Best practice stocktake advice for small business POS software users

This advice is about the best business approach to undertaking a stocktake. Please refer to other Knowledge base articles on how to actually use the software. All retailers using our POS software have access to our knowledge base.

Please ensure you have the latest version of the Tower Systems Retailer POS software installed prior to undertaking a stocktake.

For the process to be as easy as possible you will need a wireless network – vital for OH&S reasons.

The best way to do a stocktake in your business is by using a laptop (or laptops) or tablet computer with a scanner attached. This enables you to do the stocktake live with no impact on sales and absolute integrity of your stock on hand data.

While using a laptop (or laptops) or tablet computer may seem cumbersome, it is our best practice advice for speed, data integrity and the ability to address data issues you may encounter on the shop floor. It enables you to do management work to ensure completely accurate data.

The alternative is to use a PDE. The challenges with this are the many different PDEs and it is challenging to be expert in all plus the PDE counts at that time and you load the data at a later time – meaning a gap in time in which sales could have been done. While PDE software is available for live to data updates, we have seen this be problematic and so we do not use it.

Given the advances in technology, our best practice recommendation is either a laptop of tablet computer as either offers a better solution than a PDE.

We suggest you setup a Laptop or tablet and use Team Viewer or the like to connect in and count this way. This approach means you do not need to purchase an additional software licence for the laptop. Team Viewer is easy to setup.

For the physical stocktake, we suggest you approach the business aisle by aisle, counting and rearranging stock as you go.

Once you have completed your first full stocktake, our advice is you engage in a rolling stocktake, doing parts of the business, through the year. The Tax Office does not require businesses with full sock control implemented to do a stocktake at the end of the financial year. They will accept data from your system if you manage stock through the year.

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The first POS software company to deliver Permit to Acquire facilities

Tower Systems is the first POS software company to deliver access to Permit to Acquire facilities integrated within its software. These facilities are in the Tower Firearms Software.

Using the Permit to Acquire facilities, retailers are able to bring a structured approach to gathering and managing data as required of firearms retailers in Australia.

Developed with the Firearms Registry, the PTA facilities in the Tower software can be relied upon by firearms retailers to ensure they are meeting their data collection and management obligations.

Painstakingly developed in through detail, this latest compliance development by the Tower Systems team is another example of the company serving the needs of its small business customers and helping them save time in operating their businesses.

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Small business retailers love the time saved with POS software cloud backup service

bupThe cloud backup service launched last year by Tower Systems is popular with retailers using our POS software. Backups are seamless, not taking any noticeable time thanks to the smart technology. The result is welcome double protection.

While Tower Systems has supported external and automated backup services for years, this new cloud-based service that offers excellent protection to users of our POS software.

Run on a subscription basis and backing up to the cloud real-time through the day, this is a comprehensive replacement of the old end of shift backup approach for small and independent retailers.

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Xero cloud based accounting promotes the Tower Systems POS software

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.26.18 amCloud accounting software company Xero features Tower Systems and its retail management software on the Xero website. This privilege is for software companies which have met compliance requirements set by Xero. Tower Systems achieved this status last year. Since then, we have worked with Xero on communication with small business retailers about the benefits of our Xero integrated POS software solution.

We have plenty of retailers using our software and our automated link to Xero … saving them time and money in the management of their financial records.

We use the Xero live and automated link for our own retail businesses and can speak to the benefits ourselves.

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Good news from a retailer switching to our POS software

Thank you for helping us switch to your software. I had no idea we could do what we are already doing with your software. For years I thought I had a good software program. The time saving alone pays for itself. Thank you.

We love feedback from retailers who switch to us as it encourages us to work even harder at leveraging our point of difference. This latest retailer to switch provided us with comprehensive insights into the weaknesses of the software they have switched from, insights we can leverage in our communication with other retailers in the channel.

Making good POS software is one thing. Guiding retailers to get the maximum commercial value from the software is something else. This is where Tower Systems excels.

