The retiree (or seniors) marketplace can be lucrative for a retail store. They tend to be loyal and engaged in word of mouth marketing about good retail experiences. They can also be flexible about when they shop and this is where a retail business can really leverage the opportunity.
Before you can market any retiree service or benefit you need to develop a plan for handling the opportunity. What products will be offered and at what special prices? The most common approach is to offer a flat discount to retirees, or seniors as they are called in some marketplaces. This discount is usually between 5% and 10%.
Price is important to the seniors marketplace since they either have a fixed income or are living off finite savings. They like businesses which help them save money.
You will also need to decide when the discount or other offer is available. Some businesses make the offer available only on certain days, usually the quietest days of the week. Others offer access to the benefits all the time. Think carefully about the needs of the business before deciding when you will provide access to the benefits – focus on the business outcome you want to achieve.
In terms of accessing the benefit, it is common and fair to ask for some form of proof of eligibility. This could be in the form of a drivers license or a seniors card as is available in some locations. This is a card usually issues by local government. Sometimes, it is issued by residences.
An alternative is to create your own retiree / seniors card for use in promoting the business. These should be professionally designed and produced. Ensure that such a card is respectful and something these customers would proudly carry. Design the card so that it promotes the benefits you offer – so that it is an extension of your marketing program.
Whatever method you use to identify your retiree customers, it has to be simple to use at the counter for processing the appropriate discount.
To market a business to retirees consider these options:
The value of the retiree market to your retail store will depend on the value of the offer available to them and how widely you promote this. While some retailers see retirees as a chore others see a business opportunity.
Retailers want, need, year on year revenue growth. Here is a story of how one small business independent retailer followed our advice, used the smart loyalty facilities in our software and for one product category increased revenue by 114%. Elsewhere in the business benefits flowed too, rich benefits, bottom line benefits.
For within our POS software is a suite of smart loyalty tools that ensure you get shoppers spending more each visit. That is what this retailer has achieved. In this one department of plush items, they achieved $9,459.14 (ex GST) in revenue in April. That is up 114% on April 2015. Here is one line from the management report comparing April 2016 with April 2015. But beyond this one line, across four pages, this business is reporting excellent year on year growth – on good GP items, not low margin agency lines … and it is doing it on the back of smart loyalty facilities that are unique to the Tower Systems software.
This is what matters in a small and independent retail business, good year on year growth for high margin product. This unit sales and revenue year on year comparison is vital as it is the truth of this retail business, raw data on which they can rely to measure success and guide next steps.
Our role, beyond providing excellent POS software, is to provide training and support for small business retailers to help them get the best possible value from the software and to understand the data on which we report.
Next week, we run another of our popular Howe to cut theft in your retail business workshops. Run many times over many years, these free live workshops help engaged retailers to protect against theft, especially employee theft. Retailers using our POS software who encounter employee theft, especially expensive employee theft, have not undertaken this free and easily accessed training.
Our commitment to our small business retail customers is that we provide regular access to free live training workshops. This session is another of these free weekly opportunities.
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.
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.
Who do you talk to about your retail business? Are they sympathetic, pandering almost? Or, do they challenge your perception of your business?
Do they agree with everything you say? Do they offer pity as a response for you explaining your situation?
Good friends will challenge what you say. They will ask tough questions to test what you say about business performance. They will not put up with a victim mentality. They will want to know what you are doing to improve your situation and that your actions are rooted in your business data.
If your friends don’t challenge you when you talk about your business consider seeking out others you can talk to who do challenge you.
Owning a business of any size can be tough and lonely. In the business it is rare you will be challenged. In your immediately family, too often, you will not be challenged. This is why you need to seek out those who could and will challenge you. You need to be challenged. Your plans need to be tested through tough questioning. While some good friend will do this for you many will not.
So, do you need to change your friends?
Seek out people who will give you truthful assessment of what you say, people who will have an opinion and be unafraid to share it. You want people who will actively listen to you and give you their insights.
Seek out people who will want the same from you. The ideal friendship is one that is equal, open and honest in conversation. This is what retail business owners need – people who can help them see what they may not be seeing for themselves.
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.
As an independent retailer you can choose from several software providers, each of which claim to help you grow your business. But why buy overseas POS software only masquerading as local when you can benefit from real Australian specialist POS software?
The photo shows a runner designed by some famous guy. The pair sells for US$9,000. The manager of the store told us they have at least 50 people a day come in a look at the boot and take photos and that enough purchase other items to make the investment in the stock worth it.
A team from Tower Systems further benefited from participating in the Atlanta Gift Fair last week, networking with small business gift and homewares retailers as well as their suppliers – including suppliers from Australia. Thanks to contact since the show, the benefits are being realised quickly.
This large gift fair – representing 7,300 brands – is attended by thousands of retailers. It is the gift and homewares retailers the industry’s largest event featuring the most comprehensive collection of home décor, furniture and gifts. The venue spans multiple buildings and multiple floors in each building – it is many times larger than the largest gift fairs in Australia. This is what makes it an exciting event for us – a real eye-opener.
