Sunday retail management advice: keep your loyalty pitch simple for success

A loyalty program is only as good as the over the counter pitch through which you seek to engage shoppers. Check out this brief video we created to train retail employees on what has to be the easiest to use over the counter shopper loyalty offer.

Tower Systems leads with professional employee training videos which help retail employees leverage more value for the business from our software.

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POS software help desk live Saturday support

Today, as is usual, the office based POS software help desk of Tower Systems is up and running and providing live assistance to retailers using our POS software.

This office based service is in addition to our after hours service and our senior management escalation service.

Saturday POS software support is loved by retailers. It demonstrates an understanding of the different work cycle of retail versus office based businesses. being office based means it can achieve more than a mobile service and this enhances the customer experience.

This is another Tower AdvantageTM .

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150 software enhancements in POS software update

The majority of the 150 POS software enhancements (new facilities as well as expanded facilities) in the latest POS software from Tower Systems have come from suggestions from users and as voted on by users – through our transparent and loved Software Ideas online portal.

Feedback from customers with early access to this update has been thrilling.

We are proud to have delivered more business enhancing facilities to our 2,800+ small business customers.

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Smart POS software helps retailers as policing of under-age retail sales increases

Policing of age-restricted products has increased this year with considerable undercover detection action in several states.

Retailers using our smart POS software benefit from being able to tag products as having an age restriction. This results in a pop-up requiring an age check prior to proceeding to process the sale.

Our age-check is a procedural intervention on which retailers can rely to reduce under-age selling mistakes by employees. It is also evidence they can provide to authorities to indicate that the business has processes to stop under-age selling.

Easily setup, the age-check facility in our software is another way business owners can establish processes and facilities through which their business can be professionally managed in their absence.

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POS software training video library helps retail employees gain skills

Retailers using the Tower Systems POS software have access to a training library of more than 130 training videos. These videos are professional in production and valuable in the content offered.

The videos can be accessed from any computer, anywhere and at any time.

The video training resources are comprehensive. They are also loved by our customers.

Regularly enhanced, the Tower Systems POS software video training library is a real asset to our business – allowing us to show a point of difference which wins us business.

In addition to POS software training, our library also includes training on business use of the software – covering how to engage on the shop floor. This is an area many POS software companies neglect in their training.

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Smart reports in POS software help small business retailers unlock value

Tower Systems hosted a free online training workshop last week on key reports in our software that can change how a retailer views and engages with their business.

This session sounded boring in that it was about report, what for some appears to be a dry aspect of POS software. The reality is good reports can be sexy in design and sexy in the numbers they present.

On top of training how to access the reports, our training took people into the value of the data in the reports, talking about the business decisions that can be made based on data points in the reports.

We selected a small number of reports so as to not overwhelm.

The reports are the icing on the cake of our software – they help retailers to learn things about their businesses they did not know, to be able to plot a path ahead for their businesses.

We do these training sessions every week and they are always free. Our customers love the diversity of training available and that we are consistent in our scheduling.

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Sunday retail management advice: helping small business retailers love their businesses

I hate going into work. These words from a friend reflected a long-held feeling, a feeling held with some shame.

Here was a retail business owner who hated going into his own business.  He had fallen out of love with what he had created. The bitterness he felt towards his business had soured to hatred.

Why do some retailers hate going to work? It is an interesting question which needs exploration before we look at strategies for countering this.

There is usually a trigger – supplier fatigue, tough economic conditions, personal challenges away from the business, a partner dispute, tiredness… there could be any combination of reasons.

If you have reached the point where you hate going into work each day it is important to take time away from the business for an honest assessment as to why you hate the business. Until you can answer the question – why do you hate going into work? – you cannot begin to work on resolution.

Once you know the reasons, think about a series of small and achievable steps you could take to turn the situation around. No matter how challenging the situation, there are always steps you could take. Focus on these, start work on them and in some instances that alone will be enough to move you through the fog of anger and ill-feeling toward the business.

If finding small steps to take does not work, get together with a trusted friend and tell them how you feel toward the business. Ask them to talk with you about the business. Reminisce about why you started or purchased the newsagency. Remember your dreams and hopes. Use the conversation to explore your emotion at the moment you decided to open or purchase the retail business.

The best advice to to get professional help from a psychologist or professionally qualified counsellor to explore your feelings for the business. Your doctor could help you access a government funded mental health plan.

