Why we think our POS software is better than VEND

We are asked from time to time how our software compares with VEND, the POS software from New Zealand. To answer this question we asked people who have switched from VEND to our Tower Systems POS software. Here, we have assembled the most common reasons people give any our POS software is better than VEND:

  1. Fit for purpose. Our POS software is fine-tuned, tailored, for selected speciality retail marketplaces.
  2. Not trying to be for everyone. Generic POS software is generic. The Tower POS software is for selected specific marketplaces.
  3. Human contact is easier. call us and a human who knows our software answers and talks with you.
  4. Enhancement. The Tower software is regularly enhanced, based on direct user suggestions.
  5. Transparency on changes. All changes are detailed in advance of being made available to users.
  6. Control over changes. Users control when they switch to a new version.
  7. On site training. Personal. In-store. At a time to suit.
  8. Unlimited one on one training. Long after on-stire installation Tower customers can book more free training, personalised to the business.
  9. User meetings. Around the country. Meet the leadership team. Influence our direction.
  10. No on going fees. If you want to keep using the software but not pay for support and u0dates you can.
  11. Leadership team access. The leadership team at Tower is accessible, every day.
  12. Cloud or not. The Tower Systems POS software can run locally as well as in the cloud. You choose what is right for you business. Having the option is appreciated by many customers.
  13. Rent or buy. Tower Systems offers customers the option to choose the method of acquisition that best suits their circumstances. Just by appearing options the company demonstrates its flexibility.

At a functional level the Tower Systems POS software is different, unique and valuable. see it for yourself, in your business, at a time that suits you. If we think the software is not a good fit for your business we will say so.

See the software live. Contact us for an obligation free demonstration: Email: sales@towersystems.com.au. Call: toll free 1300 662 957. SA / WA / VIC: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917. QLD / NT: Justin Randall.  0434 365 789. NSW / ACT / TAS: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148. Check us out online: www.towersystems.com.au.

Software for adult shops makes running businesses easier

The Tower Systems software for adult shops is designed to serve the needs of the retail businesses in this unique specialty retail channel.

Using our specialist retail software for adult shops, these businesses can easily handle:

  1. Age checking on sales.
  2. Product care instructions.
  3. Customer detail tracking where required.
  4. Discrete receipts.
  5. Gift purchase receipts.
  6. Gift vouchers enabling people to give a gift without being specific as to the purchase.
  7. Product swap out there a shopper returns an item for a part credit to the next item.
  8. Special orders.
  9. ordering based on what is selling. This need is different in adult shops compared to usual retail.
  10. LayBy.

Thanks to wonderful support from existing adult shop customers, Tower Systems is able to provide a wonderful solution that continues to evolve.

Helping small business retailers reduce the impact of employee theft

For many, years Tower Systems has offered small business retailers access to professional help in detecting, reducing and prosecuting employee theft. In our small business POS software we have excellent services that support this.

In our management team we have skilled professionals who have helped police, prosecutors, insurers and others in situations of employee theft. Our approach is evidence based, professional, discrete and thorough.

Our theft mitigation and theft management services are handled at the leadership team level of the Tower Systems business as this is where the experience lies through helping retail businesses in a variety of retail sectors.

In our decades of experience, it is essential the business draw a line in the sand on the issue of employee theft. This is best done by the establishment of a theft policy. This is best done as a document that employees sign. We provide our customers with a template theft policy. We share this here today for anyone to see and consider for their business.

THEFT POLICY

  1. Theft, any theft, is a crime against this business, its owners, employees and others who rely on us for their income.
  2. If you discover any evidence or have any suspicion of theft, please report it to the business owner or most senior manager possible immediately. Doing so could save a considerable cost to the business.
  3. We have a zero tolerance policy on theft. All claims will be reported to law enforcement authorities for their investigation.
  4. From time to time we have the business under surveillance in an effort to reduce theft. This may mean that you are photographed or recorded in some other way. By working here you accept this as a condition of employment.
  5. New employees may be asked to provide permission for a police check prior to commencement of employment. Undertaking the police check will be at our discretion.
  6. Cash is never to be left unattended outside the cash drawer or a safe within the business.
  7. Credit and banking card payments are not to be accepted unless the physical card is presented and all required processes are followed for processing these.
  8. Employees caught stealing with irrefutable evidence face immediate dismissal to the extent permitted by local labour laws.
  9. Employees are not permitted to remove inventory, including unsold, topped, magazines, unsold cards or damaged stock from the store without permission.
  10. Employees are not permitted to provide a refund to a customer without appropriate management permission.
  11. Employees are not permitted to complete sales to themselves, family members or friends.
  12. Every dollar stolen from the business by customers and or employees can cost us up to four dollars to recover. This is why vigilance on theft is mission critical for our retail store.

