Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: May 2011 (page 1 of 3)

Shortlisting Help Desk Candidates

We are almost through the process of shortlisting candidates for our new help desk role. Each candidate is considered through a two-step process. This is leading us to a shortlist of between ten and fifteen candidates which will be refined through phone and email interaction in pursuit of five candidates for interview.


Easy Handling of Pandora Invoices for Jewellers

Jewellers using our Jeweller Software are able to easily process the arrival of stock from Pandora into their businesses thanks to our electronic invoice facility – where we read and load Pandora invoices into our Point of Sale software.

Processing an electronic Pandora invoice takes a fraction of the time it would take to process a Pandora invoice manually.  Our customers were thrilled when we released this EDI facility.

In addition to the time saving, there are the benefits of dramatically improved accuracy of business data, consistency of this business data and the ability for anyone in the business to process goods inward.  Overall, handling electronic invoices over manual invoices delivers excellent benefits to retailers, especially jewellers selling Pandora products.

We are grateful to the folks at Pandora for providing the electronic invoices.

The work we have done on Pandora invoices is just part of the overall electronic invoicing and ordering work we have done for Jewellers using our Point of Sale software.


Helping Retailers Combat Unfair Retail Tenancy Cost Increases

We are working with several retailers using our Point of Sale software, helping them build their cases to combat unfair rent increases.

By assessing business performance data across trading periods, we are able to show that retail rent increases are out of sync with traffic and sales performance.

Presenting business performance facts as part of an overall business case has been successful with some landlord. The result is more equitable rental terms.

Being tenants ourselves in several shopping malls, we are able to draw on retailer and IT experience to help with our part of the overall business case being put currently by some of our retail software clients.

Our work in this area is part of our commitment to help our customers, retailers using our Point of Sale software, beyond the software itself to help them build stronger and healthier businesses.

Retailers who would like to know more about our work in this area can speak with our Managing Director, Mark Fletcher, on 0418 321 338.


This Week at Tower Systems

With the end of the financial year just a month away, it is another busy week ahead.  Some of the planned activity includes:

  1. Hosting four more live online training workshops covering valuable topics.
  2. Meeting with Perth users through a cycle of drop in visits.
  3. Preparing to give evidence in an employee theft case at a client site.
  4. Installing new systems in TAS, NSW, QLD and VIC.
  5. Progressing bringing the Fairfax magazine distribution business to the XchangeIT EDI platform
  6. Hosting our monthly support team meeting.
  7. Completing more client Business Reviews – where we assess business performance based on business data provided and sharing suggestions for change.

All of this activity is in addition to responding customer support call traffic, sales leads and other engagements which front during the course of the week.


Training Workshops on Point of Sale Software Next Week

We are hosting four live and interactive online training workshops for retailers using our Point of Sale software this coming week. Each session is timely and will add genuine value to what participants can get out of proper use of our software. Here are the four workshops on offer:

  • Point Of Sale Training 31 May 2011, 11:00AM                      
  • New Staff Member Training 31 May 2011, 02:00PM           
  • Mastering Catalogues 2 Jun 2011, 11:00AM
  • Lay bys 2 Jun 2011, 02:00PM      

Online training is a wonderful way to learn more about our software. The result is improved productivity and better business outcomes.Bookings can be made at our online training portal.


Disappointing Labor Spin on EFTPOS Fee Challenge Faced By Retailers

In our work with and on behalf of retailers facing an EFTPOS fee hike thanks to the new fee regime agreed recently by EPAL, we have been collating responses from federal politicians.

These responses indicate that Labor politicians are more likely to pass on the EPAL developed spin response than their Liberal and National Party counterparts.

The new regime sets up small and independent businesses, including retailers, to face EFTPOS fee hikes starting later this year.

The major banks, Coles and Woolworths, all shareholders in EPAL, an organisation established by the reserve Bank a few years ago, have colluded to dud small business.

The engagement of politicians in educating themselves about this issue is crucial. If only all politicians saw it that way.


Helping Gift and Homewares Suppliers to Connect With Retailers

Our work with gift and homewares suppliers helping them deliver electronic invoices to gift and homewares retailers is delivering time-saving and business-building rewards, rewards which are beneficial to retailers and to the participating suppliers.

