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.


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.


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.


Bike shop software users benefit from enhanced loyalty facilities

The latest Bike Shop Software released by Australian POS software company Tower Systems delivers enhancements bike retailers will like including a completely fresh approach to receipts – enabling bike retailers to customise receipts beyond what has been traditional for POS software. These enhancements coupled with Lay-By developments, extended marketing tools and a raft of bike specific changes make this software a game change for bike retailers.

Bike shops competing with online need a solutions developed specifically for the high street retail situation. That;s what this latest Tower Systems Bike Shop Software is all about.


Bike shop software helps manage repairs

Item & Customer DetailsThe repairs management facilities in the Tower Systems bike shop software are an excellent example of the value of software personalised to a specific retail channel.

Developed by Tower Systems in consultation with bike retailers, the repairs management facilities are part of a suite of facilities developed specifically for bike retailers to enable them to provide specialised services that set them apart from online businesses – and thereby more effectively compete.

This screen shot shows one of the screens used by bike shop staff to track repairs and provide certainty of service.

Tracking in-house and externally undertaken repairs enables a bike shop to track in one place the details important to the repair, the customer and the business itself.

The Tower Systems bike shop software is widely used throughout Australian and New Zealand.


POS software Xero link helps retailers cut mistakes & save time

xerolinkThe  Tower Systems POS software / Xero accounting link is being embraced by more retailers.

Using the Xero link in our own retail businesses and having had it vetted and approved by our own Financial Controller, we can speak from experience about the value of the Xero link to a busy independent retail business.

This link cuts mistakes, eliminates workload and results in more timely and accurate accounting information.

Tower backs the link with training and live support. We also back it with access to our in-house accounting experts who can provide insights from their own use of the back end.

It’s our use of our software and Xero as retailers ourselves that really sets us apart.


Xero / POS software link moves to expanded beta release

The link between Xero and our Point of Sale software will benefit from advancement in our beta release program with another major retailer coming on board as they transition their business from MYOB or Xero accounting.

We have been using the link for some time in our own retail business under the guidance of our in-house CPA and in association with Xero, serving their QA requirements.

The expanded beta release brings us even closer to full commercial release and link between our software and the cloud based Xero accounting software.


Bike shop software users love access to Specialised inventory data

Bike retailers using our specialist bike shop software can rely on Tower Systems to make available access to more supplier stock files as well as electronic invoices.

Our work, for example, with Specialized where we are adding compliance to their requirements to our bike shop software shows we are expanding our offering.

Indeed, our commitment is we will provide a data feed link to any supplier we have a request for. This is how our work with Specialized came about.

With well over one hundred bike retailers using our bike shop software we are sure to have a solution for almost any bike retail situation.


Helping bike shop owners enjoy bike shop software

While the Tower Systems specialist bike shop software offers a points-based loyalty program, it also offers a more immediate loyalty option that will help your customers spend more each visit.

Called discount vouchers – but you can call it whatever you prefer – this program offers shoppers cash they can spend immediately or within a time period you stipulate.

You can compete with online with immediate rewards for those who shop with you.

Through software settings you determine the value of vouchers and rules around redemption that are best for your business.

You can expect between 12% and 30% of vouchers to be redeemed and up to 30% of redemptions to be on the day of the initial purchase. We have excellent data we can share with you where this is being used today.

If you have customers who visit once only or infrequently, expect discount vouchers to encourage them to spend more in their visit. This is why they are ideal for a bike shop.

We have seen one business increase average customer spend in a visit by 30% as a result of this program. We have seen another increase overall sales by 14% year on year.

Call today for a business discussion on how we can help your business for a few dollars a day for hardware, software, training and support:

  • VIC: Anthony Franklin 0403 189 379;
  • WA/SA: Tim Batt – 0401 833 917;
  • NSW/ACT/TAS: Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;
  • QLD/NT: Paul Slater 0434 365 789..

Use discount vouchers immediately love how your customers react.

If you want to grow traffic and sales in your bike shop we can help.


Massive interest in shop floor POS solution drives POS software further

handyRetailers are responding with haste to the portable wireless shop floor POS terminal we launched earlier this year and just started talking abut here a week back. They love the portability, ease of use, warranty coverage and price. They also love that they have access to all our software through our Retailer Tablet Licence facilities thanks to our smart software integration.

