How Xero is changing how small business retailers use POS software

Small business retailers are loving Xero and retailers using the Tower POS software are loving our approved Xero integration. Saving time, cutting keystrokes and cutting accounting fees are some of the benefits being delivered to plenty of retailers partnering with us in the use of our POS software / Xero integration.

Using this ourselves in our own retail business, we have personal experience on which to draw when providing advice to our customers. It places us in a unique position for a software company and allows us to provide a level of service customers love.

Our own experience is that Xero does change a business forever. The time saving and other benefits claimed are real. We can speak to these and ensure our customers are able to leverage the time savings.


Small business retailers are invited: POS software user meetings

POS software company Tower Systems is hosting FREE user meetings later this month to:

  • See the latest release due out in four weeks time.
  • Hear major plans for 2016.
  • Learn about business growth opportunities guided by the software.
  • Offer your suggestions on future enhancements.

Senior management of Tower Systems will be running each meeting – giving you direct access to the decision makers on this software used by more than 3,000 small business retailers.

This session will be a terrific learning opportunity to discover how to get more from your Tower software.

While this is not a sales session, anyone is welcome to see how the Tower team interact with customers. Transparency at its best.

Retailers in all Tower specialist retail niches are welcome:

Here are the dates you can book now:

  • Oct 26: BNE 10am.
  • Oct 27: SYD 10am.
  • Oct 28: ADL 10am.
  • Oct 29: MEL 10am.
  • NOV 5: PER 9am.

We will add dates for regional centres later.


Sunday retail management advice: leverage shop local

IMG_9093The shop local movement has a good profile. Locals do tend to prefer to shop local. Retailers need to actively and consistently leverage this through a regular reminder but such a reminder is hollow unless you offer local benefits such as community engagement, hiring locally and sourcing locally made products. Actively engaging in the business through locally focussed decisions helps any retailer bring power and strength to their calls for people to shop local.

This is our advice today – if you pitch shop local, live in in your shop every day and show you yourselves believe in it.

Tower Systems helps retailers actively pitch and live the shop local mantra through its POS software and through the business support the company provides in its training and on its website.


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.


Smart vouchers on POS software receipts invite shoppers to return

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 5.53.01 amGetting a shopper to return to your independent retail business can be difficult, you need to embrace every opportunity possible. This is where POS software company Tower Systems can help – using our smart POS software you can include on the receipt a coupon or voucher for a variety of purposes including marketing, information, direct discounts or other promotional activity.

The voucher based marketing facilities in our software are being actively used in all specialist channels in which we serve.

It could be a simple discount on return, a promotion of a new service, a discount based what is in this purchase or an offer based on a future bulk buy.

The beauty of the voucher serving technology embedded in the Tower software is that it is flexible and available for use in the business without cost. This ensures that the independent retailers using it are not having to share costs with others. The benefits are as considerable as the flexibility of the service.


Aussie POS software helps small business retailers grow

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

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

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

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

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Retailers loving cloud based POS software backup service

backupRetailers are loving the cloud based backup service launched by POS software company Tower Systems.

This new safer approach to backups offers retailers using the Tower software double protection with a local safe backup as well as a cloud based safe backup.

these backups are taken during the day without interruption to the business.’

retailers are able to reduce rostered hours as a result of embracing the new approach to backups. The net saving is considerable and the business as more backup protection for their all-important business data.


POS software Xero link helping more retailers save time & money on business accounting

xerolinkThe direct link between the Tower Systems POS software and the cloud-based Xero accounting facility is being embraced by more retailers as they compare the benefits of Xero over MYOB.

Using the link ourselves 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.

The Tower Systems POS software / Xero link saves us time and money. It also facilitates data accuracy.

Tower backs the link with training and live personal 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.


Sunday retail business management tip: use your POS software to balance your register

The end of shift balancing should take only a few minutes using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software.

Once you enter the count for each denomination of notes and coins you’re done and the software does the rest of the key work: banking sheets, business performance comparisons, sales by department and other reporting as may be selected by the business.

