Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

The importance of buy Australian for small business retailers when it comes to POS software

Point of Sale software developed in Australia is better for Australian retail businesses and here’s why:

  1. Australian developed Point of Sale software is better tuned to the needs of local Aussie businesses.
  2. Australian developed Point of Sale software nurtures Aussie tech jobs and that is good for the broader economy.
  3. Every dollar spent with an Australian company for products or services is a dollar retained in the Aussie economy, a dollar on which tax is paid, a dollar that goes towards making our country stronger.
  4. Australian developed Point of Sale software offers and Australian perspective.
  5. Australian developed Point of Sale software is better. Yes, we said it.  It’s true in the specialty retail marketplace;aces in which we serve. Our software is finely tuned to the specialty needs of our specialty retail channels.
  6. Australian developed Point of Sale software is supported locally, in Australia, by Australians.
  7. Australian developed Point of Sale software is developed for small business retailers. Small business retailers have different and more personal needs than mass retailers.

Buying local matters. Well, it should matter, especially to retail businesses that themselves call  on local shoppers to shop local and shop small. That message is stronger when a business itself shops and supports local. That is why when it comes to POS software for small business retailers in Australia we say buy local, shop local, support local.

Rich and deep in our software is nuance that serves Aussie retailers well. We are parochial for sure. Nothing wrong with that. We help our small business local retailers go hyper local, too. We help them drill down to where they are, to their local community and, through the software, pitch this connection in a smart and serial-served way.

Ours is smart local software supporting local small business retailers.

Tower Systems only sells its software to indie small business retailers. It’s what we have focussed on for many years. It’s serves us well, and our customers.

Now, more than ever, buy Australian matters. We are proud to make that pitch, to encourage Aussie small business retailers to shop fort Aussie developed and supported POS software. This patriotic pitch is right for today, right for 2020.

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Help for small business retailers run this coronavirus impacted economy

Practical help for small business retailers impacted buy the coronavirus can be challenging to access. At the government level there are forms to complete, data to gather and waits to sit out which a request for help is assessed.

Here at our small business focussed Point of Sale software company, our assistance is easy to access for any small business retailer.

In a practical sense, here we announced to our customers back in early March:

  1. No support fee increase in 2020. We were planning to increase our software support frees having not increased them for 3 years. We decided a couple of months ago to forego the planned increase this year.
  2. Free Retailer Roam. We decided to provide free access for 3 months to ur Retailer Roam product – so you could more easily sell from anywhere and not just being the counter.
  3. Free home access. If you need help setting up access to a computer from home, we can assist for no cost.  Click here to access our advice on setting up another computer. For this you will need access to a current backup. For help on this, there is no cost for supported customers.
  4. One on one training. This continues for all supported customers. Free one-on-one training on any topic related to our POS software.

In addition to these financial benefits, we also increased our support capacity to serve support needs unique to the pandemic situation.

Plus, we commenced regular Zoom meetings open to all of our customers on many practical topics. We have been running usually 3 Zoom meetings every week for more than  two months now. They are proving to be a terrific  way for retailers to learn and engage. More important, though, is they give small business owners an opportunity to experience that they are not alone in going through what they are going through.

Here at Tower Systems we proudly only sell our software to small business retailers. It’s what we have done for 39 years. We are as energised for the opportunities today as we were back in 1981. We are grateful to our small business retailer community for their engagement with us through the pandemic and always as we walk together to serve our shared customers.

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How to take your independent retail business online and connected to your POS software

Here’s a video of another online meeting session from last week where we worked with small business retailers on getting online through connecting with our Point of Sale software.

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Shopper loyalty options in the Tower Systems POS software

Here’s a video of an online workshop last week where we talked loyalty solutions in our Point of Sale software. This session was one of several we ran last week.

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Shopify changes help small business retailers sell online with POS software connected Shopify

Shopify last week announced major innovation and changes to their online platform that will benefit small business retailers, especially those connecting Shopify to their Point of Sale software.

We love the latest enhancements announced by Shopify.

For our own retail business Point fo Sale connected e-commerce websites as well as for websites we develop for our small business retail customers this raft of enhancements from Shopify are terrific.

