Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: January 2009 (page 1 of 3)

Blocking a retailer from their business data

I received another call today from a newsagent blocked from their software because they do not wat to pay a support fee.  Access to Tower Systems newsagency software is not blocked if you elect to not take support coverage. Blocking access to business data is blackmail.


Streamlining retail sales with Tyro Integrated EFTPOS

Tyro is saving our retail users, including our own retail businesses, time and money with a better credit, debit, gift and loyalty solution.

Integrated EFTPOS means the point of sale device communicates directly with the EFTPOS terminal, reducing internal fraud and keystroke errors.

Tyro’s unique internet-based platform will improve your workflow and loweryour costs with:

  • Speed and efficiency (transaction time less than 4 seconds)
  • Low operational costs (no phone line, no admin fees, free paper rolls)
  • Low integration set up costs
  • Low merchant service fees
  • Reduced internal and shop front fraud
  • Secure, real-time online reporting

yro gives retailers a choice away from the big banks and we like the competition this drives.  You don’t have to change your existing banking relationship to join Tyro.

The Tower Systems / Tyro integration offers improved efficiency and accuracy – as we are seeing ourselves in our own retail businesses.  yes, we used this ourselves to prove its worth first.

For more information or a free savings analysis, call Tyro on 02-8907 1751 or email


Software update released

We released an important software update via our website yesterday, delivering two new and exciting software facilities as well as addressing four user requests and one key supplier request.


Advice on Gold Coast Bulletin discount

We have published advice for our newsagent users in the handling of the half price offer from the Gold Coast Bulletin which was announced today.  We are trying to help our users run this campaign in a way which ensure they protect their margin and save time in tracking records.


The easy way to get accounts paid on time

Tower Systems users are able to get their customers paying bills sooner thanks to an exclusive relationship with Ezidebit™, the brilliant direct debit payment solution integrated within our Point of Sale software.

By introducing the direct debit payment solution provided by the Tower Systems / Ezidebit™, retailers will have the ability to increase cashflow and revenue recovery whilst saving time and money.The automated facilities will drive a reduction in mistakes too.

Setup takes a few minutes – we have an advice sheet which guides this process.  The hard work is done for you to make collecting ayment easy, fast and accurate.

The Ezidebit™ facility integrated with our software and provided with an udate a few months ago (for no extra cost) is another part of the Tower Advantage™ package – a suite of facilities and services which add dollars to the bottom line of participating retailers every year.

Watch for enhancements to the Ezidebit™ facility in our next major update.


New voucher product goes live for newsagents

The Cardplai greeting cards with music downloaded as a gift are set to go live exclusively through our software thanks to the latest update. This is a new offer for newsagents being promoted through the Austereo radio network and being vended through our eziPass software. We have done our Cardplai work pro bono for newsagents to help them access new products for the lowest price possible. We have not sought or been given any commission on sales.


Heatwave hurts retail hardware

The heatwave in Victoria and South Australia this week is taking its toll on computer hardware running in retail businesses. In some areas, rolling blackouts have been a challenge for retailers without appropriate battery backup and power filtering precautions. In other cases, heat inside the shop of 45 degrees Celsius and more is too much for the computers to remain stable.  Here is advice we have published to our user community to help:

  1. Ensure there is good ventilation. Clear out unnecessary papers and other junk crammed around the hardware.
  2. If the computer is in a very hot place and is acting in an unstable way, consider training a small fan to circulate air. Do not remove the cover because most boxes are designed for optimum airflow over important components with the cover on.
  3. Place something under the case to lift it off the ground or shelf (but keep it stable) to improve airflow.
  4. Reduce internal dust. Turn everything off, unplug the computer box, remove the cover, blow out dust, place the cover back on.
  5. You will have more water around for drinking – be careful. Computers do not like to drink.
  6. Don’t have too many devices running off the one socket.
  7. Use a battery backup to deliver clean power in the event of a blackout or power spike. We sell these.

The heat problem is compounded in some situations by a considerable build up of dust in the computers.  Some preventative measures would have stopped this in most cases.

In our offices it is not too bad since we have airconditioning.  However, late today it was struggling – mainly because we have so many (warm) people in the office.


