6 Benefits of Web Connected POS Software

6 Benefits of Web Connected POS Software

Brick-and-mortar stores are gradually becoming outdated means of product retailing.

Can you recall the last time you got in your car and physically drove to a store instead of easily clicking the checkout button online?

Making online sales has become a customer’s number one source of shopping these days. Stores are turning to the Internet to make the bulk of their sales, too.

The digital age is crushing retail giants across the country. Something needs to change so they can prosper like they once before.

The importance of web based POS (point of sale) software is on the rise in 2017. Retailers are at risk, and now more than ever you need to know the benefits of web based POS software.

Luckily we will go into detail about it in this post. Need help understanding the software? Our e-commerce workshop offers online workshops that can help you take your business to the next level.

First, let’s make sure you understand what exactly a POS system is. POS stands for “Point Of Sale”. It refers to the act of completing a transaction between a customer and a retailer. Whenever you make a sale in a store, there is a point of sale that is conducted.

Instead of going up to a cash register to make a physical payment, a web based POS eliminates that step. Or, as is the case with Tower, it integrated online and offline- in a physical store as well as online.

Large businesses and small businesses alike are investing in software which allows them to give their customers easy online power.

So, does your independent small business need to invest in POS software? Let us explain the top 6 benefits to web based POS:

6. Better Customer Management

A sales employee will know what types of products a specific customer wants to buy from the business via web based POS.

The sales associate can find what items the customer has liked before, and he or she can use this information to its full advantage. Understanding a customer’s unique preferences will drive more sales to the business. Our video on how to grow your sales includes information from some of our POS software experts at Tower Systems.

For example, say you own a few beauty stores. By simply using the right web based POS software you are able to look up a customer’s sales at any location in no time at all. A comprehensive customer list is created through the POS software.

Knowing this information speeds up the selling process so an employee can talk to a customer. By understanding what brands the customer already buys, the associate can help them find more products from the same brand that they are looking for.

  1. Another positive result that installing a web based POS will have simpler customer interactions. No longer does your customer need to wait in long lines to buy a new lipstick. Your happy customer will have the chance to purchase your online products from the comfort of her bedroom by swiping on her mobile device! This also promotes additional sales if the customer is pleased with her purchase.
  2. Sales associates can also make sales promotions to make customers shop online. Sending out coupons and discount codes to use specifically online will most definitely attract higher sales.
  3. Coupons will allow customers to stay updated on what new merchandise is now in stock. Staying social with customers also builds better customer relationship management, which in turn promotes both successful and organic sales growth.
  4. Using tools like a web based POS system improves the lives of your sale associates and it will also improve customer satisfaction. The ability to access a customer’s recent transactions in your store will drop the problems with making exchanges or returns. Having this information stored in the database will make the employee to quickly find the customer’s transaction history.
  5. The returned items are listed into the database and will be present in the customer’s history. This point of sale further develops an understanding of who the customer is.
  6. Happy, loyal customers will enjoy the fact that you use their time wisely.

5. Less Paperwork With POS and web integrated POS

Using point of sale software can virtually cut the need for any paperwork. Having access to your online business has never been simpler than with the integration of powerful this type of software. This software can keep track of all of your small business needs, from daily invoices to customer purchases.

Calculating sales from your independent small business can become a hard task for everyday business. Save both time and energy by investing in special POS software that can analyze your inventory and sales faster than you could on your own.

Digital copies of your accounting information will also help you keep track of your finances. Instead of logging daily totals on paper, you can store all of your data on your web based system.

You can also track information from different store locations by adding invoices from each place into one central location.

This process that online software has will reduce stress and encourage you to focus on other areas of your business, such as marketing.

4. Know More About How Your Business Runs

POS software can know more about your business than you do in a matter of seconds. Gathering daily totals and figuring out what specific items sold on a particular day can be a task that the software is capable of completing.

You will also know when stock is running low, as this is another great function of having web based POS software installed.

This information is valuable to your small business so you know what to repurchase. Managing your sales trends can be beneficial so your loyal customers return again and again.

The POS software will also direct you on the right path to send in reorders for the highest selling products. Focusing your attention on the items that sell the most will boost sales and let you better understand how your company operates on a daily basis.

