Advice from Tower Systems on website development for retailers

Many web developers develop websites based in their capabilities and not so much on the requirements of the client.

We think it is important to start with your requirements. We have developed a questionnaire for retailers, to help them clarify what they want and need in their businesses.

Before we get to questions though, we offer background information.

Every website has a costs associated with it. These depend on what is needed, what the business is prepared to pay for.

Please note that the actual costs will vary based on your specific needs. A business website is not an off the shelf product. It is something finely tailored to the needs of the business it represents.

The Tower Systems approach is to consult thoroughly. This information is then considered when developing a proposal for a website.

All development is done in Australia, by Australian skilled web developers, who understand Australian business and who can link the website to the Tower Systems POS software.

We have seen many websites botched by offshore development. It is true, you get what you pay for. Cutting corners, saving money, by going offshore, can result in a poor solution that is actually not cost effective for the business.

With success on the board, we are able to deliver a good solution to small business retailers. This can be a fresh site or a site refreshed from the existing. We are flexible depending on the needs of the business.

Bringing together POS software and smart web development creates a beautiful and integrated solution for small business retailers.

POS software customers love transparency of help desk traffic

We are just back from another trade show and a common question from sales prospects approaching our stand was about customer service. They usually start by asking if our service is human, based in Australia and helpful.

  1. Our help desk service is human.
  2. Our help desk is based in Hawthorn, Victoria.
  3. Our help desk is helpful.

But most important, our help desk service is transparent. Our customers can easily see, for themselves, how many calls are in the queue, how many have been solved so far in the day and how many are currently being worked on.

This data view is real-time, providing our customers with valuable information that helps them make decisions about when to access support.

We provide the data feed through a direct link to our internal CRM system and into the customer area of our website.

This is another service in our POS software business where we go beyond what people often experience form a POS software help desk.

POS software Xero integration helps small business retailers

The integration between the Tower Systems small business POS software and Xero cloud based accounting software is helping more and more small business retailers to …

  1. Cut accounting costs.
  2. Cut bookkeeping time.
  3. Improve business data accuracy.
  4. Improve business retorting.
  5. Make the business more profitable.

Xero does not connect to all POS software. Qs the premier small business account ting software in the world it is selective.

Tower Systems is proud to be a Xero partner and proud to deliver a quality Xero integration between our POS software and Xero. It is an integration we use ourselves in our own retail businesses.’

In addition to the Xero integration, Tower Systems POS software integrates with Shopify, magento and WooCommerce – the three leading e-commerce platforms in the world. The web development team at Tower has enhanced these to offer a multi-store solution whereby independent retailers can trade under a single branded website rather than needing their own website.

The Xero integration is the back-office piece where real labour costs are reduced. We only sell to independent small business retailers in selected retail niches such as bike shops, jewellers and garden centres. Having the xero integration is vital as they are all competing with big business and every saving, no matter how small, is loved.

Following Xerocon in Melbourne last week, we are set to bring our POS software to more small business retailers.

Small business marketing advice: people like shopping local

For years, we here at Tower Systems have helped small business retailers to pitch shop local in a range of interesting and creative ways.

Our work in this area has nothing to do with small business POS software, yet it has everything to do with it.

Shopping local is important for local economies and we love helping small business retailers to encourage locals to shop local.

These are other resources from us are free to anyone via our website with no password required.

Helping small business retailers relax when feeling overwhelmed

Through its help for small business retailers, POS software company Tower Systems helps beyond the software, beyond what is usual for a POS software company.

The most recent help has been through practical advice on how to deal with feeling overwhelmed…

If you feel overwhelmed and can’t work out what to do, reach for this list and try one of the practical and safe ideas. They cost nothing.

The goal is to help you see small steps you can take to walk through whatever it is that makes you feel overwhelmed.

