Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: November 2011 (page 1 of 3)

December user newsletter out for POS software users

Last week we mailed our December newsletter out early to retailers using our Point of Sale software.  We included with the newsletter a second page documenting the various customer service contact points we offer from direct phone contact to email, website and other entry points.

In addition to reminding our customers of key contact points, the newsletter is an excellent reminder of our commitment to professional communication around our business services.  It’s a terrific document with which our customers can compare us to any other company offering similar software.

Having our own graphic designer on full time staff helps us present ourselves in a professional way.


Easy access is central to good customer service

Easy access to the Help Desk and other key service points is vital to good customer service by any software company, especially for software companies which service retailers.

Click on the image to see the customer service contact sheet we provide to retailers using our Point of Sale software.  We have a modified version for our New Zealand based customers.

While we have shared this level of contact point detail with our customers for years, we revise the presentation regularly.  This sheet is the latest version.

We are proud too include full contact details here for key management people in our company including our Managing Director.  This is rare for a software company.  It demonstrates faith in our products and our services.  It also demonstrates the importance we place on our customer relationships.

Here at Tower Systems we understand the value of accessible customer service.  It’s a key factor in our success.


Stepping into a new retail niche

We are now a week into exploring a new retail niche and already we have suppliers supporting our move.  What’s interesting is that some of these suppliers also serve newsagents, another retail channel in which we serve.  Already we have picked up some useful ideas.

Once we have some clients using our software in the new retail niche we will be public about the move.  In the meantime, we’re on a learning curve and loving it.


When a supplier sees the light…

It is a thrill to lead a wholesaler to retailers in a channel in which we have a Point of Sale software solution from a manual paper based warehouse system to the world of scanning, electronic invoices and EDI files for customers.

This is what we are working on right now.  The excitement of the warehouse team is palpable as the business contemplates the move.  It’s a big challenge as the practices of this business are rooted in the 1970s.  That’s not a criticism, far from it.  The business is extremely well run and well supported by its customers.  But it’s time for a change.

By bringing technology to the warehouse, the business will be able to streamline its operation, make better buying decisions, bring on more retailers and provide overall better service.  The operational and financial benefits will be considerable.  We suspect that the employee benefits will be the most appreciated.

Australia has many warehouses like this, on the smaller side, operating with manual processes which are holding them back.  Our Point of Sale software has facilities which can help in a range of warehouse and wholesale situations.

We love helping any business, retail or wholesale, improve business efficiency and unlock greater business enjoyment.


EXCLUSIVE: Helping small newsagents computerise

Small newsagents across Australia are set to benefit from a package of assistance put together by Tower Systems.

Created in response to needs expressed by newsagents, associations and some suppliers, Tower Systems has put together a computer hardware, software, services and business assistance package which will help smaller newsagents reap rewards by using the software used by more newsagents than any other software.

We have created a special hardware and software package based around quality brand name hardware: HP, Epson and Kyocera.  We have loaded this with the software already used by more than 1,760 newsagents.  We have backed it with on site installation and training.  We are support in it with 24 hours a day seven days a week support.

We have sourced funding which should be accessible to most newsagents.

We have also put together a business management and support package to help these smaller newsagents drive business efficiency and improve their business performance.  This assistance package goes beyond the newsagency software and delves into areas of general newsagency management.

This small newsagency offer is EXCLUSIVE  to Tower Systems.


Online training helps retail employees master Point of Sale software

We are offering form more free online training opportunities for our customers and their employees using our Point of Sale software this week:

  • Getting started with Catalogues 29 Nov 2011, 11:00AM
  • Understanding the End of Shift 29 Nov 2011, 02:00PM
  • Getting started with Retailer for new staff members 1 Dec 2011, 11:00AM
  • How to process seasonal stock orders 1 Dec 2011, 02:00PM

We do this through a range of opportunities including our much-appreciated online training workshops. Free to our Tower AdvantageTM customers, we host the workshops through there world-renowned WebEx platform and fund a toll free call for audio content.

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.



Helping retailers in tough times

The package of advice and assistance we put together earlier this year for retailers experiencing tough times is proving to be of assistance to those retailers who have tapped into the opportunity.

Designed to provide retailers from a range of channels to see their businesses from a different light and to make efficiency-driving and profit-building changes, our advice is helping according to feedback from some of our customers.

We are fortunate in that we can draw on our own retail business experience – we have owned and operated retail businesses for the last fifteen years – and the experience of others to proved practical business advice which does help retailers respond to challenging market conditions.