Melbourne Gift Fair this weekend

We are proud to have a stand at the Reed Gift Fair in Melbourne starting this Satruday and running to Tuesday.  We are on stand 3430.  Visitors will get to see the latest version of our retail management software for gift shops as well as a host of other gift related innovations completed over the last six months.

If the show is anything like last year, a good percentage of visitors will be newsagents.  we can help them in the gift space.

Trade shows are a great way to connect with business owners, especially in the gift space.  We are grateful to have the opportunity to be at this trade fair.


Rating online training

Thanks to the facilities in the world renowned Web Ex online conferencing tools which we use to manage our online training sessions, we are able to get instant feedback on the value of the session. This is important as it guide the evolution of this online training.

Like any investment we make on behalf of our customers, there is no point in doing something if it does not provide the outcome people are looking for.
The ratings our online training team has received for the sessions so far this year are excellent.

But more important that the ratings completed in a survey is the word of mouth. One reason the sessions are gaining popularity is the terrific positive word of mouth from one business owners to colleagues. This is what is driving us to add more and more sessions.


Newsagent business building workshops popular

5ways1.jpgIn two weeks we start our free workshops: 5 WAYS TO KICK START YOUR NEWSAGENCY.  Bookings have been excellent – we added more seats to our Sydney session yeaterday (for the second time) to accomodate interest.  We are planning to increase capacity in several venues.  The workshops are free to attend.

All newsagents are welcome regardless of the marketing group to which they belong or the software they use.   This session is about neither – it is about providing practical business building initiatives any newsagent in any sitaution can implement today.  I know it sounds like a big promise.  I am confident we will deliver.

Click here to download the flyer with dates and details.  Alternatively, book online at the Tower website – plus you can have the website update Outlook calendar.


Software update being released this week

We are about to release our second software update this year.  The small update is undergoing final quality assurance tests and will be made available on our website.  Two new and exclusive facilities will be released as part of this update.


Tower Systems user training this week

Tower Systems has scheduled three free online point of sale software training sessions for this week:

  • Best practice stock management techniques:  Thursday January 29 11am.  This is suitable for any retailer.
  • Magazine management: Tuesday January 27 11am.  This is a newsagent only session.
  • Magazine management: Tuesday January 29 2pm.  This is a newsagent only session.

Tower Systems’ free online training is comprehensive, a great way to learn.  You learn as well as if you are in a conference room except you do not have to travel from your business.  These sessions are also a cost effective way for employees to learn how to better serve the needs of your business.

Book online at the Tower website: support / user meetings or email


Making Valentine’s Day easy with smart POS software

val_package.JPGOur POS software is helping retailers make the most of Valentine’s Day 2009. Using our manufactured goods facilities, our retail partners can make up gift packs by bringing together single items they have in the business.

From small gift packs like the bear and chocolate heart shown in the photo to a gift pack with thirty items, our point of sale software helps retailers track stock, sales and opportunities.

These packs can be sold under a barcode specific to the pack yet sales are recorded for each item which makes up the pack as well as for the whole pack itself.

If the store runs out of single items, the packs can easily be broken down, in the software, back to individual items.

We own six retail businesses ourselves and are using these facilities for Valentine’s Day. These facilities make retailing for special seasons easy.


Placing a value support content

From February 1, 2009, some of the support content on our website will only be accessible to our customers who have a current software update and support agreement with us.  We first announced our plans to take this action this mid way through 2008 last year when we launched our new website.  We delayed the move while we developed further content and loaded it to the website.

We are taking this step to restrict access to this valuable content now because more content is version specific and could be misused if older software is in use and because we have found a competitor using our content to guide their business.  While we cannot stop the competitor, we can slow them down.

We are about to write to all of our customers with software update and support coverage, advising them of their login and password details.

By moving valuable content behind a login, we are respecting those who parter with us by taking out a software update and support agreement and thereby helping to fund software enhancements and associated advice to support the use of these enhancements.

We will continue to add value to the support relationship as wellas remain true to our commitment that support fees will not increase in 2009.  Indeed, we anticipate that our users will pay less this year than last.


Help on Network Services return date changes

On Thursday this week we published a new advice sheet to help newsagents process changes to returns dates which are being issued by Network Services.  The move by Network to weekly returns means they have to adjust the returns cycle for many of their titles.  Our advice sheet seeks to steamline the work involved and help reduce the stress for our 1,500 newsagent customers.