PLEASE SIGN AND DATE YOUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

Proud to be a Xero partner through our POS software

Xero does not permit all POS software companies to partner with them. This can get those who miss out offside, talking their product down. Tower Systems has been a Xero partner for years, delivering a beautiful easy-to-use PO software Xero link.

Xero POS Software Integration

Save time, eliminate bookkeeping costs, cut mistakes and make better business decisions sooner with the Tower Systems POS software Xero integration.

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.

Find out more, watch this video:

Helping small business retailers focus on what matters among the shrill reporting of Amazon’s arrival in Australia

We are frustrated with the world is ending type reporting relating to the arrival in Australia of Amazon. More stories have been published recently. Most stories are not reporting. Rather, they are ignorant fear-mongering. Unfortunately, the wrong people are often quoted, like the ever-shrill Gerry Harvey.

We shot this video to provide some thoughts on the arrival of Amazon and to offer suggestions for small business retailers.

Advice for small business retailers experiencing year on year decline in retail sales

If your year-on-year sales are not down in your retail business, this advice is not for you.

If your year-on-year sales are down, something must change if you want to turn the situation around, please read on.

Sometimes, when we are asked by retailers how to deal with a year on year sales decline, our suggestions are not taken up and the business keeps doing what it was doing. In doing this, the declining trend will continue.

We appreciate it can be challenging looking outside of the fog of declining sales and worsening business performance numbers. However, if you cannot reach out beyond this fog the survival of the business is at risk.

Here is the most important statement relating to our advice:

If you keep doing what you have been doing, the sales results in your business will be what they have been, the trend is unlikely to change.

It would be a mistake to think that external factors are the sole reason your sales are down.

So, change is necessary – change in what you sell, how you merchandise and how you promote.

It is only from change that the sales decline could be arrested and reversed.

Our advice is to look for u-turn or right turn opportunities, changes you can implement to divert you from your current path.

Suggesting such changes is something we can do through looking at your business performance data for you. Ask us to challenge you. We will first ask to see your year on year data at a detailed level as this will reveal the truth of the situation and from there we can develop change suggestions for your consideration.

Why ask a POS software company? We see data from many different businesses. That perspective can help. We are retailers too and have been for decades. That provides a body of experiences on which we can draw in considering advice we can provide. We will gladly leverage our experiences to help in any situation.

We don’t have all the answers, we will even suggest ideas we later discover are mistakes. However, doing what you have been doing in a situation of declining sales is a bigger mistake.

Can we help?

Helping small business retailers not break the law in selling age restricted products

Age restricted products are a risk for small business retailers in that regulations are tight and penalties for selling to underage shoppers considerable, including the potential loss of right to sell age restricted products.

While it may sound simple to say that this product or that product cannot be sold to someone below a certain age, without the right forced checks and balances mistakenly doing just that is relatively easy.

Our advice to small business retailers selling age restricted products is that they implement appropriate barrier checks and balanced in their POS software to ensure that their age restricted product approach is best practice.

Use your POS software to fore an age check on every purchase. This shows the business having zero tolerance for avoiding the age check. Regularly remind staff about this. Do these things and any violation the retail sales person deliberately violating business policy and defrauding the business in their use of the age check facilities in the POS software.

These steps can help should the business be caught serving an underage customer. You can prove the processes were black and white and that the server needed to lie to the ach check barrier in the POS software for the transaction to proceed.

Retailers can decide for themselves which products have age check and which do not. This should be reviewed regularly to ensure it is up to date, to ensure that the right checks and balances are in place to show the business is meeting all regulatory age check obligations.

Get your age check processes right from the outset and you can layer the business with a level of protection that is vital. For sure, there is an operational delay in selling age restricted products, but this is minor when you consider the cost to the business of being caught breaking the law in this space.

Our advice to retailers is that they use the age restriction facilities in their POS software to ensure that they get it right, every time.

In our work, we deal with the issues of age restricted products in a range of retail channels including: newsagencies, firearms retail, produce stores and adult stores. In each case, there are different regulations and requirements to handle.

