How to choose POS software for your retail business

Here is another video from our in-house production team. We like the video for its practical content for small business retailers and for the professionalism it reflects.

We produce new videos for our customers regularly, training videos on how to use our software, videos to help encourage confidence in our software and the difference it can make in a business.

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The POS software helps desk where customers set call priority

Tower Systems for many years has given POS software customers control over setting support call priority. We regularly remind customers of the control they have through notes like this one in our weekly customer service email this week:

The speed with which we handle your support query is determined by the priority of the call. You can choose your own priority. Here are the call priorities:

  1. P1. This is if your system is down. The most urgent call we can get.
  2. P2. Urgent. We will deal with the call ahead of all others except P1.
  3. P3. Pressing question But system not down. Return call goal 2 3 hours.
  4. P4. Non urgent question. Goal of returning a call in 4 – 5 hours.

In allocating a call priority please take care to accurately reflect the situation.

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Sunday retail management advice: basket analysis helps retailers sell more

Basket analysis is the analysis of products purchased by transaction – shopping basket. Such analysis typically compares two trading periods overall and by day of week. It also includes this analysis by supplier comparing trading periods and day of week.

Using the Tower Systems POS software, retailers are able to dig deep into basket data in recent times and into the past, to gain insights into the performance of the business for the benefit of the business and those it serves.

Basket analysis shows the efficiency of product categories (departments). For example, see how many baskets include one category of item and nothing else. You can also see the numbers of times sales are single item sales.

Basket analysis underscores the value to the business of newer categories such as gifts and toys.

Basket analysis at a supplier level is equally insightful, allowing you to compare the basket efficiency and value of suppliers between two tradition periods as well as across each day of the week between two trading periods.

It is at the basket analysis level that you can determine product efficiency. A product is more efficient for you if it is purchased with other items in our view. You can drive this by careful placement on the shop floor, promotion at the sales counter and working with customers on the shop floor to guide their purchases.

It’s an example of how you can use comprehensive business data to drive your in-store actions. For example, knowing what we know about pop vinyls, Saturday is the day we really focus on them with secondary locations to do even better from the Saturday opportunity.

Basket analysis can also help you with rostering. With some category sales requiring more staff time that others, you can consider the product mix sold by day and adjust your roster accordingly. Trimming wages is an important cost saving focus in business.

The goal has to be deeper baskets (more items per transaction) and a greater spread across product categories – but with a focus on higher margin items so that also lift the overall GP performance of the business.

In the Tower Systems software the report to use for this analysis is the Basket Analysis Report. It provides an extraordinary insight into baskets.

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Helping people who purchase a retail business running the Tower Systems POS software

Here at Tower Systems we welcome new customers in a professional way – regardless of they are new because they purchased our software or new because they purchased a business running our software.

We send a welcome pack with our contact details.

We offer free training.

We offer access to up to date software.

We offer to review their data to guide how they can reset the business they have purchased from a tech perspective, reflecting the mission of the new owners as it may be different to the mission of the old owners.

Since our customers are not a number or a faceless relationship, we bring on all new customers in the same consistent way, delivering confidence they are partnered with a POS software company that cares for and about them and and providing a pathway forward focused on the best-practice use of our software to help the business achieve for them the goals they have.

Too often we see people buying a business become disconnected with suppliers because of a poor hand-over by the vendor or because of a disconnect with suppliers. Here at Tower Systems we don’t want that for any of our new customers.

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Expanded help desk team with new team member now live

Our customers are hearing a new voice on our help desk with Michael, a new team member filling a new position, an additional position, on our help desk. We are thrilled to be sharing this news. The process of bringing on a  new team member takes time. Welcome Michael.

Note: we introduced Michael to our customers more personally in a recent customer email.

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Updated stock files for POS software users

Tower Systems has tested the following POS software stock files for customer use. These are all on our website and live:

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How to get the best customer service experience from your POS software company

Tower Systems has a structures process in place for customer service contact with the business. This process has served Tower customers well as our user numbers have expanded to more than 3,500 retail businesses. The service is personal with our customers knowing the name of the person they are speaking with at each point of contact.

Because things can go wrong and expectations can sometimes not be met, we have an established escalation process to ensure our customers have access to more senior contact points in the business.

Here is the documented How to contact us information provided weekly to Tower Systems customers. This demonstrates are transparency as well as a commitment from the leadership team at Tower Systems about making contact with us easy:

HOW TO CONTACT TOWER SYSTEMS.

    • Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm AEST and Saturday 7:30am to 3pm.
      • VIC (and national): 03 9524 8000.
      • NSW: 02 8556 1600.
      • QLD: 07 3136 6888.
      • SA: 08 8121 3366.
      • WA: 08 6317 0207.
      • NZ: 0800 444 367. Toll free.
    • After hours support for system down calls
      • 0418 554 963 or 0419 842 334
    • Email: support@towersystems.com.au.
    • Knowledge Base: http://support.towersystems.com.au/
    • Website home page: www.towersystems.com.au
  • ACCOUNTS.
    • Email: accounts@towersystems.com.au or call 03 9824 8000.
  • SALES.
    • VIC/TAS. Mike Hill. 0423 848 482. mike@towersystems.com.au.
    • QLD. Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148. nathan@towersystems.com.au.
    • SA/WA/NT. Tim Batt. 0401 833 917. tim@towersystems.com.au.
    • NSW/ACT. Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148. nathan@towersystems.com.au.

FREE ONE ON ONE TRAINING.
To book free training, please email: bookings@towersystems.com.au
CUSTOMER SERVICE ESCALATION PROCESS.
If you any reason you are unhappy, here is our escalation process.

  1. Please provide as complete a description of the issues as possible.
  1. If you have multiple points, please number each.
  2. Please escalate by email to enable us to share with others here.
  3. Please note if your concern relates to a specific employee.
  4. Here are the escalation points, in sequence, for your use:
    1. CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER: csm@towersystems.com.au. The role can be done by one of several people. PH: 03 9524 8000.
    2. CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: Gavin Williams. 03 9524 8000. Email gavinw@towersystems.com.au.
    3. OWNER/MANAGING DIRECTOR: Mark Fletcher. 0418 321 338. Email: mark@towersystems.com.au.
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The federal election is finally here

If your retail business is near a polling booth, have fun today with more people being out and about.

If your retail business has been affected by slow sales in the run up to the election, not long to go now.

There is no doubt that election campaigns challenge some retail channels. This is why multi-layered multi-faceted marketing is key so you are not relying on one or two freeways of deliver traffic to your shop.

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Another financial year done

It has been a busy run up to the end of the 2015/16 financial year today. While the customer service side of the business has had the usual mix of calls for advice on being ready with necessary numbers as at the close of business today, our sales team, too, has been busy welcoming new customers to the Tower Systems community, new customers keen to start the new year with us.

Tomorrow, July 1, 2016, we start a new year.

Happy New Year everyone!

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End of financial year advice for small business retailers

Here is our short-form end of financial year advice for small business retailers:

  1. Take a backup at the close of business on June 30 and store this in a safe place.
  2. Produce a year on year sales comparison report – for your management benefit.
  3. Produce a report of stock not sold in the last six months so you can kick off the new year with a mission.
  4. Only do a stock take if your data management though the year has not been structured and consistent.

Yes, it is that simple. No longer does June 30 have to be crazy or stressful.

Here at Tower Systems we have been helping our POS software retail customers for months through free live online training workshops, regional user meetings, training videos and on on one support and advice, to be ready and to eliminate the need for a stressful June 30.

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POS SOFTWARE ROADSHOW FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

Tower Systems is taking its POS software for specialty retailers on the road, showing off its software capabilities to retailers in places usually not visited by POS software companies. In a series of events being hosted in regional locations, we are offering small business retailers excellent opportunities to see our smart POS software first hand, talk with software experts and, most important, talk with retail experts on how to get the best for a small and independent retail business from smart POS software.

This is Tower Systems showing off a valuable point of difference, bringing experts closer to local and small businesses, so people can see us face to face.

This is what small business retailers love about Tower Systems – that we are personal, in contact with our customers using real names and providing personal service from people they can speak with direct.

  1. No call centres.
  2. No offshore help desk.
  3. No anonymous emails.

All our contact is real, personal and valuable.

These regional sessions will give business owners who are not our customers today an opportunity to connect with us and check us out for themselves.

We are sharing details direct to retailers in each regional area we will be visiting. We are not being too public with details here for competitive reasons.

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TOWER SYSTEMS LAUNCHES POS SOFTWARE UPDATE

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 10.01.04 AMThe latest update of our POS software for small business retailers in a number of specialty retail channels has been released. This update, like all software updates, has gone through a comprehensive testing process internally and externally to ensure it is up to the standards our customers have come to expect from it.

The update releases a new integration, enhancements to another integration as well as software changes.

As with all of our software updates, our customers can choose if they wish to install the update and if so, when. This is the ultimate in user control.

Advice about the update was sent by email along with straightforward and peer-reviewed instructions for loading the update.

Our development team is advanced on the next update – we are excited about what is yet to come for our customers in 2016.

