Christmas marketing ideas for small business retailers

Tower Systems works with more than 3,500+ small business retailers using its POS software 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. Make it easy. People often talk about how hard Christmas is. Be the local business that makes it easy. The ways to do this are with easy Lay-By, free wrapping, better shop floor help, guide buying advice or tips on perfect gifts no one else will think of. Consider making Christmas easy as being a key part of your messaging.
  2. Be thrilled people are in your shop. Your personal smile or greeting is something they may not see in a big business where employees are less invested in each shopper and where the owner is usually thousands of kilometers away.
  3. Make the giving easy. If people purchase items from you to send somewhere else. Offer a one-stop shop. Save them the trip to the post office.
  4. Make the shop less about Christmas. Consider pulling back on the Christmas visual noise. Go for something simple, muted, respecting the season but making a calm statement. Consider declaring the shop a Christmas carol free zone – not because you hate carols but because you want to help customers take a break.
  5. Help people rest and recharge. Create a Christmas shopping rest and recovery zone. Offer free tea, coffee, water and something to eat. Encourage people to take a break in your shop – without any obligation for them to spend money with you.
  6. Let your customers help each other. Setup a whiteboard or sheets of butcher’s paper, yes keep it simple. Get customers to write gift suggestions under different age/gender groups. For example: Girls 18 – 25, Boys 55+. Encourage your customers to help each other through their suggestions.
  7. Make price comparison difficult. If you sell items people are likely to price compare with other businesses, package them so price comparison is not easy. Put items into a hamper as a perfect Boy 8 to 12 bundle for example. Or offer the item with pre packages services if appropriate for an item.
  8. Less is more.  The stack em high watch em fly mantra can be wrong. Indeed, it is often wrong in retail. Shoppers can be store blind because a shop is too full or a display is too busy. Consider creating simpler less cluttered displays and window promotions. Draw attention to what you want people to see by promoting that one thing. Every time someone asks if you have something that you think through should be able to find easily – take it as a challenge for you to address rather than a commentary on a facility of the customer.
  9. Change. Christmas season in your shop should evolve. Major change weekly is vital for people to see what you have that they could buy.
  10. Be socially engaged. On Facebook, Instagram, twitter and elsewhere, be the calm voice, the person people enjoy reading or seeing photos from. Provide entertainment this Christmas rather than the usual retailer shrill of come and shop here!
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Make your shop smell like Christmas.
  19. 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.
  20. Host a Christmas party. For shops nearby. You are all in the season together – let your hear down before things get crazy.
  21. 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.
  22. Stocking stuffers. At your counter always have one or two stocking stuffers for impulse purchase.
  23. Offer gift vouchers – for someone to give when they are not sure what to give.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Keep it fresh. Every week make significant change to your Christmas displays and promotions to keep your offer fresh.
  28. 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.
  29. Free wrapping. Sure, many retailers offer this. Make your offer better, more creative and more appreciated.
  30. This is essential in any business. Manage it through your computer system with strict rules.
  31. Work the floor. Increase time on the shop floor. Be present to manage shopper flow and to facilitate purchases.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. Free assembly. If you sell items that require assembly. Offer to do this for free.
  35. Free delivery. Offer free Christmas Eve delivery for items purchased for kids for Christmas.
  36. Sell training. Leverage the specialist knowledge you have in your business by selling as gifts places at classes you run sharing your expertise.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.

Renting POS software preserves small business retailer capital for other users

For years, Tower Systems has offered access to its POS software through rental. This easy to establish arrangement offers access to the software on a month by month basis with no capital outlay up front to access the software.

The rental payment option, like our cloud hosted option, is available to all Tower Systems customers in all marketplaces.

Our customers can also convert from rental to purchase or lease at any time. How people pay to access the software is easy, simple and self-managed. This provides our customers with the best options, options that suit their specific circumstances.

In offering rental years ago, Tower Systems provided small business retailers with payment options that suit the cash flow needs of many small business retailers. There is no loan application, no finance approval process, no cumbersome paperwork, no hassle. This is another way the company makes doing business with Tower Systems frictionless, easy.

The paperwork is a dream and there is no minimum lock-in term. Like we said, easy, frictionless.

The Tower Systems POS software for any of the specialty retail marketplaces in which the company operates is available for rental.

Our rental customers have access to exactly the same customer service experiences and touch points as all other customers using our software.

POS software for Firearms retailers helps structure workflow and maintain excellent records

Thanks to advice and support from 29 firearms dealers and their staff in Australia, we have a software fine-tuned for your retail niche. This group provides us with guidance, advice and support as we continue to evolve our specialty firearms dealer POS software.

