A fresh approach to POS software EOFY training from Tower Systems

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 8.14.19 AMThe long-form training video published to small business retailers using our POS software is proving to be a hit with plenty engaging with the video and ensuring they are informed how to be fully prepared for the end of the financial year.

The training video is another free training resource produced in-house at Tower Systems by our customer service team and our video production team.

This latest video was filmed during a live online training workshop – so it shows off that free training resource as well.

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Small business advice: A checklist for those buying a retail shop

A common question we are asked at our POS software company has nothing to do with software. It is from people considering purchasing a retail business. The question is:  what should I ask for when looking at buying a retail shop?

The question itself, when asked, indicates how green a prospective purchaser is when it comes to purchasing a business.

Here is a list of data points we suggest retail business purchasers access from the vendor or their representative:

  1. P&L from the accountant for the last two years. i.e. not a spreadsheet created for the purpose.
  2. A good explanation of any add-backs.
  3. Sales data reports, for the last two years, from the POS software in use – to verify the income claim.
  4. Sales data reports from the lottery terminal to verify the income claim.
  5. BAS forms to confirm data in the P&L.
  6. A list of all inventory to include purchase price and date last sold for each item.
  7. A copy of the shop lease.
  8. A copy of any leases the vendor expects you to take on board.
  9. A list of all employees: name, hourly rate, nature of employment, start date, accrued leave.

This is good basic information that will enable any purchaser to undertake reasonable assessment of a business.

A good business will shine through the numbers just as a business with upside achievable by new owners will shine through.

My advice to vendors looking to sell who are concerned about this list is: think about it now and focus on your business so the data listed looks good.

Every day you make decisions in your business that impact many of the data points listed.

This is why we say every day is your pay day. Run a smart, lean and profit focused business and you will have a good pay day today and a good one when you come to sell.

The most appealing businesses are those that are easier to run and are making money.

The time to focus on that is now.

Sure, a purchaser can turn a business around. They should get the rewards if they are expected to do that for your business.

The price you can sell your business for will be based on what it is making now.

Getting the data ready for the sale of the business could, of itself, help you improve how you run your business.

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GIFT SHOP SOFTWARE ON SHOW AT GIFT HQ IN BRISBANE NEXT MONTH

Tower Systems is thrilled to be bringing its latest small business gift shop software to the Gift HQ trade show in Brisbane in a couple of weeks. At this event we will be demonstrating new software, fresh and exciting software designed specifically for small business gift retailers, to help them drive better business outcomes, compete more effectively and run a business that is more valuable.

The Gift HQ opportunity for small business retailers is excellent and exciting.

We will not only show off our POS software we will also be showing off:

  1. EFTPOS integration.
  2. Cloud backup.
  3. Cloud based business intelligence tools.
  4. Smart reporting.
  5. Xero integration. MYOB integration.
  6. Quicken integration.
  7. FlyBys integration.
  8. Authorised scale integration.
  9. Magento integration.
  10. Shopify integration.
  11. PayPal integration.
  12. Hosted options.
  13. Cloud based solutions.

We will also be showing off the latest supplier integrations that will serve small business retailers in the gift and homewares spaces – through which they can save time and money.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of Gift HQ.

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THE TOWER SYSTEMS POS SOFTWARE SHOPIFY LINK

The direct link between our POS software and the Shopify e-commerce solution is valuable for small business retailers keen for a beautiful and easy to operate online business platform. Here is all you need to know on what we have delivered – note, delivered, yes this is live and available now.

The Retailer to Shopify Link uses the cloud-based best-practice Tower Advantage Link platform to connect or link Retailer directly to Shopify. The Tower Advantage Link platform is a subscription-based service that acts as an intermediary between Retailer and the Shopify API.

The link works by using the Shopify API allowing the TALink platform to connect to Shopify and synchronising on a periodic interval or request basis. Below is a outline of what is transferred.

Retailer becomes your master stock database. You flag what stock items you want to appear on your web store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as your product names and descriptions in Shopify.

