Free business analysis service for retailers

For years now, we have offered a free business analysis service.  Retailers using our Point of Sale software send us a current backup of their system and we thoroughly analyse the data.  We look at how the system is being used as well as how the business is performing.  The result is a frank report for the business owner(s) to consider.  We often discuss this further with them and use data as a guide to talk through changes which could be considered.

At our end, a review of a business can take up to four hours of working through data and reports.  It often involves two of us comparing what we have found and challenging our views of what steps the business could take.  We take the opportunity very seriously because we understand the value for us of helping our retailers achieve more from their Tower Systems software.

The free business analysis is part of the Tower Advantage TM suite of services which help our retail partners get more from our Point of Sale software.

Any customer can request this by sending a current backup with a note seeking a Business Review to our Head Office: Suite 10, 22 Horne Street, Elsternwick VIC 3185.

Help for former POS Solutions users

We are running another free training program for newsagents switching from the POS Solutions software to our Point of Sale software.  We will share experiences of moving from their software to ours.  With more than 200 having made the move, we have a good body of experience on which to draw.

The training will be delivered live an online at 11am this Thursday, February 4, at 11am.  To book, please click here.

Changing the look of Point of Sale software

retailer_screen.jpgWe are rolling out a fresh look with the latest release of our Point of Sale software which will start shipping next week.  The new design is clean, simple to navigate and fresh.  Very 2010.

The new entry screen connects with other changes we will announce soon – we have exciting innovations coming.

Rolling out new software internally

We brought our Sydney team to our Head Office in Melbourne yesterday and an in-depth look at the new software we are about to roll out.  Getting all parts of the company across this significant new release of our software in advance of mass release is crucial.

As the most comprehensive update in several years, it is key that our entire team is across the new facilities and other changes.  The field experience of the Sydney team is unique and key to understanding how many of the features will be received.

Yesterday’s visit was also useful in fine tuning our documentation and some cosmetic aspects of this new release.

While our software development team is shielded from much of our day to day business, the scoping, design and finessing of new software is done in an open and co-operative way across the whole company.  We all have a stake in this.

We let our customers know yesterday that we are on track to start manufacturing CDs on the weekend.

Fresh approach to jeweller software

jeweller_software.jpgWe have launched new software for jewellers and along with that new marketing collateral based around the theme of A fresh approach.

Developed by our marketing team in-house, this new collateral will start to roll out to jewellers across Australia from next week in several diffdrent forms.  The marketing reflects the considerable changes delivered in the new software and the fresh approach we take to helping jewellers get the most from their software investment.

The new collateral is part of a bigger story which will unfold in the coming weeks across all Tower Systems marketplaces.

We are taking the opportunity to refresh our collateral to reflect the development of the business in 2010.

Hidden treasures in the Point of Sale screen

We are hosting a free online training workshop today at 11am which focuses on our Point of Sale screen. We will cover basic functions as well as more unusual function, hidden gems which deliver more than traditional point of sale facilities.

Our POS screen has many shortcuts available to improve customer throughput.  These also reduce keystrokes and each keystroke cut is a potential mistake eliminated.

We also enable multiple tasks to run at once from the POS screen – in we workshop we will show you how.  This can help enable counter employees to do multiple things at once.

Through our smart Point of Sale screen technology we help add value to the sales counter function.  This drives better outcomes for the business as well as making the work day more interesting for employees.

Our training workshop will help sales staff better serve customers and the business – without compromising business security.  Click here to book – it’s free.

Hampers are easy with Tower Systems POS software

val_package.JPGOur POS software helps smart retailers make excellent money from key gift giving seasons like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and Valentine’s Day which is just around the corner. Hampers are a great way to drive premium business for the seasons and smart retailers are well placed to achieve good business from them.

Besides the good business results, hampers can be excellent centrepieces for a seasonal visual merchandising display.

From simple ‘hampers’ like the one shown in the photo, to full-op hampers with fifteen or more items, our software tracks it all from the individual item up.

Using our manufactured goods facilities, our retails are able to make up hampers, gift packs, by bringing together single items they have in the business.

