How to choose the best POS software for your retail business

Choosing POS software for a retail business is a daunting task. The software companies usually make it difficult to compare.

Tower Systems is a software company. Our goal is to make it easier for you.

We don’t want you to choose our software if our software is not the right fit for your business.

This is why our first advice is to make this decision about the software first. Make sure that you compare what each software package does. However, before you do this, ensure you know what you want out of software for your business and the amount you are prepared to pay for what you want.

Knowing what you want is as important as is knowing what you are prepared to ay for what you want.

The reality is there are cheap POS programs out there. You get what you pay for, every time. The cheapest product is the cheapest because they have either not invested as much in the development of the software or because they do not back the software with the same level of service.

Yes, you get what you pay for. This is why you haver to be realistic about the amount you are prepared to invest.

In considering software, start with the functionality. Look at each software package. Compare how it works against what you want from software you purchase.

Once you have a list of software packages that do what you want, dive deep into support coverage. Look carefully at how support is delivered, how you can access this, the training opportunities and how your business can be helped with the training and support.

If you are not sure what to look for in support, consider this wish list:

  1. Easy access on the phone, through human to human conversation.
  2. Locally based. i.e. not offshore where people don’t understand your business.
  3. Help beyond the software. Is there an accountant you can talk to or a retail business specialist.
  4. Regular free group training.
  5. Easily accessible personal one on one training.
  6. Regular updates but with you controlling when to install these rather than having them forced on you.
  7. An escalation process if you are not happy.
  8. The contact details for the owner of the business.

Ultimately, only you can know the best POS software for your type of business and your business. The value of the decision  you make will reflect the approach yo7u took in making the decision. The old maxim of measure many times and cut once is true here.

Xero POS software interface helps small business make more money

Small business retailers are in business to make money for it is money that feeds the family, allows the business to support the local community and adds to the value of the business when it is time to sell.

It stands to reason that small business retailers want to take steps appropriate to the business making more money.

This is where the Xero POS software link from Tower Systems helps. It helps small businesses make more money. By money, we mean bottom line profit.

How we do this is through wonderful software that provides a seamless, safe and structured flow of data between the in-store POS software and Xero and through training and advice on what a small business retailer can leverage from the data that flows through the link.

Tower Systems is not your average software company. We are retailers too. We use this software, including the POS software Xero link, ourselves, in our won retail businesses. We can speak from experience when we help. We can guide in a way that a usually POS software company cannot.

We help small business retailers make more money through:

  1. Lower operating costs, especially lower bookkeeping and accounting costs.
  2. Less mistakes. Mistakes are expensive for businesses.
  3. Better quality business decisions. Thanks to easy access to more up0 to date data.
  4. Less theft. With less human intervention in data there is less opportunity for employee theft.
  5. Greater confidence. Confidence comes from having easier access to accurate data sooner. While this sounds like a marketing pitch line, it is a fact. The flow of data from there POS to Xero means you can access business decision making data days and weeks ahead of when you might have with other processes in place. This boosts your confidence.

Tower Systems provides business management advice to back its software. This can see small business retailers gain more from a Tower relationship than they might have through a relationship with another POS company. We have accounting skills, at CPA level, in-house. This enables us to provide advice and guidance beyond that is unusual for a POS software company. We call this the Tower Advantage.

Welcoming new POS software customers to Tower Systems

We are thrilled to welcome new customers using our small business POS software. We have a welcome page on our website, which is part of our structured approach to welcoming new customers.

The welcome is sincere and personal:

Welcome to Tower Systems. This page welcomes new customers to our business, small business retailers switching to our POS software.

Thank you for your business, for your faith in our software and our services. We appreciate it.

Our goal is to help you make your business more valuable and more enjoyable through your use of our POS software.

Here in our website you have access to a knowledge base, available 24/7, which contains excellent advice and articles about how to use the software. It is like a live and evolving user manual – but searchable. Log into the customer side of the site and you can immediately access the knowledge base.

Our help desk is based in Melbourne Victoria. There we have a team of skilled IT professionals, with good retail experience, available to help with your queries. You can contact them through our national help line – 03 9524 8000 – of through your local Tower office number or by email: support@towersystems.com.au

We release software updates every few months. We announce by email when these are available. You choose when you wish to install each update. This gives you control.

If you have suggestions on changes you would like to see in our software, please use our Software Ideas page on this website. Through here other customers using our software can vote on your idea.

Every week we will send you a customer email with tips, ideas and inspirations. This is another touch point designed to help you get more from the relationship.

As a customer, you have access to free training. To schedule free one on one training, please email bookings@towersystems.com.au.

Welcome as a new customer of Tower Systems. Our motto is we’re here to help. Please, let us know how we can help your business.

Thank you for reading.

Mark Fletcher
Managing Director
0418 321 338

There is also a video welcoming our new customers:

Small business retail management tip: embrace the opportunity of hiring older employees

Older employees can being terrific value to a retail business that is keen bring change to the business. Young employees cost less and this is a common appeal among retail business owners.