Your Retailer Departments and Categories become Categories and Sub-Categories in Shopify. If you choose to link these, your existing structure will be mirrored and managed in Shopify automatically. If, however, you decide not link your Department and Categories in Shopify, you can allocate Categories manually to products once they are added. Only Departments and Categories that have flaggged as websotre items are added to Shopify.

Retailers Classifications are treated as Attributes in Shopify. If you choose to link these in Shopify your existing Classifications will be mirrored and managed in Shopify automatically. If, however, you do not want this to occur you can manually manage your own Shopify Attributes.

You have control over your webstore pricing from within the Retailer Stock Screen. Bulk updates of the webstore price can be performed in Stock Manager. Once new prices are set, your web store is updated automatically. Quantity of hand is also managed automatically, when your sell or arrive an item into stock these adjustments are sent directly to Shopify. If the quantity on hand of an items drops to 0, the item is marked as out of stock in Shopify.

The images you set against stock items in Retailer are automatically uploaded to your website. If images change, the old one is removed and the new one is added. You can upload as many images, as you like per stock item.

Customers that purchase off your webstore are added as customers in your Retailer database, allowing you to track what they buy and market to them if you desire. Existing customers with an email address will also be added to your web store to facilitate easy sales.

These are downloaded into Retailer. These are imported into our Customer Invoice Maintenance facility allowing you to place orders and print invoices. Once sales are imported it reduces your quantity on hand so you maintain accurate stock control. Sales can be allocated to a specific location or merged added to you main sales data, giving you excellent control over how you report on your webstore sales.

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The visual deck helps small business retailers see business data differently

vdeckA couple of months ago we announced the launch of the Visual Deck, a cloud based business intelligence platform we developed here at Tower Systems for small business retailers. The visual deck gives small business retailers a visual insight into business performance and from this flows a brighter future based on data evidence from the business itself.

The visual deck is a game changer in the small business POS space as it delivers to small business retailers a set of tools that provide easy access from anywhere to elegant representation of business performance data.

This new platform is a completely new product from the Tower development team. It leveraged data cultivated by the Tower Point of Sale software and makes it available anywhere, in a stimulating visual form and in a way than encourages the discovery of business performance insights.

Introducing the Retailer Visual Deck.

Retail business performance, seen differently.

The Visual Deck is a platform through which you can see the performance of your business, visually. Graphs replace reports, making trends obvious and a path ahead clearer to follow. Graphs that change with time and through which you can dive deeper into what is happening in your business.

Why did we call it the Visual deck? It is visual because, well, your business data is presented in a visual way. It is a deck because it is a platform off of which you can see far and wide. It is a perfect place to see what you cannot see when you are on the ground.

Retailers can access the Visual deck from anywhere, anytime, and through this access their business data in a way not previously accessible ninth small business retail world. You can compare periods, graph using a broad selection of formats, dive deep into the data as well as focus on data points that matter including transactions, revenue, grow profit and more.

Better still, the visual insights can easily be shared with colleagues.

The Retail Visual Deck is a fresh approach to sharing business intelligence and business performance insights with small business retailers. It is mass retailer computing in a small business retailer’s hands. This is the tool join which you can rely to grow your business.

This is 100% Tower Systems innovation.

Having been tested with data from a range of businesses and trialled for months on many different platforms, the Visual deck is ready for small business retailers to engage, to use it to better manage and grow their businesses.

Footnote: If things go as usual, at least on competitor will claim they had this before us and that we copied them. Such a claim is not true. Prior to our launched last week we checked all our competitors in each specialty marketplace in which we live and not one has a product like this.

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POS SOFTWARE ROADSHOW FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

Tower Systems is taking its POS software for specialty retailers on the road, showing off its software capabilities to retailers in places usually not visited by POS software companies. In a series of events being hosted in regional locations, we are offering small business retailers excellent opportunities to see our smart POS software first hand, talk with software experts and, most important, talk with retail experts on how to get the best for a small and independent retail business from smart POS software.

This is Tower Systems showing off a valuable point of difference, bringing experts closer to local and small businesses, so people can see us face to face.

This is what small business retailers love about Tower Systems – that we are personal, in contact with our customers using real names and providing personal service from people they can speak with direct.

