Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: October 2009 (page 1 of 3)

Easy email marketing for retailers

Email marketing is easy with our Point of Sale software.  Retailers are able to generate email lists based on customer history with the business.  This facilitates target emails around seasons, products or other criteria.

We have retailers enjoying considerable success today with email marketing thanks to the flexibility of our marketing tools nd their attention togetting the right customer data into the system.

We have published an advice sheet which explains how to quickly extract the email data from customer records managed by our software and how to use this for an email campaign. We can also provide advice on privacy obligations to ensure that our customers do not fall foul of the spam regulations.

Existing customers who have had a good experience are more likely to shop with you again.  Email marketing is a great, low-cost, way of communicating with existing customers, especially if you have a special deal to communicate.

We will gladly help retailers using our software to handle the technical, operational and marketing aspects of email marketing.


Software update a hit with newsagents

The newsagent point of sale software update we released earlier this week is receiving an excellent reaction from our customers.  The most kudos haas been for a new facility we sprung on our customers – embedded in our newsagency software is a new time-saving facility which makes managing magazine supply easier.  This exclusive facility further demonstrates the value of the Tower AdvantageTM.


New Ozcorp stock file available

Following testing by us and approval by the supplier, we have loaded a new stock file for Ozcorp Cards & Stationery to our website.


Point of Sale software for Gift Shops enhanced

We have enhanced our Point of Sale software for Gift Shops and made this available to our growing gift shop community.

Our software innovation focus is in helping gift shop owners work on their businesses more than in them.  This is a concept first put out by Michael Gerber more than twenty years ago.  It remains relevant today.

Too many retailers get bogged down in their businesses, spending too much time on busy (unprodictive) work  and too little time on good decisions.

The focus of our Point of Sale software for gift shops and other markets is to facilitate better quality business decisions in less time.  We do this by eliminating busy work and freeing the gift shop business owners and managers to work on the business.


Free retail management and marketing tips popular

tips.jpgThe free marketing tips available to anyone at our website generate considerable traffic through Google and other searches.  I checked this out yesterday following contact from a business owner in the US who has had success with some of the tips.  His contact was timely as I am putting together tips for Christmas 2009.  He asked for suggestions in a couple of new areas and showed me how advice I wrote for one type of business is useful in another a different niche.

We have published retail business advice and marketing tips for more than twenty years.  It’s something we enjoy and a way we add value to our customer relationships as well as relationships with the broader retailer community.

Our Christmas 2009 marketing tips should be on the site by Wednesday next week.


Huge different in newsagency software

There is a huge difference between software systems available for newsagents.  Anyone saying otherwise has an ulterior motive – they probably don’t want comparison for this would most likely the software they are pushing as not the best.

Software sales people who are confident of what they are selling encourage comparison.  They offer to put two or more systems on the table next to each other,  This is how we  operate at Tower – we welcome comparison.  Unfortunately in the newsagency space others do not agree to this.

The differences between newsagency software packages are: functionality, speed, integration with the business, supplier interfaces and support.  The other difference is on total cost of ownership.  One competitor charges $3,200 (and more sometimes) annually from what we see.

My message for newsagents considering buying a computer system is reject those who say all systems are the same.  They are not!


Tracking magazine sales

Tower Systems has released a new facility in its latest POS software update for tracking magazine performance by publisher.  The Magazine Scorecard is a new tool for newsagents committed to driving magazine sales.  It is exclusive to Tower Systems.  An advice sheet explaining how to use the facility has been provided for all, Tower AdvantageTM customers.

The opening paragraph for the advice sheet provides the context for the facility:

Some magazine publishers operate competitions based on magazine sales uplift – Retailer’s Magazine Scorecard function allows you to enter magazine sales targets for specific titles, then measure and review your performance during the competition period. This allows you to identify titles that have not yet met the desired sales level, and promote them as necessary to reach your target.

Tower Systems continues to evolve its newsagency management software to deliver genuine innovation for newsagents and their suppliers.


New POS software training videos

Tower Systems yesterday published two new training vdieos for retailers using its Point of Sale software.

The videos, A14 – How to Add, Find or Change Departments and A15 – How to Add, Find or Change Suppliers, provide useful training for business owners and retail staff using these parts of the Tower software.

Access to the training videos is free to Tower AdvantageTM customers.

The regular publishing of fresh training videos demonstrates our commitment to providing up to date and new training opportunities for our customers.


Flexible point of sale touchscreen buttons

The one constant about retail is change.  This is why it is easy to change the touch buttons on our Point of Sale screen.  So easy in fact that anyone can do it.  the buttons can be used to sell single items with one button press or department level items where you enter the amount of the item following the button press.

