Tower Systems helps newsagents compete with supermarkets throgh newsagency software

Talk to any small business newsagent today and they will tell you about renewed competition from supermarkets. Thanks to our ownership of newsagency businesses we have insights and experience we can leverage to help Tower Systems newsagency customers through our industry standard newsagency software.

Through our newsagency management software and the customer service which backs the software we can help newsagents reflect a point of difference they can leverage against competitor supermarkets.

The leverage opportunities in our software and services are unique to us. We’re not writing about them in detail here because to do so would give followers something to do.

The purpose of this post is to remind our customers we can help in non-traditional ways, ways on which you can bank to leverage a point of difference over businesses you worry about and see as too big to compete with.

Our management team is here for you with advice, training and assistance for you to use our industry standard software to compete efficiently and effectively.

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Tower Systems helps newsagents on magazine supply

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 8.50.14 amTower Systems helped develop the most comprehensive response on behalf of small business newsagents to a conference hosted by the ACCC on magazine supply arrangements.

The issue at the core of the conference was a proposed trial of new magazine supply rules which would not provide newsagents with any opportunity to be more competitive than the current arrangements which newsagents say, and we agree, make them uncompetitive against supermarkets.

Only Tower Systems and newsxpress petitioned the ACCC for the conference. It is because of these that the ACCC hosted the historic conference in which more than thirty participated in several states.

Tower Systems updated newsagents with an email about the conference this morning.

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POS software which stops working if you do not pay software support fees discredits POS software companies

Not all POS software companies are the same when it comes to software support fees.

At Tower Systems, paying a support fee is optional. If you do not pay, you can continue to use the software unhindered.

We have competitors who block access to their software if a hefty mandatory annual software support fee is not paid. We think this approach reflects a lack of trust that their customers will love their software enough to want to pay for support.

We think this type of fee is unethical as it is not explained in their pre sales process. Retailers purchasing access to their software pay too much for the first year and are then hit with an above average fee for subsequent years. By then, they feel locked in.

Shame on this other company for what they do.

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POS software reports on KPIs for small and independent retailers

Few small business POS software products report on return on investment, stock turn, return on floor space and return on shelf space. The Tower Systems POS software delivers on reporting on these and other KPIs, enabling retailers to have a better understanding of business performance and through this the opportunity to make better quality business decisions.

Return on investment, stock turn, return on floor space and return on shelf space are the most vital of retail business Key Performance Indicators. That retailers using the Tower software can access these for themselves and easily demonstrates a valuable point of difference.

Since some small business retailers don’t understand the KPIs, the Tower help desk and business management teams offer assistance in understanding and guidance on decisions which can be made as a result of tapping into the KPIs.

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Sunday retail business management advice: leverage your top sellers for more value

Every retail business can sell more to every customer. This is easy when you have good business data and use this to make good business decisions.

Making more money from every sale starts with you understanding shopper behaviour today.

Get a report from your Point of Sale software listing your top ten selling items, by unit sales for the last three months. Do not look at dollars. Unit sales is the far more valuable count since this is a discussion about leveraging volume.

In the Tower software the report is a 10×10 Report. This lists the top 10 items and the ten items selling with those 10 items. (You can set the number to anything besides 10.)

In a typical retail store, the top ten selling items will account for between 30% and 50% of revenue of the business.

Look at your top sellers report and concentrate on the top selling items. Consider these questions about the top selling items:

  1. Do you have appropriate impulse purchase products located on either side of each top item?
  2. Are the top items spread through the store, to maximize customer throughput?
  3. How often do you move the top items?
  4. Do you have the top ten items in multiple locations?
  5. What impulse purchase items do you have at the counter which will appeal to customers who purchase any of the top ten items?
  6. Has the list of top ten sellers changed in the last year? If so, how have they changed and what can you learn from this.
  7. Are there products which you do not currently carry which you could add to the store to sell with the top ten sellers?
  8. Do customers who purchase the top ten sellers ask for any other items?

The idea embedded in these questions is very simple. Use the top ten sellers, or top twenty or top thirty, to focus your attention on items with which you can work to achieve more sales in your business.

By focusing on the top sellers and what you can sell with them you can increase the size of the average shopping basket.

If you can’t see opportunities for achieving more sales by placing products next to or with the top sellers then speak with your team and speak with trusted customers. Don’t rest until you unlock suggestions to try.