  1. Go for a 5k or longer walk outside, alone. Not a stroll, but a walk, at pace if possible. Unplugged, no phone, no music.
  2. Establish rituals for your day. How you start your day, how you end your day, lunchtime, bed time. For example, starting with breakfast, and a nice tea or coffee could be the calm start to the day you need.
  3. Have apps on your phone that are fun and you enjoy. Play one of these for a while to take your mind off things. It is amazing how our mind helps us resolve things when we turn away from those things.
  4. Learn meditation. From simple controlled breathing to yoga, meditation can be a perfect reset from a busy and overwhelming day.
  5. Play Scrabble through Facebook on your computer. You can play anytime with someone you have never met and will never speak to.
  6. Draw, even if you think you can’t. If you are not sure what to draw, draw why you feel overwhelmed.
  7. Write. Anything but you could try writing on the page about what it is that you think makes you feel overwhelmed.
  8. Talk. We are good listeners.
  9. Three-count breathing. Inhale for three counts. Hold for three counts. Exhale for three counts. Do this for, say, ten rounds. Then increase the count. The rhythmic nature of this and concentration can help you see ahead.
  10. Earth. Go to the beach, a park, your backyard and take your shoes and socks off and put your feet on the ground.
  11. Watch. Go to a playground and watch kids play. If there is a local sports game on near you, go watch that.
  12. Start a journal. Write in it every day.
  13. Be clear to yourself when the day is done. While it is tough in small business to turn off, have a threshold so that once you cross it, you have turned off and the time is yours.
  14. Find a quiet place, put on headphones connected to a music source and listen to your favorite album of all time, with the volume turned up and a do not disturb sign on the door.
  15. Get away to a safe place and write a note to your overwhelmed self. Give yourself honest advice you’d give your best friend if they came to you with the feelings you have.

If you are struggling beyond what these suggestions can help with, consider speaking with your GP about a mental health plan. This provides access to medical professionals who can help you more effectively deal with what it is that leads you to feel overwhelmed.

Tower Systems develops and supports small business POS software. Our advice and help often reaches beyond what is usual for a POS software company. www.towersystems.com.au

Xerocon wow!

What a terrific conference Xerocon was. Awesome presentations about Xero. Wonderful people asking about our POS software. New friends. New clients. 100% professional. Glad to be among the best of the best with it comes to Xero.

Plenty of fun.

Retail store connected jigsaw website helps drive jigsaw sales

Tower Systems launched a new jigsaw website several weeks ago as the latest in a long line of retail business POS software connected websites.

This latest website from the Melbourne based web team at Tower Systems is another in a comprehensive strategy that has already delivered many thousands of transactions to the commented small business retailers.

Offering real time local store connection with accurate stock on hand data, the latest jigsaws website helps the connected retailers to not only sell online but to also help people find local retailers with jigsaw products they can purchase locally in-store.

Connecting independently owned shops into a single brand based website is not common because of the back-end, operation, financial and technical challenges. Tower Systems has mastered this with many websites now live based on its unique and successful approach.

More than a POS software company, Tower Systems provides small business retailers a comprehensive and integrated solution in-store and online.

Shopify connected POS software for Australian small business retailers

Tower Systems is delivering more Shopify connected POS software solutions to small business retailers keen for beautiful websites connected to professional.

We have plenty of POS software integrated websites we can show off, demonstrating a broad range of design and integration capabilities.

Our Shopify connected POS software solution is powerful and professional. It is direct, too, not through a third party tool.

Oxipay and Tower Systems change LayBy forever

Tower Systems is proud to partner with Oxipay to bring interest free payment plans to high street retail, through our POS.

A competitor of ours has sought to denigrate Oxipay, saying this publicly yesterday: Oxipay (which I know little about other then it is in Tasmania).

This statement is untrue. Oxipay is national, generating excellent business for small and larger businesses.

Tower systems is an early adopter partner, delivering Oxipay transactions daily now for many months, in every state and territory.

Our competitor knows this.

Fid out more about Oxipay here.

Toy stores using Tower Systems POS software to handle toy catalogues

With Christmas marketing well underway already in toy stores, the team at Tower Systems is busy with support and assistance for toy store owners and staff on the time saving use of catalogue facilities in the company’s toy store software.

Thanks to tremendous flexibility, toy store retailers can handle a broad range of catalogue requirements. This is vital in the highly competitive retail sector where locally owned independent businesses have mass retailers with which to compete.

Being able to offer flexible catalogue offers and to do this quickly provides a flexible advantage to toy retailers.

The catalogue facilities in the Tower Systems POS software have been developed with toy retailers. What this means is our software develo9pment leadership have spent time in toy shops, seeing first-hand the needs of toy shops in this and other business operational areas.