Connecting with back office systems from small wholesalers through to some of the largest suppliers to the gift and homewares channel, our work is enabling retailers to save time bringing in new inventory, reducing the cost of pricing errors and saving time on ordering stock.

This tighter electronic relationship between gift and homewares retailers and suppliers is delivering the classic win win.  We are thrilled to be the glue which is facilitating this.  Our work is pro-bono, for the overall good of the gift and homewares channel.

Bringing new suppliers on is easy.  We have a structured approach to data files to serve a diverse range of situations.  We are also able to connect with different back office systems from the small to the large.  Suppliers keen to explore accessing this connection should make contact with our Software Development Manager through our Head Office.


Who Can Access Your Retail Business Data?

Retailers need to ensure that their business data is safe.  One way to protect retail business data is to NOT permit other parties, like a software company, to access your data without your express permission every time.

Recently, we have seen a software company set a system up so that they, the software company, had unfettered access to the retail business.   We could see no reason for such access.  Then we saw that the access was being abused and the privacy of the business breached.

We only access Tower Systems client systems for a specific purpose, with approval from our customers and in full visibility of our customers.  We would not want it any other way.

Our advice to retailers is that they do NOT permit unfettered access.  The risks to the business are too great.


How Retailers Save Money on Stock Takes

Retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software are able complete stock takes without using external stock takers.  This saves time and money.  It also results in more useful business data being available to the business. This feeds better quality business decisions.

The stock take, using Point of Sale software serves the purposes of the tax office.  The financial and operational benefits which are available within the Point of Sale software in the stock take area and without additional investment are considerable.

Retailers are part of the valuable Tower Advantage TM program have access to a range of training and assistance opportunities. The best starting point is our training video: A26 Stocktake – Preparation and Practice: What, When, Why and How. This easy to follow video provides essential training to anyone considering undertaking their own Stock take using our software.

The training video fits in an overall package built around the Stock Take process and demonstrates the depth of commitment by Tower Systems to our user community for this mission critical business function.  Combine the video with advice sheets and our line training workshops on Stock take and Tower retailers have plenty of opportunities to go into this busy season fully educated and prepared.

How we approach Stock Takes offers a good comparison opportunity between Tower Systems and other software companies.  Few offer the range of coverage of assistance and learning opportunities that we do.

Click here to see the list of training videos available.

Click here to see the list of advice sheets available.

Click here to see the live training sessions available.


Working With Fairfax on EDI

We are working with Fairfax magazine distribution business, Integrated Publication Solutions, to help them achieve their go live XchangeIT EDI target of June 27 – and to help newsagents using our newsagency software.  We have kept quite until now but can speak about this work given their public announcement.

We are ready for the public trials which are necessary leading to the June 27 launch.


Newsagent Software Upgrade Path

We have a well established and proven path for helping newsagents upgrade to our newsagency software from Computerlink, POS Solutions, AccessPOS and NewsPOS … bringing them to our newsagency software community of in excess of 1,700 newsagents.  Our upgrade path addresses issues around data conversion, employee training, business transition and hardware use.  We also have a plan for business transition, the process of cutting over from the old newsagency software system to our new system.

As the newsagency channel consolidates, and there is evidence of this picking up pace, we are well positioned to help newsagents upgrade to us and thereby access the flexibility in our software in a range of business building areas.


Rewards for Leasing a Point of Sale System Upgrade

lease-offer.jpgFlexirent, one of the finance companies which many of our Point of Sale customers have used and recommend to their colleagues is offering a financial benefit of the first 3 monthly payments FREE or a FREE iPhone 4 if an upgrade is leased prior to June 30.

Leasing a system or an upgrade can help with business cash flow, it all depends on the circumstances of each business.  This offer from Flexirent is timely given the end of June is a few weeks away.

How our customers pay for systems and or upgrades is up to them. We place not requirement as part of our sales pitch.


New Vodafone Product Now Available Online

We have a new range of Vodafone products available on our Point of Sale software integrated eziPass electronic voucher platform. The new products available to our customers are: Vodafone $10, $35, $55, $200, $250 and $300, including Vodafone 10% off $35 and $55 promo.


Making Sure That Your Retail Stock Scans

barcode.jpgTwice in the past week one of our team members purchased goods from larger retailer stores and the stock would not scan or was not appropriately priced.  In each case, the sales associate at the counter did not know how to look up the price. They picked a price out of thin air, way below that price each item would usually sell for.  Our team member was happy.  the sales associate was happy just to move the sale along.