Being retailers we have been able to test this product in a more proactive way than most software companies.

We are thrilled that retailers can open an additional retail lane easily, sell from the shop floor and undertake more work in the business without being tethered to the counter or back office.

The HP ElitePad is a true Retail tablet. This device is the perfect POS unit perfect for interacting with your customers on your shop floor. Containing an inbuilt 2D barcode scanner and additional battery allows you to work for hours without being tethered to your desk or counter. Included is a full licence and copy Retailer transforming this device into a full service computer allowing you to perform stock takes, invoice arrivals and returns live via your wireless network.


New Bike Shop software package helps bike retailers combat online

Tower Systems has just released a new Bike Shop Software package that is packed with facilities for helping bike retailers compete with online bike retailers. The new packaging comes with new competitive pricing to make it even easier for bike retailers to get bike shop specific software technology to ease the running of their business.

As the most widely used bike shop software in Australia and New Zealand, Tower Systems is positioned to leverage market knowledge and supplier connections for the benefit of new bike retailers joining its user community.

From the workshop to the sales floor to the e-commerce site to the management office, the Tower bike shop software helps bike retailers run more efficient and valuable retail businesses.


POS software Layaway LayBy features help retailers win this Christmas season

Retailers using The Tower Systems Point of Sale software have had access to LayBy / Layaway facilities for many years and over that time the facilities have been finessed in response to feedback.

Offering excellent flexibility for retailers who want to offer the Layaway / LayBy service, the Tower software handles all accounting and paperwork, making selling, payments and collection easy. It does it in a way that is professional and consistent – two important requirements when offering a Layaway / LayBy service.

It is this time of the year, Christmas time, when the facilities are put to the test with many collections being undertaken of pre-purchased Christmas gifts. Thanks to strong management facilities including excellent reporting, retailers using the Tower software are able to manage Layaways / LayBys with a minimum time investment. This helps the business make more from the opportunity.

The execution of the Layaway / LayBy facilities in the Tower Systems Point of sale software are another valuable differentiation for the company.


Tower Systems features in Bicycling Trade magazine

biketradeTower Systems features in a two page article on best practice bike POS software in the latest issue of Bicycling Trade magazine.

Our software is held up as a specialist solution for bike retailers in Australia and New Zealand. Our market share makes us the most widely used bike shop specifically developed for bike retailers.

We help bike retailer develop and run more successful retail and workshop businesses.


Bike shop software key to bike shop sales success

The latest bike shop software from Tower Systems will provide bike retailers with better specialist facilities with which to drive business efficiency and grow sales.

The latest enhancements to the Tower Systems bike shop software demonstrate the value of a bike shop channel and bike supplier connected software company as we deliver more of what smart bike retailers ask for as a result of our user-driven software enhancement program.

More and more bike retailers are looking for software solutions that help them bring back shoppers more often. The Tower Systems software does this in a measurable and powerful way. As the most widely used bike shop software in Australia, this software has with bike retailers need to help them combat online businesses and other start-up operations that are seeking to take away business from specialist bike retailers.

Tower Systems is committed to the bike retail marketplace by ensuring that its software provides up-to-date tools with which bike retailers can build even better businesses. Just as new bikes are released each season so is bike software enhanced each season. Anyone can develop POS software, it takes commitment, industry connections and financial investment to deliver the valuable bike shop software growing bike retailers in Australia and New Zealand need and want.

The latest bike shop software is moving to beta release this week.


Bike shop software a hit at Ausbike 2013 in Melbourne

Our bike shop software has been a hit at the Ausbike 2013 trade show in Melbourne. yesterday was the first day and was trade-only. The next two days are trade and public and typically we generate more good leads these days.

Day one was terrific for new leads as well as connecting with existing customers. As the bike shop  software company with more bike retailers than any other we’re in a strong position in this vitally important specialist retail channel.

Our bike shop is backed with live in-store training, live 24/7 support, webstore integration and specialist bike shop and workshop management facilities that are important to any competitive bike retailer.

We’re looking forward to the next two days.


Bike shop software ready for the Ausbike trade show

The latest Bike shop software is ready to go on show at the Ausbike 2013 trade show which commences this morning in Melbourne.

