What are reasonable small business retail benchmark goals?

Benchmarks are vital in every retail business. They provide the business performance goals to aim for, target of aspiration.

In our work with small business retailers beyond our smart POS software we often help with benchmark suggestions. We offer the as a starting point, to guide.

While the data points are common, the numbers can vary by retail channel.

Here are benchmark data points and the values we have suggested to transforming newsagency business owners – these are hybrid businesses that are part newsagency, part toy shop, part gift shop. See what you think:

BENCHMARK GOALS

I am often asked for benchmark goals newsagents ought to aim for. Here are some benchmarks I have developed in my work with newsXpress and through Tower Systems:

  1. Gross profit: this is the goal gross profit for all product sales not taking into account any revenue or costs related to any agency business. The traditional newsagency average sits at 28% to 32%. For a newsagency focused on the future, the goal has to be at least 45%.
  2. Ratio of Gift revenue to Card revenue: 50% minimum. The goal ought to be 100% or more. If you do $100K a year in cards, target to do $100K in gifts, or more.
  3. Revenue per employee – $250 an hour minimum not including agency revenue.
  4. Revenue PSQM $4,500 – $8,500 depending on country vs. city / high street to shopping centre and depending of product mix. Higher GP lower revenue required.
  5. Overall revenue mix percentage targets: Cards: 25%; Gifts/toys/plush: 25%; Stat: 10%; magazines/newspapers: 20%; other: 15%.
  6. FLOORSPACE ALLOCATION: Cards: 25%; Gifts/toys/plush: 25%; Stat: 8%; magazines/newspapers: 15%; other products: 15%; office/back room / counter: 12%. It’s rare you make money from an office or store room.
  7. Mark-up goals: Stationery: 125%; Gifts 110%; plush: 110%.
  8. Occupancy cost: between 9% and 11% of revenue where revenue is product revenue plus commission from agency lines. Location and situation are a big factor in this benchmark. For example, a large shopping centre business will have a higher cost than a high street situation.
  9. Labour cost: between 9% and 11% of revenue where revenue is product revenue plus commission from agency lines. Labour cost should include fair market costs for all who work in the business. (See above).

We are sharing these benchmark goals here as a guide for other retailers to contemplate appropriate numbers for the measurement points for their businesses.

Tower Systems is not your average POS software company. We engage beyond the software, to help our small business retail partners to run more successful and enjoyable businesses.

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More newsagents switch to our newsagency software

We are having a terrific run up to Christmas in the newsagency software space with more newsagents switching from other software to our software. While this is not unusual, it is this time of the year as retailers are busy with the most important retail season of the year.

What is different this year is the facilities unique to our software that help engaged retailers leverage Christmas opportunities. We have embedded in our software tools and facilities that specifically help retailers make the most of extra Christmas traffic. The help leverages the traffic way beyond the busy Christmas season.

But software tools are one thing, important but only one thing. Our real help comes through advice and business guidance on leveraging the tools for genuine benefit for the the business for the longer term.

As long-term retailers ourselves in major shopping centres and high street situations we know how to make the software sing. This is where we can really help. Whether it is new traffic, strategic change or dealing with new suppliers, our newsagency a=software and retail business management experience combine to deliver to retailers benefits beyond what one might usually expect from a software company.

We are grateful to the newsagents who are in our community and welcome with open arms those who have recently joined us from other software. Hello, welcome and thank you for being part of what we are doing here.

Strap in and let’s get down to work…

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Actions do speak louder than words

A newsagent called us this morning out of desperation. They use software from another newsagency software company and have been unable to reach them for help – despite claims from this other company they offer support on the weekend. The experience of the newsagent is otherwise. Calls to the help number and a call to one of th owners resulted in no returned call.

We have helped them get their system up and running and business transacting. We have done this without obligation or pressure for them to switch to us.

Our marketing claiming we are open for business over the weekend is true. Customer service matters to us.

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The Tower Systems commitment to small business newsagents

As the newsagency channel undergoes extraordinary change, suppliers to the channel are also changing. Supplier support is vital to the future of many businesses.

