Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Thank you for shopping local

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We are proud to support local communities

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More POS software connected Shopify sites live

We are grateful for the opportunity to deliver more POS software connected Shopify websites to our community of indie small business retailers. Our work has continued apace through the Aussie summer, bring more sites live and helping retailers to leverage the online opportunity.

While we have skills with PHP development as well as WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify, it is our Shopify work that is delivering terrific rapid results for indie retailers.

From pet shops, to jewellers, to garden centres to produce businesses to gift shops and more, our POS software connected Shopify sites are delivering solutions to our retail business partners that they leverage into new shopper traffic opportunities. At core here is our focus to help our customers make more money, to make their businesses more valuable.

The Tower Systems web development team is skilled in WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify. The company has plenty of sites it can show in a live portfolio of successful e-commerce sites, serving shoppers in Australia and internationally.

Small business retailers can benefit from the retail management experience at Tower Systems experience that helps deliver a more retail focussed solution.

The Tower web team is also skilled at SEO and SEM services that help raise the website rankings in key search engines, ensuring the site is found ahead of others.

But best of all, Tower Systems provides professional advice and guidance to small business retailers keen to build their online presence. Our commitment is honest transparent advice on which any small business retailer can rely.

Shopify is one of the easiest ways to setup and run an ecommerce store.  We think it provides you with the ideal place to create you first website and gain experience in the world of ecommerce.  You have complete control over the look and feel of your online store and can instant access fantastic look themes to reflect the personality of your business. For more information visit

The Retailer POS software to Shopify Link uses the Tower Advantage Link platform to allow our Retailer POS software to connect directly to your Shopify store.  The Tower Advantage Link platform is a subscription-based service that acts as an intermediary between Retailer and the Shopify API.

The link works by using the Tower platform platform to connect to the Shopify API and synchronise your data.

Retailer is your master stock database.  You flag what stock items you want to appear on your shopify store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as your titles and descriptions in Shopify. Newly flagged products are automatically added and if you edit items in Retailer you have field level control over how these are handled in Shopify.

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Tower Systems produce business POS software at the AIRR trade show last weekend

We are grateful to the folks at AIRR for the opportunity to be at their trade show last weekend, to pitch our POS software, especially our produce and farm supply business POS software.

When it comes to produce business POS software, we are specialists, serving a range of businesses in this space including many AIRR members. We are established and our software is proven, serving their specialty business and accounting needs well. This is in part thanks to wonderful support from our customers, who are giving of their time and insights to help us create better software.

From the delivery trucks to the back shed to the counter to anywhere, our produce and farm supply business management software is robust and capable, serving needs that are diverse and business critical.

The produce business specialty software we offer today is different to what we offered last year. Today’s software has new features, plenty created just for produce  and farm supply businesses.

Produce businesses need produce business software.

  • Produce store specialty POS software does more.
  • Produce store specialty POS software delivers more benefits.
  • Produce store specialty POS software saves more time.
  • Produce store specialty POS software cuts more mistakes.
  • Produce store specialty POS software supports what is different in your business compared to everyday retail.

Last year, we updated our software to include: Pending Invoice Processing – allowing stock to be invoiced in prior to physical invoice being received from the supplier; Extensive Freight Processing – allowing Freight Invoices to be processed with much great clarity and control; Variants (Colour, Size & Style); Supplier Ordering Improvements to better handle Order Numbers from suppliers and back order processing; Bulk Price Changes expanded for more control and ease of use.

We have released  new Accounts Management tools, a complete reengineering of our customer accounts facilities – easier to use, more flexible, an accounting solution accountants and bookkeepers will love. These new tools go way beyond everyday POS software. They will be a real treat for produce businesses that run customer accounts.

These produce business specific enhancements have been delivered to customers as part of our structured, texted, software update process.

We appreciate there are cheaper solutions out there, non-produce business specific solutions. As with most things in the world, you get what you pay for. We would love to show you the produce business specific facilities in our software and let you see, first hand, the extraordinary investment we have made and are making for businesses like yours.

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Australian newsagents prefer our POS software over any other

Recently, independently verified, Tower Systems serves more newsagents with newsagency POS software than any other POS software company.

While the newsagency channel has challenges, there is plenty of good news … growth stories, transformations, good wins and new owners.

This is a retail channel in the midst of extraordinary opportunistic transformation.