An older employee could bring more value to the business, they could leverage a better return on labour investment for the business. Here are other benefits that can be available depending on the background, skill set and work interest of the older employee:

  1. Maturity. An older employee understand work.
  2. Appreciation. If they have been to of work for a while they are more likely to appreciate then job and could therefore invest more in it.
  3. Experience. An older employee could have experience in a field from which the business can benefit. I am not thin king here about retail experience. rather, they may have business management skills, special interests or experience that you can leverage as you change the business.
  4. Flexibility. With less focus on establishing themselves and a social life they cold be more available and this could help the roster.
  5. Communication. An older employee is more likely to be better with oral communication given they has less tech when they were younger. While this is a rash generalisation, I’d back it to be likely.

When you are looking to fill a vacancy or a new role in the business, consider older person for these and other reasons you can think of. The could bring to the business skills and interest the you can leverage more valuably than the skills and interest of a younger lower cost employee.

Of course, the value of any employee depends on your hiring, training, management and motivation of them.

The post of this post is to suggest that next time you hire you think about an older employee.

Note: The federal government jobactive restart program can help Australian businesses that hire older employees financially:

Restart is a financial incentive of up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) to encourage businesses to hire and retain mature age employees who are 50 years of age and over.

Older employees can bring new insights and energy to a business. The right hire could be just want the business needs to explore new traffic opportunities.

Tower Systems newsagency performance benchmark study under way

We are deep into our analysis of basket data for small business newsagents as we undertake the work involved in our fourth benchmark study for the last year. This latest study looks at business performance data from October 1, 2017 through to December 31, 2017 and compared it to the same period a year earlier.

This benchmark work is done without cost for newsagents and their suppliers. It is something we have done for more than fifteen years as part of our commitment to helping small business retailers.

The report is respected as a guide to overall newsagency business performance and the early identification of category performance trends. We are glad that so many fine it of use.

We sent out the call to our 1,750 newsagency business customers with this email on January 1:

Q4 2017 NEWSAGENCY SALES BENCHMARK STUDY.
I am preparing a new benchmark study for the newsagency channel to look at the latest sales trends overall and in key product categories for the fourth quarter of 2017. This quarterly newsagency sales performance study will help newsagents see the future based on the data trends. Click here for my last report.

How to participate.

  1. Please run a Monthly Sales Comparison Report for 01/10/2017 – 31/12/2017 compared to 01/10/2016 – 31/12/2016.
  2. Tick the category box. IMPORTANT.
  3. Tick to exclude home delivery and sub agent data.
  4. DO NOT tick the supplier box.
  5. Preview the report on the screen. Save as a PDF and email this to me at mark@towersystems.com.au.
  6. Read the report yourself and see what it shows you about your business.

I will email the results to all participating newsagents and publish the results on theAustralian Newsagency Blog as a service for all newsagents.

My work with this channel goes back to 1981 when I wrote newsagency software to manage newspaper home deliveries. That software evolved into Point of Sale software and has been rewritten as software technology has changed. 

I own and run three newsagencies. Over the years I have had three others. I am a 50% shareholder in and CEO of newsXpress, the newsagency marketing group.

Tower Systems serves 1,750+ newsagents with best practice newsagency software. Overall, Tower Systems serves in excess of 3,500 small business retailers.

Mark Fletcher
M | 0418 321 338

Xero POS software link helps small business retailers compete with big business

It can be tough for a small business to compete with big business. Those who do so successfully have access to excellent quality up to date business data. They leverage this to fuel quality business decisions.

The best business data is that which flows immediately between POS software and accounting software. Tower Systems provides to small business retailers a beautiful, easy to setup and easy to use link between its POS software and the cloud based Xero accounting solution.

The Tower Systems Xero POS software link is ideal for small business independent retailers. It helps small business retailers compete through:

  1. Timely access to accurate business data.
  2. Data that is operational and financial.
  3. Data that is not manipulated.
  4. Data you can trust.
  5. Data that flows from the shop floor to the accounting function without impediment.

The most effective ways small business retailers can compete with big businesses and online is through efficient operation, accurate data and customer service touch-points that add appreciated value.

Tower Systems only sells its POS software to small business retailers.

We believe in small businesses, their importance to local communities and their broader economic value.

Through our software, our personal in-store training, 24/7 human and locally based help desk service, regional user meetings, weekly online workshops and other touch-points we help small business retailers beyond what is usual for POS software companies.

Our company motto is we’re here to help. We take this seriously. Everyday, out motto challenges us to help our customers in ways they do not expect, ways beyond the software itself.

Founded in 1981, Tower Systems has evolved as technology has evolved. The software we sell today is generations away from where we started. We are proud to have served some of our customers for decades.

More than 3,500 specialty small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand use our specialty POS software.

To us, a specialty retailer is one that offers services unique to the channel, services that define the business.  We embed in our software for each retail channel facilities that serve needs unique to that channel. We take pride in doing this and enhancing these channel-specific facilities as the needs evolve.

