Free training opportunities for Point of Sale software users this week

Next week, like almost every week of the year, Tower Systems is offering free access to four free online training workshops for retailers using our Point of Sale software this coming week:

  • Getting started with sales reports 3 Apr 2012, 11:00AM
  • Getting started with Repairs 3 Apr 2012, 02:00PM
  • Best practice for Retailer security 5 Apr 2012, 11:00AM
  • Best practice for managing Subagents 5 Apr 2012, 02:00PM

Each training workshop will be live and interactive. The sessions are designed for people using our software. This is why we make them accessible from any PC so that employees can access the training from home and in their own time.

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. We confirm every booking made.

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

Helping retailers throughout the weekend with accessible POS software support

In the seven-day cycle that is retail today, Tower Systems has structured its Point of Sale software customer service offering to serve retailers who trade every day.

Thanks to extended help desk hours, easy after hours support access, email support, website based support, training videos, more than 200 advice sheets and regular live training opportunities, the company helps retailers and retail employees have access to vital knowledge and assistance when they need it.

Since we primarily support small and independent retailers, the needs for more accessible support is stronger than in bigger retail businesses where an internal IT support team is usually the first port of call.

Last weekend provided several good examples of our commitment to through the weekend support.  We were able to answer more than forty queries from customers from the simple to the complex with the most common being requests for additional knowledge on how to use part of the software.

Handling these queries through the weekend and at the time of the request saved our customers time and delivered support when it was needed. This is a point of difference for us, a practical demonstration of our commitment to delivering a best of breed customer service experience.

Hosting meetings with retail suppliers

We are proud of the relationships we have with suppliers of products to retailers in the various marketplaces in which we serve. We act as an IT bridge between many suppliers and the retailers who use our software. We sometimes act beyond this, bridging general business needs and facilitating new relationships.

Given our size and our approach to software development, we are often in a lead position with such relationships, consulted first about possible changes.

Our supplier relationships will be on show later this month when we host a series of workshops involving suppliers, in pursuit of more valuable retailer / supplier relationships.  This will provide us another opportunity to add value to the relationships we have with our customers.

Helping small business retailers discover their USP

Key to the Newsagency of the Future workshops we are running around Australia this week and next is a discussion about the need for a USP, a Unique Selling Proposition, and consideration of what a good USP could be.

With so many newsagents and suppliers in the room at the same time, the USP discussion is timely and valuable. Already we are seeing some creative ideas emerge as well as new newsagent / supplier relationships evolve from the business building discussion.

With our technology taking a back seat in the discussion we are showing genuine concern for the need for newsagents to adjust to changed market conditions. These are not sales workshops … they are tower Systems presenting its point of difference quite practically and valuably.

The workshops will be followed up with worksheets to guide participants into action, so that the sessions do lead to genuine change in the businesses of the attendees.

Major announcement for newsagents coming

We have signed an agreement to deliver access to exclusive services to newsagents using our newsagency software. The details of the new services, integrated with our software, will be announced jointly by Tower Systems and our partners.

We are thrilled as this is a significant new commercial opportunity for newsagents which leverages the value of our network of more than 1,750 retail locations.

MYOB integration enhances the Point of Sale software offer

We have come a long way from the initial integration we did between our Point of Sale software and the MYOB accounting software many years ago.  We refined the MYOB link software over the years and then completely replaced it.

Today, we partner with a third party integration specialist to ensure that the solution is maintained to the changing needs and links with MYOB. This allows us to concentrate on what we do well and MYOB to concentrate on what they do well.

The result is an excellent retail management solution with a trusted and accepted back office accounting solution.

The MYOB link is part of the offer we make available to our customers to help then run more efficient and complete businesses.

New software for bookshops

We are in the middle of releasing a series of updates to our Point of Sale software for bookshops, updates which deliver best-practice facilities for bookshops which are focused on delivering wonderful customer service at the sales counter which providing valuable and time-saving benefits at the business back end.

With an expanding trial of the new facilities under way, we are enjoying terrific feedback that is guiding this considerable software development project. The result will be better bookshop software, helping book retailers proudly add value to the retail shop book purchasing experience.

We have stand alone book shops as well as newsagents using our book software for this part of their business.

Small retailers are vital to the Australian economy

Small retailers are vitally important economically and socially to Australia from the employment they provide to the local communities they support to the innovation they drive.

By small retailers we mean retailers turning over $500,000 a year or less.

These small retailers are more likely to be self funded and local, operating from one shop. They are the types of businesses which struggle to access low-cost capital, leaving the owners to invest sweat equity and find smart ways of operating.

We love these small retailers and their innovation. We love what they bring to our country economically.

