SUNDAY RETAIL MANAGEMENT ADVICE: CELEBRATE THE BIRTHDAY OF YOUR RETAIL BUSINESS

Business birthdays are important – for you and for your customers, especially in a locally owned small retail business.

Embrace the opportunity of your business birthday for a celebration. But be sure to not make it all about making more money. Take time to embrace the achievement and love it.

Here are practical tips for celebrating the birthday of your business:

  1. Setup a photo board and invite customer engagement. Let’s say your business is six years old: ask customers to bring a photo showing them at six years of age. Their stories become part of your story.
  2. Setup a noticeboard. Let’s say your business is twenty years old. Headline the board with: To celebrate our twenty years in business, join us and list twenty things you love about this town.
  3. Recognise local heroes. Host an after drinks night in your shop and take a moment to acknowledge and thank local heroes. The number you acknowledge should be the number of years you have been in business.
  4. Thank previous owners. Create a history board of previous owners. Where they are now. Their stories. Show the rich long history of your business from before you owned it.
  5. Hand out a flyer listing X hidden gems of your region (where X is the number of hears you have been in business). The flyer is your birthday gift to your customers.
  6. Have cake. Everyone loves cake. If for no other reason than to get to eat cake have a birthday cake. Make it special. Have a big cake or lots of cup cakes. Set and date and time for the celebration.
  7. Party favor bags. Give every customer shopping on your birthday a bag of treats and favors you have chosen to celebrate your big day.
  8. The Happy Birthday discount. Offer a big discount to any customer who comes in on the day (or through the week if you wish) and sings, at full voice, Happy Birthday.
  9. Say thank you. In your front window, create a stunning and personal display saying thank you to the town. Do it visually, creatively and with a full heart.
  10. Half price birthdays. On the day itself, offer birthday cards at half price. While you are giving away margin and will bring forward what might otherwise have been full margin sales, you could get people buying cards from you who have not done so in a while.
  11. Be thankful. On Facebook leading up to your birthday share what you are thankful for from and through your business. Be sure to write with a voice of gratefulness and celebration.
  12. Dress the shop for a party. For at least the week of the birthday dress the shop as a themed party, maybe a kids party. Get everyone involved. Have fun and bring your customers in on the fun.
  13. Maybe a birthday party celebration sale. One night, after the shop has closed, put on some wine, cheese and nibbles inviting people to join you for some party games, prizes and deals.

A key aspect of these ideas is to remind people that your business is stable, can be trusted, is locally connected and knows how to have fun.

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SUNDAY SMALL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ADVICE: BE MEMORABLE

Memorable customer service is the most important point of difference a retail business can have, especially a business which does not make what it sells and therefore could have its products being sold by any other business apple to reach the same pool of shoppers.

We call it memorable customer service because it truly has to be that … memorable. So memorable that it is praised by your customers to others.

Good customer service should be the norm, the lowest hurdle any retail business can jump. Memorable customer service, the level of customer service that makes a shopper talk about the experience to their friends, must be the goal and it is the word of mouth from these customers that is a factor in driving traffic growth.

Memorable customer service is just as vital to Point of Sale software companies as it is for retail businesses. Since we own retail businesses as well as our POS software company we see it, live it and reach for it from both sides.

This is why we work hard to encode the ability to focus on customer service in our Point of Sale software.  That’s right, retailers using our software have touch points they can leverage using software which help deliver the kind of memorable customer service we are talking about here.

Memorable customer service in retail, just as in a software company, is experiences which exceed expectations, it delivers benefits outside of what you expect even from a good business.  In our IT company we compete with big IT companies and small, like us, IT companies. While we want our software to be the point of difference customers notice and talk about positively, it is our customer service which is loved and mentioned to colleagues more.  Realising this was an epiphany for us.

We focus on building stronger, better and more valuable software. But we also surround this, completely, with customer service experiences which are the very best of the best. This gives us, and our customers, the best of both worlds. And we love it ourselves.