Understanding your hatred for your retail business is the first step. This will usually, of itself, reveal the first steps you can take to turn the hatred around. Be open to that. Take small steps and see where they lead. The change in feeling toward the business may not be immediate so do not expect too much too soon.

If you do nothing, the hatred will be more and more reflected in the business and in your own person. Neither benefits from this.

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How POS software can help small business retailers change shopper loyalty

POS software can do more for small business retailers than they may think. Good POS software, like that from Tower Systems, goes deep into the business, away from the sales counter, helping in many ways.

Help with leveraging shopper loyalty.

  1. Reward to drive deeper shopper engagement.
  2. Track your loyalty liabilities to understand risk.
  3. Track shopper engagement through comprehensive date, time and person engagement to understand the loyalty buttons to push.
  4. Choose the loyalty offer right for you – good POS software will offer multiple loyalty offers for you.
  5. Be consistent in your loyalty offer such that every shopper is offered a consistent pitch.
  6. Un a loyalty program that is different to those around you. For example, if others nearby offer a points based program, go with something different.
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Some post budget commentators fail to understand the benefits of the small business instant asset write off

I write this as the owner of an Australian POS software company serving several specialist retail channels, as a newsagent and as the owner os a couple of other businesses serving small businesses in Australia.

I am disappointed at some of the commentary about the instant asset write offannounced in the federal budget this week. I have heard media commentators call it a tax break, a gift, a hand out, a return to the age of entitlement and a more. I have also heard commentators question whether small business owners will do the right thing and spend the money honestly.

These comments are ignorant, they do not reflect the thinking of small business owners. Small business owners are a passionate breed, usually putting the needs of our businesses ahead of much else in our lives. We don’t engage in tax schemes to avoid paying Australian taxes, we don’t domicile in tax havens to avoid tax, we don’t use visa programs to import workers ahead of Australians.

Most small business owners are too busy in their businesses to even dream of the schemes we read others use.

Small business owners work long hours, usually for below award rate wages – because they love the independence of working for themselves and, yes, the feeling of making a genuine contribution. I happily work a minimum of 80 hour s a week and have done for decades.

Let’s look at what the instant asset write off actually is. Check out this from the federal government’s budget website:

ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION
All small businesses will get an immediate tax deduction for any individual assets they buy costing less than $20,000. (Currently, the threshold sits at $1,000).

This $20,000 limit applies to each individual item. Small businesses can apply this $20,000 rule to as many individual items as they wish. These arrangements start from Budget night and continue until the end of June 2017.

There is no extra money, no grant or gift. All that is being done is speeding up the writing off of the expense. The budget measure improves cash flow.

A small business owner wanting to buy a new TV, to take one comment I heard several times, will still have to fund the TV – meaning they will want a business purpose for the TV.

I own a few businesses and while none is eligible for the instant asset write off, they serve small businesses which will be eligible for the instant asset write off.

Based on comments from small business owners to me since the budget, I am confident the instant asset write off is a valuable step needed to get many small business owners thinking about their businesses, considering what investments they could make knowing they get a deduction in the year of purchase and not spread over time.

Yes, I am conflicted as I stand to benefit. I mention this in case it has not been clear up to now. The economy benefits too. Take my POS software company:

  1. More small business owners like newsagents, bike retailers, pet shop owners, jewellers, gift shop owners and others will purchase our POS software.
  2. Used how we train them, our POS software will help the businesses:
    1. Cut costs.
    2. Increase sales.
    3. Reduce theft.
    4. Make better quality business decisions.
    5. In short, their businesses will be worth more. I have seen newsagents do this and hire more staff. Others have paid off loans sooner – making more funds available to banks for more lending.
  3. My software company benefits from more revenue and more customers. More customers = more staff. We benefit, the new staff benefit and the economy benefits.
  4. The software we sell is Australian. Any support for this is good for the country.
  5. The tax we pay is higher as a percentage of sales than the big companies in the news recently. Boos us and you boost the economy. You boost us by supporting our customers. You support our customers by encouraging them to invest in their businesses.

To the commentators making noise about a possible surge in TV and car sales, take a moment to think that there are ethical Aussie companies with productivity tools servicing small Aussie businesses – and that together we can deliver measurable economic benefits.

Commentators: stop talking us down.

Now, to my politics. I voted Greens at the last election as I thought their small business policy was better than the major parties. I have not voted Liberal for many elections. While this is none of your business, I felt it important to say to show I am not writing this as an ideologue.