There is no additional charge for software updates.

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QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY HOLIDAY

It is a public holiday, for the Queen’s birthday even though it is not her birthday, today in all bar two states of Australia. While our main help desk is closed, we have an interstate office open and all calls to any of our numbers go through to there. Plus, our after hours support network is up and running.

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IS YOUR POS SOFTWARE CO. CLOSED TODAY?

Here at Tower Systems we understand small business retail and that we need to provide access to support when you need it. In addition to our 24/7 support, on saturdays we also provide access to office-based help desk support. Our Saturday team has access to more resources with which to help our customers. They provide a level of service beyond what retailers can be from a mobile service.

Take this morning, our Saturday team is already in the office and helming customers. Each call is a peace of mind opportunity for our customers, reminding them of the value of the personal and accessible service we provide.

For us and our customers this is a Tower AdvantageTM.

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ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS CONSIDERING WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT

There is no regulation when it comes to web development, no certainty that you are engaging a professional with the skills necessary to get the job done. Too often we hear stories of retailers paying for a website that does not work or is not easily updated or that is not being found in online searches.

Our advice if you are considering website development is:

  1. Get a proposal in writing.
  2. Ensure the developer commits in writing to commercial outcomes with which you agree.
  3. Agree to staged payments with some funds withheld until the site is genuinely live and working to your satisfaction.
  4. Ensure the site comes with training for your proper maintenance of the data on the site.
  5. Ensure the site is provided with a marketing program to ensure the site is easily found online.

If a website development proposal sounds too good to be true, it is most likely too good to be true and you should pass.

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TOWER SYSTEMS NEWSAGENCY SALES BENCHMARK STUDY STACKS UP

The magazine sales results in the Q1 2016 Newsagency Sales Benchmark Study published by Tower Systems ten days ago have been shown to be accurate Landin-line with the audit results subsequently released.

Our benchmark project has been running for many years and the results are used y small business newsagents and newsagent suppliers.

Similar benchmark principles are used by retailers in other retail channels in which Tower Systems serves as our POS software facilitates benchmark same store performance comparison.

Through our training and support services we help retailers to engage in the most important analysis they can undertake, comparing their performance on a same store basis on a year on year scale. We supplement this with the ability for like for like retailers to easily compare business performance, to assess how they are trading compared to similar businesses. This is at the heart of our channel level retail sales performance benchmark studies.

in addition to channel specific indicators, the benchmark study looks at KPIs that are useful and of interest to any retailer. For example take a look at this from the newsagency sales benchmark study published almost two weeks ago:

Too many newsagents are drifting, waiting for something to happen rather than forcing change in their businesses.

  1. Customer traffic. 67% of newsagents report average decline of 1.8%.
  2. Overall sales. 75% reported an average revenue decline of 1.3%.
  3. Basket depth. 62% report a 1.8% decrease in basket size.
  4. Basket dollar value. 68% report a decrease in basket value of 1.9%.
  5. Loyalty. 33% of respondents use a structured loyalty offer such as points or some other discount.

Every retailer wants to know about traffic, revenue, basket depth, basket value and loyalty. We make it easy to report on these as well as other KPIs such as stock turn, return on investment, return on floor space and return on shelf space.

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MORE EXPANSION OF THE POS SOFTWARE HELP DESK

We are thrilled to have been successful in expanding our help desk team with another hire for a new position. This is the second in a few months. We will share details with our customers in our weekly email once training is completed and the new team ember is taking calls.

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HELPING SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS MAKE POS SOFTWARE HELP DESK CALLS

Calling a help desk, any help desk can be confronting and challenging for anyone. It can be even more so for small business retailers who may not be experienced computer users. To help our 3,500+ small business retail customers using our POS software to get the most from our help desk, we developed and published this practical advice. We shared this with them as part of our regular weekly customer service communication:

Calling any help desk can be intimidating. To help ensure you get the best possible experience, here is our advice on how to prepare for and make a call to our POS software help desk. This advice should work for jus about any help desk.

We are it here to show what we now understand to be another example of the Tower Systems difference, the Tower AdvantageTM.

Here is our POS software help desk advice:

BEFORE THE CALL

Know for certain what your query is about. Know the error message, what you were doing before it and whether anything different was done this time compared to last time you did this and it worked.

Being clear in describing a problem or stating a question is the most important step in getting the response you want.

Check to ensure you don’t have the answer already or cannot access the answer through the knowledge base.

MAKING THE CALL

Be ready with your business name (and account number if appropriate.

Explain the problem or ask your question.