Xero POS software interface helps small business retailers cut mistakes

Mistakes can be expensive in small business retail, especially mistakes made in accounting.

The Tower Systems POS software Xero link helps small business retailers cut mistakes. The link eliminates tasks by automating the flow of data from the POS software where data is received into the business in the form of invoices for inventory, returns notes for products going back to suppliers. sales data, LayBy data and plenty more.

Capturing this data at the source, at the point of sale, and flowing the data without additional human intervention to Xero, to the right part of Xero, eliminates time, cuts mistakes and provides small business retailers with more control.

Every error made in accounting has a cost. In fact, there can be multiple costs – labour and financial. This is why it is better to get it right the first time.

The Xero integration designed by Tower Systems, working with the folks at Xero, makes it easy for small business retailers to cut accounting paperwork and thereby tap into time and money saving benefits.

We use our Xero integrated POS software ourselves. This enables us to provide practical advice on how to benefit the most from Xero and our POS software working together.

Our customers have access to our in-house CPA, to provide a professional accounting perspective on the link and how to get the most from it.

Setting up the Xero link is easy. You map the data flow from invoice entry through to the chart of accounts managed by Xero. Once this is done, supplier invoices, sales, credits, LayBys and other everyday business transactions flow from the POS software to Xero.

This makes business accounting easier, more certain, less expensive and more useful to the business.

By cutting mistakes we help bring certainty to business reporting and management. This posts confidence.

Tower Systems is keen to help small business retailers cut mistakes. We know the more we can do this the more our customers will appreciate the practical benefits a relationship between our businesses can deliver. With our software support being optional we know that our customers can switch any time. The best way for us to keep them is for us to deliver practical benefits at each touch point.

Xero POS software interface from Tower Systems helps small business retailers cut costs

Managing operating costs is a key goal for small business retailers in this world of greater competition.

The Tower Systems POS software Xero link helps small business retailers cut costs. It does this in a range of practical ways that small business retailers can leverage without having to spend more money on software or professional services.

Thanks to the Xero POS software link retailers are able to eliminate bookkeeping work and have accounting data flow through accurately from the POS software where data originates to Xero where it is accessed for key business accounting functions.

Developed with careful oversight of CPA qualified accounting experience as well as current small business management accounting experience plus insights from experienced bookkeepers, this link is a true cost saver because of the accounting steps it eliminates and the mistakes it avoids. Both of these have costs to any small business. Eliminating them is a bottom line cost benefit for any business.

Setting up the Xero link is easy. You map the data flow from invoice entry through to the chart of accounts managed by Xero. Once this is done, supplier invoices, sales, credits, LayBys and other everyday business transactions flow from the POS software to Xero.

This makes business accounting easier, more certain, less expensive and more useful to the business.

Your BAS is easier. Your P&L and Balance Sheet are more up to date. This is a big win for any small business retailer.

Tower Systems uses the Xero POS software link itself for retail businesses it owns in the gift and homewares spaces. By using our software, especially the Xero link we are able to draw on broad practical experience when providing advice to our retail business owner customers. It means that our help desk advice is based on us walking in your shores more than is usual for a POS software company.

Tower Systems is keen to help small business retailers cut costs. We know the more we can do this the more our customers will appreciate the practical benefits a relationship between our businesses can deliver. With our software support being optional we know that our customers can switch any time. The best way for us to keep them is for us to deliver practical benefits at each touch point.

Welcome new customers

Reflecting on 2017, as the year draws to a close, we are grateful for all the new customers who joined us this year.

We are grateful to those installing our software as first time computer users in their businesses.

We are also grateful to those who switched to our software from other POS software – there has been plenty of this in 2017.

To help new customers settle in with our software and our customer support we have a structured welcome process, with assistance provided outside the usual help desk – until new customers reel well settled in their use of our software.

We understand the challenges small business retailers face and do all things possible to ensure their settling in with our POS software is gentle and useful.

Helping small business retailers reduce the impact of employee theft

For many, years Tower Systems has offered small business retailers access to professional help in detecting, reducing and prosecuting employee theft. In our small business POS software we have excellent services that support this.

In our management team we have skilled professionals who have helped police, prosecutors, insurers and others in situations of employee theft. Our approach is evidence based, professional, discrete and thorough.

Our theft mitigation and theft management services are handled at the leadership team level of the Tower Systems business as this is where the experience lies through helping retail businesses in a variety of retail sectors.

In our decades of experience, it is essential the business draw a line in the sand on the issue of employee theft. This is best done by the establishment of a theft policy. This is best done as a document that employees sign. We provide our customers with a template theft policy. We share this here today for anyone to see and consider for their business.

