Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: August 2009 (page 2 of 3)

New repairs software now in beta

Our new repairs software is up and running in beta test sites. This new software, specifically developed for businesses undertaking repairs – jewellers and bike retailers – is comprehensive, a complete replacement for what we had previously.

The development project has taken much longer than forecast because of technical challenges we encountered in executing to the requirements put to us by customers.

From the moment a customer hands over a watch or ring to a jeweller for repair, we track the job and all elements which go into costing the work – regardless of whether the work is done in-house or externally.

The new software is a testament to the patience and help of our customer base.


The national help desk

Thanks to smart phone technology users calling our help desk for assistance could find themselves connected with one of our experts in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane. People in each of these offices are connected as if in the same location. This allows us to bring additional resources into the help desk function as call traffic demands.

While we swing calls across three cities, you’ll never find us process calls outside Australia. We will leave the Mumbai call centres to the banks and others who relentlessly chase cost reductions.


Call for online training suggestions

While we have a well established and successful curriculum for our online Training Academy, we are keen to receive suggestions for new workshops from our customers. If you would like to see a workshop on a topic not covered already please email us at support@tower…

The current training program is scheduled out to the end of September. The list of workshops is on our website and bookings can be done online – we have found this to be easier than the old approach of calling or faxing or emailing to be part of online training.


Reducing the cost of support

Tower Systems offers a discount of 10% if support invoices are paid on time. This handsome settlement discount is another way we are helping our user community cut the cost of software support.

We maintain the support fee settlement discount to represent those who do pay on time and to be true to our word of helping where we can cut costs for our user community.


Bringing the customer back to the shop

The text marketing tools in our POS Software help retailers attract customers back into their businesses based purchase history. We have excellent success stories from customers who have actively and successfully embraced our retailer text marketing tools.

We delivered the first version of our text marketing tools years ago as part of a software update. We have continued to enhance the facilities as we have learnt more from our customers how they can use TXT messages to drive customer behavior.

Our text marketing facilities are evidence of the evolution of Tower Systems’ Retail Management Software.


Learning the tricks of Point of Sale software

Our POS software has some clever, time-saving, tricks.  We are putting these on show today at 11am in a free online training workshop, another from our successful Training Academy program.

What is most special about today’s training is that it is ideal for front of shop staff, the people using the POS screen the most.

Participants will learn how to improve the speed and accuracy of sales, how to answer customer queries and how to protect use the software to improve the business.

Today’s workshop is further evidence of the investment we make back into our user channel.  It shows off our Tower Advantage TM.


Newsagent software update to be released

More experience with the XchangeIT EDI platform for newsagents has helped us further improve our offer to Tower Newsagents. The latest update to make the most of new learnings will be released to our user community via our website.  We’re not going to detail the enhancements here for competitive reasons.  Suffice to say that owning a newsagency and a software company has its advantages.


Bike shop software success at trade show

The Ausbike trade show which drew to a close in Melbourne this afternoon was a great success for us.  We have picked up new bike shop customers for our retail and back office bike shop software.  We also got to reconnect with some of our users.

Our team reports that this was a terrific event for us and proof that trade shows are an excellent way to market point of sale software – the software speaks for itself.

Bike shop owners themselves are a happy bunch, focused enjoying themselves while building strong businesses.


XchangeIT EDI for newsagents pricing issues

We have been approached by some newsagents using other software for clarification on the pricing to access the XchangeIT EDI platform for newsagents.
The pricing for Tower Newsagents following our compliance advice is the lowest available. Our commitment for years has been to provide newsagents with current standard software to ensure low prices on compliance requirements like XchangeIT. This is why Tower Newsagents are not facing the penalty fees some other newsagents face today.

We do have an offer which makes XchangeIT access free for the first year to newsagents joining our user community.


Enhanced bike shop software on show

We have our enhanced software for bike retailers on show in Melbourne today at the national trade show for the bike retail channel. We have been working closely with key bike shop users and some suppliers on our enhanced software and are pleased to announce that we go into beta release in the next week.

The bike retail channel, while small compared to other retail channels we serve, is valuable to us because of the exposure we are given to business practices which have useful universal application.


New Kat Kards stock file

We have loaded the latest Kat Kards stock to the file downloads section of our website for our users to download.


