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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TOWER SYSTEMS LAUNCHES POS SOFTWARE UPDATE

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 10.01.04 AMThe latest update of our POS software for small business retailers in a number of specialty retail channels has been released. This update, like all software updates, has gone through a comprehensive testing process internally and externally to ensure it is up to the standards our customers have come to expect from it.

The update releases a new integration, enhancements to another integration as well as software changes.

As with all of our software updates, our customers can choose if they wish to install the update and if so, when. This is the ultimate in user control.

Advice about the update was sent by email along with straightforward and peer-reviewed instructions for loading the update.

Our development team is advanced on the next update – we are excited about what is yet to come for our customers in 2016.

There is no additional charge for software updates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CLOUD OUTAGE REINFORCES THE CARE NEEDED IN POS SOFTWARE CLOUD CONSIDERATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how do you choose which local business you support?

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

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

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

THE PRIZE / GIFT

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

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

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

YOUR PITCH, NOT THEIRS

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

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

HOW TO PICK GROUPS TO SUPPORT

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

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

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

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

LET YOUR SHOPPERS CHOOSE

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

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

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

REWARD ENGAGEMENT

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

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

EDUCATE GROUPS ABOUT GOOD ENGAGEMENT

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

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

WRITE ABOUT YOUR ENGAGEMENT

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

Ask them to write about you too.

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

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SCALE INTEGRATION WITH POS SOFTWARE HELPS SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

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:

  1. Confectionery shops.
  2. Fruit shops.
  3. Supermarkets.
  4. Pet food shops.
  5. Garden centres

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:

  1. All-Weighs Scale Platter with integrated Produce Lift Bar or Produce Rail™
  2. FirstStrike advanced decoding software delivers the best performance in reading poor quality labels
  3. Aggressive and ergonomic 360° 5-sided scanning
  4. Host Download – Lowers Service Cost and Improves Operations
  5. Diagnostic Reporting – For improved preventative maintenance
  6. Productivity Index Reporting™ – Helps identify poorly printed labels
  7. Cashier Training™/ Ergonomic Index – Identifies Poor Scanning/Weighing Habits

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.

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POS SOFTWARE SUPPORT FOR MULTI-BUY HELPS RETAILERS DRIVE SALES

13346543_10156929025490142_4340173502081084002_nOne of the most valuable ways a retailer can differentiate from a competitor is to change how items are sold. Through the Tower Systems POS software, retailers have multiple ways of doing this. One successful way is the transactional multi-buy, where a customer can save money by purchasing more of an item in one transaction.

We see the transactional multi-buy approach working well in toy shops, pet shops, newsagencies and gift shops. Retailers in each channel use it differently and with different products. This is a beauty of the facility – it is easy for a local retailer to setup such a campaign and then flip to another. It enables the small business independent retailer to be flexible and constantly change their approach.

Changing your pitch in store around what the shopper purchases is important. It differentiates you from others with the same product. It speaks to your local offer and enables you to own your value proposition.

This is smart for small business retailers. we are proud our software makes it easy to setup and simple to manage and insightful in the post activity reporting.

Any business selling items shoppers will collect or purchase for collectors would benefit significantly from the transactional multi by facilities in the Tower Systems POS software.

We back the facilities with training, in-store management advice and even post event analysis – helming retailers to understand the full value of the campaign they have run.

Making it very easy, all the retail employee need do is scan items. The software applies any appropriate multi-buy discount. You do not even have to scan all the items after each other. yes, the software is smart enough to detect items at any point in the sale and to grow them together. This is vital to streamlined throughput of shoppers at a busy sales counter.

Beyond the software, Tower Systems is grateful for the support of many retailers in the continual enhancement of the software, to enable us to bring valuable in-store marking tools to retailers with whom we partner.

Transactional multi-buy is an important tool for small business and independent retailers. We have excellent case studies we can share to illustrate the value.

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WHY SMALL BUSINESSES MATTER TO AN ECONOMY – a view from our POS software company

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.