Bike shop owners will be able to see the most popular bike shop software in Australia in the Tower Systems stand. Plus they will be able to see how they can use this software and our webstore interface to compete with online bike retailers and improve customer service and engagement.

We’re excited for what is set to be a busy trade show.


Tower Systems welcomes another EDI partner

Tower Systems is thrilled to partner with Sprint3, a mature and respected EDI platform.

Being certified with Sprint3 integration is another point of difference retailers using our Point of Sale software are able to rely on as they seek out new supplier partnerships and more efficient and reliable ways of conducting business.

Using Sprint3 in connection with a range of suppliers retailers will be able to export a purchase order and import an associated invoice. In addition to saving considerable time, the electronic connection will significantly reduce keystrokes and data mistakes.

This latest EDI integration from Tower Systems continues our leadership position in several specialist retail marketplaces.


Bike shop software on show at Ausbike trade show next month

Tower Systems will be showing off the latest release of its bike shop software at the prestigious Ausbike trade show next month in Melbourne. This national trade show is an excellent opportunity for bike retailers to see the difference the professional bike retail management software from tower Systems offers.

Bike retailers can see the latest in customer loyalty facilities, serial number tracking, repairs management, sales management and electronic reordering tools – all for bike shops!


Bike shop software offer – free Samsung flatscreen TV

Tower Systems is promoting an offer to bike shops, offering its Bike Shop software as a package deal for a brief time only with a FREE Samsung flatscreen TV. Put together as part of a package deal, this offer helps make the Tower Bike shop software more enticing in the period leading up to the buy christmas trading period. The offer is already helping see the tower Bike shop software get into more bike shops.

The Tower Systems bike shop software is the most widely used bike shops specific software in the marketplace, delivering access to specialist facilities for retail, workshop management, customer relationship management and supplier interaction.

the Tower bike shop software is regarded as the bike retail industry best practice software.

This latest offer connects with a desire from suppliers, groups and bike retailers to lift the channel into a more integrated IT worlds where online and high street opportunities can be leveraged for the benefit of all.  Tower Systems is grateful to many stakeholders for their support and encouragement in further enhancing the software into fresh areas to add value to bike shop businesses.


Learning how our bike shop software is used

Several Tower Systems team members benefited last week from seeing how our bike shop software benefits bike retailers as well as bike shop suppliers with a series of field meetings. The field visits included time at Sheppard Industries in Auckland, the manufacturers of the prestigious Avanti range of bikes.

Seeing our software being used and how people use the data cultivated by the software helps us understand opportunities for further enhancement. This is where field trips can be tremendously valuable to the future of our software as well as to customer experiences.

Our bike shop software is used in 200+ bike retail businesses in Australia and New Zealand.


Bike shop software helps bike retailers respect the customer for life

Thanks to customer tracking tools in our bike shop software, bike retailers are able to deliver greater value from a long-term relationship. This is an important point of difference for bike retailers who are combating online stores chasing sales of bikes.

By providing professional service and follow up, bike retailers are able to show off the difference of a high street shopping experience compared to an online shopping experience. They can show off the value of dealing live in-store with a human compared to clicking through a website.

With value-based touch points our bike shop software helps retailers to connect, follow up and show off genuine value that is important to a long term relationship with the bike shopper.

Bike shop retailers need to fight hard to combat the price-conscious shopper. They need to do this with knowledge, professionalism and follow-up. Our specialist bike shop software can help in each of these areas. We have designed our software to help bike retailers compete and to do it with focus and attention.

By making the purchase decision less abut price today and more about value, the high street bike retailer can position themselves to better compete with the cheap online websites.


Helping bike retailers compete with online businesses by using bike shop software

Bricks and mortar bike retailers are doing it tough in the fight for sales with online businesses.  You are often sought out for face to face advice but lose the sale to an online operation when it comes to price comparison.

Given the different cost bases for an online business serving a country or the world compared to a retail shop serving a local community, you can’t win on price, not in the long term.

In working with hundreds of bike retailers over many years I have seen some excellent successes and some epic failures.

Success begins and ends with making good decisions based on sound facts and structuring the business for success at every possible point.

This is business

For many bike shop owners, the bike shop is part lifestyle, part sport and part business. This can complicate the decisions that need to be made to make the business successful.