THEFT POLICY

  1. Theft, any theft, is a crime against this business, its owners, employees and others who rely on us for their income.
  2. If you discover any evidence or have any suspicion of theft, please report it to the business owner or most senior manager possible immediately. Doing so could save a considerable cost to the business.
  3. We have a zero tolerance policy on theft. All claims will be reported to law enforcement authorities for their investigation.
  4. From time to time we have the business under surveillance in an effort to reduce theft. This may mean that you are photographed or recorded in some other way. By working here you accept this as a condition of employment.
  5. New employees may be asked to provide permission for a police check prior to commencement of employment. Undertaking the police check will be at our discretion.
  6. Cash is never to be left unattended outside the cash drawer or a safe within the business.
  7. Credit and banking card payments are not to be accepted unless the physical card is presented and all required processes are followed for processing these.
  8. Employees caught stealing with irrefutable evidence face immediate dismissal to the extent permitted by local labour laws.
  9. Employees are not permitted to remove inventory, including unsold, topped, magazines, unsold cards or damaged stock from the store without permission.
  10. Employees are not permitted to provide a refund to a customer without appropriate management permission.
  11. Employees are not permitted to complete sales to themselves, family members or friends.
  12. Every dollar stolen from the business by customers and or employees can cost us up to four dollars to recover. This is why vigilance on theft is mission critical for our retail store.

PLEASE SIGN AND DATE YOUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

Small business retailers love free one-on-one POS software training

Small business retailers who use the Tower Systems POS software have access to unlimited free one-on-one training.

The free training is scheduled at a time to suit and to cover areas of the software requested by the customer.

We have some customers who use the free training to top up their knowledge, others use it to train new staff members while others use it to be surprised at what they don’t know about the POS software. We even have some who take up the opportunity to have us review their business and provide strategic management advice on what we can see in their business data.

Delivered by one of our customer service experts, the training is tailored to each retail situation, to ensure it is useful to the person for whom the training is being provided.

Booked through our head office and managed in a structured way, this free training service provided was unique when first launched, it put us in a leadership position. Today, we maintain that leadership through the scope, professionalism and practical help provided through the training.

Here at Tower Systems our motor is we’re here to help. This free training service is another way we live the motto every day.

POS software Shopify link helps small business retailers enjoy Christmas

Small business retailers using the Tower Systems POS software Shopify link are reporting terrific engagement with shoppers they may not have otherwise found.

Thanks to a direct link between the POS software and Shopify, retailers have one place for managing inventory that is in-store and online. This saves time, reduces mistakes unbend makes management of the online presence easier.

The Shopify link is one of three direct POS software / e-commerce platform links in the Tower software. These three are in addition to a weblink that helps the POS software connect to any website.

Through the Shopify link, data is transferred – inventory and sales – in a structured standard way required by Shopify and in line with the requirements of that business. It is fast, easy and powerful.

Tower Systems is proud to have brought plenty more small businesses online thanks to its work with the folks at Shopify.

Christmas gift: small business POS software update launched

In plenty of time f0or Christmas, Tower Systems has commenced beta release of a beautiful POS software update that delivers access to three completely new facilities through which our customers can expand the reach of their businesses.

his update, like all of our POS software updates, will be available for o0ur customers to install when they choose. We don’t believe in surprising people with an unexpected update. hence, our process is advance-noticed, structured and considerate.

This latest update is a thrill for us thanks to the new tech areas we cover that we know will be loved by plenty of our customers as they seek to expand their small businesses.

The update is available to all Tower AdvantageTM customers at no extra cost.

Retail management advice on maximising the Christmas traffic opportunity

Every Christmas, retail businesses see more shoppers in-store, buying gifts and items for seasonal celebration. However, the shops are usually too busy for the retailer team members to engage with traditional loyalty programs that require sign up.

This is where our amazing discount vouchers loyalty program options work a treat.

Without any sign-up overhead, the vouchers work all by themselves, bringing shoppers back or, better still, getting them to spend more than expected in that visit.

Stores that want to connect with shoppers and understand who they are can do so with our discount vouchers, because they are smart and can work with card based loyalty. In fact, shippers who sign up and go that extra step for the business can get an extra reward as a result, if you wish.

Simply by offering discount vouchers this Christmas you will get a boost with monomial cost and zero labour overhead. You can enjoy the traffic, love the traffic, and do well with a loyalty offer that works brilliantly to make the most of Christmas.

Tower Systems offers the tech and business practices to back the tech into real revenue growth for small business retailers.

Proud to be a Xero partner through our POS software

Xero does not permit all POS software companies to partner with them. This can get those who miss out offside, talking their product down. Tower Systems has been a Xero partner for years, delivering a beautiful easy-to-use PO software Xero link.

Xero POS Software Integration

Save time, eliminate bookkeeping costs, cut mistakes and make better business decisions sooner with the Tower Systems POS software Xero integration.

The Xero integration designed by Tower Systems, working with the folks at Xero, makes it easy for small business retailers to cut accounting paperwork and thereby tap into time and money saving benefits.

We use our Xero integrated POS software ourselves. This enables us to provide practical advice on how to benefit the most from Xero and our POS software working together.

Our customers have access to our in-house CPA, to provide a professional accounting perspective on the link and how to get the most from it.

Tower Systems is a unique POS software company. In addition to serving 3,500+ small business retailers, we own and operate several retail businesses as live test sites. Our in-house CPA manages the accounts for these retail businesses.

