Ways small business retailers can refresh their view of their business

WARNING: This blog post has some crazy ideas you’d not expect from a POS software company.

In our work with small business retailers we often hear about burnout, retailers being tired and over the grind of opening the shop working all day, closing, getting little sleep and doing it all again. They are often too tired to be innovative in their approach to business.

Call us crazy but we have some ideas designed to help small business retailers reconnect with their businesses. They are unconventional. They are free. They are fun. They are designed to get you looking, hearing and smelling your business differently. They are designed to open your eyes to opportunities you may be missing.

Are you ready? Here are our unconventional ideas for refreshing your views of your small retail business – in the hope that you find opportunities you were not seeing.

  1. Go to your shop at night time. Leave the lights off. Put a chair on the middle of the shop floor. Sit down. Take your shoes and socks or stockings off. Put a blindfold on. Soak it up. What do you smell? What do you hear? Is there any sense of place that you get from being there.  Be still for fifteen minutes or so thinking about this. Breathe deeply. How does your shop smell? Does it have a smell? If not, why not? Then take the blindfold off and look around you for another fifteen minutes. Finally, get up – with your shoes and socks or stockings still off – and walk around the shop. Take in the environment you are in control of. Let the ideas flow. If you want to take it to a deeper level, lie down on the floor on your back and look up and around – kind of up-skirt your own shop while it’s empty!
  2. Get a stool or fold up chair, pack a lunch and spend at least three lunchtimes in a week sitting opposite the entrance to your shop watching customers. Don’t write anything down, just watch. Preferably do this without people noticing you. Wear a disguise if necessary. Watch intently. See where people go, what they pick up, what they buy if possible. Try and predict what they will do. Watch and think. Watch and think.
  3. Get a small desk and a sign for the desk that says CUSTOMER SERVICE. Place the desk near the front door of your shop. Set yourself up at the desk, sitting behind it. Dress formally, old school. Like in a 1950s movie preferably. Sit up straight. Look the part. Sit and wait and see what comes your way. Have fun interactive with customers. The desk should look out of place but it should also look fun. The idea is that your customers, your staff and you will be a bit shaken up by the change. See what comes your way.

We have more crazy ideas. These barely scratch the surface of the crazy idea cupboard. Just ask.

We’re here to help small business retailers create and run successful independent small local retail businesses. Our help goes beyond our software. Were retailers too and love being able to talk retail with anyone.

3 likes

Sunday small business retailer management advice: use your receipt as your most important retail marketing tool

The receipt is the most important yet undervalued marketing tool in and retail business. Retailers partnering with our Point of Sale software have excellent opportunities with which to leverage receipts:

  • Include your logo to professionally represent your business.
  • Include care instructions for products you sell that require care instructions.
  • List your website.
  • Include a discount voucher based on the value of the purchase to entice the customer to spend more money with you.

These are just four ways retailers partnering with Tower Systems can use their receipts to professionally promote the business and drive extra revenue. these steps are free and simple to implement in any retail business. They can help a business better connect with customers who today may have little connection with the business.

These ideas help a small independent retail business to present themselves as being more substantial than they are and thereby competitive with major retailers.

Consider your receipt as a marketing tool.

2 likes

Sunday small business retailer management advice: make sure everyone in your business is on message

It’s not enough in retail to have the right products as the right price supported by marketing and in-store promotions. It is essential that all team members are consistent in their support of the business and its initiatives. The moment an employee in retail puts their own spin on a promotion or offer there is the risk that the message opt the business may be mis represented.

This is why it is vital for retailers to use structured and disciplined tools at their disposal to present messages of the business in a consistent way.

Tools in your POS software can help retail team members stay on message when presenting opportunities to customers. For example, products with customer care information could have this information printed on the receipt, stores with shopper loyalty programs can include value and details on the receipt and businesses offering LayBys could include terms and conditions printed on a LayBy docket.

There are many ways good POS software can help retailers to deliver a more consistent service at the counter and the shop floor. By using these facilities retailers can expect to improve the performance of their business.

Use your software to get everyone on message and everyone benefits.

 

2 likes

POS software company reports good start to retail in 2013

While mainstream media outlets appear to enjoy reporting difficult times for retailers, Tower Systems is pleased to report a good start to 2013. Retailers are investing in their businesses.

Sales of our Point of Sale software are good across a range of marketplaces. It’s a broad range of engagement that helps us to understand the state of retail, small business retail actually, in Australia.

Our experience and perspective differs with the negative press of the last week. We can only put this down to our relentless focus on small and independent retailers, a sector of retail often overlooked in sales data and other KPIs reported in such reports on the state of retail.

Small and independent retailers, especially those well rounded in their local communities, continue to do well. The current tax breaks from the federal government help focus attention on the POS software opportunities.

0 likes

Sharing Useful Retail Business Sales and Performance Data

We are in a fortunate position to be able to gather and analyse a considerable pool of retail business performance data thanks to the generosity of our Point of Sale software user community.