Hampers can be sold under a barcode specific to the each yet sales are accurately recorded for each item which makes up the pack as well as for the whome hamper.

If the store runs out of single items, the packs can easily be broken down, using our POS software, back to individual items.

We own six retail businesses ourselves and are using these facilities regularly.

Showing off our new newsagent software

We are two weeks away from a national tour to meet with newsagents using our software.  These same sessions are an excellent opportunity for newsagents not using our Point of Sale and newspaper home delivery software to see it in action and to see how we connect with our customers.  Observing one of these meetings shows how we treat all of our customers – it is real and that matters more than a sales show.

We will be showing off our new newsagent software.  We will also have fresh documentation, an update on newsagent supplier changes this year and other news for our 1,600 strong newsagent community.

Here is the list of meetings we have scheduled through to the start of April.

Location

Date

Time

Melbourne

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

11am

Geelong

Thursday, 11 February 2010

11am

Adelaide

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

11am

Perth

Thursday, 18 February 2010

11am

Brisbane

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

11am

Cairns

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

11am

Gold Coast

Thursday, 25 February 2010

11am

Sydney

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

11am

Wollongong

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

11am

Newcastle

Thursday, 4 March 2010

10am

Gosford

Thursday, 4 March 2010

3pm

Dubbo

Friday, 5 March 2010

11am

Canberra

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

11am

Hobart

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

11am

Launceston

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

11am

Albury

Thursday, 11 March 2010

11am

Darwin

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

1pm

Melbourne

Thursday, 25 March 2010

11am

Brisbane

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

11am

Sydney

Thursday, 1 April 2010

11am

Click here to book online and update your Outlook calendar.

Preparing for Melbourne Gift Fair

giftfairjan2010_580x980mm_b.jpgWe are in the final days of preparation for the Reed Gift Fair in Melbourne this coming weekend. We’re on stand 3430 at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

In addition to readying a new release of our Gift Shop Point of Sale software, we have developed new marketing collateral for the trade show. This pitches the value of our offer and our focus on the gift shop marketplace.

The new marketing collateral also recognises that the trade show will be attended by newsagents and jewellers – other important marketplaces for us.

This is what we love about the gift fairs, the diversity in retailers attending.  It is an efficient marketing opportunity for us.

It is a challenge to create visually compelling collateral which promotes software and fits with the visual dynamic of a trade show floor full of terrific product. Software can look dry and unappealing.

In our marketing collateral we are connecting our software with the joy of saving time, making more money and building a stronger business – under the banner of MADE FOR YOU.

Free Point of Sale and new staff training this week

We are hosting two free online Point of Sale software training workshops this week:

  • Point of Sale training – Thursday, Jan 28 @ 11am.  This is good for all counter staff.  We will cover the point of sale screen and all facilities available from this which help deive better customer service.
  • New Staff Member Training – Thursday, Jan 28 @ 2pm.  This overview training is ideal for people new to the business and new to our software.

Click here to book online.  We’re happy for people to do this training at the workplace or at home – this makes it more flexible for employees who want training in their own time.  Theer is no cost – we cover the call cost for the audio content.

Tower Systems software update news

We have just completed another week of beta testing of a major Point of Sale software update.  The results I have seen are impressive.

We have also completed some visual enhancements and fresh artwork for the CD on which the update will be delivered.  These visual changes along with some exciting and surprise enhancements will strengthen our market position.

We are on track to start manufacturing update CDs and printing the comprehensive documentation pack starting, including new advice sheets, next weekend.

While most enhancements in the last year have been delivered online, our customers tell us that they like to receive a complete replacement copy of the software each year so that this can be kept in a safe place in case of an emergency.

With the CD we will send with this update will be a complete fresh copy of our software which can be loaded on any PC to get the business going immediately without the need to contact us.  This is excellent insurance, especially if internet access is down or slow.  As we have seen in several situations in the late year with fires and floods, having the CD can help a business minimise downtime.

So, we start manufacturing the CDs next weekend.  We will roll the update out on a staggered basis – to manage call traffic.

The update will be sent to all Tower Advantage TM customers.

