WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR RETAIL BUSINESS?

The truth about your retail business is how it is performing now compared to the same time a year earlier. Not how you think it is performing or how you feel it is performing but how it is actually performing.

You are your most important competitor.

Report on the last period, usually three months, and compare this with the same period a year earlier. Look at revenue, units sold, traffic count, average sale value and basket depth.

Let your data be your truth, your only truth.

If someone in the business makes a statement about business performance, take a look at the truth for yourself and rely only on this for your planning.

If a supplier makes a statement about the performance of your business, take a look at the truth for yourself and rely only on this for your planning.

Next time you tell someone how business is doing, base it on the facts as facts are a currency on which you can bank and off of which you can plan.

Gut feel and opinion are nice, but they cannot be relied on as such as your own business data.

In the Tower Systems POS software there are excellent reporting tools that report the truth of business performance. We can help you access these and we can help you understand them.

We’re here to help.

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MULTI-STORE POS SOFTWARE IDEAL FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS WITH MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

For years, retailers using the Tower Systems POS software have had access to multi-store POS software – the ability to run POS software across multiple locations of the same business.

This cloud based POS software solution allows retailers to open and close businesses faster and with greater flexibility. It also enabled group wide performance reporting and data tracking.

Based in the cloud, on a central server, the software is accessible from stores connected via the internet. Multi-store operation facilitates:

  1. A common inventory file.
  2. Common or local pricing as the case may be.
  3. Easy transferring of stock between stores in the group.
  4. less software update overhead.
  5. easier enforcing of business rules.
  6. Lower technology requirement at the store level.
  7. Easy group wide performance reporting.
  8. Centralised support.
  9. Centralised data management.
  10. Centralised backup.
  11. Easier overall management.
  12. But local tuning as required.

Good multi store POS software is important for groups and this is what Tower Systems delivers. Used by a variety of groups in different specialty retail niches, the Tower Systems software has a strong customer base in this multi store environment.

We have a group of 14 stores in Queensland using the software in shopping centre situations. Nationally, we have a group of 16 stores using the software for products and services – leveraging consistency across the full needs of the group.

In a variation to the multi store software option, we have a group of seventy stores linked with a common stock file, common pricing, common shopper terms. Again, cloud based, delivering an excellent flexible solution for small independent stores with a common banner or commercial objective.

Through the Tower Systems multi store POS software, retailers are able to evolve their businesses without the need to duplicate IT setup work. The time and capital savings and improved consistency help these retailers to achieve better business outcomes.

This really is an approach to retail IT infrastructure made for our times of pop up shops and other emerging and evolving retail situations we are seeing on the high street and in shopping malls. Tower Systems is well positioned to continue to evolve its multi store POS software solution to serve emerging needs in retail.

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POS SOFTWARE COMPANY OFFERS SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL VALENTINE’S DAY MARKETING IDEAS

As a further example of practical help for small business retailers, Tower Systems last week published the following suggestions / tips. This content demonstrates how the company leverages its retail experience and knowledge way beyond what it traditional for a POS software company.

FIVE FUN AND LEFT-FIELD WAYS ANY RETAILER CAN EMBRCE VALENTINES DAY

While Valentine’s Day is an unashamed commercial season, how you embrace it in your business beyond selling Valentine’s Day products can speak to your unique style of business.

Here are ways you can embrace th season without being purely overtly commercial.

  1. Love where you are. Encourage locals to love the area. Setup a noticeboard inviting them to post what they love about the area. It could be a story, a photo or some other expression of local for the town or region. The noticeboard could be in your sore on online. This promotion is you doing good for where you are situated.
  2. Love what you do. This is a bit like the first option except that you ask people to express what they love about what they do. This could be something in their lives, a hobby or their work. Promote this as an opportunity for people to share something of themselves. Stories like these make the world a better place.
  3. Love others. Invite people to express love for humankind. Choose a local charity, ask what they need and use your business as a collection point. Pitch this as your Loving Others this Valentines Day campaign. Promote the work of the charity, invite your customers to join you in supporting the group and be sure to give something of yourself.
  4. Love lists. On your business Facebook page or through your Google+ page over a series of posts invite people to list things they love. Have a separate topic each day. Ask them to list something and explain why. For example, start with share a song you love and tell us why. Other posts could be share a photo you love and tell us why. Share a recipe you love and tell us why. Share a book title you love and tell us why. The idea here is to get people sharing something of themselves.
  5. The love seat. Make room for a seat for two in your shop or out the front of your shop. Promote this as place for friend to meet up and talk, where friendships can be rekindled, stories told and memories shared. Where people can communicate the old way rather than via social media. If possible, offer free coffee and cake. The idea here si to show you and your business as promoting conversation.

