Sunday retail management advice: use your POS software to tell your stories

One way independent retailers can compete with big businesses is by telling stories about products – how to use them, how to care for them, where they come from, who made them, why the products matter.

Using the Tower Systems POS software retailers are able to share these stories in a consistent and professional way – on receipts and other document communications with customers.

This is our management advice for today – use the ability to personalise receipts and other documents for sharing stories with customers – to enhance their experience with what they purchase from you.


POS software users love easy access to training

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.52.05 pmPOS software company Tower Systems is thrilled to continue to lead in proving excellent and free training opportunities for retailers using its software.

This is actions speaking louder than words. We promise the training in our sales pitch and deliver year in year out.

Our training schedule is public as is data on the uptake – including additional sessions we schedule because of participant feedback and heavy bookings. This transparency is important as anyone can make a claim – it takes hard work to prove you’re living up to the claim

‘The training this year is focused more on business outcomes and less on the traditional how to you see with software training.

Independent and small retail business owners are loving the new outcome-focussed training. We are loving sharing it with our customers.


POS software product categories help retailers gain different views of business

catBeing able to analyse business performance from a range of views is vital to independent retailers. While most POS software products permit analysis by product department and supplier, too often they miss the opportunity for analysis by category.

In gift shops this is particularly useful where you may not replace a range with more stock from the range but, instead, find something else appealing to that shopper. This is where category level performance reporting is most useful.

Tracking sales of products that appeal to a cohort of shoppers provides a valuable of business performance that can guide better restocking decisions. It is especially useful at trade show time when looking for new products but products which appeal to those who have purchase other products from you.

The Tower Systems POS software provides multiple views of sales data to enable this type of analysis in small and independent retail businesses.


Free POS software training: How employees steal from retail businesses

stealHow employees steal from retail businesses is a free training workshop from the POS software experts Tower Systems. Delivered by our COO, this training is vital for retail business owners. It will draw on expert advice from one who helps police, prosecutors and insurance companies deal with employee theft in retail businesses.

With just a few places left, this training will fill up for sure.

Tower Systems leads its marketplaces with live online training opportunities – helping retailers to learn more about their software and how to save their businesses time and money.


Sunday retail business management tip: roster staff for commercial success

Rostering is a vitally important business activity in indecent retail businesses. Get it right and you save money. Get it wrong and your bottom-line suffers.

Retailers using the Point of Sale software from Tower Systems can roster employees based on their contribution to the business. Using the tools in the software can result in better rosters, rosters which deliver a more valuable contribution to the business.

This is just one way POS software which offers roster facilities can genuinely benefit a business – save time and help driver better earnings. It is another way good POS software pays for itself.

Tower Systems helps retailers drive better outcomes through rostering and other facilities delivered in its software for a range of specialist independent retail channels.


Gift shop software users to benefit from Tower Systems attendance at AmericaSmart gift fair in Atlanta

gsposGift shops using the Tower Systems gift shop software will benefit from the time experts from our software company spent at the Atlanta Gift Fair at the large AmericaSmart facility., This largest gift Fair in the US is an extraordinary experience for gift retailers. Our takeaways include new relationships with the parent businesses of several Australian gift shops suppliers. This will helps us better serve our gift shop software customers as we help them more effectively and valuably connect with their suppliers.

There is nothing like getting to the source of a relationship to understand it and leverage it for all stakeholders.

This gift fair in Atlanta also helped us spot trends that we can sever better through our software – before they hit Australian shores.

As the only Australian POS software company represented at Atlanta, Tower is positioned to help gift retailers in a more effective and exclusive way in 2015.

For commercial reasons we will not share any comprehensive outcomes here as these are best deployed to our customers for their and our commercial advantage.


Xero accounting / POS software link helps retailers embrace technology

The link we launched last year connecting our smart POS software with leading accounting solution Xero is helping us grow our business as more retailers seek a whole of business solution. Our training resources help retailers understand the link and the benefits. here’s one of the videos we have produced in house.

We use Xero ourselves in our own retail businesses.


The POS software PayPal relationship on show in New York

paypalTower Systems representatives met with PayPal representative sin New York last week at the National Retail Federation annual conference to talk about retail and, in particular, insights gained by PayPal through their US based innovation with POS software companies which is only now starting to reach Australian shores.

The connection with the folks at PayPal in the US is another benefit for Tower from sending a delegation to the NRF conference and tapping into the latest trends with our development and deployment partners.