Switching your business to the industry standard Tower Systems newsagency software is not expensive. If you have current hardware, the cost can be as low as $2,400 a year thanks to interest free finance from us for 3 years.

11 more newsagents chose the Tower Systems software in the last 3 months. We are grateful for their support of our newsagency software. We serve more than 1,750 newsagency businesses.

We help newsagents evolve their businesses into new products, through awesome loyalty tools and online.

We offer low low EFTPOS rate. One newsagent is $200.00 a month better off while another, in regional Australia, is more than $250.00 a month better off.

We continue to own and operate newsagency businesses ourselves and have done since 1996. This helps us make better software for you.

  • Compliant with industry standards, using our software you can meet criteria for getting onto the no physical returns program with Ovato.
  • Electronic invoices are a breeze.
  • Selling online is easy and sell more regardless of your local population.
  • Offer buy now pay later with Humm, Zip Pay.
  • Our innovative front-end loyalty facilities help you differentiate your business, drive deeper baskets and bring shoppers back sooner.
  • Training long after you install is easy to access and free.

Our software can work with you as you evolve your product mix. Whether it is into hospitality, services, produce, repairs, online or more, our software has facilities that help make your business more relevant to today’s shopper.

Integrations can also help you cut operating costs, such as bookkeeping fees. We can help you eliminate double and triple handling. We link direct to Xero, for example.

Switching is not expensive. Included is …

  • The latest Tower Systems newsagency software.
  • On-site installation and training by a newsagency business expert.
  • Data conversion, converting as much data as we can access.
  • Software support for the first three years. Nothing extra to pay.
  • Software updates for the first three years. Nothing extra to pay.
  • Unlimited over the phone follow up training for the first three years.
  • Access to an awesome online knowledge base with articles & advice.
  • Access to weekly group live online training workshops.
  • Access to a private Facebook page where you can discuss any topic.

Tower Systems is grateful to the many newsagents in its community.

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Bait and Tackle POS software helps local retailers serve

The Bait and Tackle POS software from Tower Systems is purpose made POS software for these specific retail businesses.

Bait and Tackle businesses have some unique needs when it comes to business software, needs that are usually not met with traditional POS software, needs through which they can grow their businesses.

This Bait and Tackle POS software from Tower Systems is proudly and locally made for them. We are grateful to our user community in this retail channel for their encouragement and advice in enhancing the software.

Here are some of the benefits of the Tower Systems Bait and Tackle software.

  • Advise local fishing conditions on receipts.
  • Share local fishing related knowledge on receipts.
  • Include locally tailored product knowledge with product details on receipts.
  • Differentiate with bundles. Selling items bundled together makes price comparison hard. For example, a rod and reel kit ready to go.
  • Sell accurately by measure – by whole numbers or sell by weight.
  • Special orders. Bring product in for a specific customer and have them notified automatically by email or text when the goods are in and ready.
  • Time saving invoicing and account management – manage accounts in a way tailored to your You can easily account for freight, produce picking slips, manage accounts, feed data to Xero and MYOB and do more.
  • Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd. Have customers coming back to you for this.
  • Trade pricing profiles. You can set pricing rules based on types of customers.
  • Pre-orders – We make it easy for you to pre-sell a delivery so that when the stock arrives you can manage distribution and billing efficiently.
  • Bagging up product – Easily manage bagging up a bulk delivery into smaller, saleable lots, while keeping accurate stock on hand data.
  • Making your own product mix. We help you track managing bulk quantity ingredients and mixing these into saleable packs of your own brand of seed mix. What an awesome point of difference for your business.
  • Market to customers based on past purchases.
  • Save time by importing electronic invoices.
  • Sell more with a direct connect to buy now pay later services.
  • Cut mistakes with integrated EFTPOS.
  • Cut accounting and bookkeeping fees with integration to Xero and others.
  • Easily sell online with a direct to Shopify / Magento or WooCommerce link from your POS software.

Local Bait and Tackle shops can depend on this solution from Tower Systems to continue to evolve to the needs of the marketplace.

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Time for action by indie retailers on shop local since lazy social medias posts don’t cut through

Social media pitches from small business retailers calling for people to shop local tend to be tiresome clichés, serving the needs of those who post rather than those they want to reach.

Too often you can see a business calling for people to shop local not shopping local themselves.

For me, the shop local issue comes down to the adage of actions speak louder than words.

