How Tower Systems helps Jewellers stay on top of supplier inventory changes

Pandora, Thomas Sabo and other respected international jewellery brands confidentially provide to Tower Systems sock files with details of each inventory item so these can be easily maintained in the jeweller management software used by jewellers.

Through partnership with these respected jewellery companies, we are able to help our customers to maintain stock files to current standards. This saves time in the retail businesses. It also facilitates greater data accuracy. Plus, it better connects the jeweller retail businesses with the suppliers.

Our work, done closely with suppliers, builds strong and valuable bonds. Better still, it helps the local independent jewellers run more professional and world-class businesses.

The work done here by Tower Systems is offered pro-bono by the company as part of its commitment to helping small business retailers.

To find out more about how Tower Systems helps small business jewellers connect for a data feed with jeweller suppliers, please speak with one of our jeweller software experts today.

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Tower Systems launches more free POS software training for small business retailers

Here at Tower Systems we love providing free training opportunities for our small business retailer customers. Thanks to customer engagement, here we a4e years after starting the service maintaining it, week in, week out.

The training sessions are often more like business mentoring discussions as it is not so much about how the software works but more about how to leverage greater business success using the software.

Here is the training for March:

How to discount easily for seasonal sales

Wednesday 1st March 2:00pm

Quickly and easily setup automatic discounts for seasonal sales using catalogues

How to prep for a meeting with a supplier

Wednesday 8th March 2:00pm

Be more informed than the supplier rep, make fewer mistakes, get more from the relationship.

Loyalty Programs. What works best for you.

Wednesday 15th March  2:00pm

There are 4 ways to do loyalty in retailer. Find out which will work best for your business.

10 ways to save time and money using Retailer

Wednesday 22nd March 2:00pm

10 different ways you can free up time and  money in your business using retailer.

How discount vouchers work

Wednesday 29th March 2:00pm

Come with us on a deep dive into discount vouchers and assess whether this fresh approach to loyalty is right for you.

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Retail management advice: How to prepare your independent retail business for sale

Selling an independent retail business is like selling a house, you need to prepare it so that it looks appealing to prospective purchasers.

The process of preparing a retail business for sale can take time, depending on the state of the business. The earlier you start the better.

The keys are too leave yourself plenty of time and have a plan. The advice we provide here is based on years of service to small business retailers across many different retail channels.

Here is our overview advice of what you need to do to prepare your independent retail business for sale.

  1. Maximise profit. What anyone will pay will depend on the profitability of the business. While you should be on this every day, if it is a new project for you, start six months prior to putting the business on the market.
  2. Eliminate dead stock. It looks bad on the shelves and looks bad on the books. Purchasers should not pay full wholesale for inventory more than six months old as your poor buying or management is not their obligation.
  3. Streamline operations. Make the business look easy to run by ensuring it is easy to run for you. The easier it looks to run the more interesting to people who don’t understand the business.
  4. Make the business look appealing. Ensure displays are stunning, the shelves full and every pitch the very best you can make. You want them to want your business because they like it.
  5. Be happy. Owners who talk their business down will find it harder to sell the business. If you are complainer, keep it to yourself or in the family.
  6. Keep your social media presence up to date. Today, many people check out a business online prior to looking at it in-store. Maintain up to date Facebook and other
  7. Get your paperwork in order. Early on, get business documents together and check:
    1. Premises lease.
    2. Equipment lease documents.
    3. Franchise document.
    4. Supplier agreements.
    5. Details of any forward orders.
    6. Any other documents relating to the operation of the business including manuals for any equipment items.
  8. Choose your broker carefully.

Success at selling your business depends in part on the work you do to prepare it for sale. Extra focus now can help you get timely price satisfaction.

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Reinventing the POS software experience for small business retailers

We have begun previewing new-look POS software for our specialty retail marketplaces. This new look represents more than a year of work in design, development and testing. It offers our customers a fresh look, it keeps our software current with design standards relevant to retail in 2017.

This latest new look for our POS software continues the Tower Systems commitment to maintaining fresh and relevant software for our retail partners. It is what helps our software stay ahead, be loved by existing customers and winning the hearts of new customers.