For commercial reasons we will not share any comprehensive outcomes here as these are best deployed to our customers for their and our commercial advantage.


Tower Systems strengthens HP POS hardware relationship

hpThanks to participation at the National Retail Federation annual conference in New York last week, the Tower Systems and HP POS hardware relationship is stronger than ever.

During the conference our representatives were briefed by HP on new developments that will enhance the POS software / POS hardware marriage and through this provide a more meaningful and valuable retail employee and business owner experience. The real winner, however, will be the shopper.

Tapping into insights through partnerships with companies like HP are one way tower Systems is able to innovate in valuable ways for its vertical market retailers in the pet shop, garden centre, bike shop, newsagency, gift shop, firearms retailer and other spaces in which we specialise.

Knowing insights before they reach Australia positions us to achieve more for our customers through our software.

For commercial reasons we will not share any comprehensive outcomes here as these are best deployed to our customers for their and our commercial advantage.


Sunday retail business management advice: use your POS software to cut keystrokes, cut mistakes & save time

Speed is vital at the retail sales counter. Once they have made their product selections, shoppers want fast and accurate service. This is best achieved by using as few keystrokes as possible.

Tower Systems specialises in helping retailers cut keystrokes at the counter.

Every keystroke you cut is a potential mistake eliminated. This is good news for retailers and shoppers.

Following our personal training and engaging with our advice certainly helps retailers streamline the counter, serve more customers in less time and maintain accurate quality data. This helps feed more accurate business decisions offering wins all round.

Good POS software helps retailers cut keystrokes. Excellent training for good software goes further – making it easier for retailers to tap into these terrific benefits.

We urge retailers to take note of keystrokes used in transacting sales and to work hard with their software provider on cutting keystrokes.


Cloud services help Tower Systems POS software customers save time

Cloud based services released by POS software company Tower systems are helping small business retailers to save time in running their businesses. One such service loved by customers using it is the cloud based backup service – which backs up data on the go through the trading day, thereby eliminating the need for an end of shift backup.

One retail business using the service recently needed to restore from a backup and was thrilled that this could be done easily and efficiently compared to having to access a USB stick or disk.

The most important aspect of the cloud based service is that it takes away the need for human intervention to get the backup done. This saves time and heartache in retail.

This is another Tower AdvantageTM.


Free POS software training for retail business employees

The Tower Systems Training Academy offers retail business owners and employes the ability to learn our POS software at their own pace and in their own location.

Business owners and employees using the Tower software can learn how to use the software when and where they want without having to pay extra for the privilege.

The training helps ensure new employees learn the software properly and it provides existing employees the ability to refresh knowledge and learn more.

With retail changing and demands on business owners and their employees growing, good knowledge is vital to efficient and profitable newsagency management.

Professionally produced in-house by Tower Systems and peer-reviewed, this training program is accessed through curriculum platform just released on the Tower website.

This wonderful online training resource is another Tower AdvantageTM.


Stunning POS software receipt design shows off the pet shop business

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.37.15 pmTower Systems has the best installation and training people!

Look at how one of our retail partners is using their Pet Shop Software to offer receipts that look stunning.

This receipt was created by a member of our installation and training team while onsite installing our software.

The receipt has all the detail you could want for an accurate record of the sale.

Plus it has a unique barcode for easily finding the sale in the future.

And then there is the ad for the dog wash service – attracting shoppers back into the business.

The receipt is capped with the business logo.

Flexibility in receipt design is a hallmark of the Tower Systems POS software – all our retail partners have access to this so they can make their own beautiful receipts.


Tower Systems POS software on the Microsoft Surface takes POS mobile

surfaceposAs retail businesses adopt to opportunities in 2015, Tower Systems is well placed to take the POS software from behind the counter thanks to support for mobile devices including the Microsoft Surface.

While we have offered mobile access to our POS software for years, the Surface is exciting to retailers as they look for opportunities for more engaged competition in 2015.

The Surface is versatile and fast in running our software. Having reference sites helps as we can show the software running in a live situation.


Sunday retail management advice: make Lay-Bys work for you & your customers

Tower Systems has helped many retailers get into offering Lay-By services when installing our Point of Sale software. Over many years we have developed extensive experience in Lay-Bys and through this we have refined suggestions on how to make the most of the opportunity.

