Sunday retail business management advice: 16 ways retailers can reduce employee theft

  1. For everyday items, items most people will use or could convert to cash, use stock control. Enter new stock as it comes in, scan all sales and only reorder based on what you software says. Every month do a stock take. Take cigarettes – Tobacco stock discrepancies are an indicator of theft. Had one newsagent been doing this they would have caught their $250 a day employee theft months earlier.
  2. Scan everything you sell. Do not use department keys as this makes it easier for employees to steal since they know there is no trackback to stock on hand. Using department keys is an invitation to steal.
  3. Do your end of shift through your software and have a zero-tolerance policy on being over or under. Reconcile banking to your computer software end of shift. One newsagency where this was not done was being skimmed regularly for $200 a day.
  4. Do spot cash balancing. Unexpected checks can uncover surprises. One newsagent needing to do a banking during the day uncovered a $350 discrepancy that lead to discovery of systematic theft.
  5. Change your roster. Sometimes people work together to steal. One newsagent found a family friend senior and their teenage daughter stealing consistently.
  6. Check your Audit Log. Look at cancelled sales, deleted sales and items deleted from a sale. Leaving a cash drawer open from the previous sale, scanning items, taking the cash and cancelling the sale is the most common process used by employees to accrue cash they then take from you. Good software tracks cancelled sales and what was in them. This can be matched with video footage.
  7. Check GP by department. If GP is falling outside what you expect, research it further.
  8. Setup a theft policy. Put this on a noticeboard in the back room. Get staff to read it and sign up to it. See the last page of this advice.
  9. Keep the counter clean. A better organised counter reduces the opportunity for theft as it makes detection easier.
  10. Have a no employee bags at the counter policy. This makes it harder for them to hide your cash.
  11. Beware employees who carry folded paper or small notepads. These can be used for them to keep track of how much cash is in the register that is theirs – i.e. not rung up in the software.
  12. Beware of calculators with memories at the counter. One newsagency employee used the memory function to track how much cash had to be stolen prior to balancing for the day – cash from sales not rung up.
  13. Do not let employees sell to themselves. If they want to purchase something make them purchase it from the other side of the counter.
  14. Be professional in your management of the business. The more professional your approach they less likely your employees will steal as they will see the risk of being caught as high.
  15. Advise all job applicants that you will require their permission for a police check. From the outset this indicates that you take your business seriously. In many situations applicants who have been asked for permission to do a police check advise they have found a job elsewhere.
  16. Do not take cash out for your own use in front of employees. If they see you take cash for a coffee or lunch some will see this as an invitation.
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POS software helps retailers engage shoppers in competitions

hmkbbqThanks to receipt options and other facilities in our POS software, retailers can help drive shopper engagement in competitions – such as the Hallmark cards competition offering the opportunity to win a $500 BBQ in participating stores that’s running at the moment.

Retailers can promote competitions like this on their receipts. They can also promote it on customer displays. This type of promotion is free. It is excellent use of existing retail management infrastructure – manages by our POS software as directed by our retailers.

Connecting shoppers on receipts and at other touch points with in-store promotions such as the BBQ prize adds value to the in-store promotion and drives the likelihood of shopper engagement in the promotion.

Smart use of our smart POS software drives better outcomes for our retail partners.  Our help desk enjoys helping retailers to leverage these opportunities.

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PayPal payment live use in smart POS software commences

paypknxTower Systems is thrilled that following an extensive joint project commenced with PayPal in 2013 and considerable beta testing and we last week commenced live use of our fully integrated PayPal in-store payment option.

This integrated PayPal payment facility will not only help retailers accept a new form of payment, it will drive traffic to their businesses thanks to the wonderful support of PayPal and the engagement of the PayPal community.

Being the first to market in our specialist retail channels not only gives us a wonderful commercial advantage, it also provides us with experiences that will play out in other areas of our business as we bring on more suppliers with smart POS software integrations.

Tower Systems is proud of the work of its design, development, testing and deployment teams who has collaborated so well with the experts from PayPal on this project.

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POS software helps retailers better serve collectors of all types of collectibles

collectCollectors come in all shapes and sizes. They are important customers to many types of retail businesses. Some businesses identify them as collectors and others do not. Some bring in product on a regular basis that builds collections over time and to a calendar while others serve special orders driven by customer requests.