By connecting your Tower Systems Point of Sale software to Shopify you being together two awesome and separate tools and create a powerful and integrated platform for online selling. The latest enhancements from Shopify help us reach even more retailers with an online shopping solution.

With Point of Sale software managing the inventory and Shopify presenting the online store front, specialty tools are fulfilling their specialty roles.

We are across the detail of the latest Shopify changes and our web team is working with small business retailers for whom we are developing Point of sale connected websites to ensure the leveraging of the new opportunities now before us.  We are particularly excited about several of the changes delivered.

We love Shopify and that our PIS software co. is a partner of theirs, offering a direct integration.

Shopify powers 1,210,682 live websites around the world, according to BuiltWith.com. That is an extraordinary number. It is a powerful platform that is ideal for the needs of retailers. Small, medium and large retailers take Shopify online. While here at Tower our focus is on small business retailers, Shopify is broadly used, which is terrific news.

The latest changes announced last week make Shopify even more appealing for retailers, especially Point oil Sale software connected retailers.

If you are looking for a website for your business, the Tower Systems web development team could be the right partner. Based 100% in Australia, our web team understand local retail business needs. We are focussed on delivering useful and valuable solutions to retailers, particularly specialty retailers in the channels in which we also serve with our POS software.

Being Australian based, we are accessible when needed. Support is local too. Partnering with us is an investment in Australia and we are proud to offer that.

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What percentage of revenue should a retail business achieve from online in 2020?

How much of your retail business revenue should come from online?

This is a big question in 2020.

We have thoughts on this based on our work with over 3,000 small business retailers using our Point of Sale software, many of whom also connect to Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce websites for online sales.

Our advice is that small business retailers should have a goal of 10% of revenue coming from online. That is a starting point goal. Our advice is work hard and do everything possible in pursuit of this goal.

Once you reach the 10% goal, the goal should be 20%. With plenty of majors already at 20%, small businesses need to catch up.

This is urgent.

Yes, you need a good website. However, you need more than that. The site needs to sell what people want. It needs to be easily found. You need to actively and regularly pro mote the site. You need payment options and a sweet shipping offer. 

It’s hard work, but critical work if you want to reach the goal of online revenue for your business.

Here at our POS software and web development company we help small business retailers win more online business.  We do it though terrific software, which is backed by knowledgable training and support.

A big challenge faces by small business retailers pursuing online sales is that online is not high street. The two beasts are quite different. Whereas in a high street or physical store situation you know who is walking past or stepping inside, online you don’;t have the same insights. You have no idea who might be out there and looking. But, and it is a   b I g   but … you can find out. There are tools that can help you understand who is out there and what they are looking for.

Sometimes, the best online business is not one that is a copy of your physical shop. This is where research matters.

So, have a goal. We say start with 10% of revenue. Research it and once you have a plan, pursue it relentlessly, while at the same time remaining focussed on your physical shop.

Tower Systems helps in all of these areas.

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This is our small business POS software company

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Retail coaching tips for small business retailers in Australia

We are grateful to have a diverse and engaged community off small business retailers using our Point of Sale software on which to draw when putting together tips and advice for retailers.

Daily, we are engaged in coaching retailers, providing advice and practice al support to help create more valuable and enjoyable businesses. Our coaching advice ranges from motivational to the practical. Sometimes it is Point of Sale software related while other times it is not.

Always, though, our advice is shared openly and with supporting reasoning and evidence. We want what you want – a more successful and enjoyable retail business.

Here is an example of one aspect of coaching for small business retailers. It’s related to our Point of Sale software:

Measurement is key to the success of any retail business. 

Measuring sales, stock, employees and suppliers.

Without accurate and consistent measurement, you are not able to make good business decisions or to hold others to account for their actions.

By measuring you can make better decisions.

Here are some simple rules for accurate measurement in retail:

  1. Only sell what you can track – by scanning a barcode or pressing a PLU (stock code) to track the item.
  2. Do not use department keys to sell items as this denies you the opportunity of tracking individual items you sell.
  3. Enter into your computer system everything you sell. Record stock you receive by supplier so that you can track supplier performance.
  4. Enter into your computer system everything you return to suppliers – consignment stock, returns or damaged goods.
  5. Record all sales and other activity at the sales register by employees.
  6. Reorder replenishment stock by using your computer system to create orders for you.