We do all the regular POS stuff you’d expect, and we serve firearms specialist requirements, like…

  1. Be their expert – in our specialty software you can leverage your expertise, local knowledge and other assets to differentiate your business to others. Our software offers easy ways to leverage touchpoints through which you can genuinely differentiate and provide appreciated service.
  1. Firearms Level Stock Control – Every stock item is managed. Automatically, reorder ammunition, track firearm movements, take orders and deposits for goods and track through to delivery.
  2. Serial Number Tracking – Record serial numbers from receipt through to sale.  All searchable at the touch of a button.
  3. Ammunition & Licence Tracking – Record customer licence details and report on sales of ammunition by customer or type of ammunition.
  4. Firearms Reporting – You’ll have some excellent reports at your fingertips including ammunition sales, stock by age, profitability by department and more.
  5. Repairs & Job Tracking – Accept firearm repairs and other jobs, track their progress in house or with third parties and notify customers when their items ready to be picked up.
  6. GP transparency – we had a firearms dealer who wanted to know product GP at the sales counter, so they could make informed pricing decisions live during a sale. We added this functionality as it was clearly useful in this specialty marketplace. We listen to our customers.
  7. Staff Tracking – Track all suspicious transactions, cancelled sales, discounted sales, deleted sales, quantity changes and more.
  8. Know Your Customers – Understand your customers’ needs better by viewing all their interactions with the business in one screen.
  9. Marketing– Keep in touch with your customers based on their firearm ownership, type of shooter, membership of clubs, birthdays and more.
  10. Offer Customer Loyalty – Move away from straight discounting (a race to the bottom) and implement a loyalty facility that encourages customers to spend higher amounts, more often with you.
  11. Gift Cards & VIP Cards – Our scanable cards speed up transactions and increase professionalism.
  12. Website Integration – Our software connects with Shopify, Magento & WooCommerce.  Have your accessories available for sale, and firearms available for enquiry without the need to do extra work.
  13. Accounting Integration – Have your sales and purchase information automatically flow into Xero, MYOB & Reckon.

Our training is one-on-one, in your business. Our help desk support is personal, based out of Melbourne, and personal too – because we know personal service matters in small business retail.

Our goal is to help you enjoy running a more successful and valuable business. We know that if we do this our business will benefit.

Talk to one of our experts about an obligation free personal demonstration:

  • VIC / SA / WA:Tim Batt 0401 833 917 tim@towersystems.com.au;
  • NSW / ACT / TAS:Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148 nathan@towersystems.com.au;
  • QLD / NT: Justin Randall 0434 365 789 justin@towersystems.com.au.

Advice for small business retailers on POS software connected websites

In our Knowledge Base, we have articles on connecting your Tower Retailer software to Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. A quick search will soon find these. All of our customers have access to our Knowledge Base.

We urge our small business POS software customers to read the article for the type of e-commerce platform you plan to connect with. Give the article to the people developing your site. Most questions we get from external web developers are answered in the articles.

We’d love to develop your website for you. We have a separate web team in our business who do this work. They are based out of our Melbourne Australia office. They have developed plenty of Retailer connected websites already. We think we offer a service that is beautifully tuned to the needs of local small business retailers and their customers – more so than web developers overseas.

Connecting our Retailer POS softwareto a website is technically easy. However, you are creating a hungry beast that needs to be fed. Here are some of our everyday POS software / webstore tips for getting started and managing the website efficiently:

  1. Get your inventory data right with product names, departments, categories, pricing and images. Retaileris in control of the data, always.
  2. Start with a small range of stock in the website first. Get that right and your prices right before you go further.
  3. Make decisions yourself on website look and feel and design. Expecting someone else to do all this usually leads to disappointment. Attention invested now will result in a website you like and that reflects you.
  4. Use real photos. Stock photos stand out. They look awful.
  5. Know that any website you launch today will need investment to refresh it within eighteen months. Web is a rapidly evolving environment. Not investing to keep up will see you fall behind.
  6. Whoever develops your website – make sure they are local. Offshore development is cheaper today but more expensive in the long run.
  7. Choose a platform that is appropriate. We are yet to see a retail business not satisfied with a Shopify or Magento site. Shopify is ideal for simpler needs and Magento works a treat for more complex and multi-store requirements.

Our focus on web development is absolute and thorough, as is our focus on delivering genuinely valuable small business POS software.

Added value for POS software customers who take up support

We have recently added more value to POS software support coverage we provide to our customers, making being covered by support more valuable than ever. In this work we have added access to services and facilities for which there used to be a separate, user pays, charge. These charges have been eliminated.

Many of our customers now have lower costs per year.

This is good news. We are thrilled to have been able to deliver this for our customers, to offer them lower operating costs.

Our support pricing process is transparent, all of our customers are treated equal. This is fair for them. It is the only way we do business.

As part of the process of changes, we have stream limed customer access processes for add-on and now free benefits such as Xero, MYOB, Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce. This is self serve, easy and fast. It provides a better and more enjoyable customer service experience.

In our own situation, in terms of data management here, what we do in this area is streamlined, fast and requires less data handling for our customers.

So, in 2018, Tower Systems has increased the value of POS software support coverage, added more real value, eliminated some fees and increased touch point opportunities for small business retailer customers – helping to drive an even better return on investment for our customers.