In these early months of 2020, on the back of an awful bushfire season, sustained rounds, now, floods, and the coronavirus, shop local management is important and timely. I say management because that has to be our focus.

  • Wherever possible, source products made locally where locally can mean in the local community, within the state or territory or at least within Australia. This is hard but rewarding work.
  • Source the services your business uses locally, at least within Australia. Just because a company has a local rep it does not mean they are local. Ask.
  • Focus any giving locally.
  • Systemise your local engagement. On receipts, show locally made items. Have tis information shared with shoppers automatically.
  • In store, indicate Australian made and locally made with curated displays that pitch this.
  • On social media, talk about your support for local groups and why. Don’t be oh look at how good we are. Rather, be grateful about finding local products and appreciating customer support for them.
  • Use your loyalty program to support local charities where shoppers have the opportunity of donating the loyalty reward they have earned to a local charity you partner with. In my own Tower Systems POS software this is easy. I have used it my own businesses with success.
  • Use local music play lists.
  • Leverage local talent for music out the front of your store in physically appropriate.

This is all about being patriotic without being a show off, without being a hollow bell. You strengthening your local engagement strengthens the local economy and all businesses (and people) in the local economy benefit from that.

Where this all starts is with your next buying decision of products or services. Ask the question. Be sure of where the dollar you spend goes.  This is more valuable and useful than posting lazily on social media calling for people to shop local.

Asking people to shop with you is not enough of itself. You need to demonstrate that you are living and acting locally.

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Thank you for shopping local

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Our POS software TV commercial

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Happy love day

Here is some art from us created for the newsXpress retailers celebrating today, love day.

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We are Tower Systems, an Aussie POS software co success story

Tower Systems is an Australian software company that develops, sells and supports POS software for selected specialty marketplaces including pet and produce businesses.

We only serve independent retail businesses.

Our mission is to help retailers run more successful businesses. Our definition of success is a business that is making money, where the owners and employees enjoy what they do and where suppliers enjoy transacting.

Good software can play an important role in nurturing business success as it sits at the heart of the business: transacting sales, managing stock, tracking customer activity and shining a light on business opportunities.

What makes us different is how we engage. We go beyond what is traditional software company.

  • We welcome working with your suppliers to create data links that save you and them time, data links that improve data accuracy, data links that feed more accurate business reports.
  • We provide business insights based on data cultivated through the software – to business owners who ask. This is a free service.
  • Our help desk provides context for advice. Rather than the turn it off and turn it on advice, our help desk team members explain the why, why from a business perspective the advice they are providing matters.
  • Our software updates contain enhancements suggested and voted on by customers. You can have a direct say in the evolution of the software.
  • Our communication is in plain English. While we are a company of IT geeks, when talking with customers we keep it simple. We know technology scares people. We don’t want it to scare our customers.
  • We are accessible. You get to talk with real people all the time, including our leadership team.

At a store level, here are some of the benefits you can expect from using the Tower Systems software in your business:

  • Fast, accurate selling.
  • Easy management of customer accounts.
  • Identifying of shopper and employee theft.
  • Tracking of stock movement.
  • Handling of customer loyalty – points and discounts.
  • Easy reordering based on sales.
  • Easy handling of multiple price levels for items.
  • Easy handling of multiple sale pack sizes (or volumes) per product.
  • Seamless transfer of sales and invoice data to Xero or MYOB.
  • Easy performance reporting comparing trading periods, supplier performance and other key business performance metrics.
  • Security over business data.
  • Security over business settings blocking changes that could compromise the business.
  • Peace of mind thanks to consistent processes established through the software for managing stock, customers and other aspects of the business.
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Fishing shop POS software helps serve small business retailers

The Aussie developed and supported fishing shop POS software from Tower Systems offers benefits specifically tailored for local fishing and outdoors retailers.

Constantly evolving, this specialty business POS software is a genuine solution for these locally owned and independent retail businesses that serve people who love fishing.

This POS software is rare software too as it is for fishing shops, made just for them, enhanced based on their suggestions and committees to helping them serve their local community.