Regardless of the types of collectors served and how you may serve them, Tower Systems has facilities within its Point of Sale software to serve the needs of retailers serving collectors. From personal barcodes on products to tracking orders, to tracking collection to managing product shelf life, the collectible product facilities are used extensively within the Tower Systems retail business user community.

The facilities serving the collectibles area is another example of the value of specialist software developed ion close association with retailers in the space.

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All set for the Melbourne Home & Giving Fair

homewares

Tower Systems is thrilled and excited for the start of the Home & Giving Fair in Melbourne today. We have been doing this fair for many years with terrific success. Over time, our involvement has game from it being a pure sales event to now being sales and existing customer networking.

We love the Home & Giving Fair for the opportunities it presents as well as new suppliers it puts us in contact with.

Our stand is set and we are excited for what will come our way over the next five days.

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POS software helps retailers win insurance sales

Retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software have access to facilities ideal for handling insurance sales – of items being paid for by insurers as replacements for items lost or damaged. We have had this facility for years as part of a suite of mature services for retailers serving diverse needs in several marketplaces.

Jewellers, bike retailers, garden centres and homewares stores benefit from these insurance facilities. Insurance companies too benefit in that they can rely on small and independent retailers to be retail outlets for satisfying insurance claims.

Insurance claims is one area of our software where we continually adjust and enhance the software based on customer and other stakeholder feedback.

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Brisbane Gift Fair tomorrow!

Tower Systems is excited and ready for Gift HQ – the Brisbane Gift Fair that starts tomorrow morning. We have a wonderful stand with new software and plenty of business-building opportunities for gift and homewares retailers.

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Gift & Homewares Association promotes Tower Systems

thewrapTower Systems is thrilled that its Gift and Homewares POS software is being promoted by the respected AGHA in the lead up to the next round of trade shows.

Serving hundreds of gift and homewares retailers, Tower Systems  is well-established in handling the needs of these retailers as well as handling the needs of their suppliers – connecting the two types of businesses in a way that is beneficial to both.

Our next AGHA event will be the August fair in Melbourne.

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POS software thermal barcode label design flexibility loved by retailers

thelabelRetailers using the POS software from Tower Systems have the ability to design their own product price and barcode labels. They can choose the fields to include and the placement of these fields – allowing a business to tailor label layout and design to serve their needs.

The level of flexibility offered by Tower Systems is rare in POS software. It has evolved over time thanks to advice from retailers using the Tower software and their support for an engaged continual improvement program for the software.

Jewellers, garden centres, newsagents, gift shops, homewares stores and others love the product label flexibility and the variety of options available.

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Xero POS software interface interest encourages retailers

xerolinkOur soft launch here of our POS software / Xero cloud based accounting software interface is exciting plenty of retailers and their accountants. We have a growing group of existing and prospective new customers keen to leverage the link to help small independent retail businesses grow.

This week we have finalised documentation explaining the seamless POS software to Xero link and outlining the low-cost for access to it through our software.

We are very excited for the commercial release once we are through the current beta process.

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Sunday small business retail management advice: gift cards help you win the sale

elitefishWhile more and more retail businesses are offering gift cards, the commercial success depends on the confidence of customers in the gift card product. A more professional looking gift card the more a customer is likely to trust the card.

This is where Tower Systems can help.

Thanks to our professional in-house gift card design and production service we are able to help independent small retail businesses to have a card that looks professional, trustworthy and valuable. Retailers we partner with often are thrilled with the cards supplied and the sales that result from their use.

Any small retail business can compete with major retailers by offering professional plastic cards that make the business look great. Done well, a gift card can help you win business you might otherwise not have won.

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Tower Systems delivering Paypal payment option in another first

Tower Systems has been working with Paypal since last year on an innovative in-store payment option for small business retailers in the Tower Systems community. This work has resulted in an interface between the Tower Point of Sale software and a new consumer App being from Paypal.

Having passed tests, trials and rigorous acceptance testing, the next release of the Tower software will support Paypal as a method of over the counter payment for shoppers shopping in retail businesses using the Tower software.

This is genuine innovation that has come about as a result of professional development between Tower Systems and Paypal.

We are thrilled to be the partner chosen by Paypal for this work last year – giving Tower Systems customers a wonderful commercial advantage.

We will announce sign-up details shortly.

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Sunday retail management advice: POS software receipt marketing works

We have seen excellent results from receipt based marketing this week where a retailer using our POS software reported double-digit sales growth across almost all categories and the only change in their business for most of these categories in the last six months was the implementation of our receipt-based discount vouchers.

