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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HELPING SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS LEVERAGE TYRO BROADBAND EFTPOS

Small business POS software company helps small and independent retailers leverage the opportunity of the Tyro broadband EFTPOS  solutions. We do this through a direct integration with our smart POS software as well as through the friendly small business focussed help desk service.

Serving retailers across a range of retail niches, we have experience from many channels and situations from which to draw when helping retailers save time, cut mistakes and benefit from a best-practice EFTPOS integration. This is an integration supported by tower for many years.

While the Tower Systems POS software works with a range of platforms, Tyro is featured by the company thanks to the relationship with the folks at Tyro, a relationship that benefits the Tower Systems small business retailer user community.

We use Tyro ourselves in our own retail businesses. This enables us to support from a basis of personal experience. It sets us apart.

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SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS: DON’T LET FEAR RULE YOUR POS SOFTWARE BUSINESS DECISIONS

IMG_5090Too often we hear stories of POS software companies threatening small business retailers either through deliberate use of technology jargon or through threats of costs being imposed that were not part of the original contract.

As many small business retailers are not experienced when it comes to technology and not used to dealing with technology companies, they can become confused and think this is how it works, this is normal.

It is not normal.

Small business retailers deserve to be treated with respect, using terminology they understand and with business contracts that are clear and straightforward.

Any POS software company engaging in overt or covert threats ought to be ashamed of themselves. If this is what they have to do to win or keep customers then shame on them and shame on those who work for the company and support such approaches.

Tower Systems is a safe haven for small business retailers looking for an empathetic POS software company, a place where any question can be asked, where regular free training is offered, where business advice is freely available beyond what is usual for a POS software company help desk.

We go into relationships for the long-term rather than a quick sale. This is reflected in our approach to initial training and on-going training, much of which is provided to our small business retail customers for no additional cost. We make this investment knowing the value of a happy customer, especially in small business retail circles where retailers network with colleagues in their retail channel, talking about supplier experiences.

If you are experiencing fear or anything close to fear in your dealings with your POS software company, get out, quit that software as a relationship based on any such fear is an unhealthy relationship for you personally and for your business.

Seek out a professional, respected and trustworthy POS software companies where fear has no place, where small business retailers are communicated with as a peer and not as someone to mock or confuse.

We are writing about this today as we have recently seen a stream of communication between the owner one Australian POS software company and a customer. It is appalling: unprofessional and unnecessarily aggressive. No wonder the retailer experienced fear. The threats in the communication give all software companies a bad name.

Don’t let fear rule your relationship with your POS software company.

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Helping small business retailers leverage POS software through professional communication

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.15.47 amSmall business retailers fall in love with POS software companies for a range of reasons, often layered upon each other to provide a comprehensive view of the software supplier business.

We know from years of experience at Tower Systems what many factors play into the small business retailer relationships on which we rely and that we cherish so dearly. The software is a factor, as is the software support. There are other factors too, such as customer communication.

Our small business retail customers love that we communicate with them across a range of platforms and at different times of the day and days of the week. From the reliable weekly email, pictured, to print newsletters, to training videos, to outbound calls to drop-ins to their businesses to user meetings, we offer touch points of a wide variety and through which our customers can connect with us and what we do, touch points on which small business retailers can rely to leverage their POS software to achieve better business outcomes.

Take the weekend email – pictured – this is sent each Sunday. Our weekly email contains news about the POS software, update information, business management advice and business management training. The weekly email from Tower Systems goes way beyond what retailers are used to from their POS software company. It is a professionally presented email. Brief yet complete, providing links to more information for those who want to explore a topic further. Most important is the contact points we publish in the email – we don’t leave small business retailers with vague information. No, we are specific in our contact points, specific with advice on the names of people they can speak with about software and general business management questions and issues.

We know from customer feedback and engagement that the email is used, shared and relied upon. It is a key differentiator for Tower Systems as we demonstrate personal and committed support for small business retailers across a range of retail channels.

Whereas some software companies rely on customers contacting them for and business to business communication, here at Tower Systems we understand the importance of professional business outcome focussed outbound contact. Our goal is to provide our customers with useful information prior to them needing it. Timely information appropriate to retail seasons. Helping information attuned to changing economic conditions. Target information specific to specialty retail channels in which we serve.

