Sunday retail management tip: leverage a point of difference on loyalty

11800610_722882817857496_9022396491198622984_n (1)More and more retailers are switching from the old school points based loyalty programs to our discount vouchers. They are finding the vouchers are driving more immediate and more valuable outcomes for retailers – they are driving a better bottom line. We are hearing new success stories daily.

It is thrilling hearing success stories of how businesses have switched from points to $$ loyalty offers. It’s exciting and invigorating hearing of small and independent retailers achieving excellent outcomes for their businesses and knowing that we have played a role in this.

This is our retail management tip today – chase a point of difference, leverage new age discount vouchers and stop using the old points based loyalty offers.

Retailers can call the vouchers what they like. They can also choose how the value on a voucher is calculated and what it can be redeemed for.

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Sharing insights from UK bike shops with bike retailers

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 9.14.40 pmWe are proud to have shared a special report of insights from several UK bike shops with Australian bike retailers.

The insights have been well received.

Our report covered marketing, maintenance and community service aspects of a range of different bike retailers in Leeds and Manchester – sharing photos and information that could be put to practical use by bike retailers in Australia.

The report demonstrates a support for the bike retail channel that is unique to Tower Systems – the company behind excellent bike shop software.

We’re here to help.

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Support for #smallbusiness #retail is vital for our POS software company

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 7.19.59 amAt Tower Systems we live our support for small business retailers every day from practical help we provide through our POS software to the business management assistance we provide through a host of free resources any small business retailer can access.

The new free small business retail marketing collateral we sent out last week has been a hit with businesses contacting us appreciative of these local targeted resources they can use to promote their businesses.

What does this have to do with POS software? Plenty we say as our POS software helps make retail businesses more efficient and smarter. The marketing resources help them spread their message wider than they otherwise might. The two work hand in hand.

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve small business retailers in a variety of ways.

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Another POS software training video from Tower Systems

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 2.59.19 amWe have launched another training video for retailers using our POS software. This new video is not your usual training – no, it highlights a new feature of the software, something fresh for all users. It provides a high level introduction from one of the architects of the new facility. All customers have been provided free access to the video and plenty have viewed it already. We are thrilled for such terrific engagement.

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Comparing Tower Systems Bike Shop software to Lightspeed

Tower Systems has been recently asked to compare its bike shop software to the Lightspeed software also being promoted to bike retailers. here are headline differences from what we can see:

The Tower Systems bike shop software is:

  • Australian developed software.
  • Developed with Australian and New Zealand Bike retailers.
  • Offering direct supplier links with Australian and New Zealand suppliers.
  • The people installing the software are from the company that writes the software.
  • The people who support the software are from the company that writes the software.
  • Our Aussie based help desk is available 24/7.
  • You can run the software from your desktop or through the cloud.
  • Our users can speak directly with our software development team.
  • We have a transparent user forum for the suggestion and discussion of bike software enhancements.
  • Company management and owners are Australian based.

Tower systems serves close to 200 local bike shops today.

Anyone looking at software for their bike shop should thoroughly research the software and the company. This is best done in your business, starting with a discussion of your business needs. A good software company will work hard to ensure they meet your needs.

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Using a fresh approach in loyalty to differentiate your retail business

While running a points based loyalty program is what most retail businesses using our POS software do, it is our Discount Voucher facilities that deliver the best results we are seeing.

In our own retail businesses we will report growth of 10% in the three months to June 30, 2015. Much of the success comes down to smart use of Discount Vouchers.

Using our POS software you can run a points program that looks and feels just like what the major supermarkets and department stores offer. It’s easy to setup. Your customers carry a professional plastic card with your brand. Alternatively, you can use Discount Vouchers.

Discount Vouchers don’t need a card – they print on receipts and offer an amount customers can spend right away. Our experience and the experience of hundreds of our customers is that Discount Vouchers drive faster and deeper engagement with the business – making a visit more valuable right away.

dvsthlYou can call the voucher anything you like and change this at any time.

You set the rules on how the value of the voucher is calculated.

You set the rules on what the voucher can be redeemed for.

You set the rules on how long a voucher lasts and whether you can go beyond this.