The first personal previews of the new software started a week ago at the Sydney Gift Fair. They continue in a week’s time at the Melbourne Toy Fair. Then we will show the software off at our face to face user meetings around the country.

The new software is a result of terrific collaboration across multiple divisions of Tower Systems. It is a great team effort.

We develop, sell and support software for: gift shopsjewellers,  bike shopstoy shopsfishing/outdoors businessesgarden centres/nurseriespet shopsproduce storesfirearms businesses and newsagents.

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POS SOFTWARE USER MEETINGS OFFER FREE TRAINING AND SUPPORT

We are thrilled to SHARE details of our first batch of face to face user meetings for 2017. We have scheduled sessions for Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne, starting March 27, 2017. We will demonstrate the new look and feel of Retailer, our Shopify / Magento and Woo Commerce integrations, our Xero integration and much more. Plus there will be time for your questions. Free training. An opportunity to pitch your suggestions. This is an excellent chance to leverage more from your relationship with us. Click here to book and see venue details. Yes, we will announce more dates soon.

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Six things to do before you choose a POS software company for your business

  1. Compare websites. Go deep. Look at ease of contact, support connections. Look for details of the real people being the business.
  2. Compare software. On your desktop, next to each other.
  3. Compare training. Sit in on a training session. Compare usefulness, professionalism.
  4. Look at online tools. get a login and see what real users see.
  5. Use it. In a shop,l behind the counter. See first hand the user experience.
  6. Learn the total cost of ownership. Get this in writing, for the first three years. See the real cost of owning each of the software packages you are comparing.

There is a huge difference between software products. These six points could help you avoid POS software that is not right for your business.

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Tower Systems POS software customer service opportunities

Tower Systems provides these touch point services to all customers using our POS software. They are services we have found small business retailers appreciate and enjoy. These services are provided at no additional cost:

  1. Theft check. A business data assessment and analysis to determine if employee theft is occurring in the business. We have people who have been used by police and prosecutors to testify as expert witnesses in successful prosecutions.
  2. Business check. One of our senior analysts researches the data being cultivated by the software for the business. A report is prepared on what can be seen in the data. The goal of this assessment is to provide insights the retailer might otherwise not have seen for themselves.
  3. User meetings. We host two cycles of user meetings each year – in the first and second half of the year. These are in capital cities and major regional centres. The user meetings provide free training and an open Q&A session. They are always attended by senior management from Tower Systems.
  4. Online training workshops. These are held for all Tower customers. Access is free. They can connect and participate from anywhere in the world.
  5. Tower Systems has a structured approach to escalation of any issue about which a customer may be unhappy. This facilitates getting the issue outside the help desk and in front of the leadership team for more independent assessment.
  6. Supplier engagement. Tower Systems has a structured approach to working with suppliers to facilitate seamless connection when it comes to business data. This process sees many suppliers already participating.
  7. One-on-one training. Unlimited personal individual training each year.
  8. Knowledge base. This is a self-service facility with access to articles, videos and more that help our customers learn how to use the software. It is like a living and evolving user manual, but much better.

There is an extraordinary difference between Tower Systems and others. Our commitment is consistent and absolute. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve.

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How our POS software company uses Facebook to help small business users

Tower Systems embraces a range of touch points for connecting with small business retailers. One such touch point is Facebook. We have a private group where our users can ask questions and talk through opportunities. We use this platform to share support and other announcements.

The Tower Systems user private Facebook page is proving to be a useful touch point, transparent too.

Customer service today requires change and here at Tower Systems we embrace change happily.

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Small business retail advice: make every day your pay day

There was a time when small business retailers could rely on selling their business for a handsome increase on the price they paid thereby providing a good pay day, when businesses sold for a good multiple of net earnings.

No more. Today, the best way to extract value from our businesses is to make every day your pay day, to not rely on your pay day being the day you sell the business.

The challenge is how do you do this?
Retailers need to look at their businesses differently. This starts with the mindset of every

day being your pay day. Each decision needs to be considered in this context.

Focusing on profit today will give you a better result today and make your business more valuable tomorrow.

