a real enclosure card but more like what some users prefer.
Sale Type: Walk-In/Phone/Web/Wire
FloristWare v4 captures the type of each sale (walk-in, phone order, web order, incoming wire, etc.) to help you better understand your business.
Enhanced Accounts Receivable - New Statement Formatting
FloristWare v4 includes extensive changes to the formatting of Accounts Receivable statements. Statements now include recent payment history - this lets your customers see at a glance that they have been credited with recent payments. They also include more sales tax and payment information for each sale included in the report. Statements also include PO numbers.
Extensive testing has shown that these changes make FloristWare statements much easier to understand - and that means you get paid quicker!
Enhanced Accounts Receivable - Statement Cut-Off Date
FloristWare v4 includes a powerful new feature that testers love - you can now specify a cut-off date when preparing statements.
What does this mean? Let's say that you don't get around to running your July statements until August 15 but you don't want the August activity to show. No problem! Just specify a statement cut-off of July 31 and FloristWare will only include activity from before that date on the statements.
Sales Taxes By Region
More and more states are requiring florists to base municipal sales taxes on the delivery destination - in other words municipal sales tax needs to be applied at the rate set by the town where the flowers are going.
This is incredibly complicated but FloristWare v4 makes it easy - from adjusting the regional sales taxes in your settings to applying them during the sale to reporting on them afterwards. FloristWare provides an elegant answer to a very complicated problem.
More Powerful Management Of Local Delivery Areas
More and more FloristWare users are seeing the benefits of editing the lists of places and local delivery areas so we have added powerful new tools to help. It is now easier than ever to break proper USPS/Canada Post cities and towns out into different delivery zones with different delivery charges, cut-off times, order minimums, default routes and more.
Find City & State/Province By ZIP/Postal Code
In the past FloristWare users selected the delivery city for each order and the ZIP was optional. You can still select delivery destinations that way (and the ZIP is still optional) but you can now have the options of just entering the ZIP instead and FloristWare will fill in the rest. This is a powerful feature that will save you time (and avoid potential mistakes) when a customer knows the ZIP but still gives you a great solution when they don't.
Enhanced Hot-Spots Selection
We were pleasantly surprised to see how many Hot-Spots (places to which you frequently delivery to different recipients - hospitals, schools, nursing homes, etc.) some users had entered. This is a helpful feature and it was good to see them taking full advantage of it.
We also realized that we could make the feature work even better for these power users. They had entered so many Hot Spots (good) that it could take a minute to find the one they needed (bad).
FloristWare v4 breaks HotSpots into more different types so you are dealing with shorter lists. This makes choosing from those lists easier. We also made an improvement that allows you to quickly find a HotSpot by entering a few letters from its name.
Authorize.net Fees Eliminated For Merchant Warehouse Clients
FloristWare is unique among floral pos systems in that it does not force you to use a specific (and over-priced) merchant services provider to process credit cards (a "hidden" charge common to most other POS systems). Instead we have always encouraged our users to go out and get the best possible deal.
The savings for our users are substantial but this freedom does come at a small price. It requires the use of the Authorize.net gateway which is billed by your merchant services provider and typically costs an additional of $10 - $20 per month. There may be some extra per-transaction fees as well.
We always promised that if enough of our users chose the same merchant services provider we would develop a direct integration with them. This would make the Authorize.net account unnecessary and eliminate the associated fees.
The majority of FloristWare users did the research and then chose to go with Merchant Warehouse for their credit card processing. These florists saw that Merchant Warehouse offered them award-winning customer service and significant savings on their credit card sales - real savings on the kind of "card not present" transactions florists see every single day (rather than promised savings based on the assumption of "swiped" transactions that are much less common for florists).
So, with v4, we have kept our promise and connected directly to their gateway. This means that florists who are already with Merchant Warehouse will be able to dump their Authorize.net accounts and start seeing additional savings immediately.
If you are not with Merchant Warehouse nothing changes. There are no additional expenses - you can keep processing your credit card sales just as you do now - but it is worth looking into Merchant Warehouse and seeing if the savings make the switch worthwhile.
Faster E-Mail Sending
FloristWare v4 makes it very easy to send email to the people you have stored in the system. Anytime you see their email address all you have to do is click on it and FloristWare will open a new email addressed to them.
The barcoding feature in FloristWare is very powerful. It places barcodes on worksheets, receipts, statements and more so you can use a bar code scanner to find things instantly. The shops that use barcodes love them!
The ones that don't use barcodes asked if they could turn them off. Since they weren't using them they didn't really want them to appear on their worksheets, receipts, statements, etc. They also didn't want to waste toner printing barcodes that would never be used.
We listened and in v4 there is now a setting that suppresses the printing of barcodes if you don't want them.
FloristWare v4 now allows you to print "gift" receipts. These are receipts that are meant to be included with gifts that might be returned or exchanged. They contain the information you need to find the sale in FloristWare but no price information.
