Valuable insights from Tyro on EFTPOS and more

IMG_2646We benefited from a terrific briefing from broadband EFTPOS experts Tyro today at their Sydney headquarters in a special briefing for their POS software partners.

The briefing also covered other products from the company that benefit small businesses. We like this as here at Tower Systems we only serve small business retailers.

The session today was enlightening.

The meetings following the session were even more enlightening. We are grateful to Tyro for the opportunities.

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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.

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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.

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What being at Xerocon South means for our POS software co

FullSizeRender-1Being at Xerocon South is proving to be a wonderful experience. Spending all day talking with accountants and bookkeepers who help small business retailers run more successful businesses.

The discussions are detailed about small business challenges and opportunities, specific to specific niche retail channels that we serve such as toy shops, jewllers, garden centres and pet stores.

Talking business, talking Xero and talking smart cloud based software – we are loving it, loving the detail, loving the learning and loving the optimism.

This is an exciting and motivating event, especially for those of us serving the small business retail space.

What this event mean for us is ne connections, with accountants and bookkeepers – people like us who serve small businesses to help them run more successful businesses. This shared goal brings is close together.

We are the only vertical market POS software company here, enabling is top delve deep into our specialisation with accountants to help them be more specialist with their clients.

We took the photo early this morning before the doors opened at 8am. We love the green look.

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Meet the Tower Systems sales team

Here is a video we have just shot in-house introducing the Tower Systems sales team. Each has worked through the ranks of the company from the help desk to installations to sales. They all have retail experiences in their blood and appreciate the importance of small businesses in Australia.

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POS software helps make Father’s Day great for retailers

IMG_2313 (1)Tower Systems is thrilled to be helping retailers around Australia leverage the Father’;s Day opportunity with outpost mode enabling easy selling by retailers away from their usual retail location.

The photo shows one large outpost where our software plays a key role helping the newsagency / gift shop leverage the most from the opportunity.

Using outpost mode, retailers using our smart POS software are able to transact away from the business yet maintain total control over inventory, customers and all other key business data.

In addition to providing excellent outpost facilities in its POS software, Tower Systems backs this up with personal outpost assistance, user training and even new casual employee training so they know how to use the software with certainty.

The total outpost package from Tower Systems helps small business specialty retailers to leverage the most from the outpost opportunity.

Father’s Day is an excellent example of the value of outpost for retailers. The data we cultivate helps retailers to plan for more successful outposts.

This is another example of the Tower AdvantageTM for our small business retail customers.

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Xero ranked #1 in cloud accounting solutions

Xero goes from strength to strength with excellent recognition by Merchant Maverick.

Reviewer Katherine Miller agrees that Xero truly is beautiful accounting software.

“With clean, generally intuitive interfaces, Xero is an excellent solution for many small businesses’ accounting needs, offering a wealth of features while providing more simplicity and automatic invoicing options than most locally installed programs,” Katherine says.

With more than 1,400 features and updates shipped in the last 12 months, Xero leads the pack when it comes to innovation. Katherine says these updates, which are generally developed by user request, put Xero at the forefront.

“Xero was an early entrant in the rapidly growing field of cloud-based accounting, and the company’s developers work hard to stay ahead of the curve with product updates every 3-6 weeks,” Katherine says.

Here at Tower Systems we love Xero not only because of the smart integration with our POS software but also because of the product itself. We are users so we have first-hand knowledge of the software and its capabilities. It is terrific in its roles and valuable to a business as its needs evolve.

Our Xero interface and small business POS software will be on show at Xerocon in the next ten days in Brisbane. We are excited for the opportunity to show how our partnership with Xero can help small business retailers save time, save money, cut mistakes and nurture better business decisions.

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Small business retailers benefit from using tags in smart POS software

More and more of the small business retailers using our POS software are using the tags facilities in the software for more efficient management of inventory data managed by the software.

Tags in the Tower Systems Retailer software provide an easy way to manage stock. In the powerful stock manager facility you can select all items with a tag and then:

  1. Change price.
  2. Change description.
  3. Change department.
  4. Change category,.
  5. Change supplier.
  6. Add to an  an order.
  7. Stock take.

Tags are a terrific tool in your software for managing stock. We encourage you to use them. We can help.

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Automatic POS software updates cause small business retailers to switch software

Several retailers at the Melbourne Gift Fair last week told us they will switch POS software to us because of the automatic updates in their current POS software.

Tower Systems does not do automatic POS software u0dates. We prefer our customers to decide which updates they want and to install them at a time of their choosing.