Here are some suggestions for making every day your pay day:

  1. Run with the leanest roster possible. Just about every retail business we review has capacity to lower labour costs.
  2. Have your best people working the floor, helping customers spend more.
  3. Have stunning displays that attract people from outside the shop.
  4. Have compelling displays in-store that encourage people to browse beyond their destination purchase.
  5. Always have impulse offers at high traffic locations.
  6. Charge more every time you can. Loyalty programs such as discount vouchers, bundling into hampers, multi buys such as 2 for 3 and other opportunities enable you to do this by blocking price comparison.
  7. Buy as best you can.
  8. Grab settlement discounts every time you are able.
  9. Promote outside your store using online and social media opportunities.
  10. Leverage adjacency information. Chase a deeper basket – people purchasing more each visit.

Be responsible for the profitability of your business. Don’t blame your suppliers, your landlord, your employees or some other external factor … it all comes down to you – the decisions you make and the actions you take.

If you relentlessly pursue profit with a clear focus you are likely to see profit grow. That’s better than waiting to make money when you sell because that’s less likely to happen in this market.

Doing all this relies on your measuring the performance of your business. The Tower software helps with this. It is easy.

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VM inspiration for small business retail – the impact of colour

Colour blocking in retail makes a difference in almost any type of business. Shoppers are drawn to colour-blocked displays as they stand out in-store.

Here is a colour blocked display we saw on our travels recently, in a stationery related business.

Plenty of small business specialty retail businesses have opportunities to colour block. The result can be a valuable increase in shopper engagement.

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Ready for the sneak peek at our latest POS software

We are excited to be a couple of days away rom showing off new-look POS software. This will be at the Reed Gift Fair in Sydney this coming weekend.

The result of extraordinary effort by our development and design teams, this new look software is fresh and exciting. It provides small business retailers a new experience.

For us, the new look software is like a retail business doing a shop fit. The result is similar.

We are excited to be bringing this to the marketplace.

This latest refresh continues our commitment to keeping it fresh for o8ur customers.

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Advice from POS software co. Tower Systems on how and when to quit stock in your retail business

How do you identify product that is not working? When do you quit a product that is not working? Why should you quit stock? How do you quit the stock? How long should quitting stock take? What if the item does not sell no matter what you do?

These are all questions we will answer here for you in the form of suggestions. What you ultimately do is 100% up to you. Your choices need to reflect your own situation and circumstances.

Identifying product that is not working.

Product is not working if it is not paying its way – paying for the floor space it takes and the time you spend on it. Check your sales, rank all your stock based on sales – look at the bottom performing stock. Your software should have a ranked Sales Report that lets you list all your stock ranked by unit or $$ sales. Use this to create your list of items to consider.

The other way to identify stock that’s not working for you is to check your back room or other storage facility. Stock that is not generating cash regularly has to be considered dead in our view.

When do you quit a product?

You quit, exit, products when they are not paying their way, when a season is done or when you want to exit that category for some other reason.

Let’s say your rent is $1,250 per square metre per year. If your gross profit averages, say, 50%, you will need to sell $2,500 worth of product to pay for a metre of space. However, this is not the complete consideration as you have labour, power and other costs to cover. The suggested rule of thumb is that your retail sales need to be at least three times that necessary to cover the cost of the space. In the scenario covered here, you should be earning at least $7,500 from a square metre of space. If stock is not delivering this, quitting it could be necessary.

Why quit stock?

To keep your shop fresh, to not be weighed down by dead stock to make your shop look more relevant, to stop hoarding.

How to quit stock.

Here is how we quit stock in retail businesses we operate. These businesses are in shopping centres where retail space is limited and expensive. We are necessarily aggressive.

