The truth about your retail business is how it is performing now compared to the same time a year earlier. Not how you think it is performing or how you feel it is performing but how it is actually performing.
You are your most important competitor.
Report on the last period, usually three months, and compare this with the same period a year earlier. Look at revenue, units sold, traffic count, average sale value and basket depth.
Let your data be your truth, your only truth.
If someone in the business makes a statement about business performance, take a look at the truth for yourself and rely only on this for your planning.
If a supplier makes a statement about the performance of your business, take a look at the truth for yourself and rely only on this for your planning.
Next time you tell someone how business is doing, base it on the facts as facts are a currency on which you can bank and off of which you can plan.
Gut feel and opinion are nice, but they cannot be relied on as such as your own business data.
In the Tower Systems POS software there are excellent reporting tools that report the truth of business performance. We can help you access these and we can help you understand them.
We’re here to help.
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.
We are thrilled to again be first with a major supplier to many of our customers, delivering to them excellent time savings, enabling them to compete more effectively. This is important as retailers that share a retail channel are competitors with each other – any advantage has to be exploited.
Today’s announcement is the result of hard work by plenty in our team.
Business birthdays are important – for you and for your customers, especially in a locally owned small retail business.
Embrace the opportunity of your business birthday for a celebration. But be sure to not make it all about making more money. Take time to embrace the achievement and love it.
Here are practical tips for celebrating the birthday of your business:
A key aspect of these ideas is to remind people that your business is stable, can be trusted, is locally connected and knows how to have fun.
Change is the order of the day for retail as it has been since the first shops opened. What is different in 2016 is that the pace of change has picked up. Indeed, the pace of change today is greater than at any time in the past. Technology is playing a key role in that: online and offline technology is facilitating, pushing and even forcing change.
Staying up to date is a challenge, especially in small and independent retailer businesses where having the time and resources to stay open can be difficult.
Tower Systems tries to insulate its customers from some of the challenges of change by leveraging changes in the software without needing to change hardware infrastructure.
In software updates we bring to the businesses of our customers tools and resources they can use to be more competitive. Tools and facilities through which they can enhance the relevance of their businesses in a changing retail landscape.
We think and work strategically on such technical changes, always thinking about what we can do to help our customers drive their relevance for we know if you customers feel more relevant and are more successful as a result of our software then a need of our business plan is satisfied.
What we do is more than about the software though. Enhancing our POS software is only part of what we do. The even more important aspect of helping our small business retailers compete is how we communicate with them about the enhancements. Our live training workshops, regional user meetings, training videos, advice sheets, personal training and other touch points help our customers learn about and embrace opportunities for change in their retail businesses through what we deliver in our POS software.
In our latest work we have helped retailers redefine the over the counter sales experience, leveraging important touch points, driving value from shopper engagement. For retailers, changes like these are money in the bank.
Our work directly linking with Magento, Shopify, Xero and other respected and widely used platforms is an example of us delivering on our commitment to help our small business retail community to embrace change and leverage change for their commercial success.
Tower Systems offers help, advice and assistance beyond traditional POS software support and has done for many years.
Our small business retail management advice is fresh and developed from our own hands-on retail experiences and from suggestions from our helpful customers. Each article of advice is jargon-free and accompanied by how-to steps and practice advice any retailer in any situation can read and use.
Here are topics we have published advice for our customers on in recent months.
This is a small sample of the advice from us and available to our POS software customers through our searchable and accessible from anywhere Knowledge Base.
Here is the latest round of free POS software training Tower Systems is proud to offer its customers.
Each one of these sessions is free to access, live and genuinely interactive.
We publish the list here as proof of us living up to our word of offering free on-going training.
Our customers can book any time online through our live training portal – another self-serve facility offered by Tower Systems to its customers.
For a full list of free live POS software training, check out our website. From there you can book, see the topics, see the detail of what will be covered and add the event to your online calendar. Smart software training bookings, another Tower AdvantageTM.
Memorable customer service is the most important point of difference a retail business can have, especially a business which does not make what it sells and therefore could have its products being sold by any other business apple to reach the same pool of shoppers.
We call it memorable customer service because it truly has to be that … memorable. So memorable that it is praised by your customers to others.
Good customer service should be the norm, the lowest hurdle any retail business can jump. Memorable customer service, the level of customer service that makes a shopper talk about the experience to their friends, must be the goal and it is the word of mouth from these customers that is a factor in driving traffic growth.
Memorable customer service is just as vital to Point of Sale software companies as it is for retail businesses. Since we own retail businesses as well as our POS software company we see it, live it and reach for it from both sides.
This is why we work hard to encode the ability to focus on customer service in our Point of Sale software. That’s right, retailers using our software have touch points they can leverage using software which help deliver the kind of memorable customer service we are talking about here.
Memorable customer service in retail, just as in a software company, is experiences which exceed expectations, it delivers benefits outside of what you expect even from a good business. In our IT company we compete with big IT companies and small, like us, IT companies. While we want our software to be the point of difference customers notice and talk about positively, it is our customer service which is loved and mentioned to colleagues more. Realising this was an epiphany for us.
