Updated: October 22, 2020 10:00am

Chapter 31. Centrals

Note: This topic is also available in PDF: Prism Centrals
The RP Prism Centrals feature is designed to give retailers centralized control over the following POS activities:

  • Customer lookup
  • Returns
  • Central credit
  • Central gift cards

To use Centrals, you must enable the feature and configure preference. Each POS activity listed above has its own set of preferences. Via preferences, you can enable/disable the use of centrals for individual POS activities. Important!If you are using Centrals for customer lookup, returns, etc., then Prism will only check the centrals database when doing lookups; the local database will not be checked, even if the customer is not found in centrals. If you are not using centrals, Prism will only check the local database and will never check the centrals database.

Basic Steps

  1. Enable and configure centrals in RIL.
  2. Enable and configure the Prism centrals server in Admin Console > Installation Defaults.
  3. (Central customer lookup) Add the From Centrals column to your Customer Lookup grid formats.
  4. Perform POS transactions. When needed, the Prism database will call out to the centrals server and pull the information needed for the transaction.

Enable Centrals and Configure Options
1.    In the Admin Console, navigate to Node Preferences > Transactions > Centrals.   
2.    Enter the server address or FQDN of the centrals server. Press the Enter key. If the IP Address or FQDN is valid, the red circle changes to a green check mark.  
3.    Click the Enable checkbox for each area of centrals that will be used. Configure other settings as needed.   
4.    Save the changes.
5.    Configure Grid Format preferences to add a "From Centrals" column to your Customer Lookup grid formats. By adding this column, when looking up a customer you can see if the customer was retrieved from the centrals database (1) or not (0).  
Centrals Permissions

ermission Description
POS - Add Central Gift Card Controls the ability to sell and activate a new central gift card.
POS - Allow Negative Central Credit Balance  Controls the ability to update a transaction that results in a negative balance on a central gift card.
POS - Change Central Gift Card Expirations Controls the ability to change the Expiration Date for central gift cards.
POS - Check Central Credit Balance Controls the ability to check a customer's central credit balance.
POS - Check Central Gift Card Balance Controls the ability to check a customer's central gift card balance.
Tenders - Give Central Gift Card Controls the ability to give a central gift card as change.
Tenders - Return Central Gift Card Controls the ability to select central gift card as a tender on an item return.
Tenders - Take Central Gift Card Controls the ability to take a central gift card as payment.

Central Customer Lookup
Prism uses different rules for customer lookup depending on whether centrals is enabled and whether the user is in the Customer Lookup area or the POS area. When a user looks up a customer in the Customer Lookup area or at POS, the user selects a lookup field (e.g. Full Name), enters lookup criteria (e.g. "Bob") and selects an operator (e.g. CONTAINS, EQUALS, DOES NOT EQUAL, IS EMPTY, IS NOT EMPTY) from a drop-down. At POS, users can select a lookup field (e.g. Customer ID) but don't have the option of selecting an operator.
With centrals enabled searches are always done using a CONTAINS query. However, users will see the entry "EQUALS" in the drop-down.
When Centrals is disabled (the default), for Customer Lookup (in the Customers area) the drop-down for Operators is enabled and users can select an operator. In the POS area, when looking up a customer to enter the customer on a transaction, the lookup always uses the EQUALS operator.
The following table summarizes the customer lookup search rules:

Customer Lookup with Centrals Enabled  
CONTAINS  When Centrals are enabled and there is a connection to the server, in the Customer Lookup area the operator reads EQUALS and cannot be modified; however, the query that is done is a CONTAINS query The search rules are:
Case insensitive
Partial matches
No wildcard characters
(Note: When Centrals is enabled but offline, the operator is hard-coded to EQUALS. The search rules are no wildcards, exact matches only and case sensitive
POS Customer Lookup with Centrals Enabled  
CONTAINS When Centrals are enabled and there is a connection to the server, in the POS area the operator reads EQUALS and cannot be modified; however, the query that is done is a CONTAINS query. The search rules are:
Case insensitive
Partial matches
No wildcard characters
(Note: When Centrals is enabled but offline, POS searches are case insensitive, no partial matches, and wildcard characters allowed)
Customer Lookup with Centrals Disabled  
EQUALS Case Sensitive
Exact Match
No Wildcard Characters
DOES NOT EQUAL Case Sensitive
Exact Match
No Wildcard Characters
CONTAINS Case Insensitive
Partial Match
No Wildcard Characters
IS EMPTY  
IS NOT EMPTY  
POS Customer Lookup with Centrals Disabled  
EQUALS In the POS area, the operator is hard-coded to EQUALS and the search rules are:
Case insensitive
Wildcard lookup

When Centrals is Enabled but Offline
The lack of partial matches and wildcards mean you will need to be more specific in your search criteria. For example, normally entering "worth" would find entries like "Woodsworth" and "Worthington" (because of partial match behavior). However, when the centrals server is down, only "Worth" would be found ("worth" or "WORTH" because case-insensitive).
Central Returns
When using central returns, there is no obvious indication that the centrals server is being called. You simply make a normal item return and link the return to the original sale. If the transaction is not found on the centrals server, a prompt is displayed.

