Sunday retail management advice: embrace being small in retail

We’re a small software company compared to the size of software companies around the world. Sure, we serve close to 3,000 small business retailers, but we are small. We like it that way. Small is good. Small of focussed. Small is human and not a number. Small is enjoyably.

Too often we see businesses owners chasing growth, chasing big businesses. We don’t want to be impersonal or disconnected. As a small business we are closer to our customers and more aligned with their needs.

We think a small specialist software company like ours is more likely to be able to fully and usefully serve the needs of small business retailers.

Sure, we are growing. However, there is a difference between growing and being so big you can’t pick up the phone and speak with the owner about anything at any time – like you can here at Tower Systems.

Our retail management tip today: embrace small, it’s a good place.

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The new loyalty POS software loyalty paradigm is a game-changer

tdvSmall and independent retailers love the new approach to loyalty on the Tower Systems POS software. At the Gift Fair in Sydney this week retailer after retailer was thrilled to see such a different yet highly manageable opportunity.

While our discount voucher shopper loyalty facilities are not new to our POS software, they are new to many retailers who have only ever heard about points based systems as the way to approach loyalty.

What is unique and valuable about the Tower Systems discount vouchers is the multiple data points at which the retailer can control the value of the voucher printed. The layering approach allows the retailer more control over value and redemption – thereby providing the business with more mechanisms through which to drive business performance.

One retailer told us that they attribute their 10% year on year growth to our discount vouchers and that to achieve this they have given away just over 1% of GP. What makes the facilities even more valuable is the reporting showing shopper behaviour in detail. This helps guide data point tweaking to drive outcomes.

Thanks to the trademarked Tower AdvantageTM, Tower Systems is delivering to retailers and unique and business valuable facility. Exclusivity has its own rewards.

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Smart POS software helps small retailers plan for Christmas 2015

xmasSmall and independent retailers are using technology to plan now for a terrific Christmas 2015.

Retailers using the Tower Systems POS software have been busy planning for Christmas 2015, using their software to order for Christmas which is nine months away using data from Christmas which was not even three months ago.

At trade shows, supplier showrooms and conferences, smart reporting tools and computer tablet based real time access helps newsagents to use accurate data for business planning. This results in more accurate purchasing which, in turn, delivers more valuable financial benefits to the businesses.

Tower Systems backs the tools in its software with free training and advice which helps retailers have easy access to the performance data they need. The result is a better outcome for those engaged businesses.

This is another Tower AdvantageTM.

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Newsagency software co. Tower Systems to host newsagency supplier round table

Tower Systems is inviting newsagent suppliers to register to participate in one of two supplier round table discussions we are hosting in three weeks.

We are keen for suppliers to participate in a discussion about the state of the newsagency channel and how they can help newsagents weather rough waters.

The very latest newsagency sales trends by product category will be shared. Data points will include basket depth, basket mix, traffic counts, anticipated store closure rates, growth categories, factors newsagents are considering when contemplating closure.

We decided to host the forum because of the spate of closures already this year and because of supplier representatives talking in negative terms about the channel. There are ways newsagents can grow. Suppliers can nurture optimism and guide newsagents through the difficult times.

If you are concerned about the future of the newsagency channel, come along and participate. It’s free.

Access to the round table is free. Any supplier rep is welcome to attend.

Let’s make the newsagency channel stronger together!

BOOK HERE

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POS software company helps small business newsagents confront challenges

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 8.32.37 amTower Systems is proud to be offering practical advice and guidance for small business newsagents on how to confront the possibility of business closure.

In a comprehensive article, Tower has shared advice on how to understand the challenges a newsagency faces today and offered steps on turning the business around and stepping back from the thought of closure.

Going beyond what is usual advice you see from a POS software company, this advice from Tower Systems is practical and heartfelt as it seeks to help and support retail newsagents to navigate to a brighter, more sustainable, future. It’s another Tower AdvantageTM.

Going beyond providing excellent software, Tower Systems helps any newsagent with insights and support at the local business level.

Not only for the 1,850+ newsagents using the Tower newsagency software, this advice has been widely circulated to help more.

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Sunday retail business management tip: small steps matter

We often see small business retailers focus on grand plans, big moves they intend to make to lift their business. Our experience is that many small steps deliver a better result to a retail business and for a lower cost.

Using our retail management software, retailers are able to uncover and nurture small steps to growth in their business.

Every retail business has small steps they can take to drive traffic, achieve a better margin from products, get shoppers purchasing more, reducing wastage, reducing theft and more. Each of these alone done in a step step strategic way will compound on the other and deliver a greater than the sum of the parts benefit to the business.

Beyond its terrific POS software, Tower Systems helps retailers to see what they may be missing, to understand the opportunities for growth through a small steps strategy.

