Aussie POS software helps small business retailers grow

Small business retailers want to grow, who doesn’t? With rent and labour costs increasing each year, growth is mission critical. POS software company Tower Systems helps its customers grow by providing advice on how to use the software to grow.

As retailers ourselves we can provide practical advice on how to use the software to more than transact sales, we can help retailers use the software to grow their businesses. We do this every day on our help desk, through our consulting services, through our knowledge base and through our business mentoring assistance.

We encourage, guide, educate and support our small business retailer customers in their desire to grow their businesses. it’s something we take serviceably.

Even on the weekend. Take today, Saturday … we have been helping one business owner understand opportunities in their slow selling inventory pool to unlock cash and space for more productive use.

We are serious in our commitment to small business retailers from our software through to the practical advice and support we provide.

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POS software helps gift shops, small business retailers handle special orders

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 10.14.08 amThe POS software from Tower Systems has excellent facilities for handling special orders, pre-orders and other forms of orders for customers that are unique to the customer and a point of difference for the business to offer.

Special orders and customer pre-orders are a point of difference for small independent retailers over big businesses. Being bale to do this with consistency and certainty can help these businesses more successfully compete.

Thanks to years of refinement and working with retailers in a wide variety of retail situations, Tower Systems offers a competitive advantage from the recording of customer details, tracking an order,k advising its arrival and handling a range of payment options including time payment.

We have retailers today transacting valuable business in pre-orders of highly valuable product as a result of these tools in the software. They are financially better off today and over the long term as special order customers tend to return for more orders.

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Sunday retail management advice: success today is important for tomorrow

Too often we see small business retailers running their businesses thinking that they will make their money when they sell. Our experience working with thousands of retailers is that focusing on today, on the right now, will ensure the best outcome for the future of the business.

Our strategy – Make every day your pay day – is simple and effective. It’s made up of basic points:

  1. Run with the leanest roster possibl Just about every newsagency business I review has capacity to lower labour costs.
  2. Have your best people working the floor, helping customers spend more.
  3. Stock what sells.
  4. Get rid of stock which is not selling.
  5. Have stunning displays that attract people from outside the shop.
  6. Have compelling displays in-store that encourage people to browse beyond their destination purchase.
  7. Always have impulse offers at high traffic locations.
  8. Charge more every time you can. Review your prices for products people come to yoo because of convenience.
  9. Buy as best you can.
  10. Grab settlement discounts every time you are able.
  11. Use your business data to guide your decisions.
  12. Promote outside your store.

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

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

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POS software company provides more help to small business retailers reducing theft

Tower Systems has been helping more retailers using its POS software POS software to deal with employee theft situations. We have a structured process for independently checking evidence without being influenced by stories. The process has been praised by police and prosecutors. It has been on show in court rooms where we have provided expert witness evidence.

Employees in retail businesses using our software are on notice. We have tools you will never find which can uncover behavior which indicates without a doubt that theft is occurring. This evidence has stood up scrutiny and resulted in successful action.

Our advice to retailers is to use the facilities in our software for theft reduction. If you have a concern, ask us for a free Theft Check service.

We’re here to help. That’s our motto. When it comes to employee theft, we’re in your corner and there to help you deal with it and get through the emotional and operational challenges of discovering a theft situation.

Our theft related work is undertaken at senior levels within the business. It is highly confidential. Our most cases are never discussed until completely closed and even then only ever without identifying details.

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POS software offers small business retailers choice on loyalty

There is loyalty software and then there is loyalty software. The Tower Systems approach to loyalty software in its POS software for small business retailers is broad, flexible and shopper-focussed.

With options from the more traditional points based approach through to an immediate benefit engagement offer and the ability to blend the two, the Tower Systems software provides retailers with tools they can use appropriate to local needs.

Feedback from retailers using the Tower Systems loyalty facilities is thrilling. Stories of growth, shopper engagement and terrific bottom line results. This really excites us.

While many businesses like points based programs, evidence indicates the immediate benefit engagement offer is more valuable in many retail situations. The results on a P&L and elsewhere in business reporting are compelling.