My making your business data driven you are better equipped to take the emotion and gut feel out of business decisions.  This will improve decision quality and accountability and, hopefully, the return you achieve from these decisions.

Businesses which do not measure stock, suppliers, employees and sales accurately often find themselves faltering without knowing why – because they have no accurate data on which to base research.

Tower Systems develops Point of Sale software for a range of select specialty retail businesses.

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Australian Point of Sale software for Queensland specialty retailers

Justin Randall manages Point of Sale software sales for Tower Systems in Queensland. He’s local and has excellent retail experience having managed a retail business prior to joining our support team before moving into a sales role.

Justin works with jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, toy shops, pet stores, produce businesses, farm supply businesses, fishing shops, newsagents, adult shops, homewares stores and more … learning about their needs and seeing whether the Point of Sale software that we develop, sell and support could be useful to their business needs.

It is a collaborative process that follows the timeline needs of the business owners. That’s right, there is no pressure. Justin will say so if he feels that our Point of Sale software is not a good fit for any business. His reputation is important to him, he takes his role seriously as he wants too be trusted.

Retail businesses in Queensland looking for Point of Sale software should speak with Justin, to see whether the Tower Systems Point of Sale software is a good fit for their business, a good solution to serve the needs.

Justin’s process is simple: understand the needs of the business first. This involves research and conversations. He is hungry for information about the business and he applies this learned information to his knowledge of what our Point of Sale software can do. If he finds a good fit, he will arrange to demonstrate the software and do this in a collaborative and engaged way to help the business.

We believe that actions speak louder than words. This is why Justin will want to answer queries about what the software does in a certain situation with a demonstration of how the software works for that need. There is no limit to the number of pre-purchase demonstration of our Point of Sale software, no limits to how deep into the software you may go.

The goal is to give small business retailers everything they could possibly want to know about our Point of Sale software before they make a decision so that they can be confident as to the appropriateness of the decision for their business.

Email Justin to connect.

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Embracing life in the COVID-19 world in small business retail

Two months in and we can say for sure that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we do business. Of course, we are not alone in this. What we do own is our response.

We have learnt plenty over the last two weeks, about new opportunities, new needs, fundamental changes in retail and what we are capable of.

What has been most interesting is how flexible small business retailers have quickly become as they have adapted to the new business environment. Things that have have taken ages to consider in the past are considered and embraced in short time. We are loving the challenge of engaging with this, with our customers.

Time has changed. We think this is good because we are seeing small business retailers move fast and forward, seeking new customers through new products and new ways of doing business.

Some business owners are pushing harder online, which is a natural move. Others are doing this but through a product mix that genuinely reaches new shoppers for the business and thereby expands the opportunity and value base of the business.

Some business owners  are de-cluttering their businesses, fine-tuning and bringing tighter focus to their business, leveraging business data to make decisions about product range, product location and supplier selection. These data driven moves are a thrill to see and be part of.

COVID-19 provided encouragement to embrace change and an opportunity of cover to make the changes – and this is the real opportunity of right now. It truly is a thrill to be part of businesses that are doing this.

In our POS software co. own case, we are doing more online than ever before as new customers are happy to be trained using video and phone hook-ups. Sales, too, are won online as we meet prospective customers over video calls. We have found some new opportunities, too.

In our retail businesses we are embracing the opportunities of the changed circumstances to grow online sales and recast the focus of the retail businesses.  It is truly fascinating discovering decisions that are easy today that may have felt more complex a few months ago.

Who knows how long this COVID-19 world will exist. It could truly be the new normal. Regardless of what happens with COVID, we expect many of the changes and opportunities embraced in these months will stick, which would be good.

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SEO / SEM for small business retailers using our POS software

Here is our SEO / SEM workshop for small business retailers using our Shopify connected POS software from last week. We have another of these free workshops today. Each session is different as the direction is participant driven. We are grateful to those who participate as well as to those who watch afterwards.