 

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Sunday retail management advice: how to act local in your independent retail business

Independent retail businesses often seek local shopper support. This Lismore easily achieved if these businesses themselves act locally and love locally. Here are some of the many act local suggestions we have developed over years of supporting local small and independent retail businesses:

  1. Support local community groups through raising awareness and funds.
  2. Use your retail space to attract locals on local issues.
  3. Leverage your communication channels to support local issues and groups.
  4. Offer practical help to local school.
  5. Be engaged in local representation on councils and committees.
  6. Preference hiring local people.
  7. Seek out local suppliers.
  8. Offer local training opportunities to local school students.
  9. If appropriate to your business, seek out local artists.
  10. Participate in local markets.
  11. Welcome local groups to raise funds from out the front of your shop.
  12. Get your business name on local sports team clothing.
  13. Learn and tell local stories.

We have many other suggestions to help independent local retailers to better connect with their local community … helping our customers way beyond our software.

Tower Systems serves close to 3,000 retailers using our smart POS software.

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Smart vouchers on POS software receipts invite shoppers to return

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 5.53.01 amGetting a shopper to return to your independent retail business can be difficult, you need to embrace every opportunity possible. This is where POS software company Tower Systems can help – using our smart POS software you can include on the receipt a coupon or voucher for a variety of purposes including marketing, information, direct discounts or other promotional activity.

The voucher based marketing facilities in our software are being actively used in all specialist channels in which we serve.

It could be a simple discount on return, a promotion of a new service, a discount based what is in this purchase or an offer based on a future bulk buy.

The beauty of the voucher serving technology embedded in the Tower software is that it is flexible and available for use in the business without cost. This ensures that the independent retailers using it are not having to share costs with others. The benefits are as considerable as the flexibility of the service.

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Disaster planning advice for small business retailers

Disaster planning is vital for any retail business.  Too often, the need for good disaster planning is realised after a disaster has hit the business.  This advice from our POS software company offers business and computer related advice which is designed to mitigate the impact of a disaster on your business.

Insurance Protection

Insurance coverage is vital  to helping a retail business overcome any type of disaster.  In addition to ensuring that your insurance policy covers all disaster situations of concern to you, including flood, theft, water inundation, fire, earthquake, riot—be sure to carefully read the policy, ensure that your insurance policy / policies cover payouts for the following:

  1. Business interruption.  The amount should equal your anticipated gross profit for whatever period you choose to be covered.
  2. Data recovery.  Including the hiring of experts to recover data from backup sources or the manual entry of data which cannot be automatically recovered.  It needs to ensure that you are covered to the point of recovered data being useable in transacting business.
  3. Lost stock.  This is stock stolen, lost from the business.
  4. Damaged and unsaleable stock.  This is stock which is water damaged, scuffed or dented and which will not attract full price.
  5. Dated stock.  This is stock which you cannot sell by the due date.
  6. Glass. Many policies require explicit statement of glass coverage.
  7. Temporary trading premises.  Business interruption may cover this.  Ensure that it is explicitly stated.
  8. Key person injury and/or death. This will usually be a separate policy.  Depending on the disaster, coverage may also be available through the overall business policy.

Ensure that the value of stock, fixtures and fittings covered by your policy is an accurate reflection of the real value of these items.  Talk with your insurance company about the best approach to track this on an ongoing basis.

Insurance brokers can provide access to assessors who can advise on the appropriate level of insurance for your situation.

Use your Point of  Sale system to track all stock movements in and out.  The stock on hand in  your software should be your coverage.

Ensure that your insurance policy protects for the seasonal nature of your business

Data Protection

Business data is one of the most valuable assets of the business.  Like insurance, the value is often not understood until you need what you do not have.  Retailers who are serious about protecting their business data in the event of any disaster follow these steps:

  1. Backup your business data every day, at the end of the day, without fail. Our cloud based backup service is ideal.
  2. Maintain a separate backup for each day of the week.  Consider a separate backup for the last day of each month.
  3. Remove the backup medium, usually a USB stick, from the business premises each day.
  4. Store the backup in a safe, dry place.
  5. Check the usefulness of the backup by restoring and checking the data.
  6. Store original business software in a safe off-site location

Disaster Planning

Here are some general suggestions on planning for a disaster.