Our assistance and advice is provided on a pro-bono basis.  This includes providing free access to a special business turnaround report through to in-store consultation and assistance on issues specific to a business.

We are grateful for opportunities to help in this way and for the trust shown by those customers who have sought us out to help.  We respect confidentiality and therefore do not speak about specific situations where we have been of assistance.

Our help for retailers doing it tough is available to any of our customers. There is no barrier whatsoever to accessing our assistance.

This service is another point of difference for Tower Systems.  It reflects another way in which we go beyond being just a software company and demonstrates how we see ourselves as a genuine partner of the businesses we serve.


New products for newsagents

Thanks to our partnership with Touch Networks we are pleased to introduce inComm and their products which are now available through our newsagency software.  inComm is the industry leading marketer, distributor and technology innovator of stored-value gift and prepaid including iTunes and Moshi Monsters.  Tower Systems has more newsagents using its software than any other software company, making us the industry standard.

Great Gift Ideas for your Customers this Christmas – Exclusive offer to existing Touch Newsagents
inComm has partnered with Touch to provide your business with an exciting opportunity to sell iTunes Gift Cards and Moshi Monsters Game Cards via your POS system. You’ll earn fantastic margins as well as offer your customers greater convenience all in time for Christmas.

Earn 8% margin on iTunes Gift Cards*

Earn 10% margin on Moshi Monsters Game Cards
In early December, your business will automatically receive a Starter Kit to assist you to promote this offer in your store; the kit includes Display Clip Strips with card stock, Posters and Decals.

If you are not interested in this program, please email your name, business name and contact details to the subject line: NOT INTERESTED by the 30th November so that we can remove your details from our distribution list.

In addition to the Starter Kit, inComm have a limited number of counter stands available to further assist you to promote and display these lines (see counter stand image to the right). To order a counter stand, please email your name, business name, contact details with the subject line: COUNTER STAND by the 30th November. But hurry; stock is limited!


Great feedback from Queensland newsagent customers

We are thrilled with the feedback from newsagents in Queensland during a recent road trip we have made to connect face to face with our newsagent customers. To have customers so full of praise for our help desk team is terrific … it speaks volumes about the commitment of our help desk team members and their care for our customers.


NAB eftpos processing problem

After considerable work with PCEftpos and NAB on behalf of a customer encountering problems using a NAB terminal to process EFTPOS payments through PCEftpos into our software, we received confirmation that there is a known problem.  There is a firmware fix being tested at the moment which NAB and PCEftpos hope will fix the problem.

The firmware problem on the banking terminal caused the host Point of Sale software to freeze.  Our understanding, based on what we have seen to date, is that the problem is isolated to NAB terminals.


Marketing tools in Point of Sale software connect retailers and shoppers

The marketing tools in the Tower Systems Point of Sale software are valuable in helping retailers better connect with their customers.

By harvesting data from our sales and customer files, retailers using our Point of sale software are able to intelligently connect with customers in a range of ways.

From letters of thanks to special offers to loyalty rewards, using our marketing tools provides retailers with valuable options for cultivating relationships to a higher value in the business.

Our customers can access the marketing tools from a simple screen within the software (see picture) and build their campaign from there based on the criteria for data extraction they select.  This is an example of where good Point of Sale software goes way beyond the transacting of sales at the counter and delivers excellent business building opportunities.


Accurate record keeping vital to jeweller software

Jewellers who deal in valuable stones and make jewellery items for sale from precious metals need to keep accurate and detailed records of precious metals and precious stones.  Using our jeweller software, these jewellers are able to keep the records they need and manage their businesses appropriately and with confidence.

The stock screen in our jeweller software is built for the purpose, to suit the very specific needs of jewellers. The detail we store in our databases was determined by jewellers and those working in successful jewellery businesses.  We are proud of the facilities we have created and the usefulness of these for our jeweller customers – here in Australia and overseas where our software is used.

There is a flow-on benefit for retailers outside the jeweller channel using our software, not in the stone detail we capture and manage but in terms of how we approach managing this.

Our stringent approach to data management of such valuable inventory items delivers benefits to retailers selling items of considerably less value. We follow the same data management principles and rules for all inventory items.  This benefits all of our retail business users.

There is no doubt about the value to Tower Systems and its customers of serving multiple retail channels. We leverage the experiences of each for the value of the others.