Through decade of service to small business retailers we have learned the value of this timely and professional communication. feedback from our small business retailers encourages us to continue our approach and to maintain our commitment to professional outbound contact and support.

We are careful in our communication to ensure it is not geek-talk. No, we prefer plain English help, aimed at supporting those using computers in business because they know they have to rather than because they love technology. This is where our business management advice is particularly useful – we show how our retailer customers can leverage the technology for practical business outcomes in their business. We do this weekly in the email and daily on the phone through our accessible and friendly help desk support.

We back our communication strategy with engagement on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We are where our customers want us online as well as off line. This is why mail, email, web, social media and other platforms are engaged with by Tower Systems – to reach our customers where they are and not only where it suits us. Sure, it is hard work, relentless work. However, it is rewarding work when we receive feedback fro customers thrilled with outcomes they have achieved as a result of the engagement we have driven through our communications strategy.

The consistency of our communication is a key factor in the bond of trust between Tower Systems and its customers. It drives loyalty on both sides and demonstrates an understanding of customer businesses – as the communication is more than lip-service, more than spin, it is real life action, seeking to genuinely make a difference for the positive in the small business retail businesses in which we proudly serve in Australia and New Zealand.

This is the Tower AdvantageTM. A suite of tools, software, strategies and platforms through which we serve specialty retailers, helping them create better, more enjoyable and more valuable businesses. We trade-marked the Tower AdvantageTM because it deserves it. It is unique to us, unique for our customers. The trademark represents our pride in what we do and those who we serve. It represents the difference we make in the world.

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HOW TO BE MORE ‘LOCAL’ IN YOUR SMALL RETAIL BUSINESS

Being local in retail is more important than ever.

Local can mean different things to different people – it does not necessarily mean proximity. Being local could be about the level of care and attention you provide customers, the additional advice you provide, that you live locally, that you source locally or that you serve the local community personally.

Locally sourced products could be products made in Australia. For example, detailing where a product is made and the family behind it pitches local compared to a similar product imported from overseas.

You can use your Tower Systems POS software to pitch local in a range of ways:

  1. Include notes on receipts. Add product care instructions, use instructions or other useful information automatically on receipts – making your receipt a useful information platform.
  2. Tell people where you source products. For a product made by a family or small business in Australia, include details on the receipt. Shine a light on this local product – provide extra information so your shoppers can feel more locally connected.
  3. Include a SHOP LOCAL pitch. Add an image of a poster or some other promotion of the benefits of shop local to every receipt, reinforcing the value of shopping local. Tower Systems has images you can use for free – in the downloads section of our website.
  4. Thank your customers. Include text personally thanking customers shopping with you. Put our name to the message. Include your mobile. Big businesses do not do this.
  5. Track local product sales. Be aware of suppliers of locally made products and report on the performance of these through various reporting tools.
  6. Thanks for shopping local vouchers. You can use the discount voucher facilities in the software and call them Thanks for shopping local or Local shopping reward. This reinforces a value for shopping with a local business – offering $$ discount off the next purchase based on rules you establish.

It is not enough to tell people to shop local, you need to demonstrate the value of this, you need to live it transactionally in your retail business. The best way to do this is through systems and processes in your Tower Systems POS software.

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HOW TO FIND OPTIMISM IN SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL

Every day can be tough in small business. You can feel like the big competitors are winning and that you can’t climb the mountain to compete. You may not know where to start.

There are green shoots of good news and opportunities in every small and independent retail business. The key is to find these and to leverage them for more success.

A green shoot is a product or a category of products or a supplier performing above average in the business. Often, these successes have gone unnoticed.

We were working with a retailer recently who said business was down by 20% and they did not know what to do. It turned out that the best performing product category in their business was ‘failing’ for six months because they had not replenished stock.

They invested, instead, on new lines that had not gone as well as the successful product.

They, in part, created their own downward spiral and had not looked at their business data to understand that contributed to the problems they were confronting.

Once they realised the situation, they re-stocked the successful range of products and numbers started to improve. More important, their confidence level grew and with this their business decisions improved.

There are opportunities for optimism in every business.

Finding optimism is like mining, you have to look for it, sometimes for a long time. It is there, though, in every retail business.

As soon as you hear yourself talking your business down, STOP. Look at your data, look for the good news. That is what you need to think and talk about.

