Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: June 2010 (page 1 of 3)

New Officesmart file now avaliable

We have tested and loaded a new Officesmart stock filw to our website for Officesmart members to access.


Looking for a receptionist

We are interviewing today for a new reception role. Our main receptionist Amy will be leaving in a few months to have a child so we are getting in early to find a good candidate to fill her shoes. We hope to have the successful candidate on board within the next few weeks.


Developing the POS software video training curriculum

We are reviewing the video training resources we have developed for our Point of Sale software and the download data from the last year.

The review of our POS software video training aims to fill gaps in creating a training curriculum on key topics. While some topics can be covered in one training video, others are best handled by breaking them down into several sessions.

The feedback from our customers on the video training is proving to be most helpful, they love the content and that it can be done anywhere and anytime.

Now that we are settled in our new office and have better recording facilities, we will be taping additional training in the next few weeks.


Retail management software at Home & Giving Fair

gift-fair-promo.JPGOur retail management software for homewares and gift stores is being promoted at the Home & Giving Fair in Sydney this weekend.  On the GHA (the fair organisers) stand, we have our latest brochure and a coupon letting people know our stand details – HB34.  This coupon promotes a special offer available for people who purchase at the fair.


Homewares stores benefit from software enhancements

Users of our homewares software are benefiting from excellent business performance improvement tools.  From marketing to customer service to homewares supplier relationships, our POS software for homewares stores is delivering excellent outcomes.

Beyond traditional Point of Sale facilities our software delivers excellent business building tools:

  • LayBy management.
  • Loyalty marketing.
  • Customer special orders.
  • Hamper packaging and sales.
  • KPI tracking.
  • faster seller reporting.
  • Supplier electronic invoices.
  • Serial number tracking.
  • Warranty support.

Through the Tower Systems Homewares software we deliver excellent facilities which enable independent retailers to better compete with the department stores and larger groups.


Our customers rock

Last week we announced a poll for our newsagent customers.  We were undertaking the poll on behalf of a newsagent supplier.  Thanks to the votes by our user community we have been able to help the supplier make a more informed operational decision.

Wiuth our newsagency software being used by well over 50% of all newsagents with a computer system puts us in a unique position.  We gladly use that to help forge a better relationship between newsagents and their suppliers.


We will not help retailers avoid tax

Around ten years ago we lost some sales because we would not help retailers avoid tax by maintaining two sets of financial records – one for the business and one for the tax man.

We reported the situation to the ATO and they brought in the Federal Police and several federal and state government agencies. We told them everything we had been told by others.  Whoever was doing this to win business must have stopped because we stopped being asked to provide software which facilitates tax fraud.

Over the last few weeks, however, we have been asked again.

Given the benchmarking project by the ATO, any business would be foolish to hide income because it will soon be discovered.

Our Point of Sale software does not offer two sets of accounting records and we will never develop such software.


Free online training for Point of Sale software customers

We are offering another four free online training workshops next week.  Access is free to anyone.  We limit the number of participants so that all can ask questions and actively participate.

  • End of Financial Year processes.  Tuesday June 29, 11am.
  • LayBys.  Tuesday June 29, 2pm.
  • Mastering Catalogues.  Thursday July 1, 11am.
  • Managing Management Workshop.  Thursday July 1, 2pm.

These workshops are a terrific opportunity to learn how to get more from our retail management software.


End of financial year support offer

Yesterday, we offered our customers who are already covered by support a discount of 20% off Point of Sale software support for a year following the expiration of their current support agreement.  This is an annual offer we always put just prior to June 30.  The take-up has been excellent.

This offer delivers an excellent financial reward opportunity to all existing supported customers.


New office details

tower-office.jpgIt has been a busy week settling into the new office in Hawthorn, unpacking and getting comfortable with the bigger space.  The move has been made easier thanks to Optus arranging for us to take our phone and fax numbers.

While we have updated our address on our website, we figured we should note it here too: 3 Lynch Street Hawthorn VIC 3122.   It is proving to be a convenient location for many on our team as well as suppliers.


Free netbook offer with Point of Sale software

Our free netbook offer for jewellers, newsagents and bike retailers is really cranking interest in the run up to the end of the financial year.  Not just with customers either.  It is always flattering seeing a competitor follow.


We have been promoting the free netbook with postcards sent to the target marketplaces in the last week.


