Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: February 2012 (page 1 of 3)

Point of Sale software users in Brisbane love the user meeting

We had a terrific user meeting in Brisbane yesterday meeting with a room full of retailers using our Point of Sale software. This was the last stop in our current round of user meetings. We have been to ten cities in just over three weeks and met with hundreds of our users.

We are grateful to those who took time out of their businesses to meet with us. We appreciate your support and your feedback – we got plenty out of the Q&A sessions every time.

These face to face user meetings are our point of difference in action. We have competitors who talk about user meetings yet never seem to actually run them. We are thrilled to be delivering such an advantage for our customers.

The ten-stop user meeting tour also shows our care for providing the best customer service experience. Each meeting also shows that we hold ourselves accountable to our customers. Having senior management facing up to customers for direct contact is not something you see from many companies. That we do this and do it to a calendar shows us being true to our word and concerned about what our customers achieve through out software.

As often happens after a long time on the road, those involved in the meetings return back into the business with some good stories of customers and how they are using the software as well as travel stories.  There is no substitute for such face to face contact. We are far better for having completed this latest user meet8ing tour.

We are now looking at a second round for sometime after Easter when we will get to larger regional centres. More on that in the coming weeks.


Free Samsung Galaxy Tab offer with POS software package

We have just announced details of a sales promotion offer for newsagents, gift shops, jewellers and bike shops. Purchase one of our Point of Sale software and hardware deals between now and March 31, 2012 and you receive a brand new and ready to use Samsung Galaxy Tab. This free gift is our thank you for doing business with us. We are in a position to make the offer because of the market share we have and to add even more value to partnering with Tower Systems.

This is a limited time offer. To be eligible orders must be received by us by the close of business on March 31st 2012.

We are promoting the offer to sales prospects in each of the target marketplaces through  professional postcard campaigns.


More newsagents switch from NewsPOS software to Tower newsagency software

Following the announcement three weeks ago that NewsPOS newsagency software company is closing down and handing customers to Computerlink, many newsagents have contacted Tower Systems about switching to our newsagency software.  Several have already decided to move and join our community of more than 1,750 newsagents. We are supporting NewsPOS software users with a package of assistance to help them make the transition and enjoy the legendary Tower Systems service.


Damage to Pandora evident at Gift Fair

The decision by Pandora to withdraw from any independent retailers in Australia over the last few months has been a hot topic on the floor of the Gift Fair and the Home and Giving Fair in Sydney this week.

The decision by the loved international Jewellery brand to retreat to a new retail model that does not include many independent retailers has angered these retailers and guided them to look for alternative product to take up the space previously occupied by Pandora.

This whole situation could have been handled better by Pandora and in a way which may not have seen their name and reputation being talked down as much as is happening now.

We are working with jewellers using our Jeweller Software to help them make decisions around the kinds of products which will work based on the sales data gathered through our software. We have some excellent reports which can be used to guide product purchase decisions. The data in our reports can guide demographic and other decisions and thereby choices on Pandora replacement products.


Great retail news from Home and Giving Fair in Sydney

We have been hearing some terrific retail success stories at the Home and Giving Fair in Sydney over the last couple of days. The success stories are a terrific to counter the reports of retail doom and gloom some want to put about.

We have had retailers talking about excellent year on year growth. There have been others telling us of the success they have had at expanding their traditional businesses into new areas and through this attracting new shoppers. Others have told us of how they are using our software to now manage all buying and rejoicing at the cash they have freed up as a result.

We have met a bunch of retailers who are making their own success and doing this because they accept responsibility for the success of their business.

We appreciate the opportunity to meet with such positive people and to share in their pleasure at being retailers in this marketplace.

Our stand has been busy each day so far. We’re loving it!


New web developer to expand our software development team

We are thrilled to have been successful in hiring a web developer to take on a new role we have created in our expanding software development team.  Our new hire starts with us in just over a week and will expand the software development skillset we have access to in our service of current and future retail business owner customers.


In Cairns for Point of Sale software user meeting

We are hosting a meeting of our Point of Sale software users in sunny and wet Cairns today.  This is the second last stop on our current round of user meetings.  We more than 20 businesses coming in Cairns today along to hear about our software enhancements, participate in some training and to share ideas for future releases of our software.

We are proud to have delivered on our user meeting promise. Too often software companies claim that they run user meetings and training sessions when they do not.  This latest series shows that Tower Systems remains true to its promises, delivering excellent free face to face training and customer service opportunities.

While it sounds great travelling around the country getting to places like Cairns, it’s hard work being away from home, hosting the sessions and maintaining your regular workload. At most of our sessions we have three team members – to ensure enough time for answering one on one questions.  The time investment by the team members and the company is considerable.