The Tower approach is deliberately safe for the retailer in that it reduces the opportunity for theft. It is also fast and structured – helping businesses breeze through the end of shift with speed and certainty.

Good POS software gets these every day tasks right from the outset.

This is our management tip today – use your POS software to guide and manage your end of shit process.


Xero POS software interface interest encourages retailers

xerolinkOur soft launch here of our POS software / Xero cloud based accounting software interface is exciting plenty of retailers and their accountants. We have a growing group of existing and prospective new customers keen to leverage the link to help small independent retail businesses grow.

This week we have finalised documentation explaining the seamless POS software to Xero link and outlining the low-cost for access to it through our software.

We are very excited for the commercial release once we are through the current beta process.


Tower Systems delivering Paypal payment option in another first

Tower Systems has been working with Paypal since last year on an innovative in-store payment option for small business retailers in the Tower Systems community. This work has resulted in an interface between the Tower Point of Sale software and a new consumer App being from Paypal.

Having passed tests, trials and rigorous acceptance testing, the next release of the Tower software will support Paypal as a method of over the counter payment for shoppers shopping in retail businesses using the Tower software.

This is genuine innovation that has come about as a result of professional development between Tower Systems and Paypal.

We are thrilled to be the partner chosen by Paypal for this work last year – giving Tower Systems customers a wonderful commercial advantage.

We will announce sign-up details shortly.


Tower Systems offers POS software to Xero link

Tower Systems has been using a direct Tower POS software to Xero cloud-based accounting software link for weeks now. This new link has passed Xero acceptance testing.

The live use has been with one of our own retail businesses which we switched to Xero from MYOB for the testing.

The results have been excellent: considerable time savings and cost savings compared to the MYOB link.

Whereas we used a third party to facilitate sales data flow from our POS software to accounting software including Xero in recent years, this new link is direct and is available for a considerable cost savings to Tower customers.

We are still in beta release and anticipate full commercial release shortly. In advance of this we are adding bonus additional functionality to extend the benefit opportunities of the Tower Systems Xero link over the more traditional MYOB link.

Having our own retail stores and an in-house CPA has made it easier for us to get this POS software to Xero link right.

The innovation we are releasing with our Xero link demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the relevance of our product in a world of considerable change. Xero has become a leading accounting solution as a result of excellent software design and wonderful customer service. We have found the Xero team a delight to work with through this project.


Where is the box for this? POS software helps retailers find the box!

packaginglocationRetailers using our smart POS software are able to have the software indicate on the sales screen when scanning an item where the box for the item is located in-store. This is invaluable at a busy sales counter and in a business where casual employees are used. It helps anyone at the counter find the box or pother packaging quickly and easily. It shows the business as being professional.

Our Point of Sale software has offered this facility for many years. It’s a tiny part of what our software does yet for some retailers that we do this is huge – tremendously valuable. It’s all about helping retailers save time. It’s also about helping them enjoy their businesses more. This function reduces stress.


Ways small business retailers can refresh their view of their business

WARNING: This blog post has some crazy ideas you’d not expect from a POS software company.

In our work with small business retailers we often hear about burnout, retailers being tired and over the grind of opening the shop working all day, closing, getting little sleep and doing it all again. They are often too tired to be innovative in their approach to business.

Call us crazy but we have some ideas designed to help small business retailers reconnect with their businesses. They are unconventional. They are free. They are fun. They are designed to get you looking, hearing and smelling your business differently. They are designed to open your eyes to opportunities you may be missing.

Are you ready? Here are our unconventional ideas for refreshing your views of your small retail business – in the hope that you find opportunities you were not seeing.