Each one of these ideas is designed, of themselves, to increase your sales or foot traffic. They will, however, speak to who you are and what your business stands for in the local community.

While bigger businesses will run overt Valentine’s Day promotions screaming shop here, your focus will be on touching people’s hearts in a meaningful way, rejoicing in this day for heartfelt reasons beyond the cash register.

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Sunday retail management advice: HOW A $2.50 DISCOUNT VOUCHER RESULTED IN PURCHASES OF $1,500 FROM A FIRST TIME SHOPPER

RETAIL LOYALTY INSIGHT: HOW A $2.50 DISCOUNT VOUCHER RESULTED IN PURCHASES OF $1,500 FROM A FIRST TIME SHOPPER 

I want to share with you a true story of what happened recently in my own retail business. It is a story of how a small everyday purchase led to something bigger and how this happened as a result of fundamental changes in how the business is run.

To understand the personal nature of this story … Tower Systems owns and operates several retail businesses including a newsagency in a major Westfield shopping centre. We have this business to provide us with a real-world experience in retail where we can experiment with our POS software.

While this story is about what happened in my newsagency, it could happen in any type of business. This newsagency, by the way, is not your typical newsagency. Close to 70% of what we sell is non traditional. It is high margin higher price point items that sit at the core of this unique business.

At its core, this is a story about shopper loyalty, especially shopper loyalty in a retail situation where between 25% and 30% of shoppers visiting the business are not local and therefore not likely to engage with the old-school points-based loyalty program.

A customer passing the shop noticed our greeting card range and stepped into make a purchase because of a specific need. They purchased two cards. On their receipt was a voucher for almost $2.00. As they are not usually in the shopping centre they looked around for something in which to spend the $2.00.

This is the key: the customer came in to make a quick destination purchase. The type of business we were did not matter. They were on the way to the car park and happened to pass buy our shop. Point 1: location is in our favour. The stepped in because they saw our greeting cards. Point 2: the floor placement of cards was key in getting them in the shop.

Having made the purchase, the customer then noticed, for the first time, what else we sold – because of the $2.00 discount voucher on their receipt. Point 3: we got them to look around and see what else we sold.

The customer did a 180 degree turn and saw a locked glass cabinet of beautiful collectible bears. This was in the right place at the right time as they had been looking for a gift for a child. Money was not an issue. They wanted something to last a lifetime. They purchased a $500.00 bear.

This purchase would not have been made had they not been given the $2.00 voucher on their receipt. The voucher is what got them to notice what else we sold.

Fast forward several weeks and this customer who said they don’t usually come to the shopping centre was back for another $500.00 purchase. Now, several more weeks later, the customer has another $500.00 order placed.

I can directly trace more than $1,500.00 in sales back to the $2.00 voucher.

The software produced the voucher based on rules I established. The initial staff member serving the customer made a brief professional pitch highlighting the voucher. These are both important factors as they are at the core of a structured consistent approach to what has become the most lucrative loyalty program I have seen in my 30+ years involved in retail as a retailer myself and working with retailers in many different channels.

While most times vouchers are handed out they are not redeemed, they are redeemed enough to make them worthwhile. They are redeemed for good margin product as they get people looking at the shop for the first time and discovering items to purchase they were not in our four walls to consider.

The discount vouchers are disruptive and this is why I love them. People respond in unpredictable ways.

Best of all, the discount vouchers are profitable.