Calling a POS software company for help should be easy for a small business retailer

Here at Tower Systems we believe in making things easy for our customers.

This is why we do not use a computerised phone system with a menu a caller must navigate to get to the place in the company they want to contact.

It is also why we show our customers the people they can speak with. Real names with real photos and real contact details.

It is why we support multiple contact points such as phone, mobile phone, email, direct to our website queries, online chat, a private Facebook group, local user meetings, trade shows and more.

Yes, contacting us is easy. It is also a differentiator for us, one we are proud to support and grow.

In addition to the easy contact points we offer our customers, we support this with a structured escalation process, to provide small business retailers with escalation points on which they can rely to take any issue, concern or dispute further. These structured layers provide peace of mind to our customers and to our team members as there is knowledge that a door is never closed and that there is always an ear to listen and help.

While phone calls to our help desk are the most common method of contact with us, we are equally accessible by email, Facebook and elsewhere. We make sure we are where our customers want us to be. This is what we think good customer service is about – being accessible.

The priority service we provide our customers enables them to determine the importance of their contact with us. In setting their contact priority, they determine the speed of response they want. This is a form of self-triage for our customers. The result is greater focus on delivering to the service levels we publish.

We do not understand why POS software companies require customers to only email them with support queries. Often a query starts with a conversation. As the conversation evolves, the actual query emerges. This is important because sometimes small business POS software users don’t know what they don’t know, they are unable to ask a question that may be relevant. This is where early human to human interaction on the POS software help desk is vital.

How a small discount voucher from our POS software led to a $1,500 purchase

I want to share with you a true story of what happened recently in one of my own shops – yes, I own this POS software co as well as retail shops. 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.

This story could happen in any retail business – city, country, large, small, shopping mall, high street. I make that point so you do not dismiss the story and think it could not happen in your business. The elements of the story work together in any size business. In writing about it here I’m not getting you to do anything other than to consider that you could achieve the same in your 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 purchase where we 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. People respond in unpredictable ways.

Best of all, the discount vouchers are profitable.

For this story to work in a newsagency you need to have the right products, placed strategically in-store. Your staff 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.

If you have read this post and thought it does not relate to you, that you could not do this in your business I say you are wrong. I am certain the approach I have shared with you could work in any newsagency in any situation. I urge you to not hold your business back.

Using POS software to cut employee theft in small business retail

Theft is retail can be expensive, particularly employee theft. Tower systems has a structured and proven approach for dealing with employee theft in retail businesses where the Tower Systems POS software is used.

The Tower POS software has tools for reducing the opportunity for theft. Better still, the software has hidden tools for tracking theft, tools that provide evidence police and prosecutors have used to successfully deal with theft situations.

It is the secret and secure facilities where our software provides retail business owners the evidence necessary to achieve successful resolution, as we have found in many employee theft situations where our help has been called upon.

Discovering theft by an employee can be debilitating and destabilising. To help you through this, Tower Systems provides advice and support on what to do once you discover employee theft. The goal is to offer straightforward steps to help you get through as it is on the other side of this where you can find the opportunity to move on from the feeling of violation that often accompanies employee theft in small business.

In addition to being a support, we provide practical advice an help for use our our POS software to reduce  the opportunity for employee theft and shopper theft.

Follow this advice on how to use our specialist retail software to hamper opportunities for theft and bolster the certainty of detecting it before it’s too late:

