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.


Five ways small business retailers can compete with big retail businesses using smart POS software

This is easy. Small business retailers can beat big businesses by consistently delivering a better service:

  1. Offer a real loyalty program and not some over-promoted program that promises a lot but does not deliver.
  2. Include helpful product use and care instructions on your customer receipts.
  3. Offer LayBy with a professional management approach. Many bigger retailers find LayBy too hard now.
  4. Show savings. On receipts. If your prices are lower than suggested retail, tell people.
  5. Keep in contact. Send a text message or email when a special order comes in – this reminds shoppers their sought-after items are now available for collection.

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.


Five ways small business retailers can gain more pleasure from their businesses through smart POS software

Running a small business need not be as stressful as it often is. Reducing stress starts with the business operating to a carefully developed and consistently executed structure. Good POS software is keep to a business operating structure. Get this right and stress will fall. Leverage the data in your software and pleasure will grow – you will benefit beyond money, we see customers enjoying their businesses more as a result of using the software to help in key management areas of the business.

Here are five ways the Tower software can help you gain more pleasure from your software:

  1. Manage your roster through the software.
  2. Balance at the end of each shift using fast EOS balancing tools in the software.
  3. Order, price, sell and reorder through the software – allowing anyone to do it, following your business rules.
  4. Easily identify the hero suppliers, employees and locations of your business and rejo7ce in them.
  5. Spend time above your business, following you data and plan. Planning is pleasurable as you get to work on your business.

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.


Five unexpected ways smart POS software backed by good support can help small business retailers

Retailers think about POS software systems as all being the same. Usually, they look upon them as a cash register replacement. While that is true,, good POS software does considerably more than this. Good POS software delivers benefits deep within a retail business.

Specialist POS software for specialty retailers such as garden centres, bike shops, jewellers, pet shops, newsagents and others benefit from software tailored to their needs beyond the cash register function. Usually, such specialisation includes linking to suppliers and serving mutual needs.

Here are five of many unexpected ways the Tower Systems specialist retail channel software helps small business retailers:

  1. Cut theft. This usually happens by the software revealing situations retailers otherwise would miss.
  2. Easier to sell. A retail business using specialist POS software well is easier to sell because it is easier to operate.
  3. Freed up cash. Cash is too often wasted in small business retail. Following the recommended processes in our software will see you buy better and this will result in less stock purchasing failure.
  4. Power. Retailers using our software tell us they feel more powerful when negotiating with suppliers thanks to the data they have at their fingertips.
  5. Comfort. While many worry about stress that could come with installing a computer system, they often, unexpectedly find comfort from the structure, ease of use and value from the Tower software
  6. Expect more. Yes, this is a sixth way. From your software company, expect more. Seek their help and insights and these are sure to help you get more from your business.

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.


Five ways small business retailers can reduce labour costs

Next to rent, labour is the next largest cost faced by small business retailers. Too often, retailers do hot manage labour as effectively as they can. In our work with small business retailers across a number of channels we have developed ideas on reducing labour costs. Here are five ideas we see work well:

  1. Roster by revenue. Plot revenue by hour and roster shop floor sales staff according to the sales volume.
  2. Roster to an hourly cost. Use smart roster software, like our free, and roster to a budget.
  3. Track sales by employee. Report on sales by employee by hour worked and assess the contribution they make to the business.
  4. Time shift tasks. Most away from rostered hours work that can be done without a labour cost. For example, backing up data or linking to your accounting software – both can be done without any labour cost.
  5. Eliminate manual processes. Get suppliers to provide electronic invoices, stop pricing everything you sell – use shelf labels, don’t count stock manually … to name a few tasks you can eliminate entirely.

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.


Five free forgotten marketing ideas for small business retailers

Retailers often forget these marketing opportunities they have everyday in their businesses, opportunities to make a pitch at no cost that can have shoppers more engaged with a business.

  1. Pitch on your receipt. Sure, it is a record of a purchase. It is also a valuable advertising platform.
  2. Pitch by time of day. Some days are slower than others. Some times of the day are slower than others. Promote based on the low times to drive engagement.
  3. Add value. On the receipt with a purchase automatically include care instructions or other advice to add value to the purchase. Show your customers why purchasing from you is different, better, than if they were to purchase from elsewhere.
  4. Be smart with placement. Use your business data to see what sells with what. Place commonly purchased together items next to each other and drive sales.
  5. Thank your customers. Email customers a thank you note based on a recent purchase and they will be back. Your software can make this type of marketing easier.