Male shoppers are more likely to spend the voucher immediately.

Many customers use the voucher to purchase items more expensive than the items in the initial purchase.

Customers see the voucher as cash, often commenting that they like this better than points. They like the transparency.

In our own retail experience where we compete with major retailers in a Westfield centre we have shoppers commenting they like our vouchers compared to the rewards programs of our competitors.

We are confident that our Discount Voucher facilities can help you:

– Get customers spending more in a visit.

– Bring existing customers back sooner.

– Attract new shoppers to your business.

– Drive impulse purchases at the sales counter.

Our POS software discount Voucher facilities have been developed for: pet shopsgift shopsjewellersbike retailersgarden centresnewsagentstoy shopsfirearms retailers and adult shops.

Our retail consultants can help:

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

See our company website and our company blog for more information.

You also have access to Mark Fletcher, the owner of the company. His number is 0418 321 338 and his email mark@towersystems.com.au.

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More POS software training for the new financial year

Tower Systems has kicked off the New Financial Year with the launch of fresh POS software user training opportunities for retailers who partner with us.

The free online new training is genuinely new: fresh, new topics … designed to help retailers get more from their Tower Systems relationship.

Our customers can book in for the free training now from our website. We send an email with instructions on how to get online.

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Best practice stocktake advice for small business POS software users

This advice is about the best business approach to undertaking a stocktake. Please refer to other Knowledge base articles on how to actually use the software. All retailers using our POS software have access to our knowledge base.

Please ensure you have the latest version of the Tower Systems Retailer POS software installed prior to undertaking a stocktake.

For the process to be as easy as possible you will need a wireless network – vital for OH&S reasons.

The best way to do a stocktake in your business is by using a laptop (or laptops) or tablet computer with a scanner attached. This enables you to do the stocktake live with no impact on sales and absolute integrity of your stock on hand data.

While using a laptop (or laptops) or tablet computer may seem cumbersome, it is our best practice advice for speed, data integrity and the ability to address data issues you may encounter on the shop floor. It enables you to do management work to ensure completely accurate data.

The alternative is to use a PDE. The challenges with this are the many different PDEs and it is challenging to be expert in all plus the PDE counts at that time and you load the data at a later time – meaning a gap in time in which sales could have been done. While PDE software is available for live to data updates, we have seen this be problematic and so we do not use it.

Given the advances in technology, our best practice recommendation is either a laptop of tablet computer as either offers a better solution than a PDE.

We suggest you setup a Laptop or tablet and use Team Viewer or the like to connect in and count this way. This approach means you do not need to purchase an additional software licence for the laptop. Team Viewer is easy to setup.

For the physical stocktake, we suggest you approach the business aisle by aisle, counting and rearranging stock as you go.

Once you have completed your first full stocktake, our advice is you engage in a rolling stocktake, doing parts of the business, through the year. The Tax Office does not require businesses with full sock control implemented to do a stocktake at the end of the financial year. They will accept data from your system if you manage stock through the year.

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Sunday retail management advice: use your POS software well

This advice seems simple, obvious – yet it is advice that must good POS software companies repeat daily. Here at Tower Systems we take this seriously we offer advice on how to use the software well, how to run a better business with the support of the software

Going beyond what is traditional in POS software support, Tower Systems helps its customers get more. Here are some of the ways retailers can use their POS software well:

  1. To track everything sold by item detail.
  2. To track all products returned.
  3. To manage gift vouchers.
  4. To run your Lay-By program.
  5. To create order for replenishment stock.
  6. To manage the employee roster.
  7. To track inventory theft.
  8. To track all sales.
  9. To stop employee theft.

This list is just a start on how to use your POS software well.  Too many retailers use their software as a glorified cash register and we don’t like that. There are plenty more ways retailers can use their POS software to run more efficient and valuable businesses.

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Small business retailers love the time saved with POS software cloud backup service

bupThe cloud backup service launched last year by Tower Systems is popular with retailers using our POS software. Backups are seamless, not taking any noticeable time thanks to the smart technology. The result is welcome double protection.