We focus on building stronger, better and more valuable software. But we also surround this, completely, with customer service experiences which are the very best of the best. This gives us, and our customers, the best of both worlds. And we love it ourselves.
Given that most retailers do not have products unique to their businesses, delivering memorable customer service is critical to the business plan. Small and independent retailers can do this more easily and effectively than big retailers. From the genuine smile to shoppers to product knowledge to that extra information which helps a shopper get more out of the product purchased than they would have had the purchased the product elsewhere. This added value is the key and it can be delivered in almost any situation and with any product from a stapler through to a high-end road bike.
So, beyond our software and as part of our customer service focus, we seek out opportunities to help our customers deliver memorable customer service. Indeed, this was one topic we covered in the recent face-to-face user meetings we ran in capital cities and major regional centres around Australia.
As a Point of Sale software company, our mission is to deliver constantly improving retail management software backed with memorable customer service and going beyond this with business insights and assistance which helps our retailers themselves deliver exceptional and memorable experiences to their customers.
Not all POS Software Magento links are made equal. Some POS software Magento links are slow, out of date, not direct and / or cumbersome. Some make doing business online and in a bricks and mortar store from the same stock data set cumbersome,
Thanks to relationships developed in the US with the Magento team over years, Tower Systems offers a best-practice solution, one powerful, easy to use and ideal for independent retail businesses.
Linking directly with the Tower POS software it is a breeze to use – as the many e-commerce sites already using it can attest.
A weakness we have seen in some other products is their use of an old version of Magento. By using the latest release, we are able to deliver something far more useful and valuable to small business retailers. Indeed, we can show the difference live through sites we have developed even for our business retail and e-commerce businesses.
This use ourselves of our own software enables us to speak with experience and authority on these things. We are not selling you something thinking how it should work. No, we are selling something we use ourselves for our own retail business, something that meets our own exacting needs, something of which we are most proud.
Using our Magento link it is easy to share data, images and other vital content between your shop and your online store without extra time or technology overhead. The Tower Systems approach is a breeze to implement and manage.
We were asked recently to explain our mission in a way small business retailers not familiar with technology will understand.
Tower Systems is an Australian POS software company that develops, sells and supports software for selected specialty marketplaces.
We only serve independent retail businesses.
Our mission is to help retailers run more successful businesses. Our definition of success is a business that is making money, where the owners and employees enjoy what they do and where suppliers enjoy transacting.
Good software can play an important role in nurturing business success as it sits at the heart of the business: transacting sales, managing stock, tracking customer activity and shining a light on business opportunities.
What makes us different is how we engage. We go beyond what is traditional software company.
This is what we stand for.
We love hearing POS software stories, stories from our small business retailer customers on how they are using our Point of Sale software to help their businesses in the service of their customers.
We heard one such success story from the folks at Tourist House recently, at one of our user meetings, on their use of our proprietary discount voucher loyalty software facilities to help their customers save on purchases tourist items from them.
Using the software in four retail locations in four cities, the POS software sits at the heart of the operation. The discount voucher facilities have proved to be terrific in helping with employee and customer engagement.
The stories of engagement have helped us understand from a real world perspective how our software can be used in a range of situations to drive better business outcomes. Every feedback story adds to our knowledge and the narrative of Tower Systems.
We are grateful for customer engagement like this. It puts wind in our sales, a spring in our step.
The seamless scale integration facilities in the Tower Systems POS software make selling easy in a range of specialty retailers including pet stores, garden centres, jewellers, whole foods stores and confectionery stores. Helping retailers sell by weight helps them drive fast and accurate selling. It can also offer retailers greater flexibility in pricing structure. All of which helps small and independent retailers to compete more successfully and effectively.
The terrific LollyBomb store in the heart of Adelaide is a good example of a smart retailer leveraging the scale facilities in the software to help run a more successful business.
Selling by weight is easy thanks to the facilities in the software that were developed by Tower Systems in close consultation with retailers.
This is another niche service handled by the Tower software, making it a genuinely beneficial tool for niche and special interest small business retailers.
Integrations are important to small business retailers. They can often set POS software companies apart in that not all integrations are approved. take Xero, for example – they do not approve all POS software requests for integration. They have a structured process to follow. This is why being approved is a badge of honour and an important differentiator.
Retailers using the Tower Systems POS software can easily handle package or bundled offers, like the JB Hi Fi 3 for $10 offer they are running for greeting cards.
Using our smart small business POS software, retailers can run bundled deals like we see in JB Hi Fi with ease. Small and independent retailers can match the retail giant simply and easily. This is important as offers like this make price comparisons difficult.
In addition to bundled offers like this, the Tower software also handled multi buys where shoppers can purchase over time, reaching an award point where they get free product.
These facilities are in addition to myriad other discounting options including catalogues, loyalty facilities, discount vouchers and more.