  1. Keep off site copies of: Business contracts and agreements; employee contact details, business account and other passwords, insurance details, recent photographs of fixtures, fittings and stock.
  2. Maintain a register of all employees in the business at any time.
  3. Prepare and place in a prominent place an evacuation plan.
  4. Maintain a professional grade OH&S compliant first aid kit.
  5. Regularly maintain all fire extinguishers.
  6. Ensure that the business premises is safe and maintained to the local building codes and OH&S regulations.
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Small business retailers love free End of Financial year POS software training

Retailers are embracing the FREE POS software training from Tower Systems in End of Financial Year processes. Developed specifically to serve retailers this year in the run up to June 30, this session is an all you need to know approach to stock, business data and other factors that are vital to being prepared for EOFY.

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This training is a continuation of the weekly POS software training tower Systems launched years ago, training the company happily and willingly offers to provide our customers with more free learning opportunities through which to love our software and love our company.

When we say this training is free, there is truly no cost. we even pay for the phone call to provide audio access – anywhere in the world. This is another Tower AdvantageTM .

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Sunday retail management advice: keep your loyalty pitch simple for success

A loyalty program is only as good as the over the counter pitch through which you seek to engage shoppers. Check out this brief video we created to train retail employees on what has to be the easiest to use over the counter shopper loyalty offer.

Tower Systems leads with professional employee training videos which help retail employees leverage more value for the business from our software.

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How POS software can help small business retailers change shopper loyalty

POS software can do more for small business retailers than they may think. Good POS software, like that from Tower Systems, goes deep into the business, away from the sales counter, helping in many ways.

Help with leveraging shopper loyalty.

  1. Reward to drive deeper shopper engagement.
  2. Track your loyalty liabilities to understand risk.
  3. Track shopper engagement through comprehensive date, time and person engagement to understand the loyalty buttons to push.
  4. Choose the loyalty offer right for you – good POS software will offer multiple loyalty offers for you.
  5. Be consistent in your loyalty offer such that every shopper is offered a consistent pitch.
  6. Un a loyalty program that is different to those around you. For example, if others nearby offer a points based program, go with something different.
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Tower Systems helps small business retailers benefit from the immediate asset write-off in the federal budget

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 8.58.58 pmTower Systems has begun an education campaign for small business retailers in Australia in selected specialist retail channels outlining how they can benefit from the immediate asset write-off opportunity announced in the federal budget last night.

Retail businesses turning over $2 million a year or less can immediately write off the purchase of our Point of Sale solution.

Our software delivers the productivity benefits the federal government is keen to see small businesses access.

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How POS software can help small business retailers manage employees more effectively

POS software can do more for small business retailers than they may think. Good POS software, like that from Tower Systems, goes deep into the business, away from the sales counter, helping in many ways.

Help with managing employees.

  1. Easily create rosters and share these with employees how and where they want.
  2. Track sales by employees.
  3. Track sales by time – allowing shift comparisons.
  4. How employees understand performance in the context of what they can do to help the business and themselves.
  5. Cut time taken on everyday tasks such as end of shift.
  6. Eliminate often frustrating tasks such as the daily backup.
  7. Give employees information that helps them more effectively serve the business.
  8. Bring certainty to the counter and help employees be more consistent.
  9. Provide employees with vital information about products so they can be consistently knowledgeable.
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Sunday retail management advice: challenge your POS software help desk advice

Sometimes, POS software help desk advice is not right. It could be they did not understand the question, that you did not completely explain the question or that they got it plain wrong.

A good POS software help desk will offer a structured escalation process where you can take any concern and have it considered away from the help desk. Such an escalation process will involve senior management and have at its heart good communication.

Tower Systems has a structured escalation process with three points of escalation outside of the help desk function. Customers can use this or they can bypass a step as all contact points in the escalation process are published regularly.

Tower customers can speak directly with the owner of the business, Mark Fletcher, on 0418 321 338.

We encourage customers to challenge help desk advice to ensure that the advice is right for the actual question or problem. This can be done in a respectful way with the outcome always on ensuring the best possible customer service experience.

Retailers who actively engage with the POS software help desk process usually achieve a more meaningful and valuable outcome for themselves and their business.

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The new approach to stock take using POS software

Demonstrating its commitment to innovation, the latest release of POS software from Tower Systems offers a completely new stock take facility.