Stay on point, be calm and focus on your query.

Follow the advice provided. Do not type ahead or act without the full advice. This can see you make mistakes without the full picture.

If you are not sure about what you have been told ask for the advice to be repeated.

If written advice, an advice sheet or a knowledge base article, is offered, take that as it will provide step by step advice that is peer-reviewed rather than one person’s opinion on what to do.

If we cannot answer the call right away, please tell our receptionist who answers the call how urgent it is – we will get back to you according to the urgency you allocate.

CALL ETIQUETTE.

Please don’t serve customers, stay focused on the call.

Don’t swear.

Listen.

Take notes.

ESCALATE.

If, for any reason, you are unhappy with the call, escalate the matter out of the help desk. Tower Systems has an escalation process to serve your needs. This is detailed in our weekly email.

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BEING FIRST WITH ELECTRONIC INVOICES BENEFITS TOWER POS SOFTWARE RETAILERS

We are thrilled to again be first with a major supplier to many of our customers, delivering to them excellent time savings, enabling them to compete more effectively. This is important as retailers that share a retail channel are competitors with each other – any advantage has to be exploited.

Today’s announcement is the result of hard work by plenty in our team.

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CREATING NEW TRAINING VIDEOS FOR OUR POS SOFTWARE CUSTOMERS

We have enhanced our video training facilities and resources in advance of the next steps we will take in developing additional video resources for our small business POS software customers and other parts of our business.

Using our purpose created in-house studio, professional camera and sound equipment and, Dean, our in-house producer / director we are all set for some exciting developments in the video space this year and beyond. This is a new chapter for us in creating additional video content.

We already has more than two hundred videos in our easily accessed online library for customer use. This is an extraordinary and differentiating resource for our customers.

The training videos are embedded in our knowledge base and other online platforms accessible to our customers.

It also shows prospective customers the Tower difference at a practical an easily accessible level.

Our video library is something we enjoy showing to sales prospects we it gives them something to compare with from any possible competitor.

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APPRECIATING THE POS SOFTWARE HELP DESK APPRECIATION

Thank you for taking my call on a Saturday. I know it was not urgent but you have relieved my stress.

This email from a Tower systems POS software customer this morning is a thrill. They were stressed about information in a report and wanted to understand the context. We provided this and put their mind at rest. Indeed, the discussion has helped them see a new opportunity for their business.

We love feedback like this.

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PRACTICAL RETAIL MANAGEMENT ADVICE BEYOND TRADITIONAL POS SOFTWARE SUPPORT

Tower Systems offers help, advice and assistance beyond traditional POS software support and has done for many years.

Our small business retail management advice is fresh and developed from our own hands-on retail experiences and from suggestions from our helpful customers. Each article of advice is jargon-free and accompanied by how-to steps and practice advice any retailer in any situation can read and use.

Here are topics we have published advice for our customers on in recent months.

  1. How to confront feeling overwhelmed in your retail business.
  2. Gift certificates – for selling when you don’t have the gift a customer wants.
  3. How to stop price comparisons with major retailers in your retail business.
  4. How to cut shopper theft in your retail business.
  5. How to protect your business from a ransomware attack.
  6. Don’t be bound by what is usual for your type of retail business.
  7. Make every day your pay day.
  8. Compete by not competing.
  9. Leveraging what sells with what in your retail business.
  10. What manual processes can you eliminate in your business?
  11. 5 Rules Every Small Business Retailer Needs For The Sales Counter.
  12. 5 Ways small business retailers can market for free.
  13. How to cut mistakes in your retail business.
  14. How to be more local in your retail business.
  15. How to find optimism in your retail business.
  16. How to check prices using your Tower software.
  17. How to develop your unique selling proposition and why you need one.
  18. Competing against your most important competitor.
  19. How and when to quit stock in your retail business.
  20. How to transact if your computer system is down.
  21. How to cut employee theft in your retail business.
  22. 30 free marketing ideas for small business retailers this Christmas.

This is a small sample of the advice from us and available to our POS software customers through our searchable and accessible from anywhere Knowledge Base.

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MORE FREE POS SOFTWARE TRAINING FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

Here is the latest round of free POS software training Tower Systems is proud to offer its customers.

Each one of these sessions is free to access, live and genuinely interactive.

We publish the list here as proof of us living up to our word of offering free on-going training.

Our customers can book any time online through our live training portal – another self-serve facility offered by Tower Systems to its customers.

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For a full list of free live POS software training, check out our website. From there you can book, see the topics, see the detail of what will be covered and add the event to your online calendar. Smart software training bookings, another Tower AdvantageTM.

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