Helping newsagents navigate major IT changes

It has been a busy two months for small business newsagents as they navigate major IT changes driven by several of their key suppliers.

Tower Systems has been at the forefront of providing assistance by working with suppliers in advance of the release of their changes, ensuring supplier communication reflects the Tower best practice approach for newsagents using our newsagency software.

Back in our offices we have been providing front line support, taking hundreds of calls to ensure newsagents are able to deal with the supplier driven changes simply and with the best possible outcome.

All of this work has been done at no cost as part of our service to this small business channel.

The most complex of changes relate to structural changes in newspaper subscriptions as well as changes as to how data flows to and form newsagents.

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New free small business POS software training opportunities launched by Tower Systems

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 11.14.43 amSmall business POS software company Tower Systems is proud to have launched a new series of free online POS software training for retailers using its specialist POS software.

The latest training continues our commitment free weekly training opportunities for small business retailers. It is actions speaking loader than words.

We launched the training early this week. We are writing about it here after the launch to our customers.

Anyone can announce training. It takes commitment to deliver it week in week out.

We are grateful to our customers for their support.

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Buy X get Y facility sets Tower POS software apart

The smart POS software from Tower Systems offers small business retailers choice when it comes to loyalty options. Our customers can choose from:

  1. Points accrual based on purchases.
  2. Linking to one of several external loyalty programs.
  3. Linking to FlyBys.
  4. Discount vouchers offering $$$ off next purchase Buy X get Y free.

Our customers can choose the loyalty options that best serve their needs. We do not presume to dictate which of the loyalty options is best as they all have a place.

That Tower Systems offers these options is of itself a point of difference for us.

We are grateful to our customers who have helped us finesse these loyalty facilities making them best practice and through this helping us win more business.

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Sunday retail management advice: track staff sales

Have your staff members record sales by using their staff card barcode or some other unique code and report weekly on the sales achieved. Sharing this simple data point will encourage competition and this is good for all involved in the business including customers.

In one business where we guided this implementation revenue growth can be tracked back to the implementation.

We’d love to help any retailer do this.

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Certification for POS software training achievement

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 8.00.46 amTower Systems is thrilled to issue certificates to retail business employees who complete the structured curriculum based training in the use of our POS software.

Across several curricula developed y retail channel and retail business task areas, the training offers an opportunity to develop valuable knowledge not only in the practical use of our software but also in the business application of the software.

POS software training achievement certificates give retail employees a marker of their learning achievement, something of which they can be proud.

The image is of a certificate issued last week to another successful candidate in a business using our pet shop software.

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Sunday retail management advice: leverage shop local

IMG_9093The shop local movement has a good profile. Locals do tend to prefer to shop local. Retailers need to actively and consistently leverage this through a regular reminder but such a reminder is hollow unless you offer local benefits such as community engagement, hiring locally and sourcing locally made products. Actively engaging in the business through locally focussed decisions helps any retailer bring power and strength to their calls for people to shop local.

This is our advice today – if you pitch shop local, live in in your shop every day and show you yourselves believe in it.

Tower Systems helps retailers actively pitch and live the shop local mantra through its POS software and through the business support the company provides in its training and on its website.

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Helping newsagents leverage the Ladbrokes opportunity

Tower Systems has been helping newsagents embrace the Ladbrokes opportunity in-store with support for facilitating a technology solution for selling recharge of Ladbrokes accounts.

While we do not have a commercial relationship with Ladbrokes or Blueshyft, the platform through which the Ladbrokes service is offered, we have been active in helping newsagents embrace the opportunity and undertake appropriate tracking through their Tower newsagency software.

Tower Systems actively supports newsagents across a range of new business growth opportunities.

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Supplier relationships strengthened at the Gift Fair

Tower Systems has been using its time at the Melbourne Gift Fairs, at the Showgrounds and the MCEC to strengthen supplier relationships. Over the last three days we have visited with many suppliers discussing even stronger links between them and the retail businesses we serve. The result will time saves for suppliers and retailers, improved business data accuracy and greater mutual support.

Trade shows provide a valuable platform for exploring supplier relationships through which we can better serve our customers. While we are happy to be the leader here, we are surprised other software companies are not participating. 

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Listening to POS software customers on the trade show floor

One of the most important activities for service business is listening our customers. This is what we have been doing this weekend at the Melbourne Gift Fair. We have caught up with plenty of users of our POS software. We have been actively  listening to feedback on what they love about us and our software and what we can improve.

It is important for any business to put itself in front of customers for this type of interaction. Hiding from them is not good customer service and will multi,lately see more of them flee from you. We do this regularly at trade shows – sixteen this year. We appreciate the opportunity.

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Why our newsagency software is the best

What makes the newsagency software from Tower Systems the best? Here is our answer:

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This is one of our own newsagencies. It is a valuable point of difference.

We have owned and operated newsagencies since February 1996. This has provided us with a live testing ground for innovation not only for newsagents but all retailers.

A software company walking in the shoes of its customers is better resourced to serve those customers than any other software company.

