Our TV commercial for newsagents

Here is the TV commercial we have funded for newsagents. It had 97 airings this weekend with the main campaign to commence October 12.

Newsagents- those using our software and others – provided images for the commercial. We are finalising further marketing collateral for newsagents to use to promote this TV campaign.We are pleased to have another opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the newsagent channel and show newsagents why and investment with us supports their business in a variety of ways.

New advice sheets

The following new advice sheets have been written and tested and are now available at our website:

  • G16 – Departments & Categories
  • G19 – Cartons
  • G21 – Import a Supplier Stock File
  • G27.1 – Stock Reordering
  • G27.3 – Stock Reorder Utility

We have also uploaded a revised advice sheet: G27.2 – Order by Sales Utility.

This advice sheet work is part of our commitment to providing timely professional advice to the users of our point of sale software.

Come and walk in our shoes

We welcome any user or prospective user of our software to spend half a day or a day with us at our Head Office in Melbourne – to get a good feel for what happens at Tower Systems behind the scenes. By spending more than an hour or two and by having access to various departments in the business you can gain a better insight into how we operate, what we consider to be important and where our users feature in our thinking.

It is easy for any software company to take someone on a tour of their facility and make the business look solid and good. You can’t fake solid or good if the visit is open and runs for several hours. This is why we make the offer – to show we have nothing to hide and because we are proud of how hard we work every day to deliver on our promises.

If you would like to take us up on this offer, please make contact with our General Manager Gavin Williams.

Friday lunch for Hawthorn tragics

friday_hawks.JPGThe team in our Melbourne office put on a lunch on Friday for the AFL Grand Final but it was more of a roast for Hawthorn tragics from what I hear. In the middle of the photo are Mike and Norman who were very nervous in the 24 hours leading into the game which they won handsomely on Saturday. The Board of the company met in emergency session immediately following the Hawthorn win yesterday and passed a new company regulation banning Hawthorn colours, the theme song or any mention of the game – for the health of the rest of us. These Hawthorn tragics are, well tragic. Tomorrow will be interesting – I am predicting sloppy!

Stock file overhaul

We have completed a complete overhaul of supplier stock files available to run with our software.  These checked and approved stock files are all available at our website.  The project is time consuming because every file is loaded and checked to ensure that it loads into the sofwtare.  This is another free service provided by our team to help make life for our users easier.

Accessing sales data

We have built considerable flexibility into our software for providing sales data to suppliers and marketing groups. Our users can control what data is sent and when. They can also control the level of detail included – for example item level detail versus category level detail. The flexibility is considerable. We have tried to anticipate supplier and marketing group requirement. If the needs go beyond what we cover today, the extent of sales data reporting can be quite easily modified.

We understand that data is king in the retailer / supplier relationship. We also understand that the retailer is our customer. This is why we have invested considerably in creating links which are flexible and which are always controlled by the retailer.

If you are a supplier in the newsagency, jeweller, bike, convenience of gift channels and want to access sales data, please make contact with us and we will help you navigate achieving this.

Driving the shopping basket

Our point of sale sofwtare provides our small business retailer users with a range of tools to measure shopping basket efficiency. Through our variety of views we provide flexibility to our users as to the view which best suits their needs. Shopping basket measurement provides an excellent understanding of the efficiency of any retail business. Of course, the goal is more items in the basket and to the items to be the highest value possible. Understanding basket performance helps any business better train employees to achieve these outcomes.

Basket analysis is one topic we will cover in our forthcoming spring national user tour. Proper use of the tools in our software will help our users build stroner businesses. With economic conditions as they are, retailers need to use every tool possible to drive their businesses.

Our forthcoming basket analysis training is part of our commitment to show how our software can help our users prosper in tough times.

GNS Market Fair Perth

We are exhibiting at the GNS Market Fair in Perth next weekend.  This is another excellent opportunity to connect with our Western Australian customers and to talk with others interested in joining our 1,500 strong newsagent community.  At our stand we will have the latest version of our software on show as well as our Retailer Mobile software.

Return on investment reporting

Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI) is a key measure for any retail business. In small business, however, is is a challenging metric to track accurately. While our software tracks and reports ROI, we rely on discipline within the business to ensure that the data is accurate. Discipline which drives an accurate stock on hand value, cost price, sales for the period analysed.