Running your bike shop as a business has to come first. Get this right and you can enjoy the sport and have the lifestyle you want. If business does not come first, the other two will usually not follow.

So, competing with online begins with your headspace, it begins with committing to getting the business right and relentlessly pursuing its success.

In practical terms, this means that every business decision is based on careful consideration of sound data. If the data does not support a business decision, you don’t do it. Simple.

Five ways you can compete with online

Here are five ways you can differentiate your business from online, ways that leverage personal, human, contact.

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

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

Be open about price

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

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

Being consistent

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

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


Bike shop software helps bike retailers report good sales growth

More bike retailers in the 200+ bike retailers using the bike shop software from Tower Systems are reporting good year on year sales growth. This is good news and flies in the face of the negative reports about retail often covered in mainstream media.

The common factors among bike retailers reporting success are excellent customer service, systemised after sales care, a structured approach to marketing and making business decisions based on facts.

Whereas in years gone by bike retailers could build a business around reputation alone, retail today demands a more holistic approach where every team member is operating at their peak and has access to accurate business data to chase business success.

From the shop floor to the workshop to the back office, connecting all people in a bike retail and online business helps unify the team to a common purpose. It also makes tracking activity at each business touch point easier and more valuable.

By automating key activities like managing shopper loyalty, driving marketing offers and reordering product, the business is able to free resources to serve elsewhere.

This is where success can be found – by redirecting resources into activities which are certain to deliver sales.

The Tower Systems bike shop software has enjoyed more than ten years success in serving bike retailers of all shapes and sizes. The software continues to evolve to meet changing requirements and to enhance the value it provides retailers.

The latest bike shop software delivers new facilities for bike retailers and a tuned bridge between high street and online retail businesses.


World first: exclusive training curriculum for retailers and retail employees in POS software – by retail channel

Tower Systems has released the most comprehensive and most accessible training ever produced for small business retailers and their employees.

Launched as the Tower Systems Training Academy, Tower customers have access to a customised online facility through which they can access fresh, relevant and easy to follow training for their particular software.

In a WORLD FIRST for newsagents, gift shops, jewellers, bike retailers and other POS software users, business owners and employees using the Tower software can learn how to use the software when and where they want without having to pay extra for the privilege.

Separate curriculums have been developed for each retail channel, delivering retail channel specific specialist education.  The total training content available per retail channel is between seven and ten hours.

The training helps ensure new employees learn the software properly and it provides existing employees the ability to refresh knowledge and learn more.

With retail changing and demands on business owners and their employees growing, good knowledge is vital to efficient and profitable newsagency management.

This new training resource is the most comprehensive ever from any supplier in the various retail channels to address this vital training need.

This exclusive new training resource includes more than 100 training videos for each marketplace. each video is brief, allowing comfortable digestion of the content.

Covering all key aspects of the software, this training is comprehensive and accessible to retailers using the industry standard Tower software from anywhere and at any time.

Professionally produced in-house by Tower Systems and peer-reviewed, this training program is accessed through curriculum platform just released on the Tower website.

Through the Tower website facilities newsagents can create a profile for their business and each employee. This enables employees to follow the curriculum that is appropriate to there area of work in the business.

Access to this new training resource is free to all Tower AdvantageTM customers.

The content in the training program will be updated to reflect changes in the software. New modules will also be added in response to customer feedback and suggestions.

Anyone undertaking the video based training can use the resources of the Tower help desk to have any queries answered. They can also participate in any of the regular weekly live online training workshops hosted y the company. They can also attend face to face user meetings and explore queries.

Thanks to Tower Systems, Tower customers and their employees can learn what they want and need, when they want, where they want and as often as they want.

The training program has been produced by Mike Hill, Tower Systems Customer Service Manager.  Mike has excellent knowledge of the Tower software. He grew up in a retail environment and worked in both distribution and retail businesses. His multi media degree provided him with the production skills to deliver professional grade training packages.

This is a genuine first from Tower Systems. While we have had training videos in the past, we have not offered complete curriculums with this much content and with the ability for a business owner to register employees and track progress.

This is a truly wonderful resource that will bring more retailers to the Tower communities of newsagents, jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops, homewares stores, adult shops, garden centres and gun shops.