Communicating with retail employees using our software

For many years now we have provided news feeds direct to to our Point of Sale software.  The feed of news from us is another of multiple communication channels we use in communicating with retail employees using our software.  The feed comes up on the main screen.  Feedback from our customers is that it’s useful to have access to this without having to read mail or go into email software.

We other versions of the feeds for specific banner groups if they want … to facilitate their communication with retailers in their channel.

Small business retailers are usually time poor.  Hence the value of providing flexible and accessible access to news and information.


Helping retailers make the most from telco and related products

Touch Networks has provided newsagency software companies with an analysis of telco and other product sales.  This data provides a useful benchmark for software companies with which to compare business performance.

With more than 500 of our newsagent customers vending product from Touch, we have a substantial dataset provided by Touch.

Our largest customer is selling in excess of $43,000 worth of product in a month.  We have  experience at the high volume end through to the low.  This breadth of experience helps us guide our retailers and help them achieve more from the opportunity of the Touch products on offer.

Central to driving telco product sales is the active promotion at the point of sale.  We facilitate this with coupons on receipts, ads on LCD customer displays (se photo) and up-sell scripts on the point of sale screen.

We are thrilled with the performance of our retail network as demonstrated in the recent numbers from Touch.  The success is a testament to good management by our retail partners.


VIP cards benefit retail shoppers and retail businesses

Retailers using the VIP card facilities within our Point of Sale software tell us that they are a key tool in their business development plans.  Tracking purchases by customers and managing rewards based on those purchases, the loyalty rewards facilities are being used by a broad range of retailers across multiple retail channels.

We support single store loyalty programs, multi-store loyalty programs as well as direct data links to FlyBys (in NZ). This variety of loyalty options and the facilities in the software itself provides excellent flexibility to retailers and allows them to select the tools and options which best suit their business needs.

It is our years of experience in loyalty, at the single store through to group-wide facilities, which enables us to work with retailers to satisfy most needs.  Beyond the shopper rewards, we understand and leverage the value of the basket data … this is where gal rewards lie for retailers and where we shine.

We have come a long way from the days of what used to be called a VIP card.  Now, thanks to smart software, it is much much more.


Point of Sale software users set to save money on consumables

Tower Systems is thrilled to announce the implementation of price reductions of up to 49% in barcode labels and other consumable items which are vital for efficient use of Point of Sale software.

These price reductions are set to save customers of Tower Systems a significant amount of money.

We are in a position to pass on the price reductions following the negotiation of better buy prices from our suppliers.  Our move shares the benefits of our better buying.

We don’t mind where our customers purchase consumables.  We sell these and other products as a service.

Labels, receipt rolls, ribbons, computer hardware aas well as our software can be purchased direct through our website on a self serve basis.  Click on the shop tab to access our online store.


Another surge in Tyro broadband EFTPOS sites

Tower Systems has experienced the fourth straight month of excellent growth in the uptake of Tyro broadband EFTPOS by retailers using its Point of Sale software.

The surge has been facilitated by free access to the interface which connects the Tower POS software to Tyro, from within the Point of Sale function.  This interface eliminates the need for double data entry.  It reduces the opportunity for mistakes and helps retailers process more business quickly through the sales counter.

Many hundreds of retailers are now using Tyro through our software.  These include newsagents, jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops, garden centres and homewares shops.  Many comment on the same benefits:

  • Faster EFTPOS processing.
  • More accurate EFTPOS processing.
  • Easier end of shift reconciliation.
  • Easier accounting.
  • Faster handling of queries.
  • Better handling of customer throughput.
  • Happier customers.
  • Happier employees.

Selfishly, we love Tyro because it is easy to support and because the Tyro support people are quick to help if there is a query we cannot handle.

The EFTPOS interface within our software continue to be available to our customers without cost.


New Zealand retailers set to benefit from enhanced local office for Tower Systems

Our new New Zealand based Business Development Manager, Mark Larbey, has hit the ground running by undertaking intensive training in our software both in New Zealand and Australia.

Based out of Auckland, Mark is busy completing is induction before getting started on a pre-Christmas marketing campaign on the north island.

As a full time member of our team, Mark has the support of our entire business as he develops our presence in New Zealand and brings the benefits of our Point of Sale software to New Zealand retailers.


Helping newsagents navigate structural change using newsagency software

We are working with a range of newsagents to facilitate their navigation of structural change in the newspaper and magazine distribution side of their businesses.

The pace of change has picked up in recent months and we are working with newsagents, some are customers and some are not, to help them create and operate business models which are more appropriate to the publisher driven changes in the distribution of newspapers in Australia.

