Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: December 2013 (page 1 of 3)

Happy New Year from our POS software company

With the help desk phones not ringing everyone is getting an early pass today and we’re switching support coverage to our after hours numbers.

So all of our customers and colleagues: HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2014 be all you hope for and dream of.


Pet Shop software features in pet industry magazine

pet-shop-softwareAs part of our sponsorship and support of the pet industry association, the Tower Systems Pet Shop software is featuring in their latest magazine, just out this week.  We have an ad on page 3, the best position in the magazine.

This latest ad, our participating at their national trade show, work with several key pet suppliers and other recent engagement have cemented a strong position for Tower Systems within the pet industry.

This latest ad represents the professional and consistent approach we are taking to the pet shop software opportunity.


POS software update moves to expanded beta release

The latest update to the Tower Systems Point of Sale software has moved to an expanded beta release, reaching out to close to 400 retail locations under 20% of the total number of locations using the software. We’re not pressuring our customers to install the update – the timing is up to them.

This beta release contains some exciting enhancements, especially in the area of supplier connection / integration.

The beta release notes fully document the changes included in this release of the software.


Post Christmas retail sales strong

Post Christmas / Boxing Day sales have been excellent according to some of the retailers in our Point of Sale software user community over the last couple of days. Several we have spoken with indicate sales are up close to 10% on last year. This result is even better given that it is on the back of an excellent Christmas result with those sales up close to 10% as well.

Sometimes we see post Christmas sales down when pre Christmas sales are up and vice versa. This year we are seeing people growing in both situations, indicating a more general upturn being experienced by these businesses.

Sporrting trends early is vital in retail as you are then able to respond more appropriately. You don’t want to be in a situation where you you spot a trend long after it first occurred as that could mean you have missed opportunities.


Pitching savings an important use of the retail shopper receipt

rcptdiscWe encourage retailers to use their receipt as an extension of their marketing activity. An excellent example of this is when a business sells products for lower than their recommended retail. The saving is listed on the receipt – reminding the shopper of how much they saved by shopping in the business.

While some customers don’t give receipts a second look, others do read them once they return home. The discount off RRP is a terrific message for this shopper. It’s an invitation for them to consider the business again.

Even the smallest steps are important in cultivating your connection with customers. Our experience in our own retail businesses is that receipts can drive sales.

Through training videos, our online knowledge base and live support we can help our POS software customers to make better use of their receipts and through this make more money.


Helping POS software users make the most of Boxing Day sales

BoxingDaySaleA4We have helped plenty of retailers using our Point of Sale software to be ready tom make the most from the Boxing Day Sales that start today in many locations. From providing access to free Boxing Day Sale artwork to advice on the best way to handle discounting to managing bringing in stock just for the sales, we have been and continue to be at the ready to help our customers leverage the opportunity. Today our after hours phone network is ready for handling queries. Senior management is also on hand. We want to ensure that our customers have terrific success with Boxing Day sales.

Click here for the A4 PDF. Click here for the A3 PDF.


Merry Christmas from Tower Systems



On Christmas break

The Tower Systems offices are now closed until 7am on December 27. All our after hours numbers and our senior management escalation numbers are live and ready to assist with urgent support queries.  Our knowledge base and other online support tools remain accessible throughout.

We let our customers know last week by email and fax our Christmas / New Year schedule so there were no surprises

Update: our office was actually staffed through until 3pm today just to ensure that there weren’t any last minute calls.


All set for 2014 kick-off promoting our POS software

We have used the last weeks of December to prepare for 2014 including locking in a comprehensive schedule of industry trade shows, professional marketing, user training events and other activity for promoting and support our brand to small business retailers.

We have our first campaign ready to hit in the first week of January. This has a few surprises that will be disclosed at the time it hits. We’re excited to be taking a fresh approach to marketing exciting innovation in our Point of Sale software.

Planning ahead well into 2014 helps us forecast resource usage and better integrate software enhancements into the marketing narrative.

We’re excited for 2014 and the opportunities we see.


Christmas cards appreciated

cardsonshowWe’re thrilled to receive Christmas cards from suppliers and customers and have a small selection on display in the reception area of our business. The thrill is two-fold – the greeting and the use of the traditional greeting card. Since newsagency businesses – who sell greeting cards – are a key pool of our customers, we like that they are being supported. The photo from our reception desk this morning shows some of the cards we’ve received.


