33% of retail customers embrace reward me now opportunities in POS software loyalty offer

A retail expert from Europe speaking at a high-profile retail conference in Sydney last week declared traditional loyalty is dead, people want instant gratification. In the Tower Systems POS software retailers have the opportunity for instant gratification.

Data from a range or retail businesses using the Discount Voucher facilities within the Tower Systems POS software report 33% engagement on the day of issue. Most often, these customers are not regulars, they are infrequent visitors who look for opportunities to leverage the value of the reward in that visit.

Tracking shopper behaviour we can see that those spending the reward tend to spend equal to or more than the initial purchase value. A further 20% spend on a third item or basket, further extending the value of the reward.

We are thrilled to see retailers enjoying double digit year on year growth as a result of their use of the Discount Voucher facilities. The voucher reports, sales data and business P&Ls we see show this approach is profitable and valuable for the longer term prospects of the business.

The Discount Voucher facilities fit with the model of loyalty promoted by the recent retail experts speaking in Sydney.

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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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POS software helps small business retailers with cloud backup option

bupThe cloud backup service launched last year by small business retail management software company Tower Systems is proving to be popular with retailers. The backup process is seamless, not taking any noticeable time thanks to the smart technology engaged. The result is double protection offering peace of mind to small business retailers.

While Tower Systems has supported external and automated backup services for years, this new even more hands-off cloud-based backup service that offers excellent protection to participating small retail businesses users of our POS software.

Run on a subscription basis and backing up to the cloud real-time through the day, this is a comprehensive replacement of the old end of shift backup approach for small and independent retailers.

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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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Free POS software training helps retailers improve productivity

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 5.34.16 pmThe weekly free POS software training opportunities offered by Tower Systems continue to attract retaill business owners and their employees who want to get more from their software investment.

Our outcome-focussed training is proving to be a hit with retailers as it offers practical advice without tech-jargon.

This session on productivity helps retailers where it matters: at the counter.

Tower Systems is grateful to wonderful customer support in participating in these sessions.

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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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Why retail bike shops matter – POS software co. joins the shop versus online debate

Bike shops matter.

While people can buy bikes online, buying a bike from a real shop from a real person, someone to whom you can speak, it better for you, better for the future of bikes and better for the community.

Your local bike shop employs local people. Those people have local knowledge. You can build a relationship with them.

Buy online and sure you might have a name but is it real? Sure you might save money but does anything you spend get invested in your country or your local community.

Local bike shops employ people who love bikes and love riding. They share your passion. Your purchase is part of their passion.

An online bike shop cares about shipping packages. That’s all. It could be they have a bunch of online shops selling a bunch of categories of products. Where are you in that situation.

Local bike shops provide local services. Most have experienced mechanics servicing your bikes. Try and do this online.

Here at Tower Systems we are proud to support local bike shops and encourage you to shop local when buying your next bike.

The Tower Systems bike shop software is the most widely used bike shop specific software in Australia.

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Out with the old and in with the new – how smart loyalty facilities on POS software help independent retailers compete

Loyalty facilities are as old as the ills in POS software. Too often, the differences are not that great. The most popular offer is that of points accrual based on purchase.

While the POS software we offer here at Tower Systems provides loyalty facilities with points accrual and redemption, it is our other loyalty facility that is helping retailers break free from competition.

In a recent sales study we saw the best year on year growth achieved by retailers using our software and using our front-end approach to loyalty – discount vouchers.

Case after case the results are extraordinary – double digit sales growth being driven by greater existing shopper engagement, word of mouth driving new traffic and an allied pricing policy that helps the retailer fund the loyalty program with no net cost to the business.

The discount vouchers in the Tower software are 100% unique, developed by us in a way that is impossible to copy unless you have access to our programming source code.

While some have tried to copy our discount vouchers, retailers soon find that a copy is not the same as the real thing, a copy will not produce the stellar results we are producing in our Tower POS software.

We have independent retailers telling us that they are feeling reinvigorated for their business thanks to the results of the discount vouchers, that they are making more money now thanks to using this unique software facility.

This is what we are in business for – to help independent retailers make more money and enjoy their businesses more.

Every new business that takes on discount vouchers is a new opportunity for excitement for us. As they tell their colleagues it is a new opportunity for us to win more business too.

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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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Bike shop software users to benefit from Tower Systems US retail tour insights

nybikesLearning from US bike retailers and how they engage with bike fans is one of the takeaways from Two weeks in the US for two Tower Systems executives. The trip culminated in almost a week in New York including attending the National retail Federation annual conference. While in New York at the conference and on the streets meeting with bike retailers, insights were shared that will help position tower Systems to further improve on its already popular and widely-used bike retail management software.

Using the Tower Bike Shop Software, retailers are able to manage warranties, track serial numbers, manage repairs and provide a whole of customer life experience and thereby drive (ride) more value for the business. Our intuitive bike shop software is world class as we have seen in this most recent overseas marketplace study.

For commercial reasons we will not share any comprehensive outcomes here as these are best deployed to our customers for their and our commercial advantage.

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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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Comparing specialist bike shop software to Retail Manager from MYOB

The Tower Systems specialist bike shop software plays in a completely different field to MYOB’s Retail Manager software.  While both software packages offer Point of Sale facilities, only our software offers facilities which serve the needs of today’s specialist bike retailer.

MYOB’s Retail Manager is a successful mass market package and therefore remains generic in the services it provides.  This is how they keep their price down, by not offering specialist facilities.  It is a business model which has served them well.

We have gone the other way and created specialist bike shop software because we understand that this will help bike retailers make more money from their businesses.  Bike retailers can leverage our specialist facilities to drive revenue and build businesses of greater value for when they decide to sell.

Specialist bike retailers see themselves and quite different to mass merchant bike retailers.  One way of leveraging their specialist focus and services is through specialist bike shop software.  Those who don’t see their business as different opt for mass merchant software and miss an opportunity to drive their unique selling proposition at every opportunity.

Here are some of the bike shop specialist areas where our software is quite different to the generic MYOB and other software:

  • Loyalty marketing.  Bike customers are more valuable than the first tracking.  By tracking purchases through a robust loyalty management and marketing system, bike retailers using our Tower Systems software are able to extract greater value from each customer.
  • Text message customer communication.  Letting customers know when repairs are ready to be collected, special orders have arrived in-store and special offers are available helps better connect specialist bike retailers and their customers.  MYOB does not have these facilities.
  • Multi store facilities.  Centralised internet based multi store facilities.  What we offer beats the current MYOB offer hands down.
  • Supplier connection.  By connecting with key bike shop suppliers, processing electronic invoices and creating electronic orders, we are helping bike retailers cut labour costs.  This makes our software considerably more valuable than generic software when it comes to managing business payroll.
  • Theft management.  By connecting the bike shop software with a sophisticated security camera system, bike shop owners are able to leverage better management of the employee and customer theft risks.  This is another difference between generic POS software and our specialist bike shop software.
  • Serial number tracking.  A full service bike shop wants to provide a more professional and complete service to the mass merchants.  Serial number tracking is one such example.  This can help with insurance claims.  It can also ease the registering of the purchase with the manufacturer.
  • Repairs management.  Tracking a repair from when it is presented to when it is collected can be a real time saver for a bike shop.  Doing this work manually costs time and leads to mistakes.  MYOB offers no such facility.
  • Managing custom built products.  Being able to track the assembling of a number of items and labour into a saleable product is important for a specialist bike retailer.  MYOB cannot handle this.

Bike retailers who see their business as different to that of a mass merchant selling bikes prefer software which respects and supports their difference.  This is the Tower Systems AdvantageTM.

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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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