Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: May 2009 (page 1 of 3)

Training for newsagents in Canberra, Albury and Sunshine Coast

We offer free face to face software training opportunities for newsagents this week in Canberra, Albury and the Sunshine Coast.  These sessions are a continuation of our national training tour for newsagents and provide more free learning opportunities designed to help newsagents embrace the new EDI standards.

  • Canberra, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 – 10am
  • Albury, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 – 11am
  • Sunshine Coast, Thursday, 4 June 2009 – 1pm

We have been asked about the amount of training we provide, why we do it.  As surveys of newsagents have shown, Tower Systems always rates very highly when it comes to customer service and satisfaction.  This is because we understand the importance of regular training – so that our customers get the most from their investment.  It is one thing to say you provide good after sales service for software and another entirely to deliver this.
BOOK ONLINE: select support and then user meetings
BOOK BY FAX: 03 9524 8099


POS software support by email

Years ago we released our email support service for users of our retail management software, offering to answer simple questions by email.  We have added to this support via questions lodged through our website.  Each day, via email and our website, we receive support questions which are handled as lower priority queries.  This means they are usually handled within three or four hours.

While we do not commit to weekend coverage, we do handle email queries.  Two emailes already handled this morning – Saturday.  Several on our team handle email queries.  We are pleased to have another communication channel open outside usual business hours through which we can help our customers get the most from their software.

Email support is usually about helping one of our  customers find the function they want for a specific purpose.  If it goes beyond a simple query, we pick up the phone.

While email is so yesterday to many, in the small business world it is an important and often time saving way of doing business.  We are happy to support that.


New GNS stock file

On Monday morning the GNS 2009 Mid Year Home & Office Promotion stock file comes out of embargo and will be available from the user area of our website.  We maintain an embargo over stock files as required by suppliers from time to time.  We take care in respecting their their intellectual propertyin this way.


New advice on merging barcodes

Tower Systems yesterday released new advice on merging barcodes.  This is an important function which substitutes all instances of a barcode in our software with a new barcode. This means that the stock item, sales, orders, arrivals, returns etc for the original item will be retained, but the barcode will be updated to a new barcode. This is commonly used when the manufacturer of item changes the barcode, or when one item is permanently substituted for another.  This is another time saving facility in our retail management software.


Point of Sale training, back where it began

Next week (June 2 at 11am) we are hosting a back to basics online training session on point of sale software.  We will take retail employees and business owners through what they can easily achieve using our point of sale software. Thanks to the smart facilities in the Web Ex platform we use, participants will be able to interact with each other, ask questions, play with the software and take a quiz to check what they actually learned.


Newsagent EDI training schedule for June

tower_training.jpgClick here for a copy of our newsagent face to face user meeting / free group training schedule for June 2009.  We have sent this out to our user community today.  The majority of the time in these sessions is  devoted to training in the latest EDI standards and taking questions around these.

We are committed to ensuring that the Tower newsagent community is the most prepared in the country – hence our commitment to this free face to face training.

The new schedule adds Gippsland, the Sunshine Coast and return visits to Melbourne and Sydney along with other dates previously announced.

Our commitment to training is another way Tower Systems demonstrates its different to other software companies serving newsagents.  Software not backed by regular enhancement and on-going training has less value for the current and future business owners.


LG touchscreens and Vista

LG touchscreens are not on our list of recommended hardware because there is currently no driver from LG for the Microsoft Vista operating system.


Gift card artwork shines

gift_cards.JPGWe have developed artwork for new gift cards for one group of users of our s0ftware.  While our users can create a gift voucher using our software, these beautiful gift cards take the ‘gift’ to a new level.  Professionally produced to credit card specification, they compare favourably with the quality you would expect to see at David Jones or Myer.

We have twelve designs in this suite and ideas for more.  The photo does not do the artwork for each card justice … yes, we are very proud.

The cards work directly and exclusively with our software.  On the reverse of each card is a unique barcode connecting it back to the value of the gift loaded.


Helping newsagents consolidate

We have excellent tools in out kit with which to help newsagents consolidate two and more newspaper home delivery businesses into one.  With the consolidation going on within the newsagency channel, our experience and resources are being put to good use by newsagents consolidating their businesses.  In these situations we often find ourselves also helping by providing access to our remote payment facilities in retail locations.

We have worked hard to position ourselves well to help newsagents navigate structural change.   Our software have support processes have been evolved to help our current and future newsagent customers leverage the opportunities of change.