Who doesn’t want to sell what products sell versus which ones aren’t? You, the business owner, are now able to watch the process that it takes to track your account information.

What does having more real-time information mean for YOUR business?

  1. Faster and more efficient inventory checks at the click of a button.
  2. Both owners and the management team are able to keep up with what inventory is selling and what isn’t.
  3. Owners and managers can find out if certain employees are performing at their best during the day.
  4. The team can test out new selling techniques and see if they work in real-time by tracking the results via POS software.
  5. There is less waste. Products that sell quickly are repurchased while the ones that are not selling can be reduced at a lower price and not repurchased.

3. Cutting Costs Everywhere You Can

A standard POS system will run you anywhere from $3,000 to $50,000 annually. Yes, this number appears large because you factor in licensing fees and updates that stores face on a regular basis.

I will detail how the benefits of using a web based POS outweigh the costs of a non web connected POS system:

  1. A web connected POS system is usually a monthly investment that does not include any extra hidden fees in comparison to a traditional system.
  2. Total payment for the web based POS system can average $1,200 to $10,000 per year.
  3. The website that will give you will the web based POS system may also include informative and easy to follow training. It will lower your initial cost when it comes to installing the online POS software for your business.
  4. A POS system also uses an Internet connection to run. The Internet is great at being a less expensive alternative in comparison to traditional POS systems that need employees to manage a business.
  5. Having a web based system in place will cut the cost of paying for a lease to have a physical location that your customers need to visit in order to make a sale. Having an online way for your customers to make a sale will drive sales and will save you money when it comes to leasing a pricey storefront.

2. Store Your Data Safely

Instead of making your employees track your daily sales totals, customers, and invoices by hand, you can put each of these tasks in your software.

Your data is backed up on a server that is secure and will not crash like regular computers can. Security is a top priority for all businesses alike, and we take that into consideration when thinking about the pros to a web based POS system.

Theft prevention is important to consider when you own a business. Thieves are unable to take your money if you store your information on the POS system because everything is secured online.

Having your information online is better than storing cash in a cash drawer.

With more customers comes more information that needs to be properly stored. Archive this information using the web based system that can hold a large capacity.

1. 24/7 Management

80% of small business owners use their mobile devices to update and manage their businesses on a daily basis. Phones are a business owner’s best means of communication, and 55% of SBOs use their phones to schedule appointments or talk to customers.

Owning a business is a 24/7 matter, and not utilizing your cell phone means shutting off your prime connection to your business. Having a web based POS system in place will connect you to your employees and customers.

You can even check in on your business from your home.

An on-the-go lifestyle is how most people live in 2017, and you can’t stay behind the fast moving times. You can also easily log into your account because it relies on an Internet connection to work.

  1. You need to be able to pay for reorders on popular items, track where your inventory is going, and connect to your customers by hearing their feedback. All you need is an Internet connection to process many of these tasks from anywhere in the world.
  2. Make sure your business is constantly up to date by investing in a system that is web based because that is where the world is headed.

In Summary

As technology continues to expand, we at Tower Systems want to share our knowledge of web connected POS systems with you so you can grow your business the right way.

Running a successful business is now a daily task, so finding tools to improve your day to day life will ease your mind when it comes to making quick sales.

We offer you the best retail solutions for your independently owned and operated small business. Even though there are more to cover, these are the 6 best benefits to using an online POS system.

It’s important to know that understanding who your customer is can be simple with our web based technology.

Tower Systems has training programs that are built for even the most technology inept business owners.

You can easily learn how to run the POS software by participating in online group sessions that will train you to understand how the web based POS works.

Our specialty POS software will be the best addition to your business that you can buy to improve your small business sales. To learn more about our services, you can Contact Us for customer support.

If you need any help, we also have after hours support. Our e-mail is: support@towersystems.com.au if you also need immediate action.

Let us help you become one of our 3,500+ independent business owners who run stores across Australia today.

POS software update feedback

We are thrilled with the feedback we are receiving for our latest POS software update. Here is one message we received this week.

We love the update. Thank you for acting on our suggestion. When I put it on Software Ideas and saw others voting it made me feel good, that other people using the software liked my suggestion. I love that you listen to us.

Software Ideas is a publicly accessible place where our customers can make suggestions for software enhancements and have others vote on these suggestions. This is an exclusive platform of which we are most proud.