Leveraging our own retail experience and our intimate knowledge of what our software cal do, we can help retailers to lift their businesses through co-operative partnership.

Not all POS software companies are the sale. We’re here to help.

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POS software helping newsagents and gift shops make the most of Valentine’s Day

valvalPOS software company Tower Systems is helping newsagents and card and gift shops to make the most of Valentine’s Day with terrific facilities for putting items together into a pack and selling that as a whole and usually at a deal price for the shopper.

The ability to make packs / hampers / package deals has been in the Tower systems software for many years.

It is also used in Jeweller businesses, bike shops, pet shops and garden centres.

Retailers love it because it maintains excellent stock control throughout. Retail staff love it because it makes selling easy. Shoppers love it because of the ease with which they can usually get a deal.

This facility is another way Tower Systems helps independent retailers to grow their businesses.

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Tower Systems helps newsagents grow magazine sales

Newsagency software company is successfully helping newsagents grow magazine sales. While the latest magazine audit results are challenging for magazine publishers and many retailers, newsagents using the Tower software and engaging in our marketing and basket growth tools are likely to be trading against trend and growing sales.

Recent sales results show newsagents can grow magazine sales in highly competitive situations against supermarkets and other newsagents.

Tower Systems helps newsagents with strategies, opportunities and insights. We analyse performance for newsagents and provide advice. This is backed with exclusive facilities in the software which help newsagents to increase magazine purchases in-store.

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Tower Systems on the XchangeIT sticky label project

Tower Systems was approached by XchangeIT last year for its opinion on what has been called the Sticky Label project, a project which contemplates newsagents using technology to manage magazines on the shop floor rather than printed labels.

We explained to XchangeIT that newsagents usually did not label weeklies or high volume monthlies and that the use of labels is considerably down from some years ago. We also explained the need for labels for time-efficient management of oversupply on the shop floor.

XchangeIT made it clear their project, if it proceeded, would not block newsagents from labelling magazines.

The official Tower position is that we think it would be a waste of XchangeIT funds to undertake the Sticky Label project while newsagents continue to be oversupplied. XchangeIT was supposed to lead to more equitable supply of magazines to newsagents – among other benefits. This has not happened. Magazine supply is as bloated and inefficient as ever. Newsagents are disadvantaged.

We think XchangeIT ought to invest its considerable resources in serving the need for efficiency ins supply rather than playing at the edges on an issue of no concern to newsagents.

Our advocacy on this matter is another way we support small business newsagents.

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POS software co. helps small business newsagents with Disney promotion

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 9.24.33 pmNewsagency software company Tower Systems has provided excellent support for newsagents in the run up to the launch of the disney read to me promotion with its major newspapers around the counter. This help from Tower has included publishing specialist advice, working directly with News Corp on data and information, publishing a tested and proven stock file, taking many calls with newsagents and testing advice and help in our own live newsagencies.

This is another example of extraordinary support for Australia’s small business newsagents by the Tower Systems team.

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POS software from Tower Systems helps newsagents with newspaper price changes

Newsagency software company Tower Systems has provided advice and help for newsagents to be ready for the price changes coming next week for price changes to some News Corp. newspapers. Newsagents tell us they like that they can control when the changes are applied as this allows them to have more control over the management of their business.

Our advice is easy to follow, peer-reviewed and shared with the publisher.

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Smart newsagency software helps newsagents restructure their businesses

The latest newsagency sales benchmark study shows Tower Newsagents embracing change in their businesses. Of the 1,850 newsagents partnered with Tower Systems and its newsagency software, many who participated in the latest newsagency sales benchmark study show in their data the transition of their businesses, they show they are using the facilities of the software to drive change and make the most of the opportunities presented in the specialist newsagency management software.

Tower Systems helps newsagents get more form the software through weekly free online training workshops, free one on one training, a professional help desk and experienced newsagency business management advice.

Owning and operating newsagencies helps Tower Systems speak from experience in a way no other POS software company can. This is another example of the Tower AdvantageTM.

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Out with the old and in with the new – how smart loyalty facilities on POS software help independent retailers compete

Loyalty facilities are as old as the ills in POS software. Too often, the differences are not that great. The most popular offer is that of points accrual based on purchase.

While the POS software we offer here at Tower Systems provides loyalty facilities with points accrual and redemption, it is our other loyalty facility that is helping retailers break free from competition.

In a recent sales study we saw the best year on year growth achieved by retailers using our software and using our front-end approach to loyalty – discount vouchers.

Case after case the results are extraordinary – double digit sales growth being driven by greater existing shopper engagement, word of mouth driving new traffic and an allied pricing policy that helps the retailer fund the loyalty program with no net cost to the business.

The discount vouchers in the Tower software are 100% unique, developed by us in a way that is impossible to copy unless you have access to our programming source code.

