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.
Independent retail businesses often seek local shopper support. This Lismore easily achieved if these businesses themselves act locally and love locally. Here are some of the many act local suggestions we have developed over years of supporting local small and independent retail businesses:
Support local community groups through raising awareness and funds.
Use your retail space to attract locals on local issues.
Leverage your communication channels to support local issues and groups.
Offer practical help to local school.
Be engaged in local representation on councils and committees.
Preference hiring local people.
Seek out local suppliers.
Offer local training opportunities to local school students.
If appropriate to your business, seek out local artists.
Participate in local markets.
Welcome local groups to raise funds from out the front of your shop.
Get your business name on local sports team clothing.
Learn and tell local stories.
We have many other suggestions to help independent local retailers to better connect with their local community … helping our customers way beyond our software.
Tower Systems serves close to 3,000 retailers using our smart POS software.
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?
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.
I hate going into work. These words from a friend reflected a long-held feeling, a feeling held with some shame.
Here was a retail business owner who hated going into his own business. He had fallen out of love with what he had created. The bitterness he felt towards his business had soured to hatred.
Why do some retailers hate going to work? It is an interesting question which needs exploration before we look at strategies for countering this.
There is usually a trigger – supplier fatigue, tough economic conditions, personal challenges away from the business, a partner dispute, tiredness… there could be any combination of reasons.
If you have reached the point where you hate going into work each day it is important to take time away from the business for an honest assessment as to why you hate the business. Until you can answer the question – why do you hate going into work? – you cannot begin to work on resolution.
Once you know the reasons, think about a series of small and achievable steps you could take to turn the situation around. No matter how challenging the situation, there are always steps you could take. Focus on these, start work on them and in some instances that alone will be enough to move you through the fog of anger and ill-feeling toward the business.
If finding small steps to take does not work, get together with a trusted friend and tell them how you feel toward the business. Ask them to talk with you about the business. Reminisce about why you started or purchased the newsagency. Remember your dreams and hopes. Use the conversation to explore your emotion at the moment you decided to open or purchase the retail business.
The best advice to to get professional help from a psychologist or professionally qualified counsellor to explore your feelings for the business. Your doctor could help you access a government funded mental health plan.
Understanding your hatred for your retail business is the first step. This will usually, of itself, reveal the first steps you can take to turn the hatred around. Be open to that. Take small steps and see where they lead. The change in feeling toward the business may not be immediate so do not expect too much too soon.
If you do nothing, the hatred will be more and more reflected in the business and in your own person. Neither benefits from this.
Measurement is key to the success of any retail business. This is especially true for small retail businesses.
Measuring sales, stock, employees and suppliers is mission critical.
Without accurate and consistent measurement, you are not able to make good business decisions or to hold others to account for their actions.
By measuring you can make better decisions.
Here are some simple rules for accurate measurement in retail:
Only sell what you can track – by scanning a barcode or pressing a PLU (stock code) to track the item.
Do not use department keys to sell items as this denies you the opportunity of tracking individual items you sell.
Enter into your computer system everything you sell. Record stock you receive by supplier so that you can track supplier performance.
Enter into your computer system everything you return to suppliers – consignment stock, returns or damaged goods.
Record all sales and other activity at the sales register by employees.
Reorder replenishment stock using your software to create orders for you.
If you are not tracking it you cannot manage it.
By making your business data driven you are better equipped to take the emotion and gut feel out of business decisions. This will improve decision quality and accountability and, hopefully, the return you achieve from these decisions.
Businesses which do not measure stock, suppliers, employees and sales accurately often find themselves faltering without knowing why – because they have no accurate data on which to base research.
Small business retailers want to grow, who doesn’t? With rent and labour costs increasing each year, growth is mission critical. POS software company Tower Systems helps its customers grow by providing advice on how to use the software to grow.
As retailers ourselves we can provide practical advice on how to use the software to more than transact sales, we can help retailers use the software to grow their businesses. We do this every day on our help desk, through our consulting services, through our knowledge base and through our business mentoring assistance.
We encourage, guide, educate and support our small business retailer customers in their desire to grow their businesses. it’s something we take serviceably.