Today, more than 1,900 newsagents use our software. We think this is three times any other.

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POS software to shine at Reed Melbourne Gift Fair

11705154_10155758806665142_7798774737494542679_nPOS software company Tower Systems will be showing off its latest gift shop software at the Reed Melbourne Gift Fair in two weeks.

Our involvement is already being promoted in the thick catalogue promoting the fair – sent to all gift shops, suppliers and other retailers in the gift space.

We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this fair again this year. We anticipate learning plenty as well as making connections with many possible new customers as we show off what we do pitch the Tower AdvantageTM.

We are especially excited about some surprises we have to share at this marquee event.

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Helping newsagents grow stronger and healthier businesses

Newsagency software company Tower Systems helps Australian newsagents grow relevant businesses. We do this by helping newsagents use data curated by our software to uncover opportunities.

Our help goes beyond traditional POS software help desk support. We extract data, analyse business performance, look for green shoots and explore with the business owners ideas for leveraging these green shoots for a brighter future.

The help provided to newsagents is specific to each business, based on the evidence we see in the data. It can vary from suggestions through to detailed co-operative business planning.

Many newsagencies today are very different to the businesses of a few years ago. Change is good and necessary and we are grateful for the opportunity to help.

Through our work we are seeing newsagents enjoying 10%, 15% and more year on year growth.

The Australian newsagency lives in a new form.

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Smart POS software helps small business retailers sell Spiderman

IMG_7982Spiderman is a superhero loved by generations. He is more popular today than decades ago thanks to a reinvigorating of the franchise by Marvel.

Retailers using our POS software can track the success of superheroes in their retail businesses. They can do this through a range of views, providing insights beyond what is common in POS software.

The insights can help retailers undertake more finely tuned marketing.

Spiderman, for example, can appeal to a young kid discovering their first superhero as much as he can appeal to a baby-boomer reliving memories of their first Spiderman comic back in the day.

These different customers engage with their fan driven interests in different ways. Thanks to a clever approach to viewing data, retailers are able to treat both interests differently and the same as may be needed from time to time.

This is another smart approach to inventory management from the smart software development team at Tower Systems.

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Using a fresh approach in loyalty to differentiate your retail business

While running a points based loyalty program is what most retail businesses using our POS software do, it is our Discount Voucher facilities that deliver the best results we are seeing.

In our own retail businesses we will report growth of 10% in the three months to June 30, 2015. Much of the success comes down to smart use of Discount Vouchers.

Using our POS software you can run a points program that looks and feels just like what the major supermarkets and department stores offer. It’s easy to setup. Your customers carry a professional plastic card with your brand. Alternatively, you can use Discount Vouchers.

Discount Vouchers don’t need a card – they print on receipts and offer an amount customers can spend right away. Our experience and the experience of hundreds of our customers is that Discount Vouchers drive faster and deeper engagement with the business – making a visit more valuable right away.

dvsthlYou can call the voucher anything you like and change this at any time.

You set the rules on how the value of the voucher is calculated.

You set the rules on what the voucher can be redeemed for.

You set the rules on how long a voucher lasts and whether you can go beyond this.

Male shoppers are more likely to spend the voucher immediately.

Many customers use the voucher to purchase items more expensive than the items in the initial purchase.

Customers see the voucher as cash, often commenting that they like this better than points. They like the transparency.

In our own retail experience where we compete with major retailers in a Westfield centre we have shoppers commenting they like our vouchers compared to the rewards programs of our competitors.

We are confident that our Discount Voucher facilities can help you:

– Get customers spending more in a visit.

– Bring existing customers back sooner.

– Attract new shoppers to your business.

– Drive impulse purchases at the sales counter.

Our POS software discount Voucher facilities have been developed for: pet shopsgift shopsjewellersbike retailersgarden centresnewsagentstoy shopsfirearms retailers and adult shops.

Our retail consultants can help:

  • NSW/ACT/TAS/QLD. Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148.
  • WA/SA/NT. Tim Batt. 0401 833 917.
  • VIC. Mike Hill. 0423 848 482.

See our company website and our company blog for more information.

You also have access to Mark Fletcher, the owner of the company. His number is 0418 321 338 and his email mark@towersystems.com.au.

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More POS software training for the new financial year

Tower Systems has kicked off the New Financial Year with the launch of fresh POS software user training opportunities for retailers who partner with us.

The free online new training is genuinely new: fresh, new topics … designed to help retailers get more from their Tower Systems relationship.

Our customers can book in for the free training now from our website. We send an email with instructions on how to get online.

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Helping newsagents deal with News Corp. bundled offers

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 4.09.23 pmTower Systems has been helping newsagents using its newsagency software deal with the new bundled over the counter offers from News Corp.

Our support has included an email to all customers, comprehensive freely available advice on our Knowledge Base, one on one phone calls and individual business email engagement.

Thanks to early warning ages ago from News Corp. about the promotion we were able to fully prepare ourselves and our customer base of close to 2,000 newsagents.