  1. No call centres.
  2. No offshore help desk.
  3. No anonymous emails.

All our contact is real, personal and valuable.

These regional sessions will give business owners who are not our customers today an opportunity to connect with us and check us out for themselves.

We are sharing details direct to retailers in each regional area we will be visiting. We are not being too public with details here for competitive reasons.

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HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS ON BEST PRACTICE LAY-BY

Lay-By is vital to small business retailers, especially gift shops, jewellers, garden centres, toy shops and homewares shops. Tower systems offers structure support for managing Lay-Bys in its POS software. We help small business retailers meet their regulatory obligations, serving the needs of customers and their businesses with a best practice approach.

We offer written advice, video training, one on one training and more to help small business retailers run professional Lay-By services.

Here is a glimpse into some of the professional Lay-By advice provided to our small business retailer community:

Meeting regulatory requirements is vital. For example, if someone cancels a LayBy you must refund their payments less a termination fee. You can set this fee and advise as part of your terms and conditions.

Our advice guides you through key rules and steps to success with Lay-bys.

  1. WHAT TO LAY-BY. Set a minimum item and or purchase value. We’d suggest $80.00.
  2. DATA REQUIRED. Always ensure you are satisfied you know who your customer is. Require proof of ID from a driver’s licence or similar legal ID document.
  3. DEPOSIT. 20% of the total GST inclusive purchase price.
  4. AGE. Only Lay-by to people 18 and over.
  5. DURATION. Lay-bys should run for between eight and twelve weeks. You could run for longer pre Christmas to get early toy sales.
  6. PAYMENT CYCLE. Require payments to be made weekly or fortnightly.
  7. PAYMENT METHOD. Accept any payment form you choose.
  8. Do not allow someone to take home a single item from a group of items on Lay-by together in one purchase. It’s all or nothing.
  9. Have a LayBy termination policy you are comfortable with. We suggest a 20% termination fee. Alternatively, set a dollar amount to reflect the work. Also, consider setting the LayBy to auto terminate if it extends beyond a period of time you nominate. Note that you could equally choose to have no cancellation given that Lay-by product may not be able to easily re-sold.
  10. Decide what you would consider a breach. This has to be something you stand by. We suggest two missed payments without reasonable excuse or rectification. On breach, cancel and charge the cancellation fee.
  11. We suggest a no-exchange policy.
  12. When a customer Lay-bys, print two dockets – one for them to take immediately and one to be placed with the goods. Have your customer sign both copies, accepting your terms and conditions.
  13. Set aside a clean and secure storage location for Lay-bys in your business where locations are coded for easy finding. Place Lay-by goods into a single clear plastic bag per transaction for clean and safekeeping. Staple to this a copy of the Lay-by docket. Let your customers see you do this so there is no doubt when it comes time to collect the products.
  14. Have one person responsible for Lay-bys to ensure product care, track payments and contact customers.
  15. TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Enter these into your software so they are included on every Lay-by docket. Points 2 through 11 above are a good example of what to include in your terms and conditions.
  16. COMPLETE PAPERWORK. To not over complicate things, rely on your software’s Lay-by docket as your complete paperwork / contract. Get that right and Lay-by management will be easier.

These rules and steps may feel complex. They are necessary for the small number of times something goes wrong and you need to rely on them to help you deal with a situation.

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ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS ON HOW TO SEE THEIR BUSINESS DIFFERENTLY

This is not the usual advice you would expect from your POS software company. But Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company.

In our work with small business specially retailers in Australia and New Zealand we often hear about burnout, retailers being tired and over the grind of opening the shop working all day, closing, getting little sleep and doing it all again.

We hear of retailers who are often too tired to be innovative in their approach to business, to exhausted to think about the future let alone today or tomorrow.

We get it that retail is tough, full of challenges. Our job is to help retailers see things differently.

Call us crazy but we have some ideas designed to help small business retailers reconnect with their businesses. They are unconventional. They are free. They are fun. They are designed to get you looking, hearing and smelling your business differently. They are designed to open your eyes to opportunities you may be missing.

Are you ready? Here are our unconventional ideas for refreshing your views of your small retail business – in the hope that you find opportunities you were not seeing.

