Interviewed for Jeweller Magazine

We have participated in an extensive interview for Jeweller magazine and a feature being developed on the use of Point of Sale software for Jewellers. The journalist writing the article had an excellent mix of questions on the benefits of software to retailers and suppliers, the cost of ownership as well as future directions.

It is terrific seeing an industry journal provide such in-depth analysis on something as business-critical as point of sale software.

As a major supplier of software to the Jeweller channel, we are pleased to be part of the article currently under preparation.

Featuring in Giftrap Magazine

A significant contribution from Tower Systems features in the latest issue of Giftrap magazine, an important journal for gift and homewares retailers.  Without pitching Tower Systems, the article talks about the importance of investing in the right technology for a retail business.  It talks about the need to properly and fully understand your needs before selecting a Point of Sale system.

Giftrap is published by the Gift and Homewares Association.

Driving the Upsell at the Sales Counter

Retailers using our Point of Sale software are able to use the software to guide employees to make upsell offers at appropriate times in sales.  Beycond the basic of would you like batteries with that or how about staples with your stapler, our software is able to display more complex scripts on the screen or upsell prompts on receipts.

Using a range of contact points in our software, retailers are able to use these to guide customer engagement either during a sale or after a sale, getting the customer back into the business soon.

On top of easily accessed points of engagement, our software supports deal opportunities such as buy two and get your third for free and so on.  Our software makes offering and redeeming these deals easy at the sales counter – through our comprehensive catalogue management facilities.

By being able to offer a variety of pricing offers and configurations, retailers using our software have flexibility at the counter which we know is vital to sales growth.

Providing Sales Data to Suppliers

Tower Systems is bringing more suppliers onto our Point of Sale software platform of providing sales data from retailers to their suppliers.

Facilitated automatically through our software, retailers are able to provide data in a format which is supplieer friendly without any additional time or operational cost.

The benefit to the retailer is that a smart suppl;ier with good supply chain management is abl to provide replenishment stock in a more timely and capital respectful manner than the old phone call or in-store rep follow up approach.

Replenishing stock based on factual retail sales data is proving to be tremendously beneficial for retailers … and for participating suppliers.  We work with suppliers and retailers without charge in this area, to help further our mission to help the Tower retail community extract more value from their partnership with us.

Newsagents Continue to Switch from POS Solutions to Tower Systems

We are thrilled to welcome more newsagents who have switched from POS Solutions to Tower Systems this month.  We are attracting newsagents to switch from the POS Solutions DOS software as well as the POS Browser software.

We help newsagents migrate by managing data conversion, staff training and management support around business performance reporting.

How to Get the Most from Your Point of Sale Software

Point of Sale software, like any business tool, is only as good as the use made of it.  A good tool, used poorly, will not serve the business well.

Tower Systems provides an excellent suite of assistance services which are designed to help retailers get the maximum value from its Point of Sale software.  The key is to engage with these assistance services.

  • Free live training.  We run four FREE online training workshops each week.
  • Easy to follow documentation.  We have more than 200 printed advice sheets covering key parts of the software and how to engage with these.
  • Free training videos.  With more than 30 training videos accessible from our website and FREE to retailers and their employees,there are excellent learning opportunities.
  • Business check.  We offer a FREE assessment of business performance and the use of the software through our business check service.
  • Weekly tips and advice.  Each week we publish up to date advice and tips on how to use the software.
  • User meetings.  In two cycles a year we offer access to free live face to face training through our user meeting program.
  • Help.  Through a professional Help desk service, we provide one on one guidance in the use of the software.

Retailers who are getting more from their Tower Systems Point of Sale software are more likely to bee engaged in some or all of these services.  They are retailers who want their computer system to be more than a glorified cash register.  This is what we want too.  It is why we continue to evolve raining and other engagement opportunities.

So, how do retailers get more from their Point of Sale software? By engaging … every day.

The Value of Reporting Greeting Card Sell Through

Our latest Greeting Card Category and Segment Performance Report is providing retailers with the ability to track caption sell through at the seasonal level.  This is tremendously valuable to retailers who want access to accurate data about the performance of greeting cards in their business.

By reporting on returns percentage along with Gross Profit, Sales, Units Sold and Percentage of Total Sales, retailers using our Point of Sale software have access to powerful software which empowers them in their discussions with greeting card companies.