  • Leverage you and your team. What you know is a differentiator for your business. Leverage this. Include local fishing information on receipts with consistency and automatically.
  • Sell accurately by measure – by whole numbers or
  • Easily sell by weight.
  • Sell by bundles / packs – Sell a rod / reel / line bundle easily. This makes it harder to price compare. It pitches you as offering value.
  • Unpack bundles – You can take bundles and packs purchased from a supplier and break them down to single products, maximising return.
  • Repairs & Job Tracking – Manage repairs, track progress in house or with third parties and notify customers by text when items are ready.
  • Stock Notes – Easily add care as well as local use instructions to any receipt, based on the product purchased.
  • Catalogue Management– run promotions through the system for automatic pricing (ie multi-buys and catalogue items) (buy any 3 lures for $10 or further discounts when purchasing bigger qty’s of bait).
  • Encourage a deeper basket. Use a loyalty program designed specifically to leverage one-time shoppers.
  • Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd. Have customers coming back to you for this.
  • Special orders. Bring product in for a specific customer and have them notified automatically by email or text when the goods are in and ready.
  • Trade pricing profiles. You can set pricing rules based on types of customers.
  • Pre-orders – We make it easy for you to pre-sell a delivery so that when the stock arrives you can manage distribution and billing efficiently.
  • Save time by importing electronic invoices.
  • Sell more with a direct connect to buy now pay later services.
  • Cut mistakes with integrated EFTPOS.
  • Cut accounting and bookkeeping fees with integration to Xero and others.
  • Easily sell online with a direct to Shopify / Magento or WooCommerce link from your POS software.

Fishing shops are unique businesses, they are specialty businesses. It stands to reason that their needs are well served by software specific to their needs. That is where the Tower Systems fishing shop software serves well.

You can rent this fishing shop software for $185.00 a month. For this you get…

  1. Australian developed and supported fishing & outdoor POS software.
  2. Software updates as we release them.
  3. Unlimited licences for as many computers as you need.
  4. Shopify / Magento / Woo link. Easily sell online from your POS software.
  5. Xero link. Easing bookkeeping costs and streamlining accounting.
  6. Tyro link – safe, fast and easy EFTPOS link for streamlined sales.
  7. Easy buy now pay later thanks to Zip Pay and Humm.
  8. Support – help desk access, unlimited training, updates and more.
  9. User documentation. Access to our searchable knowledge base.
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Produce and farm supply business POS software helps support farmers and rural communities

In times of drought especially, local produce and farm supply businesses play a vital rollin community service, helping to keep farms viable and operating. They are cornerstones of local communities.

Here at Tower Systems we are grateful to be able to support local and independent produce and farm supply businesses. Through our software and through our support services.

Our produce and farm supply POS software, which is made locally, helps rural supply / farm supply / produce businesses with efficient service and support of local farms and community groups. Through purpose-built inventory management, efficient shipping, produce use notes and more, this software helps businesses serve local needs for local conditions.

The software helps you serve your local community.

The most recent update to this produce business POS software delivers produce business specific accounting solutions to serve the unique and demanding needs of these businesses to better and more accurately account for shipping and related business costs.

Embedded in the produce business POS software from Tower Systems are many benefits, including…

  1. Sell accurately by measure – by whole numbers orfractions.
  2. Sell by weight.
  3. Special orders. Bring product in for a specific customer and have them notified automatically by email or text when the goods are in and ready.
  4. Time saving invoicing and account management – manage accounts in a way tailored to yourbusiness. You can easily account for freight, produce picking slips, manage accounts, feed data to Xero and MYOB and do more.
  5. Be accurate with all-weather product labels.
  6. Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd. Have customers coming back to youfor this.
  7. Trade pricing profiles. You can set pricing rules based on types of customers.
  8. Pre-orders – We make it easy for you to pre-sell a delivery so that when the stock arrives you can manage distribution and billing efficiently.
  9. Bagging up feed – Easily manage bagging up a bulk feed delivery into smaller, saleable lots, while keeping accurate stock on hand data.
  10. Making your own feed mix. We help you track managing bulk quantity ingredients and mixing these into saleable packs of your own brand of seed mix. What an awesome point of difference for your business!
  11. Differentiate with informative receipts. These can include care, use and safety information based on what customers buy.
  12. Differentiate with bundles. Selling items bundled together makes price comparison hard.
  13. Market to customers based on past purchases.
  14. Save time by importing electronic invoices.
  15. Sell more with a direct connect to buy now pay later services.
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Advice from our POS software co. on how local retail businesses can be more local

Being local in retail is more important in 2020 than ever.  The challenge is how to be local authentically.