Independent retail in Australia is performing well

Despite what is reported by the mainstream media, our assessment is that independent retail is travelling well in Australia. Certainly that is what we hear from many small and independent retailers using our retail management software.

With well over 2,000 retailers as customers, we get to canvass trading performance information. This is what leads is to acknowledge that retail at the independent level is travelling well. Sure there are speed bumps here and there. However, retailers offering a valued unique selling proposition and backing this with excellent customer service are generating excellent sales growth on last year.

We are sharing this message of retail success at our current round of user meetings and highlighting the good news in retail and outlining how retailers can leverage our retail management software to help them deliver these points of difference and drive their own success.

We refuse to feed into the media infatuation of doom and gloom for retail.  Not only because we are a positive bunch here but because such pessimism should not be lumped on all retailers.  There are success stories out there and concentrating on these helps not only the retailers but also Australian shoppers.


Samsung Galaxy Tab promotion at Gift Fair

We have a Samsung Galaxy Tab on show on our stand at the Home and Giving Fair this weekend and through to tomorrow.  It shows off how retailers using our Point of Sale software can connect with their businesses through such tablet devices and to show off the free gift for businesses purchasing a Point of Sale package deal from us at the moment.

There is no better way of promoting what our software can do by showing it live at a trade show like this.

The reaction to showing off the Galaxy Tab has been excellent. Business owners and managers like that we can show how they can connect to their business from just about anywhere and through this be better informed and make better business decisions – while away from the business.


Excellent first day of Home and Giving Fair

Our stand at the Home and Giving Fair in Sydney this weekend and through to Tuesday was busy on day one, yesterday.

Through the course of the day we saw plenty of sales prospects and plenty of existing customers. Our stats indicate we are in for a commercially successful trade show.

The business of the show and the commercial focus of the attendees indicates that there are plenty of retailers enjoying good success and planning (and investing) for more success. This is great to see, especially to counter the retail  doom and gloom big retailers like to talk about and the media likes to report. No doom and gloom at this retail trade show!

As we have found in our years doing this trade show, the retail businesses represented is diverse – gift shops, jewellers, newsagents, convenience stores and homewares shops.  It is the mix of retail channels represented which really appeals to us as we have software solutions for each of these.

While there is good interest on the HP all in one Point of Sale unit, our software is the real feature at our stand – it is our point of difference and the technology around which we deliver for retail businesses.


Training for Point of Sale software users this week

Tower Systems is hosting another four free online training workshops for retailers using our Point of Sale software this week.  each workshop will be live and interactive – offering excellent learning opportunities to our retailer community.

The free POS Software training workshops this week are:

  1. Best practice for Magazine Management 28 Feb 2012, 11:00AM
  2. General Q&A session 28 Feb 2012, 02:00PM
  3. How to manage Magazine Putaways 1 Mar 2012, 11:00AM
  4. How to cut costs in your business 1 Mar 2012, 02:00PM

Access is completely free including the phone call we make for audio participation. You get the video content from any screen with internet access. People can access the workshop at work, from home or while mobile.

This is another value-add service from Tower Systems which demonstrates a big difference between software companies.


Point of Sale software update to ship next week

Following an extensive beta release and comprehensive in-house quality assurance work, we will ship our latest major Point of Sale software update on CD next week.

Yes, on CD.

We are shipping this software update on CD to provide our customers with their annual, backup copy of the software. While the update is available for download from our website, the CD copy provides a full installation version which our customers are encouraged to store in a safe place. With just this CD and a current backup of data, our customers can get uo and running quickly and without the need for an internet connection.

Any reasonable business disaster plan would require that a retailer has offline access to current business software and data. Hence our decision to spend around $15,000 manufacturing and distributing CDs to all retail sites using our software and which are part of our Tower AdvantageTM program.  Our investment in this is an excellent example of our commitment to excellent customer service.

While retailers could copy our software only a USB stick themselves, the reality is that most would not. They are not computer experts and generally not good disaster planners. This is why we are spending the money to take this important disaster planning step for them.

Software companies which do not provide their small business users with a hardcopy (on CD or USB) are missing the opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service.


Home and Giving Fair starts today

Our first trade show for 2012 kicks off today at Homebush in Sydney.  We are at the Home and Giving Fair as the IT partner of the Australian Gift and Homewares Association.  We are thrilled to be back at such an important and popular fair on the gift and homewares buyers calendar. It’s a great way to start 2012.

Our planning for participating in the Fair started last year to ensure that our stand made an appropriate impact.