Tower Systems remains a constant support through its best-practice newsagency management software, newsagent support and newsagent marketing help.

With more than 1,800 newsagent customers, Tower Systems serves more newsagents than all other software companies combined.

For the record, here are our commitments to small business newsagents in Australia:

  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. No locked-in support fee. Taking support coverage is optional.
  4. Lower support costs.
  5. Fast support. Most calls are handled when you call. If not, we call back fast.
  6. Easy management access. The leadership team of Tower Systems is available if you need them. We take customer service seriously and personally.
  7. Updates when you choose. You are in control of when you load updates.
  8. You are listened to. We offer the only transparent, user driven, software enhancement suggestion service. All our customers are listened to.
  9. Free training. Long after you install our software you have access to free personal training to refresh knowledge or provide training on new facilities.
  10. More integrations. Our direct links to Xero, Magento, Shopify and more mean you have more direct link options to help you grow your business.
  11. Business management insights. We can look at your business performance data and provide a personal analysis of what we see
  12. Owner access. Our owner, Mark Fletcher, is easily accessible: 0418 321 338.

You can purchase our software, lease it or even rent it by the month. You choose the path most appropriate to your needs. We make doing business easy.

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Helping small business retailers find optimism

Small business retail is tough at the best of times. On our POS software help desk we get to talk with many retailers in a range of situations. It is calls when a business is in tough times that can be challenging.

Through our work with many different retailers we have developed an approach to help retailers in tough times confront these challenges.

Here are our thoughts on this, ways we help small business retailers find optimism amid a fog of challenge.

Every day can be tough in small business. You can feel like the big competitors are winning and that you can’t climb the mountain to compete. You may not know where to start. 

There are green shoots of good news and opportunities in every small and independent retail business. The key is to find these and to leverage them for more success.

A green shoot is a product or a category of products or a supplier performing above average in the business. Often, these successes have gone unnoticed.

We were working with a retailer recently who said business was down by 20% and they did not know what to do. It turned out that the best performing product category in their business was ‘failing’ for six months because they had not replenished stock.

They invested, instead, on new lines that had not gone as well as the successful product.

They, in part, created their own downward spiral and had not looked at their business data to understand that contributed to the problems they were confronting.

Once they realised the situation, they re-stocked the successful range of products and numbers started to improve. More important, their confidence level grew and with this their business decisions improved.

There are opportunities for optimism in every business.

Finding optimism is like mining, you have to look for it, sometimes for a long time. It is there, though, in every retail business.

As soon as you hear yourself talking your business down, STOP. Look at your data, look for the good news. That is what you need to think and talk about.

By looking at your data, we mean looking at year on year, quarter on quarter or month on month comparison data for departments, categories, suppliers or even individual products. Look for growth and once you see growth, think about what you can do with and around the products achieving growth so that you can achieve other growth.

Any product achieving year on year increases in unit sales is a product to be appreciated, nurtured and used to help grow other products that can sell to the same customer.

This is how you grow optimism. Find those small green shoots, leverage them with some small steps and, over time, build more success for your business.

While overall revenue, traffic count and profitability may be down, growth even at the smallest data point, such as for one or two products, could be enough to get you looking at your business differently.

Finding optimism is important as it is through this view that you are more likely to make better business decisions.

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The school booklist management software newsagents are loving

We are thrilled with the response to the school booklist management software we released for newsagents to use. Newsagents are loving the cloud based software, the subscription model and the evolution of the software since release.

Our new web based school booklist facility is now available live.

Once you have had a look around, if you want to proceed and use Booklist in your business, please sign up for a year access and you are good to go.

Built from the ground up, this facility will provide all we outlined in our earlier email. The cost will be $795.00 (inc. GST) a year.