Tower Systems at the Sydney GNS Fair

gns_sydney.JPGOur stand at the GNS Market Fair in Sydney this weekend has been busy with existing customers asking questions and prospective customers seeing what we do which is different.

While the hardware we had on show drew interest it was our software, a key Tower Systems point of difference, which drew the most attention. With so many innovations released in recent months we had plenty of points of difference to show off.

We have repeated our offer of $1,000 off the GNS account for any newsagent buying our software at the trade show. We are grateful to GNS for allowing us to run this promotion.

The photo features Nathan Morrison, our NSW State Manager.  Nathan is the best newsagency software sales person in the country.  This was evidenced by the warm greeting many of his customers had for him on our stand.  To have customers from years ago walk up with a smile and shake his hand shows the honsety of his process and their happiness being part of the community Nathan brought them to.

I am indebted to Nathan for his commitment to newsagents and to Tower Systems.

Access POS, a NSW based software company serving newsagents did not participate in the one trade show for newsagents in NSW this year.  This is a surprise and leaves us and others at the show wondering if they are scaling back their interest in newsagents.


Free training for Tower Systems POS software users this week

We are running more free POS Software online training workshops this week. The training is for retailers and retail employees.  Here are the four workshops on offer:

  • Point Of Sale Training Aug 18 at 11am.  this is great general training on how to get the most from our point of sale screen.  Brilliant training for retail staff and owners.
  • Home Deliveries and Customer Management Aug 18 at 2pm
  • General Q & A Session Aug 20 at 11am Any question answered – including the meaning of life.
  • XIT Compliance Aug 20 at 2pm Brilliant training on the new XchangeIT link and everything you need to do to be compliant.

To book for any of these sessions, please go to our website click on support and click on online training.


Point of Sale software developments

Point of Sale software continues to evolve beyond the basic cash register functions we all considered were so smart twenty two years ago when released our first POS software.

The most significant development this year for Point of Sale software is integration. Integration with suppliers, banks, financial services providers, electronic products providers, data aggregators, EDI partners and others who can bring value to the sales counter in retail businesses.

We have ensured that Tower Systems excels at integration. From our development team to our help desk support, we have ensured that we provide a professional, easy to use and reliable integrated solution.

We have become expert at balancing the needs of multiple suppliers vying for oxygen on our POS and other retailer-focused platforms.

I am pleased to say that our work pays off by being brought in early on trials which ultimately benefit our large user base. We would rather experience the rocky challenges of a trial than find that opportunities are missed by us not being involved.

Yes, Point of Sale software today is more complex, more beneficial and more a whole-of-business solution than what we were playing with twenty two years ago.


Ready for GNS Market Fair Sydney

gns_syd.jpgOur team is ready for the GNS Market Fair in Sydney which starts tomorrow morning.  This is a big trade show for us because we have more than 600 newsagents using our software in NSW – plenty of the newsagents attending the trade show will already be customers.  That said, we are looking forward to welcoming more to the growing Tower Newsagent community.

On our stand we have our latest newsagency software, state of the art retail hardware and a Tyro broadband eftpos terminal.

Best of all, our stand will have people from our NSW office on hand – the people newsagents deal with daily in NSW.  While I will be there tomorrow, we have found it valuable for newsagents to meet at trade shows the people they will deal with in their state.

POS Solutions is also at the trade show. This makes it easy for newsagents to compare systems and companies.


Retailer turnaround success story

I got to check in with a retailer we have been helping as part of our Tower Advantage TM.  Our Business Check service is designed to help our retail partners see opportunities in their businesses which they may not see themselves.

The extent of our involvement is up to the business owner.  In this case we became quite involvedfrom looking at stork through to working through staff issues.  It has been an enlightening few months.  We always learn from these experiences and hopefully leave healthier businesses in the process.

As we own retail businesses ourselves, we are able to draw on more experience and knowledge than your average software company.


Showing you are watching

We are helping a retail business cut theft by installing two in-store screens showing live surveillance footage in more than one location.  We are feeding the vision to one of the screens wirelessly – this enables us to place the screen in a location which might otherwise not be accessible by cable.

We know from theft reduction specialists that the risk of identification and or capture will deter many criminals.  These screens show that you have vision of them.

The DVR unit which manages vision from all of the cameras overlays this data with sales data from our point of sale software.

The work we are doing for our customer is crucial because of a serious theft problem which is hurting the business.


