Sunday retail business management tip: small steps matter

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.

Using our retail management software, retailers are able to uncover and nurture small steps to growth in their business.

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.


Sunday retail business management advice: use your POS software to cut keystrokes, cut mistakes & save time

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.


Sunday retail management advice: email campaigns drive shopper engagement

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.


Sunday retail management advice: helping retailers embrace collections

mcCollections 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 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.


Sunday retail management advice: unlock cash in your business with smart POS software

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.

  1. Don’t think for too long – quit the dead stock quickly. Free up cash – probably less than you paid but learn from that.
  2. 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.
  3. Put in place professional inventory management standards:
    1. Arrive all new stock into your software.
    2. Scan all sales.
    3. Scan all returns and write offs.
    4. 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.


Sunday retail management advice: track sales by employees and increase sales

Retailers using the Tower POS software and tracking sales by employees are finding that the act of turning on the function of itself drives better sales for the business.

Encouraging competition between employees is at the core of the growth.

Being able to report on all sales by employee empowers business management to have more meaningful conversations with employees and through this to help the business grow.

We have seen retail businesses where managers have not become involved and where employees have delivered growth by comparing their own performance numbers.

It’s a win for the business and encouragement for employees.

This employee tracking facility is a core part of the Tower software. It’s something we commend to every retailer.


Sunday retail business management advice: how to quit stock successfully

Quitting stock in any retail store takes discipline. Our advice for retailers is to be deliberately aggressive.

  1. Set a deadline. Two weeks for quitting a product or range of products.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 $$ price can work better – for example a dump bin with everything priced at $1. People then don’t have to work anything out.
  4. Move the product to a high traffic location. Display it as a line you are quitting – in a dump bin or in open boxes. This must be in a location away from where the product is usually located. Do not make an attractive display. Consider placing the stock somewhere that people almost stumble over it.
  5. Put up a sign that is either black on white or white on read. Nothing fancy. Even a hand written sign is good. Do not make a complex or attractive sign.
  6. Adjust your price. If sales are not strong enough, go harder with your discount. From 50% off we suggest a drop to a $$ 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Use the bin. If you can’t sell the item and you can’t give it away, use the bin.
  10. 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.


Sunday retail management advice: manage staff for profit

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.


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.


Sunday retail business management advice: sweat the small stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff was a mantra pitch by business ‘gurus’ for years. The reality for small and independent retailers is that sweating the small stuff can be good for business.

Getting sales counter processes right can save time.

Getting all stock movement tracked can cut theft.

Getting your POS software integrated with your accounting software can cut mistakes.

Tracking sales by employee can help you better encourage success from employees.

Good POS software can help you sweat the small stuff and help you improve the performance and value of your retail business.

This is what Tower Systems offers retailers – smart POS software through which you can sweat the small stuff and benefit.


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.


Sunday retail business management advice: keep your suppliers honest

Supplier representatives often tell small business retailers how good a product is performing. The most successful are able to do this in a way that they are always believed and not called to account.

Our advice this Sunday is for small business retailers to use their POS software data to hold suppliers to account. Next time you meet with a sales rep, have the latest data indicating the performance of their product printed ready for the discussion.

Do a year on year comparison for the supplier. Compare the supplier with other similar suppliers. This data is gold on showing the supplier rep that you know your stuff and prefer to focus on facts rather than spin.

Good retailers using good POS software have excellent power in dealing with suppliers. The key is too leverage the power to guide and encourage suppliers to deal more effectively and successfully with you.

Tower Systems helps retailers to understand the opportunities in its POS software for better leveraging supplier relationships.


Sunday retail business management advice: remove red tape in your newsagency

Business owners often call on politicians to remove red tape and make doing business easier. Some small retail business owners including small business retailers 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 that could be eliminated and thereby help improve business includes:

  • negative signs like this is not a library or no this or that in store.
  • Credit card processing fees on lines where you can cover yourself in your pricing.
  • A shop layout that discourages shopping.
  • Slow sales processes at the counter.
  • 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 retail business thereby making doing business with you easier?


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.


Sunday retail business management advice: you are not living a movie

Movies tell us that problems and challenges are often resolved by one big thing or a single move. Life is not a movie though. The challenges in small business retail are rarely solved by a single big move.

In our experience, working with close to three thousand retailers, the best approach to even the toughest challenge is to have many small steps in play to confront the challenge. Such a many step approach is safer and more likely to produce an outcome than a single step approach.

It is rare that there is a silver bullet to solve a problem or turn around a situation.

Unfortunately, sales people selling to retailers too often pitch that what they are selling is the single big thing they can do to make their business better. Of course, it suits them to say that. It is very easy to buy into the spell of a problem solved or a business turned around. It’s human nature to want a simple fix to a major challenge.

The reality is different. The most successful small and independent retail businesses we see through our work at Tower Systems are those engaged in layered, multi-faceted steps to growing the business.

We enjoy helping is big and small moves in client business from providing insights to getting practically involved in the businesses. As retailers ourselves we have many skills on which we can draw.


Sunday retail business management tip: believe in yourself

Small business retailers often state the point of different their small business offers but took many do not live the point of difference.