Using the site you will be able to:

  1. Setup a school.
  2. Setup classes in a school and load all the booklist requirements.
  3. The booklist items could be loaded by a CSV file. You would record item description, price, supplier and supplier stock cost.
  4. You would setup order close dates.
  5. Plus you would have the ability to note when an order is ready for collection.
  6. The site would allow for you not having stock, thereby adjusting the amount to be collected.
  7. Share a link for parents to sign up and add their kid(s) to a class and to either take the whole booklist or select what they want.
  8. The site would allocate logins to parents so they would have access to their order.
  9. Receive payment from the parents.
  10. Alternatively, the site would give the transaction to your Retailer software for payment by the parents in-store.
  11. Export a file of all items required to fulfil booklists, by supplier and by school. CSV you could load into Excel.
  12. Report on total revenue by school and class.
  13. The site would be accessible by desktop, tablet and phone.

In addition to the per year fee there would be a small card processing fee, on a cost recovery basis, for payments made online.

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How we handled the Blueshyft debacle demonstrates our customer service commitment

A couple of weeks ago start-up Blueshyft mishandled communication with small business newsagents – saying POS software companies were responsible that Blueshyft ought be responsible for. The result was many POS software help desk calls that caused use to spend money on calls that were 100% the responsibility of Blueshyft.

Here at Tower Systems we did the work, provided the service. Then, we took a look at what Bluieshyft did and wrote to our customers:

Poor communication from Blueshyft disrespects you and us.
Blueshyft emailed newsagents today asking them to call their POS software company for a file update.

Blueshyft had not told us about the update, we did not have the file, we had not seen the file and could, therefore, not help.

But the support calls came. In huge number. Newsagents calling us because Blueshyft told them to. Some customers were rude to Tower employees, saying we were fools for not knowing about this.

This all happened when Gavin Williams, our COO, and I were on a flight from there Gold Coast back to Melbourne. We had been on the Gold Coast on business.

Our help desk was slammed – all because Blueshyft had kept us in the dark and because some newsagents didn’t believe that we had no knowledge of this new file.

I spoke with Blueshyft CEO Kain Warwick 45 minutes ago and expressed by frustration at what is, in my opinion, appalling communication from Blueshyft and a lack of respect for what Tower Systems does for them.

We get no compensation for any work related to Blueshyft. XchangeIT is paid to do what they do. I suspect Blueshyft pays VANA for their support and kind words. Yet the POS software company with the most newsagents is expected to be mind readers and know about a file we have never seen.

What happened today is ridiculous.

I have told our help desk we will not take calls on this new file. Instead, we have updated our online advice. This has all the instructions you need to load the file. Click here for our advice.

Had Blueshyft been professional, they would have provided the file, let us test it, let us provide them with advice on loading and then communicated with you. Instead, they dumped the heavy lifting on companies like ours for no compensation at all.

But on the file, it has 2,700 stock items. It does not make sense they want to bloat your system with all these but that is a separate issue.

Yes, I am frustrated as it is things like this that divert our attention from providing support individual customers of ours call us for – calls from the businesses that pay for our support services.  Blueshyft is freeloading at my expense and, ultimately, at your expense.

Mark Fletcher
Managing Director
0418 321 338

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Why newsagents trust Tower Systems more than any other POS software company

More newsagents are switching to the Tower Systems newsagency management software. We can connect you with reference sites who will speak to the valuable difference we offer.

Here are our commitments to you:

  1. We will not leave the newsagency channel. With more than 1,750 newsagent customers today we are here for you.
  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. No locked-in support. Taking support coverage is optional. We never block access to your software if you choose to not take support coverage.
  4. Lower support costs.
  5. Fast support. Most calls are handled when you call. If not, we call back fast.
  6. Easy management access. The leadership team of Tower Systems is available if you need them. We take customer service seriously and personally.
  7. Updates when you choose. You are in control of when you load updates.
  8. You are listened to. We offer the only transparent, user driven, software enhancement suggestion service. All our customers are listened to.
  9. Regular user meetings. Around the country, in city and regional locations – we offer free face to face training and networking through the year.
  10. Free training. Long after you install our software you have access to free personal training to refresh knowledge or provide training on new facilities.
  11. More integrations. Our direct links to Xero, Magento, Shopify and more mean you have more direct link options to help you grow your business.
  12. Business management insights. We can look at your business performance data and provide a personal analysis of what we see
  13. The Tower AdvantageTM. Our professional and friendly help from training to support to business advice. We are not your average software company.
  14. Owner access. Our owner, Mark Fletcher, is easily accessible: 0418 321 338.