This is good news, news we are proud and grateful to be in a position to share here. We shared this news weeks ago with our customers.

We think it is important to talk about this here as people get too hear it from us. This is always better than the spin you can get from a competitor who seeks to deflect by talking about us too much.

We are committed to driving value from total cost of ownership, helping our customers to achieve more for a fair price, a price that is transparent and a price they can trust as applying to all. here at Tower Systems we proudly serve all customers as equals.

Talk to one of our experts about an obligation free personal demonstration:

  1. VIC / SA / WA:Tim Batt 0401 833 917 tim@towersystems.com.au;
  2. NSW / ACT / TAS:Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148 nathan@towersystems.com.au;
  3. QLD / NT: Justin Randall 0434 365 789 justin@towersystems.com.au.

Our training is one-on-one, in your business. Our help desk support is personal, based out of Melbourne, and personal too – because we know personal service matters in small business retail.

Our goal is to help you enjoy a more successful and valuable business.

Awesome Aussie developed firearms software helps licenced firearms dealers run good businesses

Our specialty firearms shop software has been designed for and with firearms dealers. It can help you compete with big businesses and online businesses. We’d love to show it to you. We can do this, obligation free, in your shop or through an online demonstration.

Here are the details for our sales team:

How webstore connected POS software helps retailers in a group and independent retailers win more sales

As well as offering POS software designed for your specific type of business, Tower Systems provides websites seamlessly connected to the shop floor, giving you a single management view.

We develop websites for our customers, in Magento, Shopify or WooCommerce.

Our websites are live POS software connected, offering 24/7 selling with payments through PayPal, Oxipay (interest free buy now pay later) and credit cards.

Our websites leverage online purchases as well as click and collect. They also drive basket depth with up-sell options and handling coupons for special deals.

If you are in a banner group or a marketing group, we can provide a single website to represent all stores in the group. We do this today for one group, through five websites we created – each easily found through Google thanks to our SEO work.

Each store in a banner or marketing group gets their own page, which they can easily promote. For a single business, the POS connected website promotes their business.

We know from experience that:

In some businesses, around 75% of key in-store purchases have an online search component. POS connected websites are important for winning online sales and even more important for driving in-store purchases.

45% of purchases in many categories are when retail shops are closed.

10% of purchases are click and collect in higher-end product categories.

14% of purchases are done with buy now pay later financing.

Shoppers like certainty that a store will have in stock they want to purchase – stock on hand by item can be viewable for each store.

We network stores from a banner or marketing group into a single website. Thereby leveraging the power of the group of independently owned small businesses to be stronger and more useful than a big business competitor. This is how small businesses can win online.

Let us show you how together we can do this, how we can bring single stores online as well as whole groups online … through webstore connected POS software.

Not only do we create the website and the POS software, we ensure they can be found. This is key as a website that cannot be easily found through Google is a waste of money.

We would love to show individuals privately or members of your group, if you are in a group, the POS software connected websites we have created. We would take you behind the curtain, showing not only the tech. but explaining the business approach, outlining what we have done to create successful online businesses.

Fulfilment can be a challenge.We can help here too thanks to our integration work with Australia Post, Sendle and others. We can help you reduce friction with fulfilment and see you benefit from incremental online business.

Online is about a race to the cash. By this we mean that an online shopper is more likely to be ready to purchase. The first business to take their cash wins. This is where POS integrated websites can win. We can show you how.

The latest release of our POS software introduces a web dashboard to help in-store online sales fulfilment. This, coupled with inventory integration, accurate stock on hand data, professional image handling and smart SEO work helps you create and run an efficient, integrated physical and online business.

Whether you run a single store or operate as part of a marketing or banner group, Tower Systems has a track record of success you can leverage for your success. Let us show you how.

How the POS software help desk works for small business retailers

Let’s take a look inside the POS software help desk and see what happens on any given day. Let’s look at the Tower Systems POS software help desk, from the perspective of a typical help desk team member. Here are the raw stats:

  1. Calls handled: 26.
  2. Calls resolved on the inbound call: 18.
  3. Calls resolved on call back and follow up: 4.
  4. Calls awaiting customer follow up to ensure problem does not continue: 3.
  5. Call awaiting advice from third party (like a web developer or local hardware tech 1.

This is a typically busy day since in between calls there are case notes to write, advice documents to review and assistance to other help desk team members.

Every call to the Tower Systems POS software help desk is tracked and documented with follow up confirmation and advice provided to each customer for each call. This documentation provides clarity and certainty. It demonstrates transparency between our help desk team and our customers. or us, it is part of good customer service.

We use a professional CRM system to track all customer data and ensure timely and complete feedback. In fact, our follow up email includes a customer feedback opportunity on the help desk team contact.

We run the help desk over several shifts across the 7am and 6am AEST operating hours. After hours coverage is handled separately, outside of the usual daily roster. We ensure team members are given appropriate breaks to protect against stress and burnout.