Completely re-designed from the ground up, this new stocktaking facility works as well with tablets as it does on your traditional desktop.

Packed with new features, this new stock take facility is available for the end of financial year stock take retailers will undertake over the next two months.

Tower Systems is committed to providing its small business retail partners a continuously improving POS software experience through considerable investment in software development.

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How POS software helps small business retailers from the front door to the back office

Software is only as valuable to a business as the contribution it makes. This contribution can be measured in time and money for its from these two that all other benefits flow. Here are ways our point of sale software will help gift shops, jewellers, bike retailers, pet shops and more make more money and free time

  1. Better customer service. Our software guides the sales process and gathers all necessary information, freeing retail staff for selling.
  2. Saving time. Using our software, sales are processed quickly. As retailers ourselves we have focused on delivering fast and efficient processing for sales.
  3. Reducing theft. Stores without a POS system are more susceptible to employee theft. In fact nearly 50% of retail shrinkage comes from employee theft. Our software can help to significantly reduce or eliminate these occurrences. We draw your attention to suspicious behaviour. For more security, you can password protect any area that you do not want employees to be able to access.
  4. Better decisions. We provide access to real-time information. Whether you have one store or 30 stores, you have instant and up to the minute access to sales numbers, stock, margins and more. This ability to have instant and accurate information enables you to make the absolute most out of your investment.
  5. Increased sales. In many ways throughout the business we help with this.
  6. After sales marketing. Using our loyalty program you send targeted letters, emails, and direct mail to customers based on purchases and other criteria. We have several loyalty options.
  7. Payment integration. With integrated Eftpos you can un clutter the counter, streamline sales processing and make record keeping easier. Time and money saved.
  8. Reduced mistakes. Using our software you can cut paperwork and this cuts mistakes. You can rely on the software to advise sales data and thereby stop you buying products which are not selling. Good retailing begins with good buying.
  9. Better integration with suppliers. Thanks to the supplier links in our software you are able to give suppliers data in return for better deals. There are many case studies in our files of this working to the benefit of our retail customers. Good retailing begins with good buying.
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More suppliers join Tower Systems EDI community

Small business retailers are set from more suppliers joining the Tower Systems EDI user community offering access to electronic invoices, stock files and other benefits.

With someone dedicated full-time in our business to help wholesales and others connect with retailers, we are well positioned to be able to help overcome hurdles in suppler organisations. This service is one reason we have more suppliers connected with our customers through our software.

The latest supplier coming on board to offer electronic invoices will be a help to many customers as they trade in the newsagency and gift marketplaces – where we serve over 2,000 small businesses.

The moment they are ready we will announce to our customers.

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POS software reports on KPIs for small and independent retailers

Few small business POS software products report on return on investment, stock turn, return on floor space and return on shelf space. The Tower Systems POS software delivers on reporting on these and other KPIs, enabling retailers to have a better understanding of business performance and through this the opportunity to make better quality business decisions.

Return on investment, stock turn, return on floor space and return on shelf space are the most vital of retail business Key Performance Indicators. That retailers using the Tower software can access these for themselves and easily demonstrates a valuable point of difference.

Since some small business retailers don’t understand the KPIs, the Tower help desk and business management teams offer assistance in understanding and guidance on decisions which can be made as a result of tapping into the KPIs.

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Sunday retail business management advice: leverage your top sellers for more value

Every retail business can sell more to every customer. This is easy when you have good business data and use this to make good business decisions.

Making more money from every sale starts with you understanding shopper behaviour today.

Get a report from your Point of Sale software listing your top ten selling items, by unit sales for the last three months. Do not look at dollars. Unit sales is the far more valuable count since this is a discussion about leveraging volume.

In the Tower software the report is a 10×10 Report. This lists the top 10 items and the ten items selling with those 10 items. (You can set the number to anything besides 10.)

In a typical retail store, the top ten selling items will account for between 30% and 50% of revenue of the business.

