The Vend integration is complementary and included with your standard Astro Frequent Buyer Subscription. The Vend integration only works in Google Chrome via the Astro Chrome Extension.
Enabling the Vend Integration with Astro
Enabling the Vend Integration is a quick and easy process that you will be guided through in real time from start to finished.
Submit a Ticket to request access to the Vend Integration Setup
In order to gain access to the integration setup you will need to Submit a Ticket to our Support Desk
and let one of our Astro Agents know that you would like us to activate the Vend Integration on your account. To do so follow the link above or you can select the red Help
menu from your Astro Loyalty homescreen and select Submit a Ticket
from the menu at top of your screen. Complete the form and click Submit and an Agent will respond to you shortly.
Once one of our Agents lets you know that the Vend Integration has been added to your Astro Account you can start the setup process.
Step 1: Create a Webhook
First login to your Astro account as an Admin User (this is the primary user on your Astro account) and go to your Actions menu and select Enable Vend.
This will take you to the following screen with a link that states "Click Here to activate the Vend API". Click that link to move forward through the steps.
Clicking this link will open up the login screen for Vend so you can log into your POS Account. Enter your login information and proceed until you find yourself on the following page.
Here you are agreeing to allow Vend to import data into Astro on your behalf. Astro will not be able to import any information into Vend, nor will Astro be able to see anything other than the transactions you are importing. Astro does not have access to anything on your back-end outside of the actual checkout process.
Once you have selected Allow Access you will be taken to the following screen.
Here you will see that you have already completed Step 1: Create a webhook. Nailed It! Now onto Step 2!
Step 2: Add the Astro Loyalty Extension for Vend to your Google Chrome browser
To do so click that red button that states Astro Loyalty Extension for Vend and you will find yourself on another tab viewing the following page...
Now all you need to do is click that blue button that states Add to Chrome. Then click Add extension on the following popup...
That's it! You're done with the setup. The extension will function automatically and allow Vend to communicate with Astro. Now onto the fun part, checking out customers with your newly integrated system!
Checking out Customers in Vend with the Astro Integration
If you just finished enabling your Vend Integration with Astro you can go ahead and close any tabs besides your Vend Sale tab and your Astro Loyalty Home tab. You do not need the Astro page that starts the enabling process or the page that you used to add your Chrome Extension.
Add a Vend Customer to Astro
You can start your Vend sale as you would normally by adding your customer's name to the sale.
If the customer doesn't have their Vend Customer Account linked to an Astro Pet Owner Account the integration will tell you and prompt you to add them to your Astro account.
Once you click the link that states Click to Add to Astro you will be taken to your Astro account to the Customer Lookup.
The integration will attempt to find the customer on your Astro account just in case they were added previously. If an account for them already exists, or a family member's account is already in place, all you need to do here is Select the account you want to link to this customer's Vend account.
This comes in handy if we uploaded a customer list to your account when you first signed up for Astro, or if you have a member of the same household come in to purchase items for their pets and their family member already has an active Astro account with you.
If there is no existing account you can click the link where it says "Create New Astro Account". The integration will populate the customer's name and contact info that you had collected for them in Vend onto the fields in Astro. Any pieces of information that are missing can either be added now or you can edit the account later and add any missing info.
In the example below the integration added the customer's First and Last Name, Email Address and Phone Number to Astro for me. Now I can choose to collect their Mailing Address now or skip it and add it later.
The only personal information required to open an Astro Pet Owner account is a First and Last Name. Starting in 2020 your distributor will only be able to see the customer's First Name. The Last Name will be hidden to protect your customers' privacy.
are only required if the customer wants to receive emails from you or they want to download our Free Consumer Mobile App
Cell Phone Numbers
are only required if you are subscribed to our Astro Marketing Suite
and your customer wants to receive SMS Text Messages from you.
Customers only need to have a Mailing Address saved to their account if they are participating in a Frequent Buyer Program that requires they enter one when a card is redeemed. Astro does not deliver these addresses to the brand manufacturer directly. Instead the addresses are stored on your account. If the manufacturer wants access to them they will need to request that you grant them that access. Then you can choose to send the addresses to them, or not.
Once you have your customer added to Astro you can return to your sale in Vend.
Commit a Customer's Vend Purchase to Astro
Now you can start scanning in your customer's purchases into Vend. As you do this you will see information start to collect below the Astro Loyalty logo to the left of the Vend sale. Let's go over the 3 sections of information provided...
Tip: Start with Sections 1 and 3 before committing any current purchases to Astro. It's possible that their current purchase may change if they are due for a free good redemption for a Frequent Buyer Program or Offer or they are able to redeem their Points for a Reward.