Even on the weekend. Take today, Saturday … we have been helping one business owner understand opportunities in their slow selling inventory pool to unlock cash and space for more productive use.
We are serious in our commitment to small business retailers from our software through to the practical advice and support we provide.
The 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.
We are fortunate to have been part of a retail study tour of innovative retail situations in the US over the last ten days across three states.
We have looked at large, small, city, regional, specialty, mass, experimental and traditional businesses.
The insights gained are feeding into plans for our software beyond the wonderful advice and feedback from our existing customers.
The insights gained range from the retail management practical through to next-gen opportunities.Being on-trend is an important to retail focussed POS software companies as it is to retailers themselves.
Competition in our various specialist retail channels being what it is, we will not be sharing any insights here. Rather, our customers will have more private briefing opportunities and our software will deliver insights through change.
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:
Run with the leanest roster possibl Just about every newsagency business I review has capacity to lower labour costs.
Have your best people working the floor, helping customers spend more.
Stock what sells.
Get rid of stock which is not selling.
Have stunning displays that attract people from outside the shop.
Have compelling displays in-store that encourage people to browse beyond their destination purchase.
Always have impulse offers at high traffic locations.
Charge more every time you can. Review your prices for products people come to yoo because of convenience.
Buy as best you can.
Grab settlement discounts every time you are able.
Use your business data to guide your decisions.
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.
Every keystroke using POS software at the counter is a possible mistake. Eliminating keystrokes at the retail counter ought to be mission critical for retailers.
The fastest way to sell is to scan a barcode. If that is not appropriate for a product, you need alternatives appropriate to the product, the frequency of sale and the traffic flow of the business.
Our retail management software offers options via which you can sell for the fewest number of keystrokes possible. Whether the items are high end jewellery selling for tens of thousands of dollars, a collectible piece, a magazine or pet food, we have rapid and accurate sales recording options to suit.
In one case recently we showed a retailer how they could eliminate close to 1,000 keystrokes. That is 1,000 possible mistakes eliminated, time sale and business performance and efficiency approved.
Look at your keystrokes on any given day and consider whether you could benefit your business by eliminating keystrokes.
POS 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.
We often see small business retailers focus on grand plans, big moves they intend to make to lift their business. Our experience is that many small steps deliver a better result to a retail business and for a lower cost.
Every retail business has small steps they can take to drive traffic, achieve a better margin from products, get shoppers purchasing more, reducing wastage, reducing theft and more. Each of these alone done in a step step strategic way will compound on the other and deliver a greater than the sum of the parts benefit to the business.
Beyond its terrific POS software, Tower Systems helps retailers to see what they may be missing, to understand the opportunities for growth through a small steps strategy.
Leveraging our own retail experience and our intimate knowledge of what our software cal do, we can help retailers to lift their businesses through co-operative partnership.
Not all POS software companies are the sale. We’re here to help.
Speed is vital at the retail sales counter. Once they have made their product selections, shoppers want fast and accurate service. This is best achieved by using as few keystrokes as possible.
Tower Systems specialises in helping retailers cut keystrokes at the counter.
Every keystroke you cut is a potential mistake eliminated. This is good news for retailers and shoppers.
Following our personal training and engaging with our advice certainly helps retailers streamline the counter, serve more customers in less time and maintain accurate quality data. This helps feed more accurate business decisions offering wins all round.
Good POS software helps retailers cut keystrokes. Excellent training for good software goes further – making it easier for retailers to tap into these terrific benefits.
We urge retailers to take note of keystrokes used in transacting sales and to work hard with their software provider on cutting keystrokes.
We are seeing more and more evidence of successful use of email campaigns by retailers in driving traffic and sales in their businesses.
Using our POS software, retailers are able to easily harvest shopper email addresses and to use this in targeted marketing based on shopper interest.
being able to select shoppers based on interests and habits allows for more personal communication and our experience is that personal communication sells – especially when initiated by small local businesses to their local comm8unity.
Providing retailers with personal marketing tools which feed into email and other tools is a terrific benefit from our POS software – and another way we are helping retailers grow their businesses.