Find out more, watch this video:

How Tower Systems helps small business newsagents beyond newsagency software

Tower Systems serves in excess of 1,700 newsagents with newsagency software. Years ago, in another place online, our CEO provides practical advice to newsagents on how to do a magazine relay to increase sales.  Some months ago, that advice was updated.

Here is the post, outlining how small business newsagents today can build stronger better businesses through a magazine relay:

In the years since I published How to do a magazine relay in your newsagencyplenty has changed. In this post I provide up to date advice.

Before you start the relay, consider the amount of space you want to allocate to magazines. Do not allocate space to fit what you are sent. Allocate space to make money.

Today, magazines are best located on a wall, ideally at the rear of the shop, such that can be seen from people walking past the shop. A simple MAGAZINES sign above works well.

This back of shop placement, with magazines owning the space can work well as a traffic driver. Where I have seen this move implemented it has not increased the decline in magazine sales.

Ideally you can fit all magazines on the back wall and eliminate all aisle use of magazines.

On to the relay.

The relay you do in your business is your relay. There is no right or wrong way. What I have written here is my opinion, which may be wrong for you.

There is also no end point to a relay. What you do today will need refining next week and the week after. So, do not over think what you want to do as that would be a waste of time.

The goal of the relay has to be to disrupt magazine traffic in pursuit of an increase in sales. What I mean is: change everything, upset customers and staff, sell more magazines as people discover titles they did not know you had.

PLANNING

Map out the wall, determine your zones shopper: garden, food, men, women, sports etc.  The categories where I use less than one pocket per title are: special interest, British weeklies, food, comics and some craft segments.

Look at the percentage of sales delivered by each magazine category and look at sales trends for the categories.  Tote up broad groups. For example the percentage of sales for women’s weeklies, women’s interests, crafts & hobbies, crosswords, home & lifestyle and food & wine.  If your newsagency is like mine, this grouping will account for more than 50% of your magazine sales.

NOW, THE MAGAZINE RELAY

I suggest it is done by one person, an owner, working alone.

  1. Take every magazine off the shelves. That’s right. Don’t be precious as a jumbled pile gets you looking at the titles and categories differently. Take down all your magazines and all your posters.
  2. Clean the shelves.
  3. Start at the centre of the wall and build out. Build the women’s zone. I place this at the heart of magazines, so shoppers see it easily. I suggest you start here as it is the core from which all else flows.
  4. Place a half or full column of crossword titles next to weeklies.
  5. Next to weeklies place, in order, pockets of Better Homes and Gardens followed by Australian Women’s Weekly, British women’s magazines (yes, all of them), country living titles, home and living titles, food, wedding with a waterfall of the major title and hair.  For me, space wise, that sees out one side of the aisle.
  6. Then, I have fashion young, fashion older and I end this with a waterfall of Frankie.  Next is women’s health starting with younger target titles and blending to older ones. Next is pregnancy and baby followed by crosswords. This usually rounds out that side.
  7. Create sections, where the titles demonstrate clear zoning. But don’t be generous on space allocation as space costs money.

What I do in women’s is the same for the other zones I create.  I do each zone separately and try and get into the head space of the shopper of the zone – using the most popular titles to act as beacons, or signposts, for the zone.

I am careful what I place next to top selling titles. This is a prime spot, next to the popular titles. Choose wisely. Choose titles that naturally fit next to the big titles, titles shoppers are likely to browse and purchase on impulse.

If I am not sure about where to put a title I put it aside and move on.

I take extra time with special interest and hobby titles.  For example, I put railways and model railroad titles near each other but I am careful to ensure that they are separated as they appeal to two shoppers and only occasionally do you see titles from both segments in the same basket.

Within the zones I look for and respect specialisation. For example, within men’s lifestyle and sports I create a clean space for the quality serious fitness titles like Coach, Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness.

REVIEW, FEEDBACK, FOLLOW UP

You’re not done when you think you are done. Track sales, listen to your team and your customers. Tweak where you feel it is necessary.

Bring new issues to the fore. Continue to be engaged in how your magazine department looks.

Continue to look at your sales data.  If there is no lift be open to further change.

FINAL WORDS

Doing a magazine relay can be like doing one of those kid’s puzzles – you move them around and around until you have the completed image. That image can look and feel like a work of art once you are done.

While some readying this will be tempted to say why bother, we only make 25%. Get the relay right and sales will increase without any extra capital investment and with a lower retail space allocation. That is a win in my view.

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading.  Magazines really are a point of difference which we need to work harder at embracing – despite the challenges of the distribution system.

I’d be happy to answer questions or discuss magazine relays with anyone: mark@towersystems.com.au or 0418 321 338.

Over to you…

Tower Systems newsagency software Q&A

We recently engaged in a Q&A on our newsagency software, exploring some of the features that make this the most widely used newsagency software in Australia. Tower Systems is grateful to serve in excess of 1,700 newsagents, more than all competitors combined.

