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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Make Saturday your shop local small business shopping day

One a year there is a focus in the media and elsewhere encouraging people to shop in small businesses. Here at Tower Systems we would like to broaden that pitch.

Make every Saturday your shop small day.

With people home for the weekend, shopping at local shops is easier.

It puts money back into the community where you have your home.

It supports where your kids are going up, will grow up or have grown up.

It creates local jobs.

It builds local expertise.

It supports retailers of locally made products.

It supports small local businesses who support local community groups and charities.

It supports the narrative of the area.

It saves fuel.

It saves time.

We at Tower Systems encourage everyone to go out and shop local this Saturday and at the very least every Saturday.

Small local businesses thank you for your support.

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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 with cloud backup option

bupThe cloud backup service launched last year by small business retail management software company Tower Systems is proving to be popular with retailers. The backup process is seamless, not taking any noticeable time thanks to the smart technology engaged. The result is double protection offering peace of mind to small business retailers.

While Tower Systems has supported external and automated backup services for years, this new even more hands-off cloud-based backup service that offers excellent protection to participating small retail businesses users of our POS software.

Run on a subscription basis and backing up to the cloud real-time through the day, this is a comprehensive replacement of the old end of shift backup approach for small and independent retailers.

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POS Software company supports shop local promotion for small business retailers

LocalPosters2015_Page_3POS Software company Tower Systems is helping small and independent retailers to promote the support of local retailers through an innovative campaign of collateral created by the company for its retailers.

We are thrilled to be investing our creative resources in support of our retailer partners in this way.

This latest artwork is part of a series we have developed in-house through our amazingly creative marketing team to give our retailers different voices and platforms through which to pitch their shop local credentials.

This is another Tower AdvantageTM.

The free marketing collateral will be released next week.

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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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Preparing POS software users for a confidential trial

Tower Systems has started contacting customers to invite them to be part of a trial group to play with something completely different. In return for confidentiality, early adoption and detailed feedback, participating retailers will be given free access to software that breaks with tradition.

Two years in the making, this project is another example of Tower Systems investing in software for small businesses. Leadership in action will be clear when the software steps into the public eye, soon.

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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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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 management advice: drive better gross profit by selling at the best price

What you charge for what you sell needs to be carefully considered.  Price is all about customer perception of value.  Value is based in a range of criteria including:

  • Convenience.
  • Added value – from purchasing from this business.
  • Perceived value – how you package a product compared to how others package the same product can lead to a different price.

a. Manage labour to focus on products with the best return to the business. This is a balance between overall gross profit dollars and margin percentage.

b. Look at items with a customer service component, where your expertise is required to make the sale or make good use of the products or where there is a reasonable after sales service component. These can usually carry a higher margin.

c. Look at the items which are unique to your business in your location or nearby.  If you are the only store serving the local community then you do have a pricing opportunity. These items can usually carry a higher margin.

d. Assess why people shop at your shop.  If they are shopping because of convenience then you have the capacity to charge more for this.  This is why convenience stores charge more for items which you can buy elsewhere for considerably less.

f. Involve others in setting sale price.  Ask your team what you can charge for an item.  Assess what they think you can “get away with”.  By polling team members, you may find that your perception on price is lower than what others expect.

You can build a stronger business by taking small steps each day which focus on new traffic, better margin and improved sales efficiency. No grand plan, no expert strategy – just small steps which leverage opportunities which exist in your retail business.

By paying closer attention to the margin you can achieve, you strengthen the financial foundation of the business and ensure that your return on inventory investment is more helpful to the bigger business plan.

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Small retailer POS software users love transparency on software enhancement suggestions

software-ideasMany small business retailers using the POS software from Tower Systems actively engage in suggesting enhancements for the software and many of these suggestions make their way into the software.

Retailers regularly thank Tower for the opportunity to publicly make suggestions and for the transparency of voting by and feedback from others about the suggested enhancements. Indeed, the level of transparency Tower Systems has offered in this area for years now is rare. Some claim user engagement but it is hard to find another software company living the transparency claim like Tower.

The real test of the exclusive Software Ideas facility from tower Systems is the enhancements that make their way into the software. Hundreds of enhancements including new facilities, large and small, exist in the software today thanks to user engagement in making suggestions and voting on these suggestions. It is proving to be a valuable process for tower Systems and its retail business customers.