This is why we support small and independent retailers – for the contribution the make to our country nationally and locally. Indeed, we serve around 2,500 of these small retailers today so we know about about their operation from inside out. We get to work with them daily and through this have developed a deeply held respect for what they do.

So while governments fling hundreds of millions of dollars at big business, small retailers are often innovating and contributing without any government support, supporting down the line employment opportunities for other businesses. The innovation and local community from small retailers is, in our view, more valuable than some government supported big businesses.

While our software is used by some large businesses, some doing hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, more than  75% of our customers are in small retailers … hence our passion for this niche of Australian retailers.

Helping retailers use an iPad in their shop

We are thrilled to be offering free training to retailers wanting to learn how to use an iPad in their retail business tomorrow, Thursday.

This free workshop is part of our professional retailer and retail employee training delivered live and online to retailers in Australia and New Zealand. Click here to book.

Retailers using our Point of Sale software can use their iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab or some other device for a number of things in the business, in-store as well as away from the store. The opportunities are considerable and beneficial. Time saving and revealing.

Even though the session names the iPad, we will cover other devices as we are, as a software company in the tablet space, device agnostic.

Looking for a Delphi programmer

We have a permanent vacancy for a delphi developer to join our team … in a new role we have created to help us with work in a range of new software projects we are undertaking in several of our specialist software marketplaces. If you’re a Delphi programmer with excellent commercial skills we would like to hear from you.

Major Point of Sale software advice sheet overhaul complete

We are thrilled to have completed a thorough overhaul of every one of our advice sheets. The overhaul has included updating the content to reflect the latest version of the software, peer review of the content, ensuring all contact details are correct and loading the advice sheets with current keywords to enable easier location using our website keyword search tools.

This project has taken several weeks and has involved many team members from within our business from help desk, software development and management.

We have made the investment to completely overhaul the advice sheets to give action to our commitment to providing genuinely valuable and relevant self service support and training services for retailers using our Point of Sale software.

Customer feedback on the overhaul so far has been terrific and helpful in considering further enhancements including tips on new advice sheets we could create.

Bike Shop Software offer drives sales

The Bike Shop Software offer we are running to the end of the month is driving sales of our leading Bike Shop Software.

On offer is a free Samsung Galaxy Tab with each system sold. This device can be used for home use or to connect to the software, and the business, from anywhere. It’s a sales gift from us with an excellent productivity business benefit.

The special offer coincides with the release of new software for bike shops, software packed with new facilities including some requested by existing users of the software.

With more bike shops using our software than any other channel specific software, we are well positioned to to extend our market share lead as a result of innovative and on-topic protons and gifts such as the Galaxy Tab offer which ends on March 31.

Promoted via a professionally designed and printed postcard, all aspects of this campaign show off a professionalism of which we are proud.

We feel that our marketing collateral provides a window on our software and our customer support services. Given that our support services and software are world class professional, it is appropriate to pitch these with equally professional marketing.

Our new bike shop customers are coming from all parts of the bike retail channel including Avanti bike shops, Bike Hub bike shops and a range of independent bike retailers.

Practical help for newsagents and publishers

Last week we brought to the attention of magazine distributor IPS a data issue with the barcode addendas of Harness Racing Weekly – thanks to the vigilance of a newsagent using our newsagency software. (Thanks David!) We researched the issue, looked at it with the knowledge we have from running our own newsagencies and reported our evidence to IPS.  Within an hour IPS resolved the issue.  The speed of the resolution is a testament to getting an accurate description of the core problem to the party which can fix it.

Owning newsagencies helps us more effectively and knowledgeably communicate with newsagent suppliers as well as our newsagent customers.

We use our unique situation to our operational and commercial advantage, as was shown last week with the Harness Racing Weekly situation. Customer focused newsagent suppliers value the engagement by responding quickly to a well explained problem with an obvious solution.

More discount options in POS software help retailers compete

The latest release of our Point of Sale software delivers additional flexibility in terms of shop-floor discounting. This will enable retailers using our software to more proactively compete for sales. This is vital in the changing retail landscape.

With more bricks and mortar retailers facing heightened competition from online websites offering better pricing, due to lower overheads, retailers need flexibility to be able to compete, especially with shoppers on their shop floor and ready to purchase. Hence the need for greater flexibility beyond traditional catalogue and sale prices.

We developed the additional discounting facilities in consultation with a group of our customers who had a specific need. We evolved this into something with broad appeal across our entire retail business customer base.

The result is additional facilities for our customers, an enhancement in their ability to compete.

The latest software update is out now.