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Free online POS software workshops for small business retailers this week

We are grateful to all those participating with us in our online workshop program. Here are two0 sessions scheduled for this week. We have a couple of more secret sessions too.

Online workshop: SEO & SEM.
How to guide online shoppers to find your website. This interactive workshop will explore SEO and SEM, explain them and show you what to do to make your website more easily found. We will also look at what people look for that gets them to websites that may compete with your plans.

Time: May 19, 2020 10:30 AM Melbourne time
https://zoom.us/j/94913369113?pwd=WndsWjQ5ODZBMnBIc3BmOVhVTzVIdz09
Meeting ID: 949 1336 9113 Password: 344536

How to take your newsagency online
We will explore what to sell online, how to sell online, why it matters and go under the hood and look at what people are looking for right now.
Time: May 19, 2020 09:00 AM Melbourne time.
https://zoom.us/j/93928597710?pwd=Njh6M2FzRVNaeVdnK3NJK1pGTDEvUT09
Meeting ID: 939 2859 7710 Password: 778081

Online workshop: Loyalty marketing using Retailer.
Now is a perfect time to refresh your approach to shopper loyalty, to maximise the opportunity with one-time and regular customers. In this workshop, we will show you several loyalty options in Retailer and explain how they can drive a deeper basket and a sooner return by shoppers. Plus, we will answer all of your questions.

Time: May 18, 2020 10:30 AM Melbourne time.
https://zoom.us/j/94829736147?pwd=SWlhSjVSb0xKZ3FtcHk1cVdvaXV0Zz09
Meeting ID: 948 2973 6147 Password: 502630

ANYONE CAN JOIN IN.

Yes, we understand that competitors could join in. We’re happy if they do as we welcome opportunities to help others help small business retailers be more successful.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?

Our online POS software workshops are genuinely interactive. We present material at the start and are then guided by questions and comments as to where the session goes. This way we all learn and explore together. It’s a terrific experience that benefits all engaged.

We are also happy for people to sit and say nothing, just watching and listening and learning about out POS software.

We record the sessions too and make them available to customers who cannot attend. This usually expands the reach of the material five and ten fold, which is excellent as it expands the learning community opportunity.

ONE ON ONE?

In addition to these group workshops, we provide on-going one on one training opportunities for our customers, helping them to learn about our POS software  in a way that suits their specific business needs.

Learning is wonderful. It is calming as you get to exert more control over your business too.

Everyone is welcome.

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It’s Sunday, relax and cook a roast

We love this video. Enjoy…

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Mental health check for small business retailers

Ahead For Business is a terrific, safe, mental health check-up and support resource for small business owners and those who support them. They are recommended by government. On their website they have a sell assessment opportunity to determine possible next steps if you are confronted by stress, anxiety or depression. And, for sure, many retail business owners will have these challenges. Our tip is check out the site and the resources available.

In our work with retailers we get to hear and see stressful situations first-hand, usually nothing to do with our POS software, but impacting on the POS software experience nevertheless. This one reason we have an interest in mental health resources and tools, so we can suggest if we think it is appropriate in the circumstances.

Safe Work Australia also has some excellent resources that they have curated specifically for retailers in this COVID-19 situation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for everyone. As a small business it is understandable you may have concerns about how to continue to meet your WHS duties at this time. There are a number of practical steps you can take to manage the risk of exposure to COVID-19 at your workplace and meet your legal obligations.

In our own situation we provide opportunities for our team members to decompress, which is important given the situations they can encounter when helping retailers.

As we have heard from government this week, mental health is a challenge as a result of the challenges of COVID-19. As time goes on, the challenges can magnify personally and professionally.  It is good to see that the politicians are investing in resources.

As business owners, we have an obligation, too, to ensure the right resources are available for those in our businesses and near our businesses. hence, our sharing of resource information to our customers here and through our regular customer emails.

We are not mental health professionals. Our goal with this post is to share some resources from them that small business retailers and their teams in our Tower Systems POS software user community may find useful.