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How POS software can help small business retailers match online services

POS software can do more for small business retailers than they may think. Good POS software, like that from Tower Systems, goes deep into the business, away from the sales counter, helping in many ways.

Help with competing with online competitors.

  1. Connect with your own web store easily.
  2. Have a common stock file for online and high street retail.
  3. Offer value-add on your receipts, at the counter and elsewhere thanks to prompts and the ability for you to encode your IP for more consistent delivery to shoppers.
  4. Be flexible on pricing and manage this through your technology.
  5. Connect with shoppers based on purchases.
  6. Bundle products such that what you sell is unique and not easily compared to online.
  7. Pitch the physical presence difference and reinforce this through shopper touch points.
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How POS software can help small business retailers manage specific locations

POS software can do more for small business retailers than they may think. Good POS software, like that from Tower Systems, goes deep into the business, away from the sales counter, helping in many ways.

Help with managing specific locations in-store.

  1. Know what sells from what location in your retail business.
  2. Stock-take by location in your business – it could be a cabinet or a shelf or some other unique and specific location.
  3. Track not only the location but each item in the location and product adjacencies.
  4. Manage products in multiple locations in store and understand the role location could play in the performance of a product.

Location specific management is helping retailers we are directly working with to improve revenue.

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Tower Systems helps small business retailers benefit from the immediate asset write-off in the federal budget

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 8.58.58 pmTower Systems has begun an education campaign for small business retailers in Australia in selected specialist retail channels outlining how they can benefit from the immediate asset write-off opportunity announced in the federal budget last night.

Retail businesses turning over $2 million a year or less can immediately write off the purchase of our Point of Sale solution.

Our software delivers the productivity benefits the federal government is keen to see small businesses access.

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How POS software can help small business retailers avoid dead stock costs

POS software can do more for small business retailers than they may think. Good POS software, like that from Tower Systems, goes deep into the business, away from the sales counter, helping in many ways.

Help with avoiding and clearing dead stock.

  1. Know for certain what is not selling.
  2. Know how suppliers perform against each other and use this in your buying to reduce dead stock.
  3. Offer deals which make old stock look appealing such as BUY X and GET Y.
  4. Bundle products together into a package deal hamper to make them more appealing.
  5. Run time based sales.
  6. Know what sells with what and place on the shop floor accordingly.
  7. Use evidence in your data to negotiate with suppliers on dead stock.
  8. Include bonus offers to customers passively on receipts – marketing after they leave the shop.
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How POS software can help small business retailers manage employees more effectively

POS software can do more for small business retailers than they may think. Good POS software, like that from Tower Systems, goes deep into the business, away from the sales counter, helping in many ways.

Help with managing employees.

  1. Easily create rosters and share these with employees how and where they want.
  2. Track sales by employees.
  3. Track sales by time – allowing shift comparisons.
  4. How employees understand performance in the context of what they can do to help the business and themselves.
  5. Cut time taken on everyday tasks such as end of shift.
  6. Eliminate often frustrating tasks such as the daily backup.
  7. Give employees information that helps them more effectively serve the business.
  8. Bring certainty to the counter and help employees be more consistent.
  9. Provide employees with vital information about products so they can be consistently knowledgeable.
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Sunday retail management advice: challenge your POS software help desk advice

Sometimes, POS software help desk advice is not right. It could be they did not understand the question, that you did not completely explain the question or that they got it plain wrong.

A good POS software help desk will offer a structured escalation process where you can take any concern and have it considered away from the help desk. Such an escalation process will involve senior management and have at its heart good communication.

Tower Systems has a structured escalation process with three points of escalation outside of the help desk function. Customers can use this or they can bypass a step as all contact points in the escalation process are published regularly.

Tower customers can speak directly with the owner of the business, Mark Fletcher, on 0418 321 338.

We encourage customers to challenge help desk advice to ensure that the advice is right for the actual question or problem. This can be done in a respectful way with the outcome always on ensuring the best possible customer service experience.

Retailers who actively engage with the POS software help desk process usually achieve a more meaningful and valuable outcome for themselves and their business.

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POS software customer: I love your training!

We were thrilled to be able to catch up with a Tower Systems POS software customer some months after their installation so see how things were going.

I love your training, just love it. What they did in the shop was fantastic but it’s the videos I really love.

I love that I can get my staff to watch them and track their progress.

I know the importance of training and thanks to your videos I am seeing improvements in performance.

Better still, these videos help me make more money.