While most data is gathered for sharing back with the user community, from time to time we are called upon by industry associations and other interested parties to share high-level data, data which does not identify any of the individual businesses which share data with us.  We do this willingly where we see that the data will be used to professionally and robustly represent the interest of small business independent retailers.

Over the many years which we have answered the call for retail business performance data the respect for the quality of the data we have access to has grown.

Not only is good business data important to each retail business, it is also useful to government and others who look at entire retail channels when making policy, supply and other decisions.

Indeed, data is probably the most valuable asset of a retail business next to cash.  Good data helps any retailer harvest more cash.

Business data and our work with it is on our mind this weekend as we have just seen a copy of a submission to the federal government on behalf of a small business retail channel which makes use of business performance data which we provided.  It is good to see our data gathering and benchmark work being put to such good use.

0 likes

Newsagent sales benchmark study announced

Tower Systems is inviting newsagents using our newsagency software to provide data for our next sales benchmark study.

Newsagents keen to participate should run their Monthly Sales Comparison report for July 1 2010 through September 30, 2010 on the left and July 1, 2009 through September 30, 3009 on the right. Tick the category box.  Save the report as a PDF and email it to me. 

Our sales benchmark studies are used by newsagents and suppliers to drive business planning.

0 likes

Supporting newsagents in Queensland

Several of us are at the Queensland Newsagents’ Federation State Conference in Brisbane today, supporting the good work of the QNF and helping newsagents with questions. Our Managing Director, Mark Fletcher, is also speaking at the conference on the future of newsagencies. His presentation will include an outline of the very latest benchmark sales data comparing newsagent sales performance for January through March 2010 with 2009.

In supporting the QNF State Conference, Tower continues its support for key newsagent associations and demonstrates its commitment to this channel.

Tower Systems serves in excess of 1,650 newsagents, well over 50% of all newsagents with a computer system.

0 likes

Small business retail performance analysis service

The free retail business performance analysis service we offer helps participating retailers see their business through fresh eyes. Checking in recently with one participant from a year ago, we found that the free service had a marked increase in sales and an equally marked decrease in dead stock.

In undertaking the service, Tower Systems analyses business performance data at a deep level. This results in a thorough report for the business owners and, sometimes, a face to face meeting to discuss business performance.

While each analysis takes hours to complete, the company considers it a worthwhile investment. It adds to understanding of how the software is used and provides Tower Systems with an opportunity to demonstrate deeper value from the Tower Advantage TM.

Tower Systems customers wishing to access the free business analysis service should, in the first instance, email support@towersystems…

0 likes

Newsagent benchmark study reminder

Our latest newsagent rtail sales benchmark study is a wonderful opportunity for newsagents to add to a useful body of data which can help the whole newsagency channel understand sales trends:

I am undertaking another newsagent retail sales benchmark study comparing sales for January-March 2010 against January-March 2009.

Tower Newsagents can participate by sending a Monthly Sales Comparison report: tick the box to exclude home deliveries, and tick the box for a category breakdown. Set your first date range (on the left) to January 1, 2010 to March 31, 2010 and the date range of the right to one year earlier.

Once the report is on the screen, click the PDF button to save this as a PDF, go into your email software and send a copy of the PDF to me at mark@towersystems.com.au. I’ll publish the benchmark results here and elsewhere so all newsagents can benefit.

NOTE: If you are running our latest software, you can click on the BENCHMARK icon on your desktop, enter the January through March date range and have the software do the rest.  If you have not used our direct email facilities – to email customer accounts or to email Gordon and Gotch supply changes, the software will ask for some email details from you.  This takes a few seconds to setup.

Non Tower newsagents can participate by emailing me for a copy of a spreadsheet template I have prepared.

As with past benchmarks, I expect to get data from between 100 and 120 newsagencies in the next week.  The results will provide an indication of sales performance year on year and give newsagents something with which to compare their businesses.

0 likes

New sales benchmark study to help newsagents

I am undertaking another newsagent retail sales benchmark study comparing sales for January-March 2010 against January-March 2009.

Tower Newsagents can participate by sending a Monthly Sales Comparison report: tick the box to exclude home deliveries, and tick the box for a category breakdown. Set your first date range (on the left) to January 1, 2010 to March 31, 2010 and the date range of the right to one year earlier.

Once the report is on the screen, click the PDF button to save this as a PDF, go into your email software and send a copy of the PDF to me at mark@towersystems.com.au. I’ll publish the benchmark results here and elsewhere so all newsagents can benefit.

NOTE: If you are running our latest software, you can click on the BENCHMARK icon on your desktop, enter the January through March date range and have the software do the rest.  If you have not used our direct email facilities – to email customer accounts or to email Gordon and Gotch supply changes, the software will ask for some email details from you.  This takes a few seconds to setup.

Non Tower newsagents can participate by emailing me for a copy of a spreadsheet template I have prepared.

As with past benchmarks, I expect to get data from between 100 and 120 newsagencies in the next week.  The results will provide an indication of sales performance year on year and give newsagents something with which to compare their businesses.

0 likes