Look at your top sellers report and concentrate on the top selling items. Consider these questions about the top selling items:

  1. Do you have appropriate impulse purchase products located on either side of each top item?
  2. Are the top items spread through the store, to maximize customer throughput?
  3. How often do you move the top items?
  4. Do you have the top ten items in multiple locations?
  5. What impulse purchase items do you have at the counter which will appeal to customers who purchase any of the top ten items?
  6. Has the list of top ten sellers changed in the last year? If so, how have they changed and what can you learn from this.
  7. Are there products which you do not currently carry which you could add to the store to sell with the top ten sellers?
  8. Do customers who purchase the top ten sellers ask for any other items?

The idea embedded in these questions is very simple. Use the top ten sellers, or top twenty or top thirty, to focus your attention on items with which you can work to achieve more sales in your business.

By focusing on the top sellers and what you can sell with them you can increase the size of the average shopping basket.

If you can’t see opportunities for achieving more sales by placing products next to or with the top sellers then speak with your team and speak with trusted customers. Don’t rest until you unlock suggestions to try.

There is plenty of additional money to be made from your top sellers. Invest time and attention on this project and get ready to bank the results.

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POS software helps gift shops, small business retailers handle special orders

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 10.14.08 amThe POS software from Tower Systems has excellent facilities for handling special orders, pre-orders and other forms of orders for customers that are unique to the customer and a point of difference for the business to offer.

Special orders and customer pre-orders are a point of difference for small independent retailers over big businesses. Being bale to do this with consistency and certainty can help these businesses more successfully compete.

Thanks to years of refinement and working with retailers in a wide variety of retail situations, Tower Systems offers a competitive advantage from the recording of customer details, tracking an order,k advising its arrival and handling a range of payment options including time payment.

We have retailers today transacting valuable business in pre-orders of highly valuable product as a result of these tools in the software. They are financially better off today and over the long term as special order customers tend to return for more orders.

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Sunday retail management advice: success today is important for tomorrow

Too often we see small business retailers running their businesses thinking that they will make their money when they sell. Our experience working with thousands of retailers is that focusing on today, on the right now, will ensure the best outcome for the future of the business.

Our strategy – Make every day your pay day – is simple and effective. It’s made up of basic points:

  1. Run with the leanest roster possibl Just about every newsagency business I review has capacity to lower labour costs.
  2. Have your best people working the floor, helping customers spend more.
  3. Stock what sells.
  4. Get rid of stock which is not selling.
  5. Have stunning displays that attract people from outside the shop.
  6. Have compelling displays in-store that encourage people to browse beyond their destination purchase.
  7. Always have impulse offers at high traffic locations.
  8. Charge more every time you can. Review your prices for products people come to yoo because of convenience.
  9. Buy as best you can.
  10. Grab settlement discounts every time you are able.
  11. Use your business data to guide your decisions.
  12. Promote outside your store.

Be responsible for the profitability of your business. Don’t blame your suppliers, your landlord, your employees or some other external factor … it all comes down to you – the decisions you make and the actions you take.

If you relentlessly pursue profit with a clear focus you’re likely to see profit grow. That’s better than waiting to make money when you sell because that’s less likely to happen in this market.

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POS software company provides more help to small business retailers reducing theft

Tower Systems has been helping more retailers using its POS software POS software to deal with employee theft situations. We have a structured process for independently checking evidence without being influenced by stories. The process has been praised by police and prosecutors. It has been on show in court rooms where we have provided expert witness evidence.

Employees in retail businesses using our software are on notice. We have tools you will never find which can uncover behavior which indicates without a doubt that theft is occurring. This evidence has stood up scrutiny and resulted in successful action.

Our advice to retailers is to use the facilities in our software for theft reduction. If you have a concern, ask us for a free Theft Check service.

We’re here to help. That’s our motto. When it comes to employee theft, we’re in your corner and there to help you deal with it and get through the emotional and operational challenges of discovering a theft situation.

Our theft related work is undertaken at senior levels within the business. It is highly confidential. Our most cases are never discussed until completely closed and even then only ever without identifying details.

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Free roster software for small business retailers

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 3.07.02 pmTower Systems has launched free roster cloud-based roster software developed specifically for small business retailers.

This easy to use platform is serves single location and multi location retailers. It offers a variety of tools and helps retailers with budgeting to drive a better labour cost outcome.