Tower Systems offers access to more than 130 professional videos for use by customers at any time and from anywhere. These videos significantly enhance the Tower customer experience.

Our video training library is part of a comprehensive training program of in-store, over the phone, group and local workshop training. Our offer is comprehensive and constantly evolving based on customer feedback.

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The new approach to stock take using POS software

Demonstrating its commitment to innovation, the latest release of POS software from Tower Systems offers a completely new stock take facility.

Completely re-designed from the ground up, this new stocktaking facility works as well with tablets as it does on your traditional desktop.

Packed with new features, this new stock take facility is available for the end of financial year stock take retailers will undertake over the next two months.

Tower Systems is committed to providing its small business retail partners a continuously improving POS software experience through considerable investment in software development.

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Using POS software to drive preorders

prePreorders are important in several specialist retail businesses. They can help you lock-in shoppers long before product is available. Offering the service is often appreciated, especially by collectors who want to be first with a new product in their area of collection.

Using smart facilities in our POS software, retailers are able to easily manage preorders from payment to order tracking to customer communication.

Our preorder facilities are all about helping retailers grow their businesses and ensuring they do not lose sales.

The more structured your processes around special orders and preorders the more support you will achieve from customers.

Developed with retailers specialising in preorders, the Tower POS software serves this need well.

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How POS software helps small business retailers from the front door to the back office

Software is only as valuable to a business as the contribution it makes. This contribution can be measured in time and money for its from these two that all other benefits flow. Here are ways our point of sale software will help gift shops, jewellers, bike retailers, pet shops and more make more money and free time

  1. Better customer service. Our software guides the sales process and gathers all necessary information, freeing retail staff for selling.
  2. Saving time. Using our software, sales are processed quickly. As retailers ourselves we have focused on delivering fast and efficient processing for sales.
  3. Reducing theft. Stores without a POS system are more susceptible to employee theft. In fact nearly 50% of retail shrinkage comes from employee theft. Our software can help to significantly reduce or eliminate these occurrences. We draw your attention to suspicious behaviour. For more security, you can password protect any area that you do not want employees to be able to access.
  4. Better decisions. We provide access to real-time information. Whether you have one store or 30 stores, you have instant and up to the minute access to sales numbers, stock, margins and more. This ability to have instant and accurate information enables you to make the absolute most out of your investment.
  5. Increased sales. In many ways throughout the business we help with this.
  6. After sales marketing. Using our loyalty program you send targeted letters, emails, and direct mail to customers based on purchases and other criteria. We have several loyalty options.
  7. Payment integration. With integrated Eftpos you can un clutter the counter, streamline sales processing and make record keeping easier. Time and money saved.
  8. Reduced mistakes. Using our software you can cut paperwork and this cuts mistakes. You can rely on the software to advise sales data and thereby stop you buying products which are not selling. Good retailing begins with good buying.
  9. Better integration with suppliers. Thanks to the supplier links in our software you are able to give suppliers data in return for better deals. There are many case studies in our files of this working to the benefit of our retail customers. Good retailing begins with good buying.
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POS software training videos loved by small business retailers and retail employees

trainingvideosTower Systems offers retailers using its POS software free access to a video training portal where the software can be learned at the pace of the learner.

Retailers love this training resource. They love that they can tap into training anytime anywhere. They also love that the training is arranged by curriculum. They love that they can track employee progress.

With more than 130 professional videos, the owner training resource is valuable and extensive – with new videos added this year.

This resource alone is a reason some retailers join our community.

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Small business retailers love free POS software training

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 6.33.19 amHow do you know which software company is the best? beyond the software itself, after sales service is the key. Tower Systems is a leader in the field of consistently good, engaged and valuable after sales service.

For years, Tower Systems has offered free weekly live training workshops – accessible online. They continue today.

Hot topics soon book up. Tower Systems responds by adding more sessions. Our customers love this. We love it too!

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Safe drop reminder in POS software helps protect businesses

Thanks to the safe drop reminder in our POS software, retailers can expect their staff to act to protect cash in the business. This is another retailer thoughtful facility in our software.

A preset amount can be set on a per register basis to remind staff to remove excess cash from the till for security reasons. This is only a cash figure and does not take into account EFTPOS and nor should it.

Sometimes it is the smallest of facilities retailers love about software which encourages them to use it.

In our case, we have a wonderful and engaged community of users encoring us with ideas regularly.

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Helping newsagents switch POS software

Here at Tower Systems we follow a professional and structured approach to switching retailers from POS software they no longer wish to use.