This first-hand experience led to development of enhancements to the Tower Systems toy shop software in the catalogue and other areas.

Retailers can have multiple catalogues running at once.

A catalogue determines how a group of products is treated. handled through the period for which the catalogue is to run.

Prices can be set for the catalogue period.

Multi-buy options can be set for the catalogue period.

The layering of catalogues enables small business retailers to be flexible and to take advantage of supplier offers that may come their way, and not be limited to only one offer.

Accessed through a beautiful dashboard, the catalogue facilities in the Tower Systems software are comprehensive, best-practice and key to helping independent toy shops grow sales, especially leading up to Christmas, when sales are strong.

Tower Systems works not only with retailers but also with suppliers and groups, enabling work by others to be leveraged into time savings for retailers. For example, we can take a catalogue file of special pricing to run for a period and turn this into a document that a retailer can import in seconds, thereby eliminating setup time in-store.

We have business skilled folks on our Melbourne based help desk who9 also help retailers to create their own catalogue from scratch, to serve local business needs.

The catalogue facilities in the Tower software run the gamut of needs, and beyond as they help toy businesses compete on a competitive stage.

This is a Tower AdvantageTM.

Tower Systems POS software at Xerocon this week

Tower Systems will be featured at Xerocon, the international Xero users conference, this week in Melbourne.

We are grateful to Xero for the opportunity to participate.

The POS software Xero link is important to our small business retail customers. Using this link, our customers are able to save time, cut mistakes and streamline business operations.

This is a direct link, not through a third party. This saves money and time. It also ensures that ti is easier for questions to be resolved about data flow and similar topics.

We back the Xero link with Xero skilled folks on our help desk. We can help small business retailers, bookkeepers as well as accounts with questions on the POS software / Xero integration. This is important as it shows the help desk service as going beyond what is usual for POS software help desks.

Xero is selective as to the software companies it approves. It is good to ask a POS software company if their link is direct or through anther party.

The Xero integration designed by Tower Systems, working with the folks at Xero, makes it easy for small business retailers to cut accounting paperwork and thereby tap into time and money saving benefits.

We use our Xero integrated POS software ourselves. This enables us to provide practical advice on how to benefit the most from Xero and our POS software working together.

Our customers have access to our in-house CPA, to provide a professional accounting perspective on the link and how to get the most from it.

Tower Systems is a unique POS software company. In addition to serving 3,500+ small business retailers, we own and operate several retail businesses as live test sites. Our in-house CPA manages the accounts for these retail businesses.

Connecting to Xero can help a small business eliminate the need for a bookkeeper and shift out of business accounting functions to the end of the year. W have seen businesses cut $5,000 form their operating costs by implementing the Xero link. This saving and more can be significant for a retail business.

If you are a Xero user and plan to be at Xerocon this week, check us out. We are thrilled to be part of this event.

Advice for small business retailers on leveraging the teacher gift opportunity

This is another in our series of practice advice for small business retailers.

How to make the most of the teacher gift opportunity.

Gifts for teachers can be lucrative not only at the end of the year but also through the year by establishing your business as a destination for gifts for teachers. As with much in retail, it takes a commitment of time, space and capital.

While you can make money sourcing a teacher pack from a supplier, you will make more by taking a broader approach.

Our advice is that you offer a selection of gifts for teachers including the traditional plaques, mugs, apple-themed, frames and pens but this you expand the offer to include other suggested gifts such as scarves, Charlie Bears, soap, fudge, plush, jigsaw puzzles and other premium gifts.

Don’t be restricted by the traditional teacher gifts. Also, don’t be restricted by a price point. We suggest you show how two or more students could pool funds to buy a bigger gift such as a jigsaw puzzle. Show your customers how they can do this. For example: $19.99 or $10 each if two of you share giving this gift.  Maybe even consider a whole of class gift.

Promote the broader range of gifts with an appropriate sign such as: GIVE SOMETHING THAT WILL ACTUALLY BE USED.

Have your suggested gifts represented together in a location branded as gifts for teachers.

Be sure to include cards in your range – Thank You cards and blank cards. Consider packaging selected gifts and cards together to make buying easy.