With floor space and inventory being key costs of any retail business, understanding the sell through at the caption level will enable retailers to better manage product mix.  Analysis for one retailer recently highlighted returns percentages of 26%, 20% and 11% of the top three performing sub categories for one major greeting card season.   In this particular store, there is irrefutable evidence that humor cards perform less than non humor cards.  A good retailer can take this and other information from the detailed analysis and make sound business decisions.

Tower Systems is providing assistance to retailers to ensure that the real value of the new level of greeting card performance reporting is understood and leveraged.  Beyond helping our customers produce the enhanced report, we offer to guide our customers to an understanding of what the report could mean for their business.

Bringing Microsoft Office Products to Newsagents

We are thrilled at the opportunity to bring Microsoft Office products to newsagents for sale.  We anticipate these being available soon as part of an expanded product range.  Newsagents will have access to the Microsoft stock without any capital investment required.   Newsagents using our newsagency software will have access to the Microsoft and other new products through our eziPass platform.

Alerting Retailers About Things That Matter

Retailers using our Point of Sale software have had the ability to receive text messages of important events in their store(s) via text message. Our users have control over the messages sent from the regular, such as end of shift numbers, through to event driven such as steep discounting or too many canceled dales in a short burst.

In addition to text messages detailing these events, our retail partners can also receive emails for the same events.

These facilities enable absentee owners to know what is happening in their businesses without the employees in the businesses having to remember to send information – this is done automatically ffrom within the Point of Sale software based on a set of business rules established stored in a secure area of the software.  The latest version of our software, released earlier this month, extends the email support for these alerts.

We have instances of employee theft being caught thanks to these facilities in our software, theft which might have otherwise gone undetected.

Keeping retailers abreast of activities in their businesses which are outside accepted practices in an important role for Point of Sale software.  As retailers ourselves, we understand the value of taking these steps and ensuring that our software delivers best practice in this area of business management.

POS Software Sales Vacancy in Western Australia

Tower Systems is looking to fill a new software sales position serving several West Australian retail channels.  This is a new role in the business and an important of our 2011/12 business plan.  We are looking for someone with excellent small business credentials, preferably in the Point of Sale software space.

Technical and business skills are more important than sales skills.  It is vital that we find someone who with a genuine interest in independent retail and a background which demonstrates sound business knowledge.

For a position description and other details relating to this role please contact our Managing Director, Mark Fletcher on mark@towersystems.com.au.

New Bike Shop Software Wins Praise

The latest release of our Bike Shop Software is receiving praise from our user community.  Singled out for compliments is the new repairs facilities.  The enhancements to this complex and business critical software module have been singled out by several of our customers as being the best part off the update for their business.

Using our Repairs Software, Bike Shop managers are able to track a repair from the time it enters the business to the time it leaves.  Our software manages all parts and labour used in a repair as well as external services used during the repair process.

The complexity of our repairs software module is relevant to all of our customers in that it shows off a software design and development competency which goes beyond what you often see in Point of Sale software.  This competency is what attracts suppliers in other marketplaces to partner with Tower Systems to lead on innovative projects – like the Hallmark data integration project launched exclusively through Tower Systems late last year.

Our Bike Shop Repairs Software, while good and appreciated, is set to improve in the next update of our software.  Tower Systems management has signed off on further enhancements which will maintain the position of the software as leading edge for bike retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

Improving Retail Customer Service With This Customer Display

cdisplay.JPGThe new customer display supported by our Point of Sale software is a professional and consistent way to promote your retail business to your customers while, at the same time, detailing what is in each sale.

Our users have control over the content which appears on the right hand side of the screen during sales processing just as they have control over the content which appears on the full screen in between sales.

The same software which manages this LCD customer display also manages full size customer displays (dual displays) which some retailers prefer – these are more like the displays you see in supermarkets and some other major retailers.

While we continue to support the traditional two-line LED customer displays, our support for these new customer display technologies is being met with much enthusiasm among our customers.

Online POS Software Training Opportunities Next Week

We are hosting four free online training opportunities for Australian and New Zealand users of our POS software next week.  These can be accesses without cost – we even carry the cost of the phone call. the four workshops are:

  • Mastering Subagents, 29 Mar 2011, 11:00AM
  • Business Reporting, 29 Mar 2011, 02:00PM
  • New Staff Member Training, 31 Mar 2011, 11:00AM
  • General Q & A Session, 31 Mar 2011, 02:00PM

As participants in our online training program say, these workshops are a great way to learn.  Book at our online training portal.