You can purchase our software, lease it or even rent it by the month. You choose the path most appropriate to your needs. We make doing business easy.

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Newspaper home delivery software from Tower Systems popular

While some are writing off the the Australian small business newsagency channel, here at Tower Systems we are proud to be enjoying growth in the use of our newsagency software and our newspaper home delivery software.

The growth is coming from new business – people switching to Tower from other software and people expanding their businesses.

We have geared for the growth with expansion of the help desk and other customer facing services in the business.

With the most widely used software in the newsagency channel, we are chosen as the safe software company, the one strong enough to help newsagents navigate change as they transform their businesses.

Last week, here at this blog, we shared our commitments to newsagents. We think these commitments are a positive reflection on our support for the newsagency channel. The commitments differentiate us:

Here are our commitments, our promises, to you:

  1. We will not leave the newsagency channel. With more than 1,750 newsagent customers today we are here for you.
  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. No locked-in support. Taking support coverage is optional. We never block access to your software if you choose to not take support coverage.
  4. Fast support. Most calls are handled when you call. If not, we call back fast.
  5. Easy management access. The leadership team of Tower Systems is available if you need them. We take customer service seriously and personally.
  6. Updates when you choose. You are in control of when you load updates.
  7. You are listened to. We offer the only transparent, user driven, software enhancement suggestion service. All our customers are listened to.
  8. Regular user meetings. Around the country, in city and regional locations – we offer free face to face training and networking through the year.
  9. Free training. Long after you install our software you have access to free personal training to refresh knowledge or provide training on new facilities.
  10. More integrations. Our direct links to Xero, Magento, Shopify and more mean you have more direct link options to help you grow your business.
  11. Business management insights. We can look at your business performance data and provide a personal analysis of what we see
  12. The Tower AdvantageTM. Our professional and friendly help from training to support to business advice. We are not your average software company.
  13. Owner access. Our owner, Mark Fletcher, is easily accessible: 0418 321 338.

You can purchase our software, lease it or even rent it by the month. You choose the path most appropriate to your needs. We make doing business easy.

Tower Systems has more newsagents using its software than all other newsagency software programs combined.

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Small business Newsagents trust Tower Systems to help build more valuable businesses

Hundreds of newsagents have switched their software to Tower Systems. We can connect you with reference sites who will speak to the commercially valuable difference between our software and what you use today.

Here are our commitments, our promises, to you:

  1. We will not leave the newsagency channel. With more than 1,750 newsagent customers today we are here for you.
  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. No locked-in support. Taking support coverage is optional. We never block access to your software if you choose to not take support coverage.
  4. Fast support. Most calls are handled when you call. If not, we call back fast.
  5. Easy management access. The leadership team of Tower Systems is available if you need them. We take customer service seriously and personally.
  6. Updates when you choose. You are in control of when you load updates.
  7. You are listened to. We offer the only transparent, user driven, software enhancement suggestion service. All our customers are listened to.
  8. Regular user meetings. Around the country, in city and regional locations – we offer free face to face training and networking through the year.
  9. Free training. Long after you install our software you have access to free personal training to refresh knowledge or provide training on new facilities.
  10. More integrations. Our direct links to Xero, Magento, Shopify and more mean you have more direct link options to help you grow your business.
  11. Business management insights. We can look at your business performance data and provide a personal analysis of what we see
  12. The Tower AdvantageTM. Our professional and friendly help from training to support to business advice. We are not your average software company.
  13. Owner access. Our owner, Mark Fletcher, is easily accessible: 0418 321 338.

You can purchase our software, lease it or even rent it by the month. You choose the path most appropriate to your needs. We make doing business easy.

Tower Systems has more newsagents using its software than all other newsagency software programs combined.

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Tower Systems POS software on show at Gift HQ this weekend

Our team is in Brisbane and ready for the Gift HQ trade show that starts tomorrow morning in Brisbane.

On show on our stand will be new software that helps gift retailers to drive shopper engagement. We will also be showing off our smart integrations that help retailers. These include our integrations with Xero, Magento, Shopify, Tyro and our smart Business Intelligence platform.

