Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: August 2010 (page 1 of 3)

Marketing collateral supporting Blackhawk gift cards

blackhawk_1.jpgWe are waiting on final approval before we release the two posters we have developed exclusively for our retailer partners selling the Blackhawk gift card range.

We are proud to show off our innovation and the type of business-building help we provide our retail partners beyond the Point of Sale techology itself.

We developed two quite different posters to provide our retailers with a choice.

Once we have Blackhawk approval the artwork will be made available to our customers.


Extracting real value from Point of Sale software

Retailers are responding to tough times by extracting more value from their Point of Sale software. 

Gone are the days when a Point of Sale system is seen as a cash register replacement, basic in function and service.  In today’s marketplace, smart retailers are extracting every ounce of value they can from their POS software investment.

While many software companies sell similar software, the majority do not provide the level of assistance and advice necessary for retailers to unlock value from the software beyond basic cash register replacement.

It takes real commitment from a software company to unlock the level of value necessary in today’s tough retail environment.

Software companies which act as software companies will rarely help retailers extract full value from their software.

Tower Systems is committed to helping retailers achieve tangible benefits from full use of its software every day.  This is reflected in the broad range of assistance provided through our Help Desk.  More than half all calls relate to business matters and not the software itself.

Thanks to broad retail expertise, we can go beyond the usual technical support call.  We provide business implementation advice along with business management advice.

Our assistance can also include analysing business reports and showing a retailer the business decisions available to them based on the data in the reports.  This is where real value is unlocked from our retail management software and the Tower Advantage TM relationship.

Imagine how a retailer feels when we identify $15,000 worth of stock which ought to be quit because it is not paying even for the floor space it occupies?  Or when we show how to easily lure customers back into the business with little or no cost.  Retailers love having access to this information and the decisions they can make.

We delight in engaging in business discussions which enable us to use the software to show the opportunities for our retail partners.

Tower Systems is more than a software company offering a technical solution. We are a business building company which uses software as one means through which we help independent retailers grow.


2011 diary catalogue now available

We have tested and loaded the GNS 2011 Diary Catalogue to our website and made this available for our customers with the permission of GNS.


Great start to Sydney Jewellery Fair

jaa-tower.JPGOur stand at the International Jewellery Fair in Sydney was all set for a busy day when the photo was taken yesterday at 8:30am … and a busy day it was too, the first day of a three day event.

On the stand we have our jewellery software being demonstrated live.  Our technology is backed by a team of jeweller experts who talk to our solid market penetration and the latest enhancements in our software.

Our first visitor for the day was a happy client from FIJI.  This got us off to a good start and the first day moved along at an excellent pace.

We have served the jeweller marketplace for eleven years.  Sales are increasing thanks to excellent software developed by our skilled in-house software development team.


Free employee theft tracking service for retailers

Employee theft can kill a retail business if left undetected for too long.  In addition to excellent theft reduction and theft management facilities in our Point of Sale software, Tower Systems also offers a theft analysis service to its retailer customers.

Theft Check, as the free service is called, involved thorough analysis of critical business data, looking for patterns of behaviour, as indicated in the data, which could be evidence of employee theft.  Access to theft check is provide as part of the Tower Advantage TM customer support and service program.

All we need is access to a current data backup and we do the rest.   We look at the data from the perspective of successfully uncovering theft in more than one hundred retail businesses.  From a few hundred dollars to well over one hundred thousand dollars.  We are able to identify behaviour which is at best poor retail practice and at worst blatant theft from the business.

Our experience is that retailers are complacent about theft because of a belief in their people, denial that it could happen to them and fear that it is happening to them.  We have been guilty of this ourselves in our own retail businesses.

Our years of experience in working with retailers on employee theft, across a variety of retail channels, has allowed us to develop skills which are now helping others cut the cost of employee theft.