Surge in employee theft in retail businesses

With Christmas retail activity in high gear it is no surprise that there has been a surge in reports of employee theft. We have received several over the weekend and yesterday. Each report is taken through a proven process we have stablished for gathering and verifying evidence and considering an appropriate course of action.

In one case we stepped in for the retailer, at their request, and terminated employment of one staff member and laid out a framework for money being returned to the business.

While the vast majority of retail employees are honest, there are some who steal from their employer.   Here is our advice for retail business owners for cutting the cost of theft by retail employees:

  1. Change the passwords that provide access to the most sensitive data right away and do not given them to anyone unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Change the roster, shake things up.
  3. Remove all handbags, phones and personal items from the counter.
  4. Get employees out of any non-uniform clothing with pockets.
  5. Implement random end of shift cash balancing several times in the day unannounced.
  6. Use employee cards for tracking sales by employees – these are better than a three code employee code.
  7. Stop employees ringing their own purchases up.

Treat your business as you would a large bundle of $100 notes. The more serious you are about managing your cash the more of it that will make its way to your bank account.


Promoted articles help POS software users with seasonal questions

promotedarticlesOne of the many features in the latest Knowledge Base facilities we launched recently is that of Promoted Articles. Listed at the bottom of the main access screen, we use this list to draw to the attention of our customers topics that are likely to interest many of them.

The Promoted Articles list is just one more way we are enhancing the experience of our customers. Rather than having one route to information on how to use our smart POS software, we provide multiple routes through which our customers can discover and access information that makes our software easier to use and more useful to them.

While we have shared this information directly with our customers, we are writing about it here as some in businesses using our software get their information about recent tower advances from this blog.


Christmas / New Year hours

Last week we emailed and faxed all of our customers with details of our Christmas / New Year hours. While our after hours and emergency escalation numbers will be live throughout, our officers will be closed on the public holidays. We have taken the opportunity of reminding customers of contact numbers so those with urgent issues can make easy contact as and when needed.

Our office break starts from lunchtime Christmas Eve. In Tower Systems tradition, we’ll have a team lunch and then head off to be with our families. Before going we will make sure every call is answered and every message returned.


More pet shop suppliers join the Tower Systems Pet Shop Software EDI community

Pet retailers using the Pet Shop Software from Tower Systems now have even more pet shop suppliers from which to access electronic invoices thanks to work by our dedicated Business Relationship Manager.  Our in-house BRM manages all Tower supplier relationship including seeking out new suppliers for the benefit of retailers, like pet shop retailers, using our software.

The latest pet shop suppliers have been brought on board in the last week. It helped that we are a sponsor of the national association and an active participant in the PIAA trade show a couple of months ago in Melbourne.

With more pet shops using our software suppliers are keen to work with us to drive relationship efficiency.


New Bike Shop software package helps bike retailers combat online

Tower Systems has just released a new Bike Shop Software package that is packed with facilities for helping bike retailers compete with online bike retailers. The new packaging comes with new competitive pricing to make it even easier for bike retailers to get bike shop specific software technology to ease the running of their business.

As the most widely used bike shop software in Australia and New Zealand, Tower Systems is positioned to leverage market knowledge and supplier connections for the benefit of new bike retailers joining its user community.

From the workshop to the sales floor to the e-commerce site to the management office, the Tower bike shop software helps bike retailers run more efficient and valuable retail businesses.


Sunday small business retailer management advice: spot trends relevant to your retail business sooner

Too often we see small business retailers wondering about retail trends they have read in newspapers or seen covered on TV. Trends reported publicly are most likely too late for your business if they are reported in these places.

The most valuable trends small business retailers can spot are those indicated in their own business data.

If you are not sure about what trends you could see in your data, talk to your POS software company. At Tower Systems we take your data, analyse business performance, compare trading periods and let you know the trends as we see them. This is a free service.


Supporting Make A Wish at Christmas

makeawishA few weeks ago we made a corporate donation to Make A Wish Australia to support their work in granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Their work is important we are are proud to have been an active make A Wish supporter for years now. Our Christmas time donation is in lieu of sending Christmas cards.


Kris Kringle fun in the POS software office

kriskringleWe had some fun with our Kris Kringle gifts in our head office yesterday with everyone participating in the Christmas gift giving and receiving.

People can steal a gift that’s already been opened – and this happened a lot – or take a Christmas gift from the table. It’s tons of fun with some excellent gifts on offer.

We’ve been having fun with Kris Kringles for many years.


Christmas cake finishes another terrific Christmas lunch

xmascakeWe had another Christmas celebration yesterday. This time in the office with a tasty linch of pizza, roast chicken and tasty Subway sandwiches. The spread was followed by these delicious cakes.

