Sunday retail small business management advice: grow sales with pick n mix options

Retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software can easily offer discounts based on a mix of products selected by the customer. You could have a price for one, a different per unit price for two and an even more different price per unit for three.

This approach to pricing is flexible, easy to implement and business building.

Retailers are able to select pick n mix packs, volume packs and other collections of items with tremendous flexibility. This gives small and independent retailers tools and facilities equal to those used by major retailers.

Offering price flexibility is a terrific way small and independent retailers can grow their businesses.

Tower Systems offers free assistance to retailers on the setup of these marketing campaigns.

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Surge in pet stores embracing pet shop software

With four more pet shops signing on to install our Pet Shop Software in the last week, 2014 is continuing to be a terrific year in this important marketplace for us.

Using our specialist pet shop software, pet retailers can rely on supplier interfaces through electronic invoices, customer engagement through excellent loyalty facilities and business insights facilitating better business decisions based on valuable business data.

Pet retailers are helping to guide the next release of the Pet Shop Software thanks to engagement points established by Tower Systems to transparently seek customer feedback.

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Tyro broadband eftpos helps retailers cut mistakes and save time

Retailers and customers don’t like waiting for EFTPOS and credit card transactions to go through. Some can be slow. Years ago we partnered with Tyro broadband EFTPOS to deliver an integrated solution – making handling EFTPOS payments from within our spftware easier, faster and more accurate than a separate bank supplied terminal.

Our friends at Tyro have put together a free trial offer, to enable retailers to try Tyro for themselves and see the difference offered by Tyro and our smart integration of its benefits within our software. This offer for Tower Systems customers is being more into the Tyro community.

We like Tyro because it helps retailers eliminate keystrokes at the counter, process EFTPOS payments faster and reduce mistakes. Staff love it and this in itself helps the business. The commercial benefits are considerable.

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Retailers will switch to Tower Systems for a fresh approach to shopper loyalty rewards

Two months ago we quietly released new shopper loyalty facilities to a select group of our Point of Sale software beta release sites. The comprehensive data gathered through the trial shows that these new facilities are guiding changes in shopper behaviour, increasing the value of participating shoppers.

While we already offer a more traditional points based loyalty program, we wanted something completely different and genuinely fresh. Our new facilities, to be offered as an option with our software, do just that.

Our customers are able to provide shoppers with a reward to spend in-store right away. They can control the value of the spend and the items it is used to purchase. This is where the new facility is very clever.

Shopper feedback at trial sites indicates that this new loyalty program, as opposed to the traditional points offering, will get got shoppers making a conscious choice to purchase from the business what they may purchase from a supermarket or elsewhere.

The new loyalty facilities are backed up with excellent reporting tools, enabling retailers to manage the program with little time involvement and to track shopper behaviour.

The features of the new facilities are:

  • No shopper sign-up necessary to get them started.
  • Immediate rewards on offer fro first purchase – but accessed on next purchase.
  • Easy local settings available to newsagents to drive what is important to them.
  • No extra card for shoppers to carry.
  • Targets shorter term loyalty engagement – that visit or soon after.
  • Easy management of breakage.
  • A whole of business offer – i.e. not just targeting magazines or cards.
  • Hard for majors to replicate.
  • Easy harvesting of shopper contact details at point of redemption.

Data from beta sites indicates that these new loyalty could be a game changer for our current and future customers, especially in locally competitive situations.

The new facilities are in version 2.5 of our software.  This is expected to be commercially available late next week.

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Thomas Sabo stock files help jeweller software users

Jewellers using our jeweller software now have access to the latest stock file for Thomas Sabo products thanks to the work of our team in testing and ensuring that Thomas Sabo stock data is accurately reported. We have loaded:

  • Thomas Sabo Sterling Silver Collection
  • Thomas Sabo Sweet Diamonds Collection
  • Thomas Sabo Watch Collection

All 3 collections have stock files uploaded with AUD and NZD

The work bringing on the Thomas Sabo file is the latest work completed by Tower Systems for jewellers using its software and continues our commitment to helping jewellers make the most of their software.