  1. Employ stock control for high volume items. Enter new stock as it comes in, scan all sales and only reorder based on what the software says. Perform a stock take regularly each month. High volume item stock discrepancies are an indicator of theft.
  2. Scan everything you sell. Do not use department tracking only – your data needs to be granular to prevent employees taking advantage of loose stock on hand quantities. Not scanning individual stock items is unfortunately an invitation to dishonest employees.
  3. Use the software-based end of shift procedure and have a zero-tolerance policy on cash balance discrepancies. Reconcile banking to your computer software at end of shift. We have seen businesses failing to do this: one was being skimmed regularly of $200 a day.
  4. Do spot cash balancing. Unexpected checks can uncover surprises. One business owner needing to perform banking during the day uncovered a $350 discrepancy that lead to the discovery of systematic theft.
  5. Mix up your roster. Sometimes people work together to steal. One retailer found a family friend senior and their teenage daughter stealing consistently.
  6. Check your audit Log. Look at cancelled sales, deleted sales and items deleted from a sale. Leaving a cash drawer open from the previous sale, scanning items, taking the cash and cancelling the sale is the most common process used by employees to accrue cash they then take from you. Our software tracks cancelled sales and what was in them. This can be matched with video footage.
  7. Check GP by department. If GP is falling outside what you expect, always research further.
  8. Publish a theft policy. Put this on a noticeboard in the back room. Get staff to read it and sign up to it. At the bottom of this page is a sample theft policy.
  9. Keep the store counter area clean. A better organised counter reduces the opportunity for theft. Reducing nooks and crannies makes detection of any cash hoarding easier.
  10. Have a “no employee bags” at the counter policy. This makes it harder for dishonest employees to hide stolen cash.
  11. Beware employees who carry folded paper or small notepads. These can be used for them to keep track of how much cash is in the register that is theirs – i.e. not rung up in the software.
  12. Beware of calculators and mobile phones at the counter. Employees can use these devices to track how much cash could be stolen prior to balancing for the day – cash from sales not processed.
  13. Do not let employees sell to themselves. If an employee wants to purchase something ensure they purchase it from the customer’s side of the counter.
  14. Be professional in your management of the business. The more professional your approach they less likely your employees will steal as they will see the risk of being caught as high. Do not take cash handling lightly; if you respect your business procedures your staff are more likely to too. Never take cash from the till for your own personal use, i.e. to buy lunch.
  15. Advise all job applicants that you will require their permission for a police check. From the outset this indicates that you take your business seriously. In many situations applicants who have been asked for permission to do a police check advise they have found a job elsewhere.

These steps work. They are based on decades of helping small business retailers to reduce and manage employee theft.

Free POS software & e-commerce workshop for regional QLD small business retailers.

Retail is changing at a rapid rate. Changes in-store and online are making 2017 an important year.

We have see these changes first-hand at international retail conferences this year. We play with the changes in our own shops where we use our POS software and our website technology to find new customers and drive a higher average spend.

Come to one of our FREE workshops near you and find out more about how you can equip your retail business to confront the changes in retail, transact online and compete with big businesses, including Amazon.

Here are the dates for our free POS software / website workshops. Click on the city name to book your place:

  1. Cairns. June 26. 2pm. Novotel.
  2. Townsville. June 27. 10am. Mercure.
  3. Mackay. June 28. 10am. Mackay Grande Suites.
  4. Rockhampton. June 29. 10am. Quest.

We will share insights on how small business retailers around the world are using website connected POS software to win online sales.

We will explain how to get to the top of Google search results.

We will demonstrate the connection between social media posts (Facebook, Twitter etc) in-store sales and online sales.

There will be no hard sell. Our goal is to share practical information to help you better plan for the future of your regional retail business.

Anyone is welcome including people on whom you rely for advice, such as accountants and mentors.

If you have sales queries prior to these events please talk with your local account manager: QLD: Justin Randall. 0434 365 789.

I hope to see you at one of these workshops. I am keen to share with you what I have seen and learnt in this rapidly changing space.

There will be plenty of time for questions on any topic connected with retail.

We have software for: gift shopsjewellersbike shops, pet shops,  toy shopsfishing/outdoorsgarden centres/nurseries, newsagentsproduce stores and firearms retailers.

Small business retail advice: how to organise your back room

The back room of a retail business is a window on the efficiency and focus of the business. This is a fair assumption because it is where the business is organized.. A disorganized back room reflects a likely disorganized business.

Organizing the back room is easy. Those who disagree are probably spending too much time thinking about it and not enough time creating an efficient and enjoyable work space.

Here are some simple tips for organizing the back room of any retail business.

Have defined areas. Separate, mark out and manage the areas for: inward goods, spare floor stock, returns, administration and employee rest space. Locate each area in a logical position.

For example, inward goods needs to be located inside the doorway away from main traffic but close enough to be convenient to delivery people. Create a defined process around this space – such as every delivery being signed for and even verified by a second person if the value of deliveries warrants this.

Administration documents and materials need to be located in an area more secure than the general back room space. It also needs to be in office cabinets and units which can be locked.

A place for everything. Pens, pencils, tape, box cutters, scissors, paper, boxes, packaging materials – everything in the back room should have its defined space. This creates a safer and more enjoyable work environment. The better organization also encourages all others in the organization to be better organized. Lead by example.