It was clear that in each case the sales associate was not trained on how to use the corporate software to look up the price of an item.

The Point of Sale software which we develop and sell facilitates the easy look-up of price of any item at the sales counter.  This can be done by product code.  It can also be done by keyword search – this is the most common.  It’s fast and can help sales counter queries like that our tem member encountered be dealt with quickly.

We help sales associates using our software learn how to do these searches and other sales counter functions with a free training video at our website.   Sales staff can learn at their own pace in their own situation and repeat the training as often as they would like.

This is one way where small and independent retailers can beat big business, through better use of technology at the sales counter.


Free POS Software training for new retailers

For years now we have offered a free day of live training in the use of our Point of Sale software to people buying a business running our software.

This training, delivered live in our offices as well as live online to anywhere in the world, is a full day if training in the basics of using our software, aimed specifically at those with no prior experience.

We have trained hundreds of retailers who are about to use our software for the first time or who have just started using it – and we continue to do this, happily.

The free day of training means that our existing customers are not under as much pressure to train those buying their business.  It also sets up the support relationship with the new customers and helps reduce their need for support.

When we launched this service we were the first in our space.  While others have said they offer it, we don’t see it as structured nor as consistent as we deliver here at Tower Systems.

So, if you are contemplating buying a retail business, ask the company which provided software to the business if they offer a free day of training to help you get started.  Thee more software companies we get doing this the better for retailers all over.


Compulsory Support Stops a Retail Buisness

A newsagency using software from another software company had to switch to manual operation recently when they decided to not pay for software support.  We understand that they did not realise at the time that software support coverage was not optional.  They had not noticed the text, COMPULSORY REGISTRATION LICENSE (sic) appear on their software support invoice.

This is a timely reminder – be sure what you are paying for when you buy a Point of Sale system.  Not all systems are the same.

Here at Tower Systems we do not have a compulsory registration licence.  Our customers can choose whether to take support coverage or not.  If they choose the latter, all requests for support are paid for as they go.

Our view is that compulsory support, where the software stops working if you do not pay for support, is wrong, especially if you were not made aware of this when taking on the system.


Application Flood for New Help Desk Role

We received an extraordinary number of applications for the new help desk role which we started advertising yesterday.  As is now our well established approach, we will cull as we go, retaining applications which meed our initial screening criteria.

We do respond to all applications including those which are unsuccessful, sharing information to help them for next time around.

This selection process will take two to three weeks.


Point of Sale software support numbers

With our expanded local call support network, retailers using our Point of Sale software are finding it even easier to reach our Help Desk and have queries answered.  Here is the listof contact numbers for live phone based support:

Monday to Friday: 7 am – 6 pm 03 9524 8000.
– Sydney: 02 9525 6444 Mon-Sat.
– Brisbane: 07 3136 6888 Mon-Sat.
– Perth: 08 6317 0207 Mon-Sat.
– Adelaide: 08 8121 3366 Mon-Sat.
– New Zealand TOLL FREE 0800 444 367

Saturday: 7.30am to 3pm 03 9524 8000
After Hours: 0418 554 963; 0418 528 577; 0419 842 334

In addition to this phone coverage there is Help desk access via email and our website.

Backing all of these contact points is the escalation process which is advertised in our weekly emails and our monthly print newsletter.


Finance Offer Makes Point of Sale More Affordable

Funding a Point of Sale system out of cash flow can be a challenge for a retail business.  To help address this we can point sales prospects to a variety of fiance options.  These are negotiated directly between our sales prospects and the financiers.  We don’t offer the finance ourselves, we never have.

One of the popular financiers has just announced a deal where the first three months are free if signed prior to June 30.  This makes their finance package offer even more affordable from a cash flow perspective.

By presenting a range of options for how retailers can finance their Point of Sale system, we are helping more retailers make the move and engage with our technology.  We are able to show tangible financial benefits which are many times the weekly or monthly funding cost.  This is where the cash flow benefits of partnering with Tower Systems are obvious.


