I want to share with you a true story of what happened recently in my own retail business. It is a story of how a small everyday purchase led to something bigger and how this happened as a result of fundamental changes in how the business is run.

To understand the personal nature of this story … Tower Systems owns and operates several retail businesses including a newsagency in a major Westfield shopping centre. We have this business to provide us with a real-world experience in retail where we can experiment with our POS software.

While this story is about what happened in my newsagency, it could happen in any type of business. This newsagency, by the way, is not your typical newsagency. Close to 70% of what we sell is non traditional. It is high margin higher price point items that sit at the core of this unique business.

At its core, this is a story about shopper loyalty, especially shopper loyalty in a retail situation where between 25% and 30% of shoppers visiting the business are not local and therefore not likely to engage with the old-school points-based loyalty program.

A customer passing the shop noticed our greeting card range and stepped into make a purchase because of a specific need. They purchased two cards. On their receipt was a voucher for almost $2.00. As they are not usually in the shopping centre they looked around for something in which to spend the $2.00.

This is the key: the customer came in to make a quick destination purchase. The type of business we were did not matter. They were on the way to the car park and happened to pass buy our shop. Point 1: location is in our favour. The stepped in because they saw our greeting cards. Point 2: the floor placement of cards was key in getting them in the shop.

Having made the purchase, the customer then noticed, for the first time, what else we sold – because of the $2.00 discount voucher on their receipt. Point 3: we got them to look around and see what else we sold.

The customer did a 180 degree turn and saw a locked glass cabinet of beautiful collectible bears. This was in the right place at the right time as they had been looking for a gift for a child. Money was not an issue. They wanted something to last a lifetime. They purchased a $500.00 bear.

This purchase would not have been made had they not been given the $2.00 voucher on their receipt. The voucher is what got them to notice what else we sold.

Fast forward several weeks and this customer who said they don’t usually come to the shopping centre was back for another $500.00 purchase. Now, several more weeks later, the customer has another $500.00 order placed.

I can directly trace more than $1,500.00 in sales back to the $2.00 voucher.

The software produced the voucher based on rules I established. The initial staff member serving the customer made a brief professional pitch highlighting the voucher. These are both important factors as they are at the core of a structured consistent approach to what has become the most lucrative loyalty program I have seen in my 30+ years involved in retail as a retailer myself and working with retailers in many different channels.

While most times vouchers are handed out they are not redeemed, they are redeemed enough to make them worthwhile. They are redeemed for good margin product as they get people looking at the shop for the first time and discovering items to purchase they were not in our four walls to consider.

The discount vouchers are disruptive and this is why I love them. People respond in unpredictable ways.

Best of all, the discount vouchers are profitable.

For this story to work in any retail business you need to have the right products, placed strategically in-store. Your employees need to make the right pitch. Plus, you need to be attracting people who don’t know and probably don’t care what shop they are in.

Tower Systems offers not only excellent software but also the business acumen, experience and drive to help you make the most of the opportunities in the software.

From points on a purchase to buy X and get Y FREE to Discount Vouchers, the Tower software offers flexibility in loyalty offerings that enable you to make the pitch right for your business to bring shoppers bag to spend more than might usually be the case.


Helping retailers make the most of Christmas

Tower Systems is helping retailers make the most of Christmas with Christmas themed free training POS software opportunities.  In groups and individually, Tower is delivering access to free live training to give retailers comfort from knowledge and confidence that their Tower POS software can deliver even more than they expected this Christmas.

Our comprehensive free training opportunities win us new customers.


POS software helps retailers reach out to those purchasing specific items

High end retailers in jewellery, homewares, gift and select other retail channels like to be able to follow up customers who have purchased specific items. Thanks to the purchase tracking and marketing tools in our POS software we are able to help retailers with this follow up.

The result is finely targeted marketing communications that can bring a shopper back for a further experience in-store, delivering an enhanced experience to the shopper and a more valuable experience to the retailer.

Finely tuned purchase based marketing tools are rare in POS software. Thanks to deep customer relationships we are able to provide these through our Tower software and thereby help our customers access more benefits from working with us.

Deep and comprehensive marketing tools are a key feature of the Tower software. Personal training and comprehensive support are what really bring the facilities alive for small business retailers.

POS software is only as good as those supporting it. This is a maxim by which we life here at Tower Systems. We make sure our support is excellent, backing excellent software.


For the record

POS Solutions, a small competitor of ours, published on their that an employee of a competitor had been found commenting on their blog. For the record we note the competitor is not Tower Systems and the person to whom they refer is not an employee of ours.