  1. Set a deadline. We’d suggest two weeks for quitting a product or range of products.
  2. Choose your timing. The best time to quit stock quickly is on your busiest trading days. For many this will be the weekend. Consider structuring your quitting program to run from Thursday through Sunday.
  3. Set your initial price. The discount must be compelling. We’d suggest 50% off. A smaller discount in this marketplace will not get noticed. Think about your discount words: in some areas, HALF PRICE works better than 50% OFF. Sometimes, 2 FOR 1 can be even more effective. A $$ price can work better – for example a dump bin with everything priced at $1. People then don’t have to work anything out.
  4. Move the product to a high traffic location. Display it as a line you are quitting – in a dump bin or in open boxes. This must be in a location away from where the product is usually located. Do not make an attractive display. Consider placing the stock somewhere that people almost stumble over it.
  5. Put up a sign that is either black on white or white on read. Nothing fancy. Even a hand written sign is good. Do not make a complex or attractive sign.
  6. Adjust your price. If sales are not strong enough, go harder with your discount. From 50% off we suggest a drop to a $$ price point. It can be challenging selling something you would have sold for $20.00 at $1 but that $1 is better than getting nothing for the product at all.
  7. Give it away. If the products are not selling, consider giving the stock away to a local charity. Getting it out of your shop for no compensation can be better than it taking space and giving off the wrong message about your business.
  8. Keep track of time. If you decide to be out of the stock within two weeks, stick to that and make it happen with your pricing and placement decisions.
  9. Use the bin. If you can’t sell the item and you can’t give it away, use the bin.
  10. An alternative: If you have a large amount of stock to quit, consider hiring a local hall and running an off site sale. Talk to your suppliers about getting extra stock in for this. You could even plan to do this as an annual event. Consider, too, linking with a local charity to drive interest and create a fund raising opportunity for them.

Quitting stock takes strength and commitment. We urge you to do it to keep your business fresh. Product not selling gives shoppers a bad impression of your business.

Take a look at your shop floor and in your back room. Look at what you can get rid of right away to reduce the anchor of dead stock on your business.

Too many retail businesses have old stock gathering dust. One of the best ways to separate your business is to regularly quit stock that is not performing as it should.

This advice is an example of how Tower Systems helps small business retailers beyond POS software.

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Toy shop software from Tower Systems

Tower Systems is growing in the toy shop software space with more retailers installed and using our toy shop software.

Toy shops have unique needs, needs beyond what is average in POS software. In our software we cater to unique needs. Without wanting to disclose all that is unique to us, here are some facilities toy shop owners love in our specialty software:

  1. Serial number tracking.
  2. Age checking on goods.
  3. Product use and care instructions on invoice.
  4. LayBy
  5. Customer special orders. This is where a retailer will get orders in to serve a specific customer requirement. Includes option to send an SMS to collect goods received in-store.
  6. Catalogues – date range based sales.
  7. BOGO type selling Buy 1 Get 1 Free, Buy 3 Get 4th one free.
  8. Collector card. Buy X over time and get Y free.
  9. Sales based marketing. For example, easily targeting the Lego shopper to purchase new packs.
  10. Supplier EDI – electronic invoices.
  11. The ability to look at sales performance beyond departments / categories and suppliers. A way to slice the data for efficiency.
  12. Seasonal reordering facilities.
  13. Discount vouchers – enabling retailers to leverage key seasonal traffic at surge times.

Here is an in-house produced video that explains further how we help toy retailers:

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Here is a key Tower Systems difference, in one video

One of the things that separates Tower Systems aside from other retailers is that we are retailers too, and have been for many years. We walk in the shoes of our customers in a way that other POS software companies don;t and can;t This video is an example of the value of on show as we speak about sales growth at one of our retail stores:

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Retail business management advice: best practice approach to stock take

In years working with small and independent retail businesses, the team at Tower Systems has learnt plenty including the indicators of in which retail businesses theft is more likely to occur.

Our experience is that theft is more likely to occur in businesses where stock is not managed properly.

By not managed properly we mean where:

  1. All items sold are not tracked at the point of sale.
  2. Where new stock arriving in the business is not properly arrived through the software.
  3. Where spot stock-takes are not undertaken regularly to maintain an accurate stock on hand account.
  4. Where stock given away or thrown away is not written off.
  5. Where stock returned to a supplier is not scanned out.

Our advice on reducing the cost of employee theft and customer theft is simple – follow our advice, manage your stock and without a doubt the cost of theft in your retail business will be lower than it would have been.

If you think the cost of managing stock is too great, think about the cost of $25,000, $50,000 or even $250,000 in theft. Yes, we see this all too often in retail businesses – where stock is not managed.

Managing your stock = less theft and less theft = increases product and increased profit = you get more when you sell your business.

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Why we recommend retail-grade hardware from HP for small business retailers

Tower Systems proudly partners with Hewlett Packard, HP, for hardware for small business retailers. We have been a HP partner for years. There is a good reason for this : SERVICE.