The range of products on show is more diverse and the types of businesses attending is equally diverse. This is why attending has been beneficial for the Tower Systems team as they have been able to expand their horizons as to how our POS software can better serves the needs of growing gift and homewares businesses.
We are not detailing takeaways here for obvious reasons.
The woes of retailer Dick Smith and the swift announcement of the status of gift vouchers by the Administrator last week has made shoppers suspicious of gift vouchers. This is what happened following the collapse of the Red retail group – Angus and Robertson – some years ago. It took months for trust to rebuild.
Unfortunately, we can see a similar situation follow what is happening at Dick Smith at the moment.
Thanks to the comprehensive gift voucher / gift card management facilities in our software, our small business retail partners have a good story to tell about managing the cards / vouchers and the cash collected.
Our software is well established and tested in this area, across multiple retail channels. we manage the vouchers in a way a CPA would expect and the way a shopper can trust.
We invited several customers last year to have their photo taken in-store as part of a promotional series showing happy small business customers in their shops where they use our smart POS software. We were thrilled every customer we approached agreed.
Here is one photo from the wonderful LollyBomb business in Adelaide. Some of the specialist facilities in our software help this business in smart and engaging ways.
We are grateful for their help in promoting our software.
A tech company recently sent out a survey on 2015 activity to their customers with an out of date logo, a design from the 1990s and a follow up thank you note referencing 2014. These three missteps made the business look unprofessional in its approach. They made it an easy target for anyone wanting to show weaknesses in the business. Their communication also provided some fun for competitors.
Since online is so vital to business today it is important that your online and electronic communications are on point: professional, using your current logo and art, referencing current activity and followed up with relevant material.
Software companies and all businesses need to be professional in every contact as the last contact could be the one on which we are judged.
Labour is the second highest cost in small business retail yet it is often among the least managed. Tower Systems helps small business retailers manage labour costs. By manage, we mean keep efficient to ensure they are appropriate to the needs of the business. We have helped small business retailers cut labour costs by 25% without any downward impact on sales revenue. We do this through our smart POS software in a range of ways including:
Supermarkets, fuel outlets and convenience retailers nail the candy lane, the floor space in front of the counter where people line and wait to be served. It’s called the candy lane because it’s where candy is often sold. It is a space strategy appropriate to any retailer.
What is it you present to shoppers who approach the counter, any counter in your business? Are impulse purchases by your shoppers growing?
Products need to be easily understood and relevant to your business. They need to be products on which customers can make a split-second decision.
Manage your candy lane for success.
Success is shoppers purchasing items on impulse from display units placed in your candy lane.
Tower Systems has published updated advice to help retailers transact in the unlikely event of their computer system not being available. This advice proved to be popular with our customers – we can tell from the considerable download count.
Small business retailers learn to rely on their POS software. If it becomes unavailable for some time and for reasons outside anyone’s immediate control it can challenge the business operations. This is why having a plan for survival is vital to the business.
Planning for contingencies such as a blackout, massive hardware failure or some other contingency is important in retail and we take our role in guiding retailers on best practice business management seriously here at Tower Systems.
This latest business management advice is part of a long-term commitment to publish advice that is useful, accessible and freely available for our small business retail customers.
We love Xero. While we link to multiple small business accounting solutions, Xero is the one receiving most praise by experts and good press on a number of fronts at the moment.
Tower Systems is proud to be an approved authorised Xero POS software partner, listed on their website.
We are not surprised to see a POS software competition ignoring Xero when rating accounting software. Their ignorance is not unexpected.
With all the talk of a change to GST arrangement in Australia, it is appropriate we note that any change to GST in terms of quantum and the products and / or services on which it applies would be easy for Tower Systems to manage.
The Tower Systems POS software today has all the facilities necessary for our customer to handle such changes without the need for a software update.
Christmas is hamper season for many retailers and Tower Systems helps retailers easily and confidently make, manage, sell and deconstruct hampers.
We track all the components of a hamper, special package pricing, sales history, customer engagement and, if necessary, the breaking down of hampers to single items should a hamper not sell.
Making it easy to manage hampers helps the Tower software be selected by gift shops, bike shops, pet shops, garden centres and other retailers where hampers are an important part of the Christmas trade.
Our work in the hamper space started years ago when we sold our software to a hamper specialist. They guided us to develop smarter tools and these sit in the core POS software we offer to retailers today.
Hampers are a terrific way for local small retailers to pitch a point of difference. Our software makes hampers easy to manage and sell. More important, our software makes it easy to leverage for next season.
This is another POS software Tower AdvantageTM.
Here are some tips from us on how to more effectively compete with a big business competitor located near your small business:
Based ion our many years experience and our personal work with more than 3,000 retailers, here are the five most common bits of advice small business retailers ignore. Do these five things and your business will improve.
These tips are offered as part of a series from Tower Systems, a POS software company serving more than 3,500 small business retailers with specialist POS software for a range of retail niches.
Every day through our software, advice, support and training we provide help beyond the software, help to make a genuine difference to the small retail businesses we serve.