Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: November 2009 (page 1 of 3)

Humanising the software company

The new introductory video we published at our website a few weeks ago is receiving good feedback.  Prospective users of our Point of Sale software like the human face we give to our company and the accessibility of senior management.  We like it too as it makes us more accountable.


Helping newsagents switch from POS Solutions

We are hosting another training sessions for newsagents migrating from POS Solutions software to our software.  This Thursday at 11 am we will bring together a group of newsagents in a private online session where we will go through the transition process and help you navigate any challenges with accessing your old system after the change over.

While we migrate newsagents from Access POS and Computerlink, there are more switching from POS Solutions.  This is more a fuction of their size (around 600 newsagents) than anything else.

To book for this free session, please click here.


Using receipts to cut fraud

Implementing a rule of NO RECEIPT = NO REFUND, retailers can find that their bottom line improves.  Refund fraud is common, especially where rules for handling refunds are obviously lax.

Retailers using our Point of Sale software can easily produce a receipt for every sale or, if more appropriate, for every sale above a certain value or some other criteria.  There are many reasons for producing receipts:

  • Receipts document the sale including confirming the price.
  • Receipts clarify terms of the sale.
  • Receipts can contain a smart marketing message to lure customers back.
  • Receipts make it easy to find the sale in the event of a query – just scan the barcode.
  • Receipts cost little to produce.
  • Receipts are produced quickly.
  • Most of all, receipts cut fraud.

Imposing rules on when receipts are produced makes it easier to impose rules on the handling of a refund request. Certainty about your processes at the counter make it easier for staff handling any refund request.

While we offer multiple ways in our POS software of finding a previous sale without a receipt, the most effective way of stopping a fraudulent credit claim is by requiring a receipt before you begin.

Retailers wanting to cut the cost of theft in their businesses will implement a NO RECEIPT = NO REFUND policy if they do not have one already. Think about your receipt printer as a key tool in managing theft.  Receipts are your key to achieving this.

We can help with the technology back end and make the process easy for all to follow.

We can also help with the business processes for implementing this and other theft reduction strategies.  The stronger we make our retail partners, the more our business benefits.


Free Point of Sale training this week

We are hosting four free online training workshops this week including another session for newsagents who have switched from POS Solutions to Tower Systems.

  • Magazine Management Dec. 1. 11:00
  • New staff training Dec. 1. 14:00
  • Former POS Solutions user training Dec 3. 11:00
  • Home deliveries and Customer Management Dec 3. 14:00

NOTE TO ATTENDEES: We send you an email with advice on connecting to the online training. Please follow the advice sheet sent with this email as it includes details on how we call you back for the audio content. You don’t have to pay call costs! Another saving from Tower Systems.

To book, please click here.


Easy up-selling at the cash register

companion_sale.JPGThe companion note facility in our software makes it easy for sales staff to up-sell during a sale.  A great example of this is the note which pops up reminding sale staff to offer the Scotch Gift Wrap Cutter with each Gift Wrap purchase.  Christmas is a great time to make this over the counter pitch.  Having the stock at the counter and the script on the screen makes winning the business easier.  Using our point of sale software, up-selling is as easy as 1 – 2 – 3.

We have many ways we help our retailer customers increase sales using our software.  As we have done this week with several customers, we will gladly help them implement these opportunities to drive better sales outcomes.  Helping our customers increase sales using tools in our software is a key business goal for us here at Tower Systems.


Expanding the training video portfolio

Our December newsletter invites users of our Point of Sale software to suggest new topics they would like us to produce training videos covering.  While we have a list we are working through, it is important to check in with our customers and see if their topics aling with ours.  We plan on using some of the usual end of year downtime to create more training video material.


2009 customer survey

survey_2009.jpgWe have mailed and emailed our 2009 customer survey to users of our Point of Sale software.  Click here for a copy.  We want to get this survey form to as many of our customers as possible – the greater the response the more we have to work with.

As the form shows, we are looking for a rating of each of the key customer touch points we offer.   Honest appraisal of these will allow us to compare our internal assessment with real customer feedback.

The free form area on the survey offers an opportunity for open feedback on any customer service topic.  This is an important as the more structured part of the form.

Past customer surveys we have conducted have significantly influenced our business for the better – for us and our customers.


Training in FIJI without leaving Australia

We have been training one of our Point of Sale software customers in FIJI using our Web Ex online training facilities.  We are able to deliver line and truly interactive training without leaving our offices and without our customers leaving their FIJI location.