For this story to work in any retail business you need to have the right products, placed strategically in-store. Your employees need to make the right pitch. Plus, you need to be attracting people who don’t know and probably don’t care what shop they are in.

Tower Systems offers not only excellent software but also the business acumen, experience and drive to help you make the most of the opportunities in the software.

From points on a purchase to buy X and get Y FREE to Discount Vouchers, the Tower software offers flexibility in loyalty offerings that enable you to make the pitch right for your business to bring shoppers bag to spend more than might usually be the case.

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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.

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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:

BOOK NOW.
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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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Sunday retail management advice: don’t pay too much for POS software support

Here at Tower Systems, paying annual software support is optional. We want our POS software customers to pay to access support because they value it rather than because it is a tax imposed which must be paid for them to access the software.

Our support fees are transparent and consistent.

If you use other POS software, before you pay your bill check what others are paying. In one case recently one business was paying around $1,000 while another nearby using exactly the same software purchased at the same time was paying over $3,000. The second business was being grossly overcharged.

One way you can save money on POS software support is by shopping around.

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Help for small business retailers doing it tough

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.52.05 amTower Systems has published a special report for small business retailers on tactics and strategies they can use to help navigate tough times. This report draws on years of experience working with small business retailers across a range of retail channels. The advice is ready to use, often without the need for POS software technology.

While developed as part of the Tower AdvantageTM suite of services, Tower Systems has made the advice widely available to all retailers.

We appreciate the feedback from retailers which has guided further development of this small business assistance advice.

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Sunday retail management advice: being optimistic about small business retail

In almost all data we get from small business retailers we can find reasons to be optimistic. It could be shopper traffic, basket depth, unit sales for a product category, comparative supplier performance or any number of other data points, researching business performance data provides us with insights which can encourage optimism.

Optimism matters in small business retail. However, it is not something to fake. We look for truth in the data and more times than not we can find reasons for hope and excitement for a business.

In one case recently we were asked to help a business doing it tough. In their data we found information about a segment of the business around which they were able to build a series of positive steps for further improving the business.

One step is all it takes to move a business forward and often in your POS software managed data you can discover what that next step could be.

Our job as a POS software company is to help uncover these opportunities, to show you small steps you could take to build optimism and for your business.

We often find optimism where business owners are not looking and even the faintest glint can be like wind in your sails.

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Free POS software training helps retailers improve productivity

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

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

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

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

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Sunday retail management advice: embrace being small in retail

We’re a small software company compared to the size of software companies around the world. Sure, we serve close to 3,000 small business retailers, but we are small. We like it that way. Small is good. Small of focussed. Small is human and not a number. Small is enjoyably.

Too often we see businesses owners chasing growth, chasing big businesses. We don’t want to be impersonal or disconnected. As a small business we are closer to our customers and more aligned with their needs.

We think a small specialist software company like ours is more likely to be able to fully and usefully serve the needs of small business retailers.

Sure, we are growing. However, there is a difference between growing and being so big you can’t pick up the phone and speak with the owner about anything at any time – like you can here at Tower Systems.

Our retail management tip today: embrace small, it’s a good place.

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The new loyalty POS software loyalty paradigm is a game-changer

tdvSmall and independent retailers love the new approach to loyalty on the Tower Systems POS software. At the Gift Fair in Sydney this week retailer after retailer was thrilled to see such a different yet highly manageable opportunity.

While our discount voucher shopper loyalty facilities are not new to our POS software, they are new to many retailers who have only ever heard about points based systems as the way to approach loyalty.

What is unique and valuable about the Tower Systems discount vouchers is the multiple data points at which the retailer can control the value of the voucher printed. The layering approach allows the retailer more control over value and redemption – thereby providing the business with more mechanisms through which to drive business performance.

One retailer told us that they attribute their 10% year on year growth to our discount vouchers and that to achieve this they have given away just over 1% of GP. What makes the facilities even more valuable is the reporting showing shopper behaviour in detail. This helps guide data point tweaking to drive outcomes.

Thanks to the trademarked Tower AdvantageTM, Tower Systems is delivering to retailers and unique and business valuable facility. Exclusivity has its own rewards.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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