Improving Newsagent Magazine Performance Reporting

To help newsagents make more informed decisions on their magazine range, we are developing a new and exclusive level of reporting for newsagents using our newsagency software.

We are leveraging our privileged position of owning and operating newsagents ourselves to engage in publisher relationships to facilitate this new level of reporting.

This reporting will supplement the excellent reporting in our software which enables our newsagent customers to report on magazine sales by distributor at the deep category level.  This allows our newsagent customers to rely 100% on performance data for their business rather than high level supplier reporting.

Understanding the Question is the POS Software Help Desk Challenge

In retail more than just about any other business you are likely find someone using the Point of Sale software who has not been properly trained. This can be a challenge for POS Software Help desk team members as they take calls from people who can struggle to describe their question.

This is why listening skills are important on any Help Desk. Listening for clues as to the real cause of the call. If these are not obvious then asking questions ourselves can help.

Sometimes people want to talk about a journey before getting to the crux of the call. In these situations we have to help the caller get to the question as once we have that we can work on a resolution.

Given the free form nature of a Help Desk call, the process is inexact. Each call is different. Every caller has a different skill level. Each question is about a different part of the software. We train our team to go about getting to the core question in a methodical and timely way … so that we can provide a resolution as quickly as possible.

We review call management and quality as part of our regular review of our Help Desk service.

Kudos for Greeting Card Integration Work

More greeting card companies have passed on kudos to our development team for their leading greeting card integration and reporting work.  As a result of the work we have done and the standards we have established, it is now very easy for more card companies to provide stock file and invoice data to newsagents, card shops and gift shops in a format which facilitates more meaningful greeting card performance reporting.

While we started with Hallmark Cards two years ago, this project is set to take on wider use as more card companies come on board.  We are keen to facilitate this given the benefits accessible to our customer base.  Our development framework has been created to make access for other card companies quite achievable.

This work with Hallmark has enabled us to introduce MAT or Moving Annual Total reporting to our cards performance report. We are thrilled as MAT reporting is important to use, it’s something we have offered for years elsewhere in our software.

Tower Systems is pleased to have played the leadership role in innovation which is proving to be so valuable to retailers.  We made the investment to demonstrate the value for our customers of dealing with the the company which serves far more newsagents than any other.

UPDATE: It’s fun to watch a competitor scramble to catch up.

The Danger of Automatic Software Updates

The commercial risk of automatic software updates was on show recently when updated software from one Australian Point of Sale company introduced a financially expensive software bug. This left affected retailers financially out of pocket on each sale for some hours until the problem was fixed. The retailers have been left to carry the cost.

Given our comprehensive quality assurance and beta test programs such a software bug is far less likely to be released through a software update.

Further, since we give our customers control over when they install updates there is far less exposure.

Pushing software updates out to retailers without adequate testing and without giving the retailer control over timing can lead to expensive mistakes as some have found recently.

Loving Small Independent Retailers

Tower Systems has been built on serving small and independent retailers, retailers who are often forgotten by big suppliers and banks.

We like smaller independent retailers because of their passion, speed of decision making, clear communication and local connection.

We believe in the role of small and independent retailers in local communities. They are important to the fabric of every country. Employing local people, offering local access to quality products and services and often providing a local community hub.

The social and community benefits of locally owned retailers is often overlooked. Sure it is nice to have a major retailer come to town, it can make the local community feel important and connected to the world stand. The reality is that a locally owned small business is, in our view, far more important to the fabric of the local community than the national or international brand retailer.

Small and independent retailers tend to be more innovative and we learn from this. Many loved facilities in our software have been developed as a result of innovation we have learnt from small and independent retailers who have had to find better and more efficient ways of doing business.

So, yes, we love small and independent retailers. Our passion is helping them run more efficient, profitable and enjoyable businesses.

Beware of Virus Warning Fraud

Retailers and indeed all computer users should beware emails and calls warning that their system is infected with a virus.  This is not how you would discover that your computer is infected.  The email or call are part of a plan to defraud you.  The Scam Watch website has more helpful information.

We have had customers caught by this scam.  It can be expensive and disruptive to the business.