Tower Systems helps small business retailers with employee management

Managing staff can be a challenge for small business retailers as too many operate more on a friendship basis than through structured processes and using accurate business data to guide decisions.

Thanks to smart tools in the Tower Point of Sale software, our retail partners have at their disposal tools on which they can rely to  bring consistency, planning and comfort to employee management.

Here are four of the tools available to retailers for managing employees using the Tower software:

  1. Cloud based employee roster management.
  2. Sales tracking by employee.
  3. Keystroke tracking by employee.
  4. Employee engagement management reports.

Using these tools and other facilities in the smart Tower retail management software retail business owners and their managers can build strong outcomes for their business and provide better oversight and management of employees.

Knowing the economic value of an employee to a business can help the business manage good outcomes for the business and for the employee. This is where data plays a key role and where Tower systems can help retailers improve their situation.


Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday November 26, 2015 is Thanksgiving in the US and while this is part of the cultural heritage of the US, it is an opportunity for us to reflect and be thankful.

We are thankful for our customers who use our software for this not only benefits us commercially, it fulfils us as we enjoy seeing our creative efforts being of use to others.


Tower Systems helps independent bike shops compete with online bike discounters

Tower Systems works closely with bike retailers, to help them compete with online bike retailers. Through our Bike Shop Software we help in a range of practical ways.

Here are five ways local bike shops can compete with online

  1. Track every contact. Treat every contact as a customer. Know who they are. Explain that it’s part of your service – to offer advice and keep in touch. This will qualify them as a customer from their very first question. While it may scare some off, better that you do it early before you give away your expert advice.
  2. Give them a gift for listening to you. Every customer who spends time taking in your advice should be given a voucher for them to spend in-store in a purchase above a certain value. This shows that you value their attention. Presented well it can better connect them with you for the longer term.
  3. Subtly share stories about the risks of online shopping. There are documented stories you can find about people being ripped off – what they ordered is not what they received, credit card fraud and the like. Arm your team with these stories … maybe a story about a customer who bought from you following an expensive rip off online.
  4. Reward loyalty with a front-end approach. Ensure that every purchase over, say, $10, comes with a voucher offering a discount off the next purchase. Factor this into your mark-up model. Cash rewards showing on a receipt can be a powerful lure to bringing a shopper back.
  5. Personalise your service. Arm all sales staff with personal business cards. Place follow up calls or emails to shoppers spending over, say, $100. Host networking events in-store. Connect with and support local clubs. Add value through personal contact at every possible opportunity. Structure regular, value-adding, contact with your customer base.

The difference between a bricks and mortar bike shop and an website selling bikes is that your business, the bricks and mortar business, is real, it can be visited, it’s personal. Everything you say and do needs to reinforce this and build trust based on this.

Be open about price

Don’t be afraid to say that online businesses can sell for less. That’s because they do less and care less. You could do this too but that’s probably not the business you want to run.

Competing on price really comes down to changing the game. This is where a properly structured and consistently run loyalty program offering an amount of cash off the next purchase based on the current purchase can make a difference for you.

Being consistent

Online businesses through the software behind their websites are consistent if nothing else. This is where good bike shop software can help a bike shop compete. It can drive consistency in the bricks and mortar business on pricing, loyalty rewards, customer marketing, buying, pricing and employee performance tracking and motivation.

Good bike shop software is designed specifically for bike shops to leverage the difference bike shops offer over online retailers. When used to the fullest, it can drive sales and bring customers back more often. It can play a key role on competing with online.


Tower Systems helps local pet shops compete with Pet Barn and other big retailers

Independent pet shops face tough competition from Pet Barn, supermarkets and major pet warehouse businesses. These big businesses spend big on advertising to drive traffic. Their goal is to take businesses from locally connected and locally owned family pet shops.

Tower Systems is working with independent pet retailers and groups of independent pet retailers to help them more effectively compete with the big chains.

Through our Pet Shop Software, our engagement with marketing groups, our work with suppliers and direct contact with pet retailers, we have developed a strategy that breaks into useful tactics to help pet retailers compete in a structured and consistent way from their shop floor through all levels of the business.

Competition starts with being organised and Tower Systems helps independent pet retailers to become organised. Good organisation leads to a plan for practical store level competition that fans out through word of mouth and other touch points.

Our work for and with pet retailers is important to us. We are proud to be helping this important channel compete.


Tower Systems is helping Australian newsagents reinvent their small businesses

Through a series of practical business development meetings throughout 2015 and one-on-one work Tower Systems is actively working with engaged newsagents on reinventing their businesses.

The days of the old newsagency relying on lotteries, newspapers, magazines and stationery are over. Engaged retailers are leveraging new product categories to attract new shoppers and to lift the overall gross profit of their businesses.