Given that most retailers do not have products unique to their businesses, delivering memorable customer service is critical to the business plan.  Small and independent retailers can do this more easily and effectively than big retailers. From the genuine smile to shoppers to product knowledge to that extra information which helps a shopper get more out of the product purchased than they would have had the purchased the product elsewhere. This added value is the key and it can be delivered in almost any situation and with any product from a stapler through to a high-end road bike.

So, beyond our software and as part of our customer service focus, we seek out opportunities to help our customers deliver memorable customer service.  Indeed, this was one topic we covered in the recent face-to-face user meetings we ran in capital cities and major regional centres around Australia.

As a Point of Sale software company, our mission is to deliver constantly improving retail management software backed with memorable customer service and going beyond this with business insights and assistance which helps our retailers themselves deliver exceptional and memorable experiences to their customers.

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SUNDAY SMALL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ADVICE: CHOOSE MUSIC THOUGHTFULLY

Is the music you play in your retail store right for the retail store? While major chains broadcast in-store radio with ads for what they sell, you can create an oasis in your business that suits your customers and the retail space you create for them.

Rather than turning on commercial radio or playing CDs, our suggestion is to sign up for a premium service like Pandora, ideally the ad-free version. Pandora [provides an excellent selection of stations, allowing you to set the mood based on the season or other aspects of what is going on in your business at the time.

Using a service like Pandora brings flexibility to the business, it ensures change and helps provide an environment that is more enjoyable and flexible.

No music is not good. Commercial radio may be okay in some situations but the ads promote outside your business. CDs need changing and you need a vast library to have a different sound. Pandora, or a similar service, is ideal for i-store small business retail use. This is what we see in plenty of retail businesses now.

There is a free version of Pandora, and other services, that you can try before you spend any money on ad-free facilities.

The sound of your business can help drive excellent sales for little or no cost.

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SUNDAY SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL MANAGEMENT ADVICE: MAYBE IT IS TIME TO CHANGE YOUR FRIENDS

Who do you talk to about your retail business? Are they sympathetic, pandering almost? Or, do they challenge your perception of your business?

Do they agree with everything you say? Do they offer pity as a response for you explaining your situation?

Good friends will challenge what you say. They will ask tough questions to test what you say about business performance. They will not put up with a victim mentality. They will want to know what you are doing to improve your situation and that your actions are rooted in your business data.

If your friends don’t challenge you when you talk about your business consider seeking out others you can talk to who do challenge you. 

Owning a business of any size can be tough and lonely. In the business it is rare you will be challenged. In your immediately family, too often, you will not be challenged. This is why you need to seek out those who could and will challenge you. You need to be challenged. Your plans need to be tested through tough questioning.  While some good friend will do this for you many will not.

So, do you need to change your friends?

Seek out people who will give you truthful assessment of what you say, people who will have an opinion and be unafraid to share it. You want people who will actively listen to you and give you their insights.

Seek out people who will want the same from you.  The ideal friendship is one that is equal, open and honest in conversation.  This is what retail business owners need – people who can help them see what they may not be seeing for themselves.

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SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL MANAGEMENT ADVICE: MAKE EVERY DAY YOUR PAY DAY

There was a time when small business retailers could rely on selling their business for a handsome increase on the price they paid thereby providing a good pay day, when businesses sold for a good multiple of net earnings.

No more. Today, the best way to extract value from our businesses is to make every day your pay day, to not rely on your pay day being the day you sell the business.

The challenge is how do you do this?

Retailers need to look at their businesses differently. This starts with the mindset of every day being your pay day. Each decision needs to be considered in this context.

Focusing on profit today will give you a better result today and make your business more valuable tomorrow.

Here are some suggestions for making every day your pay day:

  1. Run with the leanest roster possibl Just about every retail business we review has capacity to lower labour costs.
  2. Have your best people working the floor, helping customers spend more.
  3. Have stunning displays that attract people from outside the shop.
  4. Have compelling displays in-store that encourage people to browse beyond their destination purchase.
  5. Always have impulse offers at high traffic locations.
  6. Charge more every time you can. Loyalty programs such as discount vouchers, bundling into hampers, multi buys such as 2 for 3 and other opportunities enable you to do this by blocking price comparison.
  7. Buy as best you can.
  8. Grab settlement discounts every time you are able.
  9. Promote outside your store using online and social media opportunities.
  10. Leverage adjacency information. Chase a deeper basket – people purchasing more each visit.