Local can mean different things to different people – it does not necessarily mean proximity. Being local could be about the level of care and attention you provide customers, the additional advice you provide, that you live locally, that you source locally or that you serve the local community personally. It can also be about locally sourced products.

Locally sourced products could be products made anywhere in Australia. For example, detailing where a product is made and the family behind it pitches local compared to a similar product imported from overseas. The narrative matters as it plays into local.

Small business retailers can use the retail POS software from Tower Systems to pitch local in a range of ways:

  1. Include notes on receipts. Add product care instructions, use instructions or other useful information automatically on receipts – making your receipt a useful information platform.
  2. Tell people where you source products. For a product made by a family or small business in Australia, include details on the receipt. Shine a light on this local product – provide extra information so your shoppers can feel more locally connected.
  3. Include a SHOP LOCAL pitch. Add an image of a poster or some other promotion of the benefits of shop local to every receipt, reinforcing the value of shopping local. Tower Systems has images you can use for free – in the downloads section of our website.
  4. Thank your customers. Include text personally thanking customers shopping with you. Put our name to the message. Include your mobile. Big businesses do not do this.
  5. Track local product sales. Be aware of suppliers of locally made products and report on the performance of these through various reporting tools.
  6. Thanks for shopping local vouchers. You can use the discount voucher facilities in the software and call them Thanks for shopping local or Local shopping reward. This reinforces a value for shopping with a local business – offering $$ discount off the next purchase based on rules you establish.

It is not enough to tell people to shop local, you need to demonstrate the value of this, you need to live it transactionally in your retail business. The best way to do this is through systems and processes in your POS software.

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We are proud to support local small business retailers

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We test our POS software rigorously, for you

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Newsagency sales benchmark study results

We are grateful to all the newsagents who shares their sales data for inclusion in this important benchmark study.

Growth opportunities on show in 2019 vs. 2018 full year newsagency sales benchmark study results.

SUMMARY
Newsagency businesses in the benchmark study data pool focussed on new traffic generators fared well in 2019 compared to the performance of traditional newsagency businesses. 4 of the 5 traditional categories experienced year on year declines while all of the new product categories delivered growth.

Newsagencies focussed on change through new product categories are the future of the channel. New product categories usually offer a significantly better margin, better sell-through rate and better basket efficiency compared to traditional newsagency lines.

New product categories will evolve, too. What is strong today will be challenged by another category tomorrow. Change, substantial change is the new normal in retail.

THE DATASET
This newsagency sales benchmark study represents a comparison of sales data from 161 newsagency businesses for the 2018 and 2019 calendar years. These businesses are representative: city and country, high street and mall, banner groups and independent. The only thing connecting the businesses is that they use the Tower newsagency software. Note: Each data point below is the average, mean, of all data for the data point.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE METRICS.

  • Transaction count. Down 3.5%.
  • Sales revenue. Down 5%.
  • Basket depth. Down 3%.
  • Basket dollar value. Down 3%.

CORE PRODUCTS.

  • Newspapers. Over the counter unit sales. Down 10.5%.
  • Magazines. Over the counter unit sales. Down 12.5%.
  • Greeting cards. Revenue. Down 3.5%.
  • Stationery. Revenue. Down 9%.
  • Lotteries. Revenue. Up 23%.
  • Tobacco. Revenue. Down 19%.
  • Agency. Parcels, gift cards, betting account top-up. Down 4%.

SPECIALTY PRODUCTS.

  • Gifts. Revenue. Up 11%.
  • Toys. Revenue. Up 7%. Includes puzzles.
  • Plush. Revenue. Up 6%.
  • Collectibles. Revenue. Up 5%.
  • Craft. Revenue. Up 3%.
  • Coffee. Revenue. Up 17%.
  • Books. Revenue. Up 6%.
  • Calendars. Revenue. Up 6%.

Despite there being plenty of bad news at the department and category level, this latest study reveals plenty of good news. It encourages confidence around pursuing change, embracing new product categories and leveraging these to help redefine the focus of the business.

While the newsagency shingle remains for many businesses in our channel, movement away from what that shingle has stood for is key to the future.

Print media is a problem.
With margins slim – 25% for magazines and around 12% for papers for many – the impact of the continuing decline in sales is significant. The only to make papers and magazines work is to reduce costs associated switch carrying these products – retail space and labour. Changes here can encourage further decline. This is why more newsagents are wondering when they might quit print.