Calls can come into our POS software help desk by phone, email, text message, Facebook message, Tweet and even good old fax. We take calls from all these channels and we respond to each based on the priority of the query. The priority is usually demonstrated through the type of contact that has been made.

If we can’t get to a call when it comes in it is logged and the call returned as soon as possible. Wait times are managed. We don’t want our customers to wait too long. Urgent calls are bumped up and dealt with immediately because we don’t want any system downtime.

Our help desk process is managed by support professionals who oversee the daily traffic management. They are assisted by the leadership team of the company since customer service sits at the core of what we do here at Tower Systems.

Good POS software for small business retailers

A good Point of Sale system pays for itself every day by helping retailers increase customer spend per visit, bring customers back more regularly, reduce the cost of slow or dead stock, reduce mistakes and make better business decisions.

Following a consistent approach to in-store technology within the group enables retailers to leverage more benefits from being part of the group.

Consistent stock files, electronic invoices, easier business-to-business comparison and more targeted business development assistance are just some of the benefits you can expect from a more consistent solution.

But being independent businesses we understand you need a computer system over which you have absolute control and security.

That is what the Tower Systems solution offers – locally run software in your business over which you have control yet.

Tower Systems has a strategy for helping small business retailers.

Tower Systems is an Australian software company that develops, sells and supports software for selected specialty marketplaces including pet and produce businesses.

We only serve independent retail businesses.

Our mission is to help retailers run more successful businesses. Our definition of successis a business that is making money, where the owners and employees enjoy what they do and where suppliers enjoy transacting.

Good software can play an important role in nurturing business success as it sits at the heart of the business: transacting sales, managing stock, tracking customer activity and shining a light on business opportunities.

What makes us different is how we engage. We go beyond what is traditional software company.

  1. We welcome working with suppliers to create data links that save you and them time, data links that improve data accuracy, data links that feed more accurate business reports.
  2. We provide business insightsbased on data cultivated through the software – to business owners who ask. This is a free service.
  3. Our help desk provides contextfor advice. Rather than the turn it off and turn it onadvice, our help desk team members explain the why, why from a business perspective the advice they are providing matters.
  4. Our software updates contain enhancements suggested and voted on by customers. You can have a direct say in the evolution of the software.
  5. Our communication is in plain English.While we are a company of IT geeks, when talking with customers we keep it simple. We know technology scares people. We don’t want it to scare our customers.
  6. We are accessible.You get to talk with real people all the time, including our leadership team.

Why we like Tyro broadband EFTPOS for our POS software customers

We were an early adopter of Tyro broadband EFTPOS many years ago. The relationship remains strong today. Here is why we recommend Tyro broadband EFTPOS to small business retailers who use our POS software:

  1. Speed. Tyro transactions are fast.
  2. Keystrokes cut. Tyro is integrated with our POS software. The details of the sale are fed to Tyro. There is no data entry required.
  3. Mistakes reduced. Every keystroke we eliminate is a possible mistake avoided.
  4. Low merchant fees. Tyro has been the first in Australia to bring to market an approach to merchant fees that is smart and technology driven, that cuts fees from what would expect.
  5. Brilliant support. Fast. Friendly. Genuinely helpful. Real resolution.
  6. Excellent reporting. Know what you need to know, easily.
  7. Innovation. Tyro innovates and as a result of this we participate as appropriate at the small business POS software level.
  8. Partnership. We work closely with Tyro, meeting with key people in their company regularly, engaging with them on strategy and related innovation opportunities.
  9. Help. Tyro is a wonderful help to small business retailers.
  10. Business help. Through a range of services, Tyro helps small business retailers. We have encouraged this and genuinely support it.

Compared to big banks in Australia, we see Tyro as a small, fast moving opportunity for small business retailers, helping them compete and be relevant and helping them provide an over the counter EFTPOS solution that is competitively positioned for small business retailers.

We are a small business focussed POS software company serving in excess of 3,700 small business retailers. We have been doing this for decades, constantly evolving what we do and what we offer, to make sure that what we are doing is relevant and valuable. Tyro fits with what we do, with our focus as a company. This fit matters to us.

We are retailers too. We use Tyro in our retail businesses and have done for many years.

Having said all this, we also support direct POS software access to big bang EFTPOS offerings. We do this because we are committed to ensuring that or customers can access the banking solutions they deem appropriate to their own local businesses. That is, we don’t let our opinions get in  the way of what our customers may prefer for their businesses.

Events facilities enhance the small business POS software experience for retailers

The new events facilities in the Tower Systems POS software expand and enhance the experience for small business retailers.

Using events, retailers using the Tower Systems software can track traditional events connected to shoppers as well as events related to the type of business and type of shopper using the business. Here are some examples of events that can be tracked and leveraged through the software:

  1. Birthdays.
  2. Anniversaries.
  3. Dates items were purchased.
  4. Due dates for services such as bike maintenance, working for pets and more.
  5. Valuation dates for jewellery.
  6. Release dates for licenced products customers love.