Take customer service, for example.

Many small and independent retail business owners I know say that they offer a better and more personal service than big retailers.

Retail shoppers often judge service by ease of doing business, the returns policy and any barriers along the way. Too often, small and independent retailers have barriers that get in the way of their goal of better customer service.  Barriers such as hand written signs about eating in the shop, a notice about a credit card surcharge or an inconsistent returns policy.

If you say your customer service is better than your bigger competitors, live it every day. Believe in yourself by doing what you say.

Small and independent retailers who do this – who carry through with actions the words they pitch about their business – tend to be more successful.

Using our POS software, retailers cash build business processes for all employees to follow, to help drive consistency throughout the business.


Sunday retail business management tip: finding optimism in your independent retail business

Retail is tough. Yes, we hear that often. Small business retail is tougher. We hear that too.

And while it is easy to be drawn to such negative sentiments, here at Tower Systems we prefer to help small and independent retailers to find shoots of optimism.

In our Point of Sale software we have reports that hone in on optimism and show this good news off for retailers around which they can create more success for their business.

In reports and on-screen facilities, our POS software helps small business retailers to see the wood for the trees, to see the good news around which more good news can be developed.

Our help desk team and our management team welcome opportunities to work with retailers, showing them how they can find good news about their business through our software.


Thrilled with POS software stocktake surge

Checking back on POS software customer engagement out of our 2,800+ retail business customers shows an excellent surge in engagement with stock takes. More than any other year. More retailers and a greater percentage of our retail business community.

We are thrilled that so many retailers did stock takes using our software, participated in training, asked us questions and used our software facilities.

It’s a pleasure to see more retailers actually using this time and money saving facility in their software.

The greater engagement encourages us to push again in 2014/15 as it shows the lead up we engaged in this year with free live workshops, free video based training, free one on one training and more all helped to encourage retailers to use their software and benefit from this.

Today, thanks to the push, more independent retailers have accurate stock on hand data as a result of our campaign.


Sunday retail business management tip: use your POS software to balance your register

The end of shift balancing should take only a few minutes using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software.

Once you enter the count for each denomination of notes and coins you’re done and the software does the rest of the key work: banking sheets, business performance comparisons, sales by department and other reporting as may be selected by the business.

The Tower approach is deliberately safe for the retailer in that it reduces the opportunity for theft. It is also fast and structured – helping businesses breeze through the end of shift with speed and certainty.

Good POS software gets these every day tasks right from the outset.

This is our management tip today – use your POS software to guide and manage your end of shit process.


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.



Sunday retail business management tip: be a connected local business

Tower Systems supports independent small businesses, local businesses that play a vital role in local communities. we are proud to serve close to 3,000 such small and indecent retail businesses through our POS software.

Being a connected local business is vital. Today we share advice for our retail partners on how they can improve their local connection.

  1. Establish a what’s on noticeboard in your window or on a wall for promoting local events.
  2. Sponsor a locally focused newsletter which covers issues of local interest. Create this as a forum for local groups to use.
  3. Link to local clubs and groups on your business website.
  4. Talk to your local council – they are bound to have suggestions on ways you can connect with the local community.
  5. Create or support a local traders website.
  6. Collect change from customers for local charities. Track what you collect and keep your customers aware of the value reinvested in the community.
  7. Talk to local schools, do they have activities which you can support and for which they promote your business?
  8. Sponsor an annual encouragement award at a local school and present the award yourself.
  9. Talk to local health and nursing facilities. Do they have needs which you can meet with excess stock?
  10. Create a newcomer pack with other businesses and deliver this to families new to the area.
  11. Support at least one local sports club. This is best done through either uniform sponsorship or sponsoring a regular award.
  12. If appropriate to your product mix, offer products from local businesses and individuals.
  13. Offer to sit on local boards and committees for groups known for doing good work in the community.
  14. Offer space in-store for community groups to promote their work.
  15. Office space in front of your store for community groups to run a sales stall.
  16. Offer your front window a couple of time a year for a community group to promote their work.
  17. Support local causes – offer to have petitions available for customers to sign in your store.
  18. Write to the local newspaper about local issues – let your passion be seen.
  19. Run local events which connect with the local community. The nature of the event will depend on your business niche and skills of locals nearby. For example, you could sponsor a local art show.
  20. Price compare popular items in your shop with bigger businesses further away. Promote your savings for the local community as a point of difference.

This advice is part of a broader range of business improvement advice from Tower Systems for its customers.


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.


Sunday small business retail management advice: be daring!

Small and independent retail businesses are often run along on conservative lines from what we see. While some embrace change, they do so within a conservative perspective, not resulting in extraordinary change.

Recently, we have been working with a retail business where they embrace the crazy. This is our retail business management suggestion today: make the change to your business that you say you should not make because it is so crazy, so left-field, so out of character.

The change does to need to be huge. In fact, for your first out of character change it should be something you can retreat from if necessary. make the change and measure the results – this is where our POS software helps.

Our experiences is that retail businesses that stand still are more likely to become targets for others taking sales from them.