Unless there is a change to margin percentage and an improvement in magazine cover prices, I suspect more in newsagents will exit print, unfortunately.

The growth categories.
Looking at the product categories for which there was growth – gifts, toys, plush, collectibles, craft, coffee – less than half the businesses in the dataset offered more than two of these. Even with the easy category of gift, more than a 25% of those reporting do not offer gifts, which shocks me.

City vs. Country.
Regional and rural businesses continue to perform better. This is across the board. It has always been thus. I think this is due in part to a lower retail space cost, stronger local shopper support and less competition.

Upside opportunities.
Toys, crafts, coffee, gifts, books and plush offer upside, as has been the case for several years. The best success comes from dealing with suppliers who do not usually supply the newsagency channel. That said, what each of these category labels mean varies significantly between businesses.

The role of online.
While there has been growth in the contribution of online, in an average business it accounts for less than 4% of non lottery revenue. There are some achieving more than 10% but they are small in number. Too many newsagents and missing out on the online opportunity.

Is a newsagency a good investment? 
My answer to this question continues to be yes. There is traffic value remaining in core products and opportunity to leverage this in other product categories.

The success of any newsagency business is more reliant on the retailer than on the channel itself. A poor retailer will run a poor newsagency. A good retailer will run a more successful newsagency.

New traffic, better margin, genuine growth in business valuations all come from focussing on products not recently traditionally aligned with our channel.

I own three newsagencies. I am glad I do. I am pleased with their performance.

Mark Fletcher.
Email: mark@towersystems.com.au  Website: www.towersystems.com.au  Blog: www.newsagencyblog.com.au
M | 0418 321 338

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Advice from our POS software co. for small business retailers on reducing the opportunity of a ransomware attack

Ransomware / malware can come in many forms. Every computer connected to a network in any way is at risk.

There is no guaranteed protection but there are important steps to take. This advice provides advice designed to reduce the risk to your business.

A ransomware attack is where money is demanded to unlock your computer. Often, the computer is not unlocked even after a payment is made.

You can reduce the opportunity of being hit by an attack by taking care with emails. If you are not sure of the sender, ignore the email. Tell everyone who has access to your email. Lay out your ground rules and demand discipline.

Here is our best-practice advice to protect against Ransomware:

  1. Ensure you use professional, up to date, virus protection.
  2. Ensure you have a good firewall with strong settings.
  3. Do not click on emails or attachments unless you are sure of the sender.
    1. Be particularly wary of ZIP files in emails.
    2. The ATO will not email you.
    3. Your bank will not email you.
    4. Australia Post will not email you, not like the example I have posted.
  4. Ensure all passwords you use are strong.
  5. Consider using an email filtering facility.
  6. Do not allow remote access to your computer unless you are certain of the person accessing.
  7. Ensure you have strong passwords. A strong password should include: some CAPS, some numbers and at least one special character. Check your password at: https://howsecureismypassword.net
  8. Change your password regularly.
  9. Run an up to date operating system.
  10. Have rules on computer use: no games, no online gambling, no porn, no personal emails.
  11. Have an overarching rule: do not open any email or go to any website unless you are certain.
  12. Use a cloud backup service like the Tower backup service. This provides the fastest recovery.
  13. Have multiple backup devices for additional protection.
  14. Do not use automatic file replication programs / facilities such as Dropbox or Google Drive. If a file is encrypted with malware / ransomware it will upload to the account and infect other files.

Most ransomware attacks can be avoided by careful scrutiny of your emails and websites you visit.

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Advice from our POS software company for small business retailers facing a cashflow challenge

We are asked regularly for business advice by small business retailers. It comes with the territory of being a small business focussed POS software company. It also comes with us owning and running retail businesses ourselves.

We draw on 0ur own experiences as well of those we serve in providing advice.

A question we have had recently is about how yo manage a cashflow challenge in a small retail business, a tough challenge, one that could end the business. Here is our overall advice for that situation:

The common approach we have seen from business owners is to hide from those to whom you owe money. That only serves to harm your business and put you under more pressure. It is not a smart move.