Also consider a discount if customers purchase above a threshold for multiple teachers. For example, you could offer 10% off for purchases of $25.00 or more. Choose a spend hurdle that suits your area.

Marketing and promotion tips:

  1. Offer a $50 shopping voucher for one lucky teacher. To get an enter customers should purchase a card and gift from you.
  2. Include a flyer with all purchases announcing your teacher gift range.
  3. Leverage the local parents association to have them help you promote the offer. Consider having them hand out a coupon offering 5% off for purchases a 5% to them for each coupon redeemed.
  4. Setup a THANK YOU TEACHER WALL where anyone can write a note thanking their teacher – from any generation or year.
  5. Maybe run a Teacher of the Year competition where students vote. This could work well in a smaller location. However be careful as it could be seen as divisive if not done well.

What makes Tower Systems an ideal POS software company for small business retailers?

Tower Systems is an Australia based POS software company with thousands of customers in a range of retail niches:  gift shopsjewellersbike shopspet shops,  toy shopsfishing/outdoorsgarden centres/nurseriesnewsagentsproduce stores and firearms retailers.

  1. We are a software company, not a consulting business using software as a mechanism for driving consulting fees.
  2. We are in your business. Not a contractor we hire, not over the phone, when we install the system we do it in your business, working with you and your people.
  3. We offer more facilities than any other system. These offer you flexibility for driving purchases in the current visit and for bringing shoppers back more often.
  4. You have access to extraordinary customisation, enabling you to represent your business son receipts, invoices and other documents how you want.
  5. Embedded in our software are facilities for tracking how the software us used. This enables us to help you monitor and reduce employee theft.
  6. Retail focussed. The big challenge of retail is to uncover opportunities, which you can still leverage them. We have smart reports, which unlock for you information about your business, which can help you plan and grow.
  7. Our customers have access to the owner of our company as well as other senior management people.
  8. We have a loved escalation process.
  9. Our documentation is online and 100% searchable.
  10. We develop our own software. This means when we promise something, we rely on our software development and testing team to deliver, not a contractor, not another company.
  11. We have a transparent process through which our customers can suggest software enhancements. All of our customers can vote on these enhancement suggestions. Many of our software changes have come from customer suggestions.
  12. We designed the software ourselves. What we sell today has evolved over many years working in close consultation with our customers – many of whom have been with us for more than twenty years.
  13. The software we sell to retailers has been developed for retailers, by us.
  14. Each specialist retail channel has its own version of the software. Interestingly, our software for each sector has benefited from experiences with other sectors.
  15. We only sell to independently owned retail businesses in selected specialist retail channels.

We could add many more reasons. This list is a start. As our motto says: we’re here to help.

Helping small business retailers sell online with POS connected websites

Tower Systems has rolled out the next release of its POS software connected website solutions, offering small business retailers a stronger armoury of tools with which to compete with global and national online businesses.

Offering POS software direct links to Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce websites, the Tower Systems integrations bring new business opportunities to small business retailers, opening doors to finding new customers.

Embedded in the new software are facilities that are fresh for the small business online space, fresh for POS software integrated websites.

Tower Systems has gone beyond the usual approach of announce and then deliver some time in the future. the company has developed, delivered and then announced. This is the company proving what it has done before making any noise about it.

We think actions speak louder than words.

Small business retailers who want to compete with online have Tower Systems in their corner. Our beautiful web connected POS software works for retailers in different channels. It helps retailers attract new shoppers. We deal with the challenges of freight. We make shopping easy. We help win business from the tricky abandoned cart situation and more.

Being a local POS software company, we leverage our local marketplace knowledge not only for ur POS software but also for the websites we create for our customers.

We make selling online easy for small business retailers.

We develoop websites for Tower Systems customers. We have web developers working in ur Melbourne office with skills in Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce.

Having websites developed by us ensures a best-practice connection between your POS software and the websites.

We have plenty of store connected websites we can show you, where shoppers can shop online with interest free online lay-by, shop using click and collect, pay by PayPal and more. We can sync the data between your shop and online as frequently ads you want. We have sites doing it every five minutes and others doing it daily.

We have seen retailers choose to have their website developed by a low-cost offshore web developer only to have to spend considerably to have it fixed. We have had to do this for several of our customers, where offshore developers have delivered a broken website.