Seeing buyers from across Australia and New Zealand and from multiple retail channels – gift shops, homewares retailers, newsagents, jewellers, garden centres – this is a perfect fair for our business.  Theses are all markets and geographic territories in which we have strong presences.

In addition to attracting new sales, this trade show will also provide a wonderful opportunity to meet with plenty of our customers.


Respecting newsagent supplier confidentiality

As the supplier of software to more newsagents than all other software companies combined we are often sought out by suppliers to discuss ideas which involve or pass near technology. As newsagents too, contact with us can also cross into operational areas. Sometimes suppliers and their representatives ask that discussions remain confidential for a time. We respect confidential discussions and always have. The result is regular supplier engagement, often only with us some sometimes with others.

We are robust in representing newsagents as suppliers will attest.

There are many changes in play for newsagents and our commitment is to work with, work for and represent our newsagent community with respect and energy … in pursuit of a bright commercial future. We put the needs of newsagents ahead of the needs of newsagent suppliers.


Newcastle retailers out in force for our Point of Sale software users meeting

We had a terrific Point of Sale software users meeting in Newcastle on Wednesday with plenty of questions and some terrific feedback. Our room was full as every person who booked to attend the free training session did attend.

Given the numbers we had plenty of our team members on hand from our Sydney and Melbourne offices to provide the level of personal support outside of the group session. One on one discussion and assistance is vital to these sessions.

In addition to our users attending it was terrific to see a couple of local IT services providers who work with some of our clients there.

We sincerely appreciate the time our customers are taking out of their businesses to share in these sessions with us.  We are certainly learning plenty from the face to face time we are getting with our customers … we’re loving it!


Specialist bike shop software better than MYOB

Thanks to the bike shop specific facilities in our specialists bike shop software we are able to demonstrate the genuine value of business shop owners and managers the vaue of using our software over something generic and not market specific like MYOB retail manager.

Bike shop owners and managers who want to compete with online bike shops need to demonstrate value, genuine value, which they bring to every shopper who enters their door.  Through the use of our bike shop soft are they are able to do this with certainty and consistency.

This is what specialist software, software created specifically for a marketplace, does. It’s what Tower Systems does through its bike shop software.

Thanks to more than 130 specialist bike shop retailers who use our software we have a large community of users on which we can draw for expertise in bike shop management. The expertise is encoded in our bike shop software to delivery something of genuine benefit to bike shop owners across Australia, New zealand and elsewhere in the world.

The latest release of our Tower Systems bike shop software is out now and it delivers enhancements in a range of areas including flexibility in barcode label layout and other areas. Customers who are covered by our annual software support agreement have access to the latest software without additional charge.

Bike retailers who would like to compare the software they are using with out specialist bike shop software can do so easily. We will gladly have one of our industry experts visit to show you the software in your business and let you compare on the counter next to what you have.

Do we think that our specialist bike shop software is better than MYOB? Yes! Come and see for yourself!


Great news! Retailer adds $8,000 profit in a year from our advice

A retailer using our Point of Sale software approached us at one of our user meetings last week to share their story of following some very specific advice we provided at a user meeting two years ago.

As a result of following our advice, our customer added $8,000 to their bottom line that year.

Talk about the value of user meetings!

We were thrilled to hear this story not only recognising the value of our specific retail advice but also for the fact that it is good retail news.  With so many happy to report doom and gloom about retail, we have many in our tower Systems user community who are enjoying success and we’re happy to share this success.

A key part of our user meetings is the retail advice we share. We always look to go beyond the software and leave our customers with changes they can make, decisions they can implement which add dollars to their bottom line and reinforce the commercial value of partnering with us.

Anyone who wants details of the advice just ask and we’d be happy to share one on one.


Fresh Point of Sale software marketing collateral on the way

Given that our Point of Sale software plays an important in managing and marketing retail businesses which partner with us, it is appropriate that our own marketing is up to date and professional.  Our marketing, like any software company marketing, is a reflection of our professionalism.

It is with this in mind that we share that all of our marketing collateral is in the process of being replaced. Our professional in-house marketing and design team is working through all of our brochures, flyers and other marketing and communication collateral and creating a fresh approach to representing Tower Systems to retailers.

This two month project will result in a fresh representation of who we are, what we stand for and what we offer our customers. It will practically demonstrate the Tower Systems professionalism and highlight what is unique about our software company.


How can your retail business compete with discount coupon sites like Groupon and livingsocial?

Discount sites like Groupon, livingsocial, scoupon, doorbuster, catch of the day, and the like are presenting considerable challenges to bricks and mortar retailers. They are often offering brand name products for a fraction of the price the same products can be purchased in a retail business.