This is the Tower AdvantageTM in action.

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Best practice stocktake advice for small business POS software users

This advice is about the best business approach to undertaking a stocktake. Please refer to other Knowledge base articles on how to actually use the software. All retailers using our POS software have access to our knowledge base.

Please ensure you have the latest version of the Tower Systems Retailer POS software installed prior to undertaking a stocktake.

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.

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.

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Newsagency software on show at Vic. Lottery Agents Conference

lotteryconfThe latest Tower Systems Newsagency Software is on show today at the Lottery Agents Association of Victoria conference in Melbourne. We appreciate the opportunity to be here.

We are thrilled to not only pitch terrific industry-standard software used by three times more newsagents than any other, we are proud to show off a strong and consistent corporate image.

Image is important to lottery agents and to their suppliers. Our software supports the corporate image pitch through a range of customer touch points.

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Small business retailers love the time saved with POS software cloud backup service

bupThe cloud backup service launched last year by Tower Systems is popular with retailers using our POS software. Backups are seamless, not taking any noticeable time thanks to the smart technology. The result is welcome double protection.

While Tower Systems has supported external and automated backup services for years, this new cloud-based service that offers excellent protection to 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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Xero cloud based accounting promotes the Tower Systems POS software

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.26.18 amCloud accounting software company Xero features Tower Systems and its retail management software on the Xero website. This privilege is for software companies which have met compliance requirements set by Xero. Tower Systems achieved this status last year. Since then, we have worked with Xero on communication with small business retailers about the benefits of our Xero integrated POS software solution.

We have plenty of retailers using our software and our automated link to Xero … saving them time and money in the management of their financial records.

We use the Xero live and automated link for our own retail businesses and can speak to the benefits ourselves.

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Good news from a retailer switching to our POS software

Thank you for helping us switch to your software. I had no idea we could do what we are already doing with your software. For years I thought I had a good software program. The time saving alone pays for itself. Thank you.

We love feedback from retailers who switch to us as it encourages us to work even harder at leveraging our point of difference. This latest retailer to switch provided us with comprehensive insights into the weaknesses of the software they have switched from, insights we can leverage in our communication with other retailers in the channel.

Making good POS software is one thing. Guiding retailers to get the maximum commercial value from the software is something else. This is where Tower Systems excels.

 

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POS software help desk support is about much more than the software

And how can I use that information in the business?

This is a question that can stump someone working on the help desk as a POS software company as it goes beyond the what and how and delves into the why. The answer to this question is a chink of gold that can be mined using smart POS software.

This is a questions the Tower Systems help desk team members can answer because the understand the why: why the software matters, why the data harvested is valuable, why a business owner wanting to grow the business will want to use the data.

This information is vital in small business as it is information that unlocks the real value of POS software for these small independent business users.

We can help small business owners understand data on reports as they relate to their specific businesses. Context is everything as they say and we know POS software cannot be one size fits all. A datapoint could be used by three different businesses in different ways depending on other metrics and KPIs. This is where our help desk team is smart and engaged.

Beyond the shat and how, our POS software help desk team loves to delve into the why.

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How small business retailers can quit dead stock and free up cash in their businesses

Small business retailers  could have thousands of dollars of stock sitting on their shelves taking up space. If stock is not selling, it’s costing you. Once you have identified stock that is not selling you can begin to quit this stock, by putting the stock on clearance and continually reducing pricing until it’s sold out. Even if this means selling it below cost, it will save you money in the long run.

Tip: You can work out how much your shop space is worth by dividing the rent by how many square meters of space you have.

If a product hasn’t sold for six months then it’s costing you money to warehouse it. Quitting the stock will stop the cost from building up further and allow you to replace it with stock that will sell. Here is advice on quitting dead stock using our smart POS software.

NOTE: To effectively use this advice you need accurate stock on hand levels. Poor stock management will mean the results here can’t be used. You need to be able to trust your QOH figure is correct for this advice to be useful.

Finding The Stock

Use the ranked sales report with the following settings to work out what isn’t selling and put that stock on clearance.

Go to Reports > Sales Reports > Ranked Sales Report.

Set your Start date back six months from today and the end date to today’s date. Set the rest of the report settings as below.

When the report runs you will see the following:

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Here you can see when the last time an item was sold (if at all) and the last time it was arrived.

Note: Items can show up that have only recently been arrived.

Ignore these items unless they haven’t sold in 4 to 5 months, then you may want to look into them.

The bottom of the report will give you a total cost of stock Inc and Ex GST. Consider this figure the value of dead stock in your store. You need to reduce this as much as possible.

Once you have the report print it out and start working through the list.

Set up a clearance table or bin somewhere in store and put product there with a clearance price. Simply advertise the area as Clearance Stock, Prices as Marked.

Keep discounting the product until it sells. Set a goal to get rid of the stock within say two weeks, if stock is still there after one week, discount further.

Now you can start filling that empty space with stock that is selling well. Use the Ranked Sales Report to show you top selling items and begin to build up those lines.

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