We’re an unusual POS software company

gift_shop.JPGWe’re an unusual Point of Sale software company in that we directly own and operate six retail businesses.  Four of these are gift shops.  The photo shows a small area of one of our gift shops – Sophie Randall cards and Gifts in the Melbourne Central shopping mall.  We are using the Sophie Randall businesses as test sites for new software facilities for gift shops, newsagencies and jewellers who also retail gifts.  This way, we can play and finesse new software before testing it on paying customers.

The photo shows a small part of the usual Sophie Randall range: cards, homewares, cosmetics, social stationery, frames, albums, journals, books, collectibles and gifts.  Each category has challenges if you want to handle them efficiently, accurately and with a focus on customer service.

This is why special gift shop software is better than MYOB or one of the other generic POS software products.  Gifts are a specialist market with specialist needs – hence the importance of specialist software.

We’d be glad to show anyone through any of our gift shops and demonstrate, live, how our software is used to improve our businesses and help guide valuable business decisions.

Fast broadband eftpos helps retailers increase sales

We are seeing more evidence of our fast broadband eftpos interface with Tyro driving sales growth.  Several of our retail partners have shared anecdotes of customers who made a second purchase after the sale was processed – a purchase the retailer would have expected to lose because of the slower dial-up eftpos terminal from their bank.  In each case, the retailers are busy and serving a time-poor customer pool.  A delay in processing can cause the sale to be lost.

Thanks to our smart integration with Tyro, we are seeing eftpos approvals completed in one or two seconds – dramatically faster than is usually achieved with a bank terminal.  The retailers we have spoken with love the speed of Tyro and the sales they can quickly close as a result.

Training is crucial in getting the most from your POS software

Training is vitally important in helping retail business owners and their employees get the most from their POS software. Indeed, it is essential.

Good training can make the difference between the POS software being used as a glorified cash register and genuinely helping drive the business. This is why we run a comprehensive online training program it is also why access to this is free – including a toll free call to access live audio content.  We will gladly provide training long after we install our software.  The benefits are valuable.

The commercial outcomes from good training are:

  • Better business decisions.  Rather than ordering stock on gut feel, you can order based on what is selling.
  • Faster business decisions.  Rather than waiting for an accountant to analyse a business you can for your own view based on reports you can access in no time.
  • A healthier bottom line.  Better and faster decisions help you make more money.
  • An easier business to sell.  A more easily run business is appealing to buyers.
  • Less time challenges for the business owners.  Using the technology to control more of the business means the owners can find free time for other things.

We see these valuable outcomes ourselves in our own retail businesses.  We can practically show the benefits.

Accessing training is also a key strategy for helping to turn a retail business around.

Our commitment to training is as strong as ever.  We will deliver 300 online workshops this year and more than 150 face to face group sessions around Australia.

The Tower Systems Training Program is another example of the Tower Advantage TM in action.

Gift shop marketing opportunities at Melbourne Gift Fair

New marketing opportunities for gift shops will be on show on our stand at the Melbourne Gift Fair this weekend.  We will be demonstrating facilities which gift shiop owners will not have seen before in software in their businesses including customer tracking by postcode, product based marketing and text message marketing.  These and our other gift shop facilities are popular with gift shop owners.

Our stand will include live versions of our software for gift shop owners to play with and compare with the needs of their business.

Helping retailers in tough times

Tower Systems helps retail customers of ours who are facing tough times.  Our help includes consideration on support fees, business turnaround help, free training and other help designed to relieve the financial burden for the business.

To protect against an abuse of our offer, we have a process for considering an application for accessing these benefits.  The process starts with a call to our General Manager or our Managing Direector.  We handle the query confidentially from there.

Many of our client relationships are long standing and our businesses deeply connected.  It is only natural, therefore, that we help our friends out as we are able.

While we have seen an increase in the use of our assistance this year, it is not up as much as had expected based on the doom and gloom in the press.

New gift shop software offer released

giftfairjuly2009_a4flyer.jpgWe have used the Melbourne Gift Fair this weekend as an opportunity to refresh our gift shop software offer. Click here for a larger copy of the pricing flyer which forms part of our inquiry kit.

This hardware and software package is eligible for the tax break (investment allowance) from the federal government as long as the business turns over less than $2 million annually.

The gift shop package includes fast current-standard hardware (computer, hands-free scanner, receipt printer, cash drawer, laser printer and USB sticks) as well as our specialist POS software and on site training.

The package is backed by our 24/7 support service, free access to our online training academy – Tower users have the opportunity to keep learning long after the system is installed – plus access to our user meetings which we run around the country.

The software included in the package handles traditional POS functions plus lay-by, customer loyalty program, marketing tools, business performance reporting, stock management and reordering, postcode tracking and many other functions our gift shop community is finding useful.