The new employee roster software for retailers is another enhancement from Tower Systems, delivered at no cost to its customers – demonstrating innovation in a practical and no cost way.

This is another way we live up to our motto: We’re here to help.

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POS software drives retail sales

One of our POS software team members this week saw first hand the value of the latest loyalty facilities in ur software in a business which switched from MYOB to us and from a points based loyalty system to our $$$ based front end loyalty solution. Here is their story:

I popped in to see a client who swapped to our software late last year from MYOB, they were doing a points based loyalty system before, and changed to our discount vouchers on launch of our software.  The result is excellent sales growth. This is a good report to show you can still get engagement of vouchers, even at low customer numbers and low values.  Average voucher issued was $2.06.

We love hearing stories like this as they reflect on our value proposition of helping our customers. While we help in many ways, it is through the loyalty offer where we see excellent business growth results.

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Sunday retail management advice: inspiration retail management success stories

While some retailers gravitate to stories of doom and gloom, others are chase and enjoy success large and small.

Through our work with our POS software we get to meet with plenty of retailers and look at many businesses.

We are certain that success is not an accident.

Success is planned for and chased. It is the goal reflected in every business decision. It comes from refusing to let the business run you.

We’d like to share three real-world stories with you.

The small shop turning over $380,000 a year and growing 28%

Talking with a gift shop owner about their 28% increase in sales in the financial year just ended.

Yes, you read right, a 28% lift in sales in the 2012/13 year. This is on the back of a 17% increase the year before. This is a business that is more than ten years old.

This is no accident. They planned for it by carefully looking at their business data and shedding products that were not working. They adjusted opening hours too as they discovered business later in the day that they had not realised was there. This knowledge opened them to opportunities for last minute shoppers.

The owner of the business decided to chase success because the turnover was barely enough to cover rent, wages and the loan taken out to fund the business. It was grow or bust.

They planned for success by using their business data. The first year – 17% up from a low turnover base – was encouraging. The 28% increase this past financial year proves value of paying attention to business data.

Sales data guided them as to the suppliers of the best to focus on. One employee was eased out of the business for failing to achieve minimum sales targets.

The owner spent more time on the shop floor selling to achieve minimum margin dollars per sale rather than just chatting with shoppers.

The result shows what can happen when you focus on being a retailer, the owner said to me with a huge smile.

A gift shop reengineers and saves itself

Another gift shop we have been working with was in trouble. Shops nearby were closing and the small shopping strip had a dark feeling. For a while they were sucked into the cloud of doom and gloom.

Checking their data we saw that several special interest items sold well and provided an above-average margin. They used this knowledge as the basis for small expansion.

Over six months they increased their range of the special interest items and they connected with community groups to share knowledge.

Over six months sales grew, not into double-digit growth but they were happy to have at least stopped the decline.

In the second six months sales grew further. Now they were into double digit growth territory. Shoppers happy with their specialisation were telling others. Word of mouth was driving extra traffic.

That was a year ago. Today, this business is very different. People travel for up to two hours to see their range. The average sale value has more than doubled, margins are up 15% and customer traffic is up 25%. Combine these three and you can see why the owner is very happy.

They did not plan to become a product specialist. The survival of their business demanded it.

How a product category drove sales and profit

This gift shop owner came to us because they were in trouble. Sales were falling. Together, we took an in-depth look at their data.

The category performing best in terms of return on investment and return on floor-space was plush, teddy bears and some soft toys. That can’t be right, said the owner, it’s stuck in the back of the shop.

Data does not lie. It revealed that their small selection of plush was selling well despite the owner and the employees not being all that interested in it.

Fast forward six months and this business has turned around. They are now a plush shop at the front with other gifts. Sales are up 65% and climbing. They have increased their margin too – because they have products others nearby don’t have.

Turning this business around was easy as the data offered the guide. The changes took a week to complete and initially required only a $5,000 capital investment in additional stock.

Own your success

Small and independent retail businesses can achieve growth in any economic situation.

People don’t stop shopping in tough times – they just change what they buy.

By taking a fresh look at business data gift shop owners can change focus, attract new shoppers and get existing shoppers spending more.

We’re happy to help.

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