More retailers using our POS software integrated websites

We are thrilled to welcome more websites that are integrated with our small business POS software, offering real-time stock on hand data.

Each new site we bring on enhances the portfolio and further demonstrates our capabilities of linking online and offline retail and bringing to life facilities small business retailers look to offer from their websites:

  1. Online LayBy, interest free.
  2. Paypal payments.
  3. Click and collect.
  4. Single stock data feed, showing g real time in-store stock.

Mastering these and other facilities for single store and multi store situations is a powerful solution. Doing it also for multiple businesses to one site is stunning.

This is all part of the Tower Systems web development / POS software integrated solutions package. It is another Tower AdvantageTM.

Note, all our web development is done using e-commerce platforms that are widely used. Indeed, the three we use account for three quarters of retail e-commerce sites in the world.

Magento is an excellent website choice for small business retailers

We love Magento and happily use it ourselves to help our small business retailers to drive excellent outcomes. Choosing an unknown website platform is a massive mistake in our opinion.

Here is why we love Magento:

Magento is one of the world’s most popular e-commerce or webstore platforms. Being built on open source technology provides a flexible shopping cart system, giving you control over the look, feel, content and functionality of your online store. Magento offers powerful marketing, search engine optimization, and catalog-management tools. Find out about Magento at www.magento.com.

Using the Tower Systems POS software / Magento link is a dream. It is easy.

The link works by using the Magento API allowing the TALink platform to connect to Magento and synchronising on a periodic interval or request basis.

Stock

The Tower Systems Retailer software becomes your master stock database. You flag what stock items you want to appear on your web store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as your product names and descriptions in Magento.

Department and Categories

Your Retailer Departments and Categories become Categories and Sub-Categories in Magento. If you choose to link these, your existing structure will be mirrored and managed in Magento automatically. If, however, you decide not link your Department and Categories in Magento, you can allocate Categories manually to products once they are added.

Prices and Quantity On Hand

You have control over your webstore pricing from within the Retailer Stock Screen. Bulk updates of the webstore price can be performed in Stock Manager. Once new prices are set, your web store is updated automatically.

Quantity of hand is also managed automatically, when your sell or arrive an item into stock these adjustments are sent directly to Magento. If the quantity on hand of an items drops to 0, the item is marked as out of stock in Magento.

Customers

Customers that purchase off your webstore are added as customers in your Retailer database, allowing you to track what they buy and market to them if you desire. Existing customers with an email address will also be added to your web store to facilitate easy sales.

Sales

These are downloaded on a periodic basis and imported into Retailer. These are imported into our Customer Invoice Maintenance facility allowing you to place orders and print invoices. Once sales are imported it reduces your quantity on hand so you maintain accurate stock control. Sales can be allocated to a specific location or merged added to you main sales data, giving you excellent control over how you report on your webstore sales.

How Tower Systems makes sure your POS software experience is personal

When a small business retailer or staff member calls the Tower Systems POS software help desk they get to talk with a human. There is no automated phone system.

The human they talk with engages in a conversation. There is no script for them to follow.

They listen to you. There is no set of hoops to jump through as they navigate a computer system that controls the call.

The Tower Systems help desk is a personal service help desk. It offers personal service to small business retailers using the Tower Systems POS software.

The approach by Tower Systems is considerable in the POS software space. The people answering the calls have personal experience using the software in retail. They have context. Their prime job is to listen to the customers and from listening to gain understanding. This is the start of every good support call.

The personal and human approach by Tower Systems is unique. It is another advantage offered by Tower Systems to small business retailers.

In retail today

IMG_2339Being Christmas Eve it has been crazy busy in the shops today with last minute shopping.

Since we are a POS software company that owns retail shops we have been personally and practically involved in retail today, behind the counter, using our software serving shoppers with last-minute Christmas purchases. This photo is from our shop at Knox City in Melbourne today before we opened for customers. Thankfully it is the only time of the day the shop was empty.

We are grateful for another busy day in retail and another day of retail experience that inform some choices we make in our software.

POS software Shopify website integration solution

What is Shopify?

Shopify is one of the easiest ways to setup and run an ecommerce store. We think it provides you with the ideal place to create you first website and gain experience in the world of ecommerce. You have complete control over the look and feel of your online store and can instant access fantastic look themes to reflect the personality of your business. For more information visit www.shopify.com.au.