The old chestnut of garbage in garbage out is true when it comes to data which feeds business reporting. This is why we run many free training opportunities as well as online workshops – to help our users achieve the best quality data possible.

GMROI is one of the topics we will cover in our Spring User Meeting Tour as we seek to better educate our user community to help them drive more valuable outcomes from their software.

Expanding the warehouse

warehouse.JPGWe got access to our new warehouse yesterday.  Simon May our Technical Services Manager, and Gavin Williams, our General Manager, were measuring up for shelving and other fixtures we need to have installed to make the space useful.  The property has three sizeable rooms and includes front and rear access.  That it is three doors from our head Office makes it convenient.  By moving some of our hardware and other bulky items out of our Head Office we free up room for more people and additional training facilities.

While this may seem outside the scope of a software company, hardware and other bulky items play a role in what we do.  Having this extra space means we can separate this back office work from the more traditional office-bound software company work and thereby further improve customer service.

Renovations start Tuesday

We have finalised plans to renovate part of our Head Office to increase office space capacity. The work starts Tuesday October 7. This, coupled with the new 250 square metre warehouse we have leased three doors from our office will provide us with space necessary to handling expansion.

Dubbo user meeting popular

Dubbo is a popular location on our Spring user meeting / free training tour – excellent bookings so far. While other locations are going okay, Dubbo is leading the pack. We have plenty of users in the region. Click here to download the booking form. Any newsagent is most welcome – attending is a great way to check us out and see how we interact with others. There are dates right across the country.

Refreshing approach to Lay-Bys

We close to completing development of a major overhaul of our Lay-By management software. We have consulted widely with our users as well as some customers of our users. The result is a fresh approach to handling Lay-By sales. As we have got further into this project and seen the additional benefits its release will deliver, we have become more excited.

The new Lay-By facilities will be delivered as part of the final update we release later this year. Even though development is almost complete, the quality assurance process and in-field testing mean that we are at least another eight weeks away – we will not release software before it passes a raft of onerous tests which ensure it is retail store ready.

Convenience store software

The convenience store channel is growing rapidly if the numbers we are seeing are anything to go by. New stores opening and existing stores expanding. Some stores are switching from other formats to the convenience model. We are seeing this in the newsagency channel particularly. It appears that Australian consumers are embracing the convenience shopping experience in greater numbers.

We entered the convenience channel recently, at the c-store trade show in Melbourne. A key difference between the convenience and other channels in which we operate is the supplier engagement with technology. Convenience suppliers want technology solutions in-store which feed them accurate data on time. We like this as it drives better business outcomes for the small business owners.

User meeting in Auckland

We are planning a User Meeting in Auckland for October 8 at 10am.  This is the day after the Gift Fair and many of our team will still be in town.  We should have venue details finalised by next week.

Online marketing workshop this week

dsc04181.JPGAt 11am Thursday this week we are hosting a meet the expert session with Andrew Halpern, our Marketing Manager. Andrew will open with some marketing tips and then host a practical workshop on your marketing suggestions and comments. Andrew has a diverse background in marketing and is keen to share ideas with you. We are offering these sessions to help you more directly connect with our most senior people and thereby get more from your software. Participation is free.

Please book by emailing bookings@towersystems.com.au.

The red nose? Andrew was recently at a business dinner with a circus theme, everyone was given a red nose. It says something about Andrew’s commitment that he wholeheartedly embraced the theme.

Business training popular

The business training we provide is now more popular than traditional software use training. While our software training courses and workshops attract excellent and growing numbers, any session on business management where the software is touched on only briefly as a tool is more popular.

Small business owners are looking for ways to achieve more from their businesses and the learning opportunities we provide around this are resoundingly appreciated. They want business management training.

When you think about it, this is what is important to a software company. Not that they make the tool and train you in which button to push to achieve an outcome but that they train you in what you can achieve with the tool and how this knowledge can reap rewards many times the cost of the tool.

This is where our training attention is focused. We are working on training deliverables which are business focused, with a substantially greater business content than ever before.