  1. Go to your shop at night time. Leave the lights off. Put a chair on the middle of the shop floor. Sit down. Take your shoes and socks or stockings off. Put a blindfold on. Soak it up. What do you smell? What do you hear? Is there any sense of place that you get from being there.  Be still for fifteen minutes or so thinking about this. Breathe deeply. How does your shop smell? Does it have a smell? If not, why not? Then take the blindfold off and look around you for another fifteen minutes. Finally, get up – with your shoes and socks or stockings still off – and walk around the shop. Take in the environment you are in control of. Let the ideas flow. If you want to take it to a deeper level, lie down on the floor on your back and look up and around – kind of up-skirt your own shop while it’s empty!
  2. Get a stool or fold up chair, pack a lunch and spend at least three lunchtimes in a week sitting opposite the entrance to your shop watching customers. Don’t write anything down, just watch. Preferably do this without people noticing you. Wear a disguise if necessary. Watch intently. See where people go, what they pick up, what they buy if possible. Try and predict what they will do. Watch and think. Watch and think.
  3. Get a small desk and a sign for the desk that says CUSTOMER SERVICE. Place the desk near the front door of your shop. Set yourself up at the desk, sitting behind it. Dress formally, old school. Like in a 1950s movie preferably. Sit up straight. Look the part. Sit and wait and see what comes your way. Have fun interactive with customers. The desk should look out of place but it should also look fun. The idea is that your customers, your staff and you will be a bit shaken up by the change. See what comes your way.
  4. Sit out the front of the shop for a day. Yes a whole day. Sit and watch, take notes and think about what you see, what you could change and ask people, as they come out, what they would change too.

We have more crazy ideas. These barely scratch the surface of the crazy idea cupboard. Just ask.

We’re here to help small business retailers create and run successful independent small local retail businesses. Our help goes beyond our software. Were retailers too and love being able to talk retail with anyone.

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PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

A good website has a number of costs associated with it. POS software company Tower Systems has a track record of developing POS software integrated websites, helping small business retailers to leverage wonderful omnichannel opportunities.

A business website is not an off the shelf product. It is something finely tailored to the needs of the business it represents.

  1. What a website includes. What a website includes depends on the requirements of the business. Many small business retailers want an online advertisement for their retail shop. That is not an e-commerce site. An e-commerce site promotes online commerce. That is the focus of the Tower Systems work. A typical e-commerce site includes the following pages and facilities:
    1. About. About the business, personalising what you stand for. Humanising the business. Building trust.
    2. Products. Products assembled by category. Photos. Descriptions. Pricing. Data creating these entries can flow from your retailer software – depending on the extent of the data you have setup including images.
    3. Purchasing. A shopping cart into which people can purchase and checkout. Automatically managing freight, collecting payment and providing you a back end for managing orders.
    4. Payment gateway. This is the back end management of payments and the depositing of payments into your bank account. We currently support Pin Payments and PayPal. You would establish your own account for one or the other – we do not want your funds passing through our accounts.
    5. Location. A placemat page showing where the retail business is located and its hours, if applicable.
    6. FAQs. A page where you pre-answer the questions shoppers are likely to ask. You would provide the text content for this. Part of the backend management facilities would enable you to change this at any time.
    7. Overall design. This is the visual aesthetic representation of your online business. We have choices you can make based on work we have done. That said, our goal is to create something that professionally represents your business, that you are happy with.
    8. Hidden code. Behind every page on the website and for each product is ‘hidden’ code used by Google and other search engines for indexing the information and enabling it to be found. Get this wrong and your products will not be easily found online.
    9. Administration page. This is a page only you could access where you can change information about and settings for the site.
  2. Website development. For a basic site with the ability for you to load product descriptions, images prices, sell items and include text about your business as well as running two email addresses through the site will cost less than what small business retailers think. The fixed-price package includes consultation, programming and design elements to provide you with a professional site, but not a complex site. It does not include us writing the content for the site. We would expect you to provide all content.

The typical basic site would cover the pages / points all listed in point 1 above – to varying levels of detail.