Beyond the software, Tower Systems is engaged with its retail partners to help them choose the right mix of loyalty offers which work best in their circumstances.

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Free roster software for small business retailers

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 3.07.02 pmTower Systems has launched free roster cloud-based roster software developed specifically for small business retailers.

This easy to use platform is serves single location and multi location retailers. It offers a variety of tools and helps retailers with budgeting to drive a better labour cost outcome.

The new employee roster software for retailers is another enhancement from Tower Systems, delivered at no cost to its customers – demonstrating innovation in a practical and no cost way.

This is another way we live up to our motto: We’re here to help.

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Sunday retail management advice: don’t pay too much for POS software support

Here at Tower Systems, paying annual software support is optional. We want our POS software customers to pay to access support because they value it rather than because it is a tax imposed which must be paid for them to access the software.

Our support fees are transparent and consistent.

If you use other POS software, before you pay your bill check what others are paying. In one case recently one business was paying around $1,000 while another nearby using exactly the same software purchased at the same time was paying over $3,000. The second business was being grossly overcharged.

One way you can save money on POS software support is by shopping around.

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POS software drives retail sales

One of our POS software team members this week saw first hand the value of the latest loyalty facilities in ur software in a business which switched from MYOB to us and from a points based loyalty system to our $$$ based front end loyalty solution. Here is their story:

I popped in to see a client who swapped to our software late last year from MYOB, they were doing a points based loyalty system before, and changed to our discount vouchers on launch of our software.  The result is excellent sales growth. This is a good report to show you can still get engagement of vouchers, even at low customer numbers and low values.  Average voucher issued was $2.06.

We love hearing stories like this as they reflect on our value proposition of helping our customers. While we help in many ways, it is through the loyalty offer where we see excellent business growth results.

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Sunday retail management advice: inspiration retail management success stories

While some retailers gravitate to stories of doom and gloom, others are chase and enjoy success large and small.

Through our work with our POS software we get to meet with plenty of retailers and look at many businesses.

We are certain that success is not an accident.

Success is planned for and chased. It is the goal reflected in every business decision. It comes from refusing to let the business run you.

We’d like to share three real-world stories with you.

The small shop turning over $380,000 a year and growing 28%

Talking with a gift shop owner about their 28% increase in sales in the financial year just ended.

Yes, you read right, a 28% lift in sales in the 2012/13 year. This is on the back of a 17% increase the year before. This is a business that is more than ten years old.

This is no accident. They planned for it by carefully looking at their business data and shedding products that were not working. They adjusted opening hours too as they discovered business later in the day that they had not realised was there. This knowledge opened them to opportunities for last minute shoppers.

The owner of the business decided to chase success because the turnover was barely enough to cover rent, wages and the loan taken out to fund the business. It was grow or bust.

They planned for success by using their business data. The first year – 17% up from a low turnover base – was encouraging. The 28% increase this past financial year proves value of paying attention to business data.

Sales data guided them as to the suppliers of the best to focus on. One employee was eased out of the business for failing to achieve minimum sales targets.

The owner spent more time on the shop floor selling to achieve minimum margin dollars per sale rather than just chatting with shoppers.

The result shows what can happen when you focus on being a retailer, the owner said to me with a huge smile.

A gift shop reengineers and saves itself

Another gift shop we have been working with was in trouble. Shops nearby were closing and the small shopping strip had a dark feeling. For a while they were sucked into the cloud of doom and gloom.

Checking their data we saw that several special interest items sold well and provided an above-average margin. They used this knowledge as the basis for small expansion.

Over six months they increased their range of the special interest items and they connected with community groups to share knowledge.

Over six months sales grew, not into double-digit growth but they were happy to have at least stopped the decline.

In the second six months sales grew further. Now they were into double digit growth territory. Shoppers happy with their specialisation were telling others. Word of mouth was driving extra traffic.

That was a year ago. Today, this business is very different. People travel for up to two hours to see their range. The average sale value has more than doubled, margins are up 15% and customer traffic is up 25%. Combine these three and you can see why the owner is very happy.