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 are 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.

Doing all this relies on your measuring the performance of your business. The Tower software helps with this. It is easy.

This advice is an example of the small business management advice POS software company tower Systems offers its customers in its weekly business builder email.

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SUNDAY RETAIL MANAGEMENT TIP: 5 WAYS TO MANAGE EMPLOYEES USING YOUR POS SOFTWARE

Good POS software gives you a range of options for managing, tracking and engaging employees using the software itself. In the Tower Systems POS software, there are plenty of employee touch points. Here are five we want to call out today as part of our Sunday tip series.

  1. Track sales by employee code or barcode. This will cut mistakes and improve accountability.
  2. Include employee name on the receipt – to personalise the contact.
  3. Report sales by employee to compare performance.
  4. Manage your roster through your POS software, manage to a budget.
  5. Set security settings in your software to ensure people only have access to parts of the software appropriate to their level of responsibility in the business.
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HELPING SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS LEVERAGE TYRO BROADBAND EFTPOS

Small business POS software company helps small and independent retailers leverage the opportunity of the Tyro broadband EFTPOS  solutions. We do this through a direct integration with our smart POS software as well as through the friendly small business focussed help desk service.

Serving retailers across a range of retail niches, we have experience from many channels and situations from which to draw when helping retailers save time, cut mistakes and benefit from a best-practice EFTPOS integration. This is an integration supported by tower for many years.

While the Tower Systems POS software works with a range of platforms, Tyro is featured by the company thanks to the relationship with the folks at Tyro, a relationship that benefits the Tower Systems small business retailer user community.

We use Tyro ourselves in our own retail businesses. This enables us to support from a basis of personal experience. It sets us apart.

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TOWER SYSTEMS AT ATLANTA GIFT FAIR IN THE US

A team from Tower Systems further benefited from participating in the Atlanta Gift Fair last week, networking with small business gift and homewares retailers as well as their suppliers – including suppliers from Australia. Thanks to contact since the show, the benefits are being realised quickly.

This large gift fair – representing 7,300 brands – is attended by thousands of retailers. It is the gift and homewares retailers the industry’s largest event featuring the most comprehensive collection of home décor, furniture and gifts. The venue spans multiple buildings and multiple floors in each building – it is many times larger than the largest gift fairs in Australia. This is what makes it an exciting event for us – a real eye-opener.

The range of products on show is more diverse and the types of businesses attending is equally diverse. This is why attending has been beneficial for the Tower Systems team as they have been able to expand their horizons as to how our POS software can better serves the needs of growing gift and homewares businesses.

We are not detailing takeaways here for obvious reasons.

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Sunday retail management advice: basket analysis helps you sell more

Basket analysis is the analysis of products purchased by transaction – shopping basket. Such analysis typically compares two trading periods overall and by day of week. It also includes this analysis by supplier comparing trading periods and day of week.

Basket analysis shows you the efficiency of product categories (departments). For example, see how many baskets include one category of item and nothing else. You can also see the numbers of times sales are single item sales.

Basket analysis underscores the value to the business of newer categories such as gifts and toys.

Basket analysis at a supplier level is equally insightful, allowing you to compare the basket efficiency and value of suppliers between two tradition periods as well as across each day of the week between two trading periods.

It is at the basket analysis level that you can determine product efficiency. A product is more efficient for you if it is purchased with other items in our view. You can drive this by careful placement on the shop floor, promotion at the sales counter and working with customers on the shop floor to guide their purchases.

It’s an example of how you can use comprehensive business data to drive your in-store actions. For example, knowing what we know about pop vinyls, Saturday is the day we really focus on them with secondary locations to do even better from the Saturday opportunity.