The thing is, our events facilities are flexible and powerful, most valuable to retailers in all kinds of situations and for many business circumstances.

We have built a valuable tool here, something retailers can use to grow their businesses.

We had facilities like this in the past. The new events facilities take the opportunity to a new level. Plus we have put it in the software for any type of retailer partnering with us to use. This way, our customers can show us the potential rather than us telling them what to do.

This week we are providing more FREE training for all our POS software customers on events, through a group online live training session we are demonstrating events, explaining how to use it and taking all questions.

This free training, plus our offer of one on one training, plus our wonderful documentation makes the events facilities accessible to any of our customers in any situation. we make it easy for people to access and easy for them to learn.

We think this is what being a good and engaged small business POS software company is all about. We create awesome software, based on customer needs, and back with with training and support on  which our customers can rely and enjoy in their partnership with us.

Tower Systems is grateful to the many small business retailers in our community who provided advice and insights that we leveraged to create the new events facilities in our POS software. Working together like this makes better software for everyone.

What is POS software and why is important in my independent retail business?

POS software, Point of Sale software, is software that turns a computer into a cash register.

But it is much more than that.

Smart POS software for your type of retail business is about much more than being a glorified cash register. The right POS software for your business will help you:

  1. Reduce operating costs.
  2. Sell more.
  3. Bring shoppers back sooner.
  4. Get shoppers spending more in a visit.
  5. Reduce employee theft.
  6. Reduce shopper theft.
  7. Reduce loss from non-performing stock.
  8. Plan better.
  9. Enjoy your business more.

While these may sound like marketing claims, they are real benefits on which you can rely if you choose the right POS software from the right POS software company for your business.

No, we don’t think POS software from Tower Systems is right for every business.

Just a customers assess us and our software to determine if our software and we are right for them, we do the same when considering customers. We want the choice to be right too, we want to do business with customers and businesses that are a good fit.

We take this approach knowing that a good fit works for both parties. We see selling our software as a mutually respectful relationship, one that has to benefit both sides. This is why we take care in partnering with new customers.

If someone does want a glorified cash register for a simple business operation, we will suggest they look elsewhere as there are cheaper simpler systems that serve that need. Our focus is outside of this. Our focus is on retail channel specific POS software that serves very specific needs in retail niches.

This is why we say we are a vertical market POS software company. We deep-dive into the needs of each retail channel in which we serve, working with retailers, suppliers and others to deliver solutions unique to the needs of the retailers in each channel, to be specialist. This is where we can make a real difference beyond basic POS software.

Being specialist matters to independent retailers in their local communities as well as to our own POS software company as we serve specialty retailers with specialty POS software for each of these retail channels.

Customer service matters when choosing small business POS software

Customer service is a critical factor when choosing POS software for amy independent or small retail business.

That sounds like a motherhood statement so we can understand if you say Duh!

We agree 100%.  Our focus is on delivering the level of customer service we would expect ourselves. To us, it needs to be personal, professional, human, knowledgable, engaged and relevant.

These are the principles of the POS software customer service here at Tower Systems. This is what we train our help desk and other teams in when we meet to work on what we do and how we do it. We see these pri cripples as being differentiating for us.

In a practical sense, our customers see how we operate through:

  1. A human based phone system. there is no automated phone system requiring you to press a bunch of buttons.
  2. An unmoderated and transparent Facebook page where customers can open discussions with us or other customers on any topic.
  3. Regular face to face regional use meetings where we meet with our customers to listen, learn and train.
  4. Unlimited free training long after the POS software is installed.
  5. Easy 24/7 access to an awesome knowledge base where our customers can learn and provide feedback ion the knowledge shared.
  6. An escalation process. We make mistakes inn our help desk processes. We’re human. We offer a structured process for responding to these, to address them and provide rectification. We seek to learn from mistakes, and not repeat them.
  7. Leadership team access. Contacting anyone from the leadership group within Tower Systems is easy. Our customers have our contact numbers and email addresses. We make sure we are accessible.
  8. Knowing us. When you are in contact with someone at Tower Systems you know their name, their real name. You know the person and can be sure they are the person who will follow up.

When you are looking at POS software companies, see if they are similar. We think these eight, and other, personal touch points that we offer here at Tower Systems are differentiating and empowering for our small business retail customers. We think what we do in providing personal and reliable service to our customers matters as much as the awesome POS software itself.

