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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our POS software customer in their weekly email get a more comprehensive list … weekly.
The 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.
Meeting Name: Stocktaking in Retailer
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.
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.
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
Description: Find stock that isn’t selling and turn it into cash quickly.
Meeting Name: Reports that will change your business
Description: Reports in retailer that will help you drive sales and increase profit.
Meeting Name: Understanding the End of Shift Reports.
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.
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
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
Description: Quickly and easily setup automatic discounts for seasonal sales using catalogues
Meeting Name: Using Targeting Marketing in Retailer
Description: Use marketing to target specific types and groups of customers.
Meeting Name: Retailer software settings you will be shocked you have access to.
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.
Description: Start using Discount Vouchers to grow your business. A great introduction to this great feature.
Meeting Name: Re-Ordering stock with Retailer
Description: Make Retailer work for you. Re-order based on solid data and spend less time on re-ordering.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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:
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.
The integration with scales for the Tower Systems POS software provides retailers with options for how they sell. While selling packaged goods is no doubt faster at the sales counter, offering ‘bulk’ prices can change the pitch of the business.
The Tower Systems POS software scale integration is in use today in:
In each case while the business may be significantly different, the principle is the same – the software handles the sale of items based on weight and this is a terrific differentiator for plenty of businesses that want to sell items by weight and thereby offer a volume type of pricing.
The POS software scale integration completed by Tower Systems has gone through the processes required for authentication and certification. This enables us to sell it to small business retailers with confidence and certainty. This is vital to their leveraging the facilities for their business.
Scale integration is one of a range of specialty integrations in the Tower Systems software to help small business retailers drive better business outcomes. We are experts at delivering seamless trusted integrations that serve the needs of our large small business retail community.
We recommend integrating our specialist retail software with the Data Logic Magellan 8400 scales and scanner. This powerful POS scanner/scales hybrid installs directly into your counter top and provides:
Our expert staff can install and activate the scales integration module into your Tower Systems retail software remotely.
And with each integration comes a new relationship that can help our retailers in their businesses.
We hear from politicians regularly that small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, that they are the single largest employer and that they matter in cities and towns across Australia.
Beyond Australia, politicians elsewhere make the same claims. They talk up small business as if them doing this helps the channel.
Sadly, most politicians only talk about small business when they want votes. Once in government, they do too little to support this most vital of economic sectors.
Here at Tower Systems, we only serve independent small businesses. Every one of our POS software clients is a small business owner. We prefer small businesses because we understand them, believe in their importance and provide a type of service tailored specifically to them.
Thinking about our commitment to small businesses recently we engaged in a discussion internally about why we think small businesses matter to the economy. This was interesting as the discussion showed that our belief and commitment go beyond the company position. Deep in the company we believe in small business.
Economically, small businesses make an extraordinary contribution to the economy. They pay a higher proportion of income as taxes than big businesses – because small business owners are less likely to engage in tax minimization or to send income offshore like we see from bug businesses.
Small businesses serve local communities with local employment, local community engagement and local infrastructure support.
Small businesses move quickly. There is less red tape, meaning small businesses can embrace opportunities faster and thereby deliver outcomes sooner than big businesses.
Small businesses are terrific labs for change. We have seen valuable changed in how things are done evolve from small business engagement.
Small businesses foster entrepreneurship. Economic growth comes, in part, from business start ups. Small businesses are excellent incubators for business start ups, keeping this part of the economy moving at a valuable pace.
These are just some of the reasons we came up with on why small businesses matter to any economy. We publish them today to reinforce our commitment and show that our support for the sector is based on firm beliefs and deeply help commitments.
A trend is emerging in the leveraging of product giveaways, promotions and samples – that of tracking the movement of these through the retail store, understanding the rate of giveaway, the basket into which they are given and other data about the shopper engaging with the opportunity.
Thanks to smart marketing tools in the Tower Systems POS software for small business we are helping retailers and their suppliers to leverage these opportunities. We are tracking transactional data and facilitating access to this by retailers and their supplier partners.
The result is even more supplier support for these in-store promotions. This, in turn, helps retailers to grow their businesses thanks to the support of suppliers for the campaigns.
Our work is on both sides of the opportunity – with retailers as well as with suppliers. We are proud to be helping to bring both together on this opportunity and are excited by the results we are seeing though this work.
This work is another example of how Tower Systems is not your average POS software company. We are genuinely and actively engaged in helping our customers, small business retailers, to improve the economic performance of their businesses through software innovation as well as business operational innovation.
In a range of retail channels including pet shops, bike shops, garden centres, newsagencies and gift shops we have opportunities for helping retailers to leverage product giveaway opportunities and through this to make their businesses more appealing to suppliers who might otherwise have overlooked their businesses for larger corporate businesses.
The core we can help small business retailers compare with big businesses the better. This is a key part of the Tower Systems POS software mission.
If you are a supplier, please connect with us through our entry portal at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our retail strategy experts can work with you on guiding the process for connecting with retailers and leveraging product giveaway data so it is useful and meaningful for you and your business.
If you are a retailer keen to have more tools with which to compete against bin business, reach out to us, see for yourself the Tower AdvantageTM and how it could help your independent retail business.
We all look forward to dog day at the office as it makes for heaps of fun and lots of warm feelings. We are sure our customers sense that dogs are in the house and helping us enjoy our days even more. This is our tip for today. Welcome pets into your shop for a fun day.
Some from the leadership group of Tower Systems are at the Shoptalk 2016 conference in Las Vegas this week. Shoptalk is a leading-edge conference bringing together 3,000+ retail and technology professionals to explore the future.
Our participation here for the four agenda-filled days is with particular focus on our constituency of small and independent retailers and how tech is evolving in service of their growth.
The event is halfway through and already there are valuable learnings and future-beneficial connections as we focus on continuing to deliver best-practice POS software to our 3,500+ customers.
The photo is from the presentation by Steven Lowy of Westfield – as fascinating insight into their extraordinary innovation.