We are able to leverage pour work over the last six years of helping the early adopters who have purchased and consolidated runs.  We are also able to leverage our work with the majority of capital city newsagents and the proof that we can support 150+ sub agents, corporate deliveries and multiple runs through the day.

Our newsagency software is flexible in terms of the services it provides in the area of newspaper distribution and home delivery management.  This includes flexibility in terms of customer account payment, customer billing, business performance reporting, distribution management, sub agent management and the publisher interface.

By delivering flexible software backed on easy-to-access knowledgable support, Tower Systems is well positioned to leverage its position to serve even more newsagents.

Today, more than 1,760 newsagents use the Tower Systems newsagency software.  This will increase as changes roll through the distribution side of the business and as software companies are tested for their commitment to helping newsagents navigate change.

With 56% market share of newsagents with a newsagency system, Tower Systems is 100% committed to helping the channel navigate the latest changes and to ensure that newsagents are able to use appropriate technology to extract value from their businesses.


Point of Sale software training this week

As part of our regular professional training opportunities for our customers and their employees using our Point of Sale software we offer the following four live online workshops this week:

  • Getting started with Repairs 22 Nov 2011, 11:00AM
  • How to process an invoice arrival 22 Nov 2011, 02:00PM
  • How to process Customer Billing & Statements 24 Nov 2011, 11:00AM
  • Getting started with Gift Vouchers / Gift Cards 24 Nov 2011, 02:00PM

We do this through a range of opportunities including our much-appreciated online training workshops. Free to our Tower AdvantageTM customers, we host the workshops through there world-renowned WebEx platform and fund a toll free call for audio content.

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.


On site training for Point of Sale help desk team members

One of the best ways our Point of Sale software help desk team members to learn how our software works is to participate in on-stage installation and training.  Next week, one of our office based team is being flown to Sydney for much of the week to have this experience in the field.

Our investment in time and travel will result in someone who is better skilled in the real life application of our software.  It will provide excellent reference points for questions.

With our help desk team taking each support call life and not following a script, as it often the case in big corporate help desk situations, real life experience is valuable as it leads to real knowledge.

Anyone can read a script and tell a caller what to do next, it takes professional skill and excellent intuition to be able to professionally listen and respond to a small business customer service call.


New GNS Back to School files now available for newsagents

We have tested and loaded the GNS 2012 Back to School stock files (Newspower and non Newspower) at our website for newsagents using our newsagency Point of Sale software.  These files, like all files provided by suppliers, have been put through a rigorous process to ensure that they load, fields are in the right places and the data meets other QA tests.

All supplier sock files loaded on our website have been tested and are considered by us to be safe to use.


Launching a second Point of Sale software website

We are well advanced in development of a website for our New Zealand Point of Sale software business.  This will be separate to our Australian based website and be built to serve the needs of existing and future customers of our New Zealand business.

While some assets will be shared between the two websites, each will have its own voice and unique content.

In launching this new website we are being true to the commitment we made to our New Zealand customers a few months ago.



Years of experience ensure useful Lay-By facilities

We first launched Lay-By facilities in our Point of Sale software in the early 1990s and Lay-By handling has been a core facility in our software ever since.  Even though we have been in the Lay-By space for many years, we continue to evolve the Lay-By offer, delivering enhanced facilities and benefits to retail businesses using our Point of Sale software.

From serving fundamental Lay-By needs to meeting special needs presented to serve unique customer requirements, our Lay-By software is, in our view, flexible, valuable and vital to many different retail channels.

By offering Lay-Bay payment terms, retailers are able to facilitate more sales, especially in the lead up to major gift giving occasions such as Christmas and birthdays.

Beyond the software itself, it is our many years of experience, helping retailers engage with the Lay-By facilities, through which we can guide retailers to financial benefits for their businesses.  We are able to supplement our experience of client engagement with Lay-Bys with experience using the facilities in our own retail businesses.


A typical day on the software help desk

Our Point of Sale software Help Desk has shut up for the night and switched over to the after hours numbers we provide to our customers.  While the service continues, the office based service is over for another day.

Here it is 6:10pm and already Tower Systems management has an analysis of call traffic for the day.  This includes an assessment of calls processed by each of the ten people who worked on our Help Desk today.

Having ten people on our help desk today speaks to the customer base we serve.  We have found that being transparent with our customers about our team size and specific members is the best way to counter any doubt about team size and our commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

So, from management and customer perspectives, end of day reporting on help desk activity is vital to our overall goal of excellent customer service.

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