Why you can’t trust POS software Google reviews

Google reviews can hide the truth of POS software support as people can write them for malicious reasons. Take this Google review by Ashley tester posted to our Google page:

I have been using Tower Systems “Retailer” POS system for about 2 years now and if i was able to go back in time i would never had bought it. The system offers plenty of potential but is incredibly buggy with quite a bit of stuff missing from the program. I have had multiple things go wrong with the program and the customer service attitude with it is “we’re working on it” with no communication on progress of fixing the issues. As we speak i am still waiting on a bug fix that currently has my website looking quite messy as product that has been sold from my POS in store is not displaying correctly on my E commerce website. This issue was brought to their attention a week ago, i phoned again 2 days ago and have still heard nothing. I was originally told it was a day to fix the issue. Many more examples like this have happened over the past two years. I would STRONGLY recommend not buying this product. There are better options out there but i am too invested in the software, not only with the initial 11k outlay but the hundreds of hours of data entry that i have done now.

Here is the response from our Managing Director, Mark Fletcher.

My name is Mark Fletcher, I am the owner of Tower Systems. My mobile number is 0418 321 338. My email is mark@towersystems.com.au. What sucks about Google reviews is there is no vetting and no right of reply to a specific review. The review by Ashley Tester is false and misleading. Ashley had an issue with our software that was resolved the day it was reported to the help desk. 100% resolved. However, that is not my core point here. At Tower we have a structured documented and promoted escalation process, because people do sometimes make mistakes. At no time did Ashley tester use our escalation process. Ashley Tester complained here without our knowledge, in an effort to harm our business, and based on false and misleading information. Many people work at our POS software company. They rely on the company for income and professional development. As the owner, I will not abide an unwarranted attack that, by extension, seeks to attack those we serve.

As mark is connected with the page, Google would not publish the response.

Everything published in the Tower response is verifiable by our CRM data records. The claim made by Ashley tester is false and misleading, as he would have known at the time of publishing.

There is another review at the page by a Ryan Farrow:

Overcharge for their product and services, owners are aggressive and unhelpful, and will charge for every single feature that comes standard with most products. System is often down for extended periods with most features essentially in Beta and not working as intended. Staff are uneducated in their own product and charge a premium for lacklustre support.

Ryan is not a customer of Tower Systems and never has been. Ryan is a web developer. he developed a website for a Tower client. Rather than follow our published advice for connecting the website to our POS software, Ryan demanded it be done how he wanted.

As with any engineering where you build a bridge to connect two sides of a river, there are professional processes to follow to ensure the bridge meets in the middle. Ryan did not see it this way.

We can’t change the reviews. What we can do is point to our current 3,500+ customers, our years in business and our transparent engagement. We established a private Facebook page for our customers where they can ask anything any time, where they can provide feedback and do so without moderation by us. This level of customer driven transparency reflects on our commitment. neither Ryan nor Ashley Tester used this customer forum. Instead, they sought to hurt us publicly.

Why we think small business retailers should beware POS software onboarding

Onboarding is a term some POS software companies use to describe their process of bringing on new customers.

Onboarding is a corporate term, a big business term, for detached remote setup and installation. It is not personal. It is not small business.

Small business is personal. Most small business rely on providing personal local service.

That is what we do at Tower Systems through our POS software.

We don’t onboard, not in the big business corporate sense. No, we work personally, face to face, in your business. We setup our software in your shop, leveraging installation options to provide you with as much of a tailored solution as we are able. We do this working alongside you.

Not on the phone.

Not by email.

Not via Skype.

Our service is personal, like small business retail is personal.

Of course, if you would rather we did the work remotely we will happily do this. However, this is not our recommendation.

So, here at Tower Systems, no impersonal onboarding, no distance learning. We work with you, in your business, personally and engaged with your Like a conversation. Friendships develop. Understanding of your needs develop. This makes it better for you and for us.

We are confident that the personal in-store approach to setting up your POS software provides you with a better outcome. It is calmer and more engaged. We think you will learn better by our experts working with you in your business. And isn’t learn ing better vital to you and your business? For sure!

Every time we are in a retail business we learn. This is another reason we are keen to install and train on-site, in retail businesses. Working remotely on the phone denies this learning opportunity. It means the outcomes are less appropriate and useful. This is another reason onboarding is not a smart move in our view.

Small business retail is personal. Tower Systems gets that and delivers on the through its personal POS software installation  and training approach.

We are grateful to serve in excess of 3,000 small business retailers today, retailers we have learned from by being in their businesses.

Small business retailers should not have to export stock data to excel spreadsheets to make changes

We were shocked to discover small business retailers using some other POS software needing to export stock data to excel for manipulation and then importing the changed data back into the POS.

We think this reflects poor design of the POS software.

Our Tower Systems small business POS software has an awesome stock manager tool that enables you to make bulk safe changes to data without the need to export. Our stock manager tools are ideal for small business retail where data changes are common, especially bulk data changes as the business moves online or deals with new suppliers.

Indeed, there are myriad reasons bulk data manipulation is needed.

Exporting data to an excel spreadsheet is nuts in our view. It is old school from twenty years ago. If POS software requires it we suggest you look elsewhere as in the export and import problems can happen, damage can be done, data integrity can be lost.

By being able to make any data change necessary from within the POS software and without having to export the data makes sense to us and to our small business customers. That this can be done with a tool that is easily and safely used by a non tech person in a retail business is key. We make sure this can happen.

