Sunday retail management advice: use QR codes to drive shopper engagement

logo138Tower Systems has developed for small business retailers a FREE cloud based QR code accessible content hosting and shopper interaction platform.

QRKI offers excellent facilities for allowing in-store and out of store access to product videos, instruction files, competition entries and other information sharing and harvesting opportunities.

Free from Tower for any business, QR code is another example of Tower Systems helping small and independent retail businesses to use technology to compete.

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

We’ve kept the price low to make access affordable. It’s part 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 in Australia but for use from anywhere in the world, QRki is another example of cloud based innovation for small businesses.

Share your feedback at info@qrki.com.au.  You can also speak direct with the owner of Tower Systems, Mark Fletcher, on 0418 321 338 (+61 418 321 338).

We hope your like QRki.

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PayPal payments at breeze at the retail counter

Paypal RetailerThis screen shot is from a  live in-store PayPal payment using the Tower Systems  POS software. We have removed the customer name – but that would usually appear. The customer details are shared by PayPal as part of the line integration in our software.

It’s fast, easy and it is another first from Tower systems.

We are grateful to PayPal for the opportunity to be a trial developer and to lead in our retail channels by bringing shop floor PayPal market and marketing to our small business customers.

The integration is live in our software and retailers are embracing it – not only for sales but to drive new traffic for their businesses.

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Sunday retail management advice: drive better gross profit by selling at the best price

What you charge for what you sell needs to be carefully considered.  Price is all about customer perception of value.  Value is based in a range of criteria including:

  • Convenience.
  • Added value – from purchasing from this business.
  • Perceived value – how you package a product compared to how others package the same product can lead to a different price.

a. Manage labour to focus on products with the best return to the business. This is a balance between overall gross profit dollars and margin percentage.

b. Look at items with a customer service component, where your expertise is required to make the sale or make good use of the products or where there is a reasonable after sales service component. These can usually carry a higher margin.

c. Look at the items which are unique to your business in your location or nearby.  If you are the only store serving the local community then you do have a pricing opportunity. These items can usually carry a higher margin.

d. Assess why people shop at your shop.  If they are shopping because of convenience then you have the capacity to charge more for this.  This is why convenience stores charge more for items which you can buy elsewhere for considerably less.

f. Involve others in setting sale price.  Ask your team what you can charge for an item.  Assess what they think you can “get away with”.  By polling team members, you may find that your perception on price is lower than what others expect.

You can build a stronger business by taking small steps each day which focus on new traffic, better margin and improved sales efficiency. No grand plan, no expert strategy – just small steps which leverage opportunities which exist in your retail business.

By paying closer attention to the margin you can achieve, you strengthen the financial foundation of the business and ensure that your return on inventory investment is more helpful to the bigger business plan.

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Small and independent retailers love our free QR code platform

qrkiMore and more small and independent retailers are using the free cloud based service called QRki from Tower Systems to harvest contact details from customers for email and other campaigns as well as to host videos of products and provide easy QR code based access to business Facebook pages.

QRki generates a QR code that your customers can use to provide contact details, enter competitions, look at videos of products you load and look at other connect you may load.

We developed and released this free cloud-based platform to help small and independent retailers  to more effectively market and manage your business.

QRki is another way Tower Systems is helping small and independent retailers.

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POS software helps retailers know their best trading hours

Small and independent can save labour costs by carefully rostering employees based on the performance of the business across its opening hours.

Thanks to detailed trading hour performance reporting in the Point of Sale software from Tower Systems, our retail partners can tap into data that will help them trim roster hours.

Our sales by time reporting can also help shift hours from one part of the roster to another – to a time when the business could achieve an increase in sales by having more people available on the shop floor.

This is where knowing sales by time becomes really useful – in chasing revenue growth through smarter rostering through the software.

Our helpdesk team is happy to help and retailer using our software – to create a more valuable roster.

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Sunday retail management advice: POS software discount voucher shopper loyalty program drives sales

xxnaf99The data is in and the discount vouchers loyalty facilities in our Point of Sale software drive sales across retail channels.

When you see same store year on year growth of ten percent and more with the only change of significance being the introduction of discount vouchers the impact of the program is obvious.

While some retailers are having success with the old points-based loyalty program, some who have switched from that to discount vouchers are surprised at the almost immediate lift in sales as a result – indicating that shoppers were fatigued with the old approach to loyalty.

We think shoppers like an immediate reward and that’s what discount vouchers provide – the ability to tap into immediate savings by spending more right away and beyond what the shopper probably visited the business to spend.