Across the bottom of our Point of Sale screen is a grid.   While we prefer double size buttons (as the following Victorian newsagency example shows), our customers can use buttons which are half the size – and therefore fit more on the screen.


By providing easily customisable buttons, we are giving our customers the power to make a Point of Sale screen which genuinely serves their business needs.

This is all about easy customer throughput and improved sale accuracy. Our screen design has been shown to serve both needs well in a variety of retail situations.


New training video: sales catalogues

We published a new training video at our website yesterday on how to setup sales catalogues.  This 17 minute video is excellent training for anyone setting up a catalogue.  It works for Christmas, back to school – any time you want to create special pricing coveraing a date range for a group of items.

While catalogues are easy to setup, the first time around can be daunting.  This is where the training video kicks in – consistent training is now available for anyone in the business needing to access these facilities.


Handling LayBy changes at the sales counter

Using the LayBy facilities in our Point of Sale software, our retail partners are able to easily refund and or delete a LayBy sale.  We also provide the facility to add items to a LayBy sale as well as to delete items from a LayBy sale. All of this LayBy work is done by staff with appropriate security clearances.

These facilities are important in retail businesses keen to be as flexible as possible for LayBy customers.  All LayBy work can be easily done at the sales counter or in the back office – wherever it suits the business.

We understand the value of LayBy customers in retail – they are more loyal and certainly revisit more often than other customers.  By providing an exceptional  experience we further enhance the value of LayBy customers.


Free Officesmart training today

Many of our newsagent customers run their stationery busineses under the Officesmart banner.  We are running specialised Officesmart training for them today as part of our regular free online training workshop program.  Officesmart is easy to setup and manage through our software – enabling the operation of a retail pricepoint and an Officesmart pricepoint.  Our Officesmart training is on today at 2pm.  Free bookings are available through our webiste.


Gift shop software package offer

gift_shop_software_offer.jpgWe just have released a new Gift Shop Point of Sale software and hardware special offer – based on our specialist gift shop software. The details of the special offer are available on our website.

This offer leverages the Federal Government tax break which ends December 31.

Included in the package is our latest Gift Shop management software, a full package of computer hardware, on site installation, on site training and a year of support.

The Gift Shop software included in the package deal covers: point of sale, lay-by,  stock control, loyalty, theft management, business reporting, eftpos integration, customer accounting, sales tracking and plenty more.


Point of Sale software update released

We have just announced details of a software update now available on our website.  This update includes several user requested enhancements some performance improvements as well as a major exclusive innovation for our newsagent customers.

The update is available to Tower AdvantageTM customers through our website.


Helping resolve XChangeIT Link issues

With more newsagents switching to the new XChangeIT Link platform, we have enhanced our XChangeIT support services.

The biggest challenge newsagents face is getting their query in front of the right person. Here at Tower Systems we have a straightforward escalation process. Our help on XChangeIT calls of focused on navigating issues outside Tower.

We navigate (escalate) unresolved magazine distributor and XChangeIT queries to the right people in the respective organisations. We don’t do this on every occasion – only those where we know that escalation is the most appropriate course of action.

While not our obligation to help resolve issues with magazine distributor data or the operation of XChangeIT software in a newsagency, we gladly get involved because we understand the bigger picture of the opportunity for newsagents.

As newsagents ourselves we are keen for the rest of the channel to be using the new XChangeIT Link as this will deliver channel wide benefits which have eluded newsagents for too many years.

To access the supplier escalation services, Tower Newsagents only need ask and one our senior management team will take care of this.


Stylesetter Christmas stock file loaded

We have tested and loaded the Christmas range stock file from Stylesetter to our website.  This is available now for Tower AdvantageTM customers.


Free POS software training next week

Tower Systems is pleased to offer four free online training opportunities next week – demonstrating our commitment to consistent free training opportunities for retailers using our software.  Bookings for the following free training can be made at the Tower webiste.

  • New Staff Member Training Oct. 27 11:00
  • Officesmart Training Oct 27 14:00
  • Repairs Oct 29, 11:00
  • XChangeIT Compliance Oct 29, 2009 14:00

All you need to participate is a computer with broadband access and a phone from which to make a TOLL FREE call for the audio.


Coffee appears in more retail businesses

We are seeing coffee pop up in a variety of retail businesses.  It is a growing add-on product to retailers such as newsagents, bike shops and jewellers – all marketplaces in which we serve.

We have developed a strategy for handling coffee and related service product sales and have therefore been able to help our retail partners moving into this space.