They did not plan to become a product specialist. The survival of their business demanded it.

How a product category drove sales and profit

This gift shop owner came to us because they were in trouble. Sales were falling. Together, we took an in-depth look at their data.

The category performing best in terms of return on investment and return on floor-space was plush, teddy bears and some soft toys. That can’t be right, said the owner, it’s stuck in the back of the shop.

Data does not lie. It revealed that their small selection of plush was selling well despite the owner and the employees not being all that interested in it.

Fast forward six months and this business has turned around. They are now a plush shop at the front with other gifts. Sales are up 65% and climbing. They have increased their margin too – because they have products others nearby don’t have.

Turning this business around was easy as the data offered the guide. The changes took a week to complete and initially required only a $5,000 capital investment in additional stock.

Own your success

Small and independent retail businesses can achieve growth in any economic situation.

People don’t stop shopping in tough times – they just change what they buy.

By taking a fresh look at business data gift shop owners can change focus, attract new shoppers and get existing shoppers spending more.

We’re happy to help.

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Help for small business retailers doing it tough

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.52.05 amTower Systems has published a special report for small business retailers on tactics and strategies they can use to help navigate tough times. This report draws on years of experience working with small business retailers across a range of retail channels. The advice is ready to use, often without the need for POS software technology.

While developed as part of the Tower AdvantageTM suite of services, Tower Systems has made the advice widely available to all retailers.

We appreciate the feedback from retailers which has guided further development of this small business assistance advice.

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Sunday retail management advice: being optimistic about small business retail

In almost all data we get from small business retailers we can find reasons to be optimistic. It could be shopper traffic, basket depth, unit sales for a product category, comparative supplier performance or any number of other data points, researching business performance data provides us with insights which can encourage optimism.

Optimism matters in small business retail. However, it is not something to fake. We look for truth in the data and more times than not we can find reasons for hope and excitement for a business.

In one case recently we were asked to help a business doing it tough. In their data we found information about a segment of the business around which they were able to build a series of positive steps for further improving the business.

One step is all it takes to move a business forward and often in your POS software managed data you can discover what that next step could be.

Our job as a POS software company is to help uncover these opportunities, to show you small steps you could take to build optimism and for your business.

We often find optimism where business owners are not looking and even the faintest glint can be like wind in your sails.

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Specialised POS software helps adult shops trade within the law

Adult shops have specialist business management needs. The Tower Systems adult shop software offers marketplace specific facilities for meeting these specialist needs.

From age checking to product care notes to special orders to return/credit tracking – the Tower Systems adult shop software offers the specialist facilities needed to properly serve the needs of these specialist businesses.

With plenty of adult shops using the software, Tower can provide reference sites, sites which have helped us fitness the software to its position in the marketplace today.

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Tower Systems to retailers: we’re here to help

twhIn releasing the new corporate image – new logo, new website, new collateral – we have embraced a new tag line which describes our mission for small and independent retailers.

We’re here to help.

This is our mission – through our software and support services, we are here to help our customers enjoy their businesses more, make more money and make their businesses more valuable.

Our software and associated services are a mechanism through which retailers can experience genuine help. We are grateful to be able to do this.

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Sunday retail management advice: embrace being small in retail

We’re a small software company compared to the size of software companies around the world. Sure, we serve close to 3,000 small business retailers, but we are small. We like it that way. Small is good. Small of focussed. Small is human and not a number. Small is enjoyably.

Too often we see businesses owners chasing growth, chasing big businesses. We don’t want to be impersonal or disconnected. As a small business we are closer to our customers and more aligned with their needs.

We think a small specialist software company like ours is more likely to be able to fully and usefully serve the needs of small business retailers.

Sure, we are growing. However, there is a difference between growing and being so big you can’t pick up the phone and speak with the owner about anything at any time – like you can here at Tower Systems.

Our retail management tip today: embrace small, it’s a good place.

