ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS ON HOW TO SEE THEIR BUSINESS DIFFERENTLY

This is not the usual advice you would expect from your POS software company. But Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company.

In our work with small business specially retailers in Australia and New Zealand 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.

We hear of retailers who are often too tired to be innovative in their approach to business, to exhausted to think about the future let alone today or tomorrow.

We get it that retail is tough, full of challenges. Our job is to help retailers see things differently.

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.
  4. Sit out the front of the shop for a day. Yes a whole day. Sit and watch, take notes and think about what you see, what you could change and ask people, as they come out, what they would change too.

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.

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SUNDAY SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL MANAGEMENT ADVICE: CHALLENGE EXPECTATIONS

Every week we get to see many different retail situations through our work with small business retailers. The most exciting shops we visit are those that challenge our perception of that type of retail business. This happens when we go into a shop expecting to see a certain range of products or a certain type of display because of the type of business it is and we actually find something quite different, far more exciting, something that challenges the perception of the business.

Through our work with retailers we share the insights we see, this ideas we pick up and the excitement we feel when we see something unexpected.

So, beyond the POS software and the technical work we do we share good retail, retail we like, to encourage change elsewhere.

We try things ourselves in our own shops, like the greening of the magazine department in our own pop culture newsagency as shown below. Introducing plants to the magazine department has resulted in excellent shopper interaction.

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WHAT MAKES THE TOWER SYSTEMS POS SOFTWARE MAGENTO LINK A BEST PRACTICE SOLUTION FOR RETAILERS

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.

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SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS NEED GOOD GIFT CARD SOFTWARE IN WAKE OF DICK SMITH COLLAPSE

IMG_3465The 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.

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POS software customer love helping us sell POS software

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.

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POS software helps retailers sell more hampers at Christmas time

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.

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Five management tips small business retailers most often ignore – Sunday retail management advice

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.

  1. Track everything you sell from the moment it arrives to when it sells.
  2. Reorder stock using your software and not your gut.
  3. Track all employee transactions.
  4. Do not purchase from suppliers who do not provide electronic invoices.
  5. Run a dollar based loyalty program that encourages shopper engagement more often.

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.

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Cloud based free roster software loved by small business

Eziroster, the free cloud based roster software released in beta by Tower Systems is attracting plenty of small business users. Offering roster setup, management and budgeting tools, Eziroster is a free service from Tower Systems available for any retailer, offering money-saving opportunities for small to medium retail businesses.

Developed as part of a broader cloud strategy, Eziroster is being embraced by retailers from a variety of retail channels keen for more effective employee rostering and management tools.

Tower Systems has announced that Eziroster will continue to be free, as part of its small business pay it forward commitment – a commitment to help small business retailers beyond what is traditional for POS software companies.

In addition to the free Eziroster facilities, Tower Systems offers small business management advice to help small business retailers properly use the Eziroster tools for their maximum advantage. Going beyond the software itself in this way helps small business retailers reap even greater rewards.

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Sunday #smallbusiness retail management advice

Employees are your front line of any independent retail business. They can make or break your business. You hire them, train them, motivate them and fire them. Their performance is on you.

Here are eight tips to encourage their engagement:

  1. Train them.
  2. Communicate your expectations.
  3. Congratulate them.
  4. Be open with them.
  5. Ensure they know the goal of the business.
  6. Give them responsibility.
  7. Listen to their ideas, seek their counsel.
  8. Thank them.

Small businesses are unique in many ways. Employees play a vital role in reflecting and leveraging that uniqueness.

Tower Systems helps small business employers to encourage and manage employee engagement in a range of ways in our specialty retail software.

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Sunday retail management advice: how to use POS software to manage suppliers

Suppliers to retail businesses often focus on relationships ahead of data. Our advice is focus on data first. We recommend comparing the performance of suppliers of products in a common category to a retail business.

 

Let your business data speak for you.

If one supplier is performing worse than another supplier, hold them to account. Do not give them more business unless they help you resolve their sub-standard performance.

Thanks to smart reporting tools in our POS software, retailers can easily compare the performance of suppliers, they can know for certain if one supplier is performing better than another.

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New POS software update in final stages of development

It has been a busy time at Tower Systems as we design, code, test and re-test a suite of new facilities for our POS software, pushing our software into areas beyond what has been traditional for software in the specialist retail channels in which we serve.

We are excited for the developments and the business growth opportunities they will bring to our customers.

We are a couple of weeks away from our first customer previews – such as the rigorous process new development goes through prior to first glances we offer outside our development lab.

Several of the new facilities we have been developing are from insights we have gained inner work forecasting where some retail channels are headed. We are bringing new lift and opportunities to small business retailers to enable them to be even more excited about this futures.

We are love what we do an the customers we serve.

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Good small business retail success story thanks to POS software

While plenty in retail talk about our tough things are, here at Tower Systems we are hearing many stories of success from retailers doing well, retailers growing gross profit in the face of a traffic decline and other retailers growing traffic by using the facilities in the POS software.