This Week at Tower Systems

It is another busy week this week across all departments within Tower Systems.  Some of the planned activity includes:

  1. Commencing a new Adelaide based sales team member managing the SA and WA marketplaces.
  2. Completing and publishing two more new advice sheets.
  3. Commencing interviews for a new Help Desk role.
  4. Hosting four online training workshops.
  5. Completing four Business Reviews – where we assess business performance based on business data provided and sharing suggestions for change.
  6. Installing another five new Point of Sale systems.
  7. Working on an EDI project with a gift and homewares supplier.
  8. Helping the police prepare an employee theft case involving one of our client sites.

All of this activity is in addition to responding customer support call traffic, sales leads and other engagements which front during the course of the week.


Employee Theft Can Kill a Retail Business

We have been working this weekend with a retail business owner on an Employee Theft situation.  In this case, the employee theft appears to have cost the business around $8,000 over the last two months.

Our years of experience in this field is that the actual cost of employee theft to a business is closer to double what the initial evidence suggests.

What started as a support call soon became an investigation into fraud against the business when we found evidence theft.

While we offer business owner training on how to use our Point of Sale software to reduce the exposure to theft, we cannot force our customers to use the software to achieve this.The same is true for car makers – they cannot control how their cars are driven.

For our part, we will continue to offer retail business owner training on how to reduce the opportunity of theft, provide advice of=n business specific situations and provide help where there is suspicious behaviour.  In the worst case scenario, we work with police and prosecutors to bring to justice those against whom we uncover evidence of illegal behaviour.

Retailers can reduce the cost of theft – if they use the suite of tools available to them.


Free POS Software Training To Help Retailers Next Week

We are hosting four important and high-value online training workshops for retailers using our Point of Sale software  this coming week.  Each session  is timely and will add genuine value to what participants can get out of proper use of our software.  Here are the four workshops on offer:

  • Marketing Your Business 24 May 2011, 11:00AM
  • Importing Stock Files & Invoices 24 May 2011, 02:00PM
  • Mastering Subagents 26 May 2011, 11:00AM
  • Stocktaking 26 May 2011, 02:00PM

Online training is a wonderful way to learn more about our software.  The result is improved productivity and better business outcomes.Bookings can be made at our online training portal.


Retailers: Measure Everything using Point of Sale Software and Bank on the Results

Measurement is key to the success of any retail business. Measuring sales, stock, employees and suppliers, building a valuable database about business performance.

Without accurate and consistent measurement, you are not able to make good business decisions or to hold others to account for their actions.

By measuring retailers can and do make better business decisions, decisions based on fact rather than emotion.

Here are some simple rules for accurate measurement in retail:

  1. Only sell what you can track – by scanning a barcode or pressing a PLU (stock code) to track the item.
  2. Do not use department keys to sell items as this denies you the opportunity of tracking individual items you sell.
  3. Enter into your computer system everything you sell. Record stock you receive by supplier so that you can track supplier performance.
  4. Enter into your computer system everything you return to suppliers – consignment stock, returns or damaged goods.
  5. Record all sales and other activity at the sales register by employees.
  6. Reorder replenishment stock by using your computer system to create orders for you.

My making your business data driven you are better equipped to take the emotion and gut feel out of business decisions. This will improve decision quality and accountability and, hopefully, the return you achieve from these decisions.

Businesses which do not measure stock, suppliers, employees and sales accurately often find themselves faltering without knowing why – because they have no accurate data on which to base research.

Using our Point of Sale software, retailers are able to use the gathered data to drive better and more valuable business decisions.  We facilitate this by providing business assistance to gathering data and assessing this in pursuit of better business decisions.


New General Advice Sheet Published

Occasionally retailers using our Point of Sale software may come across a No Retailer Data Found warning.  This can occur if the connection between the main computer and a register has become compromised.  Our new advice sheet (T18) provides self-help assistance in addressing this situation.

This advice sheet is part of a series of general advice sheets being created for all marketplaces – again demonstrating our commitment to enhancing the service and support we provide our customers.


New Magazine Putaway Advice Sheet to Help Newsagents

We have published a new advice sheet which will help newsagents using our newsagency software better setup and manage magazine put aways, a service which is unique to newsagents and through which they can grow their businesses.

While our put aways software itself has not recently changed – it didn’t need to as it is considered best practice – we have finessed the advice to make using the software easier for our customers.

This new advice sheet is another example of our commitment to continually enhance the documentation of our software and through this to facilitate better outcomes for our customers.

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