How good Point of Sale software pays for itself #3

How much is more efficient good customer service worth to a retail business? Our own research over the years suggests that it could be worth between 1% and 5% sales growth, depending on the type of business and the opportunities exploited.

Often, it is the customer service which brings a shopper back to a business. We have found ways, using our Point of Sale software, to reinforce the customer service experience and help present our partner retail businesses in a better light.

Here are some of the ways our software consistently improves the customer experience:

  • Answering questions. Thanks to a powerful Point of Sale screen, many customer queries can be answered from the counter. This makes the business look good and encourages a good feeling in the customer.
  • Managing appreciation. Our loyalty facilities track customer purchases and helps in distributing points and other rewards. There is store evidence that a well managed loyalty system is key to reinforcing shopper loyalty. We make this easy for our retailers.
  • Up-sell reminders. Our software gently reminds retail employees of up-sell opportunities – during the sale. Our software also ensures that customers are given the best price possible – often resulting in an unexpected saving for the customer.
  • Accurate selling. Right through the sale and to the receipt we handle each transaction accurately and with detail necessary to show the business off in a professional light.
  • Follow-up. Sending your customers a text messages reminding them that special orders are in is loved by many. This is one example of follow up opportunities in our software.
  • Purchase options. Offering Lay-By and other facilities improves customer service over more limited purchase plans.
  • Easy handling of refunds and credits. Thanks to straightforward facilities in our software, we make it easy to handle what can be messy transactions like refunds and credits. This saves time and gives the customer a good experience.

There are plenty of ways our software helps retail employees deliver professional and friendly customer service. You can bank on the sales lift from this.

Special offer on broadband eftpos

We have released details to our user community of a special offer to bring more across to the several hundred who already enjoy the benefits of broadband eftpos thanks to our relatuionship with Tyro.  The new offer is on the table until the end of February this year.

The Tyro link we have developed is fast, safe and secure.  It eliminates keystrokes, mistakes and time – all important factors in retail businesses looking to drive the best possible return.

Good c-store Point of Sale software gains

We are working with several parties on innovations in Convenience Store customer throughput and efficiency. Beyond traditional Point of sale software functions, there are opportunities for innovation in supplier interfaces and store level tactics to drive better outcomes.

Convenience retail is, well, about convenience for the shopper. It is about customer efficiency for the retailer. We have techniques available in our software to help drive this. From the simple to the sophisticated, we help convenience store employees drive better outcomes for the businesses in which they work without feeling like they are a process worker.

Our smart Point of Sale software will further evolve this year in the convenience store space as we work with more convenience store owners and suppliers. We are now more than two years into our close work with the convenience store channel and have made excellent progress on several fronts.

The detail of progress is left for communication with our sales prospects.  The less commercially sensitive advances will be detailed here from time to time.

Tower Systems grows newsagent market share

newsagent_pos_software.jpgWhile preparing a presentation for next week I have been gathering the latest newsagent market share data for newsagency Point of Sale computer systems.  The results show the strength of  Tower Systems.

To ensure accuracy of the numbers, we reviewed data in our CRM system, compared with supplier data and tested the results with calls to a sample of newsagents.  This ensured the accuracy of the information presented in the graph and our presentations.

2010 will be an interesting year for newsagency software.  Changes will be necessary to meet new supplier standards and newsagents will change business models and therefore require more flexible software.  Add to that the rigors of a competitive marketplace and you have an interesting year ahead.

We are very proud of our numbers and equally proud that they continue to grow.  We are already enjoying 2010 and the newsagents we are welcoming to our community.

When researching the sales data and checking in with recent arrivals to our community, the most common reasons they give for joining us are good word of mouth from colleagues, experiences elsewhere and our strong market share.

We respect our size and are committed to not allowing this to make us complacent. We are soon pulled into line if we ever stray.

For reference for those who want to compare such things, Tower Systems currently serves 1,698 newsagents.

Managing cost price sensitivity in retail

Our experience is that retailers like to maintain price consistency in situations where cost price changes are within an acceptable range. Our software permits this based on user settings.