  1. Go to your shop at night time. Leave the lights off. Put a chair on the middle of the shop floor. Sit down. Take your shoes and socks or stockings off. Put a blindfold on. Soak it up. What do you smell? What do you hear? Is there any sense of place that you get from being there.  Be still for fifteen minutes or so thinking about this. Breathe deeply. How does your shop smell? Does it have a smell? If not, why not? Then take the blindfold off and look around you for another fifteen minutes. Finally, get up – with your shoes and socks or stockings still off – and walk around the shop. Take in the environment you are in control of. Let the ideas flow. If you want to take it to a deeper level, lie down on the floor on your back and look up and around – kind of up-skirt your own shop while it’s empty!
  2. Get a stool or fold up chair, pack a lunch and spend at least three lunchtimes in a week sitting opposite the entrance to your shop watching customers. Don’t write anything down, just watch. Preferably do this without people noticing you. Wear a disguise if necessary. Watch intently. See where people go, what they pick up, what they buy if possible. Try and predict what they will do. Watch and think. Watch and think.
  3. Get a small desk and a sign for the desk that says CUSTOMER SERVICE. Place the desk near the front door of your shop. Set yourself up at the desk, sitting behind it. Dress formally, old school. Like in a 1950s movie preferably. Sit up straight. Look the part. Sit and wait and see what comes your way. Have fun interactive with customers. The desk should look out of place but it should also look fun. The idea is that your customers, your staff and you will be a bit shaken up by the change. See what comes your way.

We have more crazy ideas. These barely scratch the surface of the crazy idea cupboard. Just ask.

We’re here to help small business retailers create and run successful independent small local retail businesses. Our help goes beyond our software. Were retailers too and love being able to talk retail with anyone.


How retailers can break free from the old school approach to loyalty and give shoppers loyalty rewards they love

Close to a year ago we started secretly experimenting with a completely fresh approach to shopper loyalty. For many months we had been working on our discount vouchers facility, evolving it from an idea into a robust solution backed by excellent reporting while at the same time maintaining support for our traditional points-based VIP card and other loyalty offerings in our Point of Sale software.

In discount vouchers we wanted to deliver something genuinely unique, something that our customers could use to guide shopper loyalty. To achieve this it needed to be sophisticated yet easy to use. It also needed to be easily understood by customers. Oh, and it needed to have obvious value in the hands of shoppers. Finally, we need to undertake the final phase of development while it was being used in retail, so we could respond to retailer and shopper feedback.

While we knew the value of the old-school points-based VIP cards was falling rapidly since they no longer offered a point of difference, we committed to maintaining our support for this approach for those retailers who wanted to remain in this space.

Today, close to a year on from our first trial site, we are thrilled with the results achieved by discount vouchers – or whatever retailers call them … yes, they can give them their own name thanks to naming flexibility in the software. Also a year on, no one has delivered what we have. Sure they have tried, even explicitly saying they have what we have. but they don’t. What we have is unique because it can’t be copied by looking at it from the outside.

Deep within our software retailers partnering with us have options they can set to deliver shopper rewards through discount vouchers that are truly unique to their business even if a retailer nearby is running the same software from us. This is the beauty of the flexibility and power we have built into the software. Settings are personal to each business and they can be changed easily and immediately. This provides retailers with flexibility. They can also change by day and by type of shopper. Indeed, the flexibility and power multiply with each layer of flexibility that we provide.

So, how can retailers using a points based system break free? With our PSO software it’s easy. They can convert points to a voucher value from and from then on run with the vouchers. Or, they can use both. Retailers have the flexibility they want at their fingertips.

Tower Systems backs its exclusive and best-practice shopper loyalty solutions with mature and considered advice to help retailers make the most of the opportunities – to drive shopper traffic and sales. Our experience as retailers helps us take retailers bend technical advice. We have a loyalty rewards specialist in our help desk who helps our retailers embrace the opportunity in these facilities inn our software.


Why we believe in small business retail here at Tower Systems

We are often asked why our Point of Sale software company prefers to deal with small business retailers rather than big groups.

To focus only on small and independent retailers is a decision we made when we started this business.  It is a decision we are happy we continue to embrace today.

Here at Tower Systems we have made and continue to make a conscious choice to serve small business retailers.  While our Point of Sale software can be used by retail businesses of any size, it is in the small business retailer community where we are most comfortable.

So, why do we like small business retailers?