By looking at your data, we mean looking at year on year, quarter on quarter or month on month comparison data for departments, categories, suppliers or even individual products. Look for growth and once you see growth, think about what you can do with and around the products achieving growth so that you can achieve other growth.

Any product achieving year on year increases in unit sales is a product to be appreciated, nurtured and used to help grow other products that can sell to the same customer.

This is how you grow optimism. Find those small green shoots, leverage them with some small steps and, over time, build more success for your business.

While overall revenue, traffic count and profitability may be down, growth even at the smallest data point, such as for one or two products, could be enough to get you looking at your business differently.

In the Tower Systems POS software, the best initial reports for good news are: Monthly Sales Comparison (department level, category level and / or supplier level), the 10×10 Report, Ranked Sales Report (by units) for one period and then for the comparative period.

We’re here to help you find the good news in your business. Your business data is the key.

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SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

Small business retailers often state the point of different their small business offers but too many do not live the point of difference.

Take customer service, for example.

Many small and independent retail business owners I know say they offer a better and more personal service than big retailers.

Retail shoppers often judge service by ease of doing business, the returns policy and any barriers along the way. Too often, small and independent retailers have barriers that get in the way of their goal of better customer service. Barriers such as hand written signs about eating in the shop, a notice about a credit card surcharge or an inconsistent returns policy.

If you say your customer service is better than your bigger competitors, live it every day. Believe in yourself by doing what you say.

Small and independent retailers who do this – who carry through with actions the words they pitch about their business – tend to be more successful.

Tower Systems helps small business specialty retailers to live their belief in their business through business processes, platforms and tools that drive consistency and deliver better quality and more personal customer service. These and other benefits are at the core of the Tower Systems POS software.

While we are a POS software company, we play an important role in helping small business retailers believe in themselves.

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POS software customer love helping us sell POS software

We invited several customers last year to have their photo taken in-store as part of a promotional series showing happy small business customers in their shops where they use our smart POS software. We were thrilled every customer we approached agreed.

Here is one photo from the wonderful LollyBomb business in Adelaide. Some of the specialist facilities in our software help this business in smart and engaging ways.

We are grateful for their help in promoting our software.

LollyBomb_Page_1

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Featuring on National Retail Federation promotion

nrfTower Systems CEO Mark Fletcher and National sales Manager Nathan Morrison are featuring on marketing material from the National retail Federation for the NRF Big Show that starts in two weeks in New York.

Attended by 30,000+ each year, the Big Show is an extraordinary business conference and trade show for large and small retailers. We have attended for many years.

The event is an excellent networking opportunity with overseas based peers as well as with engaged Australian retailers on matters of technology and retail business management.

The photo being used by the NRF was taken at last year’s event.

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Helping retailers save time with integrated eftpos

Tower Systems is using the rush of trade for small business retailers at Christmas to reinforce the commercial value of the Tyro integrated eftpos solution we offer. With 1,000 retailers connected through Tyro we have excellent data reflecting time saving, mistake reducing and other benefits for retailers that help at the sales counter as well as in the back office management of the business.

In the middle of the busy trading of Christmas, the benefits of the Tower Systems Tyro broadband eftpos integration are clear and felt on small business retail shops across a range of marketplaces:

  • Fast eftpos processing.
  • Accurate eftpos processing.
  • Reduced keystrokes at the counter.
  • No clogging of the phone line.
  • Streamlined counter management.
  • Happier customer engagement.
  • Better control over possible points of fraud in the business.
  • Reduced cash handling costs.
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Sunday retail management advice: how and when to quit stock in your retail business

How do you identify product that is not working? When do you quit a product that is not working? Why should you quit stock? How do you quit the stock? How long should quitting stock take? What if the item does not sell no matter what you do?

These are all questions we will answer here for you in the form of suggestions. What you ultimately do is 100% up to you. Your choices need to reflect your own situation and circumstances.

Identifying product that is not working.

Product is not working if it is not paying its way – paying for the floor space it takes and the time you spend on it. Check your sales, rank all your stock based on sales – look at the bottom performing stock. Your software should have a ranked Sales Report that lets you list all your stock ranked by unit or $$ sales. Use this to create your list of items to consider.

The other way to identify stock that’s not working for you is to check your back room or other storage facility. Stock that is not generating cash regularly has to be considered dead in our view.