All of these tools help small business retailers to be competitive in their offers, competitive against other local businesses, competitive against online and competitive against big businesses, like JB Hi Fi.
The beauty of offers like the JB Hi Fi offer is shoppers are drawn to the deal of Three cards for $10 and often times purchase one card at a higher margin for the retailer. Our software handles this, kicking in the Three for $10 pricing offer only when the shopper purchases the three cards. This counter management based on volume is easy and automatic – delivering good outcomes for the retailers and ensuing maximum margin.
The ever-evolving knowledge based helping users of the Tower Systems POS software is easily accessible, using natural English searches.
While the Tower Systems team enhanced knowledge base content, users themselves can provide feedback within knowledge base articles, adding value to the information seeking experience. It is accessible 24/7. It is also referred to in help desk calls as part of the training process and to provide customers with step by step advice on how to do something – if that is appropriate to a specific call.
Knowledge base resources include videos as well as text based articles. Indeed, there are more than 100 knowledge base accessible videos.
The knowledge base approach by Tower Systems is a good example of the open and interactive approach taken by the company to serving its small business retailer customers.
Here is one example one knowledge base article of several on the end of shift process accessible through the Tower Systems POS software knowledge base.
The Tower Systems knowledge base can be accessed from any internet connected device including desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. Yes, it is iPhone ready.
Tower Systems is thrilled to announce the addition of the following training sessions due to demand for the original sessions:
We are grateful to our customers for embracing our free training program. We know those attending training make better users of the software and better retailers.
As overseas online businesses compete with local retailers for sales of almost anything, so too do overseas based POS software companies compete with Australian software companies.
Here at Tower Systems, we understand local. We understand our local retail business customers. we understand their shoppers. We understand what being local is all about and why it matters to our customers and the communities in which they serve.
This is what being local is really about, it is about being knowledgable of and engaged with your local community.
Through our POS software and through our customer service we live and breathe the local message. Our actions speak for us through locally focussed software changes and how we serve and connect with our customers.
here is a short video explaining our local pitch. This video serves multiple purposes: it speaks to our in-house video production facilities, it has our owner speaking up for us and what we stand for, it shows our commitment to plain speaking anyone can understand and it speaks to our professionalism that you can trust.
This is the Tower Advantage, our Tower Advantage, offered to you.
Security is important in any business but especially in a small independent retail business. Here is a list of actions we recommend you consider to ensure your business is secure.
We are helping another retailer switch to our software and in the process the retailer has discovered their old software company is blocking their access to their own business data.
This is unethical in our view. Legal advice suggests it could be challenged in the courts.
Here we have a small business retailer who has cultivated business data for twenty years and now, when they want to change software, they are locked out.
We have seen this before and are sure we will see it again. It is appalling action by the software company reflecting badly on them in this instance and into the future.
UPDATE: 5:36PM APRIL 7, 2016.
Bernard Zimmermann, director of competitor POS Solutions Australia Pty Ltd has copied text from this post and posted it on their blog this afternoon. The post appears to be a response to what I have written. This following of Tower is not the first time he has done this:
For the record, Tower Systems does not lock users out, never has and never will. The claims by Zimmermann are false and he knows that.
Tower Systems is proud to offer free and live training opportunities for users of its POS software this week. We have two local user meetings, in Geelong and the Gold Coast and online. The two user meetings are the latest in our series of capital city and major regional centre meetings – face to face with our customers, providing free training and business development strategy.
The online session on End of Shift Reports is fully booked. We are running this session again in the coming weeks.
In addition to the live training opportunities, our customers continue to have access to an extraordinary library of video based training and text based training – making POS software training easy to access from anywhere and at any time.
The Retailer Visual Deck released by Tower Systems to its small business retailer customers earlier this year is generating terrific responses as retailers see the power of the visual compared to the traditional POS software reports.
This cloud-based platform is accessible from anywhere. It provides live access to retail business performance KPIs, helping small business retailers better understand what is happening in their businesses.
The Visual Deck is a new product from Tower Systems. Accessible from any internet connected device, this platform provides you with a fresh view of your business performance data. Visually reporting on revenue, gross profit, transaction count, items per sale, units sold, average transaction value, by month, week, day and day of week – easily allowing you to compare trading periods.
Cloud based, this new business intelligence platform is available on a month to month or annual basis. Called the Visual Deck, It is visual because, well, your business data is presented in a visual way. It is a deck because it is a platform off of which you can see far and wide.
The introduction of tags in the Tower Systems POS software last year added to an already powerful reporting suite for our retail customers.
Using tags our retailers can take a horizontal slice through their business data across departments, categories and suppliers, linking items based on a licence or sole other connection relevant to the business.
Tagging is smart easy and powerful, providing small business retailers a fresh view of their businesses, one unique to Tower Systems.
We have been demonstrating the value of tags in our user meetings, [providing our customers with ah ha moments when they see it, get it and realise the power for their businesses through the unique view of business performance available to them.
Tagging inventory items is another point of difference we have been able to leverage for growth among our small business retail user community.