It feels like we’re been celebrating Christmas for weeks with our Christmas party a couple of weeks ago, other lunches and them a head office team lunch yesterday.

It’s a great time of the year.


Birthday cake tradition makes for better software and support

cakedecemberWe’re a happy team at Tower Systems and there is no better evidence of this than our birthday cake tradition. With so many birthdays to celebrate in the year we have a group cake for each month for the birthdays that month.

Yesterday we tucked into this delicious profiterole birthday cake for our december birthday stars. This cake was delicious. The pick of the year! Very tasty.

Good cake = good software and good support!


Tower Systems POS software customers safe with credit card details processes

Retailers using our Tower Systems POS software can rest easy that their businesses will not be as exposed a US retailer Target and the news from the US that around 40 million records were stolen in a security breach experienced by the giant retailer. The POS used by Target stores customer name, credit card number, CVV code and expiry.

Tower Systems does not store this information for over the counter purchases.

Customers purchasing using, for example, the Tyro integrated EFTPOS, the newsagency software does not have any visibility of or access to customer credit card details. This arms-length approach is far more secure than the approach taken by Target.

Retailers using our software can choose to separately store credit card details but this in encrypted. Also, our software does not store the all-important CVV code – for security reasons.

Retailers using the Tower Systems software could not suffer as Target in the US is suffering.


Tower Systems knows when to pass on newsagency software integration opportunities

As the newsagency software company with more newsagents using our newsagency software than newsagents using all other newsagency software packages combined we are often sought out as a partner for companies wanting to engage with newsagents.

Tower Systems now serves in excess of 1,900 newsagents as active customers and this network is valuable to start-up suppliers.

We take our leadership position seriously and reject far more approaches than we accept. We consider each approach on its merits in terms of whether we trust the the benefit for newsagents and whether the claimed value can be achieved.  Business relationships are formed solely on the merits of value for our customers and not their commercial value to us.

As the market leader we have the benefit of being picky about our partners. Indeed, we are very picky.

There is and always be a difference from time to time in what Tower Systems offers versus other newsagency software companies. This is a difference we choose to embrace. It’s a difference that reflects our absolute market leadership position.


Helping bike retailers manage the Christmas rush

Christmas is a crazy busy time of the year for bike retailers and Tower Systems is thrilled to be helping hundreds of them manage the business thanks to excellent workshop management, LayBy and customer management tools in our bike shop software.

In saving time spent managing the workshop, LayBy and other back-office functions, we are able to help bike retailers get through more business in this busiest of trading seasons.  The tower Systems help desk is focussing attention on bike retailers to ensure that they are able to use their bike shop software without interruption and stress – we are ensuring we are here and answering questions for them as they need, to make sure that our software is the valuable tool in their business on which they can rely to drive business efficiency.

Christmas is a test for bike retailers and it is a test for us as bike shop software specialists. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service to so many of them.


Pet shop software helps drive shopper loyalty for pet retailers

The shopper loyalty facilities in the Tower Systems Pet Shop Software is driving customer loyalty for regular purchases like pet food and less regular purchases such as leashes, kennels and household items.

Leveraging shopper behaviour data and engaging with sophisticated loyalty tools, the Pet Shop Software empowers pet retailers to leverage customer habit information to the advantage of the business and for better service of customers.

This area of shopper loyalty is just one of many areas in which the Tower Systems pet shop software is helping pet retailers to better serve customers. Other areas of benefit include maintaining microchip information, easily tracking animal purchase for resale, connecting with suppliers for electronic invoices and managing for optimal product purchasing – to name just a few of the facilities.

With more and more pet shops using the software, Tower Systems is developing an event better understanding of ways in which the software can even better serve.

2014 will be an exciting year as the user community for the Pet Shop Software grows.


Helping retailers reduce the risk of fraud

Tower Systems has shared fresh advice with retailers this week on how to reduce the impact of shopper and customer fraud in their businesses. With Christmas being fraud season in some retail channels the advice is timely and has been well received.

This latest advice is based on recent experiences in several retail businesses.

Our Point of Sale software has excellent fraud mitigation facilities that retailers can use themselves to reduce fraud and detect fraud. These continue to evolve based on field experience and feedback from fraud prevention experts.

Our work as expert witnesses in theft cases and work with police on investigations continues to inform our moves in this space.

Retailers properly using our software and following our advice can reduce the impact of fraud in their businesses. 

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