When do you quit a product?

You quit, exit, products when they are not paying their way, when a season is done or when you want to exit that category for some other reason.

Let’s say your rent is $1,250 per square metre per year. If your gross profit averages, say, 50%, you will need to sell $2,500 worth of product to pay for a metre of space. However, this is not the complete consideration as you have labour, power and other costs to cover. The suggested rule of thumb is that your retail sales need to be at least three times that necessary to cover the cost of the space. In the scenario covered here, you should be earning at least $7,500 from a square metre of space. If stock is not delivering this, quitting it could be necessary.

Why quit stock?

To keep your shop fresh, to not be weighed down by dead stock to make your shop look more relevant, to stop hoarding.

How to quit stock.

Here is how we quit stock in retail businesses we operate. These businesses are in shopping centres where retail space is limited and expensive. We are necessarily aggressive.

  1. Set a deadline. We’d suggest two weeks for quitting a product or range of products.
  2. Choose your timing. The best time to quit stock quickly is on your busiest trading days. For many this will be the weekend. Consider structuring your quitting program to run from Thursday through Sunday.
  3. Set your initial price. The discount must be compelling. We’d suggest 50% off. A smaller discount in this marketplace will not get noticed. Think about your discount words: in some areas, HALF PRICE works better than 50% OFF. Sometimes, 2 FOR 1 can be even more effective. A $$ price can work better – for example a dump bin with everything priced at $1. People then don’t have to work anything out.
  4. Move the product to a high traffic location. Display it as a line you are quitting – in a dump bin or in open boxes. This must be in a location away from where the product is usually located. Do not make an attractive display. Consider placing the stock somewhere that people almost stumble over it.
  5. Put up a sign that is either black on white or white on read. Nothing fancy. Even a hand written sign is good. Do not make a complex or attractive sign.
  6. Adjust your price. If sales are not strong enough, go harder with your discount. From 50% off we suggest a drop to a $$ price point. It can be challenging selling something you would have sold for $20.00 at $1 but that $1 is better than getting nothing for the product at all.
  7. Give it away. If the products are not selling, consider giving the stock away to a local charity. Getting it out of your shop for no compensation can be better than it taking space and giving off the wrong message about your business.
  8. Keep track of time. If you decide to be out of the stock within two weeks, stick to that and make it happen with your pricing and placement decisions.
  9. Use the bin. If you can’t sell the item and you can’t give it away, use the bin.
  10. An alternative: If you have a large amount of stock to quit, consider hiring a local hall and running an off site sale. Talk to your suppliers about getting extra stock in for this. You could even plan to do this as an annual event. Consider, too, linking with a local charity to drive interest and create a fund raising opportunity for them.

Quitting stock takes strength and commitment. We urge you to do it to keep your business fresh. Product not selling gives shoppers a bad impression of your business.

Take a look at your shop floor and in your back room. Look at what you can get rid of right away to reduce the anchor of dead stock on your business.

Too many retail businesses have old stock gathering dust. One of the best ways to separate your business is to regularly quit stock that is not performing as it should.

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Retail management advice: beware web developer promises

There are some bad web development businesses out there, charging too much and delivering website solutions that are not what customers sought. Like anything in business, when it comes to web development – you get what you pay for. Caveat emptor.

Our advice when it comes to choosing a web developer is simple:

  • Take your time to work out exactly what you need / want.
  • Put in writing what you require.
  • Get a written contract that is specific as to what will be delivered and when.
  • Pay when you are satisfied.
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The most useful small business POS software knowledge base

I am still amazed at what I can learn about your software and I’ve been using it for years already.

This is a customer comment to us from last week on discovering new training resources in our online knowledge base.

Our investment in regular enhancing of knowledge base content pays off this this type of customer love. It encourages us to do more.

New articles, new business advice and other new content each week make our small business POS software knowledge base a wonderful resource for our small business retailer community.

We especially love suggestions from customers on new content we can publish.

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Sunday retail management advice: basket analysis helps you 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.

Basket analysis shows you 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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CPA level help for POS software Xero interface

Tower Systems offers CPA level help for retailers using the Xero accounting interface within our POS software. Guiding appropriate coding and ensuring the right data is linked to Xero, the level of help we provide is beyond what is usual for a POS software company.