Enhanced Reporting - Easier To Navigate
FloristWare has always been able to generate a large number of useful reports. As the number of report options has grown (usually due to suggestions for new reports from our users) it became harder to navigate through those options. v4 makes it easier than ever to find the report you are looking for by breaking them out into six categories that are easy to understand and help you "drill down" to what you are looking for quickly and easily.
Checking For Orders Now Easier Than Ever
As FloristWare has been expanded to interface with more relay services and websites the "Check For Orders" button has become more and more important to our users. At their suggestion this button has been moved to the center of the "Start" screen to make retrieving order faster and easier.
Enhanced Deferred Payments
One of the features users love most about FloristWare is the "Deferred Payment" feature. This allows you to "charge" a sale for a customer without actually setting up a charge account for them. This is a much more efficient way of giving charge privileges to customers who don't buy often enough to really warrant having a true charge account.
Because we knew users relied on it so much we asked them how we could make it even better and incorporated their suggestions in v4.
For example - if a customer asks you to charge a payment and they already have outstanding charges FloristWare will not just warn you (about extending further credit) but also show you the list of outstanding charges right then so that you can politely ask about payment status. There are also powerful new tools for chasing down and collecting unpaid deferred sales, generating duplicate invoices etc. All of these tools are designed to make sure that you don't accidentally over-extend and that you get paid quickly - very important considerations in the current economic climate.
This new feature allows you to specify a default discount for all of the products in a specific product category. For example you might want to discount all of products in your "Christmas" category to help move them right before (or just after) December 24th. You still have the ability to discount specific products and assign suggested discounts to specific customers and accounts.
Randomized E-Mail Sending
Some of our users ran into trouble when trying to send marketing emails to very large lists of customers through FloristWare - their ISP would notice the "flood" (a very large number of similar emails coming from one IP address) and - fearing it was spam - shut the connection down.
FloristWare v4 introduces a powerful randomizing feature that helps avoid this kind problem. It does this by spreading large email blasts out using random intervals to stay "under the radar" of the ISP's spam detection triggers. If you wanted to send a last minute email to all your customers about pre-ordering for Valentines Day you would hit "send" and head home for the evening. FloristWare will then begin sending the email - at random intervals - over the course of the night.
It has proven to be remarkably effective but remember - if you are planning on regularly sending large emails blasts you should use an ESP (E-Mail Services Provider) like Constant Contact (LINK). However - when you really need to get word out to your customers in a hurry and don't have time to run an ESP campaign FloristWare offers you an excellent solution.
Enhanced Reminder Emails - Now HTML
The Reminder E-Mail feature in FloristWare is already very powerful. It lets you automate (to the degree of your choice) the sending of emails to customers who have asked to be reminded about events like birthdays and anniversaries.
FloristWare v4 features the ability to send html reminder email (the kind of email that looks like a web page with photographs, etc. - very good for marketing purposes) along with a "plain-text" equivalent (so your message still gets through to people that can't receive full html email). This makes Reminder emails an even more effective marketing tool.
Enhanced Sales Emails - Now HTML
The existing Sales E-Mail feature in FloristWare lets you automate (to the degree of your choice) the sending of emails to customers who have not purchased from (or been contacted by) you in a certain period of time. The idea is to stay in touch with these customers and remind them that you are ready to serve them - and hopefully get them to place an order!
v4 features the ability to send html versions of these sales emails (the kind of email that looks like a web page with photographs, etc. - very good for marketing purposes) along with a "plain-text" equivalent (so your message still gets through to people that can't receive full html email). This enhancement makes sales emails an even more powerful selling tool.
Enhanced User Interface Options - Warning Messages
Experienced FloristWare users told us they would like to be able to skip some of the less critical warning messages in FloristWare. They understood that skipping over certain details when entering an order (for example) is not a "best practice" but they have their reasons - and they don't want to be cautioned about it every single time. In talking to them further we also learned that they did believe these warnings were important for newer users.
FloristWare v4 allows you to specify whether these less critical warnings appear on a per-user basis. This means that an experienced user can turn them off and they no longer have to click through less critical warnings. This lets them work faster.
At the same time newer users can leave these warnings turned on to prevent them from making a rookie mistake. Later, once they are more knowledgeable, they too can turn them off.
Enhanced User Interface Options - Customer & Recipient Details
FloristWare does an excellent job of presenting customer and recipient details to the user during the course of taking an order. This helps the user sell and service the client better - meaning bigger average order values, better customer service and increased loyalty. We also recognized that not all shops are interested in this information so they were always able to turn it off - it was not presented to them automatically.
Some users reported a conflict. There were stores where the owners and/or some long-time employees knew all the customers and did not want to have to skip through the notes each time. At the same time they did want newer employees (who were not as familiar with the customers) to review it (so they could provide the same level of service as their co-workers - a level of service considered vital to the success of these stores). Older versions of FloristWare did not allow for this - it was one setting for the entire store.
Version 4 gives you a new level of control because this setting has been moved to the user level. That means that you can specify whether each individual employee is automatically prompted to review customer/recipient information. Long-time employees that know everyone automatically skip that step - letting them work faster. Newer employees are prompted to review it - improving customer service.