With more than 3,000 customers, Tower Systems understands small business and the needs of people working in small business. We make sure you are protected while at the same time proving tools necessary to enable you to run the business how you want.

Never export data to excel from your POS software for manipulation again. If a software company rep asks you to do this, ask why? Ask why they are not providing the tools necessary for you to do the data work needed from within the POS software. If they are honest the answer will most likely be a technical restriction in their software, something that does not allow the software to serve the reasonable needs of your business.

Tower Systems can help. Our POS software is ideal for small business retailers. It is robust, l capable and safe.

Helping small business retailers move to cashless retail

Over the last ten days in the US on three occasions in different shops we had to switch from a cash purchase to using a card as they did not have enough money to make change. The change needed was $27, $16 and $32 respectively. In each case they did not have enough change in their til and, hence, asked me to pay by a card.

Near our office in Melbourne, Cannings the butcher switched to cashless trading three or four years ago,

Recently, we were offered a tenancy at Malvern Central shopping centre in Victoria for retail businesses I own and had decided if we went ahead with the planned gift and collectibles shop we would do so as a cashless business.

Being cashless can cut time spent banking, reduce employee theft opportunity and reduce the cost of change mistakes. While there are downsides for sure, that more and more businesses are switching indicates valuable upsides.

We mention this in our email today so it is on your mind and part of consideration for your own shop. Not because we think you should go cashless, but because we with it could be useful to be aware of the trend.

Going cashless needs planning from an operational perspective as well from a shopper communication perspective. While not for everyone, it is proving to be successful for plenty.

We think governments will embrace cashless as it benefits the tax take, for the same reason it reduces employee theft.

What do we think? We don’t know for sure if cashless will take off. What we do know is that there is nothing to lose from contemplating this, gaming it out, to see how your business might look.

In the meantime in our specialty POS software, we have tools to make cashless easier. For example, ur direct link to Oxipay (like Afterpay) helps you eliminate LayBy. Our direct link to Xero makes record-keeping easier.

Our goal at Tower Systems is to help independent small business retailers be aware of rends and to work with them figure out implications for them.

Our specialty POS software is an awesome platform on which you can rely to serve your needs to day and to evolve for what may happen tomorrow.

We offer solutions for: giftsjewellersbikestoysfishing/outdoorsgarden centrespet shopsproducefirearmsadult shops and newsagents.

Call if you have questions, the account manager for your state / territory can help:

  1. WA / SA/ VIC: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917.
  2. NSW / ACT / TAS: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148.
  3. QLD / NT: Justin Randall. 0434 365 789.

Web connected POS software for small business retailers

Thanks to our POS software integrations with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce we offer independent small business retailers flexibility in connecting their physical stores with online stores.

We make it easy for small business retailers to get online, from their current database of inventory. We do this through the POS software and by developing beautiful websites for our customers.

This makes Tower Systems an established and proven one stop shop for web connected POS software.

POS software users of our software for gift shops garden centres, jewellers, bike retailers, toy shops, newsagents, gift shops, fishing shops, outdoors shops, produce stores and more can rely on the connection for two-way comms between shop and website. It is easy, fast and seamless.

We made the decision years ago to integrate with the best of the best rather than by developing our own web tools. That decision is proven to be the right one since we leverage our POS expertise and web platforms we integrate with are experts in their respective fields.

There is no sense in a retailer having a website developed outside of  Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce. Every need we have seen in retail is served from within these three awesome and proves products.

Small business retailers can benefit from the retail management experience at Tower Systems experience that helps deliver a more retail focussed solution.

The Tower web team, which develops POS software connected websites using Shopify, magento and WooCommerce is also skilled at SEO and SEM services that help raise the website rankings in key search engines, ensuring the site is found ahead of others.

But best of all, Tower Systems provides professional advice and guidance to small business retailers keen to build their online presence. Our commitment is honest transparent advice on which any small business retailer can rely.

The Tower Systems web development team is Australian based, working out of the company’s head office in Hawthorn. This is important as many web development businesses are overseas. While you might have a locally based contact person development too often is done overseas, leading to challenges with delivery and usefulness.

A mental health plan for small business retailers

As employers, retailers and small business owners, mental health challenges are often not far away.

Sometimes, we don’t know we are experiencing a mental health challenge while other times it’s obvious and on show for all to see. The same is true of any individual in the business.

At Tower Systems through our work with many retail businesses over many years we have been able to see first-hand business situations lead to mental health situations. the advice we share here has evolved over these years and based on advice of professionals in the mental health area.

How we respond to mental health challenges in business is important for for the business, those who rely on it and those it serves.

While we are not trained professionals in the area, our years of working with small business owners confronted by challenges to their mental health have helped us develop some guiding principles.