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The new loyalty POS software loyalty paradigm is a game-changer

tdvSmall and independent retailers love the new approach to loyalty on the Tower Systems POS software. At the Gift Fair in Sydney this week retailer after retailer was thrilled to see such a different yet highly manageable opportunity.

While our discount voucher shopper loyalty facilities are not new to our POS software, they are new to many retailers who have only ever heard about points based systems as the way to approach loyalty.

What is unique and valuable about the Tower Systems discount vouchers is the multiple data points at which the retailer can control the value of the voucher printed. The layering approach allows the retailer more control over value and redemption – thereby providing the business with more mechanisms through which to drive business performance.

One retailer told us that they attribute their 10% year on year growth to our discount vouchers and that to achieve this they have given away just over 1% of GP. What makes the facilities even more valuable is the reporting showing shopper behaviour in detail. This helps guide data point tweaking to drive outcomes.

Thanks to the trademarked Tower AdvantageTM, Tower Systems is delivering to retailers and unique and business valuable facility. Exclusivity has its own rewards.

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Sunday retail business management tip: small steps matter

We often see small business retailers focus on grand plans, big moves they intend to make to lift their business. Our experience is that many small steps deliver a better result to a retail business and for a lower cost.

Using our retail management software, retailers are able to uncover and nurture small steps to growth in their business.

Every retail business has small steps they can take to drive traffic, achieve a better margin from products, get shoppers purchasing more, reducing wastage, reducing theft and more. Each of these alone done in a step step strategic way will compound on the other and deliver a greater than the sum of the parts benefit to the business.

Beyond its terrific POS software, Tower Systems helps retailers to see what they may be missing, to understand the opportunities for growth through a small steps strategy.

Leveraging our own retail experience and our intimate knowledge of what our software cal do, we can help retailers to lift their businesses through co-operative partnership.

Not all POS software companies are the sale. We’re here to help.

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Good POS software can drive the relevance of your small or independent retail business

Choosing the right POS software for your business can re-energise, refocus and redefine your retail business.

Choosing the wrong software can hold you back.

The challenge for small and independent retailers is: which POS software is the right POS software.

Leading Australian POS software developer Tower Systems is clear that its software is not right for all retail businesses. Indeed, the company focuses on a select group of retail niches, vertical markets as they are called, in which it refines software to specific needs of teach of the markets.

This specialisation sees Tower Systems become deeply involved in and knowledgeable about each of the retail channels in which it serves. It’s deep specialisation results in offering software functions through which specialist niche retailers can reinforce their relevance.

For example, a pet shop using the specialist pet shop software from Tower Systems has pet shop management facilities that are unique and tailored to their needs whereas a generic POS software package only offers generic facilities that are offered to all retailers. These generic facilities are less likely to enable the pet retailer to reinforce their specialisation compared to a general retailer.

Specialist software in retail niches helps specialist retailers embrace their specialisation.

This is the Tower AdvantageTM in action. A suite of specialist tools that are constantly evolving thanks to the engagement of its 2,850+ customers.

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Free POS software training: How employees steal from retail businesses

stealHow employees steal from retail businesses is a free training workshop from the POS software experts Tower Systems. Delivered by our COO, this training is vital for retail business owners. It will draw on expert advice from one who helps police, prosecutors and insurance companies deal with employee theft in retail businesses.

With just a few places left, this training will fill up for sure.

Tower Systems leads its marketplaces with live online training opportunities – helping retailers to learn more about their software and how to save their businesses time and money.

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Sunday retail business management tip: roster staff for commercial success

Rostering is a vitally important business activity in indecent retail businesses. Get it right and you save money. Get it wrong and your bottom-line suffers.

Retailers using the Point of Sale software from Tower Systems can roster employees based on their contribution to the business. Using the tools in the software can result in better rosters, rosters which deliver a more valuable contribution to the business.

This is just one way POS software which offers roster facilities can genuinely benefit a business – save time and help driver better earnings. It is another way good POS software pays for itself.

Tower Systems helps retailers drive better outcomes through rostering and other facilities delivered in its software for a range of specialist independent retail channels.