The greater the basket value the greater the discount voucher opportunity. In one example recently in a garden central, a shopper spend just over $100.00 and received a voucher offer ing a $10.00 discount on their next purchase. They then bought an item priced at $175.00. This shopper was not a regular and unlikely to return. Sio, the business more than doubled the value of its sales to this shopper and the only cost was $10.00 gross and around $5.00 net - a low cost for valuable and satisfying engagement.

Our management tip for retailers today is to engage in a loyalty offering that is valuable for your customers. In the cases we have been seeing recently, discount vouchers is the right offer in a range of circumstances. Indeed, we have see it help businesses out-perform other loyalty programs / offers.

This is an easy marketing opportunity with which to engage – driving excellent outcomes. As it forms part of the base tower Systems software there is no capital or other cost in getting up and running.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: show off your product expertise

One way retailers can demonstrate superior customer service is through product information they share with customers. Using the smart receipt facilities in the Tower Systems Point of Sale software retailers have been able to automatically include product care and use information on receipts for many years.

Garden centres, jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops and newsagents are all using these facilities to show off a valuable point of difference through the information provided on receipts relating to specific products purchased.

The more retailers use their POS software to deliver valuable points of difference the more they will be remembered and the stronger repeat business will be.

Storing care and use information by product is easy. Once setup, the software manages the rest – making the business look good in providing professional personal service for customers based on what they purchase.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: make sure everyone in your business is on message

It’s not enough in retail to have the right products as the right price supported by marketing and in-store promotions. It is essential that all team members are consistent in their support of the business and its initiatives. The moment an employee in retail puts their own spin on a promotion or offer there is the risk that the message opt the business may be mis represented.

This is why it is vital for retailers to use structured and disciplined tools at their disposal to present messages of the business in a consistent way.

Tools in your POS software can help retail team members stay on message when presenting opportunities to customers. For example, products with customer care information could have this information printed on the receipt, stores with shopper loyalty programs can include value and details on the receipt and businesses offering LayBys could include terms and conditions printed on a LayBy docket.

There are many ways good POS software can help retailers to deliver a more consistent service at the counter and the shop floor. By using these facilities retailers can expect to improve the performance of their business.

Use your software to get everyone on message and everyone benefits.

 

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How retailers can break free from the old school approach to loyalty and give shoppers loyalty rewards they love

Close to a year ago we started secretly experimenting with a completely fresh approach to shopper loyalty. For many months we had been working on our discount vouchers facility, evolving it from an idea into a robust solution backed by excellent reporting while at the same time maintaining support for our traditional points-based VIP card and other loyalty offerings in our Point of Sale software.

In discount vouchers we wanted to deliver something genuinely unique, something that our customers could use to guide shopper loyalty. To achieve this it needed to be sophisticated yet easy to use. It also needed to be easily understood by customers. Oh, and it needed to have obvious value in the hands of shoppers. Finally, we need to undertake the final phase of development while it was being used in retail, so we could respond to retailer and shopper feedback.

While we knew the value of the old-school points-based VIP cards was falling rapidly since they no longer offered a point of difference, we committed to maintaining our support for this approach for those retailers who wanted to remain in this space.

Today, close to a year on from our first trial site, we are thrilled with the results achieved by discount vouchers – or whatever retailers call them … yes, they can give them their own name thanks to naming flexibility in the software. Also a year on, no one has delivered what we have. Sure they have tried, even explicitly saying they have what we have. but they don’t. What we have is unique because it can’t be copied by looking at it from the outside.

Deep within our software retailers partnering with us have options they can set to deliver shopper rewards through discount vouchers that are truly unique to their business even if a retailer nearby is running the same software from us. This is the beauty of the flexibility and power we have built into the software. Settings are personal to each business and they can be changed easily and immediately. This provides retailers with flexibility. They can also change by day and by type of shopper. Indeed, the flexibility and power multiply with each layer of flexibility that we provide.

So, how can retailers using a points based system break free? With our PSO software it’s easy. They can convert points to a voucher value from and from then on run with the vouchers. Or, they can use both. Retailers have the flexibility they want at their fingertips.

Tower Systems backs its exclusive and best-practice shopper loyalty solutions with mature and considered advice to help retailers make the most of the opportunities – to drive shopper traffic and sales. Our experience as retailers helps us take retailers bend technical advice. We have a loyalty rewards specialist in our help desk who helps our retailers embrace the opportunity in these facilities inn our software.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: leverage your top sellers

Using our 10 x 10 Report, retailers using our POS software are able to easily report on top selling items and what is selling with those top selling items. Typically, people report on the top 10 items sold with the top 10 items – hence the name.