Tenders: Central Gift Cards
Note: You can add central gift card items in inventory by setting the Item Type field to Central Gift Card.
Central Gift Card Permissions

Permission Description
 POS - Add Central Gift Card Allows the user to add a Central Gift Card item to a transaction. Triggered when Central Gift Card item being added to transaction
POS - Check Central Gift Card Balance Allows the user to check the current available balance on a central gift card.


Central Gift Card Preferences
To use central gift cards, you must enable the option in RP Prism preferences (Transactions > Centrals). After you select the "Enabled" check box, you can edit the other central gift card preferences.

Preference Description
Enable If selected, central gift cards will be available as a tender at POS. The other central gift card options are disabled for editing until you select this check box.
Use Entire Balance if Projected Balance less than .. This preference enables you to zero out a central gift card if the projected balance is less than the amount entered here. For example, if the transaction will result in a balance of less than 0.25, the entire central gift card balance will be used, rather than issuing a new credit for such a small amount.
Total Negative Balance Permitted This preference enables you to set a limit on the amount of any negative gift card balance for a customer. If the transaction results in a negative balance that exceeds the value entered here, a prompt is displayed.
When tendering by gift card, restrict given tender to This preference enables you to require change to be given in a specific tender. When tendering by central gift card, users must use the tender selected here when giving change
Offline take limit Enter the upper limit for central gift card transactions performed offline. Transactions with a Total above the entered Offline Limit are not allowed.
Purchase limit The value entered in this field limits the amount of gift card purchases, add value, or when central gift cards are given as change.
Mask card number in dialogs If selected, when a card number is scanned, the card number will be masked (using asterisks)
Generate central ID If selected, then when adding/activating a new gift card, the Centrals Server will generate the Gift Card ID. This enables customers to redeem central credits by ID.
Note: Redeem Central Payment by ID feature
If you want to use the Redeem Central Payment by ID function, you must be using Retail Pro 9.30.
If you are not using the Redeem Central Payment By ID function, RP Prism centrals will work with Retail Pro 9.20.
See the subsection on "Redeeming Central Credits by ID"
Manage Central IDs by This setting determines the stores at which a Central ID can be redeemed.
Subsidiary: If selected, then each Central ID can only be used at stores in the same subsidiary as the store where the Central Credit ID was created.
Store: If selected, then each Central ID can only be used at the same store where it was created.
All: If selected, then each Central ID can be used at all stores at all subsidiaries in the company.
Allow card information to be keyed in If selected, central gift card information can be typed. If not selected, the card information must be entered by scanning or swiping the card
Set expiration date upon activation When enabled, activating a Central Gift Card will set an expiration date for that card, based on 'days' designation. Inherited (Corp, SBS, Store, WS). Inherited (Corp, SBS, Store, WS) Default = Disabled
Set maximum value upon activation When enabled, activating a Central Gift Card will set a maximum value for that card, equal to the activation amount. Inherited (Corp, SBS, Store, WS) Default = Disabled

Central Gift Cards at POS
When using central gift cards, there are four possible transaction types:

  • Purchase/Activate: When a customer buys a gift card, the gift card is activated and charged with value.
  • Redeem: When a customer uses a central gift card to pay for a transaction, the Associate selects "Central Gift Card" as the tender type.
  • Check Balance: Associates can check the current balance of a gift card.
  • Add Value: Add value ("recharge") a gift card with additional funds.

Note: To properly parse data from various card types, the user must touch or click the Swipe button to the right of the Central Gift Card No field. This will bring up a Swipe Gift Card dialog.
Sell/Activate Central Gift Card

  1. On a transaction, list the central gift card item.    
  2. The Gift Card Activation dialog is displayed. Click the Scan button and then scan the gift card's barcode. Enter or confirm the amount and click OK.    
  3. Click the Tender Transaction button.    
  4. The Gift Card Activation is displayed.     
  5. Click the icon. Scan the Gift Card Number. Click OK    
  6. 6Select the payment type and click the Take button. Tender and update the transaction. The Gift Card is pre-authorized for specified amount.    

Redeem a Central Gift Card

  1. Click Tender Transaction. The tender screen shows the Amount Due.    
  2. Click the Tender Type button and click Central Gift Card. Click the icon and then swipe the card number. Click Take.    
  3. The amount redeemed as well as the card number are displayed on the tender screen.    
  4. Take additional tenders, if needed, and then print/update.    

Gift Card Past Expiration Date
If a user scans or enters a card number that is past its expiration date, the message below is displayed.

Check a Central Gift Card's Balance
You can check a card's balance outside of a transaction, or during a transaction.

