Sunday retail management advice: how to sell your retail business when no one is interested

Small and independent retail businesses can be a challenge to sell even in a strong economy. This is because they are often not understood and not presented well for sale.

One way to make a business more appealing is to be more open about it being for sale.

Put a sign in the window. Yes, this will tell your employees, customers and suppliers that you want to sell up and move on. Own that decision, embrace it. Stop worrying what people will think. Explain your good reason for putting the business on the market and then run the business with more energy and focus than ever before.  Your actions will demonstrate that people need not worry.

The sign in the window works on a couple of levels.

First, small businesses are more likely to appeal to people who live locally, people who may not be in the market to buy a business until they see your sign.  I know of one small business that had not sold in over a year and then sold in a week following a sign being put in the window. It could be that an employee is interested in buying the business.

Second, the sign is your reminder that the business has to be sale ready every day. Shoppers walking through your door are coming to an open house to see the business for sale. That’s how you should approach it – working your heart out presenting the business perfectly and appealingly every day.

Businesses can take time to sell. Sometimes it takes the right people seeing the ad at the right time for you to find a buyer.  The stars aligning aside, the most important barrier to selling any business is that it does not look or feel appealing, manageable and or capable of delivering the level of return a prospective purchaser would want. This is why you have to work hard and relentlessly to make your business look valuable, appealing and enjoyable.

Too often small business retailers think that the economy, retail channel issues or other external factors are slowing or halting the sale of the business. Even if this is the case, reject these thoughts, bring it back to you and your actions. If you want to sell your business then run it as if you want to sell it – every day.

1 likes

Helping small business retailers compete with our Xero / POS software integrated solution

The most effective ways small business retailers can compete with big businesses and online is through efficient operation, accurate data and customer service touch-points that add appreciated value.

Tower Systems only sells its POS software to small business retailers.

We believe in small businesses, their importance to local communities and their broader economic value.

Through our software, our personal in-store training, 24/7 human and locally based help desk service, regional user meetings, weekly online workshops and other touch-points we help small business retailers beyond what is usual for POS software companies.

Our company motto is we’re here to help. We take this seriously. Everyday, out motto challenges us to help our customers in ways they do not expect, ways beyond the software itself.

Founded in 1981, Tower Systems has evolved as technology has evolved. The software we sell today is generations away from where we started. We are proud to have served some of our customers for decades.

More than 3,500 specialty small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand use our specialty POS software.

To us, a specialty retailer is one that offers services unique to the channel, services that define the business. We embed in our software for each retail channel facilities that serve needs unique to that channel. We take pride in doing this and enhancing these channel-specific facilities as the needs evolve.

We appreciate software cannot stand still. Every year we release significant enhancements, serving the needs of our customers. One such enhancement a couple of years ago was our Xero integration, approved by Xero and listed on their website as a partner.

The Xero integration delivers to retailers a seamless and deep connection between our POS software and Xero. This saves time and reduces bookkeeping costs for any small retail business.

The Tower Systems POS software / Xero link is another Tower AdvantageTM.

3 likes

Everyday marketing tips for small business retailers

Here at Tower Systems, through our work with our specialsist retail POS software, we get to see many different retail businesses in in our work and along the way we pick up ideas that work particularly well.

Here is a selection of everyday marketing tips we see working in almost any business. This list was first shared with our customers on the weekend, as part of our weekly email of advice, support and encouragement.

  1. Always have a value-proposition offer just inside the entrance to the business. This should be a double-sided offer, one they see as they enter and as they leave.
  2. Always have an appealing impulse purchase offer at the counter. Change this weekly. Use the opportunity to learn more about what your customers will purchase on impulse.
  3. Always know your top selling item in the store and always place products next to the top selling item thoughtfully, to leverage the eyeballs looking for and at the top selling product.
  4. Run a generous loyalty program where the value is understood. This probably means not using points.
  5. Create stunning window displays people would not expect to see in your type of business.
  6. Offer multi-buy opportunities unlocking savings for people purchasing more than would be usual in a single visit.
  7. Be brief in talking to customers about your products on social media: a single product per post. Two sentences. Short sentences. Make the post appealing beyond you trying to promote your business. Entertain them.
  8. Send customers a card for special occasions, a personal card to reinforce the personal relationship you have with them.
  9. Change the front two metres of your shop weekly, keep it fresh for your customers and your staff.
  10. Unpack and price products on the shop floor and not in the back room or outside of shopper view.

Our goal with this list is to give you ideas you can use right away as well as ideas that will get you thinking of your own ideas.

Go for it. Remember, if you do next week what you did this week you cannot expect any growth. Growth only comes from change.

4 likes

Updated advice for POS software users in Tower Systems knowledge base

The Tower Systems Knowledge base continues to expand with weekly enhancements. We add new articles and update existing articles. This makes the knowledge base a living thing for our customers, offering fresh insights and advice through which they can learn more about how to use the software.

Here are knowledge base enhancements in the last few days.

  1. Importing The Blueshyft Stock File & Invoice File
  2. Common Problems With Magazine Arrivals
  3. Gift Vouchers / Cards Setup
  4. End Of Financial Year Procedures
  5. How To Add A New Staff Initial
  6. NETWORK Sales Data Being Sent Back To XChangeIT
  7. New PC / Windows Configuration – Operating System Configuration

Our POS software customer in their weekly email get a more comprehensive list … weekly.

1 likes

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.

1 likes

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.

2 likes

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.

5 likes

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.

6 likes

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.

2 likes

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.

3 likes

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.

2 likes

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.

2 likes

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.

1 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

5 likes

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.

1 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

1 likes

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.

1 likes