While there will always be room for computer experts handling software and related training and questions, the most useful investment we can make in the training area is in business management training.

Our mission is to help our retail partners run the best and most successful businesses in their marketplace. Our training is focused on serving that mission.

Busy Sydney Gift Fair

The first day of the Reed Gift Fair in Sydney yesterday was busy, indicating our team is in for a good four days.  As we have found with other gift fairs this year, many newsagents attend so there is double value in being there.

Getting to know you…

nathanm.JPGNathan Morrison has been working with newsagents for more than ten years, first in a software support role and then in sales.  One of Nathan’s skills is to understand the needs of newsagents and other prospective clients with whom he meets.  One way he gets closer to understanding their needs is to socialise.  Over the last couple of days at the newsXpress conference on the Gold Coast Nathan has been working hard.  Yesterday he was at our trade show stand getting thinking about working this weekend at the Reed Gift Fair in Sydney.

It is a pleasure to have opportunities to mix socially with clients and prospective clients such as at industry conferences.  All jokes aside, I am thrilled to have Nathan and others on the team who handle these situations well even if the bright lights the next day can be a challenge.   Nathan was not the only one who worked hard at socialising – but he was the only one who could not stop me takin a photo.

Our Saturday Help Desk

In addition to our usual after hours support coverage, we continue to offer a staffed Help Desk on Saturdays. Each Saturday we process between 30 and 50 calls in the office. By handling calls in the office we are well equipped to more completely investigate an issue since we have our full suite of tools available to us. Those who use the Saturday service tell us they love the service. This is a key reason the trial is now part of our standard help desk offer and another reason people switch to Tower Systems.

While many IT businesses are cutting costs by reducing support services we are fortunate to be able to expand thanks to the support of our growing customer base.

Parasites

It continues to frustrate me that competitors can purchase our business name for a Google AdWords campaign. I had another instance yesterday where someone looking for us ended up speaking with a competitor because a link to their business came up when the prospect entered Tower Systems into the Google search box. It says a lot about a competitor that they try and grow their business by connecting themselves to our brand.

Meet the marketing expert

On Thursday this coming week we are hosting a meet the expert session with Andrew Halpern, our Marketing Manager.  Andrew will open with some marketing tips and then host a practical workshop on your marketing suggestions and comments.  Andrew has a diverse background in marketing and is keen to share ideas with you.  We are offering these sessions to help you more directly connect with our most senior people and thereby get more from your software.  Participation is free.  Please book by emailing bookings@towersystems.com.au.

Auckland Gift Fair

We have finalised our plans to exhibit our Gift Shop software at the Gift Fair in Auckland on October 5 through 7.  We will have sales and technical people on had to demonstrate our software, meet with existing users and meet with local suppliers.  The fair also provides an opportunity for us to share knowledge with our own New Zealand based team.

The Auckland Gift Fair will cap off a very busy trade show year for us, the busiest in our 27 year history.  While we will enjoy the break from the travel and organisational schedule, I am sure some of us will miss the buzz which comes from a good trade show.

Eftpos link continues to build popularity

Our refreshed Eftpos link, launched earlier this year, continues to gain popularity.  More of our users are switching from stand along bank terminals to the integrated units – connecting to banks or Tyro. 

Speaking from personal experience with the Fftpos link in my own retail businesses, this integrated solution is better for several reasons.

  • Fewer mistakes.  Less keystrokes = fewer mistakes.
  • Faster.  No leaving the register to go to a separate terminal.
  • Easier balancing. Duplication is eliminated.
  • Less theft.  By eliminating a separate device there is less opportunity for employee fraud.

Part of our mission is to improve efficiency for our users.  The Eftpos link drives significantly greater efficiency – easily providing a good return on the small investment.

Launching Ezi Pay payment facilities

The update we are about to release makes the Ezi Pay payment facilities available to our users exclusively. The Ezi Pay service enables a hassle free payment method for payment of customer accounts held by businesses using our software. It cuts paperwork, saves time and makes doing business with your business easier – key goals for enhancements we deliver in our software.

Our agreement with Ezi Pay gives us exclusive access to this service in our markets and thereby offers another important point of difference for Tower Systems.