Note: there are websites that cost $15,000 and more. This is too expensive in our view. The price varies according to complexity.

  1. Domain registration. We would guide you on this. A www name will cost around $50 for two years – paid to the registration company. This is something you would register so you have absolute control over it at all times. We have seen web companies register domains for businesses and hold the to ransom when the businesses want to go elsewhere.
  2. Website hosting. This is usually a per month cost. A basic site with around 500 items will cost around $220.00 a month to host. Hosting means the site running on a computer in a secure server farm. This is not a Tower Systems location but rather a location created solely to host thousands of websites. The hosting fee does not offer any labour for loading products or actually managing the site.
  3. SEO – Google ranking activity to help the site be easily found. We do this work through bursts with each burst professionally organised and managed. A burst involves creating backlinks for the site or for specific pages on the site that guide Google to list the site in terms of its rankings. Typically, a new site would have this work done twice in the first six months. We ask you questions about your competitors. Knowing what or who to target in dong SEO work is vital. Targeting is all done based on keywords that people will use when searching for a business like yours.

We have been successful in boosting several sites to the front page of Google rankings.  Type in POS software to Google and you will see us listed on the first page immediately below Xero and MYOB. This is excellent positioning for a company our size. Getting to this position takes work. Maintaining it takes even more work. This is the SEO work to which we refer here.

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SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL ADVICE: CHOOSE THE LOYALTY OPTION THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU

The Tower Systems POS software has every possible shopper loyalty requirement covered from points to integrations to instant gratification loyalty to collectible loyalty to multi buy loyalty to supplier driven and funded loyalty.

No matter what loyalty option you could conceive, Tower has, in its community of 3,500+ small business retailers, most likely encountered the need and served it.

Our experience with loyalty is different businesses have different needs. This is why one of our loyalty experts works with you to determine which of the options is right for your business needs.

We help you discover the options in the software that serve your needs.

Our retail management advice today is think about the needs of your business carefully. The most obvious loyalty option, the one most others use, might not be right for you.

Our retail management tip today is: choose the loyalty option that is right for your small business.

  1. Points based loyalty.
  2. Loyalty rewards where the rewards are a voucher.
  3. A cash discount off your next purchase.
  4. Integration with a banner group loyalty program.
  5. FlyBys integration.
  6. A partner program where the shopper gets a reward and their community group gets a reward.
  7. A local community support loyalty offer.
  8. VIP pricing.
  9. VIP pricing coupled with a loyalty rewards offer.

There are plenty more options than these – catered for and serves within the smart Tower Systems POS software.

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TOWER SYSTEMS HELPS TOY SHOPS LAY-BY NOW FOR CHRISTMAS

Toy sales were in full swing in independent toy shops keen to leverage the pre Christmas stock up opportunities – through our Toy Shop software.

Thanks to strong Lay-By facilities in the Tower POS software, we are helping toy retailers and other retailers to leverage Lay-By now for Christmas opportunities, to lock in for sure revenue today ahead of other retailers who will come to the opportunity later in the year.

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TOWER SYSTEMS LAUNCHES POS SOFTWARE UPDATE

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 10.01.04 AMThe latest update of our POS software for small business retailers in a number of specialty retail channels has been released. This update, like all software updates, has gone through a comprehensive testing process internally and externally to ensure it is up to the standards our customers have come to expect from it.

The update releases a new integration, enhancements to another integration as well as software changes.

As with all of our software updates, our customers can choose if they wish to install the update and if so, when. This is the ultimate in user control.

Advice about the update was sent by email along with straightforward and peer-reviewed instructions for loading the update.

Our development team is advanced on the next update – we are excited about what is yet to come for our customers in 2016.

There is no additional charge for software updates.

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HP RP9 POS TERMINAL A HIT FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

Our partners at HP have released new and updated point of sale specific hardware.  All of our Tower Systems PC’s are now shipped with Windows 10 Pro 64bit installed, 8GB of RAM and fast Solid State drives.