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More options for handling newspaper home delivery account payment

Thanks to innovation in our newsagency management software, Tower Systems provides newsagents with a variety of options for handling newspaper account payment.

The options have been developed over years of work with distribution newsagents and navigating publisher driven changes in the management of newspaper customer data.

Using the Tower Systems newsagency management software, newsagents can:

  • Merge runs for distribution efficiency
  • Merge multiple customer databases into one
  • Manage wrapping efficiency
  • Establish a network of payment points – regardless of the software being used
  • Manage bigger groups of sub-agents (100+)
  • Eliminate paper by supporting in-vehicle technology
  • Connect management by enabling easy off site access to the software

When it comes to payment, distribution newsagents can manage this. They can also have any other newsagent collect payments for them anywhere.

Tower Systems currently serves in excess of 1,800 newsagents in a variety of situations including country, city, shopping centre, high street, retail only and delivery only.

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Shortlist of candidates for New Zealand role

It has been hard work but we have finally got to a shortlist of candidates for our New Zealand Business Development Manager role to be based out of Auckland.  We received applications from candidates with excellent skills and experience and have taken time to consider all as we developed our shortlist.

The result is a small pool of candidates with exciting experience and skills.  Next comes the interviews…

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Expert jeweller reports empower jewellers to better business understanding

The Tower Systems jeweller management software provides access to a suite of jeweller-specific reports developed in consultation with jewellers and their business managers. These reports present information the information jewellers want in a format they want.

While our jeweller software includes a host of general retail business performance reports, it is the jeweller specific reports that help jewellers better understand their businesses from their unique retail channel perspective.

What enhances the value of our jeweller software is the continued improvement of the software to serve evolving needs of jewellers. Every few months the software is enhanced without any cost for jewellers covered by the Tower AdvantageTM service.

Whether it is fast seller tracking to location specific performance reporting to repairs management, the jeweller reporting tools better inform jewellers of the performance of their business through data they have identified as being mission critical.

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Newsagency of the Future workshop in Townsville today

Our leadership position in the Australian newsagency channel has been on show over recent months as we have offered free access to our Newsagency of the Future workshop.  This two-hour workshop explores the health of the channel, considers international retail trends and offers newsagents some thoughts on a road ahead.

The workshop has already been attended by hundreds of newsagents, some Tower customers and some not.

The feedback has been wonderful as newsagents have engaged with the suggestions offered during the session. This was certainly a goal from the considerable investment on behalf of newsagents – to get them engaged proactively in their own future.

Tower Systems serves in excess of 1,800 newsagents and provides access to what is judged to be the industry standard newsagency software.

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How much should it cost to purchase a POS system for your retail business?

Purchasing a Point of Sale software system for a retail business should involve a thorough assessment of the costs associated with the system as well as the functionality and suitability for your retail business needs.

Sometimes, sadly, retailers purchase on price, chasing a cheap solution. Buying on price is risky as what is cheap today may not be cheap tomorrow, not when you take into account costs which may not have been disclosed.

Most businesses should be able to purchase a Point of Sale hardware and software solution for a few dollars a day. This is the best way to consider the cost regardless of whether you fund the purchase through leasing or not.

Make sure you find out what these costs and terms are for each system you contemplate:

  1. What is the purchase price of the software and what sort of licence is provided for this. For example, some systems come with a one-year use licence.
  2. What training is included in the price and for what time?
  3. What support is included in the price and for what time?
  4. What software updates are included in the price and for what time?
  5. What will be the on-going software support fee and is this mandatory? Will access to the software be blocked if I do not pay the software support fee?
  6. Are software support charges the same for all users of your software?
  7. If the retail business is sold what is provided to the new owner in terms of training? Is there a transfer fee?

Not all POS software companies charge the same prices and not the same to all customers.

Do your homework and assess the total cost of ownership over three or four years.

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Software support fees can shock a retailer

Here at Tower Systems paying a software support fee is optional. Retailers using our Point of Sale software can rest assured that they can keep using our software regardless of whether they have paid for support coverage or not. This is as it has always been with us.

We believe that one you purchase a Tower Systems software licence you deserve easy access your business data through our software.