Our software issues a warning message is the price change it outside a pre-set percentage change as a result of a cost price change. This allows retailers to set their own rules and have the software ensure price consistency for them.

Price sensitivity setting are set at the department and category levels – giving good flexibility to our users.

Our handling of price sensitivity is a little known yet highly useful facility in our software.

Windows 7 passes all QA

Windows 7 (Professional Edition) has passed all required Quality Assurance tests internally, in the field and with key suppliers.  It is now a fully approved and endorsed operating system.  We are happy to support it.

Online Point of Sale software demos drive business

free_pos_software_demo.jpgThe free Point of Sale software online demo service we offer is proving to be a popular way for retailers to see our software and assess its usefulness for their business. Using WebEx online conferencing software, we host a live demonstration for as many people as is appropriate.

It is not uncommon for us to demonstrate to the owners, their accountant and maybe a couple of others – sometimes all in different locations.  Web Ex makes this easy to arrange and manage with everyone able to participate as if they were in the same room together.

Our online demo service also demonstrates our online training facilities and how we are able to provide personal service to remote located clients.
It’s the Tower Advantage TM in play and we like that. Our online demos show off our points of difference and usually result in sales.

Booking an online demo of the Tower Systems POS software is easy, click on the button on our homepage, enter your details and we contact you to make arrangements.

How good Point of Sale software pays for itself #2

One of the less obvious ways our Point of Sale software helps retailers is in cutting mistakes. There are many ways that our software does this and they all add up to delivering a measureable financial benefit

In an average retail business, we estimate that the value of mistakes eliminated in a year of use of our software is at least .5% of retail sales. That’s a minimum $2,000 net benefit in a year for using the software properly

Here are some the simple ways we reduce mistakes

  • Accurate selling. By not manually entering prices for each item sold you eliminate keystroke mistakes. Also, not manually processing credit card and eftpos payments. We link directly with the baking terminal
  • Accurate pricing. By regulating discounting and catalogues, the software ensures that products are accurately priced. We have seen many mistakes with manual operation. Also, by applyingmarkups automaticallyh, we ensure the margin achieved by the business.
  • Sales tracking. Whether it is lay-bys, putaways, special orders or other points of customer interaction, our Point of Sale software tracks the activity and helps the business fulfil its obligations on time, accurately and professionally
  • Eliminating manual processes. Back office manual processes can be problematic in retail businesses. With the sale counter always demanding attention, back office work is often left mid-stream. By replacing manual back office processes with faster electronic processes we help the business focus more on where it makes its money and to do the office work faster and with fewer mistakes.
  • By regulating who can access what. Sometimes people with time on their hands like to play. Using the advanced security features in our software, retailers can stock people playing where they should not.

There are plenty of other ways we help cut mistakes for our retail partners outside of the five listed here. The $2,000 a year saving (for each $500,000 in revenue) is real. We have seen it (and more) many times over. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to help our customers achieve these benefits.

Stock management and other training this week

We are hosting four free online training workshops for users (and prospective users) of our software this week.

  • Retail Stock management – reordering – Tuesday, Jan 19 @ 11am
  • Catalogues – Tuesday, Jan 19 @ 2pm
  • Home Deliveries and Customer Management – Thursday Jan 21 @ 11am
  • Magazine Management – Thursday Jan 21 @ 2pm

Bookings for these free training sessions can be made at our website.

The feedback we are receiving from our online training program is excellent and encouraging.

Creating electronic invoices for your customers

With many newsagents using our software supplying other retailers also using our software, we make it easy for the supplying newsagent to generate an electronic invoice which can be quickly imported by the receiving newsagent.

OPur Point of Sale software created a DD2 file from Invoice/Delivery Docket or Statement for the recipient – using the industry standard layout.  We have an advice sheet (G43) which explains how this works.

This is another time saving feature in our software for both businesses.  We developed this facility as a result of a customer request and seeing the need oursleves.  It works a treat: saves time, cuts mistakes and facilitates easier flow of stock between connected businesses.

This is on my mind this morning because the facility won us another new customer yesterday.  We are thrilled when a software feature wins us a new customer.