Using data from this tremendous report you can see opportunities for product adjacencies to get a deeper basket form the top selling items. This can be more money in your pocket as a result.  We have seen many retailers using 10 x 10 Report the to drive basket depth since knowing the top selling items in a retail business can tell you where to focus your attention to get the maximum eyeball attention to other items.

The 10 x 10 Report enables easy tracking of top sellers and the items that work best with them. If, for example, top selling items with your top selling item are located some distance away you could possible boost sales with better location.

The 10 x 10 Report  is another example of a return developed by retailers for retailers. It’s a powerful report in our excellent reporting suite.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: switching POS software to save money can also save the business

A business switching from other POS software to our software to save on very high and mandatory software support fees has discovered, in the months since, information about their business that the other software did not disclose. They have four our reports to be valuable in guiding business decisions by providing insights that were not obvious to them.

Switching POS software can do far more for a business than save money. Genuinely smart POS software backed by accessible and knowledgable support people can help small and independent retailers to see their business through fresh eyes. This can be a game-changer for the businesses, delivering business defining decisions that strengthen its future.

With the number of businesses that have switched from this software to ours so high, we have an excellent pool of reference sights that support the commercial value of the switch.

Our retail business management advice today: switch POS software and possibly save your business.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: market to your customers based on purchases

Thanks to the marketing module available with our Point of Sale software, retailers partnering with Tower Systems are able to target market to customers based on purchases.

While this facility has been available for years, it is becoming more used as retailers reach out to shoppers based on their past activity. Through email, mail and text message marketing, retailers are able to market to customers using finely tuned search criteria to create the target list.

Tower Systems partners with a text message marketing service that facilitates text message sending for day to day use in the software as well as for bulk marketing campaigns.

This highly targeted marketing is low cost and easy to run thanks to the marketing tools in the software.

We have video and written training available for retailers wanting to engage in this marketing.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: human interaction is key to success

We switched a retailer to our Point of Sale software recently solely because of the poor support they had received from their previous POS software company. When calling their old POS company they place calls using a computerised phone system where you pressed a bunch of buttons to get to log your call for assistance.

Here at Tower Systems when you call you speak with a human, most likely our receptionist.Your query is listened to and then passed to someone, another human, who can help.

Our software company is thriving on the back of the human support we provide our retailer customers. Retail businesses can thrive on the back of human service too. There is no better way for a retailer to show off why dealing with them is better than dealing with online than by providing excellent human to human service.

Our retail management software has facilities through which retailers can improve the service they provide and thereby show off why dealing with them can be more useful and valuable for a shopper than going with an online business. Our support team can share ideas on these facilities in our software.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: use receipts to promote your business

Retailers using our Tower Systems Point of Sale software have been able to include advertising, coupons and promotions on customer receipts. Smart retailers have engaged with this opportunity to wonderful commercial advantage.

Our Sunday advice today is to consider using this opportunity of the receipt as a marketing device to reach out to customers to get them spending more with you. The receipt is a perfect carrier of your message. The space is yours to use.

The photo shows how one retailer is using the receipt to drive engagement with their business Facebook page. others use receipt images to promote specific products. The opportunities are endless and the facility is easy to use.

Use your receipts to market your business and expect good results.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: embracing being local

Small business retailers compete with national chain stores by doing things which the chain stores by focussing on the local community. Generally a chain store will write a cheque to show local support by sponsoring a sport team or a charity. Real engagement takes more than a cheque, it requires a connection with the local community such that the community wants you to succeed.

Here is some free advice for small and independent retailers from our many years experience serving them with our Point of Sale software. This advice could be used by anyone regardless of the software they use.

1. HONOUR BOARD
Either as a separate promotion or on your notice board have a space to recognise a local hero. Make a award regularly – quarterly, monthly – you choose. Invite brief submissions. Make the decision. Put their photo and story on the board. No prize – just recognition of a local hero.

2. GALLERY
Either on your notice board or separate create a local gallery. Invite customers to provide photos of local happenings. Name the people in the photos. The idea is to create something local people want to look at.

3. AMBASSADORS: EMPLOYEES
Your employees have a HUGE role to place in your local connection. Whenever possible hire locally.
Let your employees in on your focus on being locally connected. Seek their suggestions. Encourage their involvement. Give them guidelines on customer communication but encourage them to find their own words.