It is a measure of the company’s confidence that the facility is promoted on its website home page and that the list can be accessed by anyone including competitors.

Software Ideas is managed by a senior member of the software development management team within the company and the overall Tower leadership team makes final decisions about ideas it embraces. All ideas receive feedback from the company.

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Helping small business retailers save money on EFTPOS fees & time at the sales counter

As a POS software company working with close to 3,000 retailers, we have experience dealing with all the major banks when it comes to EFTPOS and offering EFTPOS solutions at the retail sales counter.

In our software today we have EFTPOS processing links to a range of third parties as well as direct to banks.

It is our experience that retailers linking to Tyro broadband EFTPOS experience faster processing, fewer operational problems, easier setup and better customer service than any other EFTPOS connection. This is why we recommend Tyro to our small business retail customers.

Thanks to excellent assistance and communication from and with the team at Tyro, we are able to triage any operational issue and usually resolve it immediately. This provides our retail business customers with a one stop shop. This is far better than having to navigate a third party who then has to navigate your bank’s support service. In that scenario it could take days to resolve an issue. Thanks to the Tyro approach, the few problems reported are resolved quickly.

Choosing the right EFTPOS solution is important for small and independent retail businesses. It’s what happens at the counter that matters the most. Fast and accurate processing are the most important goals followed by easy setup.

Major banks tend to lock retailers into long term contracts that have a breakage cost. This can lock small business retailers into poor service and higher than necessary fees. Thanks to Tyro we are able to deliver to small and independent retail businesses a more cost effective solution. Tyro helps newsagents ensure that the solution is right for them without the need for a long term contract.

Our advice to retailers considering EFTPOS is – buyer beware. That big bank that says it has a great deal is a big bank – when was the last time a big bank put the needs of small retailers ahead of their appetite for profit.

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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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POS software support small business retailers love

Here are some of the reasons newsagents, jewellers, gift shop owners, bike retailers, garden centre owners and others love the support we offer with our Point of sale software. For a small annual fee they have access to:

  • A friendly help desk staffed 7am through to 6pm Monday to Friday and 7:30am to 3pm on Saturday. Local call numbers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
  • After-hours support available 24/7 through five mobile phone numbers.
  • Free one-on-one training for every newsagency every year.
  • Free new owner training.
  • Mandarin and Cantonese language support for those who prefer this.
  • Free hardware support for all h/w sold by us plus a 3 year on-site warranty for all HP h/w.
  • Weekly free online live training workshops.
  • Access to more than 130 professionally produced training videos for business owners & staff.
  • Free theft check service – we help newsagents uncover possible theft.
  • Free business performance analysis service – we help you see growth opportunities.

This mix of support services is exclusive to us. It’s a reason our customers choose to continue with software support coverage. We don’t force them by stopping their software from working if they choose to not continue support coverage. We think this type of action by a POS software company is unreasonable coercion.

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Sunday small business retailer management advice: human interaction is key to success

We switched a retailer to our Point of Sale software recently solely because of the poor support they had received from their previous POS software company. When calling their old POS company they place calls using a computerised phone system where you pressed a bunch of buttons to get to log your call for assistance.

Here at Tower Systems when you call you speak with a human, most likely our receptionist.Your query is listened to and then passed to someone, another human, who can help.

Our software company is thriving on the back of the human support we provide our retailer customers. Retail businesses can thrive on the back of human service too. There is no better way for a retailer to show off why dealing with them is better than dealing with online than by providing excellent human to human service.

Our retail management software has facilities through which retailers can improve the service they provide and thereby show off why dealing with them can be more useful and valuable for a shopper than going with an online business. Our support team can share ideas on these facilities in our software.

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Sunday small business retail management advice: how to make more money from every sale

Every retail business can sell more to every customer. This is easy when you have good business data and use this to make good business decisions.

Making more money from every sale starts with good Point of Sale software. This will tell you what you are selling, how often and what your top selling items sell with.

Get a report from your Point of Sale software listing your top ten selling items, by unit sales for the last three months. Do not look at dollars. Unit sales is the far more valuable count since this is a discussion about leveraging volume.

In a typical retail store, the top ten selling items will account for between 30% and 50% of revenue of the business.