While they call them something else – Shopper Rewards – internally in our software they are called discount vouchers for ease of reference. Bet they are much more than discount vouchers!

15% of customers are engaging with the vouchers and it is these customers who are driving the revenue growth for the business.

We can show small and independent retailers how they can grow their businesses by engaging with this unique and successful business marketing and management initiative. In our own retail experience we know that it’s money in the bank.

The keys to success that we regularly see are:

  1. The across the counter pitch. This comes down to staff training.
  2. Simple text on the voucher. Users of the software have complete control over this.
  3. Good value on the voucher. Users of our software have compete control over this.
  4. Good business rules for redemption to drive sales. Users of the software have complete control over this.

The success of many small business retailers with our offering is encouraging and exciting. We love it!

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Busy Saturday for the POS software help desk

The day has really only just begun for many but our live office-based help desk has already been busy helping retailers with support and training as part of our Saturday support commitment.

We have offered this office-based service for many years and customers love it. Being office-based we have access to more facilities and services and this provides our customers with a better outcome for some calls that require more than knowledge.

Our Saturday support service is a point of difference that helps us win customers. We love it!

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Independent retailers benefit from loyalty choice in POS software

For years, retailers, especially independent and small business retailers, have been told to follow retail giants and reward loyal shoppers with points that can be redeemed for gifts and discounts.

Dutifully, many small business retailers acted on this – but without a thought-through strategy to achieve the best outcome for the business.

Without a financially rewarding outcome for a business, a loyalty program is worthless.

This is why retailers, in any retail channel and in any retail situation – high street, shopping mall, rural and or regional – need options in terms of shopper loyalty rewards. It is why Tower Systems offers valued options in its Point of Sale software.

While a points based program is useful, it could be that the business will benefit from a different approach.

Good POS software will offer flexibility. This flexibility can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line performance of a retail business each year.

The Tower Systems Point of Sale software supports multiple loyalty options that include: a traditional points based approach, interfacing to the respected Vii Accumulate loyalty platform, interfacing to the equally respected Transactor loyalty platform, interfacing to Flybys NZ and offering a unique and flexible front end loyalty solution.

Having so many options available provides Tower Systems retail partners with commercially valuable flexibility.

The loyalty platform selected by a business depends on the needs of that business. A business that chooses POS software without broad flexibility will be limited in what they can achieve for their business with their software.

Big system interfaces

Vii Accumulate – used by Qantas, BankWest, Clipsal and others – and Transactor – used by Westfield, Amcal, Goldmark, Prouds, Avanti, Subway and others – are both used by retail banner groups and national retailers to connect stores allowing point accumulation and redemption in any location.

The Tower Systems approach with these two platforms delivers maximum flexibility for the retailers and banner groups. Through our seamless interface you have access to the facilities of either Vii Accumulate and Transactor.

Groups with as few as four retail locations could benefit from either interface.

The traditional points-based approach

In the Tower Systems software, retailers can accrue points for customers easily.

This is done by customers presenting a loyalty card, usually called a VIP card, at any time during a sale.

This is the easiest loyalty program to setup in a small or independent retail business.

The software accrues points according to rules established by the business owner. Points can be used by customers to access rewards. They can also be used to generate gift vouchers for shoppers based on points accrued.

Many retail businesses using the Tower software use the points-based loyalty facilities to encourage shoppers to spend more.

Shopper loyalty is much desired yet harder to achieve in this world with more competition, more loyalty options and a greater desire for instant gratification.

Following carefully assessment of international trends and looking thoroughly at how large and national retailers used primarily points-bases systems to drive loyalty, Tower Systems invested in an alternative, a new software based facility to reward loyalty for an often forgotten shopper.

Change the game: front-end loyalty

By using an approach we at Tower call front-ending loyalty, retailers can achieve more from first-time and infrequent shoppers. Front-ending loyalty brings a reward to the front in an effort to engage shoppers in additional purchases sooner.

Too often loyalty has been all about total spend over a year whereas above average spend in just one visit can be more valuable to a business.

It’s an approach that can encourage those who do not shop with you to purchase something else right away, to get the value of the cash discount offered.

Regular shoppers can spend the cash discount right away or come back within any time limit you set.