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Xero accounting / POS software link helps retailers embrace technology

The link we launched last year connecting our smart POS software with leading accounting solution Xero is helping us grow our business as more retailers seek a whole of business solution. Our training resources help retailers understand the link and the benefits. here’s one of the videos we have produced in house.

We use Xero ourselves in our own retail businesses.

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Sunday retail management advice: make Lay-Bys work for you & your customers

Tower Systems has helped many retailers get into offering Lay-By services when installing our Point of Sale software. Over many years we have developed extensive experience in Lay-Bys and through this we have refined suggestions on how to make the most of the opportunity.

Here is a summary of more extensive Lay-By advice we provide to retailers, based on our years of experience.

  1. WHAT TO LAY-BY. Set a minimum item and or purchase value. We’d suggest $80.00 in a small retail business.
  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. 20% of the total GST inclusive purchase price.
  4. Only Lay-by to people 18 and over.
  5. Lay-bys should run for between eight and twelve weeks. You could run for longer pre Christmas to get early 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 policy you are comfortable with. We suggest a 20% cancellation fee applies. 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.

We are grateful to our retail partners who have worked with us on developing this experience and advice. Their help has enabled us to provide this help.

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Sunday retail management advice: professional management of the sales counter

In our work with small business retailers we have been fortunate to see many different sales counter situations. The best retail sales counters are the ones run in a structured and professional way.

We are often asked for advice on management of the counter. Here are nine points of advice for counter management (outside of direct sales) which our customers have found useful. This list is our retail management advice today.

  1. No food or drink to be visible to customers unless it is packaged and for sale.
  2. No personal staff items like bags, purses, wallets or mobile phones to be visible at the counter.
  3. Clean the counter at least every day.
  4. From the customer side, remove all products from the counter once a week, clean and rebuild.
  5. Keep counter messages, signs and notes that shoppers see to a minimum. Every note, sign or message must have a purpose that speaks to the mission of your business.
  6. When employees purchase from the business have them purchase from the customer side of the counter.
  7. Have a rule on how many people you have behind the counter at any time. Too often retail employees use the counter as a refuge. More impulse purchases are achieved by working the shop floor than at the counter.
  8. Dramatically change your counter at least once every three months – as much for your team as for your customers.
  9. When assessing the counter for product placement, cleanliness and being on-topic, do so from the customer side. How it looks from behind the counter is far less relevant than from the customer side.

In helping retailers use our Point of Sale software we often find ourselves helping beyond the technology. Developing and sharing this list is one example of our broader help of small business retailers.

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Retailers make good use of gift cards to drive retail sales

giftcardRetailers using our POS software can provide gift vouchers on the fly directly from the software or they can load value onto a professional card like major retailers use. Either approach to gift cards / vouchers works easily.

The photo shows four gift cards designed by our in house graphic design team. Each card in a run has a unique barcode to which funds can be loaded by customers.

Offering a gift card design and production service helps us provide a more complete one stop shop service to our customers. It saves retailers time and ensures they receive vouchers designed to work well with our Point of Sale software.

We have produced hundreds of cards for our retail partner customers.

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Busy lead up to Christmas for this POS software company

The team at Tower Systems has had a busy lead up to Christmas 2014 with new installations being completed even this week, new software plans being finalised and fresh training opportunities being workshopped and retail business help being dispensed in good measure.

There has been no slowing to our efforts for our independent and small business retailer customers as we serve their needs of today and plan for great things for tomorrow.

With many staff not on leave at the moment, we have taken the opportunity to make a series of moves that position us well for 2015. We’re excited this last day before Christmas.

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Helping retailers prepare for BOXING DAY SALES

discoubtWe’ve had plenty of POS software help desk calls this week from retailers asking questions about setting their businesses up to handle Boxing Day sales.

Using our software it’s easy and flexible to setup for handling special event sales – retailers have many options for sales from individual to price to volume and mix and match discounts – that run by date and by time. flexibility is discounting is important in retail today as retailers compete with each other – especially at these major sale times.

Our smart POS software makes managing discounting easy and secure for our partner businesses.

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