New Supplier Stock Files Available Now

We have tested and loaded the following supplier stock files to the downloads area of our website for users of our Point of Sale software:

  • BrownTrout 2012 Calendars
  • Canson February 2011
  • Darrell Lea Easter 2011
  • Hallmark March 2011
  • Henderson Greetings March 2011
  • KatKards March 2011

Newsagents Prefer to Save Money on Software Support Fees

We are thrilled to have welcomed more newsagents who have recently switched from others systems to our newsagency software recently.  While it is the savings in software support which encouraged the majority to consider Tower Systems, it is the rich features in our software, helpful support, the additional business assistance services and our commitment to the newsagency channel which is winning conversion business.

When we demonstrate our software function for function, newsagents soon see the value of switching to Tower Systems.  Serving close to three times the number of newsagents as customers than our nearest competitor has enabled us to build feature rich software which serves a diverse mix of needs in a broad mix of newsagencies.

With each conversion of a newsagency from another system to our software comes further enhancement of our customer community and this, in turn, helps us to continue to evolve our newsagency software.

Development is under way of software enhancements for newsagents.  These enhancements are in the distribution, retail and business management areas of the software.  They will further demonstrate the value to newsagents of our market share and the investment we make on behalf of our newsagent customers.

The next update to our newsagent software is expected to be released in under two months.

How to Cut Employee Theft in Retail

Employee theft can cost a retail business tens of thousands of dollars a year yet it is a business challenge which is all too often ignored.

Retailers tend to prefer to think that it does not happen to them.

Employee theft is real.

Tower Systems has experienced it itself in its own retail stores. These experiences and experiences helping our retail customers have enabled us to develop better software and infrastructure for supporting our customers in tracking and eliminating the cost of employee theft.

Retailers using our Point of Sale software have at their disposal tools which absolutely reduce the opportunity for employee theft.

From the sales counter to the back office, our Point of Sale software provides for secure, tracked and consistent processes for protecting the assets, including, cash, of the business.

The key for retailers and retail managers is to engage with the theft reduction tools available in the software.

We encourage our customers to take a zero tolerance approach. Employees stealing from you need to manipulate data in some way. For example, if their sales per hour worked are far lower than others then they could simple not be using the computer system. However, you would have detected off behaviour from your inventory system when reordering stock.

Good management processes followed with commitment and care will uncover theft quickly. Businesses without these are at greater risk. Is your retail business at risk?

Use our Point of Sale software, embrace and engage with every opportunity it presents for tracking and reducing employee theft in your retail business.

Through our Tower Advantage TM program we offer a range of services to our customers for identifying and cutting the cost of theft in a retail business.   This includes our free Theft Check service  to determine if our software has evidence of your business experiencing theft.

Gift Shop Software in New Zealand

Following the launch of our gift shop software at the recent Gift Fair in New Zealand we have been busy visiting New Zealand gift shop owners, discussing their specific needs and showing off the software.

Ready for New Zealand gift shops including handling local GST, EFTPOS, FlyBys and other requirements, our Gift Shop software is ready to serve New Zealand retailers.

Based in Auckland, our New Zealand office is able to arrange in store demonstrations anywhere in the country as well as online demonstrations.  You can email sales leads to Mark McGibbon at mark@towersystems.com.nz.

New Garden Centre Software Collateral

garden-centre.jpgWe have finalised the marketing collateral for our new Garden Centre software.  This is being sent to Garden Centres around Australia to promote our Point of Sale and Garden Centre software facilities.

Our Garden Centre software is being used in a variety of situations and sizes. This is giving us good experience in the Garden Centre retail channel opportunity.  We were introduced to our first Garden Centre by one of our existing customers. Word of mouth is as important in the software business as it is in retail.  We appreciate the kind words of so many of our customers … they have helped us grow to serving more than 2,500 retailers around Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

Kudos for Point of Sale Software Update

The latest major update to our Point of Sale software continues to receive wonderful feedback from customers.  Words like brilliant and wonderful are being used to describe this new software as more users experience the benefits.

Developed with great care over many months and including considerable user and supplier engagement, this new software delivers new facilities and enhanced existing facilities to retailers across Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

We have considerable structure around Point of Sale software update development, deployment and support. The value of the structure is evidenced when we release a major update and proactively partner with our customer community in the updating process.

We give priority to calls from people with update related questions, to encourage the user community to make the transition.

Every day we are hearing from customers who have installed the update.  Their feedback reaffirms the value of giving our customers the right to decide when to install new software rather than us forcing it on them when it suits us.  We hear of too many problems with other software where updates are forced on customers without any infrastructure assistance.