Communicate clearly. Setup a notice board or a white board onto which you can communicate with all employees. This should be located next to the door which leads from the room to the shop floor. The noticeboard can share important information about the business as well as required health and safety notices.

Don’t hoard. Retailers are notorious hoarders, handing on to everything in case they need it one day. While it is easy to say don’t hoard, the reality is different. Here is a simple tip for retailers with space available. Set aside some space, hopefully somewhat hidden – where you put anything which you are not using and don’t think you will need but are not prepared to throw out. Not the date you put it there. review this space every six months. Items you do not use in six months should be thrown out.

Structure and discipline are the keys to a good back room. get these right and the business itself will become more organized as a result.

This is an example of practical business advice we provide at Tower Systems to our retail customers, advice beyond our POS software, to help our retail business partners get more from their engagement with us.

Employee theft remains the biggest concern of small business retailers.

Employee theft in small retail businesses remains the biggest single concern among small business retailers and the biggest single cost to retail businesses.

We say this based on evidence of interaction with 3,500+ small business retailers in our user community and from working with plenty of retailers outside our user community, helping them to deal with the hurt and cost of discovering theft by retailers.

We have tried many approached to getting the attention of small business retailers on the issue of theft. One of the most successful means of engagement has been this cheeky video from us. It gets attention.

We have used it through YouTube as well as other platforms. It works a treat, gaining thousands of views.

Amazing free POS software training for small business retailers for June

We are grateful for the support from our customers for our free online POS software training. Here is the June schedule. All free. All available to any of our customers. We do so many sessions because of all our customers. Even with this list we are sure to add more closer to the time.

  1. Getting Ready for EOFY Thursday 1st June 2:00pm Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run.
  2. Stocktaking for EOFY Wednesday 7th June 2:00pm Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you.
  3. Getting Ready for EOFY Thursday 8th June 2:00pm Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run.
  4. Getting Ready for EOFY Wednesday 14th June 2:00pm Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run.
  5. Stocktaking for EOFY Thursday 15th June 2:00pm Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you.
  6. Stocktaking for EOFY Wednesday 21st June 2:00pm Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you.
  7. Getting Ready for EOFY Thursday 22nd June 2:00pm Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run.
  8. Getting Ready for EOFY Wednesday 28th June 2:00pm Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run.
  9. Stocktaking for EOFY Thursday 29th June 2:00pm Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you.

Major web development advances for small business retailers

Tower Systems has moved to the next phase of its professional website development services for small business retailers with the launch of a package of web sales fulfilment tools.

The latest enhancements extend the best-practice approach by the Tower Systems web development team and deliver wonderful website initiatives for websites developed in Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce. These three platforms account for around 75% of all e-commerce sites.

Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce, coupled with the Tower Systems retail management software creates a powerful high street and online retail solution for small business retailers.

Tower Systems is proud to be using world renowned platforms and enhancing these with the latest in fulfilment facilities.

POS software WooCommerce integration live, helping small business retailers

In addition to linking our POS softer direct to magento and Shopify based websites, Tower Systems links to WooCommerce sites.

The latest integration is another example of Tower Systems delivering best practice integrations to best practice products.

When it comes to websites for small business retailers or any business for that matter, the best solution is one that has been proved around there world. Locally developed content management systems are not good for business websites as there are maintenance challenges.

WooCommerce, Shopify and Magento represent around 80% of ecommerce sites globally. There is no need to go beyond these three.

Tower Systems is grateful to the three ecommerce platform businesses for their encouragement and support of our moves in this space.  Their encouragement has helped us do this good work in the interested of our small business customers.

Small business POS software users appreciate local user meetings

We have just completed a sweep of Australian capital cities hosting face to face small business POS software group user meetings.

At these interactive sessions we demonstrated our soon to be released new software and provided a preview of our set new look and feel.

Across the country the responses have been terrific and valuable. The Q&A part of the user meeting series has ben particularly useful as we have been able to answer questions, learn from our customers and share in a practical and personal way with and for our customers.

The hosting of the user meetings is a real advantage for Tower Systems customers and a point t of difference for us. We could not have done what we have just done had it not been for engaged and connected customers who encourage us every day of the week.

Access to the sessions was free. In addition to terrific content we ensured easy access to parking. Plus we provided catering to keep attendees nourished.

By being in front of our customers through these meetings and offering face to face access to our leadership team in attendance, Tower Systems is making itself accountable to its customers. There is no more important task for a POS software company than this – than being practically accountable to those who use the software and rely on it day to day in their businesses.