How do you compete with this, with the perception being pushed by the discount sites that full price is a thing of the past?

Retailers have been a bit shell-shocked by the success of the discount sites. Some have even joined the sites thinking that this is better than being left behind.

It is time for retailers to step back, take stock and understand their point of difference in the shopper mix.

If you look carefully at the discount sites you soon realize that the success stories are not always as good as they are made out to be.  Indeed, there have been some horror stories for shoppers and products suppliers when engaging with the discount deals sites.

Sure, some of the discount shopper sites offer excellent deals, genuine value. But is this the future of retail?  Will national and international brands only be able to sell through such sites? I suspect not given that the sites take a hefty margin and force those using them to sell their products at a considerable discount.

You can’t build a national or international brand on a discount model from the get go. Brands need to stand for more than price alone to have longevity.

Shoppers learn about products by touching and feeling them. This is where trust is built. Only retail stores can provide this experience.

Retailers can compete with the discount coupon sites by reinforcing the value of the physical shopping experience.  They can do this by:

  • Encouraging active browsing.
  • Placing products in-store adjacent to other products which retailers know sell together – based on data in their Point of Sale software.
  • Hosting in-store events and marketing these to the customer database.
  • Rewarding shoppers for frequency of visit and purchase.
  • Using technology in good Point of Sale software to ensure that sales associates share valuable additional information that separates the store experience from the online experience.
  • Using gift vouchers to allow shopping in-store to be sold as a gift where you are not sure what to give.
  • Using smart packaging of items into ‘hampers’ or ‘gift packages’ to create a ‘product’ which is unique to your business.  Good point of Sale software will make this easy to do, track and manage.

While competing with the online discount sites on price is a challenge, there are ways to do this that uphold the points of difference of the in-store retail experience.

The ideas in this article are just a start.  Central to such a project is using Point of Sale software beyond it being a glorified cash register and making the most of the opportunity to drive shopper loyalty.

Shopper loyalty is tremendously valuable. It is nurtured through the retail experience through knowledge, service and pricing. These three elements combine to deliver excellent business value and a platform off of which a bricks and mortar retail business can compete with the discount coupon sites.


Point of Sale software customer service on show this week

How many Point of Sale software companies offer regular opportunities for free face to face contact between POS software users and support experts and management here in Australia? Not many, unfortunately.

Sure, some talk about, even write that they do. Most Australian Point of Sale software companies don’t connect live and in person with their customers regularly. We do. Here at Tower Systems we are committed to providing face to face training, sharing and networking opportunities with and for our customers. This is an important aspect of who we are and how we do business.

This week we have three free live and face to face user meeting opportunities where we will meet well over 100 of our Point of Sale / retail management software users.  In Sydney, Newcastle and Hobart a team of people from ur company will meet with our customers. We’re looking forward to it.

It is important that we draw attention to this point of difference, that our face to face contact is real and not just the hype you can get from others, as it is this type of valuable and interactive customer service which can help a retailer take their Point of Sale software and hardware beyond being a glorified cash register. This is what we want … we want our software to offer genuine assistance to the retail businesses in which it used.

As is often the case at these meetings, the networking before and after is as important as the meeting itself. We love it.


Grow your retail business amid reports of economic adversity

There is no shortage negative press around retail at the moment. It seems that every media outlet is happy to write up even a hint of bad news without reasonable perspective and research into the real situation.

Sure, retail is tough. However, tough circumstances make tough people tougher. This is what we are seeing in retail. There are some wonderful success stories. Success stories we are proud to share in and be part of.

Smart, and tough, retailers are fully using our Point of Sale software and creating for themselves, in these reportedly tough times, success.

It all begins with being accountable for your situation. This is an important stand for any business owner, including retailer, to take. To own your situation and embrace it as something you must fix.

Here are just four the ways smart retailers are using our Point of Sale software to create success for themselves in these reportedly tough times for retail:

  1. Taking the guesswork out of business decisions. By eliminating gut feel decisions and making decisions based on facts they are able to reduce inventory wastage, cut labour costs, more effectively merchandise and drive customer efficiency.
  2. Understanding and getting closer to customers. Thanks to terrific customer management and customer loyalty facilities, retailers using our POS software are able to harvest customer purchase data to better serve customers and through this drive sales.
  3. Genuinely managing the business. From buying to employee rostering to supplier engagement to personal time management, business owners can choose to be business people or social people. Business people are the ones who use the software as a business tool and thereby target these tasks for better use through the software. The financial rewards are considerable.
  4. Loving your customers. The words are easy and the actions behind the words so hard. The best staring point ot loving your customers is to understand their value to the business. This is where good POS software can help. It provides the financial framework for the emotion of love toward your customers. Once you understand who you want to love and why you can set about doing it.