FOOTNOTE: This is not the first time we have written about this service and it will not be the last.  Each time we do write about it more retailers contact us. Our singular goal is to cut the cost of theft in retail businesses using our Point of Sale software.


Point of Sale software training next week

Tower Systems is offering Point of Sale software training next week in the following areas:

  • Retail stock management. Tuesday Aug 31 at 11am
  • General Q&A session Aug 31 at 2pm
  • Point of Sale training Sep 2 at 11am
  • Magazine management workshop Sep 2 at 2pm

Each of these sessions is free and will run for around an hour.  Please book for all online training at our website.


Touch screen layout for West Australian newsagents

wa-touchscreen.JPGOur software for newsagents can be easily configured to suit the needs of many businesses and situations.  One area where adjustment is easy is with the touchsreen layout.  The photo shows a touchscreen layout for newsagents in Western Australia.  It includes local products which you would not see elsewhere.

The screen was designed for a particular newsagent who wanted more products on the touchscreen that we would usually provide.  Our preference is for bigger buttons.  In this situation they wanted smaller buttons and more products to serve their particular need.  Our software easily handled their requirement without the need for a change or a visit.  They could also include product logos to make identifying products easier.

Flexibility in software configuration is important to newsagents and all retailers.  We are proud of the flexibility we have built into the software and that our customers do use this.

Changing a touch button can be done quickly at the store level without risk.  Likewise, securing buttons so that they cannot be changed is also easy.


Beautiful gift cards drive sales

adorn-jewellers.jpgAdorn Jewels have taken the opportunity of our in-house gift card design service, producing beautiful gift cards which can be used with our jeweller software for sale to customers.  Each gift card has a unique barcode which ties back to the customer account to which the value of the gift card is easily loaded using the software.

We realised early on after developing our gift card / gift voucher facilities that we needed to offer our customers an easier way of leveraging this beyond the software.  Our in-house gift card design and packaging service has achieved this with many Tower Systems customers taking up the service.

We back our card design service up with a Chins based printing service.  This results in high quality cards at a low price.

We also provide training an support on implementing gift cards into the business.  We are lucky to have been exposed to gift cards across a number of retail channels, providing useful broad experience from which we can draw when asked for advice.


Newsagent software update

We have released a newsagency software update to address the latest requirements of XchangeIT, the industry standard EDI platform used by magazine distributors.

We have been working with XchangeIT following recent performance reviews of data being sent from newsagents.  The latest update is designed to help newsagents meet their KPIs and keep their XchangeIT access costs to a minimum.

The latest update was released two weeks ago and is available to Tower Advantage TM customers from our website.  We are promoting it today to encourage our newsagent customers to update to this latest version.


POS Solutions newsagency customer losses

Preparations for the court case POS Solutions has brought against us are continuing.  POS has indicated that they plan to seek $2 million in compensation from us based on the number of newsagents who have switched to Tower Systems Point of Sale software from their software.  I am looking forward to see how the case plays out in court when it eventually gets there.

As I told one of the owners of POS when he and I discussed their considerable customer losses three months ago, the best way for them to address this would have been to deliver better quality software backed by better quality support.

Blaming a competitor for sales losses is like a kid blaming another kid some something which they themselves have caused to happen.

We continue to welcome newsagents switching from the POS Solutions software to our software.  We promise to work hard to make the transition as easy as possible.  We also promise friendly and professional service backed by a whole of company commitment to genuine customer care.


Exclusive collateral for Blackhawk giftcards

We are close to launching exclusive marketing collateral for the close to 150 newsagents using our newsagency software who have or will very soon have the Blackhawk gift card range in their stores.  Our marketing collateral is being developed by our own marketing department and will come with the Blackhawk seal of approval.

As the world’s largest gift card supplier, it is natural the Blackhawk must approve all marketing collateral which promotes their offer.

We are developing several collateral alternatives prior to selecting one as the preferred option for our growing network of Blackhawk outlets.  The collateral will be provided with marketing tips and advice to help our retail partners maximise sales of Blackhawk product.