Section 1 - Customer's Current Account Status
Here you will see the Customer Name associated with the Pet Owner account in Astro.
If you notice that the customer's Vend account was linked to the wrong Astro Pet Owner account you can click the button that says Incorrect Customer Map to unlink the two accounts. Then you can go through the mapping process explained previously.
You will also see whether or not the customer has a Reward available for them to redeem. If a Reward is available for Redemption you will be prompted to redeem that Reward for the customer here.
Section 3 - Loyalty Points
If you are running a Loyalty Points Program
that is integrated with Vend this section will show you the customer's current Points Total that they have amassed prior to the start of the present sale.
If the customer has earned enough Points to redeem a Points Reward it would say so here and give you the option to redeem that Points Reward during this sale. I will expand upon this redemption process in the final piece of this article.
The customer's Uncommited Points visible under section 2 will not appear as earned Loyalty Points until you select Commit to Astro and finalize the sale by collecting payment.
Section 2 - Current Uncommitted Purchases
If you are running a Loyalty Points Program
you will also see how many Points the customer will earn by the end of this transaction.
Once you have finished ringing up the customer's purchases you can click the light blue button that says "Commit to Astro". This will open up another tab on your browser for Astro and you will find yourself on that customer's Pet Owner account on the first page of an Astro Checkout Screen.
Astro Pet Owner Account Checkout Screen - Page 1
From here you can see where the integration imported the customer's kibble purchase and added it to his Frequent Buyer Card for you.
- The customer's Purchase and Points activity recorded today will be listed under Today's Purchases.
- The punches that are in the process of being committed to the customer's Frequent Buyer Cards will be a dark green color. They will not turn light green (which is the color of a prior committed purchase) until the next day.
- The newly committed Points will appear both under Today's Purchases and on a temporary Loyalty Points Transactions card at the bottom of their list of cards. This temporary card is meant to show you the Dollars (what they are spending) to Points (what those $ spent has earned them) ratio. In this example customers earn 1pt for every $1 spent, and this ratio can be adjusted based on your wishes. Once the transaction has been completed in Astro those newly committed Points will be added to the customer's Loyalty Points Total (located below their name on this screen) and the temporary card will disappear come tomorrow.
While on this screen you can make manual adjustments if needed.
Let's say for instance this customer had a paper frequent buyer card and they hand you that card like they would normally to get it stamped or stuffed with a receipt. Instead of doing that you can convert that card to an Astro card
by adding any prior purchases that appear on his card to his new Astro account. This can be done by clicking on the card itself and selecting the items from the drop-down menu provided, or you can use the drop-down menus below the search bar. Any items that you add to the customer's Astro cards manually will not be added to their sale in Vend.
Their Points total can be adjusted as well using the Manage Loyalty Points
button. Here you can add additional points by editing the positive number in the field, or you can remove points by adding a negative number.
Finalizing a Transaction
Once you have reviewed their Astro cards and you are happy with how they look you can click Checkout or the barcode button below it.
This will take you to the final stage of the Astro checkout process.
This page will show the customer's updated Frequent Buyer card and the checkmark will now be a light green color to show it has been saved.
The customer's Loyalty Points will now show their new total now that their newly earned points have been added.
This screen is also where any Frequent Buyer, Offers, or Points Redemptions will occur if the customer has earned a reward.
In this example there are no rewards to be redeemed so we can click Finished or the barcode button below it to return to the sale in Vend.
Make sure that it says "No items on current sale" below Current Uncommitted Purchases. Below that you should see their new Loyalty Points total if it has been committed properly. Now you can finish the sale as you would normally and collect your customer's payment.
Disregard where it says No Tax on the sales tax line. You definitely want to make sure that you are adding the correct sales tax to your sale according to the tax laws in your state. The Vend account that I am using is a demo account so tax is omitted.
How to Redeem a Free Good
Now for the fun part... Redemptions! Everyone loves free bag day!
Remember to take your time; your customer is happy that they are getting something for free today so they will not fault you for taking a couple extra moments to make sure their redemption is recorded accurately.
Add the Customer and their Selected Items to a Vend Sale
Start by adding your customer to the Vend sale. In this example we are practicing with Sally Pet Owner since none of her Astro Redemptions are linked to distribution.
If the customer has earned a reward it will say so under the first section. In this case she has a competed 13lb Champion Dog Kibble Card. If the customer wants to know what they qualify to get for free you can click the link below the title of the program card that says "Click to see available items".