Look at your top sellers report and concentrate on the top selling items. Answer these questions about the top ten selling items from the last three months:

  1. Do you have appropriate impulse purchase products located on either side of each top item?
  2. Are the top items spread through the store, to maximize customer throughput?
  3. How often do you move the top items?
  4. Do you have the top ten items in multiple locations?
  5. What impulse purchase items do you have at the counter which will appeal to customers who purchase any of the top ten items?
  6. Has the list of top ten sellers changed in the last year? If so, how have they changed and what can you learn from this.
  7. Are there products which you do not currently carry which you could add to the store to sell with the top ten sellers?
  8. Do customers who purchase the top ten sellers ask for any other items?

The idea embedded in these questions is very simple. Use the top ten sellers, or top twenty or top thirty, to focus your attention on items with which you can work to achieve more sales in your business.

By focusing on the top sellers and what you can sell with them you can increase the size of the average shopping basket.

If you can’t see opportunities for achieving more sales by placing products next to or with the top sellers then speak with your team and speak with trusted customers. Don’t rest until you unlock suggestions to try.

If what you try does not work, try more products. I know of retail businesses which have spent months finding add on items to work with their top sellers.

The key to this project is proper use of your Point of Sale software. You need this to identify the top selling items and to track the success or otherwise of your project to sell more with your top performing stock lines.

There is plenty of additional money to be made from your top sellers. Invest time and attention on this project and get ready to bank the results.

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Why we serve small business retailers

Tower Systems was created to serve small business retailers and we happily remain focused on that mission today.

We love small business retail for the people, their passion and the contribution to communities around the country.

While our Point of Sale software can be used by retail businesses of any size, it is in the small business retailer community where we are most comfortable.

So, why do we like small business retailers?

This is a question we confronted recently in a business review where we took some time for introspection about who we are, what we do and why we do what we do.

We believe in small business.

Small business retailers play a vital economic role, often punching above their weight in terms of economic contribution.

Small business retailers play an even more important social role, holding, sharing and even adding to the narrative of communities around the world as well as providing practical support for community based endeavours.

Small business retailers help local shoppers with a level of personal service which leads to better buying decisions.

We like these points, especially that small businesses and small business retailers in particular are more like to uphold and carry forward local customs, beliefs and stories.  Small businesses support the ,local voice.  This is why small businesses are important in countries like Australia and New Zealand.    They push back on globalisation and the dilution of the local voice to a whisper.

Whereas with big business retailers you are dealing with a person representing a corporation and focused on the goals of the corporation, in small business you are dealing with the owner or someone very close to the owner, reflecting the personal and connected nature of the business and the community in which its serves.

We also feel that we can contribute more to the community and the economy by working with small business retailers.  We are happy with our track record in this regard since starting in business in 1981.

So, yes, we enjoy serving small businesses and remaining a small business ourselves.  This is where we think we can actively contribute and do the most good.

The value of a business is not only about financial performance.  Its contribution to community is, in our view, equally if, not more, important.

There was a time when small was almost considered a dirty word in business.  Not any more.  This is the time of small business.  It is a niche in which many of us choose to remain.  It is a place of profitable businesses and businesses making a genuinely valuable economic and social contribution.

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Independent small business retailers vital to Australian communities

In our work with small business retailers here at Tower Systems we get to see first hand the value small business retailers bring to their local communities. It is a privilege to witness the commitment of these local retailers to their communities.

While big retail businesses capture the attention of media outlets, small retailers work in the trenches delivering more authentic and greater value to local communities. We see this every day and the esteem with which these retailers are held by locals.

Local independent and small retailers are vital to Australian communities for many reasons including:

  • Hiring locally.
  • Supporting local clubs and community groups.
  • Making products available locally and thereby saving costs.
  • Carrying on local traditions.
  • Supporting the local narrative.
  • Supporting the local economy.
  • Investing more of every dollar in sales back into the local community in one way or another.

Any assessment of how much of every dollar spent with a national retailer stays in the local community versus the same metric for a local small business retailer and the local small business retailer is more valuable to the local community by far.

Small and independent retailers are important to the communities in which they serve.

Just as small and independent retailers support local communities, so to should local communities support small and independent retailers ahead of their bigger competitors.

Tower Systems is thrilled to help small business retailers in their support of local communities. Using our retail management software, retailers are able to support community groups, raise much needed funds and track community engagement in a range of ways.

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