This is a question we confronted recently in a business review where we took some time for introspection about who we are, what we do and why we do what we do.

We believe in small business.

Small business retailers play a vital economic role, often punching above their weight in terms of economic contribution.

Small business retailers play an even more important social role, holding, sharing and even adding to the narrative of communities around the world as well as providing practical support for community based endeavours.

Small business retailers help local shoppers with a level of personal service which leads to better buying decisions.

Small businesses support the community and uphold what is important locally.

Small businesses are more likely to share valuable knowledge with shoppers and even browsers than a much bigger competitor.

It is this community connection and support which we feel is vital to the contribution small businesses make to Australia.

We like these points, especially that small businesses and small business retailers in particular are more likely to uphold and carry forward local customs, beliefs and stories.  Small businesses support the local voice.

Small businesses are important because they push back on globalisation and the risk of dilution of the local voice to a whisper.

Whereas with big business retailers shoppers are dealing with a person representing a corporation and focused on the goals of the corporation, in small business you are dealing with the owner or someone very close to the owner, reflecting the personal and connected nature of the business and the local community in which its serves.

We also feel that we can contribute more by working with small business retailers.  We are happy with our track record in this regard since starting in business in 1981.

As of today, we serve in excess of 2,500 small business retailers.  Each is as important to us as the other.  We love their differences, characters and what they teach us about many different retail businesses.

We enjoy serving small businesses and remaining a small business ourselves – yes, we are a small software company when you consider the likes of MYOB.

Being small and focused on small and independent retailers is where we think we can actively contribute and do the most good.

The value of a business is not only about financial performance.  It is also about the social contribution of the business.  In our view, this is more important as it is the foundation of communities.

There was a time when small was almost considered a dirty word in business.  Not anymore.  This is the time of small business.  It is a niche in which many of us choose to remain and make a difference.  It is a place of profitable businesses and businesses making a genuinely valuable economic and social contribution.

In addition to our passion for small businesses, we have a passion for helping retail channels benefit from technology.  We feel that we can help create greater success and enjoyment … but we will leave that sales pitch for another day.


Free online POS training loved by retail employees

We have started receiving feedback from retail employees who are tapping into the online training we launched last week through our Training Academy. Thanks for letting me learn at home one retail employee said.  This is great, I love the opportunity to develop my skills said another.

In developing the training our goal has been to create training that is accessible by content and by access point. Our content is highly targeted to each task and work area in a retail business. We have specialist training for each of our retail niches too: newsagents, jewellers, gift shops, bike retailers, garden centres etc.  Our content is accessible in that any computer with internet access can access the training.

Accessing the training is free for retailers and their employees.

The training program has been put together and is fronted by Mike Hill – our Customer Service Manager and an expert in the best use of our software in any retail situation.


The value of our own retail businesses

We are grateful that own four retail businesses in which we can play with our POS software, in advance of distribution of our beta pool customers.

Having our own different retail businesses in which to play is a commercially valuable point of difference for us, one we exploit to deliver better software to our customers.

For some weeks now we have been playing with new software designed to provide our retail customers with a fresh competitive advantage. We are able to play and tweak, ensuring that what we ultimately deliver is technical, operationally and business bottom-line superior.

Our experience in owning retail businesses for seventeen years is that testing first in our own businesses is bette than relying on the beta release pool of customers.


Building the total bookshop POS software package

We entered the bookshops software space late, years late in fact.  Our attention was elsewhere while other software companies made the bookshop software space their own. Now, having been invited to the table, we have made it our business to develop bookshop management software of which we can be proud and which our customers can enjoy with pride.

We are enjoying learning more about the operation of bookshops, especially some unique services they provide to customers. Indeed, these customer service learnings are helping us in other marketplaces.

We appreciate the time being given to us by bookshops and some bookshops suppliers as we continue to evolve our software. We are several updates in and already the results are evident through customer satisfaction and pride among our team. We are building something really good here, something of which we can certainly be proud.

Our next bookshop software will be out in a couple of weeks.