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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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How smart POS software helps in retail management

Retailers often think that bock office functions managed by POS software packages are the same. The reality is there is a big difference between POS software and smart POS software. Here are just some of the ways the Tower Systems retail management software helps retailers manage their businesses:

  • Easy supplier comparison = better buying, less dead stock, faster stock turn.
  • Hidden data tracking = easily identify employee theft.
  • Extensive marketing options = bring back shoppers more often.
  • Multiple loyalty solution options = shoppers spend more and enjoy loyalty rewards you prefer.
  • Connect with your accounting software = save time on book work.
  • Track YOY performance = you are your most important competitor – make more money by being certain about what’s working and what’s not working.

Helping retailers achieve these and more benefits is a committed and skilled training and support team at Tower Systems – offering live assistance tailored to your needs.

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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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Sunday small business retail management advice: use your POS data to negotiate your rent

Good POS software can be useful in a rent negotiation as it can provide irrefutable evidence necessary in discussions with your landlord about rent as a percentage of sales, percentage of gross profit and rent in the context of footfall.

Being able to slice and dice retail business data using our POS software can empower retailers with valuable data with which they can make better business decisions and through which they can navigate to a better rent outcome.

Here at Tower Systems we leverage our own experience owning and operating retail businesses and using our own POS software to help retailers negotiate rent deals. Beyond the Point of Sale software we can provide understanding and assistance to our retail partners. But it all starts with good business data. landlords cannot challenge accurate business data and often the data we can provide access to is more accurate than any data the landlord may have since we get to the source.

If you are a small business retailer and feel challenged by the rent you are paying our advice is to leverage your POS data to make a case to the landlord for more equitable retail rent terms. A good POS software company will help.

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Taking pride in POS software labels

pos-labelsThe options we offer in labels produced by our Point of Sale software are considerable and have been for many years. In addition to supporting laser labels and single strip labels, we also offer our customers tremendous flexibility in label design – and have done for many years.

Our labels  reflect a quality and professionalism customers love. They are customer friendly – easy to read. Too often labels produced by POS software are hard for the human eye to read, they are feint and for tech solution than retail solution.

Thanks to the label options offered from the Tower software retailers can produce labels they want on stock they want – punch what matters most to retailers and their customers.

Professional labels can help retail businesses grow sales and reduce theft.

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Helping small business retailers enjoy their businesses more

receiptsnotesRunning a retail business is hard work in today’s retail environment. It is especially challenging for small business independent retailers. Beyond the challenges of landlord, employee, supplier and general economic issues and challenges, there is the overall motivation to be on every day, often seven days a week.

While we are a POS software company, the relationship we have with our customers is one that looks at the whole of the business. We embrace opportunities to help our customers enjoy their business more. From helpful POS software support to providing encouragement on ways to manage the business with less stress, we genuinely partner with our small business retailer customers.

Retailers can enjoy their business more by bringing more structure to what they do. The more structure the more business tasks that can be undertaken by others in the business. This helps improve certainty and it helps share the load. This can make life more enjoyable for owners and more fulfilling for retail employees.

In the Tower Systems POS software retailers can systemise / structure processes around product ordering, pricing, range reviews, rostering, selling, Lay-Bys, discounting and other business processes from the day to day through to the bigger picture tasks. we can offer our customers exampled of how to do this and through this work how to find more enjoyment in owning and operating the business.

One of the biggest stressors for retailers is that they feel alone. Through our work with retailers and the assistance services we offer we try and help them feel less alone, we try and show them practical support for the day to day and the big picture business planning and management.

We love this part of our work – the broad extent to which we can engage with our retail partners. It’s fun and rewarding. We’re grateful for the opportunity.

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Ways small business retailers can refresh their view of their business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: keep revenue in-store

Smart retailers offer gift cards for use in their business. While anyone can sell gift cards and gift EFTPOS cards for use in other businesses, only you can sell gift cards for redemption in your business. This provides the best commercial outcome for any retailer from a gift cards.

Whereas you might mage a coupe of dollars selling a gift card or a gift EFTPOS card for use in another store, you keep 100% of the gift card value for a gift card sold by your for redemption in your business.

We are having success with gift cards in a range of specialist retail businesses including jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops, newsagencies, garden centres, adult shops, pet shops to name a few. We can share experiences from these businesses to illustrate the value the drive for those businesses and the benefits of not leaking cash out of the business in the form of cards to be used elsewhere.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: care for your hardware

While computers are pretty resilient to the rigours of a busy retail environment, the most common problems we see relate to environmental issues that can be addressed. For example, cleaning some hardware components will make them less likely to fail.

Here’s some safe actions anyone can take to facilitate more stable hardware:

  1. Disconnect your receipt printer. Turn it upside down. Open the tip. Tap it and see what falls out. Often, plenty of dust and other junk. You could also gently vacuum the printer.
  2. Turn your keyboard upside down and tap it the same as the printer. Paper clips and staples are especially damaging.
  3. With the power off, cables disconnected and the case removes, blow compressed air from a can through your computers.
  4. Make sure airflow in and around the computer is good.
  5. Use compressed to clean the vents of your monitors.
  6. make sure your uninterruptible power supply is working. They need replacing every few years.

If you’re not sure, call in a computer technician and ask them to clean your gear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: be unique

Being Unique Attracts Customers no Matter How Small Your Business

In his 1960 book, Reality in Advertising, Rosser Reeves, a respected US advertising executive, introduced the world to the concept of the Unique Selling Proposition, USP for short.

Reeves defined USP in an advertising context:

  1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer: buy this product and you will get this benefit.
  2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot or does not offer.
  3. The proposition must be so strong that it changes consumer behaviour.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the concept of a unique selling proposition evolved from being essential to advertising to being essential in business. Finding your business USP was considered mission critical to businesses, retailers especially. Businesses drifted however and forgot about the importance of a USP.