Like a memory stick, there are no moving parts to an Solid State Drive (SSD). Information is stored in microchips. The old hard disk drive technology uses a mechanical arm with a head to move around and read information from the right location on a disk. Loading and running programs on a computer with SSD will be noticeably faster – four to eight times faster. That time saving can make the higher cost easy to justify.

Just launched is our new All In One the HP RP9.  This device delivers powerhouse performance with stylish minimalist design and reliable engineering to create the perfect All In One Computer.

Our purpose built POS specific HP desktop PC’s have also been updated to 8GB of RAM and with super fast solid state disk drives.  Solid State Drives can increase the speed of a computer by as much as 55%* when compared to the same PC using a regular Hard Disk Drive technology.

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FREE STOCKTAKING TRAINING FOR POS SOFTWARE USERS

Our end of financial year stocktake training for our small business retail customers is proving to be popular. Even the additional events we are hoping are filling up.

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These live training workshops are supplemented with our one on one free training for individual situations as well as training through our training videos plus our training through advice sheets accessible from our online self-serve knowledge base.

We are grateful to our customers for supporting the free training opportunities. Our experience is that participating in the free training helps people get more from their POS software and makes them less reliant on our help desk for assistance.

Our free EOFY stocktake training covers all a retailer needs to know to prepare for and undertake an end of financial year stocktake.

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AMAZING TRAINING RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS FROM OUR POS SOFTWARE COMPANY

Thanks to terrific in-house video training and production resources here at Tower Systems we are able to create a broad range of professional training videos to help our POS software customers. Sometimes, these videos have nothing to do with our software, they are more about business management.

Here is a a video from last year that we made for newsagents in the newsXpress newsagency marketing group on how to do boosted posts on Facebook.

Videos can range from deep into the POS software training to practical in-store training to how to understand business management reports to this type of video on how to promote the business.

The videos speak to our uniqueness as a POS software company.

Our customers engaged with the videos through direct play, through YouTube play and even through direct MP4 sharing that we undertake.

Video training is valuable for small business retailers. We are proud to make this investment for our customers.

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CLOUD OUTAGE REINFORCES THE CARE NEEDED IN POS SOFTWARE CLOUD CONSIDERATION

The outage of the Amazon cloud services caused by storms in Sydney recently serves as a reminder of the approach a business takes to moving its IT infrastructure to the cloud. This is especially true for small business retailers where IT investment tends to be in one solution or path rather than multiple paths for redundancy.

The Amazon outage knocked out access to software facilities and data for many businesses according to the news reports. Those unprepared for such an eventuality could only wait for access to be reestablished. This came at a cost to business not only from lost revenue but also from lost productivity for employees located elsewhere, far away from the storms, where the roles of employees entirely depend on access to software and data in the cloud.

The level of protection for a business against the eventuality of the storms in Sydney is up to the business. It is a function of the amount of money they might spend protecting their software and data, providing multiple paths to their software and data. This is what we mean by redundancy. Redundancy is expensive as it is effectively duplication of assets.

The questions for small business retailers is how much are you prepared to spend on such protection? As you spend more, the coast effectiveness of a cloud based solution can become prohibitive compared to the alternative.

Here at Tower Systems we offer the best of both worlds, cloud and non-cloud, from which our retailer partners can choose.

  1. Our customers and run a local desktop solution where they are in full control.
  2. They could also run a local solution with elements of clad based benefits.
  3. They could also run 100% in the cloud, fully hosted and fully shielded from managing the computer and data management infrastructure.

As we are in control of the software and the infrastructure options, our customers can choose from these options or alternatives in between that may better suit their local business needs. This the ultimate flexibility as each business different, each business faces different challenges, is at different stages in the business lifecycle and has different levels of capital available for infrastructure.

Whether cloud is right for a business is a function of many factors. Our job as a software company is to offer the ultimate in flexibility through best practice software, technical hosting and access alternatives, timely support and options around migration paths as appropriate to the needs of the businesses.

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QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY HOLIDAY

It is a public holiday, for the Queen’s birthday even though it is not her birthday, today in all bar two states of Australia. While our main help desk is closed, we have an interstate office open and all calls to any of our numbers go through to there. Plus, our after hours support network is up and running.