Our Xero POS software link is best practice.

Beyond the help desk and beyond the usual IT support person assistance, our in-house accountant is able to help our customers to ensure accurate data and thereby leverage the better value achievable from the Xero link to the Tower Systems POS software.

We use Xero ourselves for two of our retail businesses and this enables us to speak from experience. This makes our advice more personal and experience based than what is usual for a POS software company.

Our accounting link experience includes Quicken and MYOB as well as Xero. It is the Xero experience we like the best, the accounting solution we have enjoyed the most.

This is another POS software Tower AdvantageTM.

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POS software Magento link to help more retailers online

Magento is the world’s best online shopping cart, retail website tool in our view. We say this having worked with a host of platforms and gaining considerable experience ourselves and through people we work with.

Our POS software links to Magento through the Magento API, directly from our software into Magento for shared real-time data. We link from our software to Magento ourselves and have small business retail clients using it too.

Developed in addition to our well-established web-store link, the Magento link is deep, comprehensive and tremendously valuable.

High street retailers serious about an online presence will find it easier and faster to achieve through our Magento link, something we have been using ourselves for all this year and something with which we have excellent experience and knowledge.

Our web development team has developed multiple sites, providing us with excellent reference experiences for retailers contemplating an online presence connected to their high street POS software.

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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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Five unexpected ways smart POS software backed by good support can help small business retailers

Retailers think about POS software systems as all being the same. Usually, they look upon them as a cash register replacement. While that is true,, good POS software does considerably more than this. Good POS software delivers benefits deep within a retail business.

Specialist POS software for specialty retailers such as garden centres, bike shops, jewellers, pet shops, newsagents and others benefit from software tailored to their needs beyond the cash register function. Usually, such specialisation includes linking to suppliers and serving mutual needs.

Here are five of many unexpected ways the Tower Systems specialist retail channel software helps small business retailers:

  1. Cut theft. This usually happens by the software revealing situations retailers otherwise would miss.
  2. Easier to sell. A retail business using specialist POS software well is easier to sell because it is easier to operate.
  3. Freed up cash. Cash is too often wasted in small business retail. Following the recommended processes in our software will see you buy better and this will result in less stock purchasing failure.
  4. Power. Retailers using our software tell us they feel more powerful when negotiating with suppliers thanks to the data they have at their fingertips.
  5. Comfort. While many worry about stress that could come with installing a computer system, they often, unexpectedly find comfort from the structure, ease of use and value from the Tower software
  6. Expect more. Yes, this is a sixth way. From your software company, expect more. Seek their help and insights and these are sure to help you get more from your business.

These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.

Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.

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30 Christmas marketing ideas for any independent retail business anywhere – Sunday retail management advice

Tower Systems works with more than 3,500 small business retailers in speciality retail niches including jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, toy shops, gift shops, newsagents, pet shops, adult shops and more. We offer these ideas as our Christmas gift to you.