Jack Trout told us just a few years ago that it was as relevant today. In 2000, he said that a Unique Selling Proposition was mission critical in business in his aptly titled book Differentiate or Die.

Differentiate of Die. There is no doubt about the call to action in the title, no doubt about the consequences of inaction.

Yet many retailers, for the most part, have remained still in the face of an onslaught of competition.

Retail is tough today. The differences between competitors fewer. Retailers are surrounded by competition and it grows by the day. Yet many have remained still and done nothing.

Smart retailers are re-acquainting themselves with the writings of Reeves and Trout and leaning about the mission critical imperative of having a Unique Selling Proposition.

Differentiation could be service, products or location or a combination of these. Differentiation will most likely not be price as anyone can match this easily. Price is, after all, the last line of defense in any business battle. That said, there are some major price-focused success stories – Wal-Mart for example. It is rare in an independent retail situation.

To develop your USP, engage with your employees and other stakeholders. Take your time. Determine what you and your business stand for. Following open and honest discussion and debate, the USP around which everyone in the business can willingly congregate will emerge.

A good USP will not require an advertising campaign to communicate. It will become obvious through actions and decisions. By living the USP in every facet of the business you soon become seen as unique by shoppers and this can drive excellent word of mouth and success for the business.

While differentiation in retail is more important today than ever thanks to today’s economic conditions, the approach to the challenge is the same as in the 1960s.

How does this relate to our POS software? Using our software can help you be unique. We can unlock for you insights about your business.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: switching POS software to save money can also save the business

A business switching from other POS software to our software to save on very high and mandatory software support fees has discovered, in the months since, information about their business that the other software did not disclose. They have four our reports to be valuable in guiding business decisions by providing insights that were not obvious to them.

Switching POS software can do far more for a business than save money. Genuinely smart POS software backed by accessible and knowledgable support people can help small and independent retailers to see their business through fresh eyes. This can be a game-changer for the businesses, delivering business defining decisions that strengthen its future.

With the number of businesses that have switched from this software to ours so high, we have an excellent pool of reference sights that support the commercial value of the switch.

Our retail business management advice today: switch POS software and possibly save your business.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: 10 ways POS software can save money

  1. Roster based on sales. Look at your sales by time and roster accordingly.
  2. Order based on stock sales – using a recorder report is more efficient than manual ordering.
  3. Use integrated eftpos – Tyro connected directly to your Tower software – eliminate costly mistakes.
  4. Eliminate keystrokes at the counter. Every keystroke eliminated is a potential mistake saved. Scan all you sell for a good start.
  5. Manage your end of shift. Use the end of shift processes in our software and get rid of challenged manual processes.
  6. Backup when you want. Using flexible backup processes save time with an off site backup done when you choose.
  7. replace manual processes where appropriate in your business: customer age checking, LayBy, serial number tracking, shopper loyalty, shopper special orders.
  8. Easily transfer accounting related data to your accounting system and eliminate double handling.
  9. Catch shopper theft through structured spot stock takes.
  10. Catch employee theft through consistent use of theft management tools.

Tower Systems offers more money saving opportunities in its Point of Sale software for a broad range of retail niches. We will help you get the most from our software.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: ditch poor software

We have found ourselves helping a retailer using POS software not from us over the last couple of weeks. Through this we have gained first-hand experience with a product fro a competitor in a niche marketplace.

This experience is showing us where we shine in terms of software. It’s helping to better educate our sales team.

We have also had cause to engage with the support desk from the other POS company and that experience was also educational … and frustrating given the slow response time and poor advice provided.

Poor POS software and poor support for POS software costs a business significantly. Our advice is to consider your position. If you’re not well served it could be harming your business. Look around, do your homework and consider switching to a business that will serve your needs better with on-time responses and software that is genuinely useful.

Retailers should ditch software that does not genuinely help them in their business.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: chase low hanging fruit

Too often we see retailers spend too much time chasing opportunities that are of questionable value or are far far away from the core business.

When working with retailers to help them improve their business we recommend they chase low hanging fruit.

By low hanging fruit we mean opportunities that are obvious from the business performance data and that can be implemented without capital cost – usually requiring a small time investment, often just minutes.

In our POS software, for example, the 10×10 Report shows what sells with what. This report is a perfect start to chasing low hanging fruit as it shows what’s working. What’s working can guide what else you can do. We offer a service whereby we will look at the 10×10 report for retailers to identify opportunities for them.

We enjoy helping our customers to grow their businesses.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: choose the loyalty approach that’s best for your needs

Too many small business owners run a loyalty program that mimics the offering of big retailers. They use points as currency and get shoppers signing up and jumping through some hoops to accrue points that are worth what?

Small business retailers need to differentiate themselves from big business.  We, yes we are retailers here at Tower Systems too with four shops of our own where we use our Point of Sale software ourselves, need to offer a loyalty program that best serves our needs and not something done out of fear of a big competitor.

Small business retailers need to think of their customers when choosing a loyalty offering. They need to take their time to ensure that the program they choose and the rules they follow are appropriate to their needs.

Using the Tower software retailers can choose from a variety of approaches to encouraging and rewarding loyalty. In fact, our software has at least five different approaches to driving loyalty thanks to the flexibility embedded in the loyalty offerings we pitch. Within these we offer considerable points of difference – this is why we welcome head of head comparison.

From our unique and thoughtful discount vouchers facility through to our VIP card to our bundled package offerings our Point of Sale software provides retailers with choice. We will happily work with any retailer using our software to guide the implementation of these and other loyalty offerings.

In our own retail businesses we are using the discount vouchers to effectively compete with like for like businesses located near us that use other POS software.  We can speak from experience with various loyalty options.

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