What is the Retailer to Shopify Link?

The Retailer to Shopify Link uses the Tower Advantage Link platform to allow retailers using the Tower Systems POS software – Retailer – to connect directly to your Shopify store. The Tower Advantage Link platform is a subscription-based service that acts as an intermediary between Retailer and the Shopify API.

How does the link work?

The link works by using the TALink platform platform to connect to the shopify API and synchronise your data.

Stock

Retailer is your master stock database. You flag what stock items you want to appear on your shopify store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as your titles and descriptions in Shopify. Newly flagged products are automatically added and if you edit items in Retailer you have field level control over how these are handled in Shopify.

Department and Categories

Your Retailer Departments and Categories become collections in Shopify. You can have a chose of either Department level collections or category level, but not both. If you choose to synchronise either a department or category, your existing structure will be mirrored and managed in Shopify automatically. If, however, you decide not link your Department and Categories in Shopify, you can allocate collections manually to products once they are added.

Classifications

Shopify does not have a mechanism to manage classifications.

Prices and Quantity On Hand

You have control over your webstore pricing from within the Retailer Stock Screen. Bulk updates of the webstore prices can be performed in Stock Manager. Once new prices are set, your web store is updated automatically. Quantity on hand is also managed automatically, when your sell or arrive an item into stock these adjustments are sent directly to Shopify. If the quantity on hand of an items drops to 0, the item is marked as out of stock in Shopify.

Images

The images you set against stock items in Retailer are automatically uploaded to your website. If images change, then old one is removed and the new one is added. You can upload as many images as you like per stock item.

Customers

Customers that purchase off your webstore are added as customers in your Retailer database, allowing you to track what they buy and market to them if you desire. Existing customers with an email address will also be added to your web store to facilitate easy sales if you choose.

Sales

Sales are downloaded on a periodic basis and imported into Retailer. They are imported into our Customer Invoice Maintenance facility allowing you to place orders and print invoices if needed. Once sales are imported it reduces your quantity on hand so you maintain accurate stock control. Sales can be allocated to a specific location or merged to you main sales data, giving you excellent control over how you report on your webstore sales.

I don’t have a website but want one. Can Tower help?

Yes! We can build and customize a basic Shopify website for you if you like. Please talk to your local sales representative for more information.

We love Shopify. It is a terrific starting point for any retailer looking to get started online. We are thrilled to be connected with Shopify.

 

If you want to switch from MYOB Retail Manager in your retail business

Tower Systems has a structured process for bring retailers to its POS software from the MYOB retail Manager software.

We start by taking a close look at the business as not all retail businesses are right for our specialty POS software. If a business is a good fit, we next look at the business data to determine its health and usefulness.

Then, we develop a plan of how to switch the business from MYOB. If the retailer likes the plan then we are good to go and we set about converting the data, installing new software and backing this with personal face-to-face training in-store for all who will use the software.

With many MYOB Retail Manager conversions completed we are able to speak with certainty about the process and provide reference sites of businesses that have transitioned to Tower Systems.

Retail businesses need software appropriate to their business needs that is backed with professional and easily accesses support. Here at Tower Systems we take these commitments seriously.

We are grateful for the opportunities of helping small business retailers switch to Tower Systems.

Our small business POS software company is serious when we say we’re here to help

IMG_2497Here at Tower Systems we take our tag line we’re here to help seriously.

From our smart POS software to our after-sales service we help in every way we can with help taking many different forms and occurring at many different times.

We take helping our small business retail customers seriously, as a whole of company service, core to our mission – a point of pride for us.

Help starts with making contact with us easy, certain and professional.

Every one of our customers has the usual contact points you would expect to find in a POS software company. Our customers also have the direct phone numbers and email addresses of our leadership team through to the owner of the company. This demonstrates a level of commitment that is best-practice in our view.

We are so certain of our software and our after sales service that we are proud to make accessing our leadership team easy.

This is another example of the Tower AdvantageTM.

Work and play at Xerocon South in Brisbane for our POS software

IMG_2492As Friday afternoon heads to a close, it has been another busy day for us at Xerocon South, the trade show and conference for Xero cloud based accounting users in the Asia Pacific region.