There is plenty of additional money to be made from your top sellers. Invest time and attention on this project and get ready to bank the results.

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POS software helps small business retailers with targeted marketing

Small business bike shops, jewellers, garden centres, gift shops, pet shops, homewares shops, newsagents and more are using the targeted marketing facilities in the smart POS software from Tower Systems to more closely engage with shoppers.

Our targeted marketing tools leverage shopper details including purchase history to facilitate selective highly-targeted marketing to attract known shoppers back into the business. These smart POS software tools are vital to small business retailers keen to be noticed in a crowded marketplace.

Tower Systems is hosting another free training workshop on targeted marketing for retailers using its software on May 6. This is part of the weekly free training workshops run  by the company for many years now. These workshops are a true point of difference for Tower Systems, they are a benefit retailers love.

Linked with loyalty facilities including discount vouchers, the targeted marketing tools in the Tower software are unique to Tower, they offer a genuine point of difference on which small business retailers can rely. We have case studies which offer evidence of engagement growth as a result of using the facilities.

Targeted marketing is another part of the Tower AdvantageTM.

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Aussie POS software helps small business retailers grow

Small business retailers want to grow, who doesn’t? With rent and labour costs increasing each year, growth is mission critical. POS software company Tower Systems helps its customers grow by providing advice on how to use the software to grow.

As retailers ourselves we can provide practical advice on how to use the software to more than transact sales, we can help retailers use the software to grow their businesses. We do this every day on our help desk, through our consulting services, through our knowledge base and through our business mentoring assistance.

We encourage, guide, educate and support our small business retailer customers in their desire to grow their businesses. it’s something we take serviceably.

Even on the weekend. Take today, Saturday … we have been helping one business owner understand opportunities in their slow selling inventory pool to unlock cash and space for more productive use.

We are serious in our commitment to small business retailers from our software through to the practical advice and support we provide.

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POS software helps gift shops, small business retailers handle special orders

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 10.14.08 amThe POS software from Tower Systems has excellent facilities for handling special orders, pre-orders and other forms of orders for customers that are unique to the customer and a point of difference for the business to offer.

Special orders and customer pre-orders are a point of difference for small independent retailers over big businesses. Being bale to do this with consistency and certainty can help these businesses more successfully compete.

Thanks to years of refinement and working with retailers in a wide variety of retail situations, Tower Systems offers a competitive advantage from the recording of customer details, tracking an order,k advising its arrival and handling a range of payment options including time payment.

We have retailers today transacting valuable business in pre-orders of highly valuable product as a result of these tools in the software. They are financially better off today and over the long term as special order customers tend to return for more orders.

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Small business retailers appreciate support in making the locally made pitch

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 3.57.45 amThe free marketing collateral we released for small business retailers is being appreciated. Retailers love that the collateral is available without strings, is free and is unbranded.

We are thrilled with the feedback and are working on adding to the suite of free collateral available from our website.

We are grateful to be in a position to give back to small business retailers.

Covering a range of themes, the example included with this post is most popular as it promoted LOCALLY MADE – a very strong message in any retail situation.

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Sunday retail management advice: success today is important for tomorrow

Too often we see small business retailers running their businesses thinking that they will make their money when they sell. Our experience working with thousands of retailers is that focusing on today, on the right now, will ensure the best outcome for the future of the business.

Our strategy – Make every day your pay day – is simple and effective. It’s made up of basic points:

  1. Run with the leanest roster possibl Just about every newsagency business I review has capacity to lower labour costs.
  2. Have your best people working the floor, helping customers spend more.
  3. Stock what sells.
  4. Get rid of stock which is not selling.
  5. Have stunning displays that attract people from outside the shop.
  6. Have compelling displays in-store that encourage people to browse beyond their destination purchase.
  7. Always have impulse offers at high traffic locations.
  8. Charge more every time you can. Review your prices for products people come to yoo because of convenience.
  9. Buy as best you can.
  10. Grab settlement discounts every time you are able.
  11. Use your business data to guide your decisions.
  12. Promote outside your store.

Be responsible for the profitability of your business. Don’t blame your suppliers, your landlord, your employees or some other external factor … it all comes down to you – the decisions you make and the actions you take.