Basket analysis can also help you with rostering. With some category sales requiring more staff time that others, you can consider the product mix sold by day and adjust your roster accordingly. Trimming wages is an important cost saving focus in business.

The goal has to be deeper baskets (more items per transaction) and a greater spread across product categories – but with a focus on higher margin items so that also lift the overall GP performance of the business.

In the Tower Systems software the report to use for this analysis is the Basket Analysis Report. It provides an extraordinary insight into baskets.

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Sunday small business retail business management advice: how to compete with a big business competitor

Here are some tips from us on how to more effectively compete with a big business competitor located near your small business:

  1. Know what you can and can’t do. Some big retailers spend tens of millions of dollars saying they are the cheapest. A small business cannot match that spend. So, price should not be your focus as it is a harder road. If you do choose to pitch on price, you need to do it comparatively and consistently. List their price and your price. However, the risk is they will chase you down that hole and their pockets are deeper than yours. I recommend against competing on price.
  2. Understand the new competition locating near you. Research them, visit their store, look carefully at what they do. Understand, from a rational perspective, why they are a successful national company. Visit several times. Try and talk to customers. Knowledge gained from such field trips will empower your planning and decision making.
  3. Focus on your point of difference. If you do not have on, get one, develop one. Own it. Ensure your business owns it. If it is service, make it better, if it is range, make it better., If it is that you are local, shout this from your rooftop. Your point of difference needs to be seen, heard and understood by your customers and those who would be your customers. If you do not think you have an obvious point of difference, work hard to build one and embed this deep within your business.
  4. Promote your business. Professionally. Be smart. Big businesses are usually big advertisers. You need to advertise too. To the level you are able within your business. This could be in the local newspaper, on local radio, in flyers to homes or even with a terrific display in your front window. Promote your business and in particular your point of difference. Small businesses can win in social media with locally-focussed pitches which demonstrate your local connections.
  5. Network locally. Connect with community groups, charities, sports groups, schools, clubs and friends. A small local business can do this better than a big business. Find a way to connect and help. This will be appreciated and, hopefully, rewarded with business. Strong networking can help you get more people on your side and supporting your business through strong word of mouth.
  6. Have a consistent loyalty offer. This needs to be different to what major retailers do. It needs to be whole of business. It has to offer genuine rewards which get people shopping your shop rather than staying within a category. This is where discount vouchers work.
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Five proven ways any small business retailer can reduce dead stock – Sunday small business retail management advice

Based on our work with 3,500 retail businesses across a range of specialty retail channels, here are our five top ways any small business retail store can reduce dead stock in their business. These top ideas are all about ensuring the problem does not occur in the first place.

  1. Track everything that comes in and that you sell. Good data drives good business decisions.
  2. Order what sells. Use a re-order report from your POS software to order replenishment stock. And, yes, good POS software allows you to add to this for new items or extra stock you are certain you need.
  3. Set a budget. Use your software to control stock weight so you do not over order without thought.
  4. Track stock turn. Stock turn is the best indicator of efficiency of stock. Focus more on your best performers.
  5. Centralise buying. Ensure buying for the business is done by limited people who do use business data and who operate to a strict budget.

There are more ideas and tips on reducing dead stock. These suggestions are the best-practice starting point.

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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.

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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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Advice for small business retailers doing it tough – from our POS software co.

In our POS software company are often asked for help when it is too late. In this article, we outline steps any retailer can contemplate from them moment they realise their business is in trouble, from the first thought that closing may be the only option.

Tower Systems is more than a software company. We are retailers too. We cherish the relationships with our retail business customers. We will help whenever and wherever we can to help small and independent retail businesses survive challenges and grow. Mark Fletcher, Managing Director.

If your retail business is in tough times and facing imminent closure, you may be able to save it if you act quickly and ruthlessly. Based on years of working with many different retailers, I have found that some basic steps can successfully turnaround a business in trouble. But you need to be ruthless.

The following tips are designed for businesses with a little (but not too much) time available to fix things. While they are not appropriate to every business, the ideas can lead to others that may be appropriate.

This advice is also appropriate or businesses not facing imminent closure but certainly facing tough times.