While some have tried to copy our discount vouchers, retailers soon find that a copy is not the same as the real thing, a copy will not produce the stellar results we are producing in our Tower POS software.

We have independent retailers telling us that they are feeling reinvigorated for their business thanks to the results of the discount vouchers, that they are making more money now thanks to using this unique software facility.

This is what we are in business for – to help independent retailers make more money and enjoy their businesses more.

Every new business that takes on discount vouchers is a new opportunity for excitement for us. As they tell their colleagues it is a new opportunity for us to win more business too.

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Good POS software can drive the relevance of your small or independent retail business

Choosing the right POS software for your business can re-energise, refocus and redefine your retail business.

Choosing the wrong software can hold you back.

The challenge for small and independent retailers is: which POS software is the right POS software.

Leading Australian POS software developer Tower Systems is clear that its software is not right for all retail businesses. Indeed, the company focuses on a select group of retail niches, vertical markets as they are called, in which it refines software to specific needs of teach of the markets.

This specialisation sees Tower Systems become deeply involved in and knowledgeable about each of the retail channels in which it serves. It’s deep specialisation results in offering software functions through which specialist niche retailers can reinforce their relevance.

For example, a pet shop using the specialist pet shop software from Tower Systems has pet shop management facilities that are unique and tailored to their needs whereas a generic POS software package only offers generic facilities that are offered to all retailers. These generic facilities are less likely to enable the pet retailer to reinforce their specialisation compared to a general retailer.

Specialist software in retail niches helps specialist retailers embrace their specialisation.

This is the Tower AdvantageTM in action. A suite of specialist tools that are constantly evolving thanks to the engagement of its 2,850+ customers.

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Free POS software training for newsagents on magazine management

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 7.52.15 amThe latest free online training from Tower Systems on newsagency magazine management for newsagents using the Tower newsagency software is fully booked.

Tower Systems is scheduling more instances of this workshop to satisfy demand from newsagents who love this and other free software training from the company.

Best practice management management training will help newsagents save time on managing magazines. It will also help improve business outcomes for them.

Tower Systems is the only newsagency software company running online business management training line this with consistency throughout the year.

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Free POS software training: How employees steal from retail businesses

stealHow employees steal from retail businesses is a free training workshop from the POS software experts Tower Systems. Delivered by our COO, this training is vital for retail business owners. It will draw on expert advice from one who helps police, prosecutors and insurance companies deal with employee theft in retail businesses.

With just a few places left, this training will fill up for sure.

Tower Systems leads its marketplaces with live online training opportunities – helping retailers to learn more about their software and how to save their businesses time and money.

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Sunday retail business management tip: roster staff for commercial success

Rostering is a vitally important business activity in indecent retail businesses. Get it right and you save money. Get it wrong and your bottom-line suffers.

Retailers using the Point of Sale software from Tower Systems can roster employees based on their contribution to the business. Using the tools in the software can result in better rosters, rosters which deliver a more valuable contribution to the business.

This is just one way POS software which offers roster facilities can genuinely benefit a business – save time and help driver better earnings. It is another way good POS software pays for itself.

Tower Systems helps retailers drive better outcomes through rostering and other facilities delivered in its software for a range of specialist independent retail channels.

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Xero accounting / POS software link helps retailers embrace technology

The link we launched last year connecting our smart POS software with leading accounting solution Xero is helping us grow our business as more retailers seek a whole of business solution. Our training resources help retailers understand the link and the benefits. here’s one of the videos we have produced in house.

We use Xero ourselves in our own retail businesses.

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Sunday retail management advice: make Lay-Bys work for you & your customers

Tower Systems has helped many retailers get into offering Lay-By services when installing our Point of Sale software. Over many years we have developed extensive experience in Lay-Bys and through this we have refined suggestions on how to make the most of the opportunity.

Here is a summary of more extensive Lay-By advice we provide to retailers, based on our years of experience.