Enhanced User Interface Options - Default Product Selection
This is another enhancement that makes FloristWare better by recognizing that every user is different. Some users like to select products be browsing product categories and then selecting the individual product. Others - usually more experienced users that are very familiar with the product line - prefer to add products by searching.
FloristWare v4 accommodates both. You can specify the default product selection method at the user level. This means that every user gets to select the method that works best for them.
Enhanced Split-Tender Payments
FloristWare is one of the only floral POS systems that allows you to enter "split tender" payments - splitting the cost of a sale across multiple payment types. That means that it allows a customer to pay for part of a sale with cash, part by check, part by credit card, etc. This is one of those features that users don't usually consider during initial research but always come to appreciate during actual use.
With FloristWare v4 we have taken an entirely new approach to split-tender payments that makes them much easier and faster to process. This enhancement makes one of the best things about FloristWare even better.
Split-Tender Credit Card Payments
One of the few shortcomings of our previous approach to split-tender payments was that you could not split payment over multiple credit cards. You could pay some of a sale with one or more other payment methods but one you selected "credit card" you had to charge the balance owing to that card - you could not spread it over two or more cards.
Because our users love the split-tender option so much we realized that we needed to improve this and we did. In v4 you can split a single sale across as many different credit cards as you like.
This has proven to be extremely popular in early testing. A perfect example involves sympathy work that is going to be paid for by several different family members - they can now spread the payment over all their credit cards (if you choose to allow it).
New Report: Pending Orders By Product
One of the more popular reports in FloristWare was called "Pending Orders". It would show you a list of all the products that you needed to prepare to fill all the orders for a given date range.
v4 includes a modified version of this report that shows you a list of your products with a total number of each that must be prepared to fill the orders for the period in question. High volume shops that sell a lot of the same core products without special modification will find this report very helpful.
Enhanced Text Formatting
A tremendous amount of work has gone into creating an entirely new text formatting formula that is incredibly accurate (better than 98%) at "guessing" how to properly capitalize even tricky data like names, street addresses, etc. The idea is to save you time by letting you enter text in all lower case and FloristWare will tidy it up for you. This reduces error and saves valuable time when taking orders.
As more of our clients have become "power" users taking full advantage of the advanced ProgressTracker production management feature we have continued to expand its capabilities.
You can now see much more of the order details while staying in the ProgressTracker window. You can see the contents (all of the items) in each order. You can see all of the delivery details (address, special instructions, etc.). You have more sort options.
All this means that you can do a lot more in the ProgressTracker and without having to leave and go to Product Details. The enhancements make one of the most powerful features in FloristWare even better.
Find Customer By Account Number
Users who have a lot of large accounts explained that buyers often call (or email/fax) and lead off with their account number when placing orders But FloristWare is looking for the customer name/number at that point.
To help these users we have made an enhancement so that you can use the account number when searching for a customer. It's still simple - just one field - where you can enter any of customer name, customer phone, customer number, customer email address and now account number. This is another change that makes order-taking faster and easier than ever before.
Find Accounts By Account Number
Some of our users are running thousands of charge accounts. They told us that it is generally easier for them to work with Accounts Receivable using account numbers rather than names and explained they would like to be able to search for accounts by number as well as by name.
We listened and that change has been made - when searching for an account you can now enter either the account name or account number and FloristWare will find it. You can even use the bar code scanner. This is very popular with some of these power users when they are recording payments - they can quickly find an account by just scanning the bar code on the payment slip.
Enhanced Inventory Report
The Inventory report has become very popular with FloristWare users so, at their request, we made some enhancements in v4. You can now manage the report by "Hiding" a product (remove it from the list you are currently viewing), hiding an entire Product Category (all products in the desired Product Category) are removed from the list) or "Isolating" a Product Category (all products in that category are left in the list while all others are removed). This makes it much easier to work in the Inventory Report and the shops that like that report love these changes.
Reporting By Station/Store
FloristWare v4 has always excelled at reporting - taking large, complex sets of data and presenting it in ways that help you spot patterns and make decisions to improve your business. FloristWare v4 makes reporting even more powerful by adding a new dimension to reporting - you can now generate some reports for specific stores or stations. For example you can review the sales for your entire operation, a single store in your operation or a single station in a store.
Enhanced Printer Control
FloristWare has always given Windows users an unprecedented level of printer control/automation - it allowed you to specify different printers and paper sources for six different types of print jobs. This meant you had full control over how different types of print jobs were assigned to the various printers and paper sources in your shop.
FloristWare v4 goes a step further. You can still specify settings for the same six job types but you can set them to each individual station separately.
What does that mean? For example you might want the POS station in front of your store to print worksheets to the front printer so that you can review them with the customer. You might want the phone order station in the back to print worksheets to print in the production area. You might want all stations to send reports to the printer in the manager's office. This can all be specified in your settings now. And, of course, you can still override these settings and force print to any printer at any time.
Enhanced Florist to Florist Sending
FloristWare v4 now allows you to record notes on orders that you send to other florists to help you keep track of special considerations, payment, etc.