While Tower Systems has supported external and automated backup services for years, this new cloud-based service that offers excellent protection to 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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Xero cloud based accounting promotes the Tower Systems POS software

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.26.18 amCloud accounting software company Xero features Tower Systems and its retail management software on the Xero website. This privilege is for software companies which have met compliance requirements set by Xero. Tower Systems achieved this status last year. Since then, we have worked with Xero on communication with small business retailers about the benefits of our Xero integrated POS software solution.

We have plenty of retailers using our software and our automated link to Xero … saving them time and money in the management of their financial records.

We use the Xero live and automated link for our own retail businesses and can speak to the benefits ourselves.

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Good news from a retailer switching to our POS software

Thank you for helping us switch to your software. I had no idea we could do what we are already doing with your software. For years I thought I had a good software program. The time saving alone pays for itself. Thank you.

We love feedback from retailers who switch to us as it encourages us to work even harder at leveraging our point of difference. This latest retailer to switch provided us with comprehensive insights into the weaknesses of the software they have switched from, insights we can leverage in our communication with other retailers in the channel.

Making good POS software is one thing. Guiding retailers to get the maximum commercial value from the software is something else. This is where Tower Systems excels.

 

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Sunday retail management advice: how to act local in your independent retail business

Independent retail businesses often seek local shopper support. This Lismore easily achieved if these businesses themselves act locally and love locally. Here are some of the many act local suggestions we have developed over years of supporting local small and independent retail businesses:

  1. Support local community groups through raising awareness and funds.
  2. Use your retail space to attract locals on local issues.
  3. Leverage your communication channels to support local issues and groups.
  4. Offer practical help to local school.
  5. Be engaged in local representation on councils and committees.
  6. Preference hiring local people.
  7. Seek out local suppliers.
  8. Offer local training opportunities to local school students.
  9. If appropriate to your business, seek out local artists.
  10. Participate in local markets.
  11. Welcome local groups to raise funds from out the front of your shop.
  12. Get your business name on local sports team clothing.
  13. Learn and tell local stories.

We have many other suggestions to help independent local retailers to better connect with their local community … helping our customers way beyond our software.

Tower Systems serves close to 3,000 retailers using our smart POS software.

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POS software help desk support is about much more than the software

And how can I use that information in the business?

This is a question that can stump someone working on the help desk as a POS software company as it goes beyond the what and how and delves into the why. The answer to this question is a chink of gold that can be mined using smart POS software.

This is a questions the Tower Systems help desk team members can answer because the understand the why: why the software matters, why the data harvested is valuable, why a business owner wanting to grow the business will want to use the data.

This information is vital in small business as it is information that unlocks the real value of POS software for these small independent business users.

We can help small business owners understand data on reports as they relate to their specific businesses. Context is everything as they say and we know POS software cannot be one size fits all. A datapoint could be used by three different businesses in different ways depending on other metrics and KPIs. This is where our help desk team is smart and engaged.

Beyond the shat and how, our POS software help desk team loves to delve into the why.

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How small business retailers can quit dead stock and free up cash in their businesses

Small business retailers  could have thousands of dollars of stock sitting on their shelves taking up space. If stock is not selling, it’s costing you. Once you have identified stock that is not selling you can begin to quit this stock, by putting the stock on clearance and continually reducing pricing until it’s sold out. Even if this means selling it below cost, it will save you money in the long run.

Tip: You can work out how much your shop space is worth by dividing the rent by how many square meters of space you have.

If a product hasn’t sold for six months then it’s costing you money to warehouse it. Quitting the stock will stop the cost from building up further and allow you to replace it with stock that will sell. Here is advice on quitting dead stock using our smart POS software.

NOTE: To effectively use this advice you need accurate stock on hand levels. Poor stock management will mean the results here can’t be used. You need to be able to trust your QOH figure is correct for this advice to be useful.

Finding The Stock

Use the ranked sales report with the following settings to work out what isn’t selling and put that stock on clearance.

Go to Reports > Sales Reports > Ranked Sales Report.

Set your Start date back six months from today and the end date to today’s date. Set the rest of the report settings as below.

When the report runs you will see the following:

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Here you can see when the last time an item was sold (if at all) and the last time it was arrived.

Note: Items can show up that have only recently been arrived.