Crucial to saving a business from closure is to understand why it is in this situation. You have to be honest with yourself about this. How did it get to this?

  • Did you not make changes to your business when you should have?
  • Has something local and unexpected impacted your business?
  • Have you been a bad retailer, allowing the business to fade away?

Do not be afraid or ignorant in confronting these questions.

Make an honest appraisal of the state of the business as the truth can inform what you do next.

You have to own your situation. This means being realistic about what you face and what got you there. This is important as it opens you to what you need to do to resolve the situation, to rehabilitate your business.

Now, to the urgent steps you could take to avoid the closure of your retail business:

  1. Know your truth. If you run a computer system, analyse the data it collects. If you don’t know how to do this, find out. Look for surprise information in your data, things you did not know about your business. For example, look at the top selling items. If there are surprises there they could inform other decisions you make to urgently address your situation. Talk to your computer software company, ask for their assessment. Knowing your truth is key to owning your situation.
  2. Quit dead stock. If you have stock on the shop floor which is old – ‘old’ can vary between product categories – and for which you have already paid, quit it. However, stock that is greater than six months old is a reasonable guide – then take action to sell this at a substantial discount. Move the stock off display units. Line it up to look like clearance stock – stacked up on tables. Setup plain and simple signs indicating the discount prices. Create signage to show it as clearance stock. If you have enough clearance stock in your business, consider signs across your front windows. Give your sale a name that is unrelated to your situation. Here are some suggestions: MEGA SALE, FIRST EVER MARCH SALE, AUTUMN SALE, SMALL BUSINESS MIGHTY BIG SALE. Give it a name you can theme around.
  3. Run a loyalty offer. Immediately setup and run a loyalty program rewarding shoppers with dollars off their next purchase. The most successful loyalty offer in recent times is discount vouchers whereby vouchers are included on receipts offering an amount which is cleverly calculated by your software based on the items in the purchase. The goal has to be encouraging shoppers to purchase again soon based on the offer on the receipt for items they just purchased.
  4. Move things around. If your business is in trouble it is likely that it has not changed much in recent years. Change it. Move departments around, shake things up so your customers trip over things they did not think you sold.
  5. Review prices. Look at the common items you sell, consider a small increase in your prices. It could be a small increase will not hurt sales volume yet will add profit to your bottom line.
  6. Upsell well. At the counter, work to extend the basket for every sale possible. Do this with clever counter product placement and witty and engaging banter with customers offering upsell products. You goal has to be to make more from each customer.
  7. Stand for something. What is different about your business? What is special about it? What makes people want to come back? If you don’t know the answer to these questions you’re in trouble. If your answer is we’re the only shop of your type nearby you’re in trouble. If the answer is people have always shopped here you’re in trouble. You need to have a difference that people want and will talk about to others. It could be a product or a service. However, it cannot be a product line that is traditional to your type of business as that will not add value to your shingle in the way you want or need. What do you stand for?
  8. Market within your budget. Photocopied black and white flyers designed with care can be cheap and effective.
  9. Attract people who don’t know what you sell. Run a no-cost or low-cost campaign to reach out to shoppers who have no ideal what you sell yet which could appeal to them. They are not to blame for not knowing what you sell.
  10. Different retail options.
    1. Consider becoming an outlet shop selling items from a supplier keen to quit bulk items.
    2. Rent space in your shop to another retailer.
    3. If you have higher priced items consider offering employees commission on sales.
    4. Maybe become an outlet for local artists taking on items on a consignment basis.
  11. Stop unprofitable behaviour. If you are doing things in your business which lose money or do not contribute to a good future for the business, stop doing them. Regardless of history or what your business might stand for, continuing with unprofitable activity only makes your situation worse. If you know something to be unprofitable and yet you say you can’t stop it, think carefully about that, about why you can’t stop losing money.
  12. Get suppliers to help. Suppliers often have old stock themselves which they want to quit at a substantial discount. Buy items you have not stocked before, negotiate good prices and put the stock out with a healthy margin but still at a discount to what others would be charging. Negotiate to pay once you are paid by customers.
  13. Trim employee costs. Cut employee hours and work more in the business yourself if you are not doing so already. While this can have a significant personal cost, the less you pay others the more be business benefits in financial terms.
  14. Trim overheads. Cut everything you can: cleaning, power usage, insurance, freight, banking. Look at every supplier relationship you have and see if you can negotiate a better deal to cut your operating costs. However, do not turn off lights as darkness is death in most retail businesses.
  15. What assets can you sell? Do you have computers, retail fixtures, vehicles or other assets you no longer use in the running of the business? If they are not being used, turn them to cash as quickly as possible.
  16. Get a job. If you have a partner in the business with you and the business can run with one partner, one of you should get a job outside the business. This is especially helpful in a husband and wife situation where the family income can benefit.
  17. Talk to your landlord. A good landlord will prefer a good business to stay rather than have then close down and a new tenant having to be found. Talk to the landlord, be honest with them about your situation. Given the landlord all of the information they need to make the decision you need them to make. This information will include sales figures, expenses and margin information. Usually, the more transparent you are with the landlord the more they will support your business.
  18. Talk to your bank. While banks tend to not get involved in lending to businesses that are struggling, it may be that they have contacts that can help you navigate to a solution. Maybe talk to another bank.
  19. Talk to colleagues. If you have nearby business colleagues in the same line of business, they might have stock they are happy to provide you for free or at a discount to give you stock to move for a good price.
  20. Refresh the business. Make the business look, smell and sound fresh. Beyond the products you sell and where tings are located, change the environment itself using scents and sounds. Too often when a business is struggling, those involved let standards slip and the business does not look attractive to shoppers. Avoid this laziness at all costs.
  21. Deliver amazing customer service. When serving customers be the perfect shop assistance and not the owner of the business facing closure. Keep your mind on the job at hand and not the cliff you’re worried might be a few steps ahead.
  22. Whoever is pressuring you the most to close or contemplate closing, talk to them. If it’s a supplier, the tax office or some other organisation or individual pressuring you about debts, be upfront with them, lay out for them your plan detailing the action you will take to turn your situation around, be clear about what you are doing and outline a timeline step by step for them. Seek their support.
  23. Set a timeframe. Decide where you want to be in a week, four weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks. Set realistic goals. Measure yourself against those goals. Know what you will do if you fall short.