Another thing to love about the Xerocon experience is the places for relaxation on the trade show floor.

There is something special and fun about talking business while playing on a swing or a seesaw.

The play spaces remind people that good software helps you save time that you can use for more fun times. That is what our POS software does and out integration with Xero does.

This continues to be a terrific trade show. We are loving connecting with accountants and bookkeepers.

How to choose POS software for your retail business

Here is another video from our in-house production team. We like the video for its practical content for small business retailers and for the professionalism it reflects.

We produce new videos for our customers regularly, training videos on how to use our software, videos to help encourage confidence in our software and the difference it can make in a business.

Updated advice for POS software users in Tower Systems knowledge base

The Tower Systems Knowledge base continues to expand with weekly enhancements. We add new articles and update existing articles. This makes the knowledge base a living thing for our customers, offering fresh insights and advice through which they can learn more about how to use the software.

Here are knowledge base enhancements in the last few days.

  1. Importing The Blueshyft Stock File & Invoice File
  2. Common Problems With Magazine Arrivals
  3. Gift Vouchers / Cards Setup
  4. End Of Financial Year Procedures
  5. How To Add A New Staff Initial
  6. NETWORK Sales Data Being Sent Back To XChangeIT
  7. New PC / Windows Configuration – Operating System Configuration

Our POS software customer in their weekly email get a more comprehensive list … weekly.

The streamlined retail counter thanks to POS software integrated with scales

IMG_0852The authorised scale integration with the Tower Systems POS software helps retailers achieve a clean and streamlined sales counter.

Used in pet stores, produce stores, whole foods markets, supermarkets and other retail situations where items are sold by weight, the facilities enable retailers to transact accurately and to code.

Tower Systems respects the processes requirement by government for achieving authorisation of the scale integration tools. We met the criteria and achieved certification. This is important as it enables our customers to purchase our scale integrated POS software with confidence.

The photo shows a counter in place at one of the many retail businesses where our scale integration is in use. While the technology is vital to the business, it is setup such that it does not intrude on the customer experience. Indeed, the solution is setup to improve customer traffic throughput and thereby to provide a more enjoyable and accurate experience for customers.

This is another example of the Tower AdvantageTM for small business retailers who partner with Tower Systems.

Comprehensive new POS software training opportunities for small business retailers

We are proud to have scheduled the following free live online training workshops for users of our POS software. Click here for easy, fast and free online booking:

JULY
Meeting Name: Stocktaking in Retailer
Date: 06/07/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Missed EOFY? Catch up now. – Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you.

Meeting Name: Increase Sales Now! Start using Discount Vouchers.
Date: 13/07/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Start using Discount Vouchers to grow your business. A great introduction to this great feature.

Meeting Name: How to handle non EDI invoices to keep stock accurate.
Date: 20/07/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: See how easy it is to process invoice’s manually for suppliers that do not send electronic invoices to help keep your stock figures accurate.

Meeting Name: Free Up Cash in Your Business Today
Date: 27/07/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Find stock that isn’t selling and turn it into cash quickly.

AUGUST

Meeting Name: Reports that will change your business
Date: 03/08/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Reports in retailer that will help you drive sales and increase profit.

Meeting Name: Understanding the End of Shift Reports.
Date: 10/08/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Why is the End of Shift important? How do I check my settings are correct? What do the reports mean? And what parts of the report do I need to use for my accounting.

Meeting Name: Loyalty Programs. What works best for you.
Date: 17/08/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: There are 4 ways to do loyalty in retailer. Find out which will work best for your business.

Meeting Name: Trouble free handling of Cartons and Boxes in your retail business using Tower Systems
Date: 24/08/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Handle Cartons and Boxes of stock simply and easily. Especially useful if you sell singles and cartons of stock.

Meeting Name: How to discount easily for Seasonal Sales
Date: 31/08/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Quickly and easily setup automatic discounts for seasonal sales using catalogues

SEPTEMBER

Meeting Name: Using Targeting Marketing in Retailer
Date: 07/09/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Use marketing to target specific types and groups of customers.

Meeting Name: Retailer software settings you will be shocked you have access to.
Date: 14/09/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Help desk expert Colin Harris will show you settings you most likely don’t know exist that can help your enjoyment of the software

Meeting Name: Increase Sales Now! Start using Discount Vouchers.
Date: 21/09/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Start using Discount Vouchers to grow your business. A great introduction to this great feature.