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TOWER SYSTEMS HELPS SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS TRACK PRODUCT SAMPLES AND GIVEAWAYS

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 sales@towersystems.com.au 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.

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WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR RETAIL BUSINESS?

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.

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TOWER SYSTEMS AT SHOPTALK 2016 THIS WEEK

IMG_0036Some 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.

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BEING FIRST WITH ELECTRONIC INVOICES BENEFITS TOWER POS SOFTWARE RETAILERS

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.

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SUNDAY RETAIL MANAGEMENT ADVICE: CELEBRATE THE BIRTHDAY OF YOUR RETAIL BUSINESS

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:

  1. Setup a photo board and invite customer engagement. Let’s say your business is six years old: ask customers to bring a photo showing them at six years of age. Their stories become part of your story.
  2. Setup a noticeboard. Let’s say your business is twenty years old. Headline the board with: To celebrate our twenty years in business, join us and list twenty things you love about this town.
  3. Recognise local heroes. Host an after drinks night in your shop and take a moment to acknowledge and thank local heroes. The number you acknowledge should be the number of years you have been in business.
  4. Thank previous owners. Create a history board of previous owners. Where they are now. Their stories. Show the rich long history of your business from before you owned it.
  5. Hand out a flyer listing X hidden gems of your region (where X is the number of hears you have been in business). The flyer is your birthday gift to your customers.
  6. Have cake. Everyone loves cake. If for no other reason than to get to eat cake have a birthday cake. Make it special. Have a big cake or lots of cup cakes. Set and date and time for the celebration.
  7. Party favor bags. Give every customer shopping on your birthday a bag of treats and favors you have chosen to celebrate your big day.
  8. The Happy Birthday discount. Offer a big discount to any customer who comes in on the day (or through the week if you wish) and sings, at full voice, Happy Birthday.
  9. Say thank you. In your front window, create a stunning and personal display saying thank you to the town. Do it visually, creatively and with a full heart.
  10. Half price birthdays. On the day itself, offer birthday cards at half price. While you are giving away margin and will bring forward what might otherwise have been full margin sales, you could get people buying cards from you who have not done so in a while.
  11. Be thankful. On Facebook leading up to your birthday share what you are thankful for from and through your business. Be sure to write with a voice of gratefulness and celebration.
  12. Dress the shop for a party. For at least the week of the birthday dress the shop as a themed party, maybe a kids party. Get everyone involved. Have fun and bring your customers in on the fun.
  13. Maybe a birthday party celebration sale. One night, after the shop has closed, put on some wine, cheese and nibbles inviting people to join you for some party games, prizes and deals.

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.

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REINVENTING THE POS SOFTWARE EXPERIENCE FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

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.

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PRACTICAL RETAIL MANAGEMENT ADVICE BEYOND TRADITIONAL POS SOFTWARE SUPPORT

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.

  1. How to confront feeling overwhelmed in your retail business.
  2. Gift certificates – for selling when you don’t have the gift a customer wants.
  3. How to stop price comparisons with major retailers in your retail business.
  4. How to cut shopper theft in your retail business.
  5. How to protect your business from a ransomware attack.
  6. Don’t be bound by what is usual for your type of retail business.
  7. Make every day your pay day.
  8. Compete by not competing.
  9. Leveraging what sells with what in your retail business.
  10. What manual processes can you eliminate in your business?
  11. 5 Rules Every Small Business Retailer Needs For The Sales Counter.
  12. 5 Ways small business retailers can market for free.
  13. How to cut mistakes in your retail business.
  14. How to be more local in your retail business.
  15. How to find optimism in your retail business.
  16. How to check prices using your Tower software.
  17. How to develop your unique selling proposition and why you need one.
  18. Competing against your most important competitor.
  19. How and when to quit stock in your retail business.
  20. How to transact if your computer system is down.
  21. How to cut employee theft in your retail business.
  22. 30 free marketing ideas for small business retailers this Christmas.

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.

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MORE FREE POS SOFTWARE TRAINING FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

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.

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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.

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SUNDAY SMALL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ADVICE: BE MEMORABLE

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.

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