  1. Be community minded. Choose a local charity or community group to support through Christmas. Consider: a change collection tin at the counter; a themed Christmas window display; promotion on your social media pages; a donation to their work; a collection point for donations from customers.
  2. Facilitate sharing stories. Find space in your shop for customers to share their Christmas stories. It could be a story wall inside or in front of the shop. This initiative encourages storytelling by locals and better connects the business with the community.
  3. Award a prize at a local school. Fund a year-end prize at a local school. Attend a school assembly to award the prize. Work with the school leadership on a prize appropriate to your business.
  4. VIP preview. Host a VIP shopper preview night when you show off your Christmas ranges ahead of being available to the general shoppers. Respect and reward your local shoppers with deals and the opportunity to preview ahead of others.
  5. Leverage Christmas traffic. Encourage the Christmas shopper traffic surge in after Christmas. Give them a reason to come back. A coupon promotion or a discount voucher on receipts could be the enticement to get shoppers back in-store. Note: the Tower POS software produces discount vouchers to rules you establish.
  6. Become a gallery. Work with a school, kindergarten, community group or retirement village to bring in local art for people to come and see through Christmas. A small space commitment can drive traffic from family and friends of those with art on show.
  7. Dress the shop. Fully embrace Christmas. Create a Christmas experience such that shoppers know they have stepped into somewhere special this Christmas. Go for more than some tinsel and a tree. Fully embrace the opportunity.
  8. Make your shop smell like Christmas.
  9. Send cards. Send Christmas cards early in the season to suppliers, key customers and local community groups. This connects you with Christmas. Invite all team members to sign each card.
  10. Host a Christmas party. For shops nearby. You are all in the season together – let your hear down before things get crazy.
  11. Ensure you have gifts targeted at occasions. For example: Kris Kringle, by price point and by recipient. Make it easy for people to know what they could give.
  12. Stocking stuffers. At your counter always have one or two stocking stuffers for impulse purchase.
  13. Offer gift vouchers – for someone to give when they are not sure what to give.
  14. Be local. Ensure you have a selection of locally sourced products available for purchase. Make it clear in-store that these products are sourced locally.
  15. Tell stories. On your Facebook page, talk about what is important to you at Christmas. Personalise the season and deepen the connection with those who could shop with you.
  16. Offer a free gift. Bulk purchase an item to offer those who spend above a set amount. For example, spend $65 and receive XX where XX may have cost $5.00 but could have a perceived value of $20.00.
  17. Keep it fresh. Every week make significant change to your Christmas displays and promotions to keep your offer fresh.
  18. Share Christmas recipes. Each week for, say, four weeks, give customers a family Christmas recipe. This personalises Christmas in your business, creates a talking point and makes shopping with you different to your bigger competitors.
  19. Free wrapping. Sure, many retailers offer this. Make your offer better, more creative and more appreciated.
  20. This is essential in any business. Manage it through your computer system with strict rules.
  21. Work the floor. Increase time on the shop floor. Be present to manage shopper flow and to facilitate purchases.
  22. Christmas is crazy busy I most retail situations. Give yourself and your team members sufficient time to recharge so the smile greeting shoppers is heartfelt.
  23. Keep a secret. If yours is a business selling gifts a partner may purchase for their loved-one, create some mystery with a closed off display for the shopper to see the products.
  24. Free assembly. If you sell items that require assembly. Offer to do this for free.
  25. Free delivery. Offer free Christmas Eve delivery for items purchased for kids for Christmas.
  26. Sell training. Leverage the specialist knowledge you have in your business by selling as gifts places at classes you run sharing your expertise.
  27. Hold back. Don’t go out with everything you have for Christmas all at once. Plan the season to show off what you have as the season unfolds. This allows you multiple launches.
  28. Share a taste. Regardless if your type of business, bake a family recipe of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or Christmas biscuits and offer tastings to shoppers on select days. This personalises the experience in your shop.
  29. Offer hampers. Package several items together and offer them as a hamper. Time-poor shoppers could appreciate you doing this work for them. We have seen this work in many different retail situations.
  30. Buy X get Y. Encourage people to spend more with a volume based deal. Pitched right, this could get customers purchasing items for several family members in order to get the price offer you have. Use your technology to manage this.

Christmas is the perfect time to plan for next year. It is the time to do everything possible to leverage bonus Christmas traffic to benefit your business through next year.

Tower Systems offers Point of sale / retail management software tailored for your specific type of retail business. Our software can help you leverage Christmas traffic for year-long benefits.

We provide you with loyalty facilities that are fresh and small-business focussed, loyalty facilities through which you can pitch a point of difference compared to big business competitors.

One of our retail experts can help:

  • VIC/TAS – Mike Hill .. 0423 848 482;
  • NSW/ACT/QLD – Nathan Morrison .. 0417 568 148;
  • SA/WA – Tim Batt .. 0401 833 917.
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POS software helps retailers with scale integration

The POS software scale integration facilities in the Tower Systems small business POS software are helping retailers across a variety of retail channels.

Produce stores, confectionery stores, whole foods stores, independent supermarkets, garden centres, greengrocers and other retailers are loving the seamless integration between the POS software and counter scale facilities.

Any store selling products by weight can rely on the integration with scales for producing accurate selling by weight.

The outcome is time saving for retailers. It also ensure reduces keystrokes and with every keystroke eliminated is the potential for a mistake eliminated.

The scale integration offered by Tower Systems has been tested to ensure it meets exacting requirements, to provide an accurate customer account of what is purchased and thereby charging correctly for items sold by weight.

Scale integration is another valuable point of difference provided by Tower Systems to its small business retail customers.

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