This is a point of difference for us in some marketplaces where we have competitors who put barriers between their customers and their own business data if a support fee is not paid. The barrier hinders access through regular software functions in everyday business use.  Why they do it is their business. To us, it does’t make sense. Small business retailers should not be denied access to their business data.

We are proud to have this point of difference and to support our customers with it.

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Sharing retail insights at user meeting tour

We will be sharing some of the retail insights gained over the last two weeks at the Consumer Electronics Show trade show in Las Vegas and the National Retail Federation Conference and Expo in New York.

We had three representatives at these events and will leverage their insights and experiences for the benefit of Tower customers who come to the user meetings.

The insights will also speak to software update plans and some other changes which our customers will see as the tower Systems offer evolves over the course of 2012.

Mixing with retailers and retail experts from around the world tense past two weeks and more thoroughly informed our plans not only for 2012 but beyond. The experience in the US has provided us with valuable insights which we will leverage to a commercial difference not only for our company but for the businesses of those we serve.

Click here to access the list on user meetings and to book online.

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Smartbox adds value to what retailers can sell

The roll out of the Smartbox products to retailers using our Point of Sale software offers added value without the usual cost of inventory.  Retailers are able to sell wonderful experiences for between $100 and $350 and bank excellent margin dollars as a result.  A retail trial in a range of stores delivered excellent sales, proving the value of the opportunity for the Smartbox range of products.  Thanks to the success of the trial, Smartbox products are now available for more retailers to carry.

2011 has been an excellent year of delivering access to additional products to our retail partners.

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The best Point of Sale software sales team going around

We have an experienced team selling and representing our Point of Sale software in the Australian marketplace.  Each team member has excellent technical, business and sales skills.  The work with sales prospects to understand the need and develop quotations which best serve the need.

For professional advice on Point of Sale software for your business contact:

QLD/NT: Rohan Genn – 0434 072 417

NSW/ACT:  Nathan Morrison – 0417 568 148

VIC/TAS: Jonathan Tay – 0403 189 379

SA/WA: Tim Batt – 0401 833 917

Our sales team can deliver on site live demonstrations of our software as well as remote demonstrations.  They will offer transparent pricing outlined in a professional quote document.  This will be backed with documented terms and conditions which are the cornerstone of a professional relationship.

In addition to our sales team, we have skilled local technical resources to manage installation and training.

The size, experience and commitment of our sales team reflects well on the size, strength and commitment of our company.

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Retailers Urged to Prepare Now For 2010/11 Stock Take

stocktake.jpgTower Systems has engaged in a comprehensive education and promotional campaign to drive retailer engagement in accurate stock take practices for their 2010/11 annual stock take.

Retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software and who are part of the valuable Tower Advantage TM program have access to a range of training and assistance opportunities which will ensure that they and their team are fully prepared for the Stock Take process this year.

The best starting point is our training video: A26 Stocktake – Preparation and Practice: What, When, Why and How. This easy to follow video provides essential training to anyone considering undertaking their own Stock take using our software.

The training video fits in an overall package built around the Stock Take process and demonstrates the depth of commitment by Tower Systems to our user community for this mission critical business function.  Combine the video with advice sheets and our line training workshops on Stock take and Tower retailers have plenty of opportunities to go into this busy season fully educated and prepared.

How we approach Stock Takes offers a good comparison opportunity between Tower Systems and other software companies.  Few offer the range of coverage of assistance and learning opportunities that we do.

Click here to see the list of training videos available.

Click here to see the list of advice sheets available.

Click here to see the live training sessions available.

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In a Tough Retail Environment, the Tough Get Going

Yes, retail is tough. The media is full of reports as to just how tough. Smart retailers, however, don;t talk about tough retail conditions for too long.  No, smart retailers prefer to get on with the job of facing up to the conditions and chasing success.

The adage of when the going gets tough the tough get going has been on show around Australia in recent weeks.  In flood and fire affected areas, tough retailers are picking their businesses up and rebuilding.  We have seen this first hand this week when meeting with some of our customers who have been affected.  We have also seen it in responses from retailers to generally tough retail conditions.