The customer can then use this information to choose their free bag if they haven't already grabbed one.
If the customer wants to take a home a bag that is not listed as an available free good you do have the option to redeem the card for one of the items that does qualify as a free good (this is what your distributor will credit back to you) then you can discount their sale the value of the item you redeemed the card for and the customer can pay the difference between the two items (or if you are feeling generous you can eat the difference- totally up to you.) Astro will remind you of this option when it comes time to physically redeem the card in Astro.
Now you can add the customer's chosen free good to their sale. If the customer was purchasing other items you can also scan them onto their sale at this point. Once all items have been added you can click Redeem in Astro.
Now you will find yourself on the second Astro screen which is where all the redemptions take place.
Collect the Brand's Required Customer Information- If Applicable
If the brand whose program you are redeeming requires a Customer Mailing Address or a Customer Email Address you will be prompted to enter this information first, and you must complete it in full in order to reach the Reward Redemption Pop-Up.
Do your best to collect the required information. You can assure your customers that our data policy
protects their private information. Their contact information is stored on your private Astro account and is not shared with the brand vendor until it is requested in writing from you directly. The mailing and email addresses only come in to play to prove that the person redeeming the card is in fact a real person. They are never used by the brand vendor, Astro, or any of our partners as a means to contact your customer directly. You will be the only one privy to your customers' email addresses as a means to communicate
. Your customer will need a valid email address on their Astro Pet Owner account in order to access the free consumer mobile app
Now you will see the Reward Redemption Pop-up.
Select the Free Good from the Reward Redemption Pop-up
If the program rewards Lesser than or Equal Value Free it will tell you one of the least valued items they purchased.
If it is a Most Frequently Purchased Item Free program it will tell you what item they purchased the most frequent.
If you need clarification on how the rule is applied to the program click on "Lowest Valued Item On Card" and Astro will provide some suggestions on how to redeem the card. If this customer wants to take home a more expensive item and you are going to allow them to do that, it is always best to redeem the card for the item that it says was the least valued item they purchased- that way you know you are redeeming the card for an item the customer has purchased before.
To redeem the card you can either scan the barcode on the bag (make sure it's the packaging barcode and not an item number on one of your sticker tags). Or you can click where it says "Scan Item or Select Redemption Option Below".
This drop-down menu will show you all items that qualify as free goods regardless of whether or not you carry them at your store. So if you're dealing with a long list of options take your time and choose carefully. Each item listed will include both a full product description and their UPC code so if you are unsure compare the numbers in Astro to those below the item's barcode.
Once you have your free good selected the Reward Redemption Pop-up will be ready to redeem.
Click Redeem Selected Items to continue.
Now you will see a record of the redemption you just completed under Rewards Earned / Redeemed This Visit. Confirm that everything looks accurate. Astro will provide the product description and UPC here as well.
If you realize that you chose the wrong item or the customer has changed their mind on what they want you can click the Undo Redemption button. Then you can select a different item or remove the redemption entirely and save it for next time.
Every Redemption in Astro is assigned a Astro Reward ID#
. These numbers are automatically included on all redemption and fulfillment reports and are used as lookup tools. Your distributor, brand vendors, and Astro can all use these numbers to find redemptions that you have questions about. If you also want to be able to see the Astro Reward ID#
during checkout like the example above submit a ticket
and request that we turn that feature on for you.
Once you are happy with your redemption you can click Finished to return to your sale in Vend.
Apply the Discount to your Sale in Vend
In Vend you will notice that the item we just redeemed is still showing up on the sale without a discount applied.
Astro does not apply any discounts to your sale. This must be done manually. There are a couple of reasons for this.
- Even though many items have MSRP values the sale price of an item can still vary from store to store, region to region.
- The customer may have chosen to take home an non-qualifying item so we want you to be able to partially discount an item if needed. Ex. They want Orijen but only qualify for Acana. The card can be redeemed for Acana then you can subtract the $33.99 from the higher valued Orijen item.
- Most states need to still account for the sales tax owed on discounted items. For instance, in NC the customer still needs to pay the full tax owed before the discount is applied. Please reach out to Vend if you are not sure how to do this.
You will also notice that the integration is offering you an option to commit the item on the sale to Astro as a purchase. In this case we do not want to do this since the customer is taking this item home for free.
I decided to apply a 100% discount directly to the item and add a note that it was a Frequent Buyer Redemption.
TIP: If you opted to add the Astro Reward ID# to checkout you can copy/paste that number into this note field as well.