  1. Understand the problem. Know if it is short term or long term. Be certain about the role you have played. If you don’t understand the problem your fix may be inappropriate.
  2. Own the problem. It is personal. It is about leadership. Fixing this is on you.
  3. Develop a plan and document it succinctly:
    1. To borrow if appropriate.
    2. To put more of your own money into the business.
    3. To cut overheads: labour, rent.
    4. To convert more stock to cash.
    5. Work our what free cash you have availabke from your weekly trading.
    6. Ensure all creditors receive payments, no matter h0ow small. Regular payments reflect your commitment to goodwill. They also show you are not playing favourites.
  4. Talk to your creditors, apologise, outline your plan, ask for help.
  5. Act. Every decision, every action you take must work to addressing the cashflow challenge. If you have created a plan(point 3 above) act on it immediately. This is not a time to overthink things.
  6. Invest. If your cashflow challenge is because of a decline in traffic, not spending money chasing traffic will only make the problem worse.

If your cashflow challenge is more serious than a short to medium term plan could resolve it could be that your business is insolvent.

Company directors have a legal obligation to not allow their businesses to trade while insolvent.

Many have been in this situation. You can come out the other side by acting sooner, with commitment and with transparency to your creditors.

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Why businesses should be carful about using offshore web developers

Web developers have no professional standard to meet to be able to call themselves that. Web developer companies have no obligation to say where the actual tech work is done.

In Australia right now there are plenty of businesses selling web development skills where the work itself is done overseas, in India, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. While we do not begrudge people in these countries seeking work, there are challenges with offshore web development beyond the loss of local jobs.

Offshore developers understand local Aussie business practices less. We have seen situations where they struggle to create commercial useful websites because oif their lack of understanding. There are terminology missteps as well as cultural challenges.

Small business retailers want people to shop locally. One way to help drive that is for these local small businesses to shop locally as much as possible.

We helped a small business retailer who engaged what they thought were a local Australian web development company. In fact, they engaged a local company for sure, which was a front for an offshore developer.

We were brought in because the website delivered was broken, not working and not to the requirements of the business. The paperwork signed, in the fine print, showed that the local business the small business owner they thought they were contracting was in fact a sales agent with no contractual responsibility.

If a web development proposal is cheap it is probably cheap because of corners being cut. Offshore developers cost significantly less than Australian developers. There is a reason for this,. This is what we say to small business retailers – beware, be careful, m understand what you are buying, understand for sure what the outcomes will be.

Here at Tower Systems we take web development seriously. We offer a 100% local service backed up by local support. We understand retail. Especially the type of retail channels in which we service. We have many websites we can share as reference sites, showing the wonderful commercial outcomes we have delivered to our customers.

Our POS software integrated websites serve a single inventory database between physical store and online store.

The Tower Systems web development team is skilled in WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify. The company has plenty of sites it can show in a live portfolio of successful e-commerce sites, serving shoppers in Australia and internationally.

But best of all, Tower Systems provides professional advice and guidance to small business retailers keen to build their online presence. Our commitment is honest transparent advice on which any small business retailer can rely.

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Scale integrated POS software helps small business retailers sell by weight

Tower Systems has offered federal government approved POS software scale integration for several years. This makes it faster, easier and more accurate to sell products by weight.

Pet shops, price businesses, farm supply businesses, toy shops, garden centres and fishing shops are some of the types of businesses that use scale integrated POS software for easier and more accurate selling.

Scale integration makes sense for these businesses. It’s smart for the business, smart for the customer and smart for the suppliers of products to the business. Data accuracy is key these days and scale integration facilitates data accuracy.

We have plenty of indie retail customers using our tools to sell easily, accurately and seamlessly, through their scale integrated POS software.

The authorised and government approved integration of scales with the Tower Systems POS software enables us to deliver a beautiful solution to small business and independent retailers in many situations.

Our Tower Systems POS software talks with the scales, reducing the opportunity for data entry mistakes, making the sales process faster and delivering business outcomes that enable small business retailers to benefit.

Delivered years ago and maintained since, our POS software scale integration is a fine solution for retailers that sell products by weight: candy stores, pet stores, produce businesses, garden centres, butchers, supermarkets and more. We can connect scales to the POS and enable sales by weight. It is easy and fast.

Any retail business selling products by weight can rely on our scales integration for fast and accurate selling at the counter or anywhere in this business.

Although there are alternatives to selling by weight such as splitting and pre-packing stock and double-typing prices at the counter, these methods waste keystrokes and time while increasing the risk of avoidable data entry mistakes that can impact a business  bottom line.

We work with each of our customers to deliver a solution tailored through settings and other opportunities to serve the needs of the business. Our experience over the years from our extensive work on POS software scale integration has enabled us to provide a flexible and valued solution to our customers in this area.