Tower Systems, through its close and direct contact with many in its 1,850+ strong newsagency software user community, is playing an active role in talking about business structure, product buying, marketing and overall strategy.

We believe in the newsagency channel, not as a channel as Australian shoppers currently view it but as a channel for the future of engaged, diverse and growing businesses. Many businesses that identify as newsagencies today will not be seen as newsagencies if you shop them next year or the year after. Yes, the transition is that dramatic.

Because of our work with other retail channels and our engagement overseas in retail strategy studies, Tower Systems is well positioned to help Australian newsagents navigate to a more profitable future.

The work we are doing in this area is beyond what is usual for a software company. We are proud to have the resourced and strategic thinking to be able to serve in this way.



Our industry standard newsagency software has been enhanced to serve the needs of the new News Corp. subscriber data project. The enhancements have been made to the News Corp. developed specifications The software has passed XchangeIT testing and will be released in the next update that is currently in our internal quality assurance prior to beta release. The timing of the update is on track for later this month. Newsagents will need to be supported to have access to this update. This is one of several projects we have been working on for News.


Tower Systems is helping Plants Plus garden centres and nurseries with loyalty and gift card alternatives

Tower Systems is actively engaged with Plants Plus retailers already using its Garden Centre Software to help them navigate away from the current Plants Plus loyalty program to an in-house offer. This change is necessary because of the decision by HTH to withdraw from Plants Plus.

Having met with folks from Plants Plus we are well prepared to assist with the transition to provide local Plants Plus business owners with certainty and comfort not only in handling the transition for loyalty rewards points but also to enable them to sell gift cards for their own business with certainty and ease.

Our most recent meeting with Plants Plus was Friday last week, enabling us to provide certainly and direction for local Plants Plus owners. We are working with them and our customers to deliver the best possible outcome to Plants Plus retailers and their customers.

The work tower systems is doing in this area is important for our existing Plants Plus customers and those joining our community of garden centre Software users.



Five management tips small business retailers most often ignore – Sunday retail management advice

Based ion our many years experience and our personal work with more than 3,000 retailers, here are the five most common bits of advice small business retailers ignore. Do these five things and your business will improve.

  1. Track everything you sell from the moment it arrives to when it sells.
  2. Reorder stock using your software and not your gut.
  3. Track all employee transactions.
  4. Do not purchase from suppliers who do not provide electronic invoices.
  5. Run a dollar based loyalty program that encourages shopper engagement more often.

These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.

Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.


Five ways small business retailers can compete with big retail businesses using smart POS software

This is easy. Small business retailers can beat big businesses by consistently delivering a better service:

  1. Offer a real loyalty program and not some over-promoted program that promises a lot but does not deliver.
  2. Include helpful product use and care instructions on your customer receipts.
  3. Offer LayBy with a professional management approach. Many bigger retailers find LayBy too hard now.
  4. Show savings. On receipts. If your prices are lower than suggested retail, tell people.
  5. Keep in contact. Send a text message or email when a special order comes in – this reminds shoppers their sought-after items are now available for collection.

These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.

Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.


Five ways small business retailers can gain more pleasure from their businesses through smart POS software

Running a small business need not be as stressful as it often is. Reducing stress starts with the business operating to a carefully developed and consistently executed structure. Good POS software is keep to a business operating structure. Get this right and stress will fall. Leverage the data in your software and pleasure will grow – you will benefit beyond money, we see customers enjoying their businesses more as a result of using the software to help in key management areas of the business.

Here are five ways the Tower software can help you gain more pleasure from your software:

  1. Manage your roster through the software.
  2. Balance at the end of each shift using fast EOS balancing tools in the software.
  3. Order, price, sell and reorder through the software – allowing anyone to do it, following your business rules.
  4. Easily identify the hero suppliers, employees and locations of your business and rejo7ce in them.
  5. Spend time above your business, following you data and plan. Planning is pleasurable as you get to work on your business.

These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.

Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.


Five ways suppliers to small business retailers can increase sales using smart POS software

Suppliers serving independent small business retailers can sell more product without a doubt if they are smart in the way they engage with retailers. Suppliers who do not engage with these opportunities miss sales and often find themselves without customers.

Do these five things and expect to sell more to small business retailers:

  1. Provide electronic invoices to an acceptable EDI standard.
  2. Provide an electronic version of your stock file.
  3. Provide an electronic version of catalogue data for seasonal catalogues.
  4. Handle electronic orders.
  5. Receive and manage an electronic flow of sales data to improve just in time supply models.

These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.

Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.