Free Point of Sale software user training

Tower Systems is offering free access to four free online training workshops for retailers using our Point of Sale software this coming week:

  • Getting started with Catalogues 27 Mar 2012, 11:00AM
  • How to market your business 27 Mar 2012, 02:00PM
  • Getting started with Catalogues 29 Mar 2012, 11:00AM
  • How to use an iPad in your business 29 Mar 2012, 02:00PM

Each of the training workshop will be live and interactive – offering high-value learning opportunities to anyone using our POS software. The sessions are designed for people using our software. This is why we make them accessible from any PC so that employees can access the training from home and in their own time.

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. We confirm every booking made.

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

Beware employee theft in retail

Retailers need to be vigilant about the risk of employee theft. Poor management creates the opportunity for theft. Good management will prevent theft and save time having to resolve a problem after the event. We mention this today because of a noticeable rise in reports of employee theft in retail. Using our Point of Sale software employers can reduce employee theft.

Free newsagency management workshop series starts Monday

Our Newsagency of the Future workshop series starts in two days – on Monday in Perth. Over the course of seven cities we will get to meet with hundreds of newsagents who have booked, sharing insights and ideas and discussing structural change and commercial opportunities.

Drawing on information cleaned from recent retail business conferences in Las Vegas, London and New York, the workshops provide an opportunity for all newsagents, not just our customers, to think about and consider the future in the context of changes occurring today.

Attendance is free and bookings can still be made. You can book by faxing in a booking form or registering through the online booking facility on the Tower Systems website.

Here is a list of venues for the workshops:

  • Perth. March 26. Country Comfort Inter City, 249-263 Great Eastern Highway, Perth
  • Sydney. March 27. Bonnie Doon Golf Club, Banks Ave, Pagewood
  • Canberra. March 28. Rydges Capital Hill Canberra, Cnr National Cct. & Canberra Ave, Canberra
  • Adelaide. March 29. Rydges South Park Adelaide, 1 South Terrace, Adelaide
  • Brisbane. March 30. Brisbane Riverview Hotel, Cnr Kingsford Smith Dve & Hunt St, Hamilton
  • Hobart. April 2. Mercure Hotel Hobart, 156 Bathurst St, Hobart
  • Melbourne. April 3. Amora Hotel Riverwalk, 659 Bridge Rd, Richmond

We are pleased to be in a position to make this investment in the newsagency channel, sharing insights and working with newsagents on a brighter future.

Helping retailers to leverage the coupon marketing opportunity

We are thrilled to be helping a group of retailers leverage coupon marketing to drive sales efficiency. Largely untapped in Australia, coupons are widely used in the US and some European countries with great commercial success.

The first steps we have taken are innovative and use existing facilities in our software to track redemption. We will watch how this opportunity is used by retailers and further enhance coupon opportunities within our software based on retailer feedback and supplier engagement.

A good coupon campaign leverages suppliers as much as retailers in delivering innovative.  We are talking with several suppliers on how to help bring more retailers to the coupon opportunity.

While we do not expect Australian coupon use to evolve as far as the US experience where weekend newspapers often carry hundreds of coupons, we do expect good growth in this marketing opportunity as retailers realise the positive impact on basket building which could be achieved.

Our work on coupons includes researching the US experience first-hand, talking with suppliers and retailers on how they use then and then starting discussions on opportunities in Australia.

This is genuinely innovative work for retail in Australia.  We are proud to be in a leading position on this.

POS software security changes enhance security for retailers

The latest date to our POS software delivers enhanced security over sensitive business data. We developed the enhancements following consultation with our customers about areas of the Point of Sale software where they felt they would like additional security options.

Like all security related areas of the software, our users can control whether they use the new security facilities or not.

Thanks to our Software Ideas facility on our website, retailers using our software are able to suggest software changes and then vote on these – in a transparent and democratic process.

Call traffic spike as software update embraced

We are in the middle of a 50% increase in calls to our help desk this week as retailers using our Point of Sale software embrace new facilities and changes delivered in the latest, sizeable, software update.  Such a spike in calls is not unusual as people want to ensure they understand the scope of the software changes and ensure that it is settled into their business as well as possible.

The feedback from customers on the update process is terrific. Customers love that they can choose when to install the update, especially those who have switched from a system which does not allow them to choose when an update is loaded.

We have shared advice with customers on common questions and provided documentation on the considerable changes to provide information to back the on the phone advice we provide.

We’re dealing with the call traffic spike and maintaining our service level goals.

Respecting supplier embargos

We are given information by many suppliers well in advance of announcement to their retail partners. This early announcement allows us to test data files in advance of an announcement by suppliers to their customers. In most cases this data is provided on a confidential basis, some even have a specific embargoed to date. We respect this, keeping the information confidential. It is important to us that suppliers can trust us to be prepared in advance for our customers without abusing commercial in confidence information.