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.


Helping small business retailers beat Woolworths in the loyalty sakes – Sunday small business retail management advice

The new Woolworths shopper loyalty program recently released has received plenty of coverage. Now that it is live we have had a chance to test drive it and, frankly, our opinion of it is not good.

The new Woolworths loyalty program is not good value for the consumer.

We know from our own small business customers using the discount voucher facilities in our POS software that the value they deliver is, on average, twenty times better value than the Woolworths offer.

Our tip today to small business retailers is – you can beat Woolworths in the loyalty stakes and we can help you do this.


Five ways small business retailers can pitch local: Sunday small business retail management advice

Being local matters to shoppers today. There is a big difference, however, in saying you are local and being authentically local.

From our work in the trenches with more than 3,000 small business retailers here is our top five advice on successfully pitching local in your business.

  1. Be seen. Engage in local activities, alongside locals.
  2. Buy locally. Have a sign in your shop welcoming pitches from local suppliers of goods you can sell in your business.
  3. Talk local. On your business social media pages talk about local matters. Sow you care too.
  4. Support local. When deciding on your charity engagement, preference local organisations and be clear about this.
  5. Educate local. Make sure customers purchasing locally made product understand it is local.

Local, of course, can be different things to different people. It may mead a geographic proximity to your business. It could also mean products made by a family in another state. Nuanced appropriately and personally, this is a local pitch you could make.

We urge all small business retailers to engage with local and to do so with care and authenticity.


Retailers love the shop local campaign from our POS software company

We are thrilled at the number of small business retailers engaging with the free marketing advice and collateral at our POS software company website. Any retailer can download the free posters and other materials and use them how they want to promote these marketing pitches for and through their businesses. Here are some of the free poster artwork Tower Systems has made available.

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Helping small business retailers manage the departure of an employee

As an engaged POS software company we find ourselves providing a variety of advice to small business retailers, even outside the usual remit for a POS software company.

Here is some advice we provided recently to retailers on our suggested best-practice approach to managing the departure of an employee. This advice was created for a specific situation but we think it is valuable for any small business retailer.

Here are some simple steps to consider taking when an employee stops working for you. These steps are designed to protect your business and the former employee.

  1. Change your locks. If you’re in a high-street situation and if the employee had keys, changing the locks is important, especially if the employee has left under a cloud.
  2. Change all your computer passwords – regardless of whether they had access to these or not. Contact support for assistance with changing passwords within Retailer.
  3. Change your supplier website access passwords.
  4. If your employee did any buying, advise your suppliers of their departure.
  5. Ensure superannuation is up to date.
  6. Have business-supplied uniforms and name badges returned.

Too often business owners don’t consider steps like these until after an incident has occurred.


Sunday retail management advice: how to create a buzz for your small business retail shop between major seasons

The major retail seasons of Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and others work a treat at bringing shoppers out, depending on the type of retail store you have.

It is not enough in today’s retail climate to expect these major seasons to lure the traffic you need in your business. You have to do more by being bold, engaged and relevant.

Local small business retailers create their own buzz through a range of activities to bring shoppers in during quiet times. They can do this locally and from far afield – reaching beyond the usual catchment area for their businesses.

Small and independent specialty retail businesses have an opportunity to play outside the major seasons as the larger retailers tend to ignore these times.

The keys to creating your own buzz for your retail business and for this to pay off financially for the business are to:

  • Engage with your local community. Seriously and genuinely and in ways big businesses cannot.
  • Have a relevant offer, an offer with context between the major seasons.
  • Being smart beyond offering a traditional sale or some other price based offer.
  • Have a marketing strategy for promoting your event and creating local buzz without the cost of a major campaign.

Here are some simple ideas for creating a buzz between major seasons.