Here is part of the Q&A:

What are the most significant benefits of the system?

In addition to newsagency management specific facilities, using this software you can expect to reduce the cost of dead stock, improve traffic flow at the counter, spend less time agonising over decisions and enjoy the benefits of selling more.

Like any business tool, the benefits you get from using our newsagency business software reflect what you put in. There is no limit on how much training you can get from us.

Tower Systems approaches the opportunity as a long-term relationship.

Can I help local charities and community groups raise funds?

Yes, easily. You can track purchases by people supporting those groups and offer a rebate of your choosing to groups that support your business.

Can I ensure I do not sell to underage shoppers?

Yes, you can have a prompt come up on the screen to check that a customer is age-appropriate.

Can I offer buy now pay later like Afterpay?

Yes, easily.

Can I offer click and collect for online shoppers?

Yes, easily.

I have multiple loyalty offers for different categories, can I handle this?

Yes, easily. We have businesses managing a discount for shoppers who purchase 10 of one category, eight of another category and more where each offer is managed easily from the software. A single customer can engage with multiple loyalty offers. Plus, we track what customers buy so you can leverage this data.

Can I handle customer magazine putaways?

Yes, easily.

Can I take payment for newspaper subscriptions?

Yes, easily.

Can I do magazine returns electronically?

Yes, easily.

Can I handle a bundled price like buy 2 get 1 free?

Yes, easily.

Can I give manage newspaper home deliveries?

Yes, easily.

Can I take steps to manage / reduce employee theft?

Yes.

Is there management only control and access for seeing what people do?

Yes.

Can I create a roster?

Yes.

My business is changing and I want to sell café type products?

This is easy.

Will this software help me evolve my newsagency business?

Yes, easily. The software is web connected, to Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. These connections help you engage online, attracting shoppers who would not walk in front of your shop.

Can I give loyal customers better prices?

Yes, easily.

Can I track sales to a particular customer?

Yes, easily.

Can I market to customers based on their purchase history?

Yes, easily.

Can I sell items by colour, size and style?

Yes, easily. This means you can sell fashion items if you want to get into a new area.

Can I sell bundled items like a gift pack I put together?

Yes, this is easy. You can have a bundled price as well as single prices for each if you wish. Creating bundles is easy as is retreating from bundles back to single items, maintaining the integrity of stock on hand data at all steps along the way.

Can I unbundle items from a pack back to single items?

Yes, easily.

Can I sell items by weight?

Yes, easily. We see this work well in newsagencies where they sell fudge and other items by weight.

Can I sell gift cards?

Yes, easily. You can sell gift cards for other businesses as well as your own branded, made just for you, gift cards.

Can I easily handle LayBys in the software?

Yes, you can establish your own rules and have these managed through the software.

Can I share useful local information on receipts?

Yes, this is easily setup and changed.

Can I handle special orders where a customer orders something I do not currently have in stock?

Yes.

Helping small business retailers focus on what matters among the shrill reporting of Amazon’s arrival in Australia

We are frustrated with the world is ending type reporting relating to the arrival in Australia of Amazon. More stories have been published recently. Most stories are not reporting. Rather, they are ignorant fear-mongering. Unfortunately, the wrong people are often quoted, like the ever-shrill Gerry Harvey.

We shot this video to provide some thoughts on the arrival of Amazon and to offer suggestions for small business retailers.

Small business retailers have access to unlimited POS software training

As part of our Tower AdvantageTM customer service experience, we help small business retailers using our POS software to continuously enhance their knowledge of how to use our software and how to get the most for their business from our software.

Every business with our software has access to our unlimited free POS software training opportunity.

The training we provide, at no extra cost, is live, one-on-one, on the phone and online. It is the personal one-on-one training that our small business retail customers love the most.

In our weekly customer service email, print newsletter and through the help desk we promote access to free training.

We are grateful to be in a position to offer this free training and to make access easy.

One of the best ways to help small business retailers to compete is to arm them with tools through which they can compete. One perfect too is our software software. Our free training helps them use the software in a best-practice way, so they are better equipped to compete, and win!

The training we provide is done outside the help desk, away from interruption and is focussed 100% on the business being trained. This ensures that our training is purposeful and useful. We know this fo0cus is what delivers loved outcomes.

Helping small business retailers reduce the opportunity of employee theft

At our POS software company we actively help small business retailers who use our software to reduce the opportunity of employee theft. We do this in a range of overt and covert ways, through our software and outside off our software.

As we have decades of experience running different types of retail businesses and through our work with, 3,500+ other retailers with our software we have a deep pool of knowledge and experience on which to draw.

Employee theft is something to be managed. By managed, we mean measured, understood and mitigated.

based on our own experiences and those of others we trust, we offer refined, thoughtful, advice on managing employee theft. Here we share it with all as a free community service for small business retailers. Together, we can cut the cost of employee theft in your retail business:

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

These steps work – based on decades of helping small business retailers to reduce and manage employee theft.