4. LOCAL NEWSLETTER
Monthly, quarterly – publish a newsletter for customers about your business and its local connection. Write some local stories. Explain how support for your business helps the local community. Promote local products you carry. Keep it simple – stay away from the slick approach of the chain stores.

5. RECHARGE AND LOCALISE YOUR PROMOTIONS
Make this 100% local: local businesses, owned and operating locally; local sport teams and their results. Local clubs; Local events. Headline the board: YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY BOARD – CONNECTING YOU WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS. Appoint someone in the shop to manage the board and check contents each day. A fresh and well arranged board will attract attention. Do not charge for the service.

6. JOIN IN
Join the Chamber of Commerce, go to meetings, get involved in their projects. It’s a great way for you to influence local government spending in your area and to connect with other independent businesses.

7. INVOLVEMENT OUTSIDE THE BUSINESS
The community needs to see your involvement beyond the walls of your business. Your presence and the presence of others representing your business at local events will prove your connection in a way your corporate type competitors will not be able to match.

8. DONATIONS
Focus your charity donations on local charities. While the bigger charities might complain and say they also work locally, there are charities specific to your area which struggle against the better known charities – just like your business does.

9. LOCAL PRODUCTS
If you can get your hands on local products which fit with your range do so and display them as local products. There is no better way to connect with your local community. If you cannot find any consider looking at local markets. Put a sign up in cafes and other public places inviting product submissions.

10. GETTING OUT
Shop locally yourself. Talk to local business owners. Make sure you know what’s happening in the community.

11. CREATING EVENTS
Make your mark in the community by creating and hosting an annual event. Have fun. Try the annual paper plane contest. The annual burger bake off. The annual local music festival. The local games – potato sack rate, egg and spoon race and so on. Have fun! Work in partnership with other local businesses.

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Sunday small business retail management advice: manage your software

We have been helping a couple of small business retailer5s recently to switch from our software following frustratying experiences they had with their other software that updated without their control.

Our advice to retailers on software updates is to update when they are ready, knowing what you will be getting in the software update and how you cann use this in your business.

Be conscious about updating your business software – it’s mission critical and you needs to be in control to serve your needs.

Letting your software be updated without your knowledge or control could result in operational problems – as these retailers found. It could result in operational changes you and your team are not across.

So, take care, update your retail business software when you’re ready.  be in control.  This is retail best practice.

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Helping retailers make the most of Boxing Day Sales with Point of Sale software

Retailers using our Point of sale Software have been able to setup their businesses to handle post-Christmas sales starting from today. Thanks to our catalogue facilities, pre-planning for sales to run from a set time is easy.

We have helped our retail business customers in other ways too, with free marketing collateral – in the form of two specially designed posters for promoting Boxing Day Sales available from our website, free phone assistance in setting up for the sales and reminders leading up to Christmas about the value of planning for these wonderful retail events.

Our unique and outcome-focussed suite of advice, collateral and smart POS software positions well with retailers. Our whole of business approach is unique in our various marketplaces.

In today’s marketplace retailers are having to go beyond the traditional to win and retain shoppers. The same is true for software companies.

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Reviewing new POS software marketing collateral

We are undertaking the final review of new marketing collateral for our Point of Sale software in several marketplaces. This is the last step before we go to print with completely fresh collateral reflecting our software and services today. This new collateral focuses on the business and personal benefits of partnering with Tower Systems, the tangible difference we can bring to our customers, their businesses and their employees.

We have ditched the traditional software company marketing and developed material which is visually current, reflecting the focus of our software and the services which support the software. We’re proud that we’re not your traditional software company.

The new collateral will be back from the printers early next week. We’re excited!

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Small business retailers make their VIP loyalty offer better than major retailers

While big business retailers spend big on telling Australian shoppers how good their loyalty programs are, small business retailers across this wonderful country are delivering loyalty programs that offer better value.

Based on our work with small business retailers implementing VIP and shopper loyalty programs using our POS software we have no doubt that small business beats big business in this area every time.

The different is the purpose of the loyalty program.

For big business retailers, loyalty programs are about getting shopper data so that the businesses can market to shoppers. Our experience is that small business loyalty programs are all about, well, rewarding shoppers for their loyalty.

It’s odd isn’t it?! Small businesses genuinely appreciate shopper loyalty and they want to say thank you. Big business wants more … like the fat kid at the table who has had more than enough and could live for a month on stored energy wanting more.