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The weekend is coming…

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Shopify connected POS software for small business retailers

POS software connected to Shopify provides small business retailers with a terrific, seamless, online and in-store retail management solution.

The Tower Systems Shopify POS software integration is seamless, developed to Shopify standards, to provide small business retailers a solution on which they can depend to drive online sales while managing in-store data.

Jewellers, bike shops, garden centres, newsagents, gift shops, toy shops, book shops, homewares stores, fishing stores, pet shops and more can rely on the Shopify integration with the Tower Systems small business POS software to deliver a seamless, fast, safe and dependable solution for online and in-store sales.

As a Shopify partner, Tower Systems is delivering to small business retailers solutions for easy online selling, helping these indie retailers to reach shoppers beyond their local territory.

Tower Systems has been delivering Shopify connected POS software for years. We use it ourselves in retail businesses we run. Our experience is first-hand. We develop to there Shopify POS software standards too, to serve retailer needs across multiple retail channels.

The Tower Systems web development team is Australian based, working out of the company’s head office in Hawthorn. This is important as many web development businesses are overseas. While you might have a locally based contact person development too often is done overseas, leading to challenges with delivery and usefulness.

Tower Systems is committed to local development for local businesses. Our developers understand retail in Australia and New Zealand. We leverage that to deliver practical and valuable business outcomes.

From simple websites to complex multi business solutions, the Tower Systems web development team for retailers is skilled and capable of delivering valuable solutions.

Here are some many of the retail store linked websites we have developed for our own businesses:

This is a selection of sites created by Tower Systems. Our web development skills are diverse. Our SEO and SEM skills are fine-tuned, to help you get the notice for your website.

We like Shopify the most because of the professionalism and simplicity of the solution. It is an excellent starting point t and can serve the needs of most single businesses for a considerable distance of their online journey.

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Driving small business shopper loyalty through a valuable multi buy facility in POS software

Through the multi buy facility in the Tower Systems POS software, small business retailers, any type of retailer, can easily and quickly setup and run a coffee card type approach to loyalty, to bring shoppers back sooner for more purchases.

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Using POS software to reduce dead stock in small business retail

Here’s a new video from us about using our small business POS software to drive efficient inventory purchases. That’s code for reducing dead stock by buying what you actually need.

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The new normal for small business retail in this post lockdown world

The new normal for retail.

While the new normal is a cliche, it is true when considering retail for the back half of 2020 and beyond.

It is great news that businesses are reopening. However, the coronavirus is still there. This means that our retail businesses need to be safe. Our businesses need to be flexible in how we transact.

  • Being easily found online is critical.
  • Managing online sales efficiently and profitably are key.
  • Offering click and collect is essential.
  • Seamlessly connecting your physical shop and online is vital.
  • Being able to sell from anywhere as you take the business to where people are situated through home delivery and more.
  • Stocking what people want now matters.
  • Setting opening hours and your roster to maximise revenue matters.

These things matter. 

In our experience, prior to this year many small business retailers went online because they thought they should – usually, without a plan or a specific focus.

Now, being online properly and with focus is as critical to a retail business as having the right staff and the right stock.

Being online is fundamental to business success. This is the new normal.

We develop, sell and support POS software. It’s made for specialty retail businesses in Australia and New Zealand: farm supply, produce, fishing, toy, garden, bike, jeweller, homewares, gift, firearms, newsagent and adult.

Our POS software works from the counter, the shop floor, the car, the truck. We have solutions to help you sell anywhere.

We also develop, sell and support POS software connected websites. We do our work in Shopify or Magento – depending on the needs of the businesses. We also link to WooCommerce.

Shopify and Magento are used by more small business retailers than any other platforms.

We can help you with the new normal.

Tower Systems is a local POS software company offering locally made POS software that is backed with local POS software support. Our focus is independent small business retail, serving these needs with commitment and passion, helping the businesses run efficiently, safely and toward maximising genuine value.

We serve in excess of 3,500 independent small business retailers with our Point of Sale software.

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The easy and safe way to manage inventory data using POS software in small business retail

Here is a new video from  one of our tech experts demonstrating the ease of managing stock data using the Tower Systems POS software. The ease of manipulation, with appropriate security and management controls, delivers to small business retailers they appreciate from our POS software.

