The Bike Shop Software wall

bike_shop_software.JPGIn preparation for the Australian Bike Trade Expo, a major bike retailer trade show, this coming weekend in Melbourne, we laid out the back wall of our stand on the floor of the office.  This four metre wide and two and a half metre high wallpaper looks impressive and strong. Strength is a key feature of our pitch to bike retailers.  Strength of knowledge about the bike marketplace.  Strength of commitment to excellent service for bike retailers.  Strength in our software to serve the diverse business needs of bike retailers.

We are the major software supplier in this channel our credentials have been well established over many years.

Out with with bike retailers has helped us deliver better software in other marketplaces.  Some of their strengths have been useful to newsagents and jewellers – true!

New Darrell Lea and other stock files

Last week, we loaded a new stock file for Darrell Lea.  We have also checked and made other stock files available but we will not publish the details because of arrangements with the suppliers.  We ask for written approval from suppliers before we publish their stock data.

Back office POS software training this week

Improving back office management is the focus of our free online training for retailers using oiur POS software this week.  The four sessions we are running and live and interactive.  We run them through our WebEx partnership. Access is free and the phone call for the audio participation is via a toll-free line.

  • Retail Stock Management – Reordering Aug 11 at 11am
  • Retailer Security Aug 11 at 2pm
  • Business Reporting Aug 13 at 11am
  • Magazine Management Workshop Aug 13 at 2pm

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

Disruptive petty crime

car_breakin.JPGOur underground carpark at our Head Office was broken into two days ago and a window of one of our company cars smashed and stock stolen.  This is a carpark with what we thought was good security – clearly not good enough.  What is frustrating, beyond the cost of the stolen goods and vehicle damage is the disruption and time lost navigating the theft with the police, various insurance companies (ours and that for the Body Corporate) and others involved.

Thankfully, we have enough cars in out fleet to cope with one car off the road for a few days while the police do their work and we get the damage repaired.

Helping Epping Central Newsagency

We have been helping get the family of Min Lin get the Epping Central Newsagency back open this week.  This is the business which was closed when the members of the family running the business were brutally murdered last month.  As long term customers of Tower Systems we have been glad to be in a position to help.  It has been terrific to see so many newsagency suppliers come together to help a business in need.

Helping newsagents with XchangeIT

We are helping more newsagents switch to the new XchangeIT EDI platform with additional online and face to face training.  Our offer has been revised based on feedback from the sample group testing the new platform. Their feedback and our own experiences in our newsagencies with XchangeIT has been most useful as has our work direct with a couple of the magazine distributors.  This personal experience is invaluable – it has also led to a revision of our XchangeIT compliance documentation.

With many more Tower Newsagents switching to the new XchangeIT platform next week, we have ensured that our support team is ready for to deliver additional training and support.

Beware of FREE POS Software

We are seeing more software companies selling software with an annual licence fee.  This is hidden in the fine print of an offer which proclaims FREE POS and Magazine Management Software.  The claim is misleading since the software is not free.  After the first year of installation there is an annual licence fee.  If you don’t pay the licence fee, the software stops working.  This is usually when we get to change the system over to us.

At Tower Systems we charge for software once, up front.  If our customers don;t want supportin the future they can continue using the software as long as they wish.  There are no additional mandatory fees.

We do not lock our customers out from accessing their data.

Beware of  the offer of FREE POS Software as it is probably not free.

Better eftpos service for gift shops

tyro_swivel_base.JPGOur gift shop Point of Sale software provides access to an integrated eftpos solution which cuts mistakes, improves the customer experience and makes handling eftpos sales faster.  It saves money too – the Tyro broadband eftpos rates we have for our POS software user community are excellent.  The swivel base eftpos pin pad we recommend is popular with customers too – it is easy to use and most secure. We use Tyro and this swivel base pin pad in our own gift shops and so have our own personal experience from which to draw. It sits in the same location on the counter and is easily turned to a customer for PIN entry and back to the staff for processing.

Rather than using a separate bank terminal for eftpos, our integrated solution helps gift shop owners cut significant banking costs and processing delays from their businesses.  This is another way we help our gift shop customers improve the return they get from their software investment.

Gift hampers made easy

gift_hamper.JPGOur Point of Sale software makes selling and managing gift hampers easy thanks to our smart manufactured goods facilities. Yes, we need a better name for this cool facility.  We have been training gift shops, homewares business, jewellers and others recently on how to use our software to create hamper using multiple items.

Using our POS software, gift hampers can be sold as the complete unit (by scanning one barcode to represent all items included) or they can be broken back down to individual items.  This reversal process is easy and can be controlled at the sales register.

The retailer can also build in a labour cost component for each hamper made – to cover the real cost of making the higher value package as convenience is valuable after all.

We know from sales data that hampers are very successful for high-traffic seasons such as Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Smart retailers rely on this sales data to guide decisions on hampers to make for the next season.

We have an advice sheet available for our users wanting to get the most from our hamper (manufactured goods) facilities.

Jewellery software sales growth

We are experiencing excellent sales growth of our jewellery software here in Australia.  July was another excellent month.  The latest software enhancements as well as jeweller specific training services are proving to be the keys in driving this growth.  We are also helping jewellers access the 50% tax bonus on offer from the government for purchase arrangements made prior to the end of this year.