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SUNDAY RETAIL MANAGEMENT TIP: HOW TO CHOOSE LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS AND CHARITIES TO SUPPORT

Local small business retailers are asked to support local schools, community groups and charities on an almost daily basis. While community groups and charitable organisations beat a path to the doors of local businesses, so do individuals engaged on personal fundraising of their own for a cause or for an other individual.

It is tough making the call about which organisation to support or not for there is a real fear that declining will hurt the business. Often, small business retailers do not look for an uptick in business from a charity support decision but they do worry about a decline.

So how do you choose which local business you support?

Requests from schools, charities and other community for donations can be a challenge for any size business. If you do not take a structured approach to this you will find yourself giving away plenty for little or no return.

Requests are often loaded with guilt. People can be passive aggressive in their approach. Often, people requesting help leverage pester power. It can be hard to say no. There are too many stories of retailers giving a gift as a prize, receiving the Thank You poster and achieving no benefit for the business.

Our advice is to manage your philanthropy as you would any business activity.

THE PRIZE / GIFT

Decide the amount in cash or product value or both that you are prepared to donate in a full year, calendar year or financial year.

Our recommendation is you give away cash, but in the form of a voucher to spend in your business. This ensures that value of the gift or prize is greater than the cost of it to your business.

The best mechanism for giving away cash or an amount to spend in-store is to do it by way of a gift voucher. Use your software to manage this as any manual approach is dangerous and time-consuming.

YOUR PITCH, NOT THEIRS

Get on the front foot and write to local community groups outlining that you budget a year in advance. Seek their submissions. With this advice sheet we have included the text of a suggested letter. Please read the letter as it outlines the approach we suggest and why. It is important you communicate this with all community groups.

On the page after the letter is a suggested notice for use in-store when you are asked for donations.

HOW TO PICK GROUPS TO SUPPORT

Focus on community groups that support you. That is, groups with members who support you. The more they support you the better you are able to support the community.

Be prepared to ask where people shop for the items you sell in your business. Ask if they will change in return for your support.

Asking these questions underscores to you the importance of approaching the decision as a business decision.

Be thoughtful and deliberate. Support the groups that support you. This is important as it helps you stay within a budget.

LET YOUR SHOPPERS CHOOSE

If you run discount vouchers and if customers say they don’t want the voucher, invite them to contribute the voucher to a local group – one of three you setup for in the business. Every month, two months or three months, tote up the vouchers and give the group a parentage of the total voucher value ‘voted’ for them.

This idea could be in addition to any giving program you run in the business. It offers a daily reminder of your commitment to local giving.

Grill’d burgers run a program kind of like this where each shopper is given a bottle cap, which they place in a tub to vote on a group to receive a cash donation for the month. The process of groups submitting to be considered is onerous. You can find out more about that program with this link – it is a good place to research what others do: https://www.grilld.com.au/localmatters/

REWARD ENGAGEMENT

In addition to any direct gift, consider an offer whereby anyone who is a member of the group who shops with you accrues an amount you donate to the group. You could manage this through your software. It could be you offer a discount to the shopper as well as accruing a value for the group.

This type of program could also be in addition to your core giving program as the value here is driven by sales – hopefully, incremental sales.

EDUCATE GROUPS ABOUT GOOD ENGAGEMENT

Here are things groups you support can do to help your business. You should ask them to do these things:

  1. Tell members to buy from you.
  2. Write about your business on their Facebook page.
  3. Distribute flyers of your offers.
  4. Have you speak at a meeting.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR ENGAGEMENT

Once you have a decision on which groups you will support, write about this in your newsletter and on Facebook. Not just once but multiple times. Invite them to provide you with content to publish too. Talk about their good works.

Ask them to write about you too.

Your giving has to serve your heart and serve your business. Going about it in a structured way will ensure you meet your objectives.

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SCALE INTEGRATION WITH POS SOFTWARE HELPS SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

The integration with scales for the Tower Systems POS software provides retailers with options for how they sell. While selling packaged goods is no doubt faster at the sales counter, offering ‘bulk’ prices can change the pitch of the business.