Here is a summary of more extensive Lay-By advice we provide to retailers, based on our years of experience.

  1. WHAT TO LAY-BY. Set a minimum item and or purchase value. We’d suggest $80.00 in a small retail business.
  2. DATA REQUIRED. Always ensure you are satisfied you know who your customer is. Require proof of ID from a driver’s licence or similar legal ID document.
  3. 20% of the total GST inclusive purchase price.
  4. Only Lay-by to people 18 and over.
  5. Lay-bys should run for between eight and twelve weeks. You could run for longer pre Christmas to get early sales.
  6. PAYMENT CYCLE. Require payments to be made weekly or fortnightly.
  7. PAYMENT METHOD. Accept any payment form you choose.
  8. Do not allow someone to take home a single item from a group of items on Lay-by together in one purchase. It’s all or nothing.
  9. Have a policy you are comfortable with. We suggest a 20% cancellation fee applies. Note that you could equally choose to have no cancellation given that Lay-by product may not be able to easily re-sold.
  10. Decide what you would consider a breach. This has to be something you stand by. We suggest two missed payments without reasonable excuse or rectification. On breach, cancel and charge the cancellation fee.
  11. We suggest a no-exchange policy.
  12. When a customer Lay-bys, print two dockets – one for them to take immediately and one to be placed with the goods. Have your customer sign both copies, accepting your terms and conditions.
  13. Set aside a clean and secure storage location for Lay-bys in your business where locations are coded for easy finding. Place Lay-by goods into a single clear plastic bag per transaction for clean and safekeeping. Staple to this a copy of the Lay-by docket. Let your customers see you do this so there is no doubt when it comes time to collect the products.
  14. Have one person responsible for Lay-bys to ensure product care, track payments and contact customers.
  15. TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Enter these into your software so they are included on every Lay-by docket. Points 2 through 11 above are a good example of what to include in your terms and conditions.
  16. COMPLETE PAPERWORK. To not over complicate things, rely on your software’s Lay-by docket as your complete paperwork / contract. Get that right and Lay-by management will be easier.

We are grateful to our retail partners who have worked with us on developing this experience and advice. Their help has enabled us to provide this help.


Tower Systems at CES in Las Vegas

intelFrom in-home innovation to retail innovation to tech trendy to geekery, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year is proving to be an exciting playground for the Tower Systems representatives we have there.

While CES is an opportunity to meet with hardware suppliers, it is more about spotting trends and considering these in the context of what we do with small and independent retailers and specific marketplaces in which we serve.

The trip is proving to be a good opportunity to network with some Australians attending this year.

Taking time out of the day to day to consider future possibilities is useful, especially at the start of the year.


New POS software training opportunities

We have been developing new content for our weekly online training workshops for retailers using our POS software.

In the next round of training opportunities to be released in the coming weeks you will see many new topics including these four:

  • How employees steal from retailers. Secrets from our top investigator and expert witness. Hosted by our COO Gavin Williams and for business owners only.
  • Basic hardware troubleshooting tips. Tips on how to fix basic hardware issues from our expert technical Services Manager Simon May.
  • Learning our POS software for Mandarin speaking users. Hosted by Jeremy To, our Mandarin speaking help desk expert.
  • Retailer software settings you will be shocked you have access to. Hold desk expert Colin Harris will show you settings you most likely don;t know exist that can help your enjoyment of the software

These sessions and the others yet to be announced will provide fresh training opportunities for our retail business partners in 2015. We are excited to be offering fresh practical training for small business retailers and through this to demonstrate our commitment to driving business performance as well as business efficiency.


Sunday retail management advice: professional management of the sales counter

In our work with small business retailers we have been fortunate to see many different sales counter situations. The best retail sales counters are the ones run in a structured and professional way.

We are often asked for advice on management of the counter. Here are nine points of advice for counter management (outside of direct sales) which our customers have found useful. This list is our retail management advice today.

  1. No food or drink to be visible to customers unless it is packaged and for sale.
  2. No personal staff items like bags, purses, wallets or mobile phones to be visible at the counter.
  3. Clean the counter at least every day.
  4. From the customer side, remove all products from the counter once a week, clean and rebuild.
  5. Keep counter messages, signs and notes that shoppers see to a minimum. Every note, sign or message must have a purpose that speaks to the mission of your business.
  6. When employees purchase from the business have them purchase from the customer side of the counter.
  7. Have a rule on how many people you have behind the counter at any time. Too often retail employees use the counter as a refuge. More impulse purchases are achieved by working the shop floor than at the counter.
  8. Dramatically change your counter at least once every three months – as much for your team as for your customers.
  9. When assessing the counter for product placement, cleanliness and being on-topic, do so from the customer side. How it looks from behind the counter is far less relevant than from the customer side.