The complaints about automatic updates were specific. They reflect the challenges automatic updates present to small business retailers. Here are quotes from the retailers:

  1. You turn the computer on and a downloading message comes up. You have to wait for this to be done before you can use it. When I turn the computer on I want to use it right away.
  2. There is no advice what is in the update. You have to hope you pick up changes as you go.
  3. They mustn’t test the software because almost every time there is an update something goes wrong.
  4. It has been so bad I don’t trust the software any more. That’s why I am switching.
  5. I call them but usually have to wait a day or two for them to call me back.
  6. One update last year cost be a couple of hundred dollars because of mistakes they made.

Here at Tower Systems or software goes through a comprehensive multi-layered quality assurance process prior to us installing it in our shops. If it works fine there it goes to our opt-in beta sites. If it goes well with them it is slowly released for optional download by our customers at a time of their choosing.

POS software is critical to the successful operation of any business that uses it. This is why the business ownwr or manager has to have control about what updates are loaded and when. Otherwise, they do not have the control of their business they need.

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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.

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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.

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Helping people who purchase a retail business running the Tower Systems POS software

Here at Tower Systems we welcome new customers in a professional way – regardless of they are new because they purchased our software or new because they purchased a business running our software.

We send a welcome pack with our contact details.

We offer free training.

We offer access to up to date software.

We offer to review their data to guide how they can reset the business they have purchased from a tech perspective, reflecting the mission of the new owners as it may be different to the mission of the old owners.

Since our customers are not a number or a faceless relationship, we bring on all new customers in the same consistent way, delivering confidence they are partnered with a POS software company that cares for and about them and and providing a pathway forward focused on the best-practice use of our software to help the business achieve for them the goals they have.

Too often we see people buying a business become disconnected with suppliers because of a poor hand-over by the vendor or because of a disconnect with suppliers. Here at Tower Systems we don’t want that for any of our new customers.

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A note on POS software and credit card access in small business retail

The Tower Systems POS software does not store credit card numbers of customers who use cards to pay in shops using our POS software.

The customer presents their card to the Tyro terminal connected to our software the processing of the card details is done 100% by Tyro with no details being shared with our POS software other than payment success or otherwise.

This approach – of us not storing credit card details for retail transactions – is vital in providing peace of mind for retailers and their customers around customer credit card access and fraud mitigation.

Our view is: storing a retail shopper credit card number in POS software is a big mistake. It puts the security of the card number at risk. Customers will not like it.

We suggest retailers not use POS software that stores customer credit card numbers.

Our Tyro and other bank EFTPOS integrations meet the high standards set in Australia and New Zealand for electronic transactions using credit and other banking cards. Our connections are tested and authorised. They are secure.

Tower Systems takes fraud mitigation seriously.

Update: The lone voice of POS Solutions, Bernard the owner of the business, is back from a long vacation and rather than discoing topics to write about for himself, he writes about what we write about it. You can see it today on their site. They don’t name us. They rarely do. Instead, the use terms like: One software company, I know well. Yes, that’s us. His post is a ramble whereas the facts we have presented here are focussed. The two posts speak to their respective companies.

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Free training for small business retailers to increase sales

Small business retailers using the POS software form Tower Systems have access to best-practice free POS software training every week. This coming week we are re-running one of our most popular live workshops, on how to use discount vouchers to drive retail sales:

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.

This interactive live session takes small business retailers through the process of setup and use of the popular discount voucher offering.

Tower Systems is proud to be continuing to deliver these free training opportunities for our customers – year in year out. It is a Tower Systems difference live and in action for our small business customers.

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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.

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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.

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Small business retail advice: make every day your pay day

There was a time when small business retailers could rely on selling their business for a handsome increase on the price they paid thereby providing a good pay day, when businesses sold for a good multiple of net earnings.

No more. Today, the best way to extract value from our businesses is to make every day your pay day, to not rely on your pay day being the day you sell the business.

The challenge is how do you do this?

Retailers need to look at their businesses differently. This starts with the mindset of every day being your pay day. Each decision needs to be considered in this context.

Focusing on profit today will give you a better result today and make your business more valuable tomorrow.

Here are some suggestions for making every day your pay day:

  1. Run with the leanest roster possible. Just about every retail business we review has capacity to lower labour costs.
  2. Have your best people working the floor, helping customers spend more.
  3. Have stunning displays that attract people from outside the shop.
  4. Have compelling displays in-store that encourage people to browse beyond their destination purchase.
  5. Always have impulse offers at high traffic locations.
  6. Charge more every time you can. Loyalty programs such as discount vouchers, bundling into hampers, multi buys such as 2 for 3 and other opportunities enable you to do this by blocking price comparison.
  7. Buy as best you can.
  8. Grab settlement discounts every time you are able.
  9. Promote outside your store using online and social media opportunities.
  10. Leverage adjacency information. Chase a deeper basket – people purchasing more each visit.