Beyond the travel and time saving cost, the Web Ex training is more immediate in that it is easier for our customers to complete training and implement what they have learned right away since they are in their business.

The use of online training for our overseas customers helps us continue our international sales.


Easy package location tracking for gift shops

Our Gift Shop Point of Sale software makes it easy for gift shop owners to manage boxes and other packaging which comes with gifts on the shop floor.  When such an item is sold, the software can indentify to the staff member where the packaging is stored.  The package itself has the same barcode as the item – making matching easy.  Our software can print two barcodes specifically for this purpose.

Attention to detail like this is important for gift shops as it makes managing the counter easier.  We have been able to help gift shops streamline sales thanks to easier identification of the location of gift boxes.  This improves the customer experience and is more likely to bring them back.

We understand the importance of attention to detail in the gift shop marketplace and reflect this in our software as well as our customer service.


December 18 deadline for newsagents on XchangeIT

XchangeIT has confirmed that it wants to move all newsagents to the new XchangeIT Link EDI platform by December 18 so that it can completely turn off the old XchangeIT platform by December 31.

Tower Systems has been using email, mail, fax, this blog and other forums to communicate the importance of the deadline to newsagents.

We will intensify our communication next week.  With the largest newsagent customer base of all software companies, we have a challenge to get all to the new platform.


New software training video for newsagents

We have published a training video for newsagents on how to handle public holidays.  This is especially useful for newsagents with home delivery and sub agent business where newspapers are not delivered on Christmas day.  The training video presents information in an easy to follow way and will help newsagents using Tower Systems newsagency software be better prepared for this Christmas.


Supporting Movember

gavin_williams_movember.JPGGavin Williams our general manager has been growing a mo in support of Movember. he thinks he looks like a porn star.  Hmm….

If you’d like to support Gavin’s fund raising efforts please click here. You can also Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation’, referencing my Registration Number 252866 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 292, Prahran, VIC, 3181. Remember, all donations over $2 are tax deductible.  Thanks for your support.

Movember is now in its sixth year and, to date, has achieved some pretty amazing results by working alongside The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCFA) and beyondblue: the national depression initiative.


Business reporting training today

We are hosting a free online workshop on business reporting un retail today at 11am.  Bookings can be made at our website under support – click on user meetings.  We will start with a review of key business management reports in our POS software and take questions on other reports attendees have questions on.

This free training session is part of our commitment for free and accessible training for our customers.


XchangeIT training video tops download list

Our XchangeIT compliance training video topped our video download list last week as newsagents make sure they have a fully compliant XchangeIT system by the deadline of next month. It takes newsagents through all the key points of the industry standard EDI facility.We back the video up with excellent documentation.

Our online video is the only such training available freely to all newsagents – we made it as a service to the whole newsagency channel. Half the downloads of the video so far have been from non Tower newsagents. This is because the majority of Tower Newsagents are compliant with the new standards.


December Online training workshop schedule

We are publishing our training workshop schedule for December later this week. Based on customer feedback, we are running four sessions a week up until Christmas. We will then rest the training until early January. The December schedule provides a good mix of practical training for retailers and their employees. All sessions are live and available without extra cost to our Tower AdvantageTM customers.


Personal training in Jeweller software

Jewellers purchasing our Jewellery business Point of Sale software receive personal training in their business tailored to their specific needs. We take a personal approach because each jeweller uses retail software differently. We want to understand how a customer plans to use the software before we set about delivering this to all who use the system in the business.

While we serve in a variety of marketplaces, it is in the jewellery space that there is the most significant difference between businesses as to how they use the software. We are happy to accommodate these differences thanks to the flexibility in our software andthrough the attention we provide to personalised training.


Mandarin POS software introduction released

Tower Systems yesterday published a Mandarin language video introducing our Point of Sale software.  This new training video is another example of how we try and provide training and support in forms which are accessible to our diverse customer base.

Jonathan Tay, our Software Development Manager, created the video for our many Mandarin speaking customers.  We started offering Mandarin language support from our POS software four years ago.

The Tower AdvantageTM is valuable on many fronts for our customers.