Meeting Name: Re-Ordering stock with Retailer
Date: 28/09/2016
Time: 2pm
Description: Make Retailer work for you. Re-order based on solid data and spend less time on re-ordering.

THE TOWER SYSTEMS POS SOFTWARE SHOPIFY LINK

The direct link between our POS software and the Shopify e-commerce solution is valuable for small business retailers keen for a beautiful and easy to operate online business platform. Here is all you need to know on what we have delivered – note, delivered, yes this is live and available now.

The Retailer to Shopify Link uses the cloud-based best-practice Tower Advantage Link platform to connect or link Retailer directly to Shopify. The Tower Advantage Link platform is a subscription-based service that acts as an intermediary between Retailer and the Shopify API.

The link works by using the Shopify API allowing the TALink platform to connect to Shopify and synchronising on a periodic interval or request basis. Below is a outline of what is transferred.

Retailer becomes your master stock database. You flag what stock items you want to appear on your web store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as your product names and descriptions in Shopify.

Your Retailer Departments and Categories become Categories and Sub-Categories in Shopify. If you choose to link these, your existing structure will be mirrored and managed in Shopify automatically. If, however, you decide not link your Department and Categories in Shopify, you can allocate Categories manually to products once they are added. Only Departments and Categories that have flaggged as websotre items are added to Shopify.

Retailers Classifications are treated as Attributes in Shopify. If you choose to link these in Shopify your existing Classifications will be mirrored and managed in Shopify automatically. If, however, you do not want this to occur you can manually manage your own Shopify Attributes.

You have control over your webstore pricing from within the Retailer Stock Screen. Bulk updates of the webstore price can be performed in Stock Manager. Once new prices are set, your web store is updated automatically. Quantity of hand is also managed automatically, when your sell or arrive an item into stock these adjustments are sent directly to Shopify. If the quantity on hand of an items drops to 0, the item is marked as out of stock in Shopify.

The images you set against stock items in Retailer are automatically uploaded to your website. If images change, the old one is removed and the new one is added. You can upload as many images, as you like per stock item.

Customers that purchase off your webstore are added as customers in your Retailer database, allowing you to track what they buy and market to them if you desire. Existing customers with an email address will also be added to your web store to facilitate easy sales.

These are downloaded into Retailer. These are imported into our Customer Invoice Maintenance facility allowing you to place orders and print invoices. Once sales are imported it reduces your quantity on hand so you maintain accurate stock control. Sales can be allocated to a specific location or merged added to you main sales data, giving you excellent control over how you report on your webstore sales.

POS SOFTWARE ROADSHOW FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

Tower Systems is taking its POS software for specialty retailers on the road, showing off its software capabilities to retailers in places usually not visited by POS software companies. In a series of events being hosted in regional locations, we are offering small business retailers excellent opportunities to see our smart POS software first hand, talk with software experts and, most important, talk with retail experts on how to get the best for a small and independent retail business from smart POS software.

This is Tower Systems showing off a valuable point of difference, bringing experts closer to local and small businesses, so people can see us face to face.

This is what small business retailers love about Tower Systems – that we are personal, in contact with our customers using real names and providing personal service from people they can speak with direct.

  1. No call centres.
  2. No offshore help desk.
  3. No anonymous emails.

All our contact is real, personal and valuable.

These regional sessions will give business owners who are not our customers today an opportunity to connect with us and check us out for themselves.

We are sharing details direct to retailers in each regional area we will be visiting. We are not being too public with details here for competitive reasons.

ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS ON HOW TO SEE THEIR BUSINESS DIFFERENTLY

This is not the usual advice you would expect from your POS software company. But Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company.

In our work with small business specially retailers in Australia and New Zealand we often hear about burnout, retailers being tired and over the grind of opening the shop working all day, closing, getting little sleep and doing it all again.

We hear of retailers who are often too tired to be innovative in their approach to business, to exhausted to think about the future let alone today or tomorrow.

We get it that retail is tough, full of challenges. Our job is to help retailers see things differently.

Call us crazy but we have some ideas designed to help small business retailers reconnect with their businesses. They are unconventional. They are free. They are fun. They are designed to get you looking, hearing and smelling your business differently. They are designed to open your eyes to opportunities you may be missing.