We started trialling this front-ending loyalty strategy in February 2013 in several retail businesses. We did it using the Discount Vouchers facilities in the Tower Systems software.

Building the basket

From the first day we saw shoppers changing behaviour.

One chap came in to purchase a specific item. When he was handed the receipt the voucher was pointed out to him – offering $2.00 off his next purchase. He was not a regular and so spent the $2.00, and more, right away on another item. He received another voucher and purchased a third item. In all, he spent three times as much as the original purchase – all because of the Discount Vouchers he received.

Around 33% of all vouchers redeemed are used the day they are received. This shows customers building the basket – adding to their purchase that day as a result of the voucher. This makes each visit more valuable to us.

Bringing shoppers back

Around 33% of redeemed vouchers are used within seven days of issue and the remaining 33% are redeemed up to four weeks after issue.

Here’s another real story: A month after we started trialling this new approach to loyalty, a customer came in and used a voucher she had picked up a couple of weeks earlier. She was happy to get $5.00 off a $45.00 item she wanted. This resulted in another voucher so she bought another item for $29.95.

This customer said she would be back. Two weeks later she was.

You control the business rules covering how vouchers are issued and redeemed. You control your financial exposure at all times.

Like any good loyalty program, you need good levers with which to drive shopper engagement and to deliver the benefits it needs to justify the investment.

The Discount Vouchers facilities in the Tower software have this.

You control the amount of each sale you are prepared to give away on the voucher.

You control the products the voucher can be used for.

You control how long the voucher is live for.  I suggest 28 days but I have some retailers setting this at 90 days.

You control what it’s called

We have shoppers calling their vouchers Bonus Bucks, Cash Off, Thank You Dollars and other names retailers feel are relevant to their businesses.

The software has been developed in a way that gives each retailer complete flexibility as to what they call their program. This localisation opportunity is important as it gives you ownership over your own program.

Helping your business

With big box and national offering their corporate loyalty programs, it’s important for retailers to offer a genuine point of difference.  Discount Vouchers offer this.

While their approach is very corporate, your approach can be more flexible and more focused on early rewards. Over the months of trialling we have seen changes shopper behaviour, it gets them spending more with you.

I’m confident this fresh approach to loyalty is a game changer for any garden centre business. The control you have enables you to easily manage the cost and the value you gain from the program.

This really is a new approach to bringing shoppers back sooner and getting them to spend more with you.

So, which loyalty program is right for your business? That choice is up to you.

Tower Systems provides you with options, some of which are unique to us in our various retail channels.

Thanks to our partnerships and interfaces we provide retailers with a depth of flexibility that is extraordinary.

That you have a choice is vitally important. Better still, that you can move between the options is even better.

Where we are at today in terms of loyalty will be different to tomorrow as change is inevitable. Our commitment is to continue to refresh our software to ensure it and those who use it are competitive.

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Free QR code generating & hosting platform for small business retailers

The Tower Systems QRki, QR code publishing and access platform for retailers, is available to retailers and other businesses for free in another helpful software service from Tower Systems.

Retailers and other small business operators can make videos, files, competition entry forms, Facebook links and other online content accessible through a unique QR code they generate using the QRki website. Many QRki facilities are free.

We created QRki to help small businesses harness the opportunity of QR codes without needing to invest in software of their own.

QRki is another example of our commitment to small businesses and independent retailers. We’ve also enabled QRki for anyone to use – you don’t need to be a Tower Systems customer.

Developed and designed in Australia but for use from anywhere in the world, QRki is another example of cloud based innovation for small businesses.

QRki is available now for anyone from anywhere to use regardless of POS or other software used in the business.

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Fun on the POS software reception desk

animaldeskWe loved one of the products sold by a supplier to retailers in a couple of the retail channels we serve that we bought something for our reception area.

This cute mouse brings a smile to the faces of visitors and it reminds us of our customers in the garden centre, pet shop, homewares and newsagency retail channels.

We like the fun and colour of this cute mouse.

We’re not your average software company.

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POS software helps gift retailers find the product box

gift-boxFinding the box that goes with an item that a customer wants to purchase can be a challenge for any retailer. The Tower Systems POS software helps retailers remember where the box is stored –  showing this information when the items is scanned in the POS software.

Knowing where a box is within the business can save time in the sales process and help the retail business to serve customers more professionally. This can be money in the bank as it supports a professional and timely customer experience.

Retail customers who enjoy the experience will be back sooner.

