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ConsignPro Can Only Make Sales Bug

ConsignPro Only Make Sales Bug

One of the most common calls we get regarding ConsignPro consignment software, is “I’m stuck and can only make sales!”  Fortunately, this is a relatively easy fix and it’s not the end of the world, but it is important to note a few things.

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#1 – Why does this happen to ConsignPro?

#2 – Is the computer’s configuration, environment, security, backups, etc. interfering with ConsignPro?

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Let’s talk fundamentals for a second.  Each of the consignment programs store their information in a database.  Not all of the consignment software vendors utilize the same database.  For ConsignPro, it utilizes a Microsoft Access database.  There are some benefits to this:

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  • It’s easy to deploy to new computers.
  • It has a small foot print on your computer.
  • It is an easy way to give a program a powerful database back-end.

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A Microsoft Access database though, is a fundamental type of database – i.e. it’s a flat-file database without a database management system.  Some drawbacks to this are:

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  • The program ‘touches’ the data file itself and is responsible for interacting with it + controlling what data gets stored in the database.
  • The database can ‘crash’ or have bad data written to it, preventing the program from running properly.

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For ConsignPro, when it crashes or isn’t closed gracefully, it can cause values to be written to the database, which stop you from using other portions of the program.

Also, ConsignPro will let you lock yourself out of the software.  😀  You can set your own user account to have no privileges and it will let you save these changes.

There are typically two ways to fix this:

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  • Log in as another user account with ‘Owner’ access
    or
  • Go directly in to the database to adjust the incorrectly-set values.

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The latter of which, is something you should only try if you’re familiar with working with MS Access databases, are extremely comfortable with file management, and of course, have a backup of your database.

Ultimately, what’s happening is the user in question, is getting all of their access disabled and the option to only make sales, enabled.  You can see the difference below, between a user who has full admin access (in green) vs. a user who can only make sales (in red):

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ConsignPro 'Only Make Sales' Database Value
ConsignPro ‘Only Make Sales’ Database Value | Click to Enlarge

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This is no different than doing this intentionally – e.g. to set certain employees so they can only ring-up sales at POS.  All of the values in the screenshot above, have a corresponding control in ConsignPro > Employees:

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ConsignPro Only Make Sales Employee Access Option
ConsignPro Only Make Sales Employee Access Option

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The bug is in how ConsignPro does or does not ‘gracefully’ release the table it’s currently working with.  If your employee account in ConsignPro is the only one that exists — i.e. you’re the only admin — you’ve effectively just locked yourself out of the program.

We wanted store owners to know this issue isn’t the “end of the world” though and it’s usually a quick fix.  While this is ultimately a bug and fundamental of working with flat database files, if you’re experiencing this issue over and over again, there’s likely another issue at play – e.g. slower/under spec’d computer, incompatible antivirus, real-time backup software such as Carbonite, etc.

The Computer Peeps can fix this for you.  We wrote our own software to fix this ConsignPro issue:

The Computer Peeps' ConsignPro Admin Editor

We can also do a check of your system and make any recommendations regarding changes to antivirus software and backup software, which are two of the most common reasons ConsignPro experiences ‘outside interference’.  The goal being, to prevent/minimize this issue.

The best chance you can give your consignment software, is to run it on capable hardware, with a clean installation of Windows, no unnecessary programs installed, and compatible antivirus + backup configuration.  By doing this, you give your specialized consignment software the best chance of running smoothly.

Do I Have A Static IP Address?

If you utilize security cameras or a mobile application that connects back to a ‘server’ at your consignment store, then this question will likely come up.

Before we get into Static vs. Dynamic, we need to know what the heck an IP address is!

What is an IP address?

Similar to how each house and business has a unique address so the post office can find you, so does each location that has Internet access.  Your local ISP typically provides you with one IP address.  The issue is, they typically do not guarantee this address will always be the same — i.e. it’s Dynamic.

Why does that matter?  When you configure security cameras or a mobile app such as Liberty Mobile, you’ll need to know your store’s unique IP address so the app can ‘get back to your store’ when you’re not there.  That’s as easy as visiting a site such as What Is My IP?.  Once you’ve entered your store’s IP address and if everything else is properly configured — e.g. port forwarding, etc. — your mobile app should be able connect and do what it needs to do.

Things will typically continue working for a period of time, but since your store’s IP address is Dynamic, it will likely change some day.  When that happens, your mobile app will no longer be able to connect.  Now, there’s nothing stopping you from going right back to What Is My IP? to find out the new IP address, then entering that in your mobile app(s).  Some ISPs let you keep your IP address for weeks or even months.  Others will expire it on an almost-daily basis, so you could end up constantly updating your mobile app.  Or, the store’s IP address could change at a time when you can’t quickly find out the new one and your mobile app would be dead in the water until you find out the new IP.

In order to deal with this issue, there are typically two options to pick from:

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  • Ask your local ISP for an IP address that won’t change — i.e. a Static IP address — which typically comes with a monthly fee @ roughly $5-$15/mo.

    or

  • Utilize a Dynamic DNS service, such as Dyn.  Not only is the cost lower @ roughly $25 per year, but you also have the added benefit of a user-friendly address to use with your cameras and mobile apps – e.g. mystore.dyndns.biz

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We typically recommend the latter of the above options, not only for the savings, but for the added benefit of a user-friendly address/URL.  Some could also say there’s an added, although minimal, security benefit by not having the same IP address at the store.

How do you configure a Dynamic DNS service such as Dyn?

It’s relatively easy to do, although it could be confusing for those not familiar with some of the terms and and concepts.  In summary, the following would need to happen:

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  1. Register a Pro account at Dyn and choose a unique address/host name — e.g. mystore.dyndns.biz.  If you do this from your store, Dyn should automatically update your account with the most-recent IP address.
  2. Enter your Dyn account information in your router (if it supports Dynamic DNS services) or download, install, and configure the Dyn Updater software on a computer at your store that will always be powered-on.
  3. Enter your new address/host name into your mobile app.

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That’s it!  From here on out, your mobile app(s) should continue to work, even if your store’s IP address changes.

How do I know if I have a Static IP address?

You’ll need to contact your local ISP to verify if you do in fact have a Static IP address.  Most ISPs do not include this with their services, so it’s typically something you have to go out of your way to request.  It might even show as a line item on your monthly bill.

If you have any questions or if you’d like The Computer Peeps to configure any of this for you, don’t hesitate to give us a buzz at (888) 374-5422.

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