Plants Plus loyalty is a breeze for Plants Plus retailers thanks to Tower Systems

Tower Systems is helping Plants Plus retailers to transition from the group run loyalty program to the Tower Systems Garden centre software loyalty offer, to retail existing customer balances, make offers easily and leverage the long-developed loyalty database for the benefit of each Plants Plus business.

The work being done by Tower Systems in this area is comprehensive, beyond the software. We are working with HTH and Plants Plus retailers to ensure a smooth hassle-free transition that does not let one Plants Plus customer slip through. We are leveraging years of working in the loyalty space in several retail channels with diverse requirements.

The work being done by Tower Systems above and beyond the software is the type of work the company offers retailers in all channels in which it serves.


Helping regional newspaper publishers navigate price changes

Tower Systems is working with several regional newspaper publishers to ease the introduction of price changes through their retail network. As our newsagency software is the industry standard we work with these publishers as we do with other suppliers to help newsagents handle newspaper cover price changes with ease.

We are grateful to the publishers who share price change information long in advance so we can develop appropriate messaging to make the change simple.


Five unexpected ways smart POS software backed by good support can help small business retailers

Retailers think about POS software systems as all being the same. Usually, they look upon them as a cash register replacement. While that is true,, good POS software does considerably more than this. Good POS software delivers benefits deep within a retail business.

Specialist POS software for specialty retailers such as garden centres, bike shops, jewellers, pet shops, newsagents and others benefit from software tailored to their needs beyond the cash register function. Usually, such specialisation includes linking to suppliers and serving mutual needs.

Here are five of many unexpected ways the Tower Systems specialist retail channel software helps small business retailers:

  1. Cut theft. This usually happens by the software revealing situations retailers otherwise would miss.
  2. Easier to sell. A retail business using specialist POS software well is easier to sell because it is easier to operate.
  3. Freed up cash. Cash is too often wasted in small business retail. Following the recommended processes in our software will see you buy better and this will result in less stock purchasing failure.
  4. Power. Retailers using our software tell us they feel more powerful when negotiating with suppliers thanks to the data they have at their fingertips.
  5. Comfort. While many worry about stress that could come with installing a computer system, they often, unexpectedly find comfort from the structure, ease of use and value from the Tower software
  6. Expect more. Yes, this is a sixth way. From your software company, expect more. Seek their help and insights and these are sure to help you get more from your business.

These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.

Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.


Five ways small business retailers can reduce labour costs

Next to rent, labour is the next largest cost faced by small business retailers. Too often, retailers do hot manage labour as effectively as they can. In our work with small business retailers across a number of channels we have developed ideas on reducing labour costs. Here are five ideas we see work well:

  1. Roster by revenue. Plot revenue by hour and roster shop floor sales staff according to the sales volume.
  2. Roster to an hourly cost. Use smart roster software, like our free, and roster to a budget.
  3. Track sales by employee. Report on sales by employee by hour worked and assess the contribution they make to the business.
  4. Time shift tasks. Most away from rostered hours work that can be done without a labour cost. For example, backing up data or linking to your accounting software – both can be done without any labour cost.
  5. Eliminate manual processes. Get suppliers to provide electronic invoices, stop pricing everything you sell – use shelf labels, don’t count stock manually … to name a few tasks you can eliminate entirely.

These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.

Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.


Five free forgotten marketing ideas for small business retailers

Retailers often forget these marketing opportunities they have everyday in their businesses, opportunities to make a pitch at no cost that can have shoppers more engaged with a business.

  1. Pitch on your receipt. Sure, it is a record of a purchase. It is also a valuable advertising platform.
  2. Pitch by time of day. Some days are slower than others. Some times of the day are slower than others. Promote based on the low times to drive engagement.
  3. Add value. On the receipt with a purchase automatically include care instructions or other advice to add value to the purchase. Show your customers why purchasing from you is different, better, than if they were to purchase from elsewhere.
  4. Be smart with placement. Use your business data to see what sells with what. Place commonly purchased together items next to each other and drive sales.
  5. Thank your customers. Email customers a thank you note based on a recent purchase and they will be back. Your software can make this type of marketing easier.

These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.

Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.


30 Christmas marketing ideas for any independent retail business anywhere – Sunday retail management advice

Tower Systems works with more than 3,500 small business retailers in speciality retail niches including jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, toy shops, gift shops, newsagents, pet shops, adult shops and more. We offer these ideas as our Christmas gift to you.