Theft, employee and customer, costs a typical small / independent retail between 3% and 5% of product sales revenue.  Management attention can cut this dramatically.  It does not take much time. No, it is more about having professional processes in place that everyone in the business follows.

Free Christmas marketing ideas for small business retailers

Tower Systems works with more than 3,500+ small business retailers in speciality retail niches including jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, toy shops, gift shops, newsagents, pet shops, adult shops and more. We offer these ideas as our Christmas gift to you.

  1. Make it easy. People often talk about how hard Christmas is. Be the local business that makes it easy. The ways to do this are with easy Lay-By, free wrapping, better shop floor help, guide buying advice or tips on perfect gifts no one else will think of. Consider making Christmas easy as being a key part of your messaging.
  2. Be thrilled people are in your shop. Your personal smile or greeting is something they may not see in a big business where employees are less invested in each shopper and where the owner is usually thousands of kilometers away.
  3. Make the giving easy. If people purchase items from you to send somewhere else. Offer a one-stop shop. Save them the trip to the post office.
  4. Make the shop less about Christmas. Consider pulling back on the Christmas visual noise. Go for something simple, muted, respecting the season but making a calm statement. Consider declaring the shop a Christmas carol free zone – not because you hate carols but because you want to help customers take a break.
  5. Help people rest and recharge. Create a Christmas shopping rest and recovery zone. Offer free tea, coffee, water and something to eat. Encourage people to take a break in your shop – without any obligation for them to spend money with you.
  6. Let your customers help each other. Setup a whiteboard or sheets of butcher’s paper, yes keep it simple. Get customers to write gift suggestions under different age/gender groups. For example: Girls 18 – 25, Boys 55+. Encourage your customers to help each other through their suggestions.
  7. Make price comparison difficult. If you sell items people are likely to price compare with other businesses, package them so price comparison is not easy. Put items into a hamper as a perfect Boy 8 to 12 bundle for example. Or offer the item with pre packages services if appropriate for an item.
  8. Less is more.  The stack em high watch em fly mantra can be wrong. Indeed, it is often wrong in retail. Shoppers can be store blind because a shop is too full or a display is too busy. Consider creating simpler less cluttered displays and window promotions. Draw attention to what you want people to see by promoting that one thing. Every time someone asks if you have something that you think through should be able to find easily – take it as a challenge for you to address rather than a commentary on a facility of the customer.
  9. Change. Christmas season in your shop should evolve. Major change weekly is vital for people to see what you have that they could buy.
  10. Be socially engaged. On Facebook, Instagram, twitter and elsewhere, be the calm voice, the person people enjoy reading or seeing photos from. Provide entertainment this Christmas rather than the usual retailer shrill of come and shop here!
  11. Be community minded. Choose a local charity or community group to support through Christmas. Consider: a change collection tin at the counter; a themed Christmas window display; promotion on your social media pages; a donation to their work; a collection point for donations from customers.
  12. Facilitate sharing stories. Find space in your shop for customers to share their Christmas stories. It could be a story wall inside or in front of the shop. This initiative encourages storytelling by locals and better connects the business with the community.
  13. Award a prize at a local school. Fund a year-end prize at a local school. Attend a school assembly to award the prize. Work with the school leadership on a prize appropriate to your business.
  14. VIP preview. Host a VIP shopper preview night when you show off your Christmas ranges ahead of being available to the general shoppers. Respect and reward your local shoppers with deals and the opportunity to preview ahead of others.
  15. Leverage Christmas traffic. Encourage the Christmas shopper traffic surge in after Christmas. Give them a reason to come back. A coupon promotion or a discount voucher on receipts could be the enticement to get shoppers back in-store. Note: the Tower POS software produces discount vouchers to rules you establish.
  16. Become a gallery. Work with a school, kindergarten, community group or retirement village to bring in local art for people to come and see through Christmas. A small space commitment can drive traffic from family and friends of those with art on show.
  17. Dress the shop. Fully embrace Christmas. Create a Christmas experience such that shoppers know they have stepped into somewhere special this Christmas. Go for more than some tinsel and a tree. Fully embrace the opportunity.
  18. Make your shop smell like Christmas.
  19. Send cards. Send Christmas cards early in the season to suppliers, key customers and local community groups. This connects you with Christmas. Invite all team members to sign each card.
  20. Host a Christmas party. For shops nearby. You are all in the season together – let your hear down before things get crazy.
  21. Ensure you have gifts targeted at occasions. For example: Kris Kringle, by price point and by recipient. Make it easy for people to know what they could give.
  22. Stocking stuffers. At your counter always have one or two stocking stuffers for impulse purchase.
  23. Offer gift vouchers – for someone to give when they are not sure what to give.
  24. Be local. Ensure you have a selection of locally sourced products available for purchase. Make it clear in-store that these products are sourced locally.
  25. Tell stories. On your Facebook page, talk about what is important to you at Christmas. Personalise the season and deepen the connection with those who could shop with you.
  26. Offer a free gift. Bulk purchase an item to offer those who spend above a set amount. For example, spend $65 and receive XX where XX may have cost $5.00 but could have a perceived value of $20.00.
  27. Keep it fresh. Every week make significant change to your Christmas displays and promotions to keep your offer fresh.
  28. Share Christmas recipes. Each week for, say, four weeks, give customers a family Christmas recipe. This personalises Christmas in your business, creates a talking point and makes shopping with you different to your bigger competitors.
  29. Free wrapping. Sure, many retailers offer this. Make your offer better, more creative and more appreciated.
  30. This is essential in any business. Manage it through your computer system with strict rules.
  31. Work the floor. Increase time on the shop floor. Be present to manage shopper flow and to facilitate purchases.
  32. Christmas is crazy busy I most retail situations. Give yourself and your team members sufficient time to recharge so the smile greeting shoppers is heartfelt.
  33. Keep a secret. If yours is a business selling gifts a partner may purchase for their loved-one, create some mystery with a closed off display for the shopper to see the products.
  34. Free assembly. If you sell items that require assembly. Offer to do this for free.
  35. Free delivery. Offer free Christmas Eve delivery for items purchased for kids for Christmas.
  36. Sell training. Leverage the specialist knowledge you have in your business by selling as gifts places at classes you run sharing your expertise.
  37. Hold back. Don’t go out with everything you have for Christmas all at once. Plan the season to show off what you have as the season unfolds. This allows you multiple launches.
  38. Share a taste. Regardless if your type of business, bake a family recipe of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or Christmas biscuits and offer tastings to shoppers on select days. This personalises the experience in your shop.
  39. Offer hampers. Package several items together and offer them as a hamper. Time-poor shoppers could appreciate you doing this work for them. We have seen this work in many different retail situations.
  40. Buy X get Y. Encourage people to spend more with a volume based deal. Pitched right, this could get customers purchasing items for several family members in order to get the price offer you have. Use your technology to manage this.