  1. Mental health is not easily measured or understood. One’s health is not outwardly obvious.
  2. Judgement cannot be part of how mental health is viewed or dealt with.
  3. Action is essential to improve your situation for doing nothing will achieve nothing.
  4. While taking the first step to confront mental health challenges can be difficult, it is relieving and rewarding.

Your GP is an excellent person to speak with. Our advice is that if you suspect there is a mental health challenge, contacting the GP is an important and immediate step.

A GP may suggest preparing a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This is a government recognised and Medicare funded plan for professional help. It can usually be prepared in a single double visit to the GP. This plan is the trigger to you gaining Medicare supported access to a psychologist for an initial number of visits, which can be extended depending on your situation.

Some people can feel a visit to a GP or psychologist is not warranted in their situation. While the medical professionals are the best to determine this, there are other resources you could explore:

Beyond Blue has published Business In Mind, a useful resource for small businesses on issues relating to mental health in the workplace. This is a good starting point for learning more. In the resource there are links to other resources that can help.

Finding mental health resources for small business owners dealing with mental health issues is not as easy as it is finding resources for managing the workplace for better mental health. It’s tough running any business and sometimes things can feel overwhelming. This is where networking can help as a first step, talking with others.

Small business owners feeling challenges within themselves need to treat themselves as employees and use the resources available such as:

In our day to day work with small business retailers, especially though contact o  the health desk, we can ourselves encounter people under considerable stress and, sometimes, experiencing a mental health challenge. We provide training to our team to deal with this in a way that is respectful  and does not cross personal boundaries.

If you feel we can help in any way, please reach out directly to anyone on ur team including our leadership team.

We hope this information has been useful. It reflects concern, care and advice we offer beyond our small business POS software.

Australian POS software helps specialty small business retailers compete

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.

RETAIL MARKETS

There are versions of the software serving the business specific needs of: Jewellers, Bike shops, Garden Centres, Book shops, Gift Shops, Homewares Shops, Produce businesses, Fishing and Outdoors shops, Newsagents, Toy Shops, Confectionery Retail, Stationery retail, Pet Shops, Pet Grooming, Whole Foods Grocers, Swimming Pool Supplies, Firearms Retail and Adult Shops.

Linking directly to Xero enhances the time-saving gained through the software as well as facilitating the accuracy of data managed by the software.

Our Xero link provides for a data feed of sales as well as purchases.

With a CPA working full time in our business we are configured to provide a technical solution that has been overseen by our own Accountant, to ensure it is a viable solution for the small business retailers we serve.

INTEGRATIONS

Our Xero integration is one of many approved integrations provided by the software to serve the needs of retailers. Other integrations include:

  1. Tyro broadband EFTPOS.
  2. Links to all major banks through PC-EFTPOS.
  3. Magento e-commerce.
  4. Shopify e-commerce.
  5. WooCommerce / Word Press.
  6. FlyBys in New Zealand.
  7. Transactor loyalty in New Zealand.
  8. Scale integration for selling by weight.
  9. Touch networks for vending event tickets, phone recharge, fishing licences and more.

CLOUD OR NOT

The Tower software can run on the desktop or in the cloud. Retailers decide what they prefer.

In its cloud offer, Tower offers a 100% hosted solution running in a secure purpose-build location with high-level security and backup. This solution is offered on a SAAS (Software As A services) model with minimal on-boarding costs and a single monthly fee.

Retailers who prefer local control can purchase or lease-finance the software. Once acquired, there are no mandatory annual access fees.

This flexible approach to pricing provides retailers the maximum flexibility in acquisition model.

WHAT THE SOFTWARE OFFERS.

This is a comprehensive and flexible Point of Sale software package offering facilities in many areas of retail business operation including facilities that help small business retailers to run more competitive and valuable businesses. The Tower website provides comprehensive information on software facilities.

PERSONAL SERVICE MATTERS.

The Tower training is personal, one-on-one. It is delivered in-store, by someone with extensive retail experience.

The help desk help desk is based in Hawthorn victoria. When people call, the call is answered by a human and not a computerised phone system. We believe in personal service.

The company also offers free online training workshops where retailers  can learn more and talk to each other about how they use the software.

Every customer has access to free one-on-one training year after year.

There are also user meetings around the country where people can meet the management and technical team in an open group setting for more free training and free assistance.

WE ARE RETAILERS TOO.

We own and operate several retail businesses, providing us with experience every day that enables us to walk in the shoes of our customers. We also use these shops as test sites for early releases of software updates plus we are happy for customers and prospects to visit the shops and learn from what we do ourselves in leveraging the software.

THE CUSTOMERS ARE IN CONTROL.

At the Tower Systems website, click on Software Ideas to see our transparent approach to customer engagement on software enhancements. This is world-class. Customers can make suggestions. These are assessed to ensure they will work. All customers are then invited to vote on the suggestions. The more votes the faster we bring the suggestion to reality.

Advice for small business retailers on how to quit dead stock

Beyond being a POS software company, Tower Systems often provides business management advice to small business retailers.

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.