Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: March 2010 (page 1 of 3)

Advice on newspaper home delivery fee increase

We are preparing advice for newsagents to help them switch to the new home delivery fees being announced today by Nationwide News and the Herald and Weekly Times.  This advice will be our next week, right after Easter and will be available a week before the changes take effect.

UPDATE: The delivery fee increase advice was released on April 1 – prior to Easter.  Our postage fee advice will be released after Easter.


Easter hours

We will be closed from Good Friday through to Easter Monday.  Our after hours and emergency numbers will operate throughout this time for any urgent issues.


Point of Sale software and secondhand goods

Our development team is working with NSW Police on testing our new secondhand goods software. NSW Police are the leaders in this area and complying with their technology interface in crucial for any software company working with secondhand goods.

Our work is well advanced. Ensuring we are fully compliant is the next step before we contemplate beta release.

Integrated with our Point of Sale software, our secondhand goods facilities have been designed for jewellers, bike retailers and others trading in secondhand good.


Supporting the iPad

We are committed to enabling the new Apple iPad to display newspaper home delivery run lists as well as reports generated by the system.

For run lists, the iPad will work like the various devices we support today.  Migration of the run list facility to the new platform is expected to be easy.

In terms of management reporting, we envisage being able to provide an iPad with multiple reports for reading at a later stage.  This will save paper and make access to reports very easy.


Adding value to user meetings

We add value to the more formal struccture of our user meetings by arriving early and leaving late, making sure that we have plenty of time for one on one questions our customers may have.  We usually have a couple of hours additional time available at each meeting.

By scheduling our user meeting travel to have this spare time adds value to the user meeting opportunity. Here is the list of user meetings we have planned for the next few weeks including this week.  Remember, we aim to be at each location at least an hour before the planned starting time.

Brisbane. Tuesday March 30.  11am.  River View Hotel, Kingsford Smith Drive.

Sydney.  Thursday April 1.  11am.  Rydges Hotel, Missesden Road Camperdown.

Hobart.  Thursday April 8. 11am.  Mercure Hotel.

Gold Coast.  Thursday April 15.  11am. Venue to be advised.

Dubbo.  Thursday April 22.  11am. Venue to be advised.

Bookings can be made online.


iTunes cards selling well in newsagencies

itunes_cards.JPGMore and more Australian newsagency businesses are taking on the iTunes cards.  They can be sold and recharged directly from within our Point of Sale software.

The newsagency is a logical place for purchasing iTunes cards since many are purchased as gifts and newsagents sell close to half all greeting cards sold in Australia. iTunes cards are part of a large suite of electronic products available through our software without newsagents having to carry stock.  We pioneered this direct from Point of Sale platform for newsagents some years ago.

We vend the products through our integrated eziPass platform.  There is a stand-alone version for newsagents without our POS software wishing to access the products.


Tower Systems user meetings

Here is the list of user meetings we have planned for the next few weeks including this week.  These meetings are all locked in, meeting rooms, flights and other details booked and confirmed:

Brisbane. Tuesday March 30.  11am.  River View Hotel, Kingsford Smith Drive.

Sydney.  Thursday April 1.  11am.  Rydges Hotel, Missesden Road Camperdown.

Hobart.  Thursday April 8. 11am.  Mercure Hotel.

Gold Coast.  Thursday April 15.  11am. Venue to be advised.

Dubbo.  Thursday April 22.  11am. Venue to be advised.

Bookings can be made online.


Point of Sale software helps increase basket size

We have been running a campaign through our various communication channels to help retailers using our Point of Sale software to increase basket size, or sales efficiency as some call it.

Using our software, retailers can bring consistency and professionalism to inviting customers to spend more this visit or to revisit soon for additional purchases. We do this through our comprehensive marketing tools as well as coupons on receipts, ads on statements and various other facilities.

Used well and as part of a structured campaign, retailers are able to increase the average basket of each visit – delivering another way the software helps retailers pay for itself.

We have received feedback from several of our customers over the weekend of how they have been successful using the tools we have promoted. They especially like printing coupons on receipts and that we provided free professional artwork for this purpose.

We are glad to be of help beyond providing good Point of Sale software – and we’re always open to suggestions.


Point of Sale software training opportunities this week

Tower Systems is proud to be hosting four free online Point of Sale training opportunities this week:

  • Repairs – Tuesday, Mar 30 @ 11am
  • New Staff Member Training – Mar 30 @ 2pm
  • Point of Sale Training – Apr 1 @ 11am
  • Magazine Management – Apr 1 @ 2pm

Book online at our Point of Sale software training centre.


Point of Sale user meeting in Hobart

We are meeting newsagents and other retailers using our Point of Sale for a user meeting in Hobart on April 8.  This session will be held at the Mercure Hotel, starting at 11am.  I will be there along with Jonathan Tay our Software Development Manager.

At the session we will provide training in our new software, preview our next release, provide training and asnwer all questions.

The date and location are locked in.  Anyone wishing to attend can book online at our website.

Face to face user meetings are important learning opportunities for us and for our customers.  We appreciate the opportunity.