In helping retailers use our Point of Sale software we often find ourselves helping beyond the technology. Developing and sharing this list is one example of our broader help of small business retailers.


No vacation here

Tower Systems is not one person or even a few people. Tower Systems is a team of IT and customer services professionals working together to deliver to small and independent retailers excellent POS software backed by excellent service.

Through the year when people take a break to refresh and recharge other team members step in to ensure continuity of service. Our services continue right through, even this blog and our other public facing contact points.

Being available regardless of individual leave situations is essential in any business serving small business retailers as these businesses themselves never close.

Customer service is as much about easy contact access as it is about the knowledge shared. Often we find contact is about talking through questions and processes more so than problems as such.


Looking back on 2014 for our POS software company

Wow, what a year 2014 has been! 

In addition to welcoming many new customers, we have enjoyed serving all of our long-term friends. These include customers who have been with us since the 1980s when we first began in business.

A thrill of the year has been the excitement of our customers when they discover a facility in or a benefit from our software that genuinely helps them in their business. Their happiness brings delight to us, it reinforces the value of what we do.

In a practical sense, we have delivered major POS software updates this year, brought on support for new suppliers and strengthened connections between retailers and their suppliers.

We have, unfortunately, helped many retailers uncover and confront employee theft.

Our firsts of PayPal integration, Xero integration, new EDI facilities and more have given us pleasure – technology people love innovation.

We have also enjoyed another year of service from a wonderfully skilled and committed team of software developers, support personnel, admin folk and others who make up the Tower team.

More than ever, though, 2014 has been a year full of wonderful support and guidance from our 2,800+ retail business customers.

Thank you.

Happy New Year!


Networking with retail experts from around the world

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 3.30.57 pmTower Systems will have a delegation at the National retail federation annual conference and exhibition in New York in early January. Participation in the 2015 even will our our fifth year in a row.

Retail’s Big Show, as the conference and exhibition are dubbed, is the single most important event for US retailers large and small. There are many excellent workshops and training sessions, a large exhibition space and many networking opportunities.

We are grateful for the opportunity to participate such an important event for retailers and those who serve them. There will be more than 30,000 participants.


Retailers make good use of gift cards to drive retail sales

giftcardRetailers using our POS software can provide gift vouchers on the fly directly from the software or they can load value onto a professional card like major retailers use. Either approach to gift cards / vouchers works easily.

The photo shows four gift cards designed by our in house graphic design team. Each card in a run has a unique barcode to which funds can be loaded by customers.

Offering a gift card design and production service helps us provide a more complete one stop shop service to our customers. It saves retailers time and ensures they receive vouchers designed to work well with our Point of Sale software.

We have produced hundreds of cards for our retail partner customers.


Christmas in the POS software office

xmasIt’s not all tech talk and business this time of the year in the head office of our POS software company. Being Christmas time, we enjoy more Christmas cheer at lunchtime and during breaks thanks to more diverse food choices including tasty mince pies.

The office is decorated too – bringing some festive colour into our workplace.

The photo shows some of the decorations at our reception desk.

So while we may be all business on the phone during calls, we’re chilling out and enjoying the Christmas season in between. We draw the line at singing Christmas carols though – no one wants to hear that.


PayPal payments POS software integration helps small business retailers compete

Here is another video in our instruction series on how to use our POS software integrated PayPal payments platform in any retail store. Whole the video was created for newsagents, it relates to any retailer using our software.

We are grateful to PayPal for choosing to launch this partnership with us.

What we have done with PayPal in 2014 has provided us with a valuable point of difference.


Tower Systems / PayPal partnership helps small business retailers

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 7.00.13 amPOS software company Tower Systems is helping small business retailers with its brilliant PayPal integration.

Using this first to market opportunity, retailers can expect to find new shoppers thanks to the help of PayPal in unlocking access to more than 5.5 million PayPal users in Australia.

This is an excellent example of how a POS software company can help retailers grow their businesses by attracting new and valuable shoppers.

Tower Systems is grateful to PayPal for selecting them as a launch partner.