It is interesting watching the embrace of coffee.  It usually starts tentatively.  If it takes off, it can take over the business.  We have seen this happen.  Indeed, it is terrific to see innovation lead to significant realignment of the business.  We are fortunate to be close to this and part of the process.

Being a software provider gives us excellent opportunities to watch businesses evolve up close.  The learnings are wonderful and enjoyable.


New training video on loading catalogues

We published another training video at our website yesterday on How To Import Catalogue Files.  This is a timely training video given that many of our retailer custoemrs are busy loading Christmas catalogues.

Access to this and other training videos is free for Tower AdvantageTM customers.


Extending EDI compliance

We are working with a new supplier on EDI compliance.  Once released, this will make more products easily available for our customers through a standard IT interface from our point of sale software to the supplier’s warehousing system.

Achieving certification with the new platform will be another point of difference for Tower Systems and a further demonstration of the skill of our development team.


Tyro / Tower Systems broadband eftpos: fast and secure

Jost Stollmann, the CEO of Tyro (fast broadband eftpos), wrote to all software companies which integrate their software with the Tyro eftpos solution about the recent reports of fraud using eftpos terminals. I publish his note here in full as it provides excellent information to consider.

We completed our Tyro integration earlier this year and already have well over 200 retailers using this.  This is growing weekly thanks to excellent word of mouth around the speed, savings and, security…

In recent press you may have seen headlines alerting Australians of a card payment scam that was discovered in a West Australian multinational fast-food restaurant chain. Something like 3,500 customers seem to have been defrauded by $4 million. What about your merchants? Are they exposed without knowing?

This is a check list for their peace of mind that I sent them:

1. Have your acquirer guarantee that his terminals are PCI PED and EMV 4.0 certified! All Tyro terminals are. They are the newest generation protected against eavesdropping, tampering or message forgery. All sensitive information is protected, and instantly erased if the terminal is tampered with.

2. Have your acquirer guarantee that no card holder data passes on to any PC, for instance residing in memory in the clear! With Tyro’s integration technology, no card or PIN data is ever passed on. It never reaches your Point of Sale (POS) software. Therefore, even if malicious data capture software was to be loaded onto your POS, it would not be possible to capture, store or transmit confidential card data.

3. Have your acquirer guarantee that card holder data is never transmitted in the clear! With Tyro’s technology, any transmission occurs only encrypted through an-end-to-end secured connection between our PCI PED certified terminal and our PCI DSS compliant switch, and it is using totally safely the public internet.

Sorry, if this sounds a little like bragging on about ourselves, but we are dead serious. The reality is that most EFTPOS terminals transmit card data in the clear. Integrated EFTPOS solutions hold card data in memory in the clear. We think it is most important to protect merchants and card holders against the increasingly sophisticated fraud industry. It is also important to maintain the consumers trust in the card payment industry.

Tyro is the only new entrant into the Australian payment industry. We are leading the industry in security. So, if you want to protect your merchants and their customers from card data security breach, possible scheme fines and potentially catastrophic reputation damage to their business and to the industry, recommend Tyro to them. If you are not yet integrated with us, what are you waiting for. If you are help us spread the word and recommend us to your customers. Thank you for your consideration.

Tyro is integarted with newsagency software from Tower Systems.  Our Tyro integration delivers tangible benefits: saving time, cutting mistakes and saving money – in addition to enjoying better security.

Disclosure: Tower Systems receives a small clip from transactions through Tyro, this funds support and link development.


New training video published

Yesterday, we published a new training video at our website – Basic Point of Sale Operations.  This is an excellent training opportunity for new staff and a good refesher for older staff.  the training video is located in the support area of our website, under How To Videos.


Professional retail shelf labels

tower_systems_shelf_labels.JPGThe photo shows two sheets of shelf labels printed directly from within our software.  These are printed on a laser printer on quality card stock made for the purpose and pre-perforated to make separation easy.

The labels are designed to slip into professional shelf stripping in-store.   Typically, our customers print shelf labels when arriving new stock or when processing bulk price changes.  They can also print new labels at any time.

While our users can also print one-up labels (as other systems do), most prefer these more professional labels as they reflect well on their business.  It is detail in areas like this which can separate one retail business from another.

using the setup screen for printing labels, customers can modify the look of labels printed to suit the needs of their business.


New backup advice

We have published fresh backup advice for our users.  While the process of backing up have not changed, we have simplified our advice to improve certainty for people without too much computer knowledge.  The advice is available from the support section of our website.


New stock files available

We have loaded stock files to our website for: 2010 BrownTrout Calendars; Hallmark; 2009 GNS Christmas catalogue; 2009 GNS Newspower Christmas catalogue; John Sands.These are available from our website.

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