Smart retailers embrace the facilities in their Point of Sale software to face up to tough retail conditions and to overcome these.

They face up to the conditions by knowing the truth of their own business performance.  this is best discovered by comparing trading periods on a like for like basis.  For example, comparing January 2011 with January 2010 in the same business.  The truth in the business performance reports will show exactly where the retail business is strong or weak.

They overcome tough retail conditions by developing a plan.   No matter how tough a situation, having a plan is the first step to recovery. Many small steps taken with consistency and across a broad front can turn the business around.

this is where the tough get going, by understanding their particular situation, developing a plan to address this and executing the plan with consistency.

Our Point of Sale software plays a key role by providing accurate business performance data.  Our business experts can play a role in the turnaround by acting as a sounding board for business ideas and even sharing ideas of our own.

Beyond traditional software support, we will gladly help any of our customers better understand their situation and develop a plan for trading through this to greater success.

We have many business experiences of our own and have knowledge of many experiences of our customers on which to draw. We will do this confidentially and with absolute commitment.

We very much believe in the when the going gets tough the tough get going adage and welcome opportunities of working with our customers to help them experience this for themselves.

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GHA members benefit from gift shop software

As the recently announced preferred software supplier to the Gift and Homewares Association, we have put together a special Gift shop software offer for GHA members.  This offer has been communicated by direct mail and other mediums to help gift shop owners access the exclusive to GHA members deal.

Based on our popular gift shop software, GHA members receive and exclusive discount off any other deal we have in the marketplace.  This is for GHA members only.

Using our gift shop software, GHA members can expect to increase sales, reduce operating costs and earn more from each customer contact.  Our software helps bring structure to the gift shop sales and management process.

In addition to the financial reward, we have been working with the GHA and gift shop suppliers to enhance software facilities to better serve the needs of the marketplace.

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Marketing your retail business

Tower Systems’ Point of sale software makes marketing a retail business is easier thanks to many practical and easy to implement facilities including:

  • Loyalty marketing – tracking points or other benefits based on customer purchases.
  • Coupons on receipts - to drive traffic. These can be general for the business or purchase specific.
  • Up-sell scripts – presented during the sale based on the items purchased.
  • Text messages on accounts. Making the account a billboard for the business.
  • Postcode sales tracking.  Knowing where your customers visit from helps you make better marketing decisions.
  • Tracking sales by employee – thereby enabling you to run an employee reward scheme to drive sales growth.
  • SMS marketing – based on customer details, what they have purchased.
  • Email marketing – based on what customers have purchased.
  • Direct mail – with the list created based on purchases.

We see good marketing as process-driven, done without too much labour investment and delivered consistently.  Each of the points noted above deliver this.  We use them ourselves successfully in our own retail businesses.

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Much ado about Swine flu

Our head office is in Melbourne, the Swine Flu capital of the world according to some media outlets.  Outside of the usual number of flu affected people, this year appears no different to others.  I write this morning as a group of us head off to Sydney.  I don’t think we’re carrying the ‘love’ to spread.

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Statement on POS Solutions and Cardplai

Early in 2008, we developed the eziPass platform to provide newsagents an alternative to the collapsing Bill Express for vending phonecards and other electronic vouchers.  We made this available free to all newsagents.  For months, eziPass worked well including on many systems running the POS Solutions software.  Everyone was happy.

Late last year, when POS Solutions in released their version of an electronic voucher platform , an incompatibility emerged between eziPass and the POS Solutions software.  Our software haad not changed.  The “problem” introduced by the update from POS has not been resolved.

POS Solutions used the launch of Cardplai to demonstrate how far they will go to stop their users running any software from us and thereby accessing the benefits delivered through eziPass.  I see their actions over the last few weeks as holding their users to ransom.  They achieved their goal as the folks at Cardplai reversed their original decision to want nothing to do with POS Solutions.

For these reasons, we will no longer install eziPass on systems running POS Solutions software. New products we are to launch on eziPass will only be available to existing eziPass users, all Tower Systems newsagents and selected non POS Solutions locations. This decision serves our existing users well, adds value to the Tower software for newsagents who switch and helps us focus on user platforms we can control.

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