Trade shows like Gift HQ are vital in that they provide us an opportunity to connect with shoppers, gain feedback on our new facilities and provide personal training to users connecting with us at the event.

Gitf HQ is one of sixteen trade shows we will do this year, one of sixteen trade organised events where we personally face to face connect with customers and prospective customers.

We are grateful for the opportunity and appreciative of the time small business owners will give to connect with us at the event.

GiftHQEmailJuly16

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Best practice advice on how to do a stocktake using your POS software

Here is some of the advice we published to ur POS software customers in the lead up to the end of the financial year – to help them efficiently and accurately handle stock take requirements.

Take the technology to the stock and not your stock to your technology.

For the process to be as easy as possible you will need a wireless network – vital for OH&S reasons.

The best way to do a stocktake in your business is by using a laptop (or laptops) or tablet computer with a scanner attached. This enables you to do the stocktake live with no impact on sales and absolute integrity of your stock on hand data.

While using a laptop (or laptops) or tablet computer may seem cumbersome, it is our best practice advice for speed, data integrity and the ability to address data issues you may encounter on the shop floor. It enables you to do management work to ensure completely accurate data.

The alternative is to use a PDE. The challenges with this are the many different PDEs and it is challenging to be expert in all plus the PDE counts at that time and you load the data at a later time – meaning a gap in time in which sales could have been done. While PDE software is available for live to data updates, we have seen this be problematic and so we do not use it.

Given the advances in technology, our best practice recommendation is either a laptop of tablet computer as either offers a better solution than a PDE.

We suggest you setup a Laptop or tablet and use Team Viewer or the like to connect in and count this way. This approach means you do not need to purchase an additional software licence for the laptop. Team Viewer is easy to setup. If you do need our help on this there would be a support cost.

For the physical stocktake, we suggest you approach the business aisle by aisle, counting and rearranging stock as you go.

Once you have completed your first full stocktake, our advice is you engage in a rolling stocktake, doing parts of the business, through the year. The Tax Office does not require businesses with full sock control implemented to do a stocktake at the end of the financial year. They will accept data from your system if you manage stock through the year.

On the stocktake itself, follow carefully our Knowledge Base advice. Choose the type of stocktake wisely. Backup before you commence.

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A fresh approach to POS software EOFY training from Tower Systems

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 8.14.19 AMThe long-form training video published to small business retailers using our POS software is proving to be a hit with plenty engaging with the video and ensuring they are informed how to be fully prepared for the end of the financial year.

The training video is another free training resource produced in-house at Tower Systems by our customer service team and our video production team.

This latest video was filmed during a live online training workshop – so it shows off that free training resource as well.

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Small business advice: A checklist for those buying a retail shop

A common question we are asked at our POS software company has nothing to do with software. It is from people considering purchasing a retail business. The question is:  what should I ask for when looking at buying a retail shop?

The question itself, when asked, indicates how green a prospective purchaser is when it comes to purchasing a business.

Here is a list of data points we suggest retail business purchasers access from the vendor or their representative:

  1. P&L from the accountant for the last two years. i.e. not a spreadsheet created for the purpose.
  2. A good explanation of any add-backs.
  3. Sales data reports, for the last two years, from the POS software in use – to verify the income claim.
  4. Sales data reports from the lottery terminal to verify the income claim.
  5. BAS forms to confirm data in the P&L.
  6. A list of all inventory to include purchase price and date last sold for each item.
  7. A copy of the shop lease.
  8. A copy of any leases the vendor expects you to take on board.
  9. A list of all employees: name, hourly rate, nature of employment, start date, accrued leave.

This is good basic information that will enable any purchaser to undertake reasonable assessment of a business.

A good business will shine through the numbers just as a business with upside achievable by new owners will shine through.

My advice to vendors looking to sell who are concerned about this list is: think about it now and focus on your business so the data listed looks good.

Every day you make decisions in your business that impact many of the data points listed.

This is why we say every day is your pay day. Run a smart, lean and profit focused business and you will have a good pay day today and a good one when you come to sell.