We love the opportunity to help small business retailers make the most of loyalty marketing tools. Indeed, feedback from some of our really out there customers are helping us make our loyalty and VIP software even better. We love this! We love enhancing our software and helping our customers get more … because we get more too.

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Fresh Point of Sale software marketing collateral on the way

Given that our Point of Sale software plays an important in managing and marketing retail businesses which partner with us, it is appropriate that our own marketing is up to date and professional.  Our marketing, like any software company marketing, is a reflection of our professionalism.

It is with this in mind that we share that all of our marketing collateral is in the process of being replaced. Our professional in-house marketing and design team is working through all of our brochures, flyers and other marketing and communication collateral and creating a fresh approach to representing Tower Systems to retailers.

This two month project will result in a fresh representation of who we are, what we stand for and what we offer our customers. It will practically demonstrate the Tower Systems professionalism and highlight what is unique about our software company.

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More good retail results thanks to Point of Sale software

We have received more good news about retail sales from retailers using our Point of Sale software.  The sales of the electronic products who we have added to our platform over the years continue to sell very well.  Indeed, many of our retail partners are driving sales growth from these times.  This is good news for retailers, retailers using our Point of Sale software.

Suppliers have shared sales data showing excellent year on year sales growth on a same store basis for a range of electronic voucher products which can be vended through our software.  This is evidence of more good news for retailers who engage in the product sales opportunities embedded for no cost to our customers within our software.

Vouchers such as those for accessing Moshi Monsters are selling very well as are iTunes vouchers, gift cards, phone recharge and phonecard vouchers.

So amid the retail doom and gloom reports put about by some, we have retailers sharing with us good new about sales they are achieving from products for which their is no inventory cost, almost no shrinkage, easy up-sell and competitive margin reward.  This all amounts to good news and proof of the added value available through use of good Point of Sale software.

We help our retail partners to achieve the most from these products through product training at all levels in retail, marketing collateral assistance and guidance using LCD customer displays for point of purchase shopper engagement.

Big retailers may be having tough times but smaller retailers who are smart and leverage the tools and opportunities they have are having a blast! …. in a good way.

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New collateral for Tower retailers

We are pleased to have been bale to provide our Point of Sale software customers with another marketing tool with which to promote their businesses. This time it is a poster promoting the range of gift cards which customers can sell through our Point of Sale software.

The poster (shown left) was created in house in our marketing department. It’s A3 in size and can be customised at the store level so that it has the name of the business professionally represented on the free marketing poster.

This is another way we add value to the relationship we have with our customers.

If you have suggestions on generic retail support posters you would like our creative team to consider creating, please let us know.

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Exclusive gift card promotion for Tower Systems Point of Sale software users

Tower Systems is thrilled to be demonstrating its operational and marketing leadership again with our latest gift card promotion. Marketing collateral created exclusively for Tower Systems gift card retailers is available, showing off the range of Blackhawk gift cards available through our Point of Sale software

We are the only newsagency software company providing these additional resources with which our newsagency software customers can more easily promote and sell the Blackhawk gift card range.

In addition to two gift card posters already available for our customers, we have new collateral in development by our marketing team. These will be made freely available to our customers.

We believe that it is important to not only create good software but to also facilitate the use of this so that our customers can make the most of the software. This is another difference delivered by Tower Systems.

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Using social media to attract employment candidates

We have been using social media to attract candidates for a new role and it is working a treat. While we have a campaign running through regular channels, it is the social media connection which is most interesting … and valuable given the typo of candidate we are seeking to attract.

We have used blogging previously to attract candidates but never a platform such as Twitter.

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VIP cards benefit retail shoppers and retail businesses

Retailers using the VIP card facilities within our Point of Sale software tell us that they are a key tool in their business development plans.  Tracking purchases by customers and managing rewards based on those purchases, the loyalty rewards facilities are being used by a broad range of retailers across multiple retail channels.

We support single store loyalty programs, multi-store loyalty programs as well as direct data links to FlyBys (in NZ). This variety of loyalty options and the facilities in the software itself provides excellent flexibility to retailers and allows them to select the tools and options which best suit their business needs.

It is our years of experience in loyalty, at the single store through to group-wide facilities, which enables us to work with retailers to satisfy most needs.  Beyond the shopper rewards, we understand and leverage the value of the basket data … this is where gal rewards lie for retailers and where we shine.

We have come a long way from the days of what used to be called a VIP card.  Now, thanks to smart software, it is much much more.

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