To find out more about our web development services as well as our SEO (website marketing) services, please email sales@towersystems.com.au.

Branding is everything in independent retail

Tower Systems understands the importance of branding in its business serving small business retailers with POS software. We also understand the importance in shops.

We enable beautiful branding opportunities for retailers using our POS software with professional branding of receipts and other customer touch points produced and managed through our software.

It is easy to do this.

Providing retailers with opportunities for concisely pitching branding helps locally run independent retail businesses to be consistent in their messaging.

We know from expert marketing research that multiple touch points for a brand is vital to brand awareness and trust. This is one of several key reasons why independent retailers need to embrace branding opportunities on everyday contact points, such as receipts, customer displays, shelf talkers, barcode labels, outdoor product tags and more.

By enabling beautiful customised customer touch points, Tower Systems helps small business retailers shine a light on their brand. We are proud to do this.

The photo is of a box of receipt rolls. We provide theses with fresh hardware installations by our team and sell them to our customers. Even at this level of our business, professional branding matters.

Advice for small business retailers on managing shopper theft

The importance of accurate stock on hand data is  critical, especially for retailers with online sales.

We recommend regular custom stock takes for the categories where you transact online.

A consequence of more regular stock takes is greater understanding of theft from the business. Rather than getting angry about discovering the extent of theft, which a lot of retailers do, act to manage theft. This is the best reaction you can have to theft of stock.

  1. Know the problem. Regular custom stock takes will help you achieve this.
  2. Own the problem. Based on evidence, take the problem on board as yours to fix.

Too often, retailers sit in the office or the back room. Problems like this are not fixed from the back room – they are fixed from the shop floor.

Too often work is done in the back room or away from customer sight that could be done on the shop floor and thereby reduce shopper theft. The more work you do on the shop floor the greater deterrent to those who would steal.

  1. Ensure all staff know about the problem. The more they understand the problem the better the opportunity for them to become engaged. Understanding must include knowing the cost to the business and the impact this has on the business and on them.
  2. Encourage staff to greet shoppers, explain this is a starting point to reducing theft.
  3. Spot (custom) stock take weekly or at least fortnightly. Record the number stolen from a category somewhere for staff to see. This sets a target for all.
  4. Move the product you are concerned about, try different locations.
  5. Place a portable work table near the often stolen products and move most there such as product pricing, invoice checking or other tasks that could be easily done on the shop floor.
  6. Ensure you have camera coverage of the location.
  7. Place the stock so there are no blind spots that make theft easy.
  8. Watch the location or stand from outside your business to see how shoppers interact with it.
  9. Bring in a retail security expert for their advice on your specific situation.
  10. Keep your staff informed about progress on resolving the problem.

The only way to reduce theft is to change things. If what you change does not work, change more. Keep changing until you find the answer.

Note: those often stealing the most are not those you suspect.

Inspiring retail businesses we have seen

In our weekly email to retailers using our POS software we including images of retail businesses we have recently seen that inspire us. Here is one of a suite of images we shared recently of a very different gallery / store we visited. It is inspiring as the other photos shared with our customers show.

Advice for small business retailers on finding confidence

Change of any sort can be challenging. Part of our role as a POS software company is to offer encouragement for continuous change. While we cannot force you to be confident in embracing change, we can provide a safety-net of sorts and a cheer-squad of encouragement.

In our own situation we are confronted with change and challenges every day. What we do today is very different to what we were doing five and ten years ago. Here are things we have found encourage confidence.

  1. Know your business. This starts with knowing your business data, respecting it and basing decisions on the data. This provides a foundation for changes that are right in and for your business.
  2. Take small steps. Sometimes, confidence fades or can be a challenge when the task ahead or the changes to be made appear too big. Break them down. Focus on the next step. Take that one step. Cheer the result. Next, take the next step.
  3. Most of what we suggest is based on either direct experience or considerable research. Trusting this could see you embrace change sooner and, hopefully, thereby enjoy more success sooner. This, in turn, will boost your confidence.
  4. Know you are not alone. No matter what change or challenge you face, we are part of your community, part of your cheer-squad. Talk with us before, during and after change. We will help in any way we are able.
  5. Focus on the destination. Where do you want to be as a result of a change in your business, new products or a new marketing initiative. Focus on the destination and ignore the barriers you create in your head. Often, the barriers are only there because you allowed yourself to see them.
  6. Facts encourage confidence. Facts such as evidence of success of others and evidence of success in your own business underpin confidence. The key is to look at the facts, to focus on them and not the possible barriers you can create.
  7. Hire confident people.
  8. Let go of people who are not confident, who talk change down, who are negative at their core.
  9. Play confident music in your office and in the shop.
  10. Dress with confidence.
  11. Know that a failure is always a success. Every change you make in your business is a success because you either make more money, enjoy your business more or learn what not to do next time because it did not go as planned. There is only upside from change.