Are you ready? Here are our unconventional ideas for refreshing your views of your small retail business – in the hope that you find opportunities you were not seeing.

  1. Go to your shop at night time. Leave the lights off. Put a chair on the middle of the shop floor. Sit down. Take your shoes and socks or stockings off. Put a blindfold on. Soak it up. What do you smell? What do you hear? Is there any sense of place that you get from being there.  Be still for fifteen minutes or so thinking about this. Breathe deeply. How does your shop smell? Does it have a smell? If not, why not? Then take the blindfold off and look around you for another fifteen minutes. Finally, get up – with your shoes and socks or stockings still off – and walk around the shop. Take in the environment you are in control of. Let the ideas flow. If you want to take it to a deeper level, lie down on the floor on your back and look up and around – kind of up-skirt your own shop while it’s empty!
  2. Get a stool or fold up chair, pack a lunch and spend at least three lunchtimes in a week sitting opposite the entrance to your shop watching customers. Don’t write anything down, just watch. Preferably do this without people noticing you. Wear a disguise if necessary. Watch intently. See where people go, what they pick up, what they buy if possible. Try and predict what they will do. Watch and think. Watch and think.
  3. Get a small desk and a sign for the desk that says CUSTOMER SERVICE. Place the desk near the front door of your shop. Set yourself up at the desk, sitting behind it. Dress formally, old school. Like in a 1950s movie preferably. Sit up straight. Look the part. Sit and wait and see what comes your way. Have fun interactive with customers. The desk should look out of place but it should also look fun. The idea is that your customers, your staff and you will be a bit shaken up by the change. See what comes your way.
  4. Sit out the front of the shop for a day. Yes a whole day. Sit and watch, take notes and think about what you see, what you could change and ask people, as they come out, what they would change too.

We have more crazy ideas. These barely scratch the surface of the crazy idea cupboard. Just ask.

We’re here to help small business retailers create and run successful independent small local retail businesses. Our help goes beyond our software. Were retailers too and love being able to talk retail with anyone.

AMAZING TRAINING RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS FROM OUR POS SOFTWARE COMPANY

Thanks to terrific in-house video training and production resources here at Tower Systems we are able to create a broad range of professional training videos to help our POS software customers. Sometimes, these videos have nothing to do with our software, they are more about business management.

Here is a a video from last year that we made for newsagents in the newsXpress newsagency marketing group on how to do boosted posts on Facebook.

Videos can range from deep into the POS software training to practical in-store training to how to understand business management reports to this type of video on how to promote the business.

The videos speak to our uniqueness as a POS software company.

Our customers engaged with the videos through direct play, through YouTube play and even through direct MP4 sharing that we undertake.

Video training is valuable for small business retailers. We are proud to make this investment for our customers.

CLOUD OUTAGE REINFORCES THE CARE NEEDED IN POS SOFTWARE CLOUD CONSIDERATION

The outage of the Amazon cloud services caused by storms in Sydney recently serves as a reminder of the approach a business takes to moving its IT infrastructure to the cloud. This is especially true for small business retailers where IT investment tends to be in one solution or path rather than multiple paths for redundancy.

The Amazon outage knocked out access to software facilities and data for many businesses according to the news reports. Those unprepared for such an eventuality could only wait for access to be reestablished. This came at a cost to business not only from lost revenue but also from lost productivity for employees located elsewhere, far away from the storms, where the roles of employees entirely depend on access to software and data in the cloud.

The level of protection for a business against the eventuality of the storms in Sydney is up to the business. It is a function of the amount of money they might spend protecting their software and data, providing multiple paths to their software and data. This is what we mean by redundancy. Redundancy is expensive as it is effectively duplication of assets.

The questions for small business retailers is how much are you prepared to spend on such protection? As you spend more, the coast effectiveness of a cloud based solution can become prohibitive compared to the alternative.

Here at Tower Systems we offer the best of both worlds, cloud and non-cloud, from which our retailer partners can choose.

  1. Our customers and run a local desktop solution where they are in full control.
  2. They could also run a local solution with elements of clad based benefits.
  3. They could also run 100% in the cloud, fully hosted and fully shielded from managing the computer and data management infrastructure.