Easter newspaper bumper edition advice

We have published advice for Victorian newsagents on handling Easter bumper newspaper editions. This advice is available from our website under support / advice sheets. It is on advice sheet N13.3.


POS software update in beta release

The latest release of our Point of Sale software moved to beta release yesterday.  We have a small pool of beta sites testing this software prior to mass release.

This updae includes our new repairs facilities for jewellers and others plus enhancements in laybys, customer accounts, stock management, newspaper run lists and some other areas.

Many enhancements are a direct result from the software ideas facility at our website where our users suggest and vote on enhancement requests.


Stock by Age report focuses the mind

We have been working with a retailer to help improve their business and through this process unlocked considerable cash sitting on the shop floor and not selling.  Using our Stock by Age report, we were able to list all stock by age and the value of the stock in each aged bracket.

Finding $25,000 worth of stock (wholesale value) which has been idle for more than a year would be a shock to any retailer. Rather than dwell on this we identified the stock and help develop a strategy for moving this business quickly to unlock this cash.

The Stock by Age report is one of many excellent business management reports in our Point of Sale software. We use report names which describe what the report offers – to help our retailer customers more easily see reports which help in their particular situation.

The Stock by Age report is one of the management reports we are covering in our next round of online and face to face training sessions – it’s little known but tremendously valuable.


Expanding the installation team

We are avertising on Seek (as of this morning) for a new person to join our systems installation team.  Based out of Melbourne but working nationally, this new role will expand the resources we have to help us install new systems in a timely manner.

We have a structured process for considering applicants to ensure that we do find the best candidate possible to join our team.


Replacing the cash register

Cash registers are becoming a tool of yesteryear for small independent retailers thanks to better value Point of Sale software. Our small retailer POS software package, can easily replace a cash register and provide the retail business with superior facilities.

While a cash register has a lower capital cost, there are many areas where good Point of Sale software will help the business more:

  • Faster selling.
  • More accurate selling.
  • Theft reduction.
  • Sales tracking by item, department and supplier.
  • Easier reordering.
  • Business performance management.
  • Customer loyalty facilities.
  • Customer accounts.
  • Customer special orders.
  • Selling electronic voucher products from suppliers.
  • Sales reporting to suppliers.
  • Remote location business management.
  • Tracking product returns.
  • Employee performance management.

There are plenty of other ways Point of Sale software can be more helpful to a retail business over old cash register technology. With more than 2,000 retailers in our user community we have excellent stories which demonstrate these benefits.


Tower Systems extends online training schedule

Yesterday, we released a new Point of Sale software online training schedule which will run until the end of September. We reviewed our online training program, assessed customer engagement and considered new content.  The new schedule introduces several new topics into the mix and continues the most popular training workshops.

We encourage business owners and their employees to participate in our free online training workshops. People who undertake online training are less likely to call support since they have better knowledge of the software. This benefits you as well as us.

Online training can be done from any computer with broadband access – at home or work. You will also need a phone line for the toll free call to get audio content.

The new online training schedule can be found at our website: clink on online training on the home page or click on support /user meetings / online meetings.


User meetings: Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney

Retailers using our Point of Sale software have opportunities to learn more about our software, provide feedback and talk with their colleagues at three more face to face user meetings over the next week:

Melbourne, Thursday March 25 @ 11am. Level 3, 22 Horne Street Elsternwick.

Brisbane, Tuesday March 30 @ 11am. River View Hotel, Kingsford Smith drive.

Sydney, Thursday April 1 @ 11am. Rydges Hotel Camperdown. Missenden Road Camperdown.

These sessions will feature Jonathan Tay, our Software Development Manager, speaking about our latest software update. I will also be participating.

We take our customer service obligation seriously as demonstrated by the extensive coverage achieved through this round of user meetings. By the time we are done we will have been to more than 20 locations.

To book for these free sessions click here.

We will finalise dates for Hobart and Darwin next week.


Helping Mackay customers

Yesterday, we made contact with our ten customers in Mackay, Queensland, to see if we could assist following damage caused by Cyclone Ului on the weekend.  Thankfully, most are in okay shape.  One business, however, has been serioudly damaged and will not reopen for some time.  We are helping where we can.

The cyclone is another reminder of the value of regular backups which are stores away form the business.  They make recovering easier.


Newsagent suppliers prepare for more innovation

newsagency_magazines.JPGNow that the new XchangeIT platform is well settled, the magazine distributors and others are considering the next steps they can take to improve efficiencies in the channel. We are pleased to be participating in this process of consideration.

While newsagent suppliers have their own needs, we are robustly representing the needs of newsagents and their desire for time saving improvements, greater certainty on supply changes and improvement in cash flow.

We have been gathering information on enhancements newsagents want to see on our recent national face-to-face user meeting tour. This feedback has been excellent and timely.

As newsagents ourselves we understand the need for continual improvement in the newsagents / supplier IT connection more than a traditional software company.

Our position is enhanced by the size of our newsagent user community – more newsagents use our software than that from all other software companies combined. This makes for a tight and attractive test pool for innovation.

The benefit of the size of the Tower Newsagent community and our personal connection with newsagents is reflected in several exclusive newsagent supplier initiatives delivered already in our software. It will be further evident when other enhancements are delivered this year. We have two key initiatives in early development already.