This is the Tower Advantage TM at work – providing access to a solution through our technology, backing it with professional marketing and supporting it with quality business development advice.

The reports of sales of Blackhawk gift cards in our stores already carrying the range indicate excellent business.


Is employee theft hurting your retail business?

Employee theft accounts for around two thirds of all theft in a retail business based on data we have seen. Overall theft accounts for anything between three and five percent of retail sales – based on publicly available industry data.  Tower Systems helps retailers cut employee theft thanks to some excellent theft management tools in our software. 

We also help cut employee theft thanks to our FREE theft check service.  We review your business data and look for patters of behaviour which indicate that theft may be active.  The results of our research can provide you peace of mind, guide further investigation or be used by police in taking prosecution action.

Our pro bono work on tracking and cutting employee theft has saved some of our customers tens of thousands of dollars.  This is the Tower Advantage TM in action, putting money in the pocket of our customers without us putting our hands out asking for money to do this.

Retailers without a theft management strategy are at considerable risk in their businesses.  The theft tracking and reduction tools in our Tower Systems Point of Sale software can play a key role in any professional theft management program.

We have packaged our theft reduction and management advice into a one hour business management presentation and offer this to our customers and others who can bring together a group of retailers keen to work on reducing the cost of theft.


Jeweller trade show this weekend

Our jeweller software will be on show at the respected JAA International Jewellery Fair trade show this weekend in Sydney.  We are excited about this since it will be the first public airing of our latest jeweller software, showing off new facilities we have developed for jewellers as a result of working closely with jewellers.Over next weekend and into the week, our jeweller software will be on show for close to 10,000 jewellers at the most important industry trade event of the year.While we are certain to meet with many existing customers, we already have arrangements to meet with plenty of prospects.  What will be interesting is the mix of businesses attending given the broadening of the retail shingles under which jewellery is sold today.


Welcome John!

We are thrilled to be welcoming John Le to a newly created role on our national Point of Sale software help desk today. John brings years of help desk experience to the role and an affinity for small business. Following comprehensive training, John will start taking calls from customers – these will initially be shared with another team member before moving to solo calls.

We have created two new help desk roles over the last month to help us cope with demand from new customers.

If you get to talk with John, please say hello and join us in welcoming him to the Tower community.


Paying $250 a month just to keep your software running

We have switched another customer from a competitor of ours by demonstrating that the cost of ownership of our Point of Sale software is considerably less than that for the competitor’s software.

The newsagent purchased the software a few years ago for thousands of dollars but was told a year or so back that they didn’t purchase the software and that a monthly licence fee is now applicable. $250 a month plus GST. It soon adds up.

Their gripe was compounded with the extra items they are told they have to pay for and the apparent high price for these items.

By switching to our Tower Systems Point of Sale software, the newsagent will be better off financially over the medium term. Of course, our view is that they will be significantly better off operationally immediately they move.

Once you have purchased software for your business you should have the option of not having to pay anything extra to make use of this. Mandatory fees should be able to be challenged – that is what we would suggest at least.


Good business at GNS Market Fair in Perth

gns-perth.JPGWe have been busy at the GNS Market Fair in Perth today. The stand has has had a constant stream of sales prospects and existing newsagent customers.  Western  Australia is a good and growing marketplace for us.

We put on a good display with three people staffing the stand – to ensure that the loved Tower Systems customer service can be experienced by everyone stopping by.

Our installation team will be busy based on the business we have seen today – and the fair still has three hours to go.

Congratulations to GNS for putting on a good day … thanks especially for the regular flow of food and drink!

PS. Don’t be put off by the photo, it was taken at 8:45am before the fair opened.


POS software online training opportunities this week

We are offering four free online workshops in our Point of Sale software this coming week:

Magazine management workshop. Tuesday Aug 24 at 11am
Retailer security Aug 24 at 2pm.  For business owners only.
Magazine management workshop Aug 26 at 11am
Retail stock management Aug 26 at 2pm.  Ideal for retailers new to our software.