One retailer told us last week that while traffic was flat with less than 1% growth, their profitability was up 8% thanks to using inventory management tools in our software to guide buying as well as shop floor product placement.

Our software is rich in facilities that help small and independent retailers make better quality business decisions, decisions that pursue profitability for the business and enjoyment for the business owner.

Each success story we hear adds to our arsenal of stories we can share with others, to encourage them and spread the news of optimism in small business retail.

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Sunday retail management advice: remove barriers and red tape in your business

Business owners often call on politicians to remove red tape and make doing business easier. We think some small retail business owners create red tape of their own, red tape that makes it harder for customers to do business with the business and red tape that makes it harder for our employees to serve our business.

Common red tape we see in small retail businesses that could be eliminated and thereby help improve business includes:

  • Don’t touch. Your shop is a show room. The benefit you have over online is that people can touch. Uphold this point of difference.
  • Credit card processing fees on products where you can cover yourself in your pricing.
  • A shop layout that discourages shopping.
  • Handling returns. Have a process and ensure your people follow this as it offers certainty and comfort.
  • Slow sales processes.
  • Signs like this is not a library.
  • Poor back office processes with customer accounts.
  • Mixed messages in signs in-store leaving shoppers unsure about offers.

What red tape, what barriers could you remove from your shop thereby making doing business with you easier?

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Sunday retail management advice: keep your loyalty pitch simple for success

A loyalty program is only as good as the over the counter pitch through which you seek to engage shoppers. Check out this brief video we created to train retail employees on what has to be the easiest to use over the counter shopper loyalty offer.

Tower Systems leads with professional employee training videos which help retail employees leverage more value for the business from our software.

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POS software helps gift shops, small business retailers handle special orders

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 10.14.08 amThe POS software from Tower Systems has excellent facilities for handling special orders, pre-orders and other forms of orders for customers that are unique to the customer and a point of difference for the business to offer.

Special orders and customer pre-orders are a point of difference for small independent retailers over big businesses. Being bale to do this with consistency and certainty can help these businesses more successfully compete.

Thanks to years of refinement and working with retailers in a wide variety of retail situations, Tower Systems offers a competitive advantage from the recording of customer details, tracking an order,k advising its arrival and handling a range of payment options including time payment.

We have retailers today transacting valuable business in pre-orders of highly valuable product as a result of these tools in the software. They are financially better off today and over the long term as special order customers tend to return for more orders.

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Sunday retail management advice: success today is important for tomorrow

Too often we see small business retailers running their businesses thinking that they will make their money when they sell. Our experience working with thousands of retailers is that focusing on today, on the right now, will ensure the best outcome for the future of the business.

Our strategy – Make every day your pay day – is simple and effective. It’s made up of basic points:

  1. Run with the leanest roster possibl Just about every newsagency business I review has capacity to lower labour costs.
  2. Have your best people working the floor, helping customers spend more.
  3. Stock what sells.
  4. Get rid of stock which is not selling.
  5. Have stunning displays that attract people from outside the shop.
  6. Have compelling displays in-store that encourage people to browse beyond their destination purchase.
  7. Always have impulse offers at high traffic locations.
  8. Charge more every time you can. Review your prices for products people come to yoo because of convenience.
  9. Buy as best you can.
  10. Grab settlement discounts every time you are able.
  11. Use your business data to guide your decisions.
  12. Promote outside your store.

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

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

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POS Software company supports shop local promotion for small business retailers

LocalPosters2015_Page_3POS Software company Tower Systems is helping small and independent retailers to promote the support of local retailers through an innovative campaign of collateral created by the company for its retailers.

We are thrilled to be investing our creative resources in support of our retailer partners in this way.

This latest artwork is part of a series we have developed in-house through our amazingly creative marketing team to give our retailers different voices and platforms through which to pitch their shop local credentials.

This is another Tower AdvantageTM.

The free marketing collateral will be released next week.

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Small business retailer cash flow advice meeting fully booked

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 6.54.56 amSmall business retailers using our Tower Systems Point of Sale software have booked out our cash flow advice training workshop tomorrow. The final session of our live online training workshops for this year, it is a thrill to see so many business owners interested in freeing up cash so close to the Christmas season.

In each of the training sessions offered this year, our training team has focussed on topics that will immediately benefit small business retailers – helping them to leverage technology for better business outcomes.

That retailers happily book and participate is a thrill for us as it helps them get more from their software and that is the key goal of these FREE training sessions.

The comprehensive regular online training from Tower Systems is an appreciated point of difference offered by Tower. Customers benefit from learning and we benefit from active feedback in a group satiation where our users can talk with each other and we can learn. It’s proving to be a wonderful two-way resource in 2014.

reflecting on our live training workshops for 2014, we are pleased to have delivered on our promises and proven that our blog posts here about what we will do are acted on for the benefit of our customers.