We extract all data we can get access to. Unfortunately, some POS software companies restrict this as if they think it will reduce the number of businesses moving from their software.

We provide training reflecting the software they are switching from.

We provide senior management access outside the help desk to manage the transition.

We prove that not all POS software companies are the same.

It can be challenging moving from one POS software package to another. we try and make it as easy as possible. With years experience moving many hundreds of retailers to our software we have practical knowledge on which to draw. This helps us help small business retailers make the transition.

We are grateful for these opportunities.

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POS software company survey on after sales service

We recently were interviewed by email about after sales service for retailers purchasing our POS software for an article to be published shortly. Here is our response.

What kind of after-sales support is available with your POS software?

Our Australian based help desk is available Monday through Friday from 7am AEST to 6pm AEST and on Saturday from 7:30am AEST through 3pm AEST. We also offer 24/7 after hours support at no additional cost.

Our help desk services (office hours and after hours) are backed up by escalation to senior management of the business. Every customer is given the direct mobile phone numbers of our national management team including the owner of the company – as a measure of transparency and commitment to service.

Each week we host a live online training workshop covering a part of the software. This includes a Q&A session. Access to this online workshop is free.

Via our website we provide access to a comprehensive and constantly evolving knowledge base of articles and documentation. This is accessible 24/7 and can be searched using regular English terms. It is 100% non-technical, user friendly and designed for self service.

Our customers also have free access to one on one training.

Plus our customers have access to a FREE backup check service and a FREE theft check service.

Do you charge on-site servicing fees?

If a customer wants additional training then we may charge for that but our experience is that it is not necessary given the free services they have access to.

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Comparing discount vouchers from POS software companies

We know the discount vouchers generated by our POS software work well based on feedback from hundreds of retailers using them. We know they drive traffic, revenue and profit. We know they fund themselves. You can see the benefits in the P&L.

One competitor, POS Solutions, has on their company blog published extensively criticising discount vouchers. Having now compared their facility to ours we can understand why.

The Tower Systems discount voucher facility is completely different to the POS Solutions discount voucher facility. We have counted twenty key differences between our facility and the facility POS has. This comparison was undertaken on documentation POS published on their blog recently. Their settings documentation enabled us to compare facility for facility.

The twenty differences demonstrate greater flexibility and power in the Tower discount vouchers facilities. This could be why our customers love them and why we are able to leverage discount vouchers for profit in our own retail businesses and why POS Solutions talks discount vouchers down.

Our opinion is we would talk the facility down too if we only had access to the settings POS has documented.

There are some similarities – in six areas. 23% of the available comparison points. While the two software companies call their facilities discount vouchers, they are clearly not the same thing.

UPDATE (8pm 27/4): We note POS Solutions ‘responded’ today – but what they wrote is not really response. They use obscure and unrelated quotes from others and say nothing about the specific comparison we have made what what is in the document they published about their own software and what we know is in our software. That they have responded as they have indicates they have no response other than to try and divert attention from the difference in response retailers get from their software versus ours. Retailers love our discount voucher facilities and the outcomes they achieve.

They have reproduced a screenshot from our software and used it incorrectly and inaccurately. Their time would be better spent serving their customers with better software.

UPDATE: (10:30pm 28/4): Garth Brennan a POS employee has commented on their blog saying we don;t detail the 20 differences. We have learnt our lesson of not being specific about differences between our software and POS – so as to not show them what to fix. The document we used was a comprehensive document by POS detailing how to use their software and all of the settings opportunities in their software.

The Director of POS talks down discount vouchers as not being viable, to working. What that may be the case for his software, it is not the case for us. The evidence of success is strong despite their wishes that it would be otherwise.

UPDATE: (7:05pm 30/4): Garth Brennan now says their comparison was about the cost of our voucher program. It cannot be as they have no idea of the cost. They claim there is a cost of 4.6% The problem is they are making assumptions on how their system works. Our cost is considerably less as retailers using the facility know. Their system is not our system thankfully. This is why so many customers love our system. Bernard Zimmermann the support director of POS weighs in too trying to walk back his own document we compared with. We took the document he made public and compared with the equivalent document for our software. Each document outlines the settings available. This is where the differences emerge. POS users wanting to use a successful discount voucher program are discovering this for themselves. I think this is what is driving their comments about this post.

We understand POS wants to talk discount vouchers down. We suspect we would if our software had only their settings.

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