We will have the latest version of our software for jewellers on show at the JAA International Jewellery Fair. August 30 – September 1.

Some of our competitors try and deter jewellers from doing business with us by saying we are focused on newsagents.  As anyone who visits our offices will see, we balance our business across several marketplaces.  This provides us with commercial balance as well as learnings which benefit other markets.

31 new electronic products added to eziPass

ezipass_logo.jpgeziPass, our electronic voucher dispensing platform used by newsagents and convenience stores, has 31 more products now available for our retail partners.  For more information please contact us and we will provide details necessary to accessing these new products including more phonecards and a host of other products.

eziPass is available, free, as a stand-alone platform or in an integrated form from within out Point of Sale software.

We launched eziPass just prior to the collapse of Bill Express, the company used by around 3,000 newsagents to vend phonecards and other products to provide newsagents and others with a free platform through which to protect crucial revenue.  eziPass offers many similar facilities without cost to our retail partners.

New software update for newsagents

Newsagents participating in the roll out of the new XchangeIT EDI platform have access to a new software update from Tower Systems.  This was announced to our user community yesterday.  We contiue to work closely with the three magazine distribuors on ways our large newsagent community can leverage the new XhcnageIT platform for their commercial advantage.

The software update is available for download from a secure area of our website.

Tower Systems offers newsagents $1,000 off their GNS account

gns_market_fair.jpgIn association with the newsagent owned stationery wholesaler GNS, we are running a promotion for the GNS Market Fair this weekend in Melbourne.

Anyone purchasing a newsagency point of sale system from us at the GNS Market Fair will have $1,000 paid off their GNS account.

This means that newsagents purchasing a system from us can spend more at the Fair – picking up the good deals stationery being to this annual event.

This is a Tower Systems exclusive offer.  We are grateful to GNS for their support not only for this offer but on other IT projects for newsagents.

As a software company which has been serving newsagents for 28 years, we are always looking for innovative ways to add value to a commitment to Tower Systems.   This keeps our pitch fresh and demonstrates the evolution of our business.  We particularly like to engage in marketing which works with other newsagent suppliers.

Helping retailers cut tax

We continue to help retailers cut their tax this financial year thanks to the Small Business Tax Break on offer from the federal government.  We have worked hard to esnsure that our package deal offers for newsagents, gift shops, jewellers and bike retailers meet the guidelines and help our new customers to maximise the benefit to their businesses.  Our sales team has been trained in what is available wwith the tax break and what is not.

With just five months left to run on the Small Business Tax Break, the next few months will be very busy.

Marketing your retail business

Tower Systems’ Point of sale software makes marketing a retail business is easier thanks to many practical and easy to implement facilities including:

  • Loyalty marketing – tracking points or other benefits based on customer purchases.
  • Coupons on receipts – to drive traffic. These can be general for the business or purchase specific.
  • Up-sell scripts – presented during the sale based on the items purchased.
  • Text messages on accounts. Making the account a billboard for the business.
  • Postcode sales tracking.  Knowing where your customers visit from helps you make better marketing decisions.
  • Tracking sales by employee – thereby enabling you to run an employee reward scheme to drive sales growth.
  • SMS marketing – based on customer details, what they have purchased.
  • Email marketing – based on what customers have purchased.
  • Direct mail – with the list created based on purchases.

We see good marketing as process-driven, done without too much labour investment and delivered consistently.  Each of the points noted above deliver this.  We use them ourselves successfully in our own retail businesses.

Melbourne Gift Fair busy

Our team is has been busy at the Melbourne Gift Fair over the weekend. As we expected, we have seen plenty of gift and homewares shop owners as well as newsagents.  We have also had a good opportunity to catch up with some existing users.

With another three days to go, we are set to write some excellent business at this trade show.  Our experience reinforces the importance not only of trade shows but of this particular event hosted by the GHA.

Network Services promotes XchangeIT Link

Network Services, part of ACP magazines, send an email to all newsagents yesterday promoting the next phase of opportunities from their implementation of the XchangeIT Link EDI platform for newsagents.  Click here for a copy of the newsletter.  This is the first of a series of regular communications from Network on this.

We are actively working with Network to ensure the smoothest possible transition for the Tower Systems community of newsagents – the largest IT community of newsagents in Australia.

Software training for retailers this week

We are running four more free training sessions for users of our Point of Sale software this week.  These are live sessions hosted through our WebEx partnership. Access is free and the phone call for the audio participation is via a toll-free line.

  • Magazine Management Workshop Aug 4 11am
  • New Staff Member Training 28 Aug 4 at 2pm
  • Former POS Users – Helping Ease the Transition Aug 6 at 11am
  • Retail Stock management – Configuration Aug 6 at 2pm

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

See us at Melbourne Gift Fair this weekend

gift_shop_pos.jpgWe are exhibiting at Melbourne Gift Fair this year, on stand E2714 – at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Ascot Vale.  Our stand (see photo) has our gift and homewares shop software on display and running live for prospects to see and play with. We also have live data to demonstrate a real-world situation.  Like last year, we expect to meet plenty of gift shop owners as well as newsagents. If you are at the Gift Fair, be sure to drop by and say hello.

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.