If you relentlessly pursue profit with a clear focus you’re likely to see profit grow. That’s better than waiting to make money when you sell because that’s less likely to happen in this market.

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POS Solutions publishes inaccurate information on discount vouchers

POS Solutions has again written about the Tower Systems Discount Voucher facilities on their company blog.

While we will not go through all points in their blog post, we will address some in the interests of accurate representation of discount vouchers. The first point published by POS Solutions to address is:

Let first start off with the obvious, I would be delighted if Discount Vouchers worked. It would be a good for my clients, and I am in business to make my clients better. Furthermore, I do not appreciate name calling or rudeness. I am not trying to divert anything, and I have done a significant amount of research on this question.

This infers that Discount Vouchers do not work. That is not true. The Tower Discount Vouchers do work. In our own businesses we have the voucher and supporting financial data to prove this. Many retailers using Discount Vouchers say they have similar successful results. Despite this evidence, POS continues to spin that they do not work. The distinction is, the Tower Systems Discount Vouchers work.

The writer on the POS blog says they have done Wikipedia research and research on their own blog. That research is about a voucher from their own software. While that voucher may be called a discount voucher, it is not a Tower Discount Voucher, it has not been created with the same sophisticated and successful Tower software.

POS then states:

At the time I released this report, I noted that their users felt that the results I got were consistent with their results. You can read yourself the comments. Not one person said, “hey my results using Discount Vouchers are different to these figures.”

This statement is not supported by the facts – which users? Where did they say this? They publish no details supporting their claim.

Then there is what we would label as spin:

Additionally, at the time, this critic offered to release more data and then withdrew that offer immediately. See here for the formal withdrawal.

This statement not supported by the facts – there was no formal withdrawal. They engaged in a game which looked like an attempt for us to help them understand how our software worked.

Then they publish a breathtaking assumption:

That I feel that this loyalty program is expensive, well most reward programs in retail run at about 1% of sales see here. The Discount Vouchers scheme as you see from the above image run at $4,475.89/$98,299.79 = 4.6%. It is expensive!

This statement demonstrates an ignorance of how you measure the success of Discount Vouchers as the benefits are not only those directly achieved from voucher redemption purchases. No, the benefits flow deep within the business. This is a newsagency achieving 19% year on year revenue growth – many times more than the newsagency industry average. Take out the natural growth being achieved in the business and focus only on growth from the time Discount Vouchers kicked in and the benefits are more than the flawed POS Solutions assumption.

The author of the POS Solutions blog post makes another assumption about our approach to Discount Vouchers:

this scheme has minimal measurements

This is false and misleading. They do not know what reporting tools are available. The measurements available are not minimal.

Then they make another assumption:

Finally a Discount Voucher scheme, gives a voucher for every sale

This is not true of the Tower Discount Vouchers and even basic research could have helped POS Solutions avoid making such a damaging and false statement. For sales there are tight controls on the release of the vouchers. It is a considered process with excellent business rules. Also, there is the opportunity to produce vouchers for non customers. We will not go into that as it would divulge too much information the the folks at POS Solutions who appear obsessed with us.

POS finishes their post with an example:

I remember one client of mine that ran for a while a Discount Voucher system, told me that a customer came in and took two magazines. He then purchased one and promptly used the discount voucher to buy the other one. What he felt was that Discount Vouchers produced no incremental sales lift but caused a cannibalisation of his existing revenue by selling at a discount, product that would have been bought anyway. This was the first sign, I had that something was not right.

Our Discount Vouchers setup following our rules would not have issued a voucher in this situation.

We are curious as to why POS Solutions is so interested in our discount vouchers facilities. When we launched them they said they had the same facility. While they may (or may not) have something called discount vouchers, only Tower Systems has the Tower Discount Voucher facilities.

We note that our discount vouchers are in wide use in pet shops, garden centres, bike retailers, newsagents, gift shops and other retailers.

This post is about us being on the public record abut the matters POS has raised.

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Perth newsagency management workshop appreciated

Newsagents in Perth appreciated the newsagency management workshop we sponsored last Wednesday. It brought together a range of businesses for a valuable discussion about business and an exploration of strategies and tactics they could use to find greater success today and into the future.

The session attracted not only Tower customers but also newsagents using other software. We were happy to have the opportunity to help all.