A lack of confidence is not easily overcome. We understand that and do not seek here to be glib about it. Lack of confidence in anything is a serious challenge, yet one to overcome for the future of the business, personal achievement and the benefit of all who rely on the business.

Rather than investing time in the fog of a lack of confidence, our advice is to look out beyond the fog, to take steps out of the fog and to do so knowing we are with you.

Changing LayBy in small business retail forever

Tower Systems brought interest free immediate shipping LayBy to websites months ago. It has helped many retailers win sales they otherwise might have lost, and at minimal cost to the retailers.

Now, we are bringing immediate collect interest-free LayBy to physical retail businesses.

Thanks to months of behind the scenes tech innovation in our software and with a respected public company in the finance space we are on the cusp of launching a game changer for in-store LayBy.

Shoppers can purchase and take goods away with them immediately.

Payments are made over an agreed period of time.

The retailer is paid right away.

The retailers is not responsible for collecting payment from the customer.

The cost to the retailer is fractional thanks to the Tower relationship.

The customer has the items for immediate giving if gifts or for use if they have purchased for personal use.

There is no need to store lay-by items.

There is no paperwork to follow up lay-by payment and collection.

In all, for everyone, life is easier.

This is a game changer for locally owned small family run retail businesses. It brings big business tools to these local independent retail businesses. It empowers them to be more competitive.

Bringing a comprehensive professionally backed interest free lay-by facility to our POS software has taken time because of regulatory requirements and given the size of the necessary finance company backing.

Tower Systems has brought together a range of resources, tech skills and retailers to bring this opportunity to live, to do it in a way that is best practice and meets all necessary regulations.

Now, if a shopper is passing through and wants an item for which they cannot pay right away, using this new soon to launch facility the retailer has an alternative with which to win the sale today. This is especially valuable in tourist locations.

Integrated with the POS software and offering a fast (60 second to 120 second) approval process, this game changing solution will help many local retail businesses win sales leading up to Christmas 2017 that they might otherwise have lost.

Like AfterPay but not AfterPay, the solution being delivered by Tower Systems is easy to use, easy to understand, fast to leverage and loved by shoppers. We have been using it all year online and it is a dream.

POS software knowledge base updates help small business retailers

Tower Systems announces each week to its customers the enhancements to advice provided on its 24/7 accessible knowledge base.

Every week there are new articles and updated articles, helping our customers to top into advice and resources they need as and when they want.

Here is a list from our last weekly email of new and revised advice accessible online:

  1. Installing Retailer Updates
  2. Editing an Existing Customer Invoice=
  3. Setting Up A Maximum Credit / Account Limit For A Customer
  4. Direct Debiting Customer Payments Using Credit Card Details=
  5. Redeeming A Gift Voucher / Card=
  6. Gift Voucher Management
  7. Zebra GK420 / GX420 Setup For Barcode Manager
  8. Zebra GK420T / GX420T Setup for Label Manager

With many hundreds of articles, all searchable by keywords, our customers have access to peer-reviewed step by step guides into using the software, to help provide better outcomes.

Revising the advice and providing access to this is part of everyday customer service here at Tower Systems.

Our customers suggest new topics we cover and these suggestions result in new or revised advice published on our knowledge base.

We are grateful to our customers for their in-the-field advice on what they would like to know.

Tower Systems meets new Payment Express compliance standards

We have just been advised that our software has passed acceptance testing for the new Payment Express integration for our New Zealand used POS software.

We have had integration with previous versions of this gateway but with their latest changes needed to pass compliance again. That we have done this well ahead of the October cutover in NZ is a testament to our development and testing teams.

This offers peace of mind to our NZ customers.