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Small business retail health and safety advice: coming out of lockdown

As Australia takes steps out of COVID-19 lockdown, small business retailers are confronted with challenges to provide a safe and healthy workplace while maintaining a commercially viable business.

As we have been doing since late January, we have shared advice with our customers on steps that can be taken in retail businesses in this evolving post COVID-19 lockdown world.

Here is some of the recent advice we have published to our customers. This list will evolve over time as we discover new resources. As it evolves, we will share updates with our POS software customers.

  1. Coronacast. The latest episode of this excellent podcast, released May 11, 2020, is about what we need to do in this lockdown easing situation. It’s about keeping you, your team and your family safe and healthy.
  2. Social distancing. Reprint and replace your posters. Use this poster from the federal government. It is the one recommended. Consistent messaging is key. Place this at the entrance as well as in-store.
  3. In-store advice. Click here to access up to date post lockdown advice for retailers from the Business resource Council of then UK. I have included this as I found some points to be interesting and relevant to Aussie retailers.
  4. Refresh floor markings to show distance.
  5. Maintain counter measures of distance at the counter.
  6. Maintain good supply of hand sanitiser at the store entrance and the counter.
  7. Reinforce hand washing and hand sanitising at the counter.
  8. Maintain a regime of surface cleaning.
  9. Out of store messaging. Use social media to rem ind your community what you are doing to keep them safe.
  10. Home delivery. The vulnerable cohorts are as vulnerable as ever. Maintain home delivery and curbside pickup services.

We think it is critical for everyone to realise that nothing has changed from when the novel coronavirus was first discovered. There is no vaccine. It is highly contagious. It can be lethal to several cohorts of the community. The best was to deal with it is to reduce infections rates. The best way to achieve this is through personal hygiene and social distancing. Doing this in an environment of easing of lockdown is challenging.

We hope that our advice for small business retailers is useful.

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Small business retail in May 2020 and beyond

Join Tower CEO Mark Fletcher for a quick look at small business retail April 2020, into May and beyond in this new video from us:

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Small business retail advice: as we come out of lockdown

With several state and territory governments easing movement restrictions, people are talking more about life after lockdown, business owners are talking about this. If you have not done so already, we urge you to consider what your retail business looks like after lockdown or as lockdown provisions are eased.

Here is advice were provided to our POS software customers over a week ago.

While only you can know what is right for your own business, we offer this list of suggestions for your consideration:

  1. Change everything. This is the best opportunity to make major change. Move whole departments, change prices, change the counter focus, the counter process. Right now is a perfect opportunity for sweeping change in any business.
  2. Look at your pricing. Is it appropriate? Could adjustments be beneficial?
  3. Look at every supplier. Ask yourself, do they bring value (and joy) to the business.
  4. Make the shopping experience fresh, more appealing. Help your shoppers feel that they are in a new business.
  5. Quit hard and quick. Dump bins at the front of products you are exiting. This is the perfect time to make the move.
  6. Reconsider every business process. Is it beneficial to the business? If not, why continue with it? Be frugal with your time and capital investments.
  7. Share appreciation. From your front window to inside the shop, demonstrate shopper appreciation.
  8. Play uplifting music. Celebrate any step away from lockdown.
  9. Celebrate stories. Encourage people to share positive lockdown stories, somehow in-store on online through social media.
  10. The past is the past. It is tiresome hearing about how tough things have been, how troubling the times are, how difficult things are. People are living this. We are living this. Reminding people does not help in our view.

Now really is the opportunity for significant change in any business. Opportunities like this are rare. I urge all retailers to seize the opportunity.

Tower Systems helps small business retailers beyond POS software. We provide business management advice in pursuit of more enjoyable and successful retail businesses. As retailers ourselves for many years across several retail formats we draw on personal experiences as well as the collective experiences of our broad user community.

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Every weekend should start with a cat video

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Here’s a new 5 minute video from us looking at small business retail in May 2020 and beyond

Here’s a new video that we shot in the office yesterday…

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