Collections come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and collectors, too, are a diverse group. Serving the collector is easier for a retailer thanks to the collector management facilities in the Tower Systems POS software.
Retailers selling to collectors are urged to use these tools to leverage collection knowledge and the drip feed release of new collection items. Tower Systems can help retailers in the collector space be more appealing to collectors.
We have been learning more about collectors in recent weeks as we have visited with a number of importers in the collector space to help build a better interface between them and their retail partners.
Small 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.
Cash is tight in any retail business at any time of the year.
The most significant and immediately accessible hidden cash can be found in dead stock: stock which is not turning, stock you have paid for which is costing retail space and labour.
Test this theory. Use your computer POS software to list items you have in the store which have not sold in three or six months. If you don’t know how to produce the report, ask your software company. Tower Systems can help retailers easily report on stock which is under performing.
You will need to ensure that your computer system has all stock currently in your business detailed to the software – including stock at home and in the back room. No hiding anything – not if you really want to free cash.
Don’t think for too long – quit the dead stock quickly. Free up cash – probably less than you paid but learn from that.
Use your computer to guide you on new stock. Look at your top selling items, departments and categories over which you have 100% control. Use the freed cash to expand in those growth areas.
Put in place professional inventory management standards:
Arrive all new stock into your software.
Scan all sales.
Scan all returns and write offs.
Produce a reorder report from your software for future orders – do not let reps order for you.
If you have dead stock, it’s on you.
If cash is short in your business run the report, understand your dead stock number, act. We’re here to help if you need.
Quitting stock in any retail store takes discipline. Our advice for retailers is to be deliberately aggressive.
Set a deadline. Two weeks for quitting a product or range of products.
Choose your timing. The best time to quit stock quickly is on your busiest trading days. For many this will be the weekend. Consider structuring your quitting program to run from Thursday through Sunday.
Set your initial price. The discount must be compelling. 50% off. A smaller discount in this marketplace will not get noticed. Think about your discount words: in some areas, HALF PRICE works better than 50% OFF. Sometimes, 2 FOR 1 can be even more effective. A $$ price can work better – for example a dump bin with everything priced at $1. People then don’t have to work anything out.
Move the product to a high traffic location. Display it as a line you are quitting – in a dump bin or in open boxes. This must be in a location away from where the product is usually located. Do not make an attractive display. Consider placing the stock somewhere that people almost stumble over it.
Put up a sign that is either black on white or white on read. Nothing fancy. Even a hand written sign is good. Do not make a complex or attractive sign.
Adjust your price. If sales are not strong enough, go harder with your discount. From 50% off we suggest a drop to a $$ price point. It can be challenging selling something you would have sold for $20.00 at $1 but that $1 is better than getting nothing for the product at all.
Give it away. If the products are not selling, consider giving the stock away to a local charity. Getting it out of your shop for no compensation can be better than it taking space and giving off the wrong message about your business.
Keep track of time. If you decide to be out of the stock within two weeks, stick to that and make it happen with your pricing and placement decisions.
Use the bin. If you can’t sell the item and you can’t give it away, use the bin.
An alternative: If you have a large amount of stock to quit, consider hiring a local hall and running an off site sale. Talk to your suppliers about getting extra stock in for this. You could even plan to do this as an annual event. Consider, too, linking with a local charity to drive interest and create a fund raising opportunity for them.
Quitting stock takes strength and commitment. Do it to keep your business fresh. Product not selling gives shoppers a bad impression of your business.
Take a look at your shop floor and in your back room. Look at what you can get rid of right away to reduce the anchor of dead stock on your business.
Retailers can encourage retail staff for personal development and for business profit using tools in the Tower Systems Point of Sale software. The key to achieving this is tracking sales y staff member. Turning this on in the Tower software is easy. From that moment on, the business has transparency and this can be used to drive better outcomes for the business and for employees.
Our experience working with retailers for decades is that greater transparency on performance between retail business owners and staff is better outcomes for both parties.
This is especially true in small and independent retail businesses where employers and employees work more closely together on shared goals relating to business performance. Retailers using our PSO software can rely on smart employee tracking tools to help here.
Retailers 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.