The facilities in our software for tracking where boxes for gift and other items are in-store are another way our POS software helps retailers make more money from their technology investment.

 

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Sunday small business retail management advice: beware the bank claiming low EFTPOS fees

We are seeing banks chase retailer eftpos business with low fees and other deals. Our advice is do your homework, read the fine print, get all offers in writing and only agree once you are completely satisfied.

Too often we see bank eftpos offers are not as good as they claim to be in the longer term and often retailers find themselves contracted to a deal that does not work for them.

So our advice to retailers today is to do your research on eftpos offers from banks. Don’t sign unless you are 100% sure.

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POS software support escalation software helps retailers

With more and more POS software companies pushing customers to help desks where people follow call scripts so as to not deviate off the path and with many software companies not offering personal contact details of management, here at Tower Systems we are proud to have a documented escalation process through which any of our customers can access senior management assistance on any issue.

Here is what we include in all customer communication and have done for many years:

SUPPORT ESCALATION PROCEDURE: Our help desk is always your first port of call.  If you are unhappy with progress please escalate to our Customer Service Manager.  If you are unhappy with their response please contact our COO, Gavin Williams gavinw@towersystems.com.au or our CEO: Mark Fletcher 0418 321 338 mark@towersystems.com.au.

Our escalation process is used often – usually not for a complaint but to seek more business operational related assistance that it outside the scope and knowledge of the usual help desk call. We appreciate the opportunity to serve our customers with this assistance.

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Software helps small business retailers serve collectibles customers

bbimage001Thanks to text message alerts and other personal customer management and interaction opportunities, retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software are able to deliver a level of professional management and engagement that welds customer collecting a series of products to the business.

By individually labelling collectible / special order products with a customer’s name and sending them an alert email or text message, the business is able to provide certainty of supply – something that is very important to collectible customers.

Newsagents, jewellers, gift shops, garden centres and pet shops are able to use these collectible customer facilities to personalise the shopper experience for the most valuable of shoppers.

Imagine the delight of a customer collecting a series of products or waiting on a special when they receive a text message or email saying that what they have been waiting for is now in-store and set aside for them.  This is where small business retailers can shine. Our software helps them do that.

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Gift shops loving Gift shop software @ $8 a day

gift-shop-software-posThe Tower Systems gift shop software pitch is simple: software designed specifically for gift shops with hardware with on site installation with on site training and with one year of live 24/7 support: $8 a day.

This solution from Tower Systems gets better with time too as the software is regularly updated – enhanced based on suggestions from customers.

With hundreds of gift shops using our gift shop software we have an excellent community of businesses from which to draw ideas and inspiration to help maintain our position as loved and respected gift shop software.

The $8 a day offer is available now and is exclusive to Tower Systems.

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Gift voucher options help small business retailers compete

gftvoucherRetailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software have access to a range of gift voucher / gift card options in the software. The photo shows the simplest of the gift voucher options – a voucher printed on a receipt printer.

While not sexy, this voucher works where cost is an issue.

Our recommendation always is to go for a professionally designed and produced plastic card. However, if the cost of this is prohibitive the voucher produced using the receipt printer is an excellent option. Retailers can produce this right away without effort and at no additional cost.

This paper based voucher is a means through which they can sell to a customer who can’t find the gift they are looking for.

It’s another way Tower Systems helps retailers.

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Helping small business retailers know when they are close to out of stock

outofstockSmall business retailers are often tight on inventory, putting off replenishing until the last minute. Thanks to timely warnings issued by our POS software in the Point of Sale screen, we warn retailers about imminent out of stocks as another reminder of their stock holding situation.

This on screen reminder is in addition to reorder facilities and other stock control / ordering /  tools in the software through which retailers are able to ensure they have stock on the floor at the right time.

The on screen reminder is another way we help retailers be ready in time.

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Where is the box for this? POS software helps retailers find the box!

packaginglocationRetailers using our smart POS software are able to have the software indicate on the sales screen when scanning an item where the box for the item is located in-store. This is invaluable at a busy sales counter and in a business where casual employees are used. It helps anyone at the counter find the box or pother packaging quickly and easily. It shows the business as being professional.

Our Point of Sale software has offered this facility for many years. It’s a tiny part of what our software does yet for some retailers that we do this is huge – tremendously valuable. It’s all about helping retailers save time. It’s also about helping them enjoy their businesses more. This function reduces stress.

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