Customer service commitment

customer_service.JPGThe sign we have at each entrance to our National Help Desk is an important reminder to all of us who enter this space.

Our customer service is only as good as our last call – in the eyes of our customers.

We have placed the sign to reinforce our commitment to our customers and our commitment to each other.  This latter commitment is important in that we owe it to each other and to the company to do our best in every call.


Point of Sale software better than MYOB

We have prepared a two page summary of where we see our point of sale software as better than that offered by MYOB for the specialist markets in which we operate.  We created this document as a result of finding ourselves replacing MYOB in some businesses recently – especially in the gift shop and jeweller marketplaces.

We have tremendous respect for MYOB as a business accounting product.  The weaknesses documented in the summary relate to their point of sale / retail management offering.  The needs of retailers are quite different to the needs of general businesses, especially in terms of support.


Computer hardware remains at 2008 prices

Here we are in January 2009 and our hardware prices are still at the same level they were through 2008.  This is good news for customers taking the opportunity to upgrade with us.


More seats added to newsagency marketing workshops

We have added more seat availability to the KICK START YOUR NEWSAGENCY IN 2009 sessions we are hosting early next month.  This is in early strong response to the session in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

We are not trying to sell newsagents anything at these sessions – just share smart business management ideas.  Access is free.


POS software for gift shops helps wholesalers

You know you are gaining traction in a marketplace when suppliers involve you early in their consideration of new processes.  We have experienced this over the last two weeks in working with some gift wholesalers as they prepare for the forthcoming Gift Fairs in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.  We have been able to help the wholesalers prepare stock files which are compatible with our software – thereby saving hours for gift shop owners.  We have also shown the wholesalers how our software can be used to sell more of their products – through upselling tools and other facilities designed to drive better sales at the retail counter.

As the major specialist software supplier to the gift shop channel in Australia, we are pleased we can help bring more structure to the wholesaler / retailer relationship.


Touchscreen POS software saves time

tower_pos_touchscreen.JPGOur smart POS software cuts keystrokes at the retail sales counter.  This is a key goal of any retailer as reduced keystrokes mean reduced mistakes. time saved and more accurate sales processing.

Our users have complete control over the product and department touch buttons on the touchscreen – enabling them to include buttons for top selling products in their store.  The buttons can be changed as the needs of the business change – very easily.

While we supply our software with a libabry of icons for buttons, our users can easily upload icons of their own choosing – facilitating local customisation as appropriate to the needs of the business.

We recently compared our touchscreen to that of a major retailer.  Buying the same items using our software took half the keystrokes, leaving the sales clerk to have more time to focus on the customer.


New newspaper home delivery software options

Click here to see an article we were asked to write about our new newspaper home delivery software.  Using the new software, it is very easy for distribution newsagents – who handle the newspaper home delivery – to have multiple payment points.  From these payment points, the customer relationship can be easily managed.

The cost of the payment point software is low, making it economically viable for distribution newsagents to provide a high degree of service for a minimal investment.  The retail newsagent benefits from customer trafffic and an efficient way to manage customer requests.

We have some personal experience with this as we use software developed by another software company in our newsagency.  This is the software which the distribution newsagent uses.  It is dreadful.  We are glad to have an option to compare.


Financial Review Bumper Edition Advice

We have prepared advice for our newsagent users to make handling the bumper edition of the Australian Financial Review this weekend easy.  Early advice like this can help our customers prepare and save time down the track.  It is provided free to all of our users.


Help in understanding the investment allowance

We have created a document which outlines how the temporary investment allowance announced by the Federal Government recently can be used by retail businesses to acquire technology are a lower cost.  While people need to get their own advice specific to their circumstances, this advice, put together by our in-house accounting team, underscores the value of purchasing from Tower Systems between now and June 30 this year.


The update cycle

In between our well-tested and proven updates we run what we call a minor update program.  Minor updates are released every month or so – we keep our users informed of this schedule.  Our next minor update is due in just over a week.  This will be the second this year.  The minor updates are released through our website – details are communicated to supported users.  Installation is easy and fast.

This matters because one of our competitors tells people we update only every four months.  They know that such a claim is not true.

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