Preparing computer hardware for extreme weather

Here are some tips to help computer hardware in retail businesses cope with the extreme weather this summer:

  • Remove excess dust.  Do this with care when the computer is turned off.  better still, get it done by an expert.  If you want to do it yourself, disconnect the power and call cables, take the computer outside and clear with compressed air from a can.
  • Ensure there is excellent ventilation around all the equipment.  Remove all unnecessary clutter, papers etc.
  • Ensure you have a UPS, uninterruptible power supply, for each computer.
  • Keep your aircon or evaporative cooler unit away from the computer.
  • Keep water away from the computer – water bottles on hot days get spilt.
  • Don’t have too many devices on a power board.

The main computer box generates considerable heat.  Take the above precautions and you are less likely to experience heat related outage this summer.


Retail hardware training video

Simon May, our Technical Services Manager has recorded an excellent training video which helps our customers identify hardware and bits of hardware with which they may need to engage from time to time.

In the video, Simon shows which cables are used for what, how to troubleshoot problems with key hardware items and where plugs are usually placed.  It is packed with good practical advice for the non computer expert – delivered in plain English.  Simon’s plain speaking style belies his exceptional knowledge and unwavering commitment to excellent customer service.

The video is another in our series which will helping our customers get more from their IT investment with us.  Our growing video training library is part of our Tower AdvantageTM program.


Four online POS software training opportunities this week

We offer four free online training workshops for retailers and retail employees this week. Book now at our website (support / user meetings) for you and your employees next week:

  • Point of Sale training Nov. 24. 11:00
  • Repairs Nov. 24. 14:00
  • Business Reporting Nov. 26. 11:00
  • Lay Bys Nov. 26. 11:00

NOTE TO ATTENDEES: We send an email with advice on connecting to the online training. Please follow the advice sheet sent with this email as it includes details on how we call you back for the audio content. You don’t have to pay call costs! Another saving from Tower Systems.


The studio Tower AdvantageTM

studio.JPGThis is a photo from inside what we are now calling our studio, a room full time dedicated to producing our training videos, hosting online training workshops, hosting supplier workshops, hosting live online sales demonstrations of our software and filimg other presentations.

Equipped with two cameras (one broadcast quality), two broadcast quality microphones, a studio quality mixer, a PC with some cool software and some other bits of technology.

We are adding soundproofing and some other elements to further improve the quality of our output.

The setup of our own professional quality studio is key to enabling us to get quality content out for our customers on a rapid turnaround as we have demonstrated in recent weeks.

Too often, computer training is delivered to the business owner or manager when it is other employees  who need vital knowledge.  Our training videos mean that any team members can learn information critical to their business. This means that their business benefits and we benefit.

We have developed a range of topics for which we are preparing content at the moment.  The resulting videos and others we will create for more immediate needs will demonstrate the Tower AdvantageTM in action for our customers.


Windows 7 and Point of Sale software

While we have some of our customers happily using Windows 7 with our POS software, we are yet tomcomplet our own quality assurance testing and clear this as a recommended operating system.

Newsagents should note that Windows 7 has not yet been tested or approved by XChangeIT.

Once Windows 7 is approved, it will be Windows 7 Professional Edition and not the Home edition.


Newsagents acting on our XChangeIT advice

We continue to receive an excellent response from newsagents following our communication over the last two weeks that the old XChangeIT platform is to close next month.  As a result of this engagement, more Tower Newsagents are making the necessary moves to get across to the new platform.  We are helping with software updates where necessary and plain English advice in most instances.

The decision by the magazine distributors to turn off the old platform is real.  We want to ensure that Tower Newsagents are not among those who make a last minute rush to get across – hence the considerable effort in communicating with our customers.


Serving multiple retailers in a shopping mall

It is not uncommon for us to serve two retailers in a shopping mall.  Indeed, we have three quite different businesses using our Point of Sale software in some shopping malls.

A couple of days ago, one of our team members visited one such mall where we serve three very different businesses.  It is a good feeling experiencing this diversity first hand and connecting our customers with others nearby.


Handling foreign exchange on purchases

The Tower Systems Point of Sale software converts the cost of stock purchases from a foreign currency to Australian dollars thanks to a useful facility in our software.  This facility is a great time saver in arriving stock as Australian dollar prices from overseas invoices.

The enhanced exchange rate facilities in our POS software were developed in consultation with customers who regularly import stock.  It was important that we get the model right – their input was invaluable.

The process is simple and can be used by anyone in the business responsible for handing goods inward.  There is no restriction on the currencies which can be handled.

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