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Tower Systems stands strong in support of small business newsagents

Tower Systems is proud to have been able to help newsagents deal with the challenges in the proposed changes to magazine supply. Our submission to the ACCC has been appreciated by many as has been our public support of small business newsagents in the face of what appears to be unfair treatment by magazine distributors in their planning to change supply rules.

Our most recent work was in a submission to the ACCC. From what we can see we are the only newsagency software company to have made a submission.  Click here for the Tower Systems submission.

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POS software company provides more help to small business retailers reducing theft

Tower Systems has been helping more retailers using its POS software POS software to deal with employee theft situations. We have a structured process for independently checking evidence without being influenced by stories. The process has been praised by police and prosecutors. It has been on show in court rooms where we have provided expert witness evidence.

Employees in retail businesses using our software are on notice. We have tools you will never find which can uncover behavior which indicates without a doubt that theft is occurring. This evidence has stood up scrutiny and resulted in successful action.

Our advice to retailers is to use the facilities in our software for theft reduction. If you have a concern, ask us for a free Theft Check service.

We’re here to help. That’s our motto. When it comes to employee theft, we’re in your corner and there to help you deal with it and get through the emotional and operational challenges of discovering a theft situation.

Our theft related work is undertaken at senior levels within the business. It is highly confidential. Our most cases are never discussed until completely closed and even then only ever without identifying details.

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Tower Systems proud to fight for fairer treatment of small business newsagents

Newsagency software company is proud to have lodged a submission to a draft determination of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to a trial of a new model of magazine supply.

Click here to download the Tower Systems submission.

Our submission is made as part of our commitment to help our customers and their colleagues – across a range of retail channels.

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33% of retail customers embrace reward me now opportunities in POS software loyalty offer

A retail expert from Europe speaking at a high-profile retail conference in Sydney last week declared traditional loyalty is dead, people want instant gratification. In the Tower Systems POS software retailers have the opportunity for instant gratification.

Data from a range or retail businesses using the Discount Voucher facilities within the Tower Systems POS software report 33% engagement on the day of issue. Most often, these customers are not regulars, they are infrequent visitors who look for opportunities to leverage the value of the reward in that visit.

Tracking shopper behaviour we can see that those spending the reward tend to spend equal to or more than the initial purchase value. A further 20% spend on a third item or basket, further extending the value of the reward.

We are thrilled to see retailers enjoying double digit year on year growth as a result of their use of the Discount Voucher facilities. The voucher reports, sales data and business P&Ls we see show this approach is profitable and valuable for the longer term prospects of the business.

The Discount Voucher facilities fit with the model of loyalty promoted by the recent retail experts speaking in Sydney.

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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 helps small business retailers with cloud backup option

bupThe cloud backup service launched last year by small business retail management software company Tower Systems is proving to be popular with retailers. The backup process is seamless, not taking any noticeable time thanks to the smart technology engaged. The result is double protection offering peace of mind to small business retailers.

While Tower Systems has supported external and automated backup services for years, this new even more hands-off cloud-based backup service that offers excellent protection to participating small retail businesses users of our POS software.

Run on a subscription basis and backing up to the cloud real-time through the day, this is a comprehensive replacement of the old end of shift backup approach for small and independent retailers.

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Free roster software for small business retailers

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 3.07.02 pmTower Systems has launched free roster cloud-based roster software developed specifically for small business retailers.

This easy to use platform is serves single location and multi location retailers. It offers a variety of tools and helps retailers with budgeting to drive a better labour cost outcome.

The new employee roster software for retailers is another enhancement from Tower Systems, delivered at no cost to its customers – demonstrating innovation in a practical and no cost way.

This is another way we live up to our motto: We’re here to help.

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Sunday retail management advice: don’t pay too much for POS software support

Here at Tower Systems, paying annual software support is optional. We want our POS software customers to pay to access support because they value it rather than because it is a tax imposed which must be paid for them to access the software.

Our support fees are transparent and consistent.

If you use other POS software, before you pay your bill check what others are paying. In one case recently one business was paying around $1,000 while another nearby using exactly the same software purchased at the same time was paying over $3,000. The second business was being grossly overcharged.

One way you can save money on POS software support is by shopping around.