The changing convenience store model in Australia

Through our work with Convenience Stores using our convenience store software we are seeing an interesting evolution of the model, where the traditional store is changing to be more broadly based offering new products and services.

Our relationship with our customers and prospective customers in the c-store space goes beyond providing good POS software.  We welcome the opportunity to work with our customers beyond what is traditional for a software company.  This takes us into boardrooms to discuss strategy and into the offices of suppliers to discuss supply chain efficiency.

We have some exciting developments on the horizon for our convenience store customers on the back of our recent work with key channel participants.


Stocktake training video a hit

The new stocktake training video we released two weeks ago is proving to be a hit with users of our Point of Sale software.

Covering the proper preparation for undertaking a stocktake, the video is proving to be useful for retail business owners as well as the employees responsible for managing stock.

Having the training in an easily accessible video form and available 24/7, our customers are able to esnure that everyone necessary has the same training.


Tower Systems at Sydney Home and Giving Fair

home-giving-fair.jpgTower Systems is proud to be exhibiting at the Sydney Home and Giving Fair in ten days time at two locations within the Sydney Showgrounds venue.

We will have a presence at the GHA partners area of the trade show as well as on our stand on the fair floor.

On show will be the latest version of our Gift Shop software and our homewares software.  We will be showing these products off to retailers as well as suppliers and discussing changes which are adding even more value to the relationships between suppliers and retailers in the gift and homewares channels.

We have been exhibiting at gift related trade shows for several years and have developed a strong new customer base as a result.

If you find yourself at the Home & Giving Fair, be sure to stop by and say hello.


A poll for Tower Newsagents

To help out a newsagent supplier, we are running a private poll for Tower Newsagents.  The response will help the supplier better understand newsagent preferences on an important operational issue.

We are pleased to be able to help newsagent and other suppliers with fresh and acccurate market intelligence.   We have a great community of customers and their thoughtful pariticpation and responses help drive better outcomes for everyone.


Help for newsagent suppliers in EDI implementation

We are close to completing new development work for some suppliers to newsagents who want to engage in electronic trading but outside the XchangeIT framework used by key newsagent suppliers.

Our latest work will make it easier for the participating suppliers to commercially engage with newsagents. We will have an announcement for our customers shortly.


How to cut employee theft in your retail business

Over the years we have developed considerable expertise in helping retailers cut employee theft.  We package and offer theft management advice in our online training, advice sheets and other forums.  Here are ten recommendations for cutting employee theft in just about any retail business:

  • Prepare a written theft management policy and post this in a public area of the back room of the business for all employees to see.
  • Use Point of Sale software which offers strong theft management tools.
  • Only employ people prepared to undergo a police check.
  • Install a security camera system connected with your Point of Sale software.
  • Review the security footage and other business data to look for theft occurrences.
  • Enforce zero tolerance for abuse of systems. For example, ensure that every item sold at the sales counter is scanned. Good software will show if this is being done.
  • Implement zero tolerance for an end of shift discrepancy when balancing the takings of the business. A $5.00 outage should be the maximum allowed.
  • Remove the ability to delete sales from the computer system.
  • Remove the opportunity to cancel sales – this is a common technique used by employees stealing as it can be used to trick customers that the sale has gone through.
  • Change responsibilities – sometimes changing who handles money can uncover fraudulent behaviour.
  • Change your timing. Habits are what allow people to think they can get away with theft.

A recent survey found that 40% of business owners who thought themselves to be theft free, actually had theft occur in their business within a 12 month period prior to survey. Of theft that is recognised, only 2.5% of it is witnessed, the rest only established by audit.Smart computer technology can witness theft better than humans. It can use pattern matching techniques to uncover hitherto undiscovered theft behaviour by employees and deliver evidence which authorities can use to achieve successful prosecution.

Employee theft can be cut in any retail business. All it takes is employer and management commitment and a dedication to maintaining strong business rules.


Helping newsagents resolve Network Services problems

Network Services changed its approach to sending electronic invoices to newsagents.  Something has gone wrong with files for today’s magazines.  Many newsagents are opening their businesses this Monday morning without the files necessary for trading.

We have been in communication with senior people from Network Services over the weekend and advised them of the problems with today’s files as well as with the change in their approach to file distribution more generally.

While this work falls outside our area of software support, we are happy to robustly represent the interests of the 1,700 storng Tower Newsagent community.

Update (9:45am):  Just in from Network Services:

We’ve identified that a few issues where agents haven’t received files for on-sale today, unfortunately it doesn’t affect just one state the issue is widespread.