Ignore these items unless they haven’t sold in 4 to 5 months, then you may want to look into them.

The bottom of the report will give you a total cost of stock Inc and Ex GST. Consider this figure the value of dead stock in your store. You need to reduce this as much as possible.

Once you have the report print it out and start working through the list.

Set up a clearance table or bin somewhere in store and put product there with a clearance price. Simply advertise the area as Clearance Stock, Prices as Marked.

Keep discounting the product until it sells. Set a goal to get rid of the stock within say two weeks, if stock is still there after one week, discount further.

Now you can start filling that empty space with stock that is selling well. Use the Ranked Sales Report to show you top selling items and begin to build up those lines.

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Retailers loving our free POS software training

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.41.31 pmWe keen addicting additional free live training sessions for our POS software customers and they keep filling up. So, guess what, we are adding more.

These sessions are more about leveraging the software in the business than how to do this or that. They contain considerable retail business management and operational advice.

We are thrilled with the support from ur customers and grateful to be in a position to offer this training by our skilled training team.

This is POS software customer service at its best. This is the Tower AdvantageTM

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Disaster planning advice for small business retailers

Disaster planning is vital for any retail business.  Too often, the need for good disaster planning is realised after a disaster has hit the business.  This advice from our POS software company offers business and computer related advice which is designed to mitigate the impact of a disaster on your business.

Insurance Protection

Insurance coverage is vital  to helping a retail business overcome any type of disaster.  In addition to ensuring that your insurance policy covers all disaster situations of concern to you, including flood, theft, water inundation, fire, earthquake, riot—be sure to carefully read the policy, ensure that your insurance policy / policies cover payouts for the following:

  1. Business interruption.  The amount should equal your anticipated gross profit for whatever period you choose to be covered.
  2. Data recovery.  Including the hiring of experts to recover data from backup sources or the manual entry of data which cannot be automatically recovered.  It needs to ensure that you are covered to the point of recovered data being useable in transacting business.
  3. Lost stock.  This is stock stolen, lost from the business.
  4. Damaged and unsaleable stock.  This is stock which is water damaged, scuffed or dented and which will not attract full price.
  5. Dated stock.  This is stock which you cannot sell by the due date.
  6. Glass. Many policies require explicit statement of glass coverage.
  7. Temporary trading premises.  Business interruption may cover this.  Ensure that it is explicitly stated.
  8. Key person injury and/or death. This will usually be a separate policy.  Depending on the disaster, coverage may also be available through the overall business policy.

Ensure that the value of stock, fixtures and fittings covered by your policy is an accurate reflection of the real value of these items.  Talk with your insurance company about the best approach to track this on an ongoing basis.

Insurance brokers can provide access to assessors who can advise on the appropriate level of insurance for your situation.

Use your Point of  Sale system to track all stock movements in and out.  The stock on hand in  your software should be your coverage.

Ensure that your insurance policy protects for the seasonal nature of your business

Data Protection

Business data is one of the most valuable assets of the business.  Like insurance, the value is often not understood until you need what you do not have.  Retailers who are serious about protecting their business data in the event of any disaster follow these steps:

  1. Backup your business data every day, at the end of the day, without fail. Our cloud based backup service is ideal.
  2. Maintain a separate backup for each day of the week.  Consider a separate backup for the last day of each month.
  3. Remove the backup medium, usually a USB stick, from the business premises each day.
  4. Store the backup in a safe, dry place.
  5. Check the usefulness of the backup by restoring and checking the data.
  6. Store original business software in a safe off-site location

Disaster Planning

Here are some general suggestions on planning for a disaster.

  1. Keep off site copies of: Business contracts and agreements; employee contact details, business account and other passwords, insurance details, recent photographs of fixtures, fittings and stock.
  2. Maintain a register of all employees in the business at any time.
  3. Prepare and place in a prominent place an evacuation plan.
  4. Maintain a professional grade OH&S compliant first aid kit.
  5. Regularly maintain all fire extinguishers.
  6. Ensure that the business premises is safe and maintained to the local building codes and OH&S regulations.
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The NEW Loyalty: a fresh approach for small business retailers

Tower Systems develops software for small and independent businesses in specialist retail channels.