  • Check Card Balance outside of a Transaction: Start a new transaction and list the central gift card item. Click the Options button and select Check Central Gift Card Balance.
  • Check Card Balance on Transaction in Progress: On a transaction in progress, click Tender Type and select Central Gift Card. Swipe the card and click the Balance button.  The Balance is displayed.    

Selling a Gift Card that exceeds the maximum value set in preferences
If the requested amount exceeds the allowed maximum, a prompt is displayed. The requested amount exceeds the allowed maximum.  Would you like to add the maximum value to this Central Gift Card? Selecting yes to gift card maximum amount prompt when the maximum value allowed is lower than want you are trying to add will now change the line items price to match maximum amount allowed for this gift card number.

Duplicate Card Numbers
Users are not allowed to enter the same gift card number for multiple central gift card items on the same document. If they do they will be greeted with the red toasty listed below. User will have to select the tender button again to get prompted to enter a different gift card.

Expired Central Gift Card at POS
If you try to take a gift card that is past its expiration date, an error message is displayed.  The dialog that is presented includes a Clear button. Click the Clear button to remove the expired gift card. Scan or type a new card number and continue with the transaction.

Tenders: Central Store Credit
Central Store Credit is an alternative to regular store credit. When using central store credit, transactions update the centrals server in real-time. If you have customers in RP 9 who have "regular" store credit, use the special tool in Technician's Toolkit for converting regular store credits to central store credits.

  1. If necessary, convert regular store credits to central store credits in RP 9.
  2. Configure RP Prism preferences and permissions for central credit.
  3. At POS, issue new central credit as needed (typically as change), redeem central credit, and check central gift card balances as needed.

Central Credit Preferences

Preference Description
Enable If selected, central credit will be available as a tender at POS. Enables the other central credit preferences.
Use all balance if projected balance less than This preference enables you to zero out a central credit if the projected balance is less than the amount entered here. For example, if the preference is set to 0.25 and the transaction results in a balance of less than 0.25, then the entire central credit balance will be used, rather than issuing a new credit for such a small amount.
Total negative balance permitted This preference enables you to limit the amount by which a customer's central credit balance is allowed to go negative. If the transaction results in a negative balance that exceeds the value entered here, a prompt is displayed.
When tendering by Central Credit, restrict given tender to This preference enables you to require change to be given in a specific tender. When tendering by central credit, users must use the tender selected here when giving change.
Offline limit Enter the upper limit for central credit transactions performed offline. Transactions with a Total above the entered Offline Limit will require authorization.
Suggest Central Credit as a tender when available If this preference is selected, then when tendering a transaction that has a customer who has a positive central credit balance, a prompt will be displayed, asking if the customer wants to use the available store credit.

Issue New Central Credit as Change

  1. Create a new transaction using normal procedures.    
  2. Touch or click the Tender Transaction button.    
  3. Take payment using the desired tender. If the taken amount exceeds the Amount Due, there will be a Give amount. This is the amount of change to give back to the customer. Select the tender type button and then select Store Credit. Touch or click the Give button.    
  4. Print/update the transaction. The change amount is added to the customer's central credit balance.    

Redeem Central Credit

  1. Start a new transaction and list the items being purchased.    
  2. Touch or click the Tender Transaction button.    
  3. If the customer has central credit available, a prompt is displayed. Select Yes to use the central credit.    
  4. If there is a remaining amount due, select additional tenders until the transaction is balanced and then click Print/Update.    

Prism Resiliency Service
The Prism Resiliency Service facilitates the ability to create Central Credit and Central Gift Card transactions while offline. The Prism Resiliency Service starts/stops the PrismResiliencyServer.exe, which tracks and stores transactions made offline. When the Centrals Server is configured and the Run Resiliency preference is enabled, when the system goes offline users can create Central Credit and Central Gift Card transactions up to the Offline Take Limit defined in preferences for each tender. The Offline Take Limit sets an upper limit on transactions that are performed offline when the connection to the centrals server is lost because Internet problems or other reasons. Central credit and central gift card transactions equal to or less than the value entered in preferences will be permitted. Central credit and central gift card transactions above the Offline Take Limit entered in preferences will not be permitted. The default value for this option is zero (0), which means that no offline transactions are permitted.
The Prism Server Installer adds the PrismResiliencyServer.exe to the file system and installs the PrismResiliencyService. To set up Centrals, enter the IP Address or FQDN of the Centrals Server in Admin Console > Installation Defaults and select options in Admin Console > Node Preferences > Transactions > Centrals. To use Resiliency, click the Run Resiliency button in Admin Console. > Node Preferences > Transactions > Centrals.  If Run Resiliency is not running the Prism server ignores the "Offline Take Limit" for Central Customer Credit and Central Gift Cards.
When centrals are enabled but the server is down, when looking up a customer you will see a yellow toast message to warn you about the situation.