Further help for newsagents switching from POS Solutions software

Due to demand, 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 this Thursday, July 30, at 2pm.  Using WebEx we connect people from across Australia for free training on the best way to move from POS Solutiosn to Tower Systems. Any current users of POS Solutions software are also welcome to participate.   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.

Software update released today

We have released another update to our software today, delivering several useful enhancements including a new eftpos solution for our New Zealand based user community, enhanced EDI sales data faacilities for three suppliers, extended voucher products and several other enhancements.

See us at the Reed Melbourne Gift Fair next weekend

Tower Systems is exhibiting at Melbourne Gift Fair again this year, on stand E2714 – at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Ascot Vale.  The show runs from August 1 through 5.  We are looking forward to meeting with owners of gift shops, homewares shops and newsagencies as we have POS software solutions for all three businesses.

We participated in the Melbourne Gift Fair last year and wrote some excellent business as a result.  That experience and the pre-show comments from the marketplace encourage us to look forward to this year’s event.

We will have the very latest gift shop and homewares shop software available on our stand for demonstration.  We will also have a special offer available for those buying at or very soon after the show.

This is one of eight trade shows we are participating in over the next ten weeks.  Trade shows are an excellent way to meet with existing customers as well as prospective customers.

We serve gift and homewares shops of all sizes and situations from part-time operations through to a network of shopping centre based businesses.  Our software complies with the latest EDI standards -you can load electronic invoices from participating suppliers.

More POS software training this week

Here is a list of free online training from Tower Systems available this week:

  • Home Deliveries and Customer Management 28 Jul 2009 at 11am
  • Magazine Management Workshop 28 Jul 2009 at 2pm
  • Point Of Sale Training 30 Jul 2009 at 11am
  • Former POS Users – Helping Ease the Transition 30 Jul 2009 at 2pm

To book, please click here.  All bookings are handled online.  Participation is free to all.

Improved Pacstream link for book retailers

We have released an enhanced link to the Pacstream EDI facilities for book retailers.  The enhancements make it easy for retailers using our Point of Sale software to participate in Pacstream campaigns with publishers.  The EDI link with Pacstream is two-way.  We receive invoices and provide sales data.  This facilitates more efficient supply to participating book retailers.

Enhanced postcode reporting in POS software

We have further enhanced the facilities in our software for tracking and reporting on postcode sales.  These latest changes make it even easier for users of our Point of Sale software to track sales by postcode.

Smart retailers are using our postcode tools to fine-tune their marketing as well as the range of products they carry.  They are finding that the more they know about their customers (and their drmographic) the better their business decisions.

Leading on XchangeIT innovation for newsagents

Our team of software developers, testers and help desk people is working hard on the new XchangeIT nesagent EDI project.  Thanks to proactive suppliers, we are able to innovate and deliver better outcomes for Tower Newsagents and those joining our newsagent community. With more newsagents now part of the new XchangeIT trial, we have a bigger pool of experience on which to draw and further enhance the outcome for our users and for the magazine distributors involved.

This work is part of our Tower Advantage TM commitment.

Support the family of Min Lin

Newsagents are mourning the tragic killing of Min Lin, his wife Yun Li Lin and their two sons and another female relative at the weekend. The family owned and operated the Rawson Street Newsagency in Epping Shopping Centre. They have been clients of Tower Systems for years. Those of us who had contact with them found them to good people to deal with.

We support the work of NANA, the NSW Newsagent’s Association, in establishing a trust fund for the remaining daughter of the family. The details of the trust facility to which you may voluntarily contribute at any Westpac Branch are: Account name: NANA Epping Central Trust, Branch: BSB 032062,Account number: 329692.

More help for POS Solutions newsagents

We will be repeating our training for newsagents using the POS Solutions software and switching or wish to switch to our newsagency management software.  This training focusses on the transition steps and the most common questions we get as newsagents move from POS Solutions to Tower Systems.  The next POS Solutions conversion session will be on July 30 at 2pm.  We can also arrange in-store visits for people yet to make the move – as a free pre-move consultation.

This training provides transparency of the process, makes the journey easier and reveals more about the difference between Tower Systems and POS Solutions.

The easy for retailers to identify dead stock

ranked_sales_report.jpgRetailers using Tower Systems POS software are able to easily identify stock which is not moving as fast as it should.  The Ranked Sales Report is one of several facilities which retailers use to achieve this.  Our POS software quickly reports on stock from any department(s) which has not sold in the period under analysis. This data helps retailers make decisions as to what to quit based on performance.  The supplier version of the report is a great report to have on hand when dealing with suppliers.

We often use this report to help retailers fix their businesses.  It presents data in a way they understand.  It almost always leads to changed (for the better) behaviour.

Like many of our reports, the Ranked Sales Report does much more than this – as the screen shot (click to enlarge) shows.