Retailers who are prepared to step away from the talk of doom and gloom and focus on making smart, data based, business decisions can find success. This is what many retailers are doing today. Especially small and independent retailers. We are seeing it and loving it.

The starting point to retail success, beyond accepting personal accountability, is to take small steps every day in pursuit or the right business decisions. You know the decisions are right when they are founded in your business data and when your business data is accurate.

Smart and committed Point of Sale software companies will be glad to be in a position to help retailers on this road to success amid a forest of stories of doom and gloom. They (we) can help you navigate your own success.


7am start helps Point of Sale customers resolve store opening questions

In addition to our 24/7 urgent Point of Sale software query support, our office based Point of Sale software help desk opens at 7am AEST each weekday.  This early start enables retailers to get a start of the day response to any query. This includes resolving issues which may arise during the opening of a retail business for the day.

With some POS software help desks not opening until as late as 9am, we have found that our customers appreciate the 7am start as it lets them resolve issues without having to interrupt their day later.

Our approach to help desk scheduling is to ensure we are there for our customers when they need questions answered.  With more than half our 7am through 9am queries to be more for over the phone training and advice, we are glad to have the opportunity to help them become more productive at the time they prefer.

Help desk customer service is a vitally important point of difference for software companies, especially Point of Sale software companies.  We will continue to drive this every day in many different ways.


NewsPOS newsagent software users welcome at Tower Systems

Newsagents using the NewsPOS software are most welcome here at Tower Systems. We have the market share, commercial strength, technical leadership and customer service commitment to deliver the level of service and valuable business outcomes they will want.

With NewsPOS shutting down and customers given no choice by the company, it’s natural some are upset. This is why we have put together a package of assistance for NewsPOS newsagency software users.

We anticipate ore disruption in the newsagency software space this year and are ready for it. With more than 1,750 newsagent customers we have a level of newsagent support and engagement which provides us with commercial strength and rives our purpose to continue to help newsagents derive genuine value from their businesses.


Helping Jewellers deal with the Pandora fall out using jeweller software

Some of our jeweller software customers have had the Pandora product line ripped from their businesses by the decision by the owner of the line to change retail direction.

With the Pandora product having been an important part of the retail mix they are looking for alternative products. The data cultivated by our software is helping to learn more about shopper interests and through this to navigate to business decisions as to what to replace Pandora with.

There are some excellent jewellery product suppliers with products which will interest the Pandora shopper. The key is to connect with suppliers who play in the right segment. This requires a through understanding of what shoppers purchase and when. Our jeweller software enables jewellers to dig into their data in this detail.

At the sales counter, jewellers can use our software to reward employees for above average sales. This sharing of the benefits of sales success for the business have proven to be a successful way for jewellers to drive sales and build shopper efficiency.  This puts money in the bank.

Sales associate engagement could be just what is needed in a jeweller business to reap the rewards of a switch away from Pandora … making lemonade form lemons if you will.  Associate engagement along with the right products could see the business race streets ahead of where they were previously and thereby actually gain from the moves by Pandora.

With hundreds of jewellers using our jeweller software we are well positioned to help jewellers make the most of changed circumstances. We also have jeweller suppliers using our software and this enables us to help improve the performance of the supply chain.  This diverse community works well at creating more efficient, successful and engaged jeweller businesses.

Whether your jewellery business is large or small, high-end or everyday, shopping centre or high street, online or bricks and mortar or both … Tower Systems is positioned to help you make the most of opportunities which come your way as well as helping you to create opportunities for yourself.

This is what we do, we help Jewellers build stronger and more successful jewellery businesses.


Free POS software user training opportunities this week

Tower Systems is hosting another four free online training workshops for retailers using our Point of Sale software this week.  each workshop will be live and interactive – offering excellent learning opportunities to our retailer community.

The free POS Software training workshops this week are:

  1. Getting started with Retailer for new staff members 21 Feb 2012, 11:00AM
  2. Getting started with Customer Management & Home Deliveries 21 Feb 2012, 02:00PM
  3. Best practice for managing Subagents 23 Feb 2012, 11:00AM
  4. How to process seasonal stock orders 23 Feb 2012, 02:00PM

Access is completely free including the phone call we make for audio participation. You get the video content from any screen with internet access. People can access the workshop at work, from home or while mobile.

This is another value-add service from Tower Systems which demonstrates a big difference between software companies.

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