The most appealing businesses are those that are easier to run and are making money.

The time to focus on that is now.

Sure, a purchaser can turn a business around. They should get the rewards if they are expected to do that for your business.

The price you can sell your business for will be based on what it is making now.

Getting the data ready for the sale of the business could, of itself, help you improve how you run your business.

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TOWER SYSTEMS HELPS SMALL BUSINESS NEWSAGENTS WITH NEWS CORP. OFFER

image[1]Tower Systems has published advice for newsagents to work with the latest News Corp. newspaper retail offer that has been timed to run for the last weeks of the federal election campaign.

Our advice is comprehensive and was released to newsagents, after thorough testing, in time for the News announcement to newsagents.

Providing newsagents with step by step advice on how to easily handle supplier marketing initiatives is what Tower Systems does across its various vertical marketplaces.

This is another example of the value of the Tower AdvantageTM in action for the small business newsagents we serve.

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Mailing the POS software customer newsletter

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 3.28.47 pmHere at Tower Systems we think too many POS software companies have distanced themselves from their customers.

We stay close.

Not only do we offer easy communication via email, online, by voice and face to face, we have a snail mail newsletter that offers tips and advice – delivered the old fashioned way so the information can be shared with all users of the software in the business.

The image shows one of the pages of our May newsletter put i the mail this week.

Communicating with customers by mail demonstrates our care of service for those not keen for electronic communications.

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HELPING TELL THE STORY OF AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS NEWSAGENTS

cmh-companion_coverTower Systems founder Mark Fletcher was invited to contribute a chapter to A Companion to the Australian Media, a comprehensive guide to media in Australia including a history of media – including Australian newsagents.

The large book was published over a year ago and has received acclaim as an excellent guide to media in Australia.

It was an honour to represent small business newsagents on this project. This work continues years of service to the Australian newsagency channel serving on panels, committees and at supplier conferences in support of better outcomes for small business newsagents.

Serving more than 1,700 newsagents, Tower Systems is one of the largest suppliers in the newsagency channel. Our 35+ years in business make us one of the longest serving. What is even more staggering is the growth we are achieving in the channel this year as more newsagents switch to Tower.

While there are some who talk down the small business newsagency channel in Australia, we see opportunity in change and upside for those embracing the opportunity.

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HELPING SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS MAKE POS SOFTWARE HELP DESK CALLS

Calling a help desk, any help desk can be confronting and challenging for anyone. It can be even more so for small business retailers who may not be experienced computer users. To help our 3,500+ small business retail customers using our POS software to get the most from our help desk, we developed and published this practical advice. We shared this with them as part of our regular weekly customer service communication:

Calling any help desk can be intimidating. To help ensure you get the best possible experience, here is our advice on how to prepare for and make a call to our POS software help desk. This advice should work for jus about any help desk.

We are it here to show what we now understand to be another example of the Tower Systems difference, the Tower AdvantageTM.

Here is our POS software help desk advice:

BEFORE THE CALL

Know for certain what your query is about. Know the error message, what you were doing before it and whether anything different was done this time compared to last time you did this and it worked.

Being clear in describing a problem or stating a question is the most important step in getting the response you want.

Check to ensure you don’t have the answer already or cannot access the answer through the knowledge base.

MAKING THE CALL

Be ready with your business name (and account number if appropriate.

Explain the problem or ask your question.

Stay on point, be calm and focus on your query.

Follow the advice provided. Do not type ahead or act without the full advice. This can see you make mistakes without the full picture.

If you are not sure about what you have been told ask for the advice to be repeated.

If written advice, an advice sheet or a knowledge base article, is offered, take that as it will provide step by step advice that is peer-reviewed rather than one person’s opinion on what to do.

If we cannot answer the call right away, please tell our receptionist who answers the call how urgent it is – we will get back to you according to the urgency you allocate.

CALL ETIQUETTE.

Please don’t serve customers, stay focused on the call.

Don’t swear.

Listen.

Take notes.

ESCALATE.