Newsagent EDI compliance plan exclusive to Tower Systems

newsagent_compliance.jpgNowhere is the difference between newsagent software companies more evident than in comparing their approach to the new XchangeIT platform.  Two months ago we published a draft revised compliance action plan.  Earlier this month we started a roadshow where we provide copies of our finalised ten page comprehensive newsagent EDI Action Plan free to all attendees.

The Action Plan is more than words on a page.  It is backed with face to face training in our current user meeting tour, online training through our Online Training Academy, help desk support through our national help desk and intervention through our event driven intervention program when we become aware of a newsagent not transacting in a way which meets EDI standards.

The value of EDI compliance for newsagents is considerable: faster credits for returns, fewer out-of-stocks, time saved on receiving magazine stock, time saved on physical processing of returns, and, usually more equitable magazine supply.  These benefits represent money in the bank.

We understand the benefits because we own and operate several newsagencies.

Our attention on EDI compliance and the new XchangeIT platform requirements and opportunities has been consistent from the outset.  This is another area in which we are different.  Our consistency comes from working closely with the drivers of the new XchangeIT platform and our commitment to Tower Newsagents – the largest single newsagent community in the country.

This is all part of the exclusive Tower Advantage TM program.


Educating all POS software users and not just business owners

A key focus for us this year has been educating everyone who uses our software – not just the owners of the small businesses we serve but their staff too.  We have created free online training for retail staff as well as free face to face training opportunities.  In June, the next phase of our retail staff focus will be launched.

Our monthly print newsletter has undergone a makeover to make it more useful and accessible for retail staff as well as business owners.  We launch the new look with our June issue.  I have seen a final draft today and it looks impressive.  Our creative team has developed a good balance between attractive design and a quick and useful read.

While we would like to save the cost of mailing out a print newsletter monthly to our user community, we understand the ease with which the information can be shared if it is on paper and can be passed from person to person.

Our hope is the the staff member focus of the new format newsletter further enhances the value businesses using our software extract from their technology investment.


Gift shop software credentials on show

Our abilities in the gift and homewares software space are on show in the latest issue of Giftrap magazine published this week by the Australian Gift and Homewares Association.  We were pleased to have an opportunity to contribute quality editorial – a two-page spread – to help gift and homewares retailers in their pursuit of good retail management software.  We are also grateful for an opportunity to support the magazine with advertising.  As members of the AGHA this is important to us.


Smart reports help small business retailers

reports.jpgPoint of Sale software is useless for any small business retailer unless it provides outcome focused reports which help drive good business decisions.

Good reports assemble data in a logical and accessible way – so they may be read by and of use to non financially trained business operators. They provide multiple views of a business so a complete picture may be determined and opportunities uncovered.

Reporting is a strong point for us. Small business retailers, their accountants, their bank managers and their business advisors tell us they like the range of reports we offer, the flexibility available in these and the decisions which can be made as a result.

We see reports as driving business goals for they are the measuring stick of success (or otherwise) and the roadmap to future opportunities. We think of these as goals when enhancing existing reports and developing new reports for users of our retail software.


POS software training in Tasmania this week

We are delivering free EDI training to newsagents in Tasmania this week as part of our leadership role in helping newsagents embrace the next generation of time saving EDI facilities.  Tasmania is often neglected by newsagent suppliers – but not by us.  We have plenty of customers in this beautiful state and our people alway enjoy their time.

  • Hobart Tuesday, 26 May 2009 10am
  • Launceston Wednesday, 27 May 2009 11am

BOOK ONLINE: select support and then user meetings
BOOK BY FAX: 03 9524 8099


Artwork for VIP and loyalty club cards

We have a library of artwork available for our customers wanting to produce VIP Cards or Loyalty Club Cards and similar for their businesses.  Developed by our in-house creative team, we will gladly make this artwork available to retailers using our software for their own loyalty programs.  There is no cost for this – it is another way we add value to the relationship between retailers who are prt of our Tower Advantage TM program.


Meeting newsagents in Gippsland

Thanks to strong interest from the region and that it is more than three hours from the closest user meeting and training session we are scheduling a session for Gippsland, Victoria.  We will finalise the date in the next couple of days and let all of our users in the region know the details.


Tower Systems software training opportunities this week

We are delivering more free online and face to face training opportunities for retailers using our POS software this week. We are consistent in offering training because we know that on-going training is what helps our customers and their employees get the most from their software investment.

  • USER MEETINGS FOR NEWSAGENTS: Hobart May 26 at 10am and Launceston May 27 at 11am
  • ONLINE TRAINING:  Business Reporting – 26/05/2009 11am, Former POS Solutions Users – 26/05/2009 2pm, Repairs – 28/05/2009 11am, Putaways Management – 28/05/2009 2pm

BOOK ONLINE: select support and then user meetings
BOOK BY FAX: 03 9524 8099

Access is free.  This is a great way to learn.