As we are in control of the software and the infrastructure options, our customers can choose from these options or alternatives in between that may better suit their local business needs. This the ultimate flexibility as each business different, each business faces different challenges, is at different stages in the business lifecycle and has different levels of capital available for infrastructure.

Whether cloud is right for a business is a function of many factors. Our job as a software company is to offer the ultimate in flexibility through best practice software, technical hosting and access alternatives, timely support and options around migration paths as appropriate to the needs of the businesses.

SUNDAY RETAIL MANAGEMENT TIP: HOW TO CHOOSE LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS AND CHARITIES TO SUPPORT

Local small business retailers are asked to support local schools, community groups and charities on an almost daily basis. While community groups and charitable organisations beat a path to the doors of local businesses, so do individuals engaged on personal fundraising of their own for a cause or for an other individual.

It is tough making the call about which organisation to support or not for there is a real fear that declining will hurt the business. Often, small business retailers do not look for an uptick in business from a charity support decision but they do worry about a decline.

So how do you choose which local business you support?

Requests from schools, charities and other community for donations can be a challenge for any size business. If you do not take a structured approach to this you will find yourself giving away plenty for little or no return.

Requests are often loaded with guilt. People can be passive aggressive in their approach. Often, people requesting help leverage pester power. It can be hard to say no. There are too many stories of retailers giving a gift as a prize, receiving the Thank You poster and achieving no benefit for the business.

Our advice is to manage your philanthropy as you would any business activity.

THE PRIZE / GIFT

Decide the amount in cash or product value or both that you are prepared to donate in a full year, calendar year or financial year.

Our recommendation is you give away cash, but in the form of a voucher to spend in your business. This ensures that value of the gift or prize is greater than the cost of it to your business.

The best mechanism for giving away cash or an amount to spend in-store is to do it by way of a gift voucher. Use your software to manage this as any manual approach is dangerous and time-consuming.

YOUR PITCH, NOT THEIRS

Get on the front foot and write to local community groups outlining that you budget a year in advance. Seek their submissions. With this advice sheet we have included the text of a suggested letter. Please read the letter as it outlines the approach we suggest and why. It is important you communicate this with all community groups.

On the page after the letter is a suggested notice for use in-store when you are asked for donations.

HOW TO PICK GROUPS TO SUPPORT

Focus on community groups that support you. That is, groups with members who support you. The more they support you the better you are able to support the community.

Be prepared to ask where people shop for the items you sell in your business. Ask if they will change in return for your support.

Asking these questions underscores to you the importance of approaching the decision as a business decision.

Be thoughtful and deliberate. Support the groups that support you. This is important as it helps you stay within a budget.

LET YOUR SHOPPERS CHOOSE

If you run discount vouchers and if customers say they don’t want the voucher, invite them to contribute the voucher to a local group – one of three you setup for in the business. Every month, two months or three months, tote up the vouchers and give the group a parentage of the total voucher value ‘voted’ for them.

This idea could be in addition to any giving program you run in the business. It offers a daily reminder of your commitment to local giving.

Grill’d burgers run a program kind of like this where each shopper is given a bottle cap, which they place in a tub to vote on a group to receive a cash donation for the month. The process of groups submitting to be considered is onerous. You can find out more about that program with this link – it is a good place to research what others do: https://www.grilld.com.au/localmatters/

REWARD ENGAGEMENT

In addition to any direct gift, consider an offer whereby anyone who is a member of the group who shops with you accrues an amount you donate to the group. You could manage this through your software. It could be you offer a discount to the shopper as well as accruing a value for the group.

This type of program could also be in addition to your core giving program as the value here is driven by sales – hopefully, incremental sales.

EDUCATE GROUPS ABOUT GOOD ENGAGEMENT

Here are things groups you support can do to help your business. You should ask them to do these things:

  1. Tell members to buy from you.
  2. Write about your business on their Facebook page.
  3. Distribute flyers of your offers.
  4. Have you speak at a meeting.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR ENGAGEMENT

Once you have a decision on which groups you will support, write about this in your newsletter and on Facebook. Not just once but multiple times. Invite them to provide you with content to publish too. Talk about their good works.

Ask them to write about you too.

Your giving has to serve your heart and serve your business. Going about it in a structured way will ensure you meet your objectives.