LOCALLY DEVELOPED POS SOFTWARE FOR AUSTRALIAN LOCAL RETAIL BUSINESSES

As overseas online businesses compete with local retailers for sales of almost anything, so too do overseas based POS software companies compete with Australian software companies.

Here at Tower Systems, we understand local. We understand our local retail business customers. we understand their shoppers. We understand what being local is all about and why it matters to our customers and the communities in which they serve.

This is what being local is really about, it is about being knowledgable of and engaged with your local community.

Through our POS software and through our customer service we live and breathe the local message. Our actions speak for us through locally focussed software changes and how we serve and connect with our customers.

here is a short video explaining our local pitch. This video serves multiple purposes: it speaks to our in-house video production facilities, it has our owner speaking up for us and what we stand for, it shows our commitment to plain speaking anyone can understand and it speaks to our professionalism that you can trust.

This is the Tower Advantage, our Tower Advantage, offered to you.

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SUNDAY SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL MANAGEMENT ADVICE: 6 WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR POINT OF DIFFERENCE THIS WINTER

Winter can be tough for some people. It can be tough for retail too as traffic is often down. Independent retailers have an opportunity to leverage the season, to make it more enjoyable for you and your customers.

Here are six suggestions to get you thinking abut winter differently:

  1. Reach out to retirement villages and nursing homes. Pack up key items from your shop and tele it on the road – go to those customers who can’t come to you because of the cold.
  2. Offer free delivery. If option one does not work for you promote a delivery service so people shut in can still get their  fix. Be the retailer who goes the extra mile.
  3. Add to your customer service. have somewhere people can place their umbrellas and raincoats when they enter.
  4. Keep your shop warm. Offer hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Maybe have a slow cooker with some delicious home cooked vegetable soup using a recipe from a magazine you have in-store.
  5. Have a summer sale. In the middle of winter, at the coldest, have a blow-out sale and call it something like a SIZZLING SALE. Get people warm with great prices.
  6. Change your music playlist. If you’re using an online music service, select brighter, warmer music.

If your shop is in a really cold area consider an outer door to keep the warmth in. They do this a lot in Europe and the US in Winter.

Winter is a seasoning which you can show off your point of difference and get people seeing your retail business differently.

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POS SOFTWARE COMPANY OFFERS SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL VALENTINE’S DAY MARKETING IDEAS

As a further example of practical help for small business retailers, Tower Systems last week published the following suggestions / tips. This content demonstrates how the company leverages its retail experience and knowledge way beyond what it traditional for a POS software company.

FIVE FUN AND LEFT-FIELD WAYS ANY RETAILER CAN EMBRCE VALENTINES DAY

While Valentine’s Day is an unashamed commercial season, how you embrace it in your business beyond selling Valentine’s Day products can speak to your unique style of business.

Here are ways you can embrace th season without being purely overtly commercial.

  1. Love where you are. Encourage locals to love the area. Setup a noticeboard inviting them to post what they love about the area. It could be a story, a photo or some other expression of local for the town or region. The noticeboard could be in your sore on online. This promotion is you doing good for where you are situated.
  2. Love what you do. This is a bit like the first option except that you ask people to express what they love about what they do. This could be something in their lives, a hobby or their work. Promote this as an opportunity for people to share something of themselves. Stories like these make the world a better place.
  3. Love others. Invite people to express love for humankind. Choose a local charity, ask what they need and use your business as a collection point. Pitch this as your Loving Others this Valentines Day campaign. Promote the work of the charity, invite your customers to join you in supporting the group and be sure to give something of yourself.
  4. Love lists. On your business Facebook page or through your Google+ page over a series of posts invite people to list things they love. Have a separate topic each day. Ask them to list something and explain why. For example, start with share a song you love and tell us why. Other posts could be share a photo you love and tell us why. Share a recipe you love and tell us why. Share a book title you love and tell us why. The idea here is to get people sharing something of themselves.
  5. The love seat. Make room for a seat for two in your shop or out the front of your shop. Promote this as place for friend to meet up and talk, where friendships can be rekindled, stories told and memories shared. Where people can communicate the old way rather than via social media. If possible, offer free coffee and cake. The idea here si to show you and your business as promoting conversation.