The economic challenges of the last year and a half have driven suppliers to look for ways to improve efficiency in the newsagency supply chain. Technology is playing a key role in this and will continue to do so for some time.

As more innovation is delivered by ourselves and other software companies, the gap between newsagents with technology and those without will grow. I expect to see suppliers treat technology enabled and compliant newsagents differently to those using manual processes. This could lead to a class divide between newsagents and even see a different in the shingle above the door.

Tower Systems continues to help newsagents embrace technology for the first time. We do this through a flexible pricing model and other forms of assistance, particularly for smaller newsagencies which might otherwise not justify an investment in technology.

The real asset of the newsagency channel is the geographic spread of newsagency businesses. We are committed to helping the channel work as a channel and thereby leverage this asset.


Last call: join our AFL tipping competition

Sign up for our 2010 season AFL tipping competition closes this Wednesday as the season starts Thursday.  Anyone can join in.  It’s free.  Tower Systems is funding good cash prizes.

Running an AFL tipping competition has been a tradition for us for many years.  We are glad to be able to do this again this year and broaden the connection between those in our community.   Click here to sign up.


Training opportunities for newsagents and retailers this week

Our free Point of Sale software online training program continues this week with four new sessions.

  • Former POS Solutions users – Tuesday, Mar 23 @ 11am. This is for newsagents who have switched from POS Solutions to Tower Systems.
  • Magazine Management – Mar 23 @ 2pm. The best online training for newsagents who want to manage magazines efficiently and meet XChangeIT standards.
  • Newspaper Home deliveries – Thursday, Mar 25 @ 11am. This session will cover all you need to know to manage newspaper home deliveries using our software.
  • Stocktaking – Mar 25 @ 2pm. It is never too early to get ready for a stock take. This training session will take you through all stocktaking facilities and how to use them to your advantage.

To book for thrse or any of our free online training workshops, please click here.


Newspaper home delivery software changes

The latest newsagency management software released by Tower Systems several weeks ago delivers key enhancements in the area of newspaper home delivery.  These enhancements have been delivered following user suggestions.  The enahncements have delivered more flexibility in printing newspaper home delivery run lists along with better management tools.  We have also enhanced sub agent management facilities – our users can easily re-sequence sub agents and produce accounting for subs in a more flexible way.

These newsagency specific enhancements provide more useful software for newsagents with newspaper distribution businesses.


Tower Systems helps Gift and Homewares businesses

Tower Systems has been serving retailers with software for the gift and homewares channels for five years. The company has a twenty-nine year track record of developing, selling and supporting world class retail management software. The company currently serves in excess of 2,500 independent retailers using its software.

Recently, we have been working with more suppliers to extend the reach of EDI facilities in the gift and homewares channels. We are pleased to be able to help bring structure through our Point of Sale software which delivers time and money savings to the relationships between suppliers and retailers.

The Tower Systems software serves gift and homewares retailers in a range of key business areas:

Point of Sale: tracking sales, managing price, lay-bys, seasonal catalogues.

Stock control: Automatic reordering to the requirements of the business, theft tracking, supplier performance comparison, margin management.

Marketing. Flexible loyalty marketing tools, mobile phone, email and regular mail marketing facilities plus the ability to understand the true value of each customer.

Business management: Through over eighty value packed reports, on screen insights and other facilities, the Tower software partners with retailers in guiding better business decisions based on good business data.

To ensure that gift and homewares retailers get the most from the Tower software investment, the company provides in-store face to face training, weekly online and live training workshops, free access to up to date training videos as well as regular capital city and regional user meetings.


New introductory video

We have loaded a new introductory video at our website.  This was produced earlier this week and reflects some of the recent innovations launched by us including the new website itself.

The video seeks to present us in a natural and simple way.  It also demonstrates how we are using the website to deliver video as well as live training online to our large retailer user community.

We are committed to keeping our story as fresh as the software we sell and the services we provide.


Retailers use receipts to promote their businesses

receiptrollsad.jpgTower Systems has launched a range of artwork designed for printing on sales receipts – turning these business documents into marketing billboards. Receipts printed using the Tower Point of Sale software are like a professional do it yourself shop-a-docket.

This free service from Tower Systems is available to all Tower Advantage TM customers through the company website. Click here to see a list of receipt artwork currently available without cost.  These can be downloaded and used with the receipt printers recommended by the company.  Advice sheet G32 explains how to load the artwork on receipts.

The five receipt artwork images to the left are only a selection of what the company has created for its customers.  The website has more.

The Tower software includes smart ad serving facilities which provide flexibility to the retailer about when each receipt is to be included in a sale.  these facilities provide flexibility for retailers around which artwork is served and when.

The development and release of these receipts is further evidence of the support Tower provides retailers using its Point of Sale software. The company goes beyond telling people how to use its software, by producing this artwork it adds value delivered by the software to the business.

The company has invited suggestions from its customers for future receipt advertisements and coupons to be produced by its in-house creative team.  Suggestions can be logged through the Software Ideas facility on the website -those allowed to vote on the idea.

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