If, for any reason, you are unhappy with the call, escalate the matter out of the help desk. Tower Systems has an escalation process to serve your needs. This is detailed in our weekly email.

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REINVENTING THE POS SOFTWARE EXPERIENCE FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

Change is the order of the day for retail as it has been since the first shops opened. What is different in 2016 is that the pace of change has picked up. Indeed, the pace of change today is greater than at any time in the past. Technology is playing a key role in that: online and offline technology is facilitating, pushing and even forcing change.

Staying up to date is a challenge, especially in small and independent retailer businesses where having the time and resources to stay open can be difficult.

Tower Systems tries to insulate its customers from some of the challenges of change by leveraging changes in the software without needing to change hardware infrastructure.

In software updates we bring to the businesses of our customers tools and resources they can use to be more competitive. Tools and facilities through which they can enhance the relevance of their businesses in a changing retail landscape.

We think and work strategically on such technical changes, always thinking about what we can do to help our customers drive their relevance for we know if you customers feel more relevant and are more successful as a result of our software then a need of our business plan is satisfied.

What we do is more than about the software though. Enhancing our POS software is only part of what we do. The even more important aspect of helping our small business retailers compete is how we communicate with them about the enhancements. Our live training workshops, regional user meetings, training videos, advice sheets, personal training and other touch points help our customers learn about and embrace opportunities for change in their retail businesses through what we deliver in our POS software.

In our latest work we have helped retailers redefine the over the counter sales experience, leveraging important touch points, driving value from shopper engagement. For retailers, changes like these are money in the bank.

Our work directly linking with Magento, Shopify, Xero and other respected and widely used platforms is an example of us delivering on our commitment to help our small business retail community to embrace change and leverage change for their commercial success.

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HELPING NEWSAGENTS HANDLE THE NEWS CORP. COIN COLLECTION PROMOTION

Earlier this week we published advice to our newsagent software customers on how to handle the News Corp. commemorative coin collection promotion. This advice leverages facilities in our smart software to make it easy for our 1,700+ newsagent customers to handle this important promotion with ease.

Thanks to early notice of the promotion we were well prepared and provided not only how-to advice but considerably more, helping our newsagent customers make more from this traffic-driving promotion.

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Q1 2016 NEWSAGENCY SALES BENCHMARK STUDY.

We are proud to have announced our first newsagency sales benchmark study for 2016 in an email sent to newsagents this morning:

We are preparing a fresh benchmark study for the newsagency channel to look at the latest sales trends overall and in key product categories. This quarterly newsagency sales performance study will help newsagents see the future based on the data trends. It will also reveal the difference between emerging newsagency model changes.

We see many newsagency businesses embracing tremendous change already in 2016. In the sea of change are wonderful opportunities. These opportunities are revealed in the business data in each business and in the benchmark results we publish.

How to participate.

  1. Please run a Monthly Sales Comparison Report for 01/01/2016 – 31/03/2016 compared to 01/01/2015 – 31/03/2015.
  2. Tick the category box.
  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 us.

We will email the results to all participating newsagents and publish the results on the Australian Newsagency Blog as a community service.

Tower Systems serves in excess of 1,750+ newsagents with best practice newsagency software.

Note: the study reflects performance as reported by a range of newsagency businesses trading under a range of brands.

The results of each study are backed up by circulation results published later by the Audit Bureau.

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HELPING A SMALL BUSINESS RETAILER CONFRONT THE WORST TYPE OF THEFT

The worst type of theft any small business retailer can encounter is that by a business partner. It can be challenging to detect as a smart partner can know processes and opportunities to steal without detection. A well run business, however, has checks and balances, checkpoint opportunities to indicate theft that can be investigated and proven.

We have been working on this for a customer through this Easter period, helping to gather evidence that will resolve the matter.

While we offer excellent theft mitigation opportunities in our POS software, retailers can choose the level to which these are used. Offering local choice is something retailers want. We confront the risk of choice in our training and support of retailers as we want them to choose what is best for their business, to keep the cost low.

We are proud to offer management level business assistance and advice to help retailers uncover evidence of theft and to take appropriate steps to recover stolen funds and bring perpetrators to justice.

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