Christmas is the perfect time to plan for next year. It is the time to do everything possible to leverage bonus Christmas traffic to benefit your business through next year.

Tower Systems offers Point of sale / retail management software tailored for your specific type of retail business. Our software can help you leverage Christmas traffic for year-long benefits.

We provide you with loyalty facilities that are fresh and small-business focussed, loyalty facilities through which you can pitch a point of difference compared to big business competitors.

One of our retail experts can help:

  • SA/WA/VIC – Tim Batt 0401 833 917;
  • NSW/TAS – Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;
  • QLD – Justin Randall 0434 365 789.

The best POS software for Australian newsagents

We are grateful for the support of Australian newsagents as they continue to vote with their feet and money that Tower Systems offers the best software for Australian newsagents.

We make the claim on the basis of market share, customer retention and feedback from people who have joined our community from elsewhere.

As the newsagency channel undergoes extraordinary change, Tower Systems remains a constant support through its best-practice newsagency management software, newsagent support and newsagent marketing help.

Size matters. Tower Systems serves more newsagents than all other software companies combined.

Switching is not expensive. If you have current hardware, the cost can be low and paid over three years after which there is no mandatory cost.

Included in the low cost is:

  1. The latest Tower Systems newsagency software.
  2. On site installation and training.
  3. Data conversion, converting as much data as we can access.
  4. Software support for the first three years.
  5. Software updates for the first three years.
  6. Unlimited over the phone follow up training for the first three years.
  7. Access to an online knowledge base with hundreds of articles and advice on the software, which you can easily search 24/7.
  8. Access to weekly group live online training workshops.
  9. Access to a private Facebook page where you can discuss on any topic.

Tower Systems is well resourced to help newsagents navigate change.

  1. Tower Systems will not leave the newsagency channel.
  2. We will fight for you. Beyond our software, outside of support, we will help with supplier issues, business strategy and other challenges you confront.
  3. Our software continues to evolve. We release two to three major updates each year. You choose when to load them. Each update is thoroughly tested in a comprehensive beta program.
  4. We own newsagencies. Yes, we walk in your shoes.
  5. No locked-in support fee. Taking up support coverage once the three-year period ends is optional.
  6. Lower support costs. Also, transparent. No mates’ rates for a select few.
  7. Fast support. Most calls are handled when you call. If not, we call back.
  8. At any time, you can see live how many help desk calls we are working on and how many we have closed that day.
  9. Support escalation. We have a structured escalation process should you be unhappy with a support call.
  10. Easy management access. The leadership team of Tower Systems is available to you. We take customer service seriously and personally.
  11. Updates when you You are in control of when you load updates.
  12. You are listened to. We offer the only transparent, user driven, software enhancement suggestion service. All our customers are listened to.
  13. Free training. Long after you install our software you have access to free personal training to refresh knowledge or cover new facilities.
  14. More integrations. Our direct links to Xero, Magento, Shopify and more mean you have more direct link options to help you grow your business.
  15. Business management insights. We can look at your business performance data and provide a personal analysis of what we see
  16. Owner access. Call Tower owner, Mark Fletcher, on 0418 321 338 or email mark@towersystems.com.au.