Now you will see that the Current Uncommitted Purchases section changed and now says 0pts and Free Good. If you were to click Commit to Sale at this point you will see the following in Astro:
Notice that beside the item it says Possible Free Good. This is Astro telling you that this item has either already been redeemed today on this account or it is eligible to be redeemed today on this account. If you were to click Add Anyway it will be added to a card as a purchase- only do that if the item will not be redeemed today. Clicking Remove will remove the item from Today's Purchases- this is the default outcome, so if the cashier selects neither Add or Remove the item will be Removed.
To return to Vend click Checkout then Finished.
Committing Purchased Items to their Astro Account
I went ahead and added some additional items to this sale before we close it. If the customer is purchasing other items you can add them at the beginning or now, either way is fine.
Our Champion redemption is still showing Free Good, the other 2 items have green checks beside them which signifies they will be added either to a Frequent Buyer or Offer card if they qualify, or as Points when Commit to Astro is selected. Go ahead and select it.
- You'll notice the Free Good is showing up as Possible Free Good so it will not be added to a card or grant Points.
- The Large Primal Beef Marrow Bone is not a part of a Frequent Buyer or Astro Offer at the moment so it says Unknown Item before its description. This means that it will not be added to a card, but its value ($6) will still grant Points. To the right of the item there is an option to add it to a card as an Exception just in case you have special permission to include it on a program.
The 6 Pack of Small Primal Beef Marrow Bones is a part of a Frequent Buyer Program. We know this because there is no alert before the item's description and to the right there is an option (+) to add additional items (just in case you need to convert a paper card to an Astro card). If you were to scroll down some you would also see a dark green checkmark signifying it's just been added to a card. This item's value ($14) also grants Points to the customer.
Here you will see the total number of Points this customer will earn for this purchase.
Once you are satisfied that Today's Purchases are accurate you can click Checkout to proceed to the next screen.
The Redemption should still be recorded under Rewards Earned / Redeemed This Visit.
The items the customer is purchasing should all appear under Items Purchased This Visit. Any item with an alert before the description will not be added to a Frequent Buyer Card.
The customer's newly earned Points will appear under Loyalty Transactions This Visit.
If any adjustments need to be made to the Items Purchased or Loyalty Transactions you will need to select Return to Checkout to go back to the previous page (do not use browser back on chrome- it can be funny). You also still have the option to Undo the Redemption if you need to.
Once you are happy click Finished to return to Vend and complete the sale.
There are no items waiting to be Committed to Astro so now you can proceed with collecting your payment. (If your state requires it and you have means to add the tax owed on the free good back to the sale do so before you settle.)
Redeeming Loyalty Points
For more info on how to design your own Points Program checkout this article
I'm sure you have noticed that several of the Astro screenshots include a large alert below the customer's Loyalty Points Total that has a green dollar icon and says Customer is eligible for Loyalty Redemption.
The alert will appear both on the customer's Checkout screen (1st Astro screen) ...
and the Redemption screen (2nd screen)...
but it is only redeemable while on the Redemption screen.
To redeem Loyalty Points click where it says Redeem Loyalty Points on the alert. This will generate a pop-up that will list all of your custom Points Rewards the customer is eligible for. Beside each Reward there will be a drop-down menu where you can select the quantity of that Reward they are redeeming today.
Sally Pet Owner has 361 total Points, the Reward requires 100pts to be spent in order to redeem it, so technically speaking she could redeem this Reward up to 3x this transaction as long as she was purchasing 3 packaged treats that qualified. You have the option to do this, or not, up to you since the Points Programs are 100% yours and therefore funded by yourself. Most retailers will only allow for one Points Redemption per transaction but the option for multiples is there if you want to shake things up.
For this transaction we will grant her one Reward. Notice now it will say how many points she is fixing to spend on this Reward under Total Points. Click Save Redemption Selection to lock it in.
Now you will see the Points Reward mentioned under Loyalty Transactions This Visit. and her Loyalty Points total has dropped from 361 to 261.
FYI: We still see all of our other transactions from today as well since they all occurred on the same day. These Points could have been redeemed while you were Redeeming the Free Good or while you were Committing the Purchases to Astro. You do not have to break up the transaction into all of these parts.
To return to Vend select Finished.
Now you will need to discount the sale according to the Loyalty Reward they earned.
TIP: When naming your Loyalty Points Rewards make sure you include enough detail in the title so your cashiers know how to issue the reward to the customer while in Vend.
In this example I chose to apply the discount to the Large Marrow Bone. I discounted the item 5% since that was what was stated in the Reward title. I also added a note to the discount so I know why that discount was applied.
Now payment can be collected and the sale can be settled.