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POS software drives retail sales

One of our POS software team members this week saw first hand the value of the latest loyalty facilities in ur software in a business which switched from MYOB to us and from a points based loyalty system to our $$$ based front end loyalty solution. Here is their story:

I popped in to see a client who swapped to our software late last year from MYOB, they were doing a points based loyalty system before, and changed to our discount vouchers on launch of our software.  The result is excellent sales growth. This is a good report to show you can still get engagement of vouchers, even at low customer numbers and low values.  Average voucher issued was $2.06.

We love hearing stories like this as they reflect on our value proposition of helping our customers. While we help in many ways, it is through the loyalty offer where we see excellent business growth results.

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Tower Systems helping newsagents and their suppliers

Tower Systems is in the middle of hosting a series of newsagency supplier forums up the eastern Seaboard of Australia – to provide suppliers with an opportunity to discuss the newsagency channel and to explore how to list the level of engagement.

These free sessions are running well with plenty of supplier engagement among a diverse group of industry suppliers.

This is another way Tower Systems is investing in the newsagency channel.

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Sunday retail management advice: inspiration retail management success stories

While some retailers gravitate to stories of doom and gloom, others are chase and enjoy success large and small.

Through our work with our POS software we get to meet with plenty of retailers and look at many businesses.

We are certain that success is not an accident.

Success is planned for and chased. It is the goal reflected in every business decision. It comes from refusing to let the business run you.

We’d like to share three real-world stories with you.

The small shop turning over $380,000 a year and growing 28%

Talking with a gift shop owner about their 28% increase in sales in the financial year just ended.

Yes, you read right, a 28% lift in sales in the 2012/13 year. This is on the back of a 17% increase the year before. This is a business that is more than ten years old.

This is no accident. They planned for it by carefully looking at their business data and shedding products that were not working. They adjusted opening hours too as they discovered business later in the day that they had not realised was there. This knowledge opened them to opportunities for last minute shoppers.

The owner of the business decided to chase success because the turnover was barely enough to cover rent, wages and the loan taken out to fund the business. It was grow or bust.

They planned for success by using their business data. The first year – 17% up from a low turnover base – was encouraging. The 28% increase this past financial year proves value of paying attention to business data.

Sales data guided them as to the suppliers of the best to focus on. One employee was eased out of the business for failing to achieve minimum sales targets.

The owner spent more time on the shop floor selling to achieve minimum margin dollars per sale rather than just chatting with shoppers.

The result shows what can happen when you focus on being a retailer, the owner said to me with a huge smile.

A gift shop reengineers and saves itself

Another gift shop we have been working with was in trouble. Shops nearby were closing and the small shopping strip had a dark feeling. For a while they were sucked into the cloud of doom and gloom.

Checking their data we saw that several special interest items sold well and provided an above-average margin. They used this knowledge as the basis for small expansion.

Over six months they increased their range of the special interest items and they connected with community groups to share knowledge.

Over six months sales grew, not into double-digit growth but they were happy to have at least stopped the decline.

In the second six months sales grew further. Now they were into double digit growth territory. Shoppers happy with their specialisation were telling others. Word of mouth was driving extra traffic.

That was a year ago. Today, this business is very different. People travel for up to two hours to see their range. The average sale value has more than doubled, margins are up 15% and customer traffic is up 25%. Combine these three and you can see why the owner is very happy.

They did not plan to become a product specialist. The survival of their business demanded it.

How a product category drove sales and profit

This gift shop owner came to us because they were in trouble. Sales were falling. Together, we took an in-depth look at their data.

The category performing best in terms of return on investment and return on floor-space was plush, teddy bears and some soft toys. That can’t be right, said the owner, it’s stuck in the back of the shop.

Data does not lie. It revealed that their small selection of plush was selling well despite the owner and the employees not being all that interested in it.

Fast forward six months and this business has turned around. They are now a plush shop at the front with other gifts. Sales are up 65% and climbing. They have increased their margin too – because they have products others nearby don’t have.

Turning this business around was easy as the data offered the guide. The changes took a week to complete and initially required only a $5,000 capital investment in additional stock.

Own your success

Small and independent retail businesses can achieve growth in any economic situation.

People don’t stop shopping in tough times – they just change what they buy.

By taking a fresh look at business data gift shop owners can change focus, attract new shoppers and get existing shoppers spending more.

We’re happy to help.

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