We are in the process of actioning complete resend of all files from the old file creation process, this process has already been kicked off and should start sending files within the next 1hr.

On behalf of all apologies for the errors over the weekend. I will contact you with any key updates.


Head office relocated

Thanks to an extraordinary effort by a small group of dedicated people and help from the team at Wridgeways over the weekend we are located in our new office in Hawthorn from this morning.  All of our contact numbers remain the same.  Our CRM system and other tools on which we to deliver customer support are all up and running.

While we have some settling to do, the new office is already showing off the value of more space.  We have extra meeting room facilities and a better studio for our online training and our training video production.


Free POS software training this week

We are thrilled to be hosting another four free online training sessions for our Point of Sale software customers this week:

  • Newspaper home delivery management.  Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 11am.
  • How to use Gift Vouchers. Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 2pm.
  • Mastering subagents. Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 11am.
  • Stocktaking. Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 2pm.  There is a prerequisite training video for this workshop – available free at our website.

Access to all of our online training is free for Tower Advantage TM customers.

These will be the first sessions in our new studio in our Hawthorn office.  Bookings can be made here.


Convenience software for convenience stores

Our convenience store software is winning kudos from convenience store owners and their suppliers thanks to the flow of real time sales data.

In high volume retail businesses, like convenience stores, timely flow of sales data is crucial to the business operation.  It facilitates a more efficient supply chain.  It also makes tracking the success of advertising easier and well as taking care of some key back office functions.

The Tower Systems convenience store software delivers real time sales data flow from retail stores back to the head office for the c-store group.  The data feed is proving to be useful in a range of businesses and is driving some excellent sales for us.

We have further enhancements under development for convenience stores which will add more value to this growing suite within our business.

Launched in July, 2008 at the C-Store & Forecourt Exhibition in Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre, using our years of Point of Sale experience, Tower Systems Point of Sale for convenience stores is made for the local independent c-store but also now used in large groups across Australia.


Head Office move update

Our Head Office move which is under way today is progressing well.  Our phone system is completely up and running in our new Hawthorn location and from 7am today support calls are being rerouted and handled out of our Brisbane and Sydney offices.  The support team has access to our CRM system, the backbone of our customer service operation.


Free netbook computer offer for newsagents

newsagent-software-offer.jpgNewsagents are responding well to our end of financial year offer of a free netbook computer with newsagency system purchases.  The offer has been communicated by mail and fax and is resulting in interest from newsagents without a system as well as some with a system and keen to move.

Every year at this time we have an end of financial year offer.  This year’s offer has hit a chord with newsagents looking for honest value from their technology purchase.  The Tower Systems added value of business support beyond the software itself is a genuine point of difference. We help newsagents switch from POS Solutions and Computerlink with conversion packages including transition help.

We have included photos of three of our sales team on the brochure to demonstrate the depth of our team.  Newsagents like to know who they are buying from and that they can speak with these people long after the system is purchased.


Preparing for the office move

We move to our new and larger office in Hawthorn this weekend. Our IT infrastructure move will take two days and starts Friday. Our furniture move is easier and is being undertaken by a team of office relocation professionals on Saturday. Tonight, at the close of business, we will switch all of our Melbourne phone lines to our Brisbane office. We are flying some of our Melbourne help desk team to Brisbane to supplement our local Brisbane team to handle call traffic through Friday.

All regular numbers and emails addresses will work through this time as will our After Hours numbers as well as our Emergency numbers.

Our goal is to be up and running in our new office by 7am Monday morning. Optus has advised that our current number will transfer with us to the new office.


Tower Systems jeweller Software helps jewellers connect to more suppliers

Thanks to our work with suppliers across a number of different retail channels, we have developed excellent tools for connecting retailers and their suppliers. This work makes it easier for suppliers to send jewellers electronic invoices and stock files and for jewellers, if they want and it it is appropriate, to send suppliers files of sales data.

Through a more efficient jeweller / supplier relationship, facilitates by our Jeweller software, efficiency improves and better decisions can be made.

With more jewellers joining our user community, we are extending our jeweller supplier reach and this delivers even more benefits to our customers.

Our interest in facilitating the jeweller / supplier connection is to drive open standards for all channel stakeholders. We have found this to be a better approach in other marketplaces.

Tower Systems serves hundreds of jewellers in Australia, New Zealand and several Pacific Rim countries.

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