  1. Be community minded. Choose a local charity or community group to support through Christmas. Consider: a change collection tin at the counter; a themed Christmas window display; promotion on your social media pages; a donation to their work; a collection point for donations from customers.
  2. Facilitate sharing stories. Find space in your shop for customers to share their Christmas stories. It could be a story wall inside or in front of the shop. This initiative encourages storytelling by locals and better connects the business with the community.
  3. Award a prize at a local school. Fund a year-end prize at a local school. Attend a school assembly to award the prize. Work with the school leadership on a prize appropriate to your business.
  4. VIP preview. Host a VIP shopper preview night when you show off your Christmas ranges ahead of being available to the general shoppers. Respect and reward your local shoppers with deals and the opportunity to preview ahead of others.
  5. Leverage Christmas traffic. Encourage the Christmas shopper traffic surge in after Christmas. Give them a reason to come back. A coupon promotion or a discount voucher on receipts could be the enticement to get shoppers back in-store. Note: the Tower POS software produces discount vouchers to rules you establish.
  6. Become a gallery. Work with a school, kindergarten, community group or retirement village to bring in local art for people to come and see through Christmas. A small space commitment can drive traffic from family and friends of those with art on show.
  7. Dress the shop. Fully embrace Christmas. Create a Christmas experience such that shoppers know they have stepped into somewhere special this Christmas. Go for more than some tinsel and a tree. Fully embrace the opportunity.
  8. Make your shop smell like Christmas.
  9. Send cards. Send Christmas cards early in the season to suppliers, key customers and local community groups. This connects you with Christmas. Invite all team members to sign each card.
  10. Host a Christmas party. For shops nearby. You are all in the season together – let your hear down before things get crazy.
  11. Ensure you have gifts targeted at occasions. For example: Kris Kringle, by price point and by recipient. Make it easy for people to know what they could give.
  12. Stocking stuffers. At your counter always have one or two stocking stuffers for impulse purchase.
  13. Offer gift vouchers – for someone to give when they are not sure what to give.
  14. Be local. Ensure you have a selection of locally sourced products available for purchase. Make it clear in-store that these products are sourced locally.
  15. Tell stories. On your Facebook page, talk about what is important to you at Christmas. Personalise the season and deepen the connection with those who could shop with you.
  16. Offer a free gift. Bulk purchase an item to offer those who spend above a set amount. For example, spend $65 and receive XX where XX may have cost $5.00 but could have a perceived value of $20.00.
  17. Keep it fresh. Every week make significant change to your Christmas displays and promotions to keep your offer fresh.
  18. Share Christmas recipes. Each week for, say, four weeks, give customers a family Christmas recipe. This personalises Christmas in your business, creates a talking point and makes shopping with you different to your bigger competitors.
  19. Free wrapping. Sure, many retailers offer this. Make your offer better, more creative and more appreciated.
  20. This is essential in any business. Manage it through your computer system with strict rules.
  21. Work the floor. Increase time on the shop floor. Be present to manage shopper flow and to facilitate purchases.
  22. Christmas is crazy busy I most retail situations. Give yourself and your team members sufficient time to recharge so the smile greeting shoppers is heartfelt.
  23. Keep a secret. If yours is a business selling gifts a partner may purchase for their loved-one, create some mystery with a closed off display for the shopper to see the products.
  24. Free assembly. If you sell items that require assembly. Offer to do this for free.
  25. Free delivery. Offer free Christmas Eve delivery for items purchased for kids for Christmas.
  26. Sell training. Leverage the specialist knowledge you have in your business by selling as gifts places at classes you run sharing your expertise.
  27. Hold back. Don’t go out with everything you have for Christmas all at once. Plan the season to show off what you have as the season unfolds. This allows you multiple launches.
  28. Share a taste. Regardless if your type of business, bake a family recipe of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or Christmas biscuits and offer tastings to shoppers on select days. This personalises the experience in your shop.
  29. Offer hampers. Package several items together and offer them as a hamper. Time-poor shoppers could appreciate you doing this work for them. We have seen this work in many different retail situations.
  30. Buy X get Y. Encourage people to spend more with a volume based deal. Pitched right, this could get customers purchasing items for several family members in order to get the price offer you have. Use your technology to manage this.

Christmas is the perfect time to plan for next year. It is the time to do everything possible to leverage bonus Christmas traffic to benefit your business through next year.

Tower Systems offers Point of sale / retail management software tailored for your specific type of retail business. Our software can help you leverage Christmas traffic for year-long benefits.

We provide you with loyalty facilities that are fresh and small-business focussed, loyalty facilities through which you can pitch a point of difference compared to big business competitors.

One of our retail experts can help:

  • VIC/TAS – Mike Hill .. 0423 848 482;
  • NSW/ACT/QLD – Nathan Morrison .. 0417 568 148;
  • SA/WA – Tim Batt .. 0401 833 917.