Each one of these ideas is designed, of themselves, to increase your sales or foot traffic. They will, however, speak to who you are and what your business stands for in the local community.

While bigger businesses will run overt Valentine’s Day promotions screaming shop here, your focus will be on touching people’s hearts in a meaningful way, rejoicing in this day for heartfelt reasons beyond the cash register.

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Sunday retail management advice: use your window

The front window of any retail business is one of the most important marketing statement you can make. It can attract people in who might otherwise not have shopped the shop. It can get your business talked about. It can show off the pride you have in your business.

Here is one window we saw last month in New York. It is of a tea shop – yet that retail nice is not evident on first glance at the window. The window display is a wonderful Alice in Wonderland homage. It stops people and once they stop they soon realise what is being pitched.

This window is a perfect example of small business marketing through the window.

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Small business retailers offer better loyalty value than Woolworths and Coles

We checked in recently with several retailers running our loyalty software facilities and in each case we found these small businesses offering loyalty programs that were between ten and one hundred times more valuable to shoppers than those run by Coles and Woolworths.

We are proud to play a role in these small business retailers offering valuable loyalty programs that focus on real value for customers.

From points to dollars off to multi-buy to rewards for future purchases, the loyalty programs available through the Tower software are considerable. Their flexibility is excellent as if the commercial benefits to our small business retail partners.

We are confident Tower Systems can help you:

  • Get customers spending more in a visit.
  • Bring existing customers back sooner.
  • Attract new shoppers to your business.
  • Drive impulse purchases at the sales counter.
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Great gift cards for small business retailers through POS software from Tower Systems

GardenGiftCardsTSThe Tower Systems designed and manufactured gift cards are growing in popularity across a range of retail channels. We are thrilled to be of service to retailers keen to offer professional gift cards backed by professional gift card management software as they have access to through their smart and engaged Tower Systems POS software.

The latest design customer gift cards are being shipped right now – pitching fresh designs to retail partners in time for Christmas trade.

The image loaded with this post shows some of the cards we have designed for our garden centre customers.

We are grateful to have in-house graphic design capabilities through which we can promote deeper engagement with our software.

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Sunday small business retail business management advice: how to compete with a big business competitor

Here are some tips from us on how to more effectively compete with a big business competitor located near your small business:

  1. Know what you can and can’t do. Some big retailers spend tens of millions of dollars saying they are the cheapest. A small business cannot match that spend. So, price should not be your focus as it is a harder road. If you do choose to pitch on price, you need to do it comparatively and consistently. List their price and your price. However, the risk is they will chase you down that hole and their pockets are deeper than yours. I recommend against competing on price.
  2. Understand the new competition locating near you. Research them, visit their store, look carefully at what they do. Understand, from a rational perspective, why they are a successful national company. Visit several times. Try and talk to customers. Knowledge gained from such field trips will empower your planning and decision making.
  3. Focus on your point of difference. If you do not have on, get one, develop one. Own it. Ensure your business owns it. If it is service, make it better, if it is range, make it better., If it is that you are local, shout this from your rooftop. Your point of difference needs to be seen, heard and understood by your customers and those who would be your customers. If you do not think you have an obvious point of difference, work hard to build one and embed this deep within your business.
  4. Promote your business. Professionally. Be smart. Big businesses are usually big advertisers. You need to advertise too. To the level you are able within your business. This could be in the local newspaper, on local radio, in flyers to homes or even with a terrific display in your front window. Promote your business and in particular your point of difference. Small businesses can win in social media with locally-focussed pitches which demonstrate your local connections.
  5. Network locally. Connect with community groups, charities, sports groups, schools, clubs and friends. A small local business can do this better than a big business. Find a way to connect and help. This will be appreciated and, hopefully, rewarded with business. Strong networking can help you get more people on your side and supporting your business through strong word of mouth.
  6. Have a consistent loyalty offer. This needs to be different to what major retailers do. It needs to be whole of business. It has to offer genuine rewards which get people shopping your shop rather than staying within a category. This is where discount vouchers work.
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Free small business retailer training on the new loyalty

With evidence that discount vouchers drive a better commercial outcome than points based loyalty program, the free training Tower Systems offers to retailers on its unique and successful POS software integrated program is popular.