Be responsible for the profitability of your business. Don’t blame your suppliers, your landlord, your employees or some other external factor … it all comes down to you – the decisions you make and the actions you take.

If you relentlessly pursue profit with a clear focus you are likely to see profit grow. That’s better than waiting to make money when you sell because that’s less likely to happen in this market.

Doing all this relies on your measuring the performance of your business. The Tower software helps with this. It is easy.

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Multi-store POS software for small business retailers

Tower Systems offers a comprehensive multi-store POS software solution for retailers with more than one location. This multi-store solution is ideal for businesses with multiple shops, a shop and a warehouse or a mixture of both.

The multi-store facilities in the POS software are mature and proven. They also continue to evolve as the user base grows and more retailers in different channels use the software.

Using the multi-store tools, retailers are able to transfer products between stores, reports individually or as a group, check stock availability, control prices centrally or offer prices locally – any much more.

The multi-store facilities are ideal for small retail businesses as they grow. Indeed, bigger retail networks with fifteen and more stores love this software is serves their needs and ability to manage the group as a cohesive group with data integrity and appropriate management controls respected.

The challenge for many small business retailers is they do not realise they have such a need when they start. That Tower systems can go on this journey with them is a comfort as the capacity of the software and its capabilities can evolve at a pace appropriate to the needs of the business.

Tower is also able to insulate retailers fro the challenges associated with multi-store systems. For example, we can offer a hosted solution with no server in-store or in a warehouse – thereby protecting the business from having to worry about managing and maintaining technology to host the retail network.

The multi-store facilities in the Tower Systems POS software are another example of the value Tower brings to small business retailers.

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Small business advice: A checklist for those buying a retail shop

A common question we are asked at our POS software company has nothing to do with software. It is from people considering purchasing a retail business. The question is:  what should I ask for when looking at buying a retail shop?

The question itself, when asked, indicates how green a prospective purchaser is when it comes to purchasing a business.

Here is a list of data points we suggest retail business purchasers access from the vendor or their representative:

  1. P&L from the accountant for the last two years. i.e. not a spreadsheet created for the purpose.
  2. A good explanation of any add-backs.
  3. Sales data reports, for the last two years, from the POS software in use – to verify the income claim.
  4. Sales data reports from the lottery terminal to verify the income claim.
  5. BAS forms to confirm data in the P&L.
  6. A list of all inventory to include purchase price and date last sold for each item.
  7. A copy of the shop lease.
  8. A copy of any leases the vendor expects you to take on board.
  9. A list of all employees: name, hourly rate, nature of employment, start date, accrued leave.

This is good basic information that will enable any purchaser to undertake reasonable assessment of a business.

A good business will shine through the numbers just as a business with upside achievable by new owners will shine through.

My advice to vendors looking to sell who are concerned about this list is: think about it now and focus on your business so the data listed looks good.

Every day you make decisions in your business that impact many of the data points listed.

This is why we say every day is your pay day. Run a smart, lean and profit focused business and you will have a good pay day today and a good one when you come to sell.

The most appealing businesses are those that are easier to run and are making money.

The time to focus on that is now.

Sure, a purchaser can turn a business around. They should get the rewards if they are expected to do that for your business.

The price you can sell your business for will be based on what it is making now.

Getting the data ready for the sale of the business could, of itself, help you improve how you run your business.

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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.

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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.

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HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS ON BEST PRACTICE LAY-BY

Lay-By is vital to small business retailers, especially gift shops, jewellers, garden centres, toy shops and homewares shops. Tower systems offers structure support for managing Lay-Bys in its POS software. We help small business retailers meet their regulatory obligations, serving the needs of customers and their businesses with a best practice approach.

We offer written advice, video training, one on one training and more to help small business retailers run professional Lay-By services.

Here is a glimpse into some of the professional Lay-By advice provided to our small business retailer community:

Meeting regulatory requirements is vital. For example, if someone cancels a LayBy you must refund their payments less a termination fee. You can set this fee and advise as part of your terms and conditions.

Our advice guides you through key rules and steps to success with Lay-bys.

  1. WHAT TO LAY-BY. Set a minimum item and or purchase value. We’d suggest $80.00.
  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. DEPOSIT. 20% of the total GST inclusive purchase price.
  4. AGE. Only Lay-by to people 18 and over.
  5. DURATION. Lay-bys should run for between eight and twelve weeks. You could run for longer pre Christmas to get early toy 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 LayBy termination policy you are comfortable with. We suggest a 20% termination fee. Alternatively, set a dollar amount to reflect the work. Also, consider setting the LayBy to auto terminate if it extends beyond a period of time you nominate. 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.

These rules and steps may feel complex. They are necessary for the small number of times something goes wrong and you need to rely on them to help you deal with a situation.

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