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POS software users tapping into marketing training

mktsRetailers using the POS software from Tower Systems love our regular weekly training sessions. The next session, on October 7, offers training in the use of small business marketing facilities in our software. Accessible easily within the software, many retailers use these today to reach out to existing shippers, attracting them back into the business.

Like all our weekly training sessions, access is free.

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Sunday retail business management advice: tracking retail season performance

fdayMajor retail seasons such as Father’s Day present retailers with an excellent opportunity to assess how the business is performing this year over previous years. The challenge can be that these days fall on different dates in different years.

Using the Point of Sale software from Tower Systems retailers can easily compare floating seasons whether for a day or days or weeks leading up to a day – where the dates are different between the two years being compared.

In addition to terrific comparative reports in the Tower software, we are able to help retailers understand year on year performance, to learn what they can about opportunities for future seasons. Often we find data present different facts on seasonal performance to what people working in the business thought happened.

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Sunday retail business management advice: how to run a fit and healthy business

Retail is tough. Small business retail is tougher. Too often, challenges encountered by small business retailers are of their own doing. Like personal health, our choices impact our situation.

Here is some of our best practice advice for a healthy and prosperous retail business from the perspective of a POS software company.

  1. Scan everything you sell.
  2. Enter into your computer system all stock you receive and all stock you return to suppliers.
  3. Use your software to create orders for replenishment stock.
  4. Balance your registers every day using your software.
  5. Do spot stock takes for popular items to check for theft.
  6. Measure performance by department, category and supplier. Do more of what works and less of what does not work.
  7. Compare your performance this year to last year. Fix what is not working.
  8. Use your software as your eyes and ears. Good POS software has excellent back end reportage to let you see how your staff use the software.
  9. Train your staff to be fit for purpose in using the software.
  10. Focus on many small steps towards success rather than one big step.

We see many retail businesses prospering through smart engagement with the facilities in our POS software.

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Sunday retail business management tip: demonstrations help drive sales

There is nothing like getting out on the shop floor and modelling, using or playing with products to help drive sales.

High street retail is, after all, tactile.

Retailers competing with online have this over online businesses – the opportunity for tactile engagement.

Our experience working with a variety of retail businesses using our POS software has revealed the wonderful and valuable success that can come from active shop floor engagement with products: from low priced impulse lines in convenience stores to high-end trees in premium garden centres to gilt-edged dinner sets in homewares stores. Engaging with a product and encouraging shoppers to touch and feel products can drive excellent sales results.

This is our retail management tip today – be tactile with products and get your products in the hands of your customers.

You can beat online businesses with an engaged touch and feel approach. The key is to follow this up with purchase. In some situations this is best achieved with an offer. In other situations it is achieved with easy shop-floor selling.

The key for high street retailers is – play to your strength of touch and feel.

Enjoy! 

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Paypal in-store payment option to help retailers attract more shoppers

Our senior management team participated in another briefing with Paypal this week as the roll out of the Tower systems / Paypal payment option integration nears commercial release.

Designed to help small business retailers in Australia to tap into new customer opportunities, this link is another valuable benefit being delivered by Tower Systems for its retail partners.

Being first to market intensifies the work involved but it also provides a platform from which to demonstrate true leadership. Tower Systems is grateful for this opportunity and for the support from Paypal on this project.

We will announce sign-up details shortly.

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New cloud-based small business roster platform wins praise

The new cloud-based roster software developed by Tower Systems for small business retailers and others is attracting excellent feedback from a select group of beta test sites. We are thrilled with the feedback and support from colleagues working on this project with us.

The result is an excellent cloud-based roster solution that is easy to use yet deep in functionality for small through to mid-size businesses.

Retailers and other businesses will be able to use this using a low-cost subscription model that provides access to the platform as well as to email and text message communication to employees on rosters.

This is a very leading edge solution we are proud to be bringing to the market.

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Sunday small business retail management advice: become a matchmaker and sell more

Matchmaker TV shows can be cringe-worthy and fun as contestants and hosts look at interests and other attributes to bring people together and make romantic connections. While they are made for TV, the process of taking two separate people and finding a connection is fascinating to watch.

Smart retailers do this well … making a connection between two products.

Smart retailers have good tools that help them in matchmaking. By analysing basket data and looking deep in the sales history of the business, you can find products that your customers purchase together and this provides an evidentiary basis for your shop floor matchmaking.

Oftentimes it is unusual matches, matches you would not expect, that work well together. Customers will show you these in your own sales history.

This is why having access to good data and cultivating and trawling this for opportunities is vital for your business. Knowing what sells with what helps you place products together and drive more sales. In Point of Sale software from Tower Systems you have a range opportunities for this reporting.

become a matchmaker in your retail business and sell two or more items in a sale when you might have in the past only sold one.

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