What I am suggesting here is general advice. It is intended to get you thinking of ideas that could work for you.

No two situations are the same. No situation is impossible. No business is dead until the doors are closed for the last time.

Never give up. Fight hard and fight smart to turn your business around.

Facing tough circumstances in retail can be like the deer in the middle of the road at night facing the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. Don’t freeze. Take action to mitigate your situation. A series of small steps could be the difference between closure and trading out of the problem.

I have prepared this in response to a comment from a retail colleague who asked for advice on how to deal with a business facing closure.

If your business data there are bound to be opportunities and insights around which growth can be achieved. If you are not sure where to look or what they could mean, ask us. We will help.

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Small business retail advice: Navigating to the New Paradigm in Retail guided by your POS software

Everywhere retailers look today they are confronted with a new paradigm, a new approach to doing business, regardless of their area of specialisation.

Over recent years the fundamentals of retail have changed and some retailers are yet to notice and embrace the change.

The new paradigm, while impacting all retailers, is not universal. There are nuances by channel and there is where specialist Point of Sale software can help a retailer navigate to the change in circumstances.

The customer is at the heart of retail today, more so than ever before. Thanks to universal access to pricing, product and other information, the customer is more informed and powerful than ever before.

Whereas in the past a retailer knew of their key competitors based on their geographic location and could therefore research and understand them, today’s competitors could be anywhere in the world. Indeed, many shoppers are spending time with a competitor of a retail business while actually in the business… such is the power for the customer thanks to smartphones and easy access to the online world.

Many retailers have made them mistake of thinking that the new paradigm is merely about bricks and mortar retail versus online. That is barely the beginning of the new paradigm. Indeed, it goes way beyond such a basic comparison.