Newsagent newsletter for August

Click here for a copy of our August newsletter for the Tower Newsagent community.


CRM project update

We are finalising the installation of a major update of our Sage CRM software. This will enhance the functionality of the software at the heart of our company. Our CRM solution manages sales leads, customers, the help desk and other client contact functions. Keeping this software up to date is key to the timeliness and quality of our customer service.

We had a choice some years ago to continue with our home-grown CRM solution or to purchase world class software. We made the investment in the latter and have not looked back.


POS Solutions sues Tower Systems

POS Solutions has issued proceedings against Tower Systems in the County Court of Victoria.  In the fifteen page writ POS Solutions claims that they are suffering damage including the loss of customers because of posts published at this blog.


Mobile stock management helps retailers

Using our Retailer Mobile facilities, retailers are able to more easily complete stocktake work in-store as well as check stock and sales data while away from the newsagency.  The value of this has been demonstrated at recent trade shows.  Retailers are often chellenged when at a trade show when faced with a special deal.  rather than buy based on the excitement of the fair, they can buy based on live data from their system – and probably save the business a considerable sum of money.

Too often, we find retail businesses overstocked.  When they implement the stock management principles we cover in our free training they can expect to reduce their stock holding by 10% to 15% and not impact sales.

Our Retailer Mobile facilities are crucial to making good data available when needed.   This is another deature of the Tower Advantage TM.


Supporting Queensland newsagents

We are proud to be supporting newsagents by sponsoring the Queensland Newsagents’ Federation Far North Queensland conferences in Townsville on Sunday just gone and Cairns today.  Our sponsorship, and that of other suppliers, goes toward the cost of hosting the events for the QNF.  It also enables more local newsagents to participate in the great day of learning and networking.

We have supported the newsagency channel for years by sponsoring events like this.  While I am happy for us to have the opportunity to ourselves, it speaks volumes that other newsagent software companies ignore the opportunity to show their support for their potential customers.

Newsagencies are community based businesses.  They rely on their local community for support.  Newsagent suppliers, too, are community based businesses.  We rely on newsagents for support and we owe it to newsagents to support their community.

There are some suppliers who ignore all requests for support from newsagent associations.  For that alone they do not deserve newsagent support.


Gift cards a huge point of difference

giftcards.JPGThe range of gift cards we have had professionally made are proving to be a real hit with newsagents and gift shops at trade shows.  They are a genuine point of difference for us.  Retailers love them because they are able to sell something when a shopper cannot find what they need and because the cards extend their retail brand. besides providing the software to manage the cards, we take care of organising gift card design and manufacture. Having done this for our own retail stores, we are able to help our customers get up and running with gift cards quickly.

We were first to market with the new range of bank quality cards and this is driving excellent business for us.  They were a hit at both the Gift Fair in Melbourne and the GNS newsagent trade show in Melbourne.


Updated trade show list

Here is a list of trade shows in which we are participating over the next four (very busy) weeks:

Sydney. GNS Market Fair. For Newsagents. August 15-16
Melbourne. Ausbike/Interbike Australia. For Bike Shops. August 16-17
Perth. GNS Market Fair. For Newsagents. August 30
Sydney. JAA International Jewellery Fair. For Jewellers. August 30 – September 1

As the list shows, this is a very busy time.  On top of the trade shows, our sales team remains very busy presenting in-store to prospects.


Report from GNS Market Fair in Melbourne

newsagent_software.JPGIndustry standard software for newsagents was the theme of our successful stand at the GNS Market Fair in Melbourne this past weekend.  We chose the theme to reflect the size of our newsagent community – we have close to three times the number of newsagents using our software than our nearest competitor.  This strength is important as it provides us the resources necessary to help newsagents navigate technology change.  The level of change has increased in scope and pace this year.

The change of pace will increase in 2010 as more suppliers extend their IT link with newsagents.

Our size in the newsagency marketplace has helped us fund the reduction in our support fees this year.

GNS put on an excellent event and ensured that newsagents visiting the trade show walked past all companies exhibiting.

A good mix of newsagents attended – city, country, shopping centre and high street.  Most were positive about business and focused on investing in their business.  Our team wass kept busy.

We also appreciated the opportunity to catch up with suppliers – this was important given new EDI work about to launch in the newsagency channel

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