Our jeweller software is just for jewellers, our bike shop software is for bike retailers, our pet shop software is for pet shop retailers, our newsagency software is for newsagents, our garden centre software is for garden centres and our gift shop software is for gift and homewares shops.

Each of our customers has common challenges: BIG business and online business.

We can help you compete with BIG business and online businesses.

Our POS software offers four approaches to loyalty. One, the NEW loyalty, is fresh, unique and loved by shoppers.

We are seeing small and independent retail businesses enjoy double digit growth on the back on our approach.

We back our terrific Aussie software with practical training. We even help you train your employees. Click here to see one two minute video we produced for our customers to share with their employees on our unique Discount Voucher facility (the NEW loyalty). We explain how your employees make make this work for you.

We are not your average software company. We care about independent small businesses. Our software is tailored to the needs of specialist retail channels.

We’re here to help.

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Small business retailers love free End of Financial year POS software training

Retailers are embracing the FREE POS software training from Tower Systems in End of Financial Year processes. Developed specifically to serve retailers this year in the run up to June 30, this session is an all you need to know approach to stock, business data and other factors that are vital to being prepared for EOFY.

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This training is a continuation of the weekly POS software training tower Systems launched years ago, training the company happily and willingly offers to provide our customers with more free learning opportunities through which to love our software and love our company.

When we say this training is free, there is truly no cost. we even pay for the phone call to provide audio access – anywhere in the world. This is another Tower AdvantageTM .

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Sunday retail management advice: keep your loyalty pitch simple for success

A loyalty program is only as good as the over the counter pitch through which you seek to engage shoppers. Check out this brief video we created to train retail employees on what has to be the easiest to use over the counter shopper loyalty offer.

Tower Systems leads with professional employee training videos which help retail employees leverage more value for the business from our software.

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New bike shop software facilities embraced by bike retailers

Bike shops participating in the beta release program of new Bike Shop Software are loving new facilities in our software. Their feedback has been helping us further tweak the latest release of the software to go beyond even what we had expected to achieve through the new facilities.

Having a professionally managed beta release program in partnership with engaged retailers helps us drive better outcomes for our retail partners. What has been happing over recent weeks with the beta release of our new bike shop software is evidence of this.

Using our industry standard Bike Shop Software, bike retailers have tools through which they can better serve customers, more efficiently manage repairs, resume the cost of inventory and have easy access to accurate data for business planning.

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POS software training video library helps retail employees gain skills

Retailers using the Tower Systems POS software have access to a training library of more than 130 training videos. These videos are professional in production and valuable in the content offered.

The videos can be accessed from any computer, anywhere and at any time.

The video training resources are comprehensive. They are also loved by our customers.

Regularly enhanced, the Tower Systems POS software video training library is a real asset to our business – allowing us to show a point of difference which wins us business.

In addition to POS software training, our library also includes training on business use of the software – covering how to engage on the shop floor. This is an area many POS software companies neglect in their training.

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How POS software can help small business retailers change shopper loyalty

POS software can do more for small business retailers than they may think. Good POS software, like that from Tower Systems, goes deep into the business, away from the sales counter, helping in many ways.

Help with leveraging shopper loyalty.

  1. Reward to drive deeper shopper engagement.
  2. Track your loyalty liabilities to understand risk.
  3. Track shopper engagement through comprehensive date, time and person engagement to understand the loyalty buttons to push.
  4. Choose the loyalty offer right for you – good POS software will offer multiple loyalty offers for you.
  5. Be consistent in your loyalty offer such that every shopper is offered a consistent pitch.
  6. Un a loyalty program that is different to those around you. For example, if others nearby offer a points based program, go with something different.
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Tower Systems helps small business retailers benefit from the immediate asset write-off in the federal budget

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 8.58.58 pmTower Systems has begun an education campaign for small business retailers in Australia in selected specialist retail channels outlining how they can benefit from the immediate asset write-off opportunity announced in the federal budget last night.

Retail businesses turning over $2 million a year or less can immediately write off the purchase of our Point of Sale solution.

Our software delivers the productivity benefits the federal government is keen to see small businesses access.

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