The only way to compete in this new world of retail is to genuinely and wholeheartedly place the customer at the centre of everything you do. From the moment they step near, physically or virtually, your business you need to embrace them with an embrace unlike ever before. No, not a hug, nothing physical.

The customer embrace in this new world of retail is about value, from as soon as a customer is nearby. Value in service, advice as well as price. This is where bricks and mortar businesses can win against online… if they understand how to demonstrate value through a range of touch points in their business.

Central to delivering value is the core efficiency of the business itself. Retail businesses need to operate at a level of efficiency which enables them to compete on price. At the same time they need to ensure that all sales associates are able to transact with shoppers wherever they are in the store. They need to be able to be the most knowledgeable people in the store without necessarily having the most experience.

This is where good Point of Sale software, ideal software for the type of retail business, can provide a retailer with a point of difference and a structure through which to embrace the new customer-centric paradigm.

It is not enough to operate a basic cash register type system as that will deliver only basic results and basic will not cut it today with competitors around the globe. Retail businesses which specialize need specialist software. The result is a stronger, smarter and more nimble retail business.

Good specialist Point of Sale software will, if used well, enable a bricks and mortar business to not only compete but grow in this world. This is an opportunity for retailers, an opportunity to embrace change and to thrive against what may seem to some like insurmountable odds.

Drive your relevance, use your software, chase change.

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New free marketing resources for small business retailers

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 8.10.20 amTower Systems is adding to the free marketing resources for small business retailers. New digital art is being loaded to our website for small business retailers to download and print and to load into digital marketing platforms.

This latest collateral from our in-house creative team is themed to provide retailers more options for pitching their businesses.

We are grateful to the encouraging feedback from small business retailers – customers and not – who are using the facilities we have created and made available through our website. This feedback is what has encouraged us to do even more.

Tower Systems provides access to these free marketing resources without asking for any details – making the resources genuinely free.

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Small businesses – good for Australia, small tech businesses – even better

Mark Latham wrote in The Australian Financial Review on May 30, 2015:

Self-evidently, if small businesses were any good they would’t be small. They would be big monstrous things with massive levels of profit, employment and economic grunt.

As the owner of a small business that solely serves small businesses I say Mark Latham is wrong. I know of many small businesses that are profitable and making excellent contributions economically and socially in their areas.

I started Tower Systems in 1981 to serve small businesses like yours. Today we are thrilled to serve close to 3,000 independent small businesses.

Our mission is to help small businesses owners run their businesses efficiently and profitably, with foresight and confidence about the right business decisions. Our assistance goes way beyond the software itself.

We develop and sell software specifically for: pet shopsgift shopsjewellersbike retailersgarden centresnewsagentstoy shopsfirearms retailers and adult shops.

This makes us very different to the likes of MYOB, Retail Express, RMS, Lightspeed, vend and others who offer generic retail management and POS software.

Thanks to our specialisation you can expect more from us, more facilities specific to your type of business and more after sales services for your type of business.

Like any good small business, our business is personal. That is, from the moment you contact us you will deal with someone by name. You’ll have their mobile number and their email address. This continues when you speak with our help desk – we have real people using their real names, people you can call back and talk to further.

You have access to me as the owner of the company too. My number is 0418 321 338 and my email mark@towersystems.com.au. By sharing this I am backing the claims I make – that using my software will help you enjoy your business more, make more money and make your business more valuable.

As a customer you would have easy access to senior management. This keeps us connected and demonstrates that we take good personal customer service seriously.

If you want to make your independent retail business worth more and more enjoyable to own, give us a call and let us show you want a good POS software company looks like.

Our retail consultants are here to listen to you and to help:

  • NSW/ACT/TAS/QLD. Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148.
  • WA/SA/NT. Tim Batt. 0401 833 917.
  • VIC. Mike Hill. 0423 848 482.

See our company website and our company blog for more information.

My name is Mark Fletcher. I am the owner of Tower Systems. I believe in small business. My contact details are: 0481 321 338 and mark@towersystems.com.au.