The Tower Systems POS software scale integration is in use today in:

  1. Confectionery shops.
  2. Fruit shops.
  3. Supermarkets.
  4. Pet food shops.
  5. Garden centres

In each case while the business may be significantly different, the principle is the same – the software handles the sale of items based on weight and this is a terrific differentiator for plenty of businesses that want to sell items by weight and thereby offer a volume type of pricing.

The POS software scale integration completed by Tower Systems has gone through the processes required for authentication and certification. This enables us to sell it to small business retailers with confidence and certainty. This is vital to their leveraging the facilities for their business.

Scale integration is one of a range of specialty integrations in the Tower Systems software to help small business retailers drive better business outcomes. We are experts at delivering seamless trusted integrations that serve the needs of our large small business retail community.

We recommend integrating our specialist retail software with the Data Logic Magellan 8400 scales and scanner. This powerful POS scanner/scales hybrid installs directly into your counter top and provides:

  1. All-Weighs Scale Platter with integrated Produce Lift Bar or Produce Rail™
  2. FirstStrike advanced decoding software delivers the best performance in reading poor quality labels
  3. Aggressive and ergonomic 360° 5-sided scanning
  4. Host Download – Lowers Service Cost and Improves Operations
  5. Diagnostic Reporting – For improved preventative maintenance
  6. Productivity Index Reporting™ – Helps identify poorly printed labels
  7. Cashier Training™/ Ergonomic Index – Identifies Poor Scanning/Weighing Habits

Our expert staff can install and activate the scales integration module into your Tower Systems retail software remotely.

And with each integration comes a new relationship that can help our retailers in their businesses.

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FREE POS SOFTWARE TRAINING FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

We are proud to offer this free POS software training as part of our weekly free training for small business retailers. For years we have delivered training like this and more, helping our customers to leverage their software investment.

  1. Getting Ready for EOFY. Date: Wednesday 15th June. Time: 2:00PM. Description: Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1230
  2. Stocktaking for EOFY. Date: Thursday 16th June . Time: 2:00PM. Description: Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1231
  3. Increase Sales Now! Start using Discount Vouchers.. Date: Tuesday 21st June. Time: 2:00PM. Description: Start using Discount Vouchers to grow your business. A great introduction to this great feature. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1232
  4. Getting Ready for EOFY. Date: Wednesday 22nd June. Time: 2:00PM. Description: Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1233
  5. Stocktaking for EOFY. Date: Wednesday 29th June. Time: 2:00PM. Description: Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1234
  6. Getting Ready for EOFY. Date: Thursday 30th June .Time: 2:00PM. Description: Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1235
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HELPING SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS COMPETE WITH ONLINE

There is no doubt that every retail business, large and small, needs on online strategy. This is mission-critical to their success given the usage of online sites and tools in the shopping process, even the everyday shopping process.

Small business retailers can be part of this, they can connect with shoppers who are online and searching online by leveraging the valuable data in their in-store POS software into appropriate searchable and locatable online platforms.

The challenge is small business retailers often don;t know where to turn. Some engage a business consultant, others a web developer, others a friend with some geek-speak skills while others go it alone.

Given that successful online engagement starts with beautiful data, starting with a professional POS software company in your retail channel niche it most likely going to deliver the best outcome for your specific type of business.

The best way to do this is to partner with a POS software company with an established and successful online strategy. But this is more than a bit of tech speak and slick marketing, it has to be real, being used today and established with relationships with search engines and other valuable online platforms.

Small business retailers can grow their businesses with a smart online strategy.

Tower Systems has success in the online space, helping small business retailers to leverage local shoppers and shoppers interstate and even overseas. We do this work through several divisions in our company from desktop to web to marketing. Our approach is whole of business here and for our small business retail customers.

The outcomes we deliver are helping small business retailers to reap rewards they previously were not pursuing. In addition to the tech that makes this happen for small business retailers, we offer the business play, the why and how of business activity to help a small business retailer to find new customers, achieve net new revenue and build new connections in the wider world online.

Tower Systems has excellent success storing bring small business retailers to the engaged and exciting online marketplace locally and overseas. It is what we do everyday for our customers in a diverse mix of retail channels.

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