Can you trust the recommendation?

One of our Account Managers visited a prospect this week and before the meeting started, the prospect asked why our software could not scan a particular type of product.  The sales prospect had been told this a few days earlier by a newsagent who had heard we were visiting the prospect and was keen to stop us winning the business.

We can and do scan the type of product mentioned and have done since we first released point of sale software.

I was surprised to hear the story because it is easy to prove that the claim against the ability of our software is wrong.   Thinking about this later, it made me wonder whether there are others who would make a claim about our software which is wrong and is made solely to stop us winning business.  While I would expect this behavior from one or two competitors, I would not expect it from a retailer.

No matter what games people play, the truth is stronger than the lie.

We will gladly put our software up next to any other software and let sales prospects evaluate, function for function, for themselves.


Meeting newsagents on the Sunshine Coast

Some of our users on the Sunshine Coast have got together and asked us to visit for a user meeting to discuss the new magazine distributor EDI content we are delivering in our current national tour. we also have some newsagents using other software who want to see what we do.  We’re glad to oblige and have set aside June 4 for the visit. With a good group of users in the area, we expect a valuable session. We are sending out details of the meeting next week.


Recording loyalty marketing points

loyalty_points_docket.jpgRetailers using our point of sale software are able to easily and efficiently account to loyalty club customers the points accrued in a sale and the total points available after the sale.  The receipt to the left is one example of a receipt showing this.  We offer flexibility in the value of points accrued by department and or category.  We also offer flexible in the value applied to receipts as currency.

We also offer transparency through loyalty club statements which can be sent if our retailers prefer this.

By giving customers this information in each sale, we help our retail partners demonstrate transparency to their customers.  This helps in their pitch when comparing their loyalty offer with much bigger retailers.  Loyalty programs run by national retail chains tend to offer lower value to consumers than those offered by the small business retailers we service.  This is certainly the case in our own retail businesses.

From our account managers through to our help desk our team is skilled in helping our retail community get the most from their loyalty marketing facilities.


Office window sunset

We’re lucky with the view from our third floor head office looking across Port Phillip Bay.  We get to see the Melbourne weather in all its taciturn glory through the day and then watch as the sun sets.  Here is what we saw last night from the window of our board room.



Tax break software for gift shops offer

gift_shop_tax_break_offer.jpgWe have put together a gift shop hardware and software package offer for gift shops keen to access the government’s 50% Tax Break deal which is now law and expires on December 31, 2009.

Based around software developed especially for gift shops and adhering to the latest standards for connecting gift shops with their wholesalers, we are able to deliver excellent business benefits through this package offer.  Included in the price is excellent quality hardware and it is this which is eligible for the tax break from the government.

We are communicating details of this gift shop offer to gift shops in Australia next week.  Our sales team is making appointments to show off the latest gift shop software.


Helping POS Solutions users save time and money

We are hosting another online training event for the POS Solutions users who are switching to our Tower Systems newsagency software.  This free online training event will be held May 26, 2009 at 2pm.  Using smart WebEx technology we bring people together from across the counter for free training and discussion on the fastest and easiest way to move across and make the most from the differences Tower Systems offers compared to the POS Solutions software.

Any current users of POS Solutions sofftware are also welcome to participate in this and other free training events.   Book online here.

The 300 or so newsagents using the POS DOS software need to move to access lower cost EDI data from magazine distributors.


Mount Gambier meeting update

Our user meeting in Mount Gambier last night attracted twenty people.  This is terrific in that it was a session put together by one of our users and was expected to draw less than half the number which ultimately supported the free training event.


Easy loyalty management for retailers

loyalty1.jpgOur loyalty marketing facilities are easy to setup and change for just about any kind of retail business.  The screen to the left is the main setup screen.  This is used to manage the how points are accrued and redeemed.  Our users can also control acceptable methods of payment for accrual of points along with other options to be used. Users can determine how many points are accrued per dollar spent and how many points are required for each dollar redeemed.

Our approach to loyalty is such that we make it easy for our retail customers to experiment with this as a marketing tool for growing the business. We have some excellent success stories.

Crucially, our loyalty facilities track the items purchased by customers in each visit – this is where great loyalty systems really help retailers build stronger businesses. Knowing what a loyal customer purchases and how often can facilitate excellent business building decisions.

We are discussing enhancements to our loyalty software and certainly welcome suggestions from our community.

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