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Video is a great way to train in POS software for small business

A retailer who shifted to our POS software commended last week to us on our comprehensive video training library and the technology platform we developed for providing access to this training library.

I love it! I love that I can watch a video over at home. I love that I can get my staff to watch videos of the parts of the software they use.

The Tower Systems video training library is a unique and valuable resource, enabling retailers using the software to be able to access training as they want, as they get further into the software.

The investment by Tower Systems in creating the training resources reaps dividends for the company as it enables us to demonstrate a valuable point of difference.

The Tower Systems sales team provide access for business owners considering the use of our software – to show first hand the value of our training facilities.

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Optimism in small business retail

Every day in our POS software company we see and hear examples of optimism in small business retail from a boost in traffic to an increase in sales revenue to an increase in the overall average gross profit percentage achieved by a business.

We are thrilled to play a part of helping independent small business retailers realise their dreams through our software.

In one situation this week we learned how a retailer using our software achieved thousands of dollars of incremental business in a three month period by using a facility they had never used before. By turning on this facility in their software, for no additional cost, they were able to achieve sales they were up until then losing. This was done with no increase in inventory investment.

Small business retailers can increase sales through smart shopper engaging tools in our software. Beyond the usual help desk facilities, we enjoy talking business management with our customers – to help them leverage even more value from their relationship with us.

Here at Tower Systems our focus is solely on independent small business retailers in a select number of retail channels. This helps us provide specialist advice to our specialist retailers.

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Free marketing resources for small business retailers

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 8.17.28 pmTower Systems is thrilled with the use small business retailers are making of the free small business marketing resources we have made available in our website.

These free resources are another practical way Tower Systems helps small business retailers beyond our terrific POS software

Our development and free access to these resources demonstrates are acre for and commitment to the small business retail channels in which we serve. It is easy for a business to say they support their customers in a variety of ways. This investment by us is us being true to our words – walking the walk if you will.

We have happy for these and other free downloads we place on the site to be used widely.

Note we have not included our branding as we don;t want to get in the way of the businesses using the materials.

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Aussie POS software helps small business retailers grow

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.

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POS software helps small business retailers document shopper savings

discounteducationSmall business retailers using the Tower Systems POS software are able to easily and succinctly show the discount a shopper has achieved with a purchase on the professional receipt produced by the software. Many receipt styles are supported – retailers can choose what works best for them

Available for many years and enhanced thanks to new even more flexible receipt options, publishing savings on receipts is a successful way for retailers to promote to existing shoppers and bring them back in store more often.

Tower Systems shares with retailers ways of using receipts, describing savings and highlighting other benefits so that retail partners get more from smarter use of their smart PO software.

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POS software helps retailers engage shoppers in competitions

hmkbbqThanks to receipt options and other facilities in our POS software, retailers can help drive shopper engagement in competitions – such as the Hallmark cards competition offering the opportunity to win a $500 BBQ in participating stores that’s running at the moment.

Retailers can promote competitions like this on their receipts. They can also promote it on customer displays. This type of promotion is free. It is excellent use of existing retail management infrastructure – manages by our POS software as directed by our retailers.

Connecting shoppers on receipts and at other touch points with in-store promotions such as the BBQ prize adds value to the in-store promotion and drives the likelihood of shopper engagement in the promotion.

Smart use of our smart POS software drives better outcomes for our retail partners.  Our help desk enjoys helping retailers to leverage these opportunities.

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Helping small business retailers manage to reduce theft

cuttheftRetailers using the Tower Systems POS software are embracing our latest online training opportunities including the How to cut theft in your retail business live and interactive workshop coming up on August 7.  This session will fill up. We have more coming on the schedule.

Tower Systems demonstrates its commitment to consistent access to free post-installation training with workshops like this one, workshops that are valuable to retailers using our software.

Theft – employee theft and customer theft – continues to have a high cost for small and independent retailers. Tower Systems actively helps retailers to recent the impact of theft through personal training like this latest workshop. Being for owners only, we have a safe place where we can take people deep into the theft mitigation facilities in our software.

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