Bookings can be made on the booking page at our website.


Business reports win over newsagents

Our exclusive business reporting package is winning over newsagents to our newsagency software.  In a comparison of reports available and reporting options, newsagents are voting with their feet and cheque books.  Sales to newsagents are excellent.

When we asked newsagents who had recently switched to our Tower Systems software, better reporting was one of the reasons given.   We were thrilled.

We are proud of our business reports.  We have an excellent mix of industry standard repoprts, supplier focused reports and reports which guide and drive better business decisions.

Like the rest of our newsagency software, our reports continue to evolve to meet the needs of our customers and their suppliers.  Our next update will deliver some excellent reporting initiatives.


Our Ausbike trade show stand

ausbike.jpgThis is our stand at the Ausbike Trade Show, on this weekend in Melbourne.  We are are just about all setup and ready to go -we only have to load the stand with our technology, brochures and people.

Like many retail channel trade shows now, we expect to see more than pure bike retailers at the show.  There was a time when a channel specific trade show would attract retailers only from that channel.  Now you see all sorts visit as retailers are expanding beyond the traditional product range for their shingle.  We like this because it suits the diversity of pur software offer.

Our software for bike shops is the most widely used specialist bike shop software in Australia.


Bike Shop software on the main stage this weekend

Our specialist bike shop software will be the feature of a public presentation at the AUSBIKE trade show this weekend in Melbourne.  Live on stage, one of our product experts will demonstrate the software live and show how it can help bike retailers increase sales from customers, reduce the cost of underperforming inventory, better manage repairs and service, reduce sales counter mistakes and pursue better quality business decisions.

We appreciate being invited to deliver this presentation as part of the seminar program at the important industry trade event.

Bike retailers have been instrumental in guiding enhancements to our software which are now used and appreciated by other retailers using our software.  Their retail sales management requirements in particular have led to significant enhancements which have broadened the scope of the traditional POS software function.  This makes our software more use for all of our customers.


Advice published to help Victorian newsagents

Yesterday we published advice to our Victorian newsagent customers on how to handle the unexpected and quite complex campaign announced by the Herald Sun earlier this week.  While the timing of the promotion has been pushed back, we have worked hard to ensure that Tower Newsagents are prepared to manage the promotion with our software.


Promotion of Tower Systems by GHA

gha_member_benefits.JPGWe were thrilled to see promotion of Tower Systems in the recent member benefits pack sent out by the Australian Gift and Homewares Association.    (See photo)

Our gift shop software is a key benefit for GHA members, delivering access at a special GHA price to excellent business productivity software.

Through the GHA relationship we are able to help gift and homewares business owners improve their businesses and strengthen the overall channel as a result.


Helping newsagents with EDI challenges

Newsagents around the country have been receiving advice on compliance with standards monitored by XchangeIT, the industry standard EDI platform.  To help  Newsagents our newsagency software refresh their knowledge of the operational requirements of the standards, we have scheduled two of our popular and highly regarded online magazine management workshops next week.  Access to these online workshops is free to Tower Advantage TM customers.

The commercial imperative of compliance is that it reduces the cost of accessing the XchangeIT platform.


Helping newsagents handle a complex Herald Sun promotion

We are finalising advice for our Victorian distribution newsagents on how to handle the Herald Sun subscription promotion announced this week.

We have been consulting newsagents and senior management at the Herald and Weekly Times to ensure that all of the requirements of the promotion are understood and appropriately addressed using our newsagency management software.

While we are frustrated that H&WT announced the complex promotion without consulting newsagency software vendors, our focus right now is in helping our customers deal with this.


New products on eziPass electronic products platform

We have announced to our eziPass electronic voucher customers today details of new and updated products available this month.  The latest changes further enhance the value of the eziPass offer.

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