  1. WHAT TO LAY-BY. Set a minimum item and or purchase value. We’d suggest $80.00 in a small retail business.
  2. DATA REQUIRED. Always ensure you are satisfied you know who your customer is. Require proof of ID from a driver’s licence or similar legal ID document.
  3. 20% of the total GST inclusive purchase price.
  4. Only Lay-by to people 18 and over.
  5. Lay-bys should run for between eight and twelve weeks. You could run for longer pre Christmas to get early sales.
  6. PAYMENT CYCLE. Require payments to be made weekly or fortnightly.
  7. PAYMENT METHOD. Accept any payment form you choose.
  8. Do not allow someone to take home a single item from a group of items on Lay-by together in one purchase. It’s all or nothing.
  9. Have a policy you are comfortable with. We suggest a 20% cancellation fee applies. Note that you could equally choose to have no cancellation given that Lay-by product may not be able to easily re-sold.
  10. Decide what you would consider a breach. This has to be something you stand by. We suggest two missed payments without reasonable excuse or rectification. On breach, cancel and charge the cancellation fee.
  11. We suggest a no-exchange policy.
  12. When a customer Lay-bys, print two dockets – one for them to take immediately and one to be placed with the goods. Have your customer sign both copies, accepting your terms and conditions.
  13. Set aside a clean and secure storage location for Lay-bys in your business where locations are coded for easy finding. Place Lay-by goods into a single clear plastic bag per transaction for clean and safekeeping. Staple to this a copy of the Lay-by docket. Let your customers see you do this so there is no doubt when it comes time to collect the products.
  14. Have one person responsible for Lay-bys to ensure product care, track payments and contact customers.
  15. TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Enter these into your software so they are included on every Lay-by docket. Points 2 through 11 above are a good example of what to include in your terms and conditions.
  16. COMPLETE PAPERWORK. To not over complicate things, rely on your software’s Lay-by docket as your complete paperwork / contract. Get that right and Lay-by management will be easier.

We are grateful to our retail partners who have worked with us on developing this experience and advice. Their help has enabled us to provide this help.

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Australian magazine publishers encouraged to improve barcode placement consistency

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 11.29.09 amThe Australian Newsagency Blog has called on Australian magazine publishers to locate barcodes in a consistent place on magazine covers.

We support this push. It would improve sales efficiency and cut returns processing time for our 1,850+ newsagency business customers.

The current placement of barcodes costs newsagents and other retailers time and money. The proposed change would benefit all stakeholders. This is why Tower Systems supports it.

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Sunday retail management advice: professional management of the sales counter

In our work with small business retailers we have been fortunate to see many different sales counter situations. The best retail sales counters are the ones run in a structured and professional way.

We are often asked for advice on management of the counter. Here are nine points of advice for counter management (outside of direct sales) which our customers have found useful. This list is our retail management advice today.

  1. No food or drink to be visible to customers unless it is packaged and for sale.
  2. No personal staff items like bags, purses, wallets or mobile phones to be visible at the counter.
  3. Clean the counter at least every day.
  4. From the customer side, remove all products from the counter once a week, clean and rebuild.
  5. Keep counter messages, signs and notes that shoppers see to a minimum. Every note, sign or message must have a purpose that speaks to the mission of your business.
  6. When employees purchase from the business have them purchase from the customer side of the counter.
  7. Have a rule on how many people you have behind the counter at any time. Too often retail employees use the counter as a refuge. More impulse purchases are achieved by working the shop floor than at the counter.
  8. Dramatically change your counter at least once every three months – as much for your team as for your customers.
  9. When assessing the counter for product placement, cleanliness and being on-topic, do so from the customer side. How it looks from behind the counter is far less relevant than from the customer side.

In helping retailers use our Point of Sale software we often find ourselves helping beyond the technology. Developing and sharing this list is one example of our broader help of small business retailers.

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Newsagency sales benchmark study announced

Tower Systems has announced details of its next newsagency sales benchmark study – covering trade from October through december 2014 and compared to trade in 2014.

The Tower newsagency sales benchmark is the most comprehensive study of newsagency shopping basket data. It is also the longest running benchmark study.

All Tower newsagents have been invited to participate in the latest benchmark study. the results will be published later this month.

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Retailers make good use of gift cards to drive retail sales

giftcardRetailers using our POS software can provide gift vouchers on the fly directly from the software or they can load value onto a professional card like major retailers use. Either approach to gift cards / vouchers works easily.

The photo shows four gift cards designed by our in house graphic design team. Each card in a run has a unique barcode to which funds can be loaded by customers.

Offering a gift card design and production service helps us provide a more complete one stop shop service to our customers. It saves retailers time and ensures they receive vouchers designed to work well with our Point of Sale software.

We have produced hundreds of cards for our retail partner customers.

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Busy lead up to Christmas for this POS software company

The team at Tower Systems has had a busy lead up to Christmas 2014 with new installations being completed even this week, new software plans being finalised and fresh training opportunities being workshopped and retail business help being dispensed in good measure.

There has been no slowing to our efforts for our independent and small business retailer customers as we serve their needs of today and plan for great things for tomorrow.

With many staff not on leave at the moment, we have taken the opportunity to make a series of moves that position us well for 2015. We’re excited this last day before Christmas.

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Tower Systems helps newsagents with prepaid Visa issues

Tower Systems has been on the front foot with a prepaid Visa vending issue. the Tower newsagency software itself is not the problem. No, the problem is out of the US business from where the prepaid Visa product is sourced. From what we understand any software vending product from the supplier has the problem.

A conference call with the US supplier has been organised for overnight tonight thanks to the Tower Systems engagement.

UPDATE: The problem is now resolved thanks to the US being alerted by us.

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