Service matters to small business retailers.

The HP computers we sell are retail business specific. They are not computers you’d buy for home from Harvey Norman, JB HiFi or elsewhere. No, our HP computers are designed for busy retail environments.

The HP computers we recommend are fast.

The HP computers we recommend are backed with a genuine 3 year on-site warranty.

The HP computers we recommend are backed by us too.

The is the difference with HP gear through Tower Systems – it is a perfect partnership delivering excellent advantages to local small business retailers.

When it comes to computer hardware for your small retail business a wise investment once is better than multiple less wise investments over time.

We use HP gear in our own retail businesses. Our own experience backs the marketing claims for this wonderful gear.

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Local small business POS software support

All sales to new customers of the Tower Systems POS software have membership to the Tower AdvantageTM support membership included in their package.

Tower AdvantageTM is what we call our support service. We trade marked it because it is unique to us.

Our small business retail support is 100% local, managed out of our Hawthorn, Victoria, office with support staff located there as well as at several interstate Australian locations.

The office based help desk is open from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and from 7:30 to 3:30 on Saturdays – AEST. For urgent support outside these hours we have a mobile based after hours telephone support.

Help desk access is backed by access to our escalation process whereby customers have access to our Customer Service Manager then to our Chief Operating Officer and then to our Managing Director. The direct numbers of each point of escalation are provided to all of our customers.

Each week we run online training interactive courses covering subjects with a business outcome in mind. These programs are run through our WebEx platform and Customers can attend as many of these courses as they like. We would also be happy to develop along with ARL, some ARL specific training courses if wanted.

All customers also have access to our online personal training. These sessions booked in advance deliver one-on-one training on any desired subject. We do not cap the amount of one on one training time a customer can book.

At the end of the first year customers are invoiced for support for the next year. Customers have the option to pay monthly or pay up front for discounts on multiple years of access. Our support fees are optional, meaning if a customer chooses to not be supported they can revert to a pay per call for access to the help desk.

Customer service is important to us. We know that delivering good service is as important to us as it is to our customers. We are committed.

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In a cloud environment what happens when the Internet is unavailable? The offering is for an external cloud provider, can we leverage our own cloud provider? How are hosting charges calculated, i.e. data storage charges?

Our Tower Systems POS software system is very configurable. Users have the ability, if they wish, to run without being hosted. This solves any Internet stability questions, particularly for rural/regional Australian where this may be an issue.

The other challenge with cloud is the costs. Our experience is some small business owners are not happy with the monthly hosting cost for a cloud service.

These are the reasons we have configured our software to suit whatever situation a customer prefers.

Alternatively, if users want, we can host the system in the cloud. This can be hosted on our secure dedicated infrastructure (additional costs will apply) or on infrastructure of their choosing. We will provide guidance on the configuration so the ideal environment is created.

If hosted on our infrastructure customers are charged on a per user per month basis.

If the user runs in a hosted environment and the internet drops out the user can switch to a facility we call Outpost Mode.

Outpost mode allows for basic trading, scanning sales, until such time as Internet access is restored.

This is another example of the help we provide to our customers for a broad variety of situations in which they find themselves.

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Another way our POS software co. helps retailers beyond the software

Inner weekly customer service email we include advice and insights beyond what is usual for POS software companies. Here is one example from a recent email where we shared visual merchandising insights seen recently bye a Tower team members in Europe:

Adding value to the various touchpoints we have with our customers is important to us as it helps our customers to benefit beyond the software.

We are not your average POS software company.

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Preparing for showing our new Gift Shop Software and the Sydney Reed Gift Fair

Tower Systems is thrilled to be participating again in the Sydney Reed Gift Fair in a couple of weeks. On show at this wonderful event will be our Gift Shop Software. Indeed, we are launching new software at this very special event.

Tower Systems has been participating at gift fair trade shows for more than ten years and as a result have many hundreds of gift shops as customers using our Aussie developed small business software.

This year is especially editing because of what we have to show. It is fresh, exciting and innovative – aimed to help small business retailers better connect with and sell to gift, homewares and related product category shoppers.

This will be a terrific event. We are excited!

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