Using data to cut shoplifting

Our Point of Sale software can help retail businesses like newsagents, gift shops, jewellers and bike retailers reduce shoplifting.  This is achieved by providing the business with accurate data about what is being stolen.  Knowing this makes it easier to make business decisions which can reduce theft.

We have seen this happen many times.  Retailers are often surprised to discover what is stolen compared to what they think is stolen.

Data wins out every time.  Data which proves the popular theft items.  Data which drives better business decisions.  Good business data cuts theft.

The key to accessing good data is the facilities availabel to track this.  This is where our POS software steps in.  We provide an insight into theft which drives better business decisions.

For businesses which want more hands-on help, we offer a service to guide the process of reducing theft.

Helping sell the newsagency

newsagency_magazines.jpgWe helped a Tower Newsagent sell their newsagency recently by providing a better understanding of the performance of the business than a P&L can provide.  We demonstrated the control over the business and the processes which make the newsagency more manageable that it appears.

Some potential newsagency purchasers walk away for fear that the business is too complex for them to understand and manage. Through our reports and presentation, we are able to demonstrate the business control which can be achieved through engagement with our software.  This provides comfort and has been found to enable negotiations to proceed to the next level.

Being newsagents ourselves, we are able to go behind the technical aspects of the software and provide implementation suggestions based on what we have seen work in our thirteen years of owning a newsagency.

Since new owners of newsagencies using our software are provided free training, there is a confidence that we are able to help them hit the ground running than if they had to learn for themselves.  The free training is often provided prior to take-over.

Whereas many newsagents use their point of sale systems as a glorified cash register, we can help a newsagent prepare the business for sale so as to ensure that it is easier to run and therefore more interesting to those in the market to purchase a newsagency.

Helping newsagents reduce magazine oversupply

There is no better evidence of the difference between newsagent software companies than the handling of magazine oversupply.  A newsagent who replaced their software with our Tower Systems newsagency management software six months ago has reduced their magazine stock holding without impacting on sales.  Indeed, magazine sales are up.

I am not about to outline how we helped the newsagency achieve this excellent and valuable outcome here for to do so would disclose one of our competitive advantages.

From top selling magazines through to magazines at the end of the tail, our software and management strategies combine to help newsagents achieve a more viable magazine department.

POS software for convenience stores

Our convenience store software solution is growing in popularity as more convenience stores look for business-specific solutions which deliver integrated phone recharge and other electronic vended products, integrated eftpos processing as well as fast selling options for c-store lines.

The synergy between our c-store and newsagency projects is excellent as most c-stores need to properly handle magazines and newspapers.  Both benefit from our incolvement with the other.  But it is our mobile phone top-up, phonecard and eftpos interfaces which win this business for us.

Jewellers save on product labels

untitled.jpgThe new product labels for jewellers using our jewellery software (and gift shops) which we have sourced are saving a considerable amount for our customers.  Thanks to tough negotiating by our buyer and committing to a considerable volume, we have been able to cut the price by 70%.  This price reduction is for a better quality product. The label is, in fact, a multi-label – meaning that each label has five components, separate labels if you will, which can be used in different ways for a product.  jewellers tell us that tthis configuration is ideal  for their needs.

While supplying stationery is not core to our business, helping our customers save money from their IT investment is.  A 70% reduction in a business expense  is a proud achievement for us.

The work we have done on these jeweller labels applies to our gift shop, homewares and even high end newsagent customers – any retailer wanting attractive labels for high-end product.

Free XchangeIT training for newsagents

All newsagents have free access to our XchangeIT training. The online version of the training mirrors our popular face to face session which we ran in more than thirty locations this year.  The next of these free online sessions is this Tursday, July 23, at 11am. Please book by clicking here.  If you miss this session, as their are only a couple of places left, we have more scheduled for the next couple of months.

Free POS software training for retailers and employees

Tower Systems is offering four more free online training opportunities for retailers and retail employees in businesses using or considering using the Tower retail management software.  Here is a list of free online training available next week:

  • Retail Stock Management – Configuration & Maintenance 21 Jul 2009 at 11am. Learn how to configure your system to serve you with the best sttock management outcomes.
  • Retail Stock Management – Reordering 21 Jul 2009 at 2pm.  learn how to reorder automatically from your software.
  • XchangeIT Compliance 23 Jul 2009 at 11am.  Learn about the new EDI standards and how to make these work for your business.
  • General POS Software Q & A Session 23 Jul 2009 at 2pm.  Have your Point of Sale and related questions answered in an open form.

To book, click here.

Help with Grazia barcode mix up

Grazia magazine today has been printed with the wrong barcode. This will scan at $5.00. To fix this, and have the magazine scan at $2.50, please go to Utilities. Select Change/Merge Barcode. In there, enter into the top box the current barcode on Grazia. In the second box, enter 9313006010401. The screen will move into a grid. Click modify all to change the barcode. There will be a series of warning messages. Click OK to these. The process should take a couple of seconds.