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You don’t need to be a super person to use our indie small business retail POS software

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We believe in indie small business retail

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POS software

POS software is Point Of Sale software. That is, software that a retailer operates at the point of sale, or point of purchase, at the counter, where the cash register used to be.

The thing is, today, in January 2020, POS software is much more than Point Of Sale software. Good software that is. Good, current, smart POS software is about much more than the point of purchase. It is about helping business owners and people who work in retail to better serve customers and through this to earn more business through which the business becomes more valuable.

That is the definition of Point Of Sale software today, in January 2020.

The Tower Systems POS software is smart POS software, portable POS software, shop local focussed POS software.

Accessible from the cloud, the Tower Systems small business POS software helps indie small business retailers compete with big business. It leverages the point of difference of each small business, serving these to the benefit of the businesses using the software.

In addition to the in-store cloud based or desktop versions of the software is Retailer Roam, a truly portent POS software solution that can run anywhere, any time – from a car or truck, a market, a garage or a pop up store.

So, as you can see, the definition of POS software is evolving, just as retail itself is evolving. The inshore and online experiences are merging. Our software serves this from web sales to in store sales to fulfilment to genuine omnichannel solutions. This is what retail needs to offer today.

In 2020, small business retailers want POS software that is flexible, adaptable and capable of helping the businesses better connect locally in ways that are relevant. This is where Tower Systems shines. Sine we only sell, rent or lease our POS software to indie small businesses our retail community is populated with retailers with the local community focus that is differentiating. This helps us help our customers, especially new customers, to serve authentically and deeply.

Good POS software does not stand still. It does evolve. Through regular software updates, Tower systems demonstrates this evolution. We are grateful to our many customers for their suggestions as they offer us a pathway for the continuous evolution of our POS software.

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Helping small business retailers cut employee theft in 2020

Employee theft can be a high cost to indie small business retailers. Different studies in Australia and elsewhere coupled with our own knowledge of theft in indie small business retail indicates that employee theft costs a business around 75% of the total cost of theft.

The quantum of  employee theft is often under considered by small business retailers. We think  this is because of denial. However, given that the amount that can be taken in one hit or in micro amounts over a long period of time can be considerable once toted up.

Employee theft can be traced and as a result of this stopped. Our small business PO software helps retailers do this. We back the theft mitigation facilities in our software with training, advice and even data analysis to uncover possible instances of theft that may have hitherto gone undetected.

We also support our work on employee and customer theft in retail with support and advice to help deal with theft situations once they are uncovered. We do this because we are retailers ourselves and have personal experience dealing with this, experience through which we hope our customers can benefit.

Here is some of the small business retail theft mitigation advice from our POS software retail experienced team:

  1. Track your stock. Receive all stock into your business through your computer system so you know exactly what sock you have.
  2. Scan everything you sell.  Do not use department keys as this makes it easier for employees to steal since they know there is no trackback to stock on hand. Using department keys is an invitation to steal.
  3. Track every sale by employees. Give your employees a card with a unique barcode or have them enter a code – to track every sale they make back to them. Change the code every six months or so.
  4. Do your end of shift through your software and have a zero-tolerance policy on being over or under. Reconcile banking to your computer software end of shift. One business where this was not done was being skimmed regularly for $200 a day.
  5. Do spot cash balancing. Unexpected checks can uncover surprises. One retailer needing to do a banking during the day uncovered a $350 discrepancy that lead to discovery of systematic theft.
  6. Change your roster. Sometimes people work together to steal. One retailer found a family friend senior and their teenage daughter stealing consistently.
  7. Setup a theft policy.Put this on a noticeboard in the back room. Get staff to read it and sign up to it. See the last page of this advice.
  8. Keep the counter clean. An organised counter reduces the opportunity for theft. It makes detection easier.
  9. Have a no employee bags at the counter policy. This makes it harder for them to hide your cash.
  10. Beware employees who carry folded paper or small notepads. These can be used for them to keep track of how much cash is in the register that is theirs – i.e. not rung up in the software.
  11. Advise all job applicants that you will require their permission for a police check. From the outset this indicates that you take your business seriously. In many situations applicants who have been asked for permission to do a police check advise they have found a job elsewhere.
  12. Do not take cash out for your own use in front of employees. If they see you take cash for a coffee or lunch some will see this as an invitation.
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