The new loyalty. This is a fresh approach to loyalty for small business retailers, something genuinely unique and through which engaged retailers can guide shoppers to spend more in a visit as well as to encourage shoppers to return to the business.

The new loyalty is a suite of facilities and a business management approach through which chance can be affected on a business that will drive sales and encourage customer happiness. It is a whole of business approach – that can make an extraordinary positive contribution to a business.

The new loyalty is part of the Tower AdvantageTM. It is unique to us and our coustomers.

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Retailers love the shop local campaign from our POS software company

We are thrilled at the number of small business retailers engaging with the free marketing advice and collateral at our POS software company website. Any retailer can download the free posters and other materials and use them how they want to promote these marketing pitches for and through their businesses. Here are some of the free poster artwork Tower Systems has made available.

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New ink and toner site launched by Tower Systems

Tower Systems earlier this month re-launched Inkfast, an online ink and toner business serving small businesses and indoivuals in the efficient and cost effective supply of ink and toner to anywhere in Australia.

Developed as part of a broader e-commerce strategy, this new version of Inkfast leverages the latest e-commerce platform tools as well as automated supplier integration, secure payment processing and fraud mitigation resources.

The learnings developed in-house by Tower Systems in developing Inkfast play into the e-commerce strategies used by Tower Systems in its work with small business retail customers. Inkfast is Tower Systems walking in the shoes of its own customers. When we advise someone about an e-commerce website, we draw on our own experiences from Inkfast and other sites we have developed and that we operate.

Too often software companies develop in a lab without real world experience. Tower Systems is different. Online and offline we use our software ourselves, driving it to the end and developing the software to go beyond the edge and serve in unique and valuable ways.

 

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Loyalty software helps #smallbusiness retailers

The small business loyalty software in our POS software is helping more and more specialist retailers such as jewellers, bike retailers, garden centres, pet shops, newsagents, gift shops and homewares shops to compete with big business.

Indeed, smart loyalty facilities in small business software are crucial to helping independent and small retail businesses to win against ferocious national competitors.

The small business loyalty facilities in our software are flexible and powerful, offering:

  1. Points based loyalty.
  2. $$$ off the next purchase.
  3. Buy X, Get Y.
  4. Preferential pricing.
  5. And, a mixture of the above configurable to the needs of a business.

The flexibility and options embedded in our small business loyalty software win us ne customers and help existing customers derive better outcomes from their own customer relationships.

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Tower Systems to host New Loyalty events for small business retailers

POS software company Tower Systems has launched free training for small business retailers on The New Loyalty, a fresh approach to encouraging retailers to use loyalty facilities to compete with big business.

The New Loyalty offers small business retailers a framework through which to compete with big business in the shopper loyalty stakes.

The free workshops offer insights deep into shopper engagement with the loyalty facilities in several businesses. We take participants on a deep data behind the scenes view of business benefits through to shopper behaviour. This is a first ever insight at this level. It is something any retailer in a competitive situation will want to see.

 

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POS software offers small business retailers choice on loyalty

There is loyalty software and then there is loyalty software. The Tower Systems approach to loyalty software in its POS software for small business retailers is broad, flexible and shopper-focussed.

With options from the more traditional points based approach through to an immediate benefit engagement offer and the ability to blend the two, the Tower Systems software provides retailers with tools they can use appropriate to local needs.

Feedback from retailers using the Tower Systems loyalty facilities is thrilling. Stories of growth, shopper engagement and terrific bottom line results. This really excites us.

While many businesses like points based programs, evidence indicates the immediate benefit engagement offer is more valuable in many retail situations. The results on a P&L and elsewhere in business reporting are compelling.

Beyond the software, Tower Systems is engaged with its retail partners to help them choose the right mix of loyalty offers which work best in their circumstances.

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POS Software company supports shop local promotion for small business retailers

LocalPosters2015_Page_3POS Software company Tower Systems is helping small and independent retailers to promote the support of local retailers through an innovative campaign of collateral created by the company for its retailers.

We are thrilled to be investing our creative resources in support of our retailer partners in this way.

This latest artwork is part of a series we have developed in-house through our amazingly creative marketing team to give our retailers different voices and platforms through which to pitch their shop local credentials.

This is another Tower AdvantageTM.

The free marketing collateral will be released next week.

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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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