  1. Engage your suppliers. Suppliers often have product they want to move. You can be the place for achieving this. They should provide stock at a huge discount. Pass this on. Consider reconfiguring your store into a warehouse for the event – bring the outlet to the town or something along those lines. Connecting with a temporary outlet idea enables you to play in the price space without calling what you are doing a SALE.
  2. Have a competition. Get your suppliers to throw in some prizes. Run a competition for those visiting your retail store. This could be a great traffic driver. Half the battle with retail is getting people through your front door. A good competition with great prizes can achieve this.
  3. Connect with the community. Find a way through the offer of raising funds for a local charity. By supporting a local charity you engage the members and supporters of the charity to support your efforts of raising funds for them.
  4. Change the look of your shop. From the front window and throughout, create a different look so that those walking and driving past notice the difference.
  5. Be different. Look for opportunities to genuinely innovate. The bigger the difference between what you do and how you do it and a usual sale or the efforts of your competitors the more you will be talked about and, hopefully, the more traffic you will generate.
  6. Kick off with an event. Host and event outside your usual trading hours. Make sure that the event itself has some buzz. Get local identities to attend. Connect back to the local community group you are supporting. Invite the local media outlets. Make the event a fun night.

These ideas are designed to get you thinking of different ways you can creatively promote your business outside major seasons. Too often, retailers do what is expected and then wonder why their sales performance is just average.

Go all out and create a between season buzz which you own and off of which you reap wonderful rewards.


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.


Sunday #smallbusiness #retail advice: leverage green shoots

Small business retailers feeling glum or downtrodden about their businesses can always find green shoots in their business data – green shoots of optimism off of which they can build positive steps toward greater success.

Here at Tower Systems we look at business data for all sorts of businesses, looking for green shoots so we can share good news and use this as a pathway for exploring success opportunities.

Every business we look at has opportunities. Large and small. City and country. Every business has some good news in their business performance data that can be a structure off of which to build more success.

We are grateful for the opportunities we have to help small retail businesses to grow.


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.


Sunday retail management advice: five tips to save any retailer time

  1. Tell suppliers who do not provide you with an electronic invoice that you will cut them off – they are costing you time.
  2. Put barcode and price labels on fewer products. If they have a barcode, use it.
  3. Stop ordering replenishment stock manually.
  4. Stop entering sales data into a spreadsheet for analysis.
  5. Run your business with processes as well as checks and balances that enable it to open and close without you.

Sunday retail management advice: how to cut employee theft in retail

Employees can steal from retail businesses in a variety of ways. Often, such theft goes undetected because of poor or unmonitored business processes.

The best way to cut employee theft or fraud is to commit to a consistent approach to theft management:

  • Ask prospective employees if they object to a police check. Those with something to hide will let you know they have found a job elsewhere.
  • Implement zero tolerance for abuse of systems. For example, ensure that every item sold is scanned.
  • Implement zero tolerance for an end of shift discrepancy of, say, $5.00 or more. Once employees know you will be fierce about this sales will be more accurate.
  • Reduce manual eftpos transactions – connect your eftpos terminal to your point of sale.
  • Change responsibilities – sometimes changing who handles money can uncover fraudulent behavior.
  • Change your timing. Habits are what allow people to think they can get away with theft.
  • Modify your counter policies:
    • No refunds.
    • No credits without management approval.
    • No employee bags at the counter.
    • No jackets or cardigans with pockets.
    • No calculators with memories – I have seen these used to record how much cash in the register is theirs.
    • Track every sale by employees – using a card with an employee barcode and making it harder for an employee to use the system as someone else.
  • Track all cash movements from the sale through to your bank account. Many retailers do not do this and open themselves to blatant and regular theft. Employees do it because they know they can get away with it.

Cutting employee theft can be achieved with vigilance. A small time investment in developing and following processes will find you with more money in your bank account.


Mobile POS software helps retailers on the shop floor

The shop floor is where the action is in retail and POS software company Tower Systems is there to help retailers serve customers and transact business where the customers are.

Using devices such as the Microsoft Surface and the ElitePad from HP, retailers have access to the full suite of tools through which to transact business whether it be arriving new stock, making sales or undertaking stock takes.

Getting retail employees from behind the counter and on to the shop floor brings them closer to customers and this helps drive sales. We see it every time our engagement with retailers in their businesses.

Retail employees getting from behind the counter and working the shop floor. Having software that is fully and easily accessible from the shop floor is the key to driving this.

As retailers ourselves here at Tower Systems we understand from our own experiences the value of shop floor engagement with shoppers and that the best way to achieve this is to be working naturally on everyday tasks on the shop floor.


Sunday retail management advice: hampers can pitch products differently

IMG_8600Packaging a range of goods together in a hamper can change how people look at products in your business. Take the candy in the photo: these items sold singly sell at the counter as impulse purchases whereas packaged together they sell as a gift for a special occasion.

A hamper can be priced higher than the sum of the parts, making it more valuable for a business.

Using our smart POS software, retailers are able to create and deconstruct hampers such that inventory levels are accurate and total hamper sales are also tracked.

We have businesses in a range of niche retail channels using our hamper ; manufactured goods facilities including jewellers, bike retailers, pet shops, gift shops, homewares shops and garden centres. In addition to excellent software managing the creation and sale of hampers, we offer terrific training, support and other business engagement help – to help small business retailers get the most out of the opportunity.

Our retail management advice for today: look at what you sell and consider putting multiple items together as a hamper to change how people see products in your shop.


Sunday small business retail management advice: are you open the right hours?

When was the last time you assessed sales by time and particularly at sales revenue at the start of the day and at the end of the day?

It could be that you are opening your small business retail shop too early or too late or that you are closing too early or too late.

What does your data show?

Use your POS software to assess sales at the fringe of the day for, say, the last six months. Look overall and then for each day of the week. Good software should allow you to do this level of reporting. Work out the slew revenue per hour, apply your overall gross profit percentage and then deduct the hourly cost of being open.

If, for example, your average revenue is $30 for an hour at the start of the day and you have staff working this time and they don’t have much else to do those days and you have, say, GP of 32%, your GP is $9.60. Once you pay wages for the hour you are losing money. If the customers are not regulars it could be that you are better off closing.

If, on the other hand, your sales are $100 or more in the first hour, it could be that opening earlier could win even more business.

Only you can make the assessment of what is right for your business.

Our advice today is look at your data and make sure you are open the right hours for the best possible financial outcome for your retail business.


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.


Smart POS software helps small business retailers sell Spiderman

IMG_7982Spiderman is a superhero loved by generations. He is more popular today than decades ago thanks to a reinvigorating of the franchise by Marvel.

Retailers using our POS software can track the success of superheroes in their retail businesses. They can do this through a range of views, providing insights beyond what is common in POS software.

The insights can help retailers undertake more finely tuned marketing.

Spiderman, for example, can appeal to a young kid discovering their first superhero as much as he can appeal to a baby-boomer reliving memories of their first Spiderman comic back in the day.

These different customers engage with their fan driven interests in different ways. Thanks to a clever approach to viewing data, retailers are able to treat both interests differently and the same as may be needed from time to time.

This is another smart approach to inventory management from the smart software development team at Tower Systems.


Sunday retail management advice: how to pick the right POS software for your retail business

Here is our advice on how to pick the right POS software for your independent retail business. Choose:

  1. Software designed for your specific type of retail business.
  2. Software that serves your needs.
  3. Software already extensively used in your specific retail channel.
  4. A company offering face to face training in your business.
  5. A company with support that is provided by people used to supporting your type of retail business.
  6. A company offering a structured process for continuous evolution of the software to serve your needs.

While generic off the shelf software can be cheaper, what you save in price can be lost through lack of functionality to your specific type of retail business.

Good software helps make good businesses.


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.


Sunday retail management advice: how to act local in your independent retail business

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:

  1. Support local community groups through raising awareness and funds.
  2. Use your retail space to attract locals on local issues.
  3. Leverage your communication channels to support local issues and groups.
  4. Offer practical help to local school.
  5. Be engaged in local representation on councils and committees.
  6. Preference hiring local people.
  7. Seek out local suppliers.
  8. Offer local training opportunities to local school students.
  9. If appropriate to your business, seek out local artists.
  10. Participate in